Dairy Schmairy

Let’s start this off by speaking the truth: I LOVE cheese. Like, really love. All kinds. Cubed, melted, shredded, sharp, cheddar, goat…you get it. The problem is, cheese doesn’t love me.

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I’ve tried to quit cheese a couple of times. And, to be fair, I have cut WAY back. Most days of the week I do not have any cheese or any form dairy for that matter. But it’s like I’m a former cheese addict–once I start I can’t stop.

For example, over the weekend I split pizza with my husband out to dinner with friends. If there is anything I love more than cheese, it’s pizza. We then went out to a local festival, had a few too many libations, and I had another huge slice of cheese pizza. To be honest, the food probably helped my future hangover, but the type of food I ate did not help the rest of me.

The next morning I woke up stuffy, congested, with an upset stomach, and with a face full of brand new zits. This is nothing new to me as I normally feel like this after eating cheese–it’s like I forget that awful feeling after eating while I’m contemplating my order. But really, the reason why I can’t quit cheese is because cheese is addictive. No, really…it’s comparable to smoking or any other addictive thing. Let me let the experts explain:

The primary protein in milk is casein. When the human body digests casein, it produces casomorphins, which have an opiate-like effect on humans. Because cheese is denser than, for example, milk, the casein is more heavily concentrated, meaning that eating cheese produces a larger amount of casomorphins in the body compared to eating other dairy products.

Cheese-related research going as far back as the 80s has also confirmed that cheesecontains small amounts of morphine. Scientists postulate that cows produce morphine in their milk because it helps calm their calves, making sure the young cows bond with their mothers and come back for more (does this make cows the dairy farm equivalent of drug dealers?)

Let’s move away from cheese for a moment and let’s focus on the bigger problem: DAIRY.

The dairy industry has been screwing with us for years. It’s a really shitty industry actually (the whole meat/dairy industry is) in terms of quality treatment of the animals…but let’s not get in to that. The biggest product of the dairy industry is milk.

We’ve all had it since we were born, but let me set one thing straight–milk that babies get from their mother is NOT the same as milk from a carton. The animals that are producing the commercial milk you see in stores everyday are pumped full of crap, and then the milk is put through a process that adds a TON of unnecessary and harmful stuff.

“Human milk has only 2.7 grams of casein per liter. Cow’s milk has 26. And because it takes, on average, ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese or ice cream, you’re looking at a lot of casein and resultant casomorphin.” The result can be a major opiate addiction that can cause people to have serious withdrawal symptoms.

See more here.

Growing up I was the biggest milk freak. I had multiple glasses of milk each day. I was also getting really sick each day. It wasn’t until I got to college that I stopped drinking as much milk and noticed my skin and my body looking/feeling better. I eventually quit milk completely. I now drink soy and almond milk.

There are lots of people who aren’t negatively affected by dairy at all (my husband being one)…but about 75% of Americans are.

So I’ve known that milk and other dairy products don’t work well with me and it hasn’t been hard to avoid them or quit them. I don’t consume other dairy unless it’s in a dessert or something is cooked in butter at a restaurant.

But what about humanely raised milk and dairy products? I won’t get into specifics, but you can read this article and decide for yourself.

Today, I stand before you, and I’m quitting cheese (again). The pleasure I get from eating it is not worth the misery that I go through after. I’m going to give it a solid 3 weeks of being cheese free. Anyone want to join me? Here are some steps to get started:

  1. Get informed about the adverse health effects of eating cheese (see resources below), as well as the enormously negative impact of the dairy industry on our planet and of course the toll on the bovine mothers (exploited for their mammary gland secretions) and the tragic fate of their offspring.
  2. Learn about non-dairy alternatives (see resources below) to milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream. There are plenty of ways to get your cravings for rich and creamy satisfied without cheese and dairy.
  3. Break the addiction. Go on a dairy fast for three weeks at the least. Your taste buds will change, and you will find the craving greatly weakened or even gone! You’ll still have a taste for creamy, rich and fatty foods in your diet, but at this point, you will have learned to satisfy them with healthier foods from plants instead of animals.

 

Here is a great article giving real science-based reasons to quit dairy. I’m hoping after this 3 weeks I won’t even be tempted to sneak a cheese cube off that tray.

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