An unfortunate addiction
During a discussion of how much I loved cheese, a few short years ago, I opened the meat and cheese drawer in my fridge and proudly counted seventeen different types of carefully crafted milk bodies. My mouth waters, just at the memory. From imported tartufo bianco, triple cream Brie and Irish porter cheddar to your standard Philly cream cheese and mozzarella sticks for my mini-human, I clearly had an obsession with cheese. Was it a problem though? Some people have seventeen different types of rum in their liquor cabinet. (That’s a thing, right?) Maybe it’s not a normal thing, but I’m sure that situation exists—amongst pirates or something.
I wondered if this aficionado of mine was really an issue. It seems that much of the best things in life lead to pure joy, maybe ecstasy, then obsession and eventually the unbreakable bond gets really weird, like the movie SWF where Alison’s new roommate Hedy starts dressing and acting exactly like Alison, and Alison finds out that Hedy is crazy because Hedy’s twin died when she was nine, except I don’t have a twin, or want to look like cheese, so this might not be a solid comparison. I digress.
So what’s wrong with cheese?
Well I’d like to do nothing more than say ABSOLUTELY nothing; it’s a gift from above. Let’s get real though. Especially for you cheese abusers out there.
After entering my thirties a few (ahem) years ago, I’ve been increasingly aware of the sluggish garbage bogging me down. Let’s think of your teens and twenties as being a MacBook Air that’s about 6 months to a year old. Your body runs pretty smoothly, with little difficulty for attaining solid performance. If that’s the case, then each decade of a human life is equivalent to about year of a MacBook Air. This means I’m roughly 3 ½ years old in MacBook Air years. After that much time, downloads, apps a various tools, files, and day-to-day usage, it really begins to impact my data storage, and memory. I’m sluggish at best, sometimes even breaking down. That’s why habitual cleaning, searching for answers on what things are slowing me down and upgrades are important. If I’m like a three-year-old MacBook Air, then cheese is a bit like iTunes. Fantastic. Pure entertainment, and maybe it feels like you can’t live without it. But you can. iTunes can seriously impact your system. Too many downloads, stations, videos or whatever else you rely on it, for a pick-me-up, can slow you down. An iTunes diet may be in order, like cheese perhaps. While researchers of food addictions aren’t too keen on referring to cheese as crack (but if you need some, go here), there are definitely opioid addictive properties found in the protein casein, which provides about 80% of the protein in cow’s milk.
I started testing out this cheese problem of mine, to see if it really was contributing to any of my “I’m-feeling-sluggish-in-my-thirties” deal. I went off of cheese, cold turkey, for four days during a juice cleanse. The quick and the dirty—I felt amazing. I slowly introduced all of my favorite foods back into my system over two weeks, which cheese, and white carbs being among the last, and as you may have guessed I started to get tired generally feel somewhat crappy soon-after. My eczema on MY SCALP that I’ve had for years, and which diminished within a week, slowly came back, along with a slight inflammation throughout my body and my face. Seriously. After research and further testing with my physician it became apparent that I do have a sensitivity (not an allergy) it was possibly self-induced due to the overload of cheese I’ve consumed. So what do I do with this information?
I’ve made a huge effort to give up most cows’ milk casein products. When I’m successful at it, I can feel the boost. When I let it sneak back in with pizza and dishes at parties, or bites of homemade mac, I can feel the sluggish coming back—sometimes within 10-30 minutes, sometimes the next day. I can’t always say no, but I no longer have 17 different types of cheese in a drawer in my fridge.
Cheese may not be a problem for you, but if you’ve ever been a hard-core cheese lover then you just might have created a sensitivity that is slowing your system down.
DIY three-step plan to giving up Casein:
Substitute your favorite cheesy dishes with sheep’s milk or goat’s milk based cheese. Sheep and goat’s milk protein is typically acceptable to those who have sensitivity to cow’s milk products.
Use coconut, or almond milk as a creamer, for coffee, pasta dishes, desserts or a number of other recipes.
Avoid butter. Use coconut oil or a good olive oil, taste test some at your local farmer’s market.
Ask for goat cheese, or feta on your pizza instead of mozzarella
Scramble your eggs in sesame or olive oil
Add coconut oil to your coffee instead of creamer