Let me start this post by saying I used to love cheese. In fact, it was one of my pre-prerequisites for a potential husband. No joke. Here was my wish-list for my husband:
- Strong enough to pick me up
- Dark hair
- Willing to move cities a lot
- Likes cheese
Boom! Husband material right there!
Truth-be-told I dated a guy (before meeting my husband so there’s no awkward confusion here) who I learned relatively quickly didn’t like cheese, or anything creamy for that matter…nor wanted to be around it. Spoiler alert, the relationship was, indeed, short lived. #dealbreaker #getmesomecheese
Many years later, as I’ve learned about wellness and nutrition in the interest of healing my mind, body and spirit from an exceedingly stressful career path, I learned a lot about the details of cheese in addition to other highly-addictive, overly-abundant, and inflammation-inducing ingredients like wheat, soy and corn. There are some interesting thoughts on that shared here.
So here’s the (not-so) skinny on cheese and dairy with some context to begin. In addition to the beyond-questionable and upsetting ethics of how milk is produced more-often-than-not in our modern, American society and its contribution to massive greenhouse gas emissions, outlined below is what I understand to be some of the other science behind cheese/dairy which gave me pause for consideration. And so I don’t come across as completely two-faced, I’ll say here that I do consume 1-2 tbsp a day of very high quality, organic, grass-fed, pastured-raised milk from relatively happy cows in my morning coffee (a habit that I simply can’t break despite my best efforts), but my consumption otherwise has changed significantly in the name of health, wellness, and for me, a much-trimmer physique. I also never-say-never as it relates to most properly created or whole-food based items given everyone’s “bio-individuality” which is a variable ability to handle different foods given a variety of reasons and influences – I am simply suggesting some conscious consideration, experimentation, and perhaps some pull-back here with the information at-hand.
With those caveats, here are some very high-level details that caught my attention from the perspective of a non-scientific and non-medical professional as to why you may want to learn more for yourself:
- Dairy replicates cells – this is how a calf grows from 60 lbs to a 600 lb cow relative quickly. People with cancer are cautioned about consuming it – wonder why? See what the US National Library of Medicine has to say about it here.
- The casein in milk acts as an opioid to ensure a calf wants to nurse from its mother and survive – see why you might like ice cream so much (in addition to the addictive nature of sugar added in combination), not to mention your urge to over-indulge on that pile of cheese cubes? Read this article from Forbes called, “Is your Brain on Cheese?”
- In the industrial environment, there are some seriously yucky things that are allowed to pass into the milk from the cow during production as well. I can’t even bring myself to write the words, so just watch the documentary “What the Health” on Netflix to see it for yourself. [Insert green face here.] Head’s up, it was enough to turn me full-vegan for 2 months after watching it. I realize that many won’t be super motivated by that call-to-action, but give it a think anyway.
- The high level of saturated fat and sodium in cheese isn’t going to do you any favors when it comes to blood pressure, obesity-risks, constipation, and inflammation – which are already pushed to high levels with corporate stress. This article from Medical News Today gives a more balanced view on the benefits and cautions of cheese.
Why don’t you hear about this? Well, there are special interest groups and companies that would rather you didn’t. And, as a former advertiser, I’m intimately familiar with how information can get buried in the name of corporate profits. So with that in mind, my opinion is if you’re struggling with your health, waistline, and/or wanting to boost your wellness, this might be just one particular area to investigate further for your own knowledge and decide what is right for you.
What do I eat instead with my occasional gluten-free almond crackers? Avocado. Creamy and flavorful with the right seasonings, and most importantly delicious and whole-food based. Nuts are also a more healthful choice when it comes to looking for that midday snack. It works for me!
As the saying goes, just go ahead and let the second mouse get that cheese. 😉
Disclaimer: “The Well-Intended”, and its associated blog and social media pages are owned and operated by The Well-Intended LLC and does not provide medical advice. The Well-Intended’s author is not a physician or licensed medical expert. The content provided shares perspective on a personal wellness journey and healthy lifestyle approach practiced by its owner in order to achieve their own health and happiness. Please consult your physician for advice and/or guidance regarding specific concerns with your own health, vitamins, supplements, fitness plan and/or anything else health- or wellness-related.
Photo credit: istock.com/Kubra Cavus