That Big Slut, Cheese

About fifteen years ago, my then doctor had told me my bad cholesterol was creeping up toward medication time. I freaked out.

“No medications,” I squeaked. “I will control this with diet.” And I did.

Last year my new doctor said my cholesterol was inching toward medication. I knew I had fallen off the no cheese wagon. Every time I thought about cheese and its effect on me, I remembered Meg Ryan in the movie, French Kiss. Remember that scene on the train in France where she was talking about cheese and holding her stomach? I felt her pain and yet I’m not lactose intolerant. Obviously.

Anyway I had cut red meat from my diet years ago. I only eat lean meats, turkey, chicken, and fish. I’m also, by choice, gluten free. Soon there will be nothing I can eat. : ) I cut out cow’s milk and use almond milk. I cut out ice cream—I’ll eat sorbet if I want something cold. But I never could remove cheese from my diet. I love cheese!!!

So April came around, and I knew I’d have to get lab work drawn for my yearly physical. I did not buy cheese, or chocolate, and I cut out most sugars from my diet just in case they had buddied up with the cheese dudes. I mean it would be shameful to have high blood sugar and high cholesterol. There was no cheese in my house for ten days.            Cheese PizzaNo pizza! Can you believe that one?

If it didn’t grow on a bush or a tree it was not in my fridge. Later that month I turned up for my physical and the doctor gave me my report. Every lab test was fabulous. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Your cholesterol is very good.”

I nodded. “That’s great.”

I was already imagining my dinner of gluten free pizza, and maybe a glass of pinot noir. I mean, a celebration was in order. I’d stop into Trader Joe’s on the way home. And for dessert I’d get the low sugar almond chocolate bar. Oh, and I might even pick up a wedge of Brie cheese. Well, I was having lady friends over for cocktails in a day or two. They’d love some cheese and crackers. MP900177957

The doctor still held my gaze.

“Yeah, I’ve been working on it,” I muttered.

Well, I had been, for ten days. I visualized the creamy Brie and put a big red X across it. I put a cross through the chocolate bar too. The wine could stay. And I would celebrate with that small pizza, because after all it does have tomato slices on top. It will be hummus and crudités for the ladies and maybe an artichoke dip with pita chips. But that’s it. That doctor can see right through my sneaky ways.

Do you have a similar weakness for a certain food? How do you control that craving?

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22 Responses to That Big Slut, Cheese

  1. Sarah Vance-Tompkins says:

    My doctor gave me the “no more cheese” speech at my most recent appointment. Not only do I have high bad cholesterol, I have very low good cholesterol and I love cheese. I worked in a gourmet cheese shoppe for a summer, so I know which ones have the highest fat content. Those are my favorites. I cannot resist cheese. But pizza — I don’t really like pizza so I don’t exactly know how I manage to stay overweight. I’m probably eating cheese wedges the size of pizza slices.

    • robena grant says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Sarah. I think that was one of my lifelong dreams: work in a chesse shoppe. You lucky gal. We have one out in the vineyards in my home town and I walk through the door prepared to by a wedge of everything. And the bread. Don’t get me started on that. : )

  2. Michelle says:

    I feel similarly and lovingly toward pasta. Red sauce, cream sauce, Alfredo.. Doesn’t matter. Love it all.

    • robena grant says:

      Hi, Michelle. Pasta and I used to be big buddies, but I gradually weaned myself off it. I’m hoping to do the same with cheese. I don’t miss it when it isn’t in the house, but it’s the impulse buy in the store that I need to change. Put blinders on, maybe?

  3. Nia Simone says:

    Ha ha! You are doing GREAT!!

  4. Kady Winter says:

    I, too, was diagnosed with high cholesterol, but no amount of diet restrictions made a difference, so daily Crestor it is. Fortunately, no side effects I can detect, so painless, really.

    Giving up cheese, now that’s another matter. As a vegetarian, it is not only one of my important protein sources, it’s one of my joys. My true addiction, though, seems to be sugar. Once I’m off the wagon, cookies quickly become the foundation of my diet. Hangs head in shame.

    I admire your discipline.

    • robena grant says:

      Hi, Kady. Yes, cheese would bring you some much needed protein. I’ve heard others mention Crestor and no bad side effects. So that’s great. Sugar is a sweet siren isn’t she?

  5. I cannot live without cheese. I have found the 25% lower fat cheese to be good and do not deprive myself. However, I did have to go on cholesterol medicine a couple of years ago. Now that I’ve reached my goal at weight watchers, my cholesterol has dipped amazingly!
    Cutting out over 50% of sugar from my diet has made a big difference.

    Enjoy that piece of pizza!

    • robena grant says:

      Yes. A nutritionist friend told me the low-calorie Mozzarrella and hard cheeses, like Parmesan were okay for me to eat…in moderation…it’s that darn Brie that I have to stop looking at. : )

  6. Cindy says:

    I’m from Detroit and we know cheese. When my kids moved away they could not find Detroit style deep dish pizza anywhere. They started in with the great baking experiment and after many many pizzas they found what it was in Detroit style pizza that gives the corners and the crust that delicious edge over all pizza in the nation. Cheese. Not oil, not butter, not lard. Cheese dripping down the sides and baking to a perfect crispness that proves Detroiters love our cheese:)

    • robena grant says:

      I’m hearing a special note here: cheese, glorious cheese. Ha ha. Cindy, I’m thankful to learn I’m not the only one in this group of writer/reader friends who has a craving.

  7. Dee J. says:

    Oh man! I so feel your pain! I’m a cheese slut/lover and I have to cut it out before I see the Dr. too! I try to be good, but sometimes… well let’s face it, I cave! Glad I’m not alone! You made me laugh with this post. LOL. Too funny! And congrats on that good cholesterol! Keep it up! I mean, DON’T keep it up… but keep up the good work. Haha.

    • robena grant says:

      Glad I gave you a chuckle, Dee J. I’m trying hard not to slip back into old patterns. It really would be good for me to use cheese as an occasional treat instead of adding it to my marketing list. ; )

  8. Hi Robena, I applaud your will power! I do have a weakness…it is called FOOD! In general, I like my sweets and my carbs and they DON’T like me! Like you, I know what I need to avoid to feel healthy, but I don’t think I’m nearly as strong as you! Keep up the great work!

  9. robena grant says:

    Oh, RoseAnn. I am not at all strong when it comes to food. I grew up in a house full of people (six siblings) they all have wives or husbands and kids (some of whom have kids of their own) and we always laugh when we get together because we sit around eating, and at the conclusion of the meal we begin to discuss what we’ll eat at the next one. It’s really pitiful.

  10. I’m lucky in that I’ve never liked raw cheese, but I like melted cheese. I have a harder time with carbs like potatoes, rice, bread. 🙁

  11. robena grant says:

    Yep, I’m with you on the carbs, Kate. When I went gluten free it helped me to cut the bread BUT I was allowed rice. Oy! I soon learned to supplement with rice tortillas, rice flour bread…and the list goes on. : )

  12. Marie Miller says:

    Did someone say cheese…I love cheese especially New Zealand cheese..every trip I take to kiwi land I bring back cheese/some relative comes from nz, they bring me cheese.. They do have the best cheese, I believe and I do have a weakness for that kiwi land cheese…yep I’m another sucker….but do need to watch that cholesterol etc. etc.

  13. robena grant says:

    Hey, Marie. Thanks for stopping by. Yes! I love NZ cheese. When I first came to the States I’d have my mother ship me big blocks of Aussie and NZ cheese (along with vegemite.) : )

  14. I’m surprised I don’t have high cholesterol because my diet relies heavily on cheese. Sigh. Hope I don’t have to give it up completely.

  15. robena grant says:

    It seems to be a common problem, Judy, and I hope you don’t have to give it up either. Personally I’d rather a wedge of brie than a few squares of chocolate. ; ) Everything in moderation, right?