[Sca-cooks] Regional cheese variations

Kathleen Madsen kmadsen12000 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 31 06:14:28 PDT 2007

It sounds like you have an intolerance of some kind to
cow's milk, either lactose intolerance or a food
allergy.  A surprisingly high number of people have an
actual allergy to cow's milk, which can be quite
dangerous.  You may want to talk with your doctor to
get a definite diagnosis to rule that out.

You said you can tolerate goat milk cheeses, do you
have any issues with sheeps milk cheeses?  

For lactose intolerance the general rule of thumb is
the wetter the cheese or dairy product the higher the
amount of lactose it contains.  Fluid milk, yogurt,
and cottage cheeses are all going to have higher
amounts than cheddar, parmesean, and aged gouda.  If
the paste has any "spring" to it, meaning it will hold
a dimple if you press on it and then slowly reform
back to it's smooth shape, then it's going to have
enough lactose to possibly cause some GI issues.

What I have found from working behind a cheese counter
for several years is that if someone shows a
sensitivity to cow's milk then sometimes goat and
sheep milk cheeses don't have those GI symptoms and
are easy for them to consume.  There have not been any
dedicated studies related to the differences in
lactose intolerance or sensitivities between these
three milks other than for strictly food allergies. 
In food allergies studies it's the proteins in
specifically COW's milk that cause the adverse
reactions and children with that condition are given
goat or sheep milk as replacements.  They typically
make the transition with no difficulty.

I keep pointing out the lack of studies for lactose
intolerance as compared to the studies for milk
allergy because we have noted in actual consumption
that a lactose intolerance to cow's milk doesn't
necessarily mean an intolerance to goat or sheep -
depending on the person.  Is there some common link
between the allergy and the lactose intolerance?  We
don't know yet.  

http://nomilk.com/  Has a large list of links to
scientific studies from several universities and GI
specialists, research, and eating for the lactose
intolerant.  There are a large number of links to
information from laypeople but if you look through the
list you'll find more scientific approaches.

MedLine's page on lactose intolerance and milk

There are more sites out there that you may find
helpful.  On a more positive note, there are lots and
lots of really good cheeses that aren't cow's milk and
more and more are coming to market every year.


----------------Original message

This question has been bothering me for a while but I
think I might  
finally have found the people who can answer it :)

I have a food intolerance to cheeses that originate in
Britain or its  
colonies (particularly Ireland, America and
Australia).  I have  
issues with a few continental European cheeses like
Gouda and Fontina  
to a lesser degree, but for the most part I can eat
any continental  
cheese that isn't blue/veined -- even if it is
actually made in  
Britain/America/Australia. Also goat cheese seems to
be OK no matter  
the country of origin.

I have yet to figure out *what* is causing me
problems.  It's not a  
question of rennet or un/pasteurization.  Beyond that
I do not know  
enough about the cheesemaking process to understand
why certain  
cheeses upset my digestion but others are perfectly

Can anyone give me any pointers?

(American expat in Britain married to an Australian --
three strikes  
in cheese terms!)

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