The Horrifying Moment That Made Me—A Cheese Lover—Quit Dairy

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Cheese is delicious. And while I’ve been scaling back my dairy consumption for health reasons, I was never able to give it up fully … and then I went on a health documentary kick and came across What the Health. Here’s the official description: “The film follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases—and investigates why the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want us to know about it.” I would argue that Kip (apparently his real name) is less intrepid and more annoying, but otherwise that feels like an accurate statement.

I’m not here to get into a vegan-versus-non-vegan-diet argument. I’m here to talk about cheese, and the reason why I can never eat it again. If you want to continue enjoying your brie, you should probably turn back now.

“Milk is a risky food for human consumption,” says Dr. Paul Porras in the documentary, explaining that dairy consumption is associated with conditions like eczema and acne. Okay, duh, I thought as I watched, unfazed. Then Dr. Alan Goldhamer comes in with the kicker: “I mean, they actually have laws limiting how much pus you can actually have in milk.” Record scratch. Officially fazed. “In fact, you could think of cheese as kind of coagulated cow pus,” he continues with a hint of glee in his eyes. He knows what that phrase is going to do to people.

Another gem from What the Health: “Animal waste, bacteria and pus, and contaminating oozing abscesses are all commonly found in meat and dairy products. They are highly contaminated with dangerous infections and bacterias.” It goes on to show the aforementioned abscesses in great deal. Just thinking about that scene right now is making me gag. The horrendous images that have been seared into my brain resurface every time I think about cheese (as I suspect was Kip’s purpose in including them).

I feel like I should get some sort of worker’s comp for having to Google “pus in cheese” (do not, under any circumstances, click on the image search tab for this) and rewatch the scene in question in order to write this story. Whether there is pus in milk is a topic that’s been hard-core debated on the internet, but people can agree that milk contains somatic cells. Whether or not those somatic cells are pus is also a hot topic of discussion. Regardless, my appetite for cheese has been permanently extinguished.