The goal of the Paleo diet is to eat the way cavemen did in the Stone Age. When we think of cavemen we likely envision meat, leafy vegetables or plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, and possibly oils like flaxseed or olive oil. You can forget about anything processed like chips, crackers, boxed mac & cheese or pretty much anything else you can think of that is packaged or boxed. Such things as refined sugar, salt, legumes, grains, and fast food are off the list of acceptable Paleo food items.
Is Cottage Cheese Paleo?
What about cottage cheese? Cottage cheese is a dairy product since its base is typically low-fat or skim milk. Let’s face it, cavemen were not even thinking about milking cows or producing dairy products. They were thinking survival and living off of what was readily available. It wasn’t until the Neolithic period or New Stone Age (after the Paleolithic era) that animals were domesticated and eventually milked. Since milk was not around during the Paleolithic era, cottage cheese or any other dairy would not be considered an acceptable part of the Paleo diet in the traditional sense.
Dairy and the Gray Area of Paleo
Dairy is in noway Paleo friendly to strict Paleo followers. However, there is a grey area where many people who follow Paleo believe that dairy products can be an acceptable part of Paleo or used as a cheat food. As mentioned above, processed foods are off limits on the Paleo diet. Therefore, dairy products that have been processed and removed of their fats (fat-free milk, 1% milk, 2%) are not acceptable to many on the diet. Those who consume dairy with Paleo will typically only consume products that are full-fat and come from grass-fed animals with little or no processing. An example of a cottage cheese product that meets this criteria is Kalona SuperNatural whole milk cottage cheese. The product uses organic milk from grass-fed cows and is minimally processed.
Studies have shown that high-fat dairy foods do not lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease or stroke risks. Dairy can provide healthy fatty acids, proteins, good bacteria through live cultures, and more. However, those against dairy in the Paleo Diet will argue that milk raises insulin, causes inflammation, causes allergies, and is not connected to our evolutionary beginnings. To follow Paleo strictly or waiver by consuming dairy is obviously an individual choice, but something debate before starting the diet.