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Breaking the Food Seduction, Chapter 4

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Chapter 4: Opiates on a Cracker: The Cheese Seduction

Page 50 quote: “Seeing the problem is not the same as solving it.”

Is Cheese a Drug?
Cheese’s main attraction is not the taste or smell at least not at first, but the more one eats it, the more they like it.

There was research done that found morphine in mother’s milk and cow’s milk, not a lot, however it is there. Morphine is an opiate and it is highly addictive. How did it get there? At first it was thought that it came from diet, but later it was discovered that it is actually produced in the cow’s liver and can end up in the milk. (Author is not clear if this is same within humans.)

Within the milk, there is another ingredient, a protein called ‘casein’, that breaks apart during digestion to release casomorphins, which are opiates. A cup of cow’s milk contains about 6g of casein. Casein is concentrated in cheese.

Here is a quote from the book, which I find very interesting when I think about how I felt back in the day when I ate cheese. Also, my husband has chronic pain and develops kidney stones when he eats cheese, yet he constantly eats cheese:
“When you drink a glass of milk or eat a slice of cheese, stomach acid and intestinal bacteria snop the casein molecular chains into casomorphins of various lengths. One of them, a short string made up of just five amino acids, has about one-tenth the pain-killing potency of morphine.”

…milk opiates mainly acted within the digestive tract and they signaled comfort or relief to the brain indirectly, through the hormones traveling from the intestinal tract to the brain.”

I just found that interesting, because, in the case of my husband who gets kidney stones from eating cheese (causing more pain) yet he still wants to eat it.
Casein, like opiate drugs, cause constipation. Cheese has more casein than what is found in milk. It also has other compounds such as an amphetamine-like chemical PEA, (Phenylethylamine, also found in chocolate).

Is It Good To Break the Dairy Habit?
If you are looking to lose weight and cut cholesterol, then breaking the dairy habit is a good thing to do. Considering that the whole cheese making process is to concentrate the fat and casein in dairy, a typical 2-ounce serving of cheese will have about 15 grams of fat, most of which it is saturated fat.

Cheese and dairy products are common triggers for migraines and arthritis. Dairy products can also cause digestive problems, worsen asthma symptoms.

Dairy consumption can increase the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which is an aggressive promoter of cancer cell growth, especially in prostate and breast cancer.

And there is vitamin D, a hormone that helps your body absorb calcium from the digestive tract and vitamin D also helps protect the body against cancer. Dairy products become a problem because as its calcium in the bloodstream, it tells the body that there is no need to activate vitamin D to try to absorb any more. This results in a low level of active vitamin D in the blood, which can increase cancer risk.
Cheese is also high in sodium, which can have an affect on blood pressure and also has a role in osteoporosis. (This is interesting, but only has a one-liner in the book – I’ll need to check this out.)

Dairy products are often advertised as high in calcium, which is needed for building bones. But, we don’t have to get our calcium from dairy. We can get calcium from green vegetables, beans, fortified juices and many other foods. If you are concerned about bone growth, then exercise is the best for bone development. In addition to calcium, vitamin D can also help keep bones strong.

The Dairy Pushers
The dairy industry has touted their products as healthy despite all the physical problems that are associated with its consumption. Lots of money is spent on advertising, fast-food promotions and other ways to get us to eat more dairy products.

The dairy industry also relies heavily on the nutrition policies and in the year 2000, 6 out of the 11 person panel that created the dietary guidelines had financial ties with the dairy, meat and egg industry.

The government and the dairy industry have worked with some fast food restaurants, such as Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Shoney’s and Denny’s to promote cheese on their items. This was done in order to increase the amount of cheese that is eaten and to trigger the "cheese craving". Remember the pizza that was promoted as having a pound of cheese on it?

Many people have difficulty giving up cheese, but when I went whole food plant based that was one of the first things I was able to give up because it tasted so salty to me. Milk began to taste gross. But the one thing I occasionally still have is ice cream - but I am noticing that it is not really agreeing with me anymore and I get a lot of gas pains when I "treat" myself to some. Perhaps it time to redefine what a "treat" is...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • REJ7777
    Thx for the great information on dairy products. For me, giving up cheese is the hardest part of being WFPB. I still sometimes give in to it, but as I become more knowledgeable about dairy, I'm trying to overcome it completely.
    521 days ago
    Your reaction to ice cream sounds like lactose intolerance. Have you tried lactose free ice cream?
    542 days ago
    Cheese is incredibly seductive and I admit for me it has been the last hurdle to being totally plant based. I have managed to restrict it to being a garnish (Parmesan grated on pasta, feta on salads); that is a very long way from the PB and cheese sandwiches I ate almost every day!
    Great information, keep it coming!
    551 days ago
    The chapter seems to be a lot of the same info in The Cheese Trap. I did the same as you at first - treated myself to ice cream, but I have since found coconut milk and almond milk frozen desserts. Yes, they still add the sugar, but I also eat it a lot less often and in smaller quantities than I used to.
    551 days ago
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