AAAGHGH! You’re taking away my cheese? I feel ya! But read on, I found some interesting info that will put it into perspective. If you research, not only will you find alternatives and recipes for dairy free living, but you’ll find some science behind the reasoning to avoid cheese.
Like this one: Ever wonder why you are SO ADDICTED to cheese? Try this on for size:
“Cheese and other milk products contain a protein called casein. When casein is digested it releases opioid compounds. According to Dr. Neil Barnard, founder, and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM),“[Dairy opioids] attach to the brain's opiate receptors to cause a calming effect in much the same way heroin and morphine do.”(1)
Science and evolution have a very real purpose for getting us “hooked” on milk proteins...
“He explains, “Imagine if a calf did not want to nurse. Or if a human baby was not interested in nursing. They would not do very well. So, along with protein, fat, sugar, and a sprinkling of hormones, milk contains opiates that reward the baby for nursing.” Simply put, these opiates, called casomorphins, are highly addictive, so the analogy of “dairy crack” is more than figurative.” (1)
Along with these casomorphins, cheese is loaded with sodium and saturated fats which are a major factor when it comes to contributing to heart disease and hypertension(elevated blood pressure).
Dairy free living is a real possibility, especially if you understand the above info, that your body is simply being “drugged” and that’s a lot of what food addiction is.
You can still get creamy textures in your pasta, pizza, and rice dishes without using dairy. Look to avocados, soaked and blended raw cashews, dairy-free milks (oat, almond, soy, coconut, etc.), blended cooked potatoes, blended white beans.(1)
Awesome alternatives for cheese:
- Kite Hill Ricotta- a brand that makes great substitute cheeses from almond milk that supposedly taste like real ricotta.(2)
- Sweet potato cheesy sauce: https://eatplant-based.com/sweet-potato-vegan-cheese-sauce-diabetes-friendly/
- Use pesto instead of cheese to add kick and flavor and a bit of that comfort creaminess. Use it anywhere you would normally use cheese.
- I LOVE spero foods. They make a sunflower oil cream cheese with different flavors….so good. I like the herbed one to stir in with pasta or lentil noodles and makes like an “alfredo” taste. I like the cinnamon one with sweet potato crackers, or on a fruit pizza. The plain version is excellent to use anywhere cream cheese is used. Hint: It makes a great cheesecake too. www.sperofoods.co
- Use tahini spread or hummus. Mixed with noodles or vegetables it makes it a creamy sauce
- If you can’t go cold turkey (which is still what I recommend) but need to “baby step” it, Aged cheese is better. (thinks parmesan, romano, aged cheddar over 8 years)The bacteria in the cheese and the fermentation process breaks down the lactose, however the casein is still there, causing the opioid receptor drugging we were talking about. The blood pressure problems will still persist as well, but if you need a step in the right direction….at least pick aged over conventional. Certainly avoid processed cheeses, cheese singles, velveeta, cheese sprays and spreads, cream cheese.
- This is a great recipe for cheesecake using a very popular alternative: nut cheeses. Its a bit of work, but if you feel like a special occasion, give it a whirl: https://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/raw-blueberry-cheesecake (3)
1 MamaSezz. (2018, May 29). Cheese addiction? How to give up cheese for good. https://www.mamasezz.com/blogs/news/cheese-addiction-how-to-give-up-cheese-for-good
2 Can't eat dairy? Here are the 7 best alternatives to cheese. (2016, August 19). FabFitFun. https://fabfitfun.com/magazine/alternatives-to-cheese/
3 Fleming, A. (2016, April 19). Raw blueberry cheesecake recipe (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan). Go Dairy Free. https://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/raw-blueberry-cheesecake
Amanda Plevell, PhD, CNHP is a Natural Health Practitioner with a key interest in Psychoneuroimmunology and autoimmune specific immunology. Find her credentials here, and search the ANMC for additional information.
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