My name is Tim and I’m a cheese addict. But what I’ve been discovering recently has shaken me to the core.
I can barely look a Babybel in the face. A half-eaten halloumi squeaklessly lies yellowing in the fridge. My cheese dreams are shattering.
For, after a lifetime of unfettered devotion, could it possibly be that cheese is more foe than friend? That I am addicted to something that is not so good for my body? That cheese should be toast?
These are questions that began surfacing a couple of months ago when I began making an episode for my new podcast for the BBC, All Hail Kale, looking into whether dairy was scary.
For some time, I’d increasingly been questioning the logic of adults drinking milk.
While milk and dairy products, such as cheese and yoghurt, are good sources of protein and calcium and can form part of a healthy, balanced diet, as Dr Michael Greger, from NutritionFacts.org, put it to me: “There’s no animal on the planet that drinks milk after weaning – and then to drink milk of another species even doesn’t make any sense.”
He then reeled off a series of studies showing the life-shortening potential of drinking this “hormonal stew”.
I’d always blithely assumed cheese was a more mature – perhaps benign or even more beneficial – form of dairy. It fitted a mental picture of spritely, long-living Greeks and Italians liberally sprinkling around feta and pecorino; yet in reality, only a low to moderate amount of cheese figures in the hallowed Mediterranean Diet.
I’d also unilaterally decided that a childhood diagnosis of lactose-intolerance should in no way impede me from mainlining paneer when in India or, when skiing, spending more time forking bread into fondue than bothering with the slopes.