Tuesday, October 3, 2017

It Wasn't Really Cheese, Was It?

If you're like me, then growing up as a kid one of the most staple foods to eat was grilled cheese. We made them at home. The sandwiches were served in school for lunch. And it was a comfort food. Pair it with tomato soup. Or stick a few pieces of bacon in there. And make sure there was plenty of butter on the bread to make it oh so savory.

But now as an adult who is looking towards clean eating to improve my life and health, I'm looking back at my poor food choices as a kid, teen, and young adult. In this particular instance, I'm looking at cheese. And more specifically, Kraft Singles. You know, the packaged processed cheese that was individually sliced with uniformity and enveloped by a plastic sheet with ease of opening.

It wasn't really cheese, was it?  A quick look at the ingredient list would confirm. Real cheese at the very base of it all is made up for 4 basic ingredients. But Kraft Singles seem to have more than a handful of other ingredients that probably help keep its shelf life, give it color, and texture. All together it's less natural than the numerous varieties of cheese available around the world.

But why would we subject ourselves to this false food? It's easy. Like many other processed items, this processed cheese was cheap. It was popularized by mass production, the cost reducing factor; the fact that they were so uniform and standardized was supposed to suggest high quality as well. And for a long time, the public really bought into this, literally. I have to imagine that Kraft sold an unthinkable amount of this product to millions / trillions of people over time. And sadly, I was a consumer for the longest time.

In more recent times, I'm happy to see the realization and movement towards eating real cheese. It comes as part of the concern of eating healthy. Knowing what your food is made of, learning what the affects are on your body's intake, and making conscious decisions of what to eat has shed so much light on the reality of processed foods, including cheese.

I'm proud to say that I gave up processed cheese and Kraft Singles nearly 3 years ago. When I do have a cheese craving, I only have real cheese. It is so much more flavorful and healthy. I thought it might be difficult to give up the simplicity of the packaged cheese, but I've found ways to replace it. I like cheese for the creamy texture it adds to sandwiches. That's what I used it for mostly. But now, I have swapped the cheese out for either fresh organic hummus or guacamole to fill that creamy void.  I don't think I've even had a grilled cheese sandwich in the longest time. Probably all the better for me to stay healthy.

It makes me wonder, has Kraft reduced its output over the years and lost as many consumers for their cheese as I imagine they should? (509)

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