Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Problem with Cheese

I have no intention of using my blog as a “bully pulpit” (well, not regularly, anyway), but I found the information below very interesting and kind of alarming.  When I made the switch from a meat-based diet to one based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it was easy – I was mentally ready for it, but when I decided to then eliminate dairy, it was a challenge saying goodbye to cheese.  Now I understand why.  Like most Americans, cheese played a huge role in my dietary life.  I grew up with aged provolone hanging from the kitchen ceiling from which my dad would cut slivers and give them to us kids; thick, soft slices of Havarti and crumbly cheddar on crackers, schmears of cream cheese on bagels and pasta liberally topped with grated Parm.  Not only did cheese taste good, I associated it with family, celebrations, good food and enjoyment.  The following excerpt is from the October 2010 issue of VegNews; the article is about food addiction and was written by Victoria Moran.  

One surprising “food drug” is dairy.  We’ve been taught to consume milk of another species – a biological oddity in itself – and we’re inadvertently drugging ourselves at the same time.  “All mammalian milk contains casein, and it crosses the blood-brain barrier to become casomorphin,” says Kerrie Saunder, PhD, a functional food consultant practicing in southeastern Michigan.  “This morphine-like substance we believe is there to encourage the young animal to nurse.  Human breast milk has about 2.7 grams of casein per liter.  Cows’ milk has 26 grams per liter, but since it takes, on average, 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese or ice cream, this becomes a multiplied-opiate addiction.”
In a group of vegans, it’s common to hear, “Cheese was the hardest thing to give up.”                                                                                                                                                              
I don’t miss cheese.  I realize that family meals and celebrations are just as warm, enjoyable and memorable now that I’m a vegan.  And I certainly know that good food – great food – can be cheese- and animal-free.


  1. how do you get enough protien? my neice is a veggi, but I'm not sure I could do that. BTW, I bought some fresch figs at the farmers market today. Gonna try them in a bit :)

  2. hey come and join my linky party.

  3. Not sure I can do without cheese! Still have got to nearly 71 with not too many problems, other than being overweight and now trying to lose some avoirdupois before it's too late! However, that's not due to cheese however, but all the choccies I used to eat!!

    Good luck with trying to convert us - and meanwhile look after yourself!

  4. Nice post! I've been off cheese for a few years. It was tough at first, but now I don't even want it, and we rarely eat the vegan cheese.

    The good news is that protein isn't a single ingredient that you need to eat in one sitting. It's a combination of nutrients that our bodies get through a variety of sources.

    Here's the main point:
    "Protein is made up of amino acids. ... In all, you need twenty amino acids, and your body can make twelve of them on its own. The other eight “essential” amino acids come from food. Now, here’s the crucial part: All eight of these essential amino acids can be found in plants!"

    If you'd like to learn more about how vegans and vegetarians get their protein, check out this article:

  5. Hmmm, very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. A little extra boost to move me from veg to vegan. And definitely agree--giving up meat was no big deal; giving up (or even reducing to any significant degree) dairy has been much more of a battle. I'm reading a book re: the addictive nature of salt, sugar, and fat ("The End of Overeating"). Also pretty darned interesting.


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