For people that tolerate it, GAPS allows lactose-free dairy (homemade yogurt or kefir fermented at least 24 hours, certain cheeses, etc). At the beginning of GAPS, however, one also removes casein (milk’s protein). This is because for most people with a compromised gut, casein is also too difficult to process.
We have received varying instructions regarding the introduction of dairy. Below is my current understanding of the GAPS approach.
Doing the Intro?
If one is doing the intro progression, healing is more quickly established than otherwise, thus dairy can be added earlier. In this case, one would start using ghee from Stage 3 of the intro. After six weeks of no other dairy, she would try a teaspoon of GAPS whey, yogurt or kefir, and slowly and methodically work up from there (and on to other GAPS-friendly dairy products) at her own pace.
Update: Dr Natasha now supports the use of whey, yogurt, etc, in intro for people struggling with chronic and persistent diarrhea or constipation. While I personally still like to see dairy out for at least six weeks before its reintroduction, if one wishes to test in their body Dr Natasha’s new position for dairy’s inclusion in early intro, my recommendation is to keep dairy out for at least two weeks, preferably starting Day 1 of intro, before reintroducing any form of it. (Two weeks is a standard period of elimination for intolerance/allergy testing.) While this elimination period can be done any time, again for most people it is most effective done starting with Day 1 of intro.
Skipping the Intro?
If one is skipping the introductory progression, the body will require much more time to heal. In this case, one eliminates all dairy (except ghee) for six months then tries GAPS yogurt or kefir (starting with a teaspoon or less), and some months later, butter, and six months later again, lactose-free cheeses.
Why does the intro mention yogurt and kefir?
Some people methodically tested their dairy reaction pre-intro. That is, they eliminated it for at least six weeks, reintroduced it properly and noted no problems. These people are able to use yogurt or kefir in the intro. Most of us did not properly test dairy previous to intro and thus cannot use it until later.
Clean raw dairy, full of enzymes, is more easily tolerated, and more health-giving than pasteurized. Pasteurized will do, though.
Dairy that is free of pesticides and antibiotics (organic) can also make all the difference to one’s tolerance.
Goat milk (whether raw or pasteurized) is more easily tolerated by many, especially children with autistic traits. The casein in goat milk seems to be more easily assimilated by the body than the casein in cow’s milk is. If possible, try products made from goat’s milk first.
All dairy must be pure: No extra ingredients, thickeners, etc. (Salt in butter is okay, but unsalted is preferable.)