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BTD Forums  /  SWAMI Xpress  /  parmesan a superfood for type O
Posted by: Loops, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 11:08pm
hi -
I know I have discussed this issue in another thread (at least one!) but I can't seem to get my head around what to do.  Basically I am an explorer type O and my Swami gives me LOADS of cheese to eat.  My diamonds are parmesan, pecorino and romano and I can have 4oz 5 times a week.  I don't actually follow portion sizes anyway and don't usually pay attention as I have a lot of success without this, but the cheese issue is seriously confusing me.

So I took the enterolab casein intolerance test a couple of years back because I was having mood and bloating problems and thought it might be dairy-related.  I had already dropped gluten for 4 years prior but was not eating BTD etc.  Anyway I came out mildly intolerant and so dropped all dairy which was hard.  I saw moderate results.

I am preggas right now.  I am trying to eat cheese every now and then because I do find I crave the stuff.  It might be coincidence but I have had a bad gut the days after eating cheese.  But one of those times I think I had some bad pineapple.

Personally I would LOVE to be able to 100% trust my Swami and just go with all the food suggestions including the cheese.  But I still don't trust it....

I would like to hear of anybody else's experiences regarding dairy, especially if they are type O non-secretor and have had cheese recommended as daimond foods in Swami.  Is there any way to ask Dr D about this?  I really need closure on this issue!

Posted by: Lloyd, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 11:12pm; Reply: 1
Those hard cheeses are a source of butyric and caprylic acid (SCFA's).

Other than butter, some cheeses and coconut oil there is just not much available in food sources.

I get those cheeses as well but unfortunately only one serving per week!
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 11:17pm; Reply: 2
I think you should give it a try, perhaps in smaller quantities at first. GI upset sometimes means deep healing, especially if you're displacing "bad bugs" by eating healing foods.

While pregnant, I think you need to eat as much wholesome food as possible, and not overly restrict yourself. Remember that casein allergies can be outgrown as your gut heals; and that's likely what's happened to you after several years off gluten and on BTD.

My own experience with eating cheeses is that I get a resumption of nasal congestion. But, I only get 2oz, 3 times a week, and I find it incredibly difficult to eat that little. I'm fine with "not eating cheese" but I have a very hard time limiting it once I start eating it. I also find it hard to stay away from mozzarella, which is now an avoid but used to be neutral when I thought I was a secretor. My brain just can't wrap around the idea of "mozzarella=bad" because it was one of the few cheeses I ate when I started BTD, and I keep it in the house for the kids. So it's pretty rare for me to go on a "cheese-eating  binge" and actually stick to the reccomended cheeses, and even rarer for me to stick to the reccomended portions. I'd probably do just fine if I ate cheese as SWAMI reccomended.
Posted by: Loops, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 11:30pm; Reply: 3
thanks.  Has anybody asked Dr D about this casein issue?  There is no casein question for Swami.  
Posted by: Conor, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 11:54pm; Reply: 4
Quoted from Loops
I would like to hear of anybody else's experiences regarding dairy, especially if they are type O non-secretor and have had cheese recommended as daimond foods in Swami ....

Hi, I'm not a Nonnie but I do match your other criteria (except for gender, of course). (smile)

We have an almost identical list of superfood cheeses. Mine also includes Kefalotyri, though. One idea: if you're having difficulty with the Parmesan and Romano right now, both of which are made from cow's milk (although Romano can be a combination), maybe see how you feel eating just Pecorino as it's made from ewe's milk. Sometimes products made with goat and/or sheep milk can be easier to digest than cow milk products. On the other hand, in light of what you said about casein intolerance, sheep milk does have a higher casein content than cow milk.

Also, do you have access to high-quality raw milk cheese? I find that I have no digestive issues at all when I eat an aged raw milk cheese; whereas, these same cheeses made with pasteurized milk do not feel like they digest/burn as cleanly.
Posted by: 14442 (Guest), Thursday, June 7, 2012, 2:19am; Reply: 5
I've done really well with parmesan, adapted to it easily & eat quite a bit.
Posted by: Lola, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 2:31am; Reply: 6
Quoted Text
Has anybody asked Dr D about this casein issue?  There is no casein question for Swami.

swami asks so many questions regarding you, it knows just how much dairy it will advice you take considering all your variables given

it even computes you as a non secretor or a secretor, depending.....
even if you did not have a secretor test done yet

\i would proceed with caution if very susceptible and use common sense
Posted by: Loops, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 1:28pm; Reply: 7
Thanks -

Conor I would love to try your suggestions but unfortunately here in Chile there is no Pecorino cheese, nor is there any raw cheese (plus I am pregnant so can't eat that right now) apart from raw goat cheese, which is not even listed.  Manchego and Feta are both avoids for me so I assume goat cheese is anyway.  Basically the only one off the list I can get hold of is parmesan.  There is also reggianitto but that is not listed so I am not sure where that would fall.  Anybody know?

I like doing Swami but have to say that I am quite restricted down here in Chile with food choices.  I was over the moon to finally find rice flour here.  Many of the diamond foods I can't get here, and the ones I can would make for a very repetitious diet if I just stuck to those.  I end up eating a lot of neutrals.  FRuit is a PAIN at the moment.  It is all apples, apples and more apples in Winter, which are an avoid for me.  I am reduced to eating pears and bananas, both of which are neutrals.

Sorry just to continue my little rant, but fruit juice does my head in as well.  The ONLY fruit juice here without tons of added sugar (which is an avoid) is pineapple and grape.  That's it.  And they are really expensive.  They have so many yummy tropical fruit juices and what do they do...PACK them with loads of added sugar.

It is the one regretful thing about doing this diet...I should be able to get more things on the list, but they just don't exist here.  The one great thing is they eat a lot of rice so that is easy.  They even have rice pasta which is a big step forward.  Rice is a superfood for me.

So you can see why I am still trying to get the diamond cheese in as I can't just survive on beef, kale and rice all the time!  Ok so it's not quite that bad but I do crave variety.  Sorry rant over.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 1:38pm; Reply: 8
I wonder if you could find some superfood fruits in dried, unsweetened form and buy them online.

Until then, eat as many neutrals as you need to feel satisfied!
Posted by: Conor, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 3:33pm; Reply: 9
Quoted from Loops
There is also reggianitto but that is not listed so I am not sure where that would fall. Anybody know? .... FRuit is a PAIN at the moment. It is all apples, apples and more apples in Winter, which are an avoid for me. I am reduced to eating pears and bananas, both of which are neutrals.

You should be okay with Reggianito because it is essentially Parmesan cheese (i.e., Parmigiano-Reggiano). Reggiano is the augmentative of Reggianito. The Italian immigrants from the Parmigiano Reggiano region that moved to Argentina in the 1800s made a cheese in the same style, only in smaller wheels. Thus, they called it Reggianito. Both the traditional Italian Parmesan and the Reggianito are made from cow milk. The biggest difference is that true Parmesan is aged a minimum of 12 months, whereas Reggianito is only aged for five-to-six months (again, due to the difference in smaller wheel size).

The only thing I'd mention with regard to Parmesan, or any commercially-grated cheeses, is to be sure to check the ingredient label. The pre-grated products almost always contain anti-caking agents such as cellulose (that manufacturers are not required to ID the source) and/or flavor agents such as potassium sorbate. This won't be a problem, though, if you're buying cheese cut straight from the drum/wheel.

For fruit, what about the open-air ferias in Chile? Can you not find a wider selection there than at the supermarket? Also, there's a company called Organic Fruits Chile that, although they're a processor of organic fruits, might be able to give you some suggestions for additional places to purchase fruit if you contact them. Here's their website URL:

I agree with you that it's too bad typical food processors feel it necessary to take already sweet fruit juices and destroy most of their beneficial properties by heat-treating and adding sweeteners, preservatives, et cetera. It's why I shy away from most all fruit, and even vegetable, juices unless I make them myself at home.

Good luck, and congratulations on the little one. (:
Posted by: Conor, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 3:43pm; Reply: 10
Loops, another thing, I just now noticed that La Serena is on the ocean. I'm thinking there would be a decent selection of fish, especially at one of the larger open-air ferias. Do they have any fresh fish there that could serve as an adjunct to your beef consumption.

And, if you get bored with rice, is quinoa an option for you?
Posted by: Loops, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 4:23pm; Reply: 11
hi again -

yes I check the ingredients for grated parmesan. I have a huge problem with potassium sorbate (makes me very gassy) - again, they add this to most of the dried fruits here.  And again, there are lots of dried fruits, all with sulfur dioxide (makes me itch like crazy and gassy), and/or potassium sorbate...and of course...added sugar for the fruits that would be superfoods for me otherwise.  The figs are all coated in wheat flour too.  I can buy currants which are a superfood for me, but they are coated in vegetable oil.

Ruth, thanks for the suggestion, however Chile is extremely strict about importation of foods, especially fruits, and the shipping costs would be prohibitive for me anyway.  I am on a budget right now.

Conor, yes I go to the local feria, and it is all seasonal, which means apples, more apples, you get the picture.  No better selection.   A lot of plums and peaches  in the Summer.  A lot of my diamond fruits are exotic things that are just not imported here or grow here.  I eat pineapples in the Summer but right now they are terrible - still imported but just not great quality, never ripe etc.  I do eat a lot of fish too though.

All the frozen fruits here are very expensive and most have sugar added.  There are concentrates as well...all with either sugar added, or the most recent thing is 'diet' ones without any sugar, but with loads of sucralose and aspartame.  Same goes for the fruit juices.  A few boast 'no added sugar' and then they stuff them with artificial sweeteners.  Another popular thing here is juice mixed with soy milk.  Mmmm.  I am really allergic to anything soy, and it is a huge avoid.  So you can see how frustrating it gets.

Good to know about the reggianito.  It is cheaper than the parmesan too.  Maybe I will give that a try.

I'm not a huge fan of quinoa but it is available.  AGain very expensive though and rice is much cheaper.  I also can eat sweet potatoes which I do, but again, REALLY expensive, whilst white potatoes are dirt cheap here and they are an avoid for me.  Sigh.  Oranges are really cheap too...and an avoid of course.  It goes on and on.  Still, despite many challenges of this diet here, it is SO much better than the Explorer diet in the book.  I really couldn't stick with that it was extremely restrictive for me.

Thanks for the suggestions anyway!
Posted by: Conor, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 4:48pm; Reply: 12
Since it sounds as though you do have access to an ample supply of apples, I've found that when I tire of eating them as is, they do mix quite well in my green salads, chopped or sliced ... even salads in which I include cold fish and lemon.

It is discouraging, from what you describe, to see how far the food supply has backslid from its more natural state as described by Pedro Gutiérrez de Valdivia in 1551, 10 years after he took possession of Chile for Spain, in a letter he wrote King Charles V:
Quoted Text
"I can tell you truthfully of the goodness of this country .... cattle like those of Peru [llamas, vicunas] prosper, with wool that drags on the ground; it abounds in all the foods the Indians plant for their subsistence, such as corn, potatoes, quinoa, madi, chili and beans. The people are large, tame, friendly and white, and of attractive faces, men as well as women, all dressed in wool in their style, although the clothing is somewhat crude ...."
Posted by: Loops, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 5:17pm; Reply: 13
unfortunately my point was that apples are an AVOID for me, so I can't eat them alas....
Posted by: Conor, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 7:09pm; Reply: 14
Quoted from Loops
unfortunately my point was that apples are an AVOID for me, so I can't eat them alas....

Sorry, missed that. Thanks for the clarification. I'll check with a friend of mine living in Costa Rica, who regularly travels to Argentina and Chile, to see if he has any ideas. I know in Costa Rica they purchase a lot of their produce through a local cooperative. Don't know if you have something similar there?

Do your superfood fruits look anything like mine; e.g., açaí, date, goji, guava, lemon, lime, mango, passion fruit, paw paw, pineapple?

Also had to remember that you're transitioning into winter now, so your options are different (here, we're transitioning into summer) and may be more limited.
Posted by: Loops, Thursday, June 7, 2012, 11:45pm; Reply: 15
oh how I WISH dates were a superfood -alas they are an avoid!

My diamonds are goji berries, guava, pomegranates and prickly pears.  I can get prickly pears right now although I can't say they are my favourite.  Pomegranates are a bit difficult - possible occasionally but expensive and I haven't ever seen the other two.

I have lived here for 11 years so I know what the options are, but I suppose there is a chance there is something I haven't thought of!

Anyway, tonight I will be eating cheese as I fancy rice noodles with broccoli and cheese and my meat soup isn't ready yet.  To be honest this diet is so much better than the one I was doing before which was low carb.  At least now I feel well eating the foods recommended and it is more balanced which suits me.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Friday, June 8, 2012, 3:31pm; Reply: 16
I can't help but wonder if the juices on the shelves are only "cheap" because they're so diluted with sugar. I wonder if the pure fruit juices are really as expensive as they seem to be, when you factor that in. Could you fit it in the budget to buy a small bottle of pure juice and drink it in very small quantities?

It's really a shame about the imported dried fruit. It's hard to find dried fruit without additives here, too,  but the difference is that the pure dried fruits ARE available at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's; I just have to sift through the masses of "contaminated" fruits to find them. I even find "pure" dried fruits at  good prices occasionally, such as a big bag of organic figs in Costco (which I buy in the wintertime but not when there's fresh fruit in season.) Ditto on the frozen fruits. There are 5 shelves of assorted varieties of frozen fruits, most of which add sugar and/or corn syrup,  but I can also find frozen berries with nothing added, in small bags off to the side of the section. We need to look carefully and read ingredients, but the pure stuff is available here.
Posted by: Loops, Monday, June 11, 2012, 4:22pm; Reply: 17
yeah the only problem is I'm nearly 26 weeks pregnant and needing to eat A LOT right now.  A small bag of fruit or a tiny bit of fruit juice is just...well...not going to cut it.

Anyway...I did the cheese thing.  Not impressed.  Got really awful acid reflux that lasted all day plus mega bloating, and then a headache.  And now, a couple of days later, I am craving it again.

Posted by: yvonneb, Saturday, June 16, 2012, 8:28am; Reply: 18
They'd fill you up and should be cheap...combined with small amount of rice a complete protein!

Try grinding the quinoa and use it as flour.

And can you get your hand on dried seaweed like Nori?
Very light to post/ship, very easy to add to any food and full of minerals- not getting enough minerals might make you crave certain foods...

A thought borrowed from the macrobiotic way of eating... unless you can satisfy all the tastes, you will still feel hungry- so that is sweet, sour, bitter, salty and sharp and the three textures: creamy, crunchy and chewy. One aims to have all 8 on one plate...

Maybe preparing your limited choices differently (for example: carrots can be eaten raw for 'crunchy' or cooked to death for 'sweet') will make you feel more satisfied.

Wishing you and the 'lil one' well!
Posted by: Loops, Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 3:31pm; Reply: 19

Yes I eat lots of beans and lentils.  I find I still crave cheese though!  Then I eat the DIAMOND cheese and feel like c**p.  What is that all about???  Why would a diamond food do that to me?  I feel confused.  In my new Swami I now get NO nuts at all - well, ones that I can actually find here.  So I am drawn to eating the foods available that I CAN get.  And that includes cheese.  I just really really want to be able to eat it and feel well...and that should happen right?  I mean how can a food be a diamond for me and cause so much havoc?  Am I doing something else wrong??  And why do I crave the stuff?  I am taking calcium so it is not that.  Have I just got myself back into the addiction-withdrawal cycle again by starting to eat it?

I wish Dr D would chime in here.  I have no idea how to contact him about this.  I don't want to deprive my baby of some nutrient just for my own comfort.  I am so happy to follow Swami and apart from the cheese don't feel at all lacking in any food.  I just wish I could get a solid answer on this.  Does one exist???

Thanks for all the help BTW.
Posted by: Conor, Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 5:05pm; Reply: 20
Quoted from Loops
I find I still crave cheese though! Then I eat the DIAMOND cheese and feel like c**p. What is that all about??? Why would a diamond food do that to me? . . . I mean how can a food be a diamond for me and cause so much havoc?

Hi Loops, have you felt like this with cheese--i.e., "really awful acid reflux that lasted all day plus mega bloating, and then a headache"--more so as you've progressed further into your pregnancy? Also, do you experience this with any of your other diamond protein foods, e.g., fish? If you've experienced even milder but similar symptoms with other protein foods, I'm wondering if you may be experiencing pregnancy onset gastro-esophageal reflux. There's data showing that a number of women who rarely, if ever, experienced gastro-esophageal reflux prior to pregnancy did so when pregnant. And, it seems that in some instances the symptoms can increase in intensity from the second to third trimester, as the weight in a woman's abdominal area naturally increases.
Posted by: Loops, Thursday, June 28, 2012, 3:33pm; Reply: 21
hi -

yes you're right I do get acid with other foods, and also headaches...comes with the pregnancy territory.  So it is quite difficult to pin the blame on a food.  What still disturbs me though, is the quite pronounced hankering after cheese after trying to do without it for a week.  This usually reaches its height after about 5 days, then after a week I no longer constantly crave it.

So I still don't know what to think.  I need somebody to tell me yes eat it, or no avoid it.  I thought as it is a diamond for me that the answer would be yes, eat it!
Posted by: Conor, Thursday, June 28, 2012, 3:41pm; Reply: 22
Quoted from Loops
What still disturbs me though, is the quite pronounced hankering after cheese after trying to do without it for a week. This usually reaches its height after about 5 days, then after a week I no longer constantly crave it.

Hey Loops, okay, so try to recall what exactly it is most about the cheese which you crave when the craving it at its height. I mean, is it the taste, the texture, the mouthfeel, et cetera? Maybe if you can figure this out, it'll help you find a replacement food with the same, or similar, qualities but that won't make you feel ill. You also said you're taking calcium supplements, which kind (not brand, but the actual form of calcium)?
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, June 28, 2012, 3:47pm; Reply: 23
Besides calcium, cheese also contains vitamin D, fat, and protien. The fat specifically contains butryic acid, which is also found in ghee. Maybe some other nutrients I can't think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure you can google it.

See if you're getting all those nutrients from something else. Are you eating any ghee or butter? Ample amounts of dairy fat may keep you from craving the cheese. Another idea is to see if you can find cheeses made from something other than cow's milk. Can you find goat, sheep, or buffallo milk cheese locally? You may want to see how you do on those, even if it's a neutral or unlisted variety of cheese. You may have a problem specifically with cow's milk protien,and you may tolerate another species of dairy better.
Posted by: Jane, Thursday, June 28, 2012, 3:59pm; Reply: 24
I agree with Ruthie on the cheese thing.  There's parmesan and then there's parmasan.  I'd try and get sheep or goat's milk cheeses (or buffalo).  The proteins are smaller and more digestible.  Then again, pregnancy just makes you crave weird things sometimes.  When I was pregnant (and that's a very long time ago) I craved tomato soup and tuna fish sandwiches.  I couldn't even look at milk or orange juice.
Hope you feel better soon.
Posted by: Loops, Thursday, June 28, 2012, 11:12pm; Reply: 25
hi -

I really can't get much variety here at all.  Also goat cheese (feta) is a definite avoid for me.  There is very little sheep cheese.  The only cheese I can get that is beneficial is parmesan.  None of the neutrals listed I can get.  REally, the selection is very limited here in Chile.  I mean there are lots of different cow cheeses, and local goats cheese, and that is about it.  Manchego is also an avoid for me.
Posted by: C_Sharp, Friday, June 29, 2012, 3:46am; Reply: 26
Quoted from Jane
  Then again, pregnancy just makes you crave weird things sometimes.  When I was pregnant (I craved tomato soup and tuna fish sandwiches.  

My sister craved dairy during pregnancy and ended up with a child allergic to milk.
Posted by: Loops, Friday, June 29, 2012, 12:50pm; Reply: 27
hmm, well, does that mean I should avoid it then?  Did she eat a lot of cheese in her pregnancy or something?

Conor - I can't put my finger on what it is exactly about cheese.  Only that I want to eat it and it is very tasty, and then if I eat it the next few days I don't want it, then on the third day I HAVE to have it again.  REally weird.

Sigh. Anybody else have any experiences?  I guess I am hoping that somebody will come on here and say yes I had a casein intolerance but now I am happily eating my Swami diamond cheeses without problem!
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Friday, June 29, 2012, 8:17pm; Reply: 28
I think you should listen to your body and not over-think things. Make sure you get enough food and enough nutrition, and trust your body to crave what you need when you need it. If you eat a lot of cheese and then don't want any for the next few days, that sounds like self-limiting to me.

C_Sharp's sister was likely having an addictive-type craving for cheese when she was pregnant. If that was the case with you, you'd want it all the time, and not have those "I don't want anymore" days in between.
Posted by: Loops, Saturday, June 30, 2012, 2:22pm; Reply: 29
Thanks Ruth -

I think you are right.  It has been such a big issue for me because it was hell coming off dairy a few years ago so I wanted to be careful adding it back in.

I have it in the fridge so it is there if I want it.
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