Fresh Food Friday: Why Waist It, Get Cheezy!

Let’s face it. Cheese has a bad rep when it comes to weight-loss and health. But *What If* it were conducive to weight-loss and also had health benefits? After my continued weight loss and research I’ve concluded it is and has.

What is Fresh Food Friday? Every Friday I am posting something positive, mostly food centered, to kick start the weekend and encourage myself and others to live healthier. No, I’m not going to preach about the fires of food hell and diet damnation. It’s about indulging in tasty, healthy choices, and treating yourself to the best things in life. It doesn’t have to be a drag, living healthier. I think attitude is everything, and I’ve got a lot of it! 😉

Those of you who have read my previous posts, this is only an addition to the blog. The regularly scheduled sometimes humorous/inspirational posts on life and writing will still continue. But, Fresh Friday is also a way to motivate myself and others during my healthier-living and weight-loss journey. So, let us see what’s down with the cheese, shall we?

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*I am, BY NO MEANS,claiming to be an expert in diet, nutrition, or weight loss. I do believe I have learned certain things by trial and error that may save someone the trouble of considering an option that may not work for them. Read and use advice and info from this post at your own discretion. My hope is, you read this post and find it to be helpful in your own journey of healthy living and be successful at it!*

If you’d like a little reading about history, general info, and resources pertaining to American cheese, give a click *HERE*

The dreaded diet. One of my dear friends recently made the comment, “I can’t believe you’re on a diet!” Inside a cringed. It wasn’t their fault, no. My idea of what a “diet” is has been a little skewed. I think the key component in success for most anything is conditioning our minds to think positively without living in denial. Be honest with yourself, in other words, but be kind also. I have to remind myself the word “diet” is simply referring to what foods I choose to consume, for better or worse. *Whispers* It’s NOT a dirty word, although it may have you cursing at times. 😉

Let’s see. I’ve had the most success with the Southbeach diet, losing 40 lbs in 3 months. Mostly it was because the protein kept me full. The problem is, I don’t care for meat much anymore unless it’s seafood. I’ve tried Weight Watchers points system, only losing 15 lbs. and consuming obscene amounts of sodium from their frozen food meals. I think they also have a Core program focusing on protein (kudos to them). I’ve tried low fat diets and SlimFast where I was hangry all the freaking time. This is not to say these type of methods will not work for others, they may. They may have also been improved and work better since I last tried them. But, they did NOT work for me in the long term. Isn’t that the point? Finding what one can best live with long term, maybe even enjoy, while benefiting from the healthiest life possible. I did, however, walk away from each diet with some positive information. Now I am using Myfitnesspal to track calories, nutrition, and fitness. It has been working.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW:

*Being picky and not sacrificing taste is important*

I couldn’t imagine life without delicious food. Cutting out the good stuff will get someone nowhere quick, if not make them counterproductive because of deprivation. Fat free cheese may work in some instances, but for better flavor why not balance it out, half low-fat and half-full fat. Let’s have a moment of reverence for the protein and calcium packed benefits of a moderate portion of low-fat cheese. Click *Here* to read about the goodness of adding this yum food to a diet.

The folks at Eatingwell.com have the right idea. They did a taste test and concluded the best low-fat cheeses were a couple I happen to love myself, Calbot 50% light & Cracker Barrel 2% extra sharp natural cheddar cheese. They also mentioned Kraft, but I personally like a bit more zing. It’s all relative, depending on a person’s personal taste. To read about the taste test click *HERE.*

From WebMD on Dairy Health Benefits:

“A recent study showed that the more servings of dairy foods that adults consumed, the greater the percentage of their total calories that came from saturated fat (definitely not a good thing).

But the other side to the story is that their intake of many key nutrients — like protein, calcium, magnesium, folate, B1, B2, B6, B12, and vitamins A, D, and E — also increased along with the number of dairy servings.

So how do you get all those great nutrients from dairy without the drawbacks? Low-fat dairy is the answer! As you decrease the fat in dairy products, you cut calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, while protein, calcium, and most other vitamins and minerals remain high.”

Nice WebMD, but what about those of us who actually love the taste of cheese?

If you’ve tried to cook with low-fat or fat-free cheese, you probably know full-fat cheese mixed with a low or fat-free cheese melts the best and is tastier than just going completely with a low or fat-free cheese. This is why I suggested half full-fat/half low-fat when preparing recipes.

There are more benefits for someone adding dairy to their diet. Click *Here* to read more from WebMD.

Also, while eating protein to keep that full feeling, try to remember to balance it out with a whole grain carb and/or veggies.

No one said it would be easy. I’ve had days going over calorie count because of not packing healthy foods and snacks on busy days. I’ve been needing to increase my water consumption and activity level (this means I can eat more, but I am only allowed to eat as many calories as I burn.) There is much to work on, but staying with it and keeping positive is the way to go, I believe.

My waistline must agree. Two weeks in to using Myfitnesspal and I’ve lost 6.5 lbs. But best of all, I’m living healthier and feeling better. Gettin’ my cheese on any time I eat a sandwich or a salad.

To conclude this post for Fresh Food Friday, I leave you with this little pep to encourage a healthy step: Try something healthy, keep positive, stay with it, and DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! Have a wonderful weekend!