Ask Whole9 Canada: How do you know if you can tolerate dairy?

Welcome to Ask Whole9 Canada, where Summer Innanen and Sarah Ramsden answer all of your health and nutrition questions. In this week’s episode, Laurie from Calgary asks us, “How do you know if you can tolerate dairy?”

We go into great detail on the reasons why certain constituents of dairy don’t make you healthier in our Whole9 Nutrition Seminar. These points are also summarized in the Dairy Manifesto. However, we always encourage you to do your own self-experimentation post-Whole30 so that you can determine how these foods react in your body. This way, you can make educated decisions about your food choices going forward.

In this episode, we break down how to systematically test your own dairy tolerance and the common signs and symptoms of a sensitivity.

Got a question for Whole9 Canada? Send your questions about health, nutrition or where to find Whole30 approved sources of food (that you don’t need to import!) to asksummerandsarah@gmail.com and we’ll feature you in an upcoming episode.

For more Whole9 Canada-specific blog posts, videos, and resources, visit the Whole9 Canada Facebook page or Whole9 Canada blog here on the Whole9 site.


  1. Sara McKeen says

    I take an over the counter allergy medicine (zertyc like) for seasonal allergies. Is it possible that this would mask sinus like symptoms of a dairy sensitivity? Should I stop taking it when do a food elimination diet to better listen to my body?

  2. says

    @Sara – This is an anti-histamine drug, so it would mask any sort of histamine reaction that you could get from dairy. One of the components of dairy that can be problematic is the casein protein and this can cause a histamine release in people who are sensitive to histamine (this would be blocked by taking the anti-histamine drugs). So yes, there is a possibility that it would mask the symptoms of a dairy sensitivity. Always talk to your doctor before you start/stop any medications….but if you can try to do a Whole30 without the allergy med’s, you’ll be more likely to identify the foods that are contributing to any symptoms that you have.

  3. secret agent girl says

    Transcript, please. I can skim text in a quarter of the time it takes to listen to a vid and see if it has anything of value for me.

  4. Sarah says

    @secret agent girl – We don’t have plans for transcripts at this time. If you’d prefer to read something rather than watch a video, see the links within the post.

  5. Alexander says

    I get minor joint pain from some forms of dairy. It’s very tolerable but I notice it. Does that mean it isn’t being absorbed by my body? Do lactose intolerant people get the benefits of dairy despite the pain or discomfort?

  6. says

    @Alexander – Joint pain is a sign that you are sensitive to one of the components of dairy. In your case, it is likely the casein or whey since lactose intolerance manifests in digestive distress. If you are having this side effect, we would recommend eliminating dairy completely. The only benefit of dairy is in the fat (and even then, you can still find these nutrients in other food sources) and you can still obtain this by consuming ghee, which eliminates those problematic compounds.


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