Thursday, 14 October 2010

Food Addictions

Do you dream of food? I was having this discussion at work  about food cravings. That sometimes a food craving symbolises a vitamin/mineral you are lacking. All through my hysterectomy recovery I craved millet. I didn't know why. Now I know it is super high in iron--and I was anemic after surgery. Lately for me it has been tenderstem broccoli. Now, anyone who knows me knows I used to HATE broccoli. But tenderstem is different. It is what it says on the tin. The stem is tender--more like asparagus--and not so woody. The florets are not grainy. I cannot get enough. We are eating it 3 times a week as a side dish. Last night I dreamt of roasted sweet potatoes--their tender orange flesh all caramelized and sweet. Am I mad?

At school others were teasing me about my healthy food eating. They were saying things like “I crave chocolate” or “I crave chips” (meaning fries in the British sense) or “I crave crisps” (potato chips) and the overwhelming response---DRUMROLL PLEASE---“I crave cheese.” Most people say to me “I don’t know how you can be a vegan. I could never give up cheese.” Well there’s a reason for that. Cheese is addictive. And not in the “It’s so delicious I’ll just have another slice” kind if way. 
Here is an excerpt from an article in the Orlando Sentinel July 13 2003. This information comes from
Of all the potentially addicting foods, cheese may be the most complex. In research studies using vegan and vegetarian diets to control cholesterol or reduce body weight, most participants soon forget the lure of ice cream, sour cream, and even burgers and chicken. But for many people, the taste for cheese lingers on and on. Yes, 70 percent of its calories may come from waist-augmenting fat, and, ounce for ounce, it may harbor more cholesterol than a steak. But that cheese habit is tough to break.
Why is cheese so addicting? Certainly not because of its aroma, which is perilously close to old socks. The first hint of a biochemical explanation came in 1981, when scientists at Wellcome Research Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, N.C., found a substance in dairy products that looked remarkably like morphine. After a complex series of tests, they determined that, surprisingly enough, it actually was morphine. By a fluke of nature, the enzymes that produce opiates are not confined to poppies -- they also hide inside cows' livers. So traces of morphine can pass into the animal's bloodstream and end up in milk and milk products. The amounts are far too small to explain cheese's appeal. But nonetheless, the discovery led scientists on their search for opiate compounds in dairy products.
And they found them. Opiates hide inside casein, the main dairy protein. As casein molecules are digested, they break apart to release tiny opiate molecules, called casomorphins. One of these compounds has about one-tenth the opiate strength of morphine. The especially addicting power of cheese may be due to the fact that the process of cheese-making removes water, lactose and whey proteins so that casein is concentrated. Scientists are now trying to tease out whether these opiate molecules work strictly within the digestive tract or whether they pass into the bloodstream and reach the brain directly.
So there you have it,  folks. CHEESE is a DRUG. It was difficult to stop eating cheese, but the thing that keeps me away when I sometimes let my thoughts linger over a piece of salty, crumbly caerphilly cheese is how it got that way. A female cow was impregnated, then gave birth to a calf. That calf was not allowed to suckle his or her mother’s milk for more than 24 hours before being separated. If the calf was female it will be pumped full of hormones and antibiotics just like her mother and grow up to be  a cow with enormous, painfully overstretched udders who will then give birth to her own baby who will be taken away from her and the whole cycle starts all over. If the calf was a male it will be turned into veal. Thinking of this is all it takes for me to remember why I don’t want cheese.
No cheese for me, please.

1 comment:

  1. I don't dream of food very often, and when I do, it is more an odd part of the dream. I really don't have many food cravings either. Although lately I have been wanting french fries a lot!