What Kinds of Cheese Can I Eat on the GAPS Diet?

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cheddar cheese

I have always loved cheese. Milk, not so much. I know cheese is made from milk but I have never liked the taste of milk.

During my pregnancy with my second son I discovered that my body actually didn't tolerate dairy very well. My doula recommended that I remove all dairy products from my diet 30 days prior to my due date. She explained that infants – whose mothers did not consume dairy products during this time – were much less likely to require suctioning after being born so I decided to take her recommendation.

After my son was born, of course I resumed eating cheese and dairy products. That was when I discovered that dairy produces a thick phlegm in my throat. After eating dairy on a regular basis I no longer notice the sensation but due to this experience, I had a pretty good idea that dairy was a problem for me.

That is why when I embarked on the GAPS diet, I decided to remove all dairy products (even butter). I hoped removing dairy products would help me get off of the two asthma medications I'd been on for several years. After a while, I added butter back in but I stayed off of dairy products for several years.

At close to the one year mark on GAPS I was able to completely taper off asthma medication and now go for months at a time without having to use even my inhaler. Two or three times since 2010 I have caught a cold that kicks up my asthma but other than that I have no problems breathing. I do find I am able to tolerate a limited amount of dairy products but know it's time to back off because I begin to have uncomfortably congested sinuses.

For those with digestive woes due to lactose intolerance it's pretty easy to determine if you have a sensitivity to dairy products but even if you don't think you have a problem you may want to avoid them for a month just to see how your body responds.

For those of you who already know that you and dairy get along just fine, there are several cheeses that are allowed on the GAPS diet. I'll get to those in a minute.

When on GAPS, Dr. Natasha states we should remove any unfermented dairy products from our diet. That means you'll be avoiding fresh cheeses (cream cheese, mozzarella, feta, ricotta), milk and fresh cream.

Lactose, a disaccharide, is the main reason we must avoid certain dairy products while on the GAPS Diet. Regular milk as you probably know, definitely contains lactose so it definitely must be removed from the diet.

Dairy is allowed and tolerated by many after fermentation. Specific bacteria “eat” the lactose and make dairy tolerable to most.

Avoid These Cheeses

  • All processed cheeses (sliced American, etc.)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese (also Neufchatel)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Gjetost cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Tofutti cheese

Eat These Cheeses

Yogurt (fermented for 24-hours to remove as much lactose as possible), kefir and fermented cheeses are allowed.

  • Asiago
  • Blue
  • Brick
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Edam
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda
  • Havarti
  • Limburger
  • Monterey Jack
  • Muenster
  • Parmesan
  • Port du Salut
  • Roquefort
  • Romano
  • Stilton
  • Swiss
  • Uncreamed cottage cheese (dry curd)

If you've been sensitive to cheese or dairy in the past you may want to introduce them into your diet slowly just to reduce the chance of discomfort from negative side effects.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about cheese and dairy in the comments. What is your favorite cheese? 


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12 thoughts on “What Kinds of Cheese Can I Eat on the GAPS Diet?

  1. Hi Kristine, the key to knowing what kinds of cheeses are allowed is to determine if they are fermented (which can also mean aged cheeses). It does appear the provolone is aged briefly. Since GAPS was based on the SCD diet, it is sometimes helpful to review their legal foods list. I did find that provolone is legal. I would think you would want to use a good quality provolone rather than the sliced sandwich version that many stores carry. Here’s a link to the page with information: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/legal/detail/provolone-cheese/ Hope this helps! ~Starlene

  2. Hi! I would like to know if we need to consume organic cheddar cheese? Or we can buy any brand it doesn’t matter… Thanks

  3. Hi Krystelle, I always say do what you can. If you can afford organic cheese, go for it. If you are on a tight budget do the best you can, that’s what I do! 🙂 Be well and stay healthy! ~Starlene

  4. The key is for the cheese to also be raw, which means it is unheated and grass fed. Goats cheese also seems to be better tolerated than cow. And once the gut has healed, raw milk with enzymes do not produce phlegm. Most people are also lactose intolerant because cooked dairy has removed lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. Many people who are lactose intolerant are able to eat raw dairy with no or few issues 🙂 according to Natasha

  5. I don’t really understand… I thought raw goat milk feta was cultured so to me it seems legal? What am I missing? Thanks!!

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