One thing that I get asked from many when I talk about being vegan is “How do you give up cheese?”. Well, when you know what cheese is made from you understand a bit better. It’s all about choices. And I don’t miss cheese one little bit.
The majority of cheeses are made from cows milk but there are some made from sheep and goat milk as well. That makes it an animal product in a similar category as meat. I choose not to eat any animal products for many reasons. I will cover those reasons in this post.
Cheese is everywhere in our society. It is on pizza, sandwiches, Mexican dishes, burgers, salads, in desserts, topping for casseroles, pasta dishes, veggie, hors d’oeurves etc. There is a report out that the average person in North America eats about 30 pounds of cheese annually which is an amount that has tripled in the past 40 years. With the increase in cheese consumption, there is an increase in many negative health conditions and diseases. Obesity is up as are diseases such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, High Blood Pressure etc.
A study in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute” says that consuming cheese and other dairy products may actually raise the risk of breast cancer. Another study published in “Nutrition and Cancer” arrived at the same conclusion. Cheese consumption has also been linked to lymphoid cancer and lung cancer. Even the “Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine” wrote in “The New York Times” that cheese can contribute to developing colic, allergies and digestive problems. And “The Center for Science in the Public Interest” warns that eating cheese is causing heart attacks in many people because cheese has such a high saturated fat content.
Did you know that humans are the only species on the planet to drink another species milk and we are the only species to drink this milk way past infancy. What are we thinking? Bottom line is we have been totally brainwashed by the marketing boards that do all of the promotional work for the dairy industry.
A large percentage of the milk and products made from milk such as cheese, ice cream, yogurts etc. are sourced from cows that have been treated with Bovine Growth Hormone or BGH for short. This growth hormone was okayed for use back in 1995 even though findings show there are known health risks from consuming this garbage. These animals are also fed different types of feed contaminated with different chemicals. The chemicals accumulate in the human body and definitely contribute to development of disease.
Did you know that even Dr. Spock, a respected doctor who’s specialty was children and always supported the use of dairy, ATE HIS OWN WORDS. In his last book about baby and child care he said that cheese and dairy products are contributing to many health problems. He warned that cheese and other cow’s milk products are contributing to childhood-onset diabetes as well as food allergies, ear problems and respiratory problems. So why are people still supporting this crazy industry, I ask?
Cheese adds tons of fat and cholesterol to the diet of those who consume it. When a good rule of thumb for healthy fat intake is less than 30 percent of your daily calories, consuming cheese knocks that out of the park. If that isn’t enough, eating a daily portion of cheese could increase your risk for bladder cancer. Eating just 50 grams raises this risk by 50 percent.
Cheese lacks in fiber content so can certainly contribute to constipation and sluggish elimination. The fat in cheese is a perfect artery clogger contributing to cardiovascular problems, which if left untreated, could prove fatal. Cheese consumption contributes to acne when eaten regularly. Stomach discomfort usually due to lactose intolerance can occur from eating cheese. Indigestion is a common side effect of eating too much cheese.
Cheese, especially aged cheese, contains tyramine. Therefore people taking antidepressants are cautioned to limit cheese consumption to avoid the onset of headaches.
Cheese is very high in sodium which can lead to high blood pressure and the high saturated fat content contributes to high cholesterol levels.
And then there is processed cheese which isn’t even cheese. I think it is one chemical shy of becoming plastic. It is full of added fat, salt and chemicals making it less than quality food for human consumption and yet it is highly popular for making grilled cheese sandwiches or placed upon burgers to add more fat to an already high fat food.
If you have to eat cheese then make the effort to choose healthier varieties. There are reduced fat, low-fat and nonfat cheeses out there. These reduced fat cheeses still carry large amounts of sodium so don’t overindulge.
When I need a bit of cheese I purchase Daiya non-dairy cheese. It melts like cheese. It is made from filtered water, tapioca flour, safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein and a few more ingredients. I do not use this very often…maybe once a month if I’m making a gluten free vegan pizza. The Mozzarella Style Shreds melt nicely ontop of the veggies making the pizza feel and taste like the high fat version.
In closing, yes, cheese has calcium and protein in it as well as vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, zinc and phosphorus but you can get all of those elements from other more health promoting foods.
Do I eat cheese? Absolutely not. Use to but now it doesn’t fit into my vegan, low saturated fat, healthy lifestyle.