Raw Earth Medicine: Food for thought!
Is eating cheese feeding your body positive nutrition or is cheese a very occasional pleasure food?
Here's some info about how cheese is made:
Cheese is basically moldy milk. Although not all Cheeses are exposed to mold; the others are exposed to chemicals. Those cheeses not made with mold are made by exposing Milk to rennens, which are made from an enzyme that comes from calves’ stomach linings, and acids which change the texture and curdle the milk. The liquid is drained off (whey) and the solids are preserved (cheese).
Soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert are made by allowing white Penicillium candida or P. camemberti mold to grow on the outside of a soft cheese for a few days or weeks. The mold forms a white crust and contributes to the smooth, runny, or gooey textures and more intense flavors of these aged cheeses.
Goats' milk cheeses are often treated in a similar manner, sometimes with white molds (Chèvre-Boîte) and sometimes with blue.
Blue-mold cheeses like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are produced by inoculating loosely pressed curds with Penicillium roqueforti or Penicillium glaucum molds. The mold grows within the cheese as it ages. These cheeses have distinct blue veins and, often, assertive flavors. Their texture can be soft or firm.
Now, we know that most cheese is derived from milk and is either treated with chemicals or mold in order to be made. One of the biggest problems with cheese besides how it's made is what's in the milk that it's being made with. About one-quarter of cheese that's sold in America comes from cows treated with Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). The FDA approved its use in 1995 despite findings from organizations like the National Institutes of Health and Physicians Commitee that revealed known health risks from consumption of cheese and dairy products.
Let's evaluate the positive attributes and the health risks of eating dairy:
Dairy products, including cheese, provide vitamins A and D. Vitamin A maintains healthy vision, the immune system and red blood cell production.
Cheese also provides two important minerals, calcium and phosphorus, which support the growth and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and can lower your risk of developing osteoporosis. Calcium also plays a role in the health of your nervous system.
You need protein daily because protein is a part of every cell in your body. Cheese provides significant amounts of complete proteins, or all of the nine essential amino acids that you need for good health. Firm cheeses such as cheddar contain more protein than softer cheeses such as blue cheese. The human body only requires 46g for women and 56g for men of protein daily.
Cheese provides a delicious taste to most recipes. It makes most people very happy and it goes well with wine.
According to a study published in the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute," cheese and other dairy products may actually raise the risk of breast cancer. A study published in "Nutrition and Cancer" also came to the same conclusion. Other studies link cheese to lymphoid cancers and lung cancer.
2. Digestive Diseases:
The Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine warned in "The New York Times" that cheese can contribute to the development of colic, allergies and digestive problems. Past the age of 2 years old human beings don't produce enough of the enzyme lactase.
If you do not have enough of the enzyme lactase in your gastrointestinal tract, you might have problems when you consume dairy products. Most people are told they are lactose intolerant but the truth is that those who can consume dairy without a problem are lactose tolerant and the rest of the people are normal human beings. Aside from a little lactose, dairy can also cause some gut damage due to the way it inflames the gut lining. It’s one of the worst to cause and irritate leaky gut syndrome, which can lead to autoimmune disease and other health issues over time. Dairy consumption is known to cause issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or even long-term IBS. Many people who suffer from more serious disorders such as Crohn’s disease find that once they ditch dairy, healing naturally begins.
3. Heart Attacks:
The Center for Science in the Public Interest warns that the consumption of cheese is giving heart attacks to many Americans because of its high-fat content.
Dairy and cheese can also contribute large amounts of fat, sodium and cholesterol to your diet. Between 15-30 percent of your daily calories should come from fat. The over consumption of dairy and cheese leads to too much fat or cholesterol which can cause you to gain weight, develop heart disease and develop certain cancers. The amount of fat in a cheese depends on the fat content of the milk that was used to make the cheese.
5. Chronic Inflammation
Dairy is highly acidic, despite it containing high amounts of calcium that acts as an alkaline agent by nature. Milk is rich in natural acids that can cause calcium deposits to build up and potentially cause arthritis and long-term inflammation. It also doesn’t necessarily keep our bones strong as we once believed. Most plant-based foods do a much better job (such as chard, kale, almonds, figs) and don’t contribute to chronic inflammation.
Although cheese and dairy do have some beneficial attributes like vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus, it's quiet apparent that if we eat too much of it we are headed down the road to inflammation, cancer, heart diseases and many other digestive problems.
There is no argument that cheese and dairy products are delicious but now that we know that the health risks far out way the benefits of eating dairy and cheese, how do we find the balance between feeding our body for optimum health while still enjoying the pleasures in food like dairy and cheese.
Tips for balancing your nutrition:
1. Be honest with how much you're really eating dairy and cheese. Make it a special meal and something you will savor. Make it worth it and not just a habit.
2. Buy from locally sourced farms who don't use hormones or chemicals in their dairy production
3. Eat the real deal with full fat made from whole milks. The reduced fat, non fat or processed versions of cheese are far worse for you than eating the full fat version because the processing to make it low fat or non fat adds more chemicals and health risks
4. Use cheese alternatives like nutritional yeast or almond cheese which is healthy to give foods a cheese flavor for times you're eating for nutritional health and not pleasure
5. Find ways to make your favorite cheese dishes without cheese so you can have them regularly and only occasionally with cheese.
Being healthy means being aware and finding your balance in life and with food. Knowing what our risks and benefits are with foods makes knowing what's pleasure food and nutritious foods easier. The more we know about nutrition the more our decision making about what we eat becomes an intellectual decision for our health and long term wellness. That's how to create a lifestyle you can live with!