The Paleo diet looks to mirror the way cavemen ate during the Paleolithic era (the beginning of human life to about 12,000 years ago). So how exactly did they eat?
They ate foods that were available through hunting or gathering. These foods included meats, eggs, shellfish, plants, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils like olive and coconut. Foods that are off list of acceptable Paleo foods are grains, refined sugar, potatoes, salt, vegetable oils (peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil), alcohol, coffee, and dairy.
Greek Yogurt and Paleo
The above list shows dairy as an off limits food. Dairy farming and domestication of animals was not a practice until after the Paleolithic era during the Neolithic era. Sure, there may have been instances where cavemen consumed animal milk, but it was likely a rarity. Greek yogurt is a dairy product since it is typically made from cows milk. Therefore, a person staying true to a strict Paleo diet would not be able to eat Greek yogurt.
There are many people who follow the Paleo but also include dairy into their diet. They tend to eat dairy that is close to its original form with little or no processing to remove fat. Additionally, they try to find products that are from organic grass fed animals. An example of this type of Greek yogurt would be Kalona SuperNatural Organic Whole Milk (Plain) Greek Yogurt. The product uses non-homogenized organic milk from pasture-grazed cows. It is full fat yogurt with no added sugar. The ingredients are simply organic milk and live cultures.
For an extensive article on why dairy is not suitable for Paleo diet followers, see Dr. Loren Cordain’s article titled “Dairy: Milking It For All It’s Worth“. Dr. Cordain is the leading expert on the Paleo diet.
Greek yogurt is simply not acceptable to consume while practicing Paleo if you follow the diet by the book. Fortunately for Greek yogurt lovers, there are modified versions of Paleo that allow for “high quality” dairy products with the diet. Most Paleo followers can agree that a large portion of Greek yogurt products are unacceptable due their ingredients and manufacturing processes that turn the yogurt into an all but pure product. Ultimately, the decision to include or not include dairy into Paleo lies with the individual.
Image: Lord Jim