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Obesity is prevalent today, especially among children. Below is an article by “The Maker’s Diet” author, Jordan Rubin.
I recently came across this article in the Industry Science Journal, and it served as a great reminder of just how much work we have to do as parents and as a society to ensure a healthy future for our kids.
In a 2010 report titled Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set a goal of reducing obesity among children and teens from about 17% to 14.6%. The problem is that according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the current trend is headed in the wrong direction, and would put 21% of children and teens in the obese category by 2020.
The researchers’ proposed solution? Children and teens need to eliminate an average of 64 excess calories per day through either a decrease in calorie intake or an increase in physically activity, or both.
Now of course, their recommendation is just an average. Some young people don’t need a reduction in calories, and many others need a far more drastic change than eliminating just 64 excess calories. As the article points out, there are environmental, cultural and even hereditary factors that come into play that significantly alter those averages. For example:
“White youths would need a 46-calorie reduction, on average, in their energy gap to reach the goals. But given their higher obesity rates in 2008-2010, the average reduction needed to close the energy gap for Mexican-American youths is 91 calories and, for black youths, it is 138 calories. Youths in lower-income communities also need greater reductions than their peers in higher-income areas, again due to higher rates of obesity.”
So, while I agree that the elimination of excess calories is a worthy point of discussion, it’s not the whole discussion. What I believe these and other disease statistics show is that we need a real food revolution in our country. You see, when it comes to overall health, disease prevention, quality of life, and even weight loss−all calories are not created equal. In fact, the quality of calories consumed from various foods can be so different that it’s not even an apples to oranges comparison, it’s more like an apples to chemical-laden, preservative-filled, nutrient-void, GM pseudo-foods comparison. How your body metabolizes the calories and nutrients you consume is not only a factor in how much weight you may lose, but more importantly, it will play a huge role in helping your body function at its optimum level.
If we want to do something about the obesity epidemic, let’s start not by teaching the kids to count calories, but let’s educate them on how to make healthy food choices that will be a lifelong foundation for disease prevention and healthy living.
Of course, getting them off the Xbox and outdoors for some physical activity would do wonders as well, but don’t get me started on that!
A great sculptor can take a simple piece of bronze and shape it into art. Cheese making is a similarly trans-formative process. It requires taking a precious ingredient—raw, whole milk—and using artistic craftsmanship applied over time, creating a product that is fundamentally different than the milk that you started with. It is a process that is best described as art—hence, the term artisan.
At Beyond Organic, our cheese starts with one of our most precious resources—our milk. Much like cheese, the startling majority of milk consumed in the United States is mass produced. It’s hard to create great art with factory farm milk. Our milk comes from Green-Fed™ cows allowed to freely roam green pastures, sampling from Nature’s buffet. The grass, herbs,and legumes they eat are their natural diet—what cows have been consuming for thousands of years.
The milk these cows produce is unparalleled in both health benefits and flavor. It has a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. It has vitamin E and beta carotene. Our Green-Fed dairy also contains conjugated linolenic acid (CLA)— a fatty acid that has been the subject of a substantial amount of research over the last several years. Our cows are never given antibiotics or growth hormones, and the land they graze is certified organic and is never sprayed with chemicals. The milk is rich and creamy, and it tastes unlike any milk found in supermarkets today. If milk can be artisan, ours is. It’s also the ideal starting point for a great cheese. From there, our artisan cheese maker takes over. The milk is allowed to settle, with the whey rising to the top and the curd remaining on the bottom. The whey—liquid gold in its own right—is siphoned off, cultures are added and the curd is pressed into wheel-shaped molds. The cultures will dominate the aging process and determine the type of cheese created.
The above description is overly simplistic. There are variables that only God controls and that is the true art of cheese making. Our cows’ diets change throughout the year—different greens grow at different times of the year. Milk taken from the cows in January may have slight taste differences than milk taken in August—subtly changing the end product of the cheese. Additionally, we never pasteurize our milk—it is never heated above cow body temperature (around 101.5° Fahrenheit). This is what we refer to as Really Raw. Mass producers of cheese love pasteurized milk because it delivers a uniform flavor and texture every time. Finally, how long you age the cheese will also affect the end result. Our cheese is ready when it’s ready—and that is exactly the way we want it.
Those variables are anathema to the factories that mass produce cheese. They want their cheese to taste exactly the same every day of the year. That is why they ultra-heat pasteurize the milk and age the cheese the exact same way every time. At Beyond Organic, that will never be our goal. If our cheese tastes different from batch to batch, then we know we are practicing the art of cheese making. Taste is subjective, and you may prefer one batch to another, but the cheese will always be great.
Art You Can Eat
Cheddar cheese is perhaps the most ubiquitous of cheeses. It is the most populous inhabitant of the aforementioned “wall of cheese.” Unfortunately, the insipid flavor and texture of mass-produced cheddar cheese comically undervalues the true greatness of cheddar. This is a particular shame. True cheddar cheese (the name is derived from cheddar’s origin, the English village of Cheddar in Somerset) was once described by the “father of Cheddar cheese,” Joseph Harding, as “close and firm in texture, yet mellow in character or quality; it is rich with a tendency to melt in the mouth, the flavor full and fine. . .” That hardly seems like the description one would use to describe run-of-the-mill mass-produced cheddar cheese.
Beyond Organic Raw Cheddar is what artisan cheese is supposed to be. It is pleasingly sharp, with a crumbly texture, and a richness and complexity of flavor that can be found only in a raw milk, aged cheese. Once you taste the flavor and experience the health benefits, you’ll find it hard to go back to the processed cheddar so prevalent in stores today.
Beyond Organic Raw Havarti is an altogether different cheese. Havarti is a Danish cheese that first came to be in the mid-1800s. Much like cheddar cheese, what once started out as a uniquely artisan tradition has been forsaken in the name of commerce. Originally, Havarti cheese was made from raw milk. Today, much of the Havarti that you find is known as “cream Havarti.” It uses highly pasteurized milk and is barely aged. It doesn’t compare in craftsmanship, texture or flavor to the original.
Our Raw Havarti is aged to create a pliable, semi-soft texture. It has a rich, almost buttery flavor with just a hint of tanginess. It is also versatile—great sliced and wonderful toasted or melted, where the buttery flavor becomes even more pronounced. It is the mildest of our cheeses and a great entry into the world of artisanal cheese making.
It has been said, “Art is to be consumed.” Never has that phrase been more applicable than with Beyond Organic Raw Cheeses.