30 Nov 2015
“I would go vegan, but I just love cheese too much!” I think every vegan has heard this line before, possibly even said this prior to becoming vegan (I sure did). When transitioning to veganism, it can feel like you are losing many of your favourite foods. Foods such as cheese, which goes perfectly with everything. Before I went vegan, I think I was mildly addicted to cheese. For a quick snack, I would cut a chunk of Colby off a family size block, and cheese toasties were one of my favourite foods. When I ordered pizza, I only ordered cheese pizza and most meals felt lacklustre unless they were topped with a pile of the yellow stuff. However, I quit cheese, and I went vegan. You can too! This blog will outline a few fundamental facts about cheese, and reasons why it’s time to give it up.
Animal rennet is present in many cheeses. Rennet is an enzyme that is extracted from the stomach of new-born calves. This means most cheese is not vegetarian, and obviously is not vegan.
Cheese (and other dairy products such as milk), contain pus from cow bladder infections. Dairy cows are treated more like milk-producing machines than sentient beings. They are often pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to ensure they produce the most milk possible. This leads to infection and degrades the quality of the milk, leading to suffering for the cows, and potential health risks for the humans that consume milk. These ailments include heart disease, cancer and diabetes amongst many others.
Many health problems have been associated to cheese, including the development of allergies and digestive problems. The consumption of cheese has also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer (studies conducted by the “Journal of National Cancer Institute” and “Nutrition and Cancer” journal). Due to the high fat content, cheese has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks. Although eating animal products including cheese has been linked to many health risks, there have also been several studies that negate these claims and suggest that cheese decreases the risk of certain cancers and has other health benefits. Eater discretion is advised!
Food can be addictive – especially cheese! Studies show that the more processed and fatty a food is, the more addictive it will be, leading to addictive eating behaviour. The key addictive quality of cheese is an ingredient called Casein, which releases opiates called casomorphines. The release of these casomorphines triggers an addictive response. Cheese is more addictive than milk because it is a highly concentrated dairy product – producing one pound of cheese requires ten pounds of milk. No wonder we have such a hard time saying goodbye to cheese!
How much water does it take to make a kilogram of cheese? The answer is 3,178 Litres. A five minute shower uses roughly 35 litres of water. One kilogram of cheese equates to 90 showers. That’s three months of short daily showers, for the cost of one family-size block of cheese. Environmentalists out there? This is the reason you have been waiting for to kick your cheese habit.
Sure, cheese is tasty, but once you know that you are eating pus, putting your health at risk, and contributing to the suffering of animals and the planet, it’s easier to cultivate new eating habits. Share what you know about the cheese industry and spread this knowledge. You are the change. My next blog will be all about cheese alternatives and living cheese-free! Stay tuned. Regan The Vegan