Monday, May 7, 2012

Fruit and Cheese; it’s that simple!

First things first; where have I been? Yep, I have been away for a while from writing and recipe creation. The reason for this is I was setting up new programs for my Holistic Health business which was consuming all of my time. So now that I have my three and six month programs jam packed with new and exciting information on health and wellness and have included mineral hair analysis to my practice, I am now ready to get back to writing, cooking and being my usual opinionated food self. So on to it!

The weather is getting warmer, the yard work has begun and my “honey do” list is about two pages and counting. This is leaving me little time to spend in the kitchen for prepping veggies and simmering three hour braises, let alone finding the energy to do so. So what to do when I am hungry? Sure, I can pop a cup-of-noodles, hot pocket or one of those pre-made dinners for one in the microwave and be eating in less than three minutes. But instead of eating unhealthy, sodium filled, cholesterol ladened, belly busters of processed crap, why don’t I just eat something simple, fresh and super healthy that takes about the same amount of time.

The simple truth about food is that “simplicity is better.” People tend to go overboard at times using too many ingredients, which most of the time leads to dishes where you cannot taste the different components, or the flavors just don’t meld together in harmony. Me, I like to taste all the items in a dish or be blown away by how flavors all come together. So how simple am I talking about here for a quick fix, no fuss, I have no time to cook a meal or snack? It’s as simple as Fruit and Cheese!

No, this is not an actual recipe I am dishing out here, just an idea and some facts. The truth is that when we as American’s think about a quick fix or to eat a small portion in place of a large meal, we automatically turn to junk food. And don’t think for a second that the Power Bar or Weight Watchers snack bar you have sitting in your closet is not junk, because they most certainly are; don’t get me started on that. Real food is real food…it is that simple! In other countries, a snack is typically something local to the area, high quality and very satisfying. This is of course if they have not been Americanized. Adopting this way of life is simple and certainly healthier than a fast-food cheeseburger.

Let’s talk about cheese for a moment. There is much debate on the topic of which cheese is healthiest or even if cheese if healthy at all. Low fat, full fat, soft or hard cheese, which is healthier? Well for starters, both low fat and full fat have the same amount of vitamin D and calcium (as well as other nutrients). The low fat variety is lower in bad fats, and that of course is a good thing. The only real issue I see with low fat vs. full fat is the flavor.

So why is flavor such an issue? For starters, lack of flavor equals a lack of satisfaction. Lack of satisfaction leads to you sitting around eating triple the amount of the low fat cheese than the regular full fat cheese, which is loaded with flavor. Let’s do the simple math; eating 5 small squares of full fat cheese is clearly better than eating 15 pieces of low fat flavorless cheese. Go ahead, tell me I am not right!

Next up, we have “Franken-cheese.” You know this cheese; it comes in a vacuum sealed plastic wrapper with a shelf life of forever and can be shipped in a non-refrigerated box on Christmas. Judging from this one can see I am no fan of Cracker Barrel or Kraft. Like anything else food related in my life, it better be the best of the best. For me, straight to the cheese shop on weekends. Unlike when I was a kid, every supermarket has a gourmet section for cheese in the store now, so getting real cheese is easy. Funny thing is, that when I was a kid it was not considered gourmet when I went to the cheese shop, it was just cheese from the cheese shop. These days, even the simplest item, such as cheese, has been made into a shelf life stable, sodium packed, preservative monster to add to our already mounting health crisis in America. Nope, for me it is regular, high quality, full fat non franken-cheese.

Cheese is also loaded with lots of good things we need in our diet. Depending on the cheese, some varieties have the following; vitamins A, B12, E and K, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium (to name a few).

So how do I snack on the good stuff? I like a hard cheese (like this Piave in the picture) as they tend to pair very well with fruit and honey. The cheese is nutty and salty and it complements the sweetness of the fruit and the smooth finish with the honey.

This takes seconds to put together, is healthier than any processed junk you may have laying around your from last year’s gift basket or cheeses and is super satisfying. In fact, I will have this instead of a full meal at times and pair it with a great dry white Pinot. Cheese plate, here I come!

Piave with strawberries, pears and honey

A little heads up on lactose intolerance; some people who are lactose intolerant seem to be able to tolerate sheep’s milk cheese or goat cheese without any issue. Be careful and always read the ingredients to make sure it is 100% pure with no added ingredients.

Resources:Healthy Xpectations


  1. Thanks Stephen. Just make sure to use regular honey as opposed to orange blossom honey as the taste will not be the same.