Many vegetarians still consume dairy omitting only the animal flesh from their diet. If you think of milk as “liquid meat,” as many anti-milk campaigns have termed this highly marketed drink, then you may reconsider the addition of products produced from dairy in your diet. According to John McDougall, MD and other medical sources dairy is a leading contributor to “obesity, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes.” Many vegetarians admit they struggle with omitting cheese from their diet. Though there are many substitutes out there, they are indeed substitutes, and for some— substitutes do not adequately fulfill their taste for cheese.
According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, “To preserve excess milk, farmers made cheese.” To make cheese it takes about 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese and therefore eating cheese multiplies your consumption of milk, as cheese is a highly concentrated form of milk, or rather liquid meat. Nevertheless, what is it about cheese that makes so many compassioned driven folks still consume this animal by-product regardless of the effect it has on their body or the cruelty suffered through its production?
McDougall claims it is the addition of salt that makes cheese so palatable, not the taste of dairy alone. According to Ron Kennedy, MD, “almost all processed food manufacturers add sodium chloride along with sodium iodide to food for taste, promoting an addictive state in order to sell more of their product!” He also notes, “love of the salty taste of salt is an addiction similar in quality to the addictions to alcohol, tobacco, sugar, caffeine and a host of others. The same principles apply to kicking the salt habit as apply to kicking any addiction.” Therefore, maybe the culprit behind the struggle to let go of cheese is related to the sodium added in its production.
Making conscious choices in our diet is difficult when from birth we have been programmed to believe that “milk does a body good,” but as more people come to an awareness of the damaging effects of dairy on the body, the taste for dairy and its highly concentrated counterpart cheese may start to dissolve. McDougall believes that adding dairy foods to a plant-food-based diet “would only supply more calories, fat, animal protein, cholesterol, sodium, microbes, and chemical contamination—ingredients” and continues to contribute to the adverse health effects that come with these ingredients.
Though the substitutes do not really afford the same taste and texture as cheese, they also do not come laden with high amounts of fat, animal protein, cholesterol, or other contaminates from animal-based food products. So whether your vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, or somewhere in between; it is important to understand how dairy and cheese affect your health, so that you can make informed choices when it comes to products you include in your diet.