Healthy Cooking Thursday: Cheese, Glorious Cheese

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"The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!"  So exclaims William H. Macy, playing a Vermont senator in the film "Thank You For Smoking", in defense against claims that our divine cheddar could possibly be dangerous to your health.  His fictional angry outburst was due to the fact that in reality, cheese is a way of life in the Green Mountains as well as part of healthy cooking.  California may have their happy cows, and Wisconsin and New York may lay claim to great cheddars, but Vermont is happy to compete with bigger states on the issue of dairy products.  According to the Vermont Cheese Council webpage, Vermont took home more 1st place ribbons than any other state at the 2009 American Cheese Society competition.  We even are home to UVM's Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, the first (and currently only) research and educational center all about great cheese.

Yes, I feel blessed living in a land of awesome chevre, colby, bleu, and of course cheddar.  Furthermore, I feel blessed that eating cheese (in moderation, of course) is absolutely appropriate when trying to attain healthy weight loss .   No, really!

Here's the deal:  eating protein and fat helps you feel full.  Cheese provides you with both protein and fat.  Mmm, fat.  Yes, it's of the saturated variety, but practicing mindful moderation allows for occasional enjoyment.    And if you're trying to eat more beans, a family full of great healthy weight loss foods, you should probably enjoy some cheese (or nuts) with them, as most legumes are so low-fat, they often will not satisfy on their own.  Oh, and who can forget about calcium, key to any woman's healthy lifestyle?

So, in closing, I would like to recommend one of my favorite snacks/desserts; about an ounce of quality Vermont cheese and a handful of berries or grapes.  It's just another great example of how simple pleasures and healthy eating often go hand in hand.

What is your favorite Vermont cheese?

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