I’ve followed a mainly plant based diet for most of my life—the past 15 years to be exact—and while I always avoid meat, eggs, and most dairy products, cheese is just something I’m not willing to say goodbye to—especially local and natural cheeses.
My partner and I always have cheese for breakfast and one of our favorite activities (pre-COVID) was hitting up the cheese store at the market in our neighborhood and stocking up on new cheeses for the week. Which is why we were particularly excited when my editor suggested I try eating a new cheese for a week and see what happens.
With that in mind, here’s exactly what happened when I made a raw milk cheese board every night for a week—and how the overall experience made me appreciate cheese in a way I hadn’t expected.
I usually feel pretty bloated and unwell after indulging in a large quantity of cheese. I developed a mild lactose intolerance as an adult—but honestly it’s worth the mild discomfort, and I was so excited by the new selection of cheeses we’d found that I made a perhaps too-generously sized board.
Interestingly, I didn’t experience any discomfort after enjoying my first raw milk cheese board. I actually felt like it helped me digest my dinner in the same way a mint tea or piece of fruit usually does.
Today I looked forward to my after dinner cheese board all day—and much like the night prior, it felt like it actually helped my body digest my dinner better. I did some reading and it turns out that the enzymes in raw milk cheeses emulate the common synthetic digestive enzyme. This is quite significant for me, as someone who often has stomach issues after eating.
By the third day, I actually started noticing my allergies were less apparent. I usually get a little congested when I’m walking through foliage or dusting my apartment—but it was considerably lessened. I thought this was just a happy coincidence but after doing a little more research, I found out that consuming local raw milk cheese actually helps soothe allergies like asthma and hay fever, both of which I suffer from.
Today I ended up having a cheese board in the morning before lunch time and it had a significant effect on my overall hunger levels throughout the day. Usually I’m not hungry between lunch and dinner but I think the natural digestive enzymes helped my body process my lunch a lot quicker than I’m used to. I often take synthetic digestive enzymes so the fact that this was a natural alternative was a huge plus in my books.
By the last day, I felt pretty good—which honestly really surprised me as I had anticipated feeling bloated and heavy after a full week of consuming large amounts of cheese.
I really enjoyed carving out the time to taste and sample new cheeses each night with my partner.
The amount of health benefits that raw milk cheeses afford really won me over—but particularly the amount of natural digestive enzymes found in the cheese. While I don’t think I’ll continue eating the same amount of these cheeses, I’ll definitely keep raw milk options in my cheese drawer moving forward.