Dr. Neal Barnard’s new book, The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy, breaks down the many reasons why giving up cheese is a good idea, then gives you plant-based options as an alternative.
When I went vegan in 2009, cheese was the last animal product I stopped eating. Salty, greasy cheese is still something I like eating – I was just at the store yesterday, lamenting the fact that I’d missed the sale on Daiya’s cheese pizza by one day. We live in an amazing time – there is a vegan version of nearly everything that is traditionally made with the flesh and fluids of animals.
Barnard breaks it down for readers with a convincing case. Cheese is made from the milk of nonhuman animals – cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo – and it’s addicting. This is great for baby animals – because they are the ones who are supposed to be consuming their mothers’ milk. It’s not so great for the humans who do so instead – especially in the form of cheese, which is full of concentrated fat, and casomorphins that make us addicted!
Through personal stories of change, we’re shown the effects of a cheese-heavy diet, which can include weight gain, arthritis, high blood pressure, skin issues, and more; and how a vegan diet can improve or even resolve these health issues.
Barnard also explains how marketing has been used to keep us in a cycle – and how the government is complacent in it. For those who aren’t already knowledgeable on the topic, there’s basic information on what happens at the dairy farm. There is suffering in every ounce of cheese and if you’re going to eat it, you should know how it came to be. I’m glad that the information is in this book.
Lastly, Barnard gives a look at some of the great plant-based cheeses that are now available – including Miyoko’s Creamery, Treeline, and Kitehill. Then, Dreena Burton helps with recipes that will help the most-addicted cheeseheads to break their habit. The plan outlined in The Cheese Trap will help readers to take control of their health and break their cheese addiction, while still enjoying foods like lasagna, vegan cheesecake, and pizza.
While I am biased in that I’ve been vegan for some years now, and am therefore the choir that doesn’t need to be preached to, I believe that The Cheese Trap is an accessible book for those who haven’t yet made the connection between dairy and the problems it causes. Well-reasoned scientific explanations for that “gotta have it” feeling a slice of cheddar invokes? Explanations about how studies paid for by the dairy industry are not to be trusted? Anecdotal information from those who saw health improvements when they gave up cheese? Facts about factory farming and recipes to get you started?
This book’s a winner.
I received an advanced e-copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.