Saturday, April 1, 2017

Pre-Grated Cheese - Is It Worth It?

        I saw this comic strip in the newspaper this morning and got a bit of a chuckle... but what makes this so funny? Is Granny just a food snob? Well, actually, no. There is good reason for her shock and dismay.

              Ok, maybe shock and dismay, and her actions in the comic strip, are a bit of an exaggeration, but it all comes down to how serious each individual is about what they are putting in their body. You may just be thinking I am putting "cheese" in my body, I just happen to pay a bit more for a company to save me from using the ol' knuckle-buster cheese grater. Incorrect. The wisest things one can do if they are concerned about what is going into their bodies is twofold: 1) Read the ingredient list, and 2) Do your research.

              If you were to grate cheese yourself and put it in a bag, what would happen? Typically it would clump together. What then keeps pre-grated cheese from clumping? Many use potato starch in combination with cellulose. Potato starch seems self explanatory and harmless, but what is cellulose? We may have even seen that on an ingredient list before and not thought too much about it. Cellulose is a very cheap food additive that is derived from wood pulp... yes, I did say "Wood Pulp"! It is a dietary fiber that is used as a thickener and in this case a stabilizer to improve mouthfeel and prevent clumping.

              But is it harmful? This would come down to perception perhaps, or maybe there are some studies on the long term effects, but think about it for a moment - it is derived from wood pulp. Would you rather be eating whole, real cheese... or wood pulp?

              Yes, the convenience of pre-grated is grate! Um, I mean... great! But our world is full of "convenience" foods that are not the healthiest options. I do believe it is better to embrace natural and naturally derived when we can. Yes, we all live busy lives, and our world seems to be going so fast, but without your health... what do you have? Nothing.

              The purpose of this blog subject is not to point fingers or to make you feel bad. It's just about focusing on awareness. Be mindful about what you are eating, be respectful to your body, and live life to the fullest in the best way that you can.

               Until next time... Happy Cooking!

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