We’re entering a slippery slope … Okay, it’s pretty easy to replace cow’s milk with plant-based milk, it’s doable. But stop eating cheese? What will we eat with our wine? What will we put on our pasta? And no more pizza 4 cheeses? No more fondue?
I was a vegetarian for 15 years (before I became a vegan), it took me 15 years to decide to stop eating cheese. It’s hard, very hard. I’ve heard vegans say that quitting cigarettes was easier than stopping eating cheese. Why is that? I have some strange news to tell you: in fact (I will explain it below) we are simply «addicted» to cheese, we are «junkies;)», that’s all.
We’re addicted to cheese
A few years ago, the University of Michigan did some research on various addictions. Scientists analyse the habits of 500 students and they discovered that one can be dependent on cheese in the same way as one can be dependent on cigarettes and «hard» drugs. The study is interesting, it shows that people “feel” a desire to eat cheese (or products that contain it), but it doesn’t explain where that desire comes from … Is it because eating cheese activates the pleasure centers in our brain? Or are we talking here about a real dependence with a process of “lack” (as with drugs)? The answer we can find in research from the 1980s, by Dr. Eli Hazum, published in the journal Science (vol. 213), which proves that there is … a morphine in milk … How is that possible? Why didn’t anybody tell us? Because in fact it was difficult to know since morphine is not present in its pure state, it is released during the digestion process of casein (the protein present in the milk of all mammals) and its name is casomorphine (but has similar qualities to other opiates). So we can feel a “need” for a new “dose”.
Why there is «drug» in our milk?
The answer is given by Dr Neal D. Bernard, founder of the Committee of Physicians for the Head of Medicine (the Scientific Committee for Responsible Medicine) and it is quite simple: a baby (let’s say a cow’s baby) must learn that it must eat to survive and get all the possible nutrients. So he needs to know that he has to go back to his mother to eat. And the morphine in milk that gives him the sensation of pleasure will simply push him to return «take his dose»:) In addition, the morphine also has calming effects and helps him to sleep… (This is convenient for infants).
And cheese is simply a large quantity of milk, dehydrated and devoid of sugars… So it’s a casomorphin bomb. At comparable weight between milk and cheese, we have a lot of casein concentrated in the latter.
Cheese – not as innocent as we thought
However, let’s be careful, cheese is not at all insignificant for our health. Even the European Food Safety Authority prepared a report in 2009 that shows that casein can aggravate our allergies and can contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, as well as being responsible for sleep apnea. Another scientist, Dr Frank Lipman explains that the process of digestion of casein is very difficult for our body. It can cause the same symptoms as lactose intolerance: respiratory problems, digestive problems (constipations, bloating and even diarrhea), acne and skin irritation.
Cheese is not completely vegetarian
Ah, just a message for those who want to stay vegetarian and continue to eat dairy : pay attention to the rennet. It’s a coagulant used in the process of creation of many cheeses and it’s made from quail (it’s an organ, also called a «fourth stomach» of small cattle). So by eating cheese you can still consume dead animal. To know the cheeses made without rennet it is necessary to do research on the Internet, because for example in France this is not labeled…
The cheese is not only a taste (and its influence on the brain), it’s also a texture that adds richness to our dishes…
I can assure you that there are more and more «substitutes» of cheese for vegans available in organic stores and easy to buy on the Internet … It turns out that even omnivores already eat cheese substitutes in some prepared meals (especially pizzas and frozen gratins) on most of them’ packaging we can read “cheese substitutes”. That’s the “fake” cheese we’re already eating because it’s cheaper to make and comparable in taste and texture. That is why the major industrial producers themselves are already using it.
And we vegans have become creators, inventors, not to say «magicians» in the kitchen. At home, we can already make a lot of cheeses, from the easiest to the most complicated (you can find recipes on vegan blogs).
Note: It takes up to 3 months to cut cheese dependence … or rather the morphine dependency.
And what about you? Have you already try to live without cheese ? Leave us your opinion.
This post is also available in: French