Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Giving cheese another look


As bloggers who have been reading my blog for awhile know, I am NOT a cheese fan. And if you didn't know, now you know another fun fact about me. For the record, if you read that linked post above, amazingly, my landlord did not give me cheese this year!

I ran across this article from Livescience how cheese is basically becoming an even more processed food than it already is. Most know that bacteria is injected into cheese in order to add flavor. I have no problem with this. After all, some bacteria is good for your body. Just think of yogurt or kefir and how many live strains of bacteria are in them. What I have problem with is the fact that more pesticides are being used to disinfect cheeses. Does this outweigh the possible good effects of eating cheese?

In general, most people probably do consume a good amount of pesticides everyday and have no problem with it, but still, it worries me. While it is true that our stomach is very acidic, it still doesn't hold up to something like a dog who is known to eat three-day roadkill.

So what's your opinion? Does information like this deter you from eating cheese or another favorite product?

Fat is what gives cheese its taste, and 70 to 80 percent of the calories in cheese come from pure fat.


Anonymous said...

I'm not yet ready for cheese. I ate a tiny bit at christmas, to please a friend who'd made something for our team buffet, and that was a struggle. I find it easier if it doesn't look like cheddar or something. Cheddar just looks like butter, and frankly who would eat a cube of butter???

I want to master it, because it's on my hit list of foods which go into so many things, but it's a frightening prospect. I don't want to start getting all ortho about it and buying just organic stuff, because it seems to be switching one behaviour for another.

Lola x

Charlynn said...

I'm not a fan of cheese, either. My body feels sluggish and "backed up" when I eat it. That tells me my body doesn't like it, and as a vegetarian, I try to avoid as much dairy intake I can due to moral reasons. So no, I'm not much of a fan, and if 86ing cheese means putting less processed food in my body, so be it!

Susie said...

Cheese is something i consider a weakness and i think even without ED it would be seen as a bit of a food vice, because i could easily eat it everyday. Which with the impact on choleresterol, as shown by my grandfather who's particular weakness is Blue cheese, like i saw even without Ed, you can have too much of a good thing!

However i do prefer artisan cheeses, especially goats (which i believe is easier to digest) and i move away from processed blocks of cheese that look like plastic. However Ed does limit the types of cheese allow myself right now, and also keeps a strict eye on portion sizes.

Kara said...

I love cheese but hearing stuff about pesticides, fat, and bacteria gross me out. Haha. I hate hearing about the ingredients in foods.

Tiptoe said...

Lola, I hope you can reach your goal of one day conquering that food goal of eating cheese. I think you will get there. I definitely agree with you about cheddar cheese. That stuff just makes me nauseous even upon the smell or feel of it.

Charlynn, yes, if cheese makes you feel "backed" up and isn't wort hit to you to eat, then it's definitely a valid reason for not eating it. Just one thing less of pesticide eating I guess.

Susie, you're right in moderation, cheese can most certainly be a good thing. It's hard line when you know you do like cheese but feel like Ed restricts you from fully eating it too. Hopefully, you'll get to a point where you can just eat cheese for the sake of cheese without the loud ED dictating.

Kara, yeah, some foods, it is good not to know how it is done. Even though I do not eat meat but feed my dogs the Bones and Raw Food diet which mostly consists of meat, I refuse to feed them veal for how it is done.

kb said...

A dissenting voice:
I *love* (deeply and passionately) cheese. Ever since I was a kid, cheese and crackers were my favorite snack. Or meal.
This trend has continued to this day, although I have developed a more sophisticated palate (it's an expensive habit, too). The variety of flavors, textures, smells, even appearances, plus the matching of cheese from all ONE region vs. pairing up an international melange. It's too fun!
Mind you, don't ask me to eat cheese without a glass of wine!
I will say that I don't think the cheese that I like is "processed", and that does make a huge difference. Also, I understand people's resistance. But there is nothing like an aged Manchego; or a sliver of Stilton or Roquefort (or Point Reyes Blue, or Rogue River Blue...) with a pear.

Sarah said...

Yeah, kb, I agree!

I love cheese. I am lactose intolerant, so I have to either take a pill, have soy cheese, or have a small amount of a very aged cheese (like blue cheese) with a very "base" carb (cracker or bread-nothing acidic.) You may wonder, "is this worth it?" but I LOVE IT!!! And I am so proud of myself for being able to eat it again after avoiding it for about 2 years.

If anyone doesn't like cheese, they should go to Whole Foods or an artisan cheese tasting with an open mind and just sample some of the really nice ones, especially if they are paired for you. For example, some cheeses are enhanced by grapes or citrus, while others taste best with a pear or apple. Some taste wonderful with something sweet like blackberry jam or honey, while others need something more robust like a walnut or pecan. There are all the different bread/cracker variations, which I have not really begun to experiment with. And I haven't even gotten into the wine pairings that are possible!

I think it's great fun, especially when you try cheeses from different countries and different animals (goat vs. sheep vs. cow cheese.) My favorite is Stilton. It's also really cool when you try the "real" cheeses instead of the processed cheeses in cooking--i.e. the NICE mozzarella on a margherita pizza is AMAZING, but I don't even order cheese on my pizza when it's the shredded processed kind.

Tiptoe said...

Kristina and Sarah, thanks for sharing other views of cheese. I know people who absolutely adore cheese and could never part with it at all.

I think there is definitely a major difference between processed cheese and very good aged cheese. You guys have given me food for thought. Maybe I need to get over my cheese aversion and try really good aged cheeses. It's just all so very psychological for me.

Anonymous said...

I'm on the fence with this one...I have to definitely watch my intake of high-fat foods, and like you said, cheese is mostly made of fat. That said, every now and then I wander into the cheese section at Whole Foods and buy myself a nice little wedge of goat gouda, and it is goooood. I DO eat a lot of "fat free" cheese as well, probably more than I should.

I think, in moderation, it's OK. Like everything else, pretty much, heh.