Dairy is a touchy subject in the Paleo world. A lot of stricter paleos will deny themselves anything related to milk or its byproducts. Others have taken the approach of keeping the dairy as full fat as possible. I suppose I fall somewhere in between the two.
I grew up loving milk. I would drink it all of the time. I would drink it on hot days instead of water or gatorade. In fact, here's a picture of me in Thailand chugging a bottle of milk on a 120 degree humid day. (This was taken over a year ago, before I began researching the paleo lifestyle - I was pretty chunky, but dehydrated enough to not be embarrassingly big)
For me, milk was THE beverage to have. When I previously went low-carb, I gave up milk. I noticed immediately that my case of perpetual gas-butt had disappeared. This was a clue to me that I wasn't meant to be processing lactose and needed to lay off of the stuff permanently. After falling off the low-carb bandwagon and moving abroad, milk was shoved in my face everywhere I went. In fact, thousands of old ladies in Korea make their livings selling milk on street corners, making you feel guilty if you don't indulge. They had every flavor imaginable too, which made it even harder to say no (banana milk is aweseome)!
Come to two months ago and I decide to go strict Paleo. I laid off all dairy for a few weeks and felt great. During a cheat meal, I allowed myself some ice cream and had no ill side effects and at that point decided to allow myself SMALL amounts of dairy to help keep the diet interesting. Ideally I believe that dairy shouldn't be in the diet at all, but if a little bit here and there keeps me feeling satisfied, then I can live with that compromise. I've decided to use very small amounts of cheese (usually Feta or Bleu as they have a strong enough flavor that you need only a little), butter, and cream. There's nothing better than whipping up some cream with a few strawberries and walnuts as a reward for a good week. All of those ingredients dictate by thier heavy nature that I use only a small amount and as long as I'm not seeing any adverse effects from them, I'll keep on keepin' on.
It seems some people have genetics that allow them to process dairy without the negative side effects so commonly used to demonize milk. I know that most of these people do choose to use full fat and if possible, raw versions of dairy products. Good luck with that, though. I'll get into the legalities of raw milk and other forbidden foods in a future post.
Ultimately, it's up to what you feel is best for your body. Pay attention to how you feel after a heavy dose of dairy. Do you get gassy? Do you have diarrhea? Then maybe you need to forget about that delicious cow juice. Below are some links to some real information that you might help guide your decision on dairy.
What have you decided? How did you come to that decision? Please comment!
Milk can cause arterial scarring -
A myriad of links demonizing milk -
As for the other side of the argument, you'll have to check out the more popular blogs on the right side of the page for most arguments, but here is an article from Dr. Harris @ Paleonu.com. His thoughts confirm what I came to on my own, but his methodology is much more sound than my "it didn't make me fart" approach.