Wednesday, June 04, 2014

2240 Cheese Head

As I get older, I find I like cheese more and more. I thought it was the natural tendency of aging folks to appreciate more complex and pungent flavors. I certainly eat a larger variety of food than I did in my picky youth. But I recently read an article that points to a different reason why I may favor the flavor of cheese so much. Morphine addiction.

An article in National Geographic reported that cheese contains tiny amounts of potentially addictive substances. These feel-good chemicals come from casein,  (cay-seen) a milk protein that happens to be concentrated during cheese making. Curds of "way cool" as it were.  

Our digestion takes over and breaks down casein into morphine-like chemicals called caso-morphins. That's one whammy. The other whammy, bringing it up to a full double, is that the original milk itself contains traces of morphine produced in the cow's liver. 

Let me just say in rebuttal to this cheese/morphine connection theory that I will never, ever, eat liver. I don't care how much morphine it has in it. 

Scientists theorize that the calming effect of morphine in the milk helps calves be compelled to nurse and be less nervous while doing so. I can see that. Suckling at the teat of a huge cow must be kind of scary, if only for the potential crush factor if she topples over on you. One false step and you're veal. 

I'm glad to know why cheese is addictive. I've always suspected. I'm guessing it's a gateway drug to other addictive foods like enchiladas and pizzas too. 

Maybe we'll see a new cheese 12-step program soon. It kind of puts a whole new meaning to the term "cheese-head." Who'd have thought the country's newest drug threat would come from Wisconsin?

America, ya gotta love it. 

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