Did you know that the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese per year?? Are you a cheese lover?? Can't go a day without some kind of cheese?? You might actually be addicted...
How could someone become addicted to cheese? Well, when cheese is digested, it releases chemicals called casomorphins. Those chemicals make their way to the brain and attach to the very same receptors that are activated by heroin and other narcotics.
Not only does cheese have these chemicals, is it also loaded with saturated fat. Studies show that women who consume just one-half to one serving of high-fat dairy products per day have a 20 percent higher risk of dying of breast cancer than do those who eat little to no high-fat dairy products.
Dr. Neal Barnard recently wrote a book, The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy. Barnard suggests eliminating all cheese from your diet for 21 days to break the habit and to give yourself a chance to see how much better you feel.
I know how hard it is to break a habit (and yes, it takes at least 21 days to break any habit). I don't like to tell clients to give up something they love without offering new, healthier options that will also be satisfying. I also know that currently, most of the vegan cheese choices taste like plastic. But I am always on the lookout for healthy, cheese substitutes and will keep you posted. But in the meantime, how about looking for other things to spread on a cracker? Maybe avocados, organic peanut butter, hummus, baba ganoush or make your own cashew cream cheese ? If you haven't already, please check out my Health & Wellness Facebook page for recipe ideas. Here's how to make the cashew cream cheese:
- 1 cup cashews soaked in 3 cups of water for at least one hour. Soak, drain and rinse cashews.
- Place in a food processor, along with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a dash of black pepper.
- Pulse for about 1 minute to combine ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of water and process until completely smooth, about 2-4 minutes.
I hope I have given you some food for thought... (pun intented) :-)
Until next time,
Here's to the road that lies ahead, Here's to you!