Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cheese, Louise...!!

That Spouse o' Mine came home tonight with an interesting subject for debate and banter. We like to debate, and banter, and subjects close to both our hearts are food, nutrition, horticulture, and agriculture. Tonight, he and NPR baited me:


"We eat about 31 pounds of it per person each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimates. That's nearly triple the amount Americans were eating in 1970."

That Spouse o' Mine was quoting this evening's NPR article about cheese consumption. Hmm...

I quickly went online to read the script. NPR was putting a blurb on about Americans and our fat problem. Yep. We are fat. Why? I'm going to guess it has to do with fast foods. Fast food burgers which are made up of heaven-knows-what-percentage-of-fat-as-opposed-to-protein, and also made in portions designed to feed the size of 4x Goliath, not the ordinary non-exercising American. (There's a key word: non-exercising.)

But here: "Cheese and other dairy products are the leading source of saturated fat that our kids are swallowing," says Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "And I think most Americans are totally oblivious to it."

"...other dairy products..." Other dairy products? Is this referring to "processed" cheese? Or "cheese" which is REALLY only vegetable fats, somehow formed into weird orange colors and weird shapes and marketed for sports nights and college dorms?

I'd like a definition of cheese, if you please. We like our cheeses. Yes! We even make cheese: chèvre, from some local goats in our "neighborhood". We like Swiss, cheddar (white - not orange - what's that about? - do cows give orange milk, I ask you?!) and we love Brie, Blue, Roquefort, and many others. We Armstrongs love cheese. I suspect we enjoy/ingest more than the NPR-reported 31-pounds of cheese a year. I really, realistically, do.

But here is the rub: We are eating REAL cheese. Real calcium, by the way:

Not processed, partially-homogenized fats and fake whatever oily thing
you will "enjoy" in restaurants everywhere in the USA.

So I would like NPR and the USDA to qualify that to which they are alluding.

And now: I will step off my soapbox, yet again.
Thank you very much for your input.


Gill said...

Ok, they can't blame that on cheese! A large part of "other dairy" = ice cream, I'm sure. I know I eat more than my "fair share" (according to them) of cheese, yogurt, milk, but I don't choose processed, and I don't choose to supplement that saturated fat with other forms from other foods. Some people's diets elsewhere in the world consist largely of dairy and meat alone, and yet they do not have the "fat" issue like we do. We are simply not physically active and the cheapest and most readily available foods are the worst for you. If everyone stopped buying packaged/fast/convenience foods and forced themselves to cook, we would have far fewer problems, don't you think?

I've got quite a lot to say on this subject, so maybe I should join your debate. I'd also like to know where NPR got their information.

Melissa said...

Scoot over, T, and give me a spot on your soapbox! Have you seen that commercial on tv for Sonic's chili "cheese" foods? (Oh, wait, I mean "foods".) That yellow-orange ooze they call "cheese" is NOT even remotely related to a dairy product of ANY sort! I seriously doubt my chickens would eat that garbage. I bet you could put it in a tractor engine and the thing would run like a top. NOT CHEESE, I tell you!

We eat plenty of cheese on this side of the road, too, but it's the real thing, and not individually wrapped in cellophane.

I completely agree with Gill...if Americans learned how to cook and eat REAL food, the obesity epidemic would likely resolve itself.

OK, you can have your soapbox back. :D

Louise Plummer said...

I hate when NPR gets it wrong. Any cheese lover knows the difference between cheese and cheese whiz. If we're getting fat from dairy products, I would suspect ice cream first, which I can't keep in the house, because otherwise I, too, would be fat.

Heather@myeverydaygraces said...

Well, all I know for sure is that I just lost 6+ pounds just by cutting dairy out of my diet... cheese (the real kinds:), butter, yogurt, and milk (of which I drank 1%... and really just in my coffee). I was really quite amazed.

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