Thursday, 12 April 2012

How An Affair With Cheese Can Cost You A Dress Size

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Tired after a hard day’s work?  Are you relaxing as we speak with an almost orgasmic glass of red in one hand and a terrific, creamy, mouth-watering and almost sweet sliver of brie in the other? 

Do you find that you repeat this ‘fun’ ritual every night whilst you cook dinner or just after you’ve kissed the kids goodnight?  Blissful isn’t it – that single moment when you bite into that lovely creamy richness.  Mmm.. 

Well I hate to break this well deserved moment of rapture, but what your friends or the quaint fromagerie failed to tell you is that cheese is high, high, high in fat!  Don’t even bother applying the nutrition screening tool that I introduced you to (see my article Be Shopping Savvy - Nutrition Labelling Decoded).  All cheeses are well above the 10% fat cut-off, except perhaps for cottage cheese and let’s face it, there’s not a lot to say about cottage cheese.

A reduced fat cheese is still above the 10g/100g threshold and as for the fat free varieties; can you really look me in the eye and tell me that you can eat it?  I didn’t think so.

So where does that leave us?  Perplexed I am sure; especially when you find out that a recommended serving size of cheese is roughly 30g or the size of a small matchbox.  If you understand calories, one portion of cheddar weighing 30g will give you 145 calories and 11g of fat.  Eat 3 or 4 of these portions as snacks and you’ve added over 500 unnecessary calories to your daily total intake. 

If you still don’t understand calories, a female weighing 60kg will need to run at least 9 kilometres to burn it off.  Continue eating your slices of heaven daily and you are gaining ½ kilo (1.1 pounds) each week.  A few weeks later, you’ve gained a dress size and I haven’t even counted the wine.  Voila

Oh and did I mention that cheese contains predominantly saturated fats?  Unfair isn’t it?  Why make food taste so good if you can’t have it.  It’s all relative of course, if this ritual is only a weekly treat and you can be detached after one glass of wine and one portion of cheese, then I say, indulge.

If you are lusting after a second slice, then plan to slot in at least a 30 minute session at the gym.  No point letting that gorgeous new dress go to waste.

Are you vegetarian?

If you are vegetarian then it’s a different story.  Cheese can be a useful source of protein and calcium.  You can even enjoy it in small amounts in an elegant salad for lunch daily. 

Lactose intolerant?

More good news is that if you suffer from lactose intolerance, then small amounts of cheese may not upset your tummy.  If milk does not agree with you, you may find switching from regular milk to soy, rice or oat milk beneficial.  There are even pea and nut varieties of milk these days.  Just make sure that you select a brand that is fortified with added calcium.

You may be slightly upset with me now, but you’ll absolutely love me when you still look like a million dollars in that dress.

So your new plan is, after a hard day at work, run yourself a bath, light pretty candles and dive into that book you’ve been meaning to.  Relaxation doesn’t always need to revolve around food.

For cheese lovers out there, enjoy Jamie's antipasti of mozzarella recipe that I’ve selected for you.

Easy Mozzarella Salad
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 buffalo mozzarella, sliced
Large handful of basil
1-2 tsp of olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella in an alternating method on the plate.  Gently cover with the basil leaves, pour olive oil, season with pepper and serve with crusty bread.


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