One of the hardest things for us was to give up cheese (and we are not quite there yet). Few things beat having a slice of hard cheese with a few olives and a glass of wine.

So, what about that cheese? Why is it so addictive?

It turns out there is a good reason why you just can’t resist reaching for that slice. The main culprit is casein, a protein found in dairy products. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, says he has found casein to be the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered. Because casein digests so slowly it releases natural morphine-like substances called casomorphins which are responsible for addiction to dairy products. Casein’s slow digestion rate also puts great strain on the digestive system. This gives an entirely new meaning to a term “comfort food”, right?

A study showed that cheese was the hardest food for people to give up because it is the most concentrated source of casein of all dairy products.

How do we substitute cheese?

Thankfully, today we have so many cheese alternatives on the market:

Tofu is a soft, cheese-like food made by curdling soy milk with a coagulant. It is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. You have different types of tofu on the market: firm tofu which can be grilled, smoked, baked, soft tofu, or silken tofu which is usually used for desserts.

Vegan cheese  – At many health food stores  you can find many dairy-free cheese substitutes that melt, some that can be sprinkled (like Parmesan), and even aged cheeses.

Nutritional yeast is a non-active yeast which is sold as flakes or a powder and has a cheesy-nutty flavor. You can make parmesan with it by mixing it with sesame seeds or use it in your pestos, pasta, even soups and stews.

Homemade cheese alternatives – Nut cheese can be a wonderful alternative because it is 100% dairy free as well as free of preservatives, casein, gluten, soy, lactose, cholesterol and trans fat and it tastes divine. You can make your own cheese with cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, macadamia, with different herbs and spices.

You can try and make simple cheese spreads and simple cheese with just nuts and no fermentation process ( you have a recipe on our blog) or you can make one with probiotics.

Kicking a cheese addiction is not that easy. But now, more than ever, there are so many dairy free products on the market that taste really great and you don’t have to feel like you are missing out on something.

Further reading

Addiction to Cheese is Real Thanks to Casomorphins
Cheese really is crack. Study reveals cheese is as addictive as drugs
No, cheese is not just like crack
Three Steps to Fighting Cheese Addiction
Book: The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy

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