Before I go off on my latest tirade it is important to note that I am not lactose intolerant. My reasons for spurning all things dairy are varied, health being only one of them Oh sure, I could consume products derived from the lactation of cows, goats and buffalo, it's just that I choose not to. You could say I am militantly pro-bovine.
The last time "I got" milk was early spring 1989 while living in the mountains above Santa Cruz. Reading a book on the horrors of factory farming at the encouragement of friends, little did I know when I started the chapter on the diary industry my final cow cuisine would be a three cheese quesadilla. Horrified by the ethical and chemical injustice directed at cows, and the environmental consequences milk production, I swore off all things dairy.
Prompting this need to share was my recent encounter, with a plate of fried zucchini drizzled with ranch dressing and then sprinkled with cheese. Of course I didn't ask for the appetizer to be made inedible, nor did the menu mention the zucchini came with cheese or a milk based dressing.
When I questioned the waitress, she was very apologetic, and immediately removed the unappetizing appetizer, promising to right the situation right away. When she returned, I asked why she assumed I would want dairy products on my fried zucchini. She said that was just the way it came, and then apologized again.
The culinary equivalent of the dairy assumption would be ordering a steak and having your waiter assume you don't mind having tofu sprinkled on top.
If I wanted dairy droppings on my food, I would have asked. Imagine how much money could be saved if restaurant owners waited for people to ask for cheese on non cheesy entrees. Take my favorite Mexican Restaurant for example, these folks sprinkle cheese on their guacamole before bringing it to the table. As a consumer it is my responsibility to make sure what is offered on the menu is what is brought to the table.
In the United States an ounce is considered to be a single serving of cheese, that's 28 grams. In the United Kingdom cheese is recognized as junk food, and advertising cheese products is prohibited from children's programing on television.
Cheese has also proven to be addictive by prominent scientists. The science is clear. All dairy products contain casein. Casein is broken down by stomach acid and intestinal bacteria into casomorphins. Casomorphins are opiates. Like heroin, casomorphins slow intestinal movements. So it is hardly surprising the constipating effect of cheese consumption is similar to constipation triggered by opiate painkillers. Cheese contains more casein than other dairy products, as the production of cheese removes most of the water, whey protein and lactose sugar, leaving only high concentrations of casein and fat.
An non-user, I wish restaurateurs would find a 12 step program and help their customers to break the dairy addiction.