Does This Cheese Make Me Look Fat? Or Why the French Woman’s Diet May Help You Lose Weight

DOES THIS CHEESE MAKE ME LOOK FAT? OR WHY THE FRENCH WOMAN’S DIET MAY HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT … UPDATE: I’ve lost 10+ lbs on this healthy, cheese “non-diet”..without dieting or feeling deprived since I wrote this blog post! And I’ve added a link to another blog (not my own) which not only discusses the specific cheeses and wines related to this article but includes some mouth-watering photos. Don’t forget to click on the icons for Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Buzz, Blink, Newsvine, Facebook and Twitter (at the end of the post) if you like what you’ve read. Also, please COMMENT. I’d love to hear about your experiences with cheese, healthy eating, and possible, related weight loss…and I’m sure others would like to read your responses too!

It often comes as a surprise to my fellow wine lovers that some of us wine types love cheese, too – a lot! Almost as much as we love wine. I’ve been eating “real” cheese as long as I’ve been drinking fine wine. That is longer than I’d care to mention since a lady never gives away her age (as my mother used to say). Oops! Now you know that I’m at that age when a woman starts sounding like her mother! (And wondering whether Botox is Kosher…)

Increasingly over the last decade, with the influx of a broader array of foreign cheeses to the U.S. and with the increased production of small-production, artisanal (handcrafted) American cheeses, this miracle of fermented, acidified milk has become a larger part of my diet. I go through periodic fits of eating only cheese accompanied by crackers and fruit (preferably, ahem, dried fruit) for dinner, often for days in a row. At a minimum, I dine like this once a week, while sipping a lovely, appropriate wine.

Guess what happens when I eat like this? I have fun. I experience pleasure. Sometimes I even feel I’m “addicted”. And for a bonus, I lose weight! Lots of it. Best of all I maintain my new, healthy weight…that is until something throws me off, a tight schedule perhaps or stress of some sort…or a spate of dining out. Well, actually, the economy has nearly obliterated that last obstacle to maintaining my neo-svelte figure…

My partner has always called this mysterious cheese-equals-weight-loss phenomenon “Alexandra’s wine and cheese diet”. Until last night we thought it was something only we knew about although we often had our doubts and thought we were crazy. Such negative thinking invariably led us back to “well-balanced” but skimpy meals consisting of salads, naked baked potatoes and fish (or boneless, skinless, above all, tasteless chicken breasts).

Now, after attending a class last evening at Sara Vivenzio’s San Francisco Cheese School taught by the pioneering fromager (and former wine sommelier) Max McCalman, I understand the science behind my dietary observations. Cheese is not evil. In fact, cheese is not only good for you, it is downright healthy! It’s loaded with nutrients and micro-nutrients. As part of the French-Mediterranean diet and that famous French Woman’s diet, cheese helps people lose weight and then maintain their new, healthier figure.

But wait a minute, you say. Cheese is fat! How can fat be healthy? And how can fat make you thin (or at least thinner)? Let’s separate the fat facts from fiction. As Max says at the beginning of every class he leads, CHEESE IS GOOD FOOD. To quote from his latest book, “Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship From a Maitre Fromager” co-authored by David Gibbons:

“A 4-ounce piece of solid farmhouse cheese, for example, supplies more than half the adult nutritional requirements for protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus as well as significant portions of vitamins A, B2 and B12. If you compare the nutritional content of a 3.5 ounce (100-gram) chunk of a hard, aged cheese such as Cheddar or Emmenthal to an equivalent amount of chicken eggs (two eggs are about 100 grams), the cheese contains about twice as much protein and one quarter the cholesterol.”

What else does cheese provide? (And by cheese I mean preferably raw milk which has not had most of its nutrients pasteurized or heated out of it) Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Zinc, CLA as well as two amino acids: Tyrosine and Taurine. Cheese also contains casein which breaks down into an opioid peptide. There’s some truth to my feeling like a cheese addict!

Vitamin D is vital for bone growth and prevention of osteoporosis. Zinc is essential for maintaining vision levels. B vitamins help with stress. CLA (or Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is found primarily in meat and dairy products, particularly cheese. CLA is an antioxidant, a class of nutrient which seems to have cancer-prevention properties. At least one study has indicated that CLA also facilitates weight loss and another study showed that CLA can lower serum cholesterol levels. All of which means that cheese is heart healthy, too!

Tyrosine is broken down by your body into the neurotransmitters Norepinephrine and Epinephrine. What does this mean for you? Increased energy, increased ability to deal with stress, elevated or stabilized mood. Tyrosine literally makes you happy. It is also a presursor to Melanin whch provides your skin with color and protects it from the sun.

Taurine, the amino acid which your cat requires in her daily diet, aids in the synthesis of bile supporting the metabolization of the fats and proteins in your diet. The cheese you eat literally helps you digest the cheese you eat! Now you have an excuse to have a piece of cheese within any meal. It can help you reach that point of satiety when you feel full and free of the desire to overeat. Taurine also helps lower or level off cholesterol levels and has been used to treat artheriosclerosis and hypertension (high blood pressure).

What’s missing in cheese? Fiber, water…and calories. So go ahead. Enjoy normal amounts of cheese with dried fruit or some other form of fiber, drink plenty of water (and maybe a little bubbly!). You’ll be happier, healthier and a little thinner. Now smile for the photos of the new you in your new jeans…and don’t forget to say “Cheese”!

http://www.cheeseschoolsf.com
http://www.artisanalcheese.com/our_team2.asp

http://ridingwiththecowgirls.blogspot.com/2010/02/perfectly-delicious-perfectly.html

Nothing in this blog post should be regarded as medical advice. If you have a medical condition or are embarking on a weight-loss regimen please consult with your physician or health care professional first. Trust me on this. I’m a doctor’s daughter.

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Michel Rolland Wine in Siberia?

Michel Rolland wine in Irkutsk? What is this? A James Bond movie???

Actually, Irkutsk has long been known as “The Paris of Siberia”. Perhaps this is because Siberia was the place where writers, artists, and other intellectuals of earlier eras were sent into exile. Or perhaps it is because the exiled brought with them a taste for smuggled wine as well as vodka? In any case, Siberia is just the place for intrepid, wine-loving Globetrotters like Anja Cheriakova and Georges Jannsens to go searching for signs of wine. And guess what they have found!

Before I give you the link to their delightful World Wine Tour 2010 travelblogue let me fill you in on Anja and George’s story and that of the 5th annual World Wine Tour:

Anja, a young Belorussian woman from The Netherlands, and Georges, a young man from the United States are travelling the world’s wine countries on a charitable mission. At each stop or winery they hope to collect one wine bottle. Throughout the tour they will report on their adventures to their rapidly growing base of followers. All bottles collected will be shipped (thanks to JJ Hillebrand) to Napa, California where a charity auction will be held at Robert Mondavi Winery in 2011. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Lao Rehabilitation Foundation Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The funds raised by the auction in 2011 will go to help rebuild a school destroyed by massive flooding of the Mekong River in 2008.

Georges and Anja have written to me about how much their thoughts are with the people of Haiti right now. The funds raised by the World Wine Tour 2010 were already committed to the Lao Rehabilitation Foundation a year ago. Anja and Georges hope that the Globetrotters who embark on the World Wine Tour 2011 will choose a Haitian charity as the recipient of their philanthropic endeavors. In the meantime Anja and Georges ask their followers to donate to a reputable charity providing aid to Haiti.

Back to Michel Rolland and Irkutsk: Anja and Georges have just completed the Siberian leg of an exciting railway journey on the Trans-Siberia/Mongolia Express. I know you’ll enjoy reading about their discovery of fine wines in Siberia as much as I have. Here’s the link to Anja and George’s World Wine Tour Blog: http://www.worldwinetour2010.com. If you don’t find the post entitled “The Trans-Siberia/Mongolian Express: Unexpected Stories”, click on Archive and look for the story dated 12 January 2010.

To follow Anja and Georges on Twitter: AnjaCheriakova or @WorldWineTour
To Friend Anja and George and the World Wine Tour 2010 on Facebook, Search: “World Wine Tour 2010″

Jancis Robinson is one of the media sponsors of this year’s World Wine Tour. From time to time she’ll be reporting on Anja and Georges global “scavenger hunt” for fine wines. This post contains the Tour’s tentative schedule: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201001053.html

Veronique Barretto, a student in the Masters of Wine Business Program at the Burgundy School of Business in Dijon, France, just “discovered” the World Wine Tour 2010. The February 3rd, 2010 post on her delightful blog, Vinously Speaking, offers brief bios of this years Globetrotters. You’ll also find links to French, Spanish, and even Dutch language translations of the Tour’s website: http://vinouslyspeaking.blogspot.com/

DISCLOSURE: I have the pleasure of volunteering from home for the World Wine Tour 2010 moderating the Tour’s Facebook page and writing some of it’s Tweets.

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Storage Tales of The City

If you’ve been following the Vinfolio fiasco over on Mark Squires’ Bulletin Board http://www.erobertparker/bboard.com then you know that some collectors either have pulled their wines from VF’s storage facilities, are planning to in the next week, or are contemplating doing so soon.  I’ve already made arrangements to have my wine picked up from Vinfolio at no cost by a third party and transported to its Bay Area wine storage facility.  Since I live in the Bay Area and know the “scene”, choosing alternative storage has been relatively painless.   What about the Vinfolio storage clients who live as far away as Hawaii, Massachusetts or abroad?  To help them I spent the day investigating Bay Area wine storage possibilities including interviewing owners and managers of several facilities.  I’ve selected just a few of these firms to highlight the diversity of services offered.  I’m not endorsing any particular outfit on this list nor is the absence of any facility meant to be a criticism of a given company.    

In no particular order: 

1) For secure, temperature-controlled storage at an affordable rate; full online access to your wine inventory, account history and downloadable reports;  ability to purchase wines at retail on the company’s website and store them for six months free; shipping in-state, out-of-state and out-of-country at no extra fee outside small cost of packing materials and UPS, FedEx, etc. charge; and opportunities to consign wine for auction through sister company, Wine Commune for a reasonable commission:

 JJ BUCKLEY

7305 Edgewater Dr. (Wine storage located in facility next door)

Suite D, Oakland, CA 94621

(51) 632-5500

Toll-free (888) 85-Wines (888-859-4637)

Contact: Cory 

N.B. Transfer wines from Vinfolio and receive free pickup from Vinfolio to JJ Buckley OR 3 months storage free.  Oh, and currently a 1500ml bottle of  ’06 Chateau Ausone is on sale on JJ Buckley’s website – $600 off! 

2) For secure, temperature- controlled self-storage and all brand-new facilities including a beautiful lounge and event spaces for clients’ private use; special storage member events, a “club-like” atmosphere; direct sales of boutique wines in a relaxed, “industrial-chic” setting; and an upcoming wine education program in a state-of-the-art, onsite classroom environment overseen by a Master Sommelier: 

SAN FRANCISCO WINE CENTER

757 Bryant Street

San Francisco, CA

(415) 272-4046

Contact: Brian 

N.B.  This is the only storage option where you can drop by and get hands-on with your wine collection, touching and “admiring” it and then, immediately after selecting a bottle, taking it to your table in the members’ lounge to share with friends and maybe other members before going out to dinner and/or a show in San Francisco.  (I should mention that some of the other Bay Area wine storage facilities will ship your wine to you in-state overnight, usually, but not always for a small fee in addition to  the UPS or FedEx cost).  Pickup from Vinfolio is free if you’re relocating a small collection to the San Francisco Wine Center.  For larger collections, the Wine Center will cover “a chunk of the charge.”

3) For secure, temperature controlled storage; Napa and Sonoma winery and hotel pickup of your wines; in-state and out-of-state shipment with no fees (other than what UPS or Fedex charges you); automatic weather tracking to make sure that your shipment doesn’t travel under inclement conditions; online cellar management software, selling/trading opportunities w/approx. 2,800 other clients including automatic updating of your inventory with no commission charged; assistance w/auctioning through Hong Kong, Acker Merrill, Zacky, etc.; the ability to purchase wines including new, “unknowns” (past examples include Robert Foley, Hundred Acre, Robert Sinskey): 

55 DEGREES

1210 Church St.

St. Helena, CA 94574

(707) 963 -5513

Contact: Neil or one of his very capable staff 

N.B.  55 Degrees stores all the wines and also handles proxy bidding for Napa charities.  The facility is attractive and located in the heart of Napa wine country, not in an out of the way warehouse district.  In other words it is a place you may want to visit when making your rounds through Northern Napa.  Call to  arrange pickup from Vinfolio and  check to see if any charge.  The lack of  “added-on” fees here is worthy of note and brings down the overall cost of storage here.

4) For secure, natural, underground storage with naturally-controlled temperature and humidity, immune to power outages, system breakdowns, or attendant negligence, and requiring no air-conditioning: 

PRESIDIO WINE BUNKERS

Located in San Francisco’s Presidio just south of Rob Hill on the site of Stotsenburg and McKinnon batteries.

Tel: 415-221-4440

Contact: Paul 

N.B.  There are only a few 10-case units as of this writing.   No pickup from Vinfolio.  You need to arrange pickup and drop off yourself. 

5) For secure, underground storage with controlled temperature and humidity and all brand-new facilities: 

STORAGE SAN FRANCISCO LLC (sister company to Presidio Bunkers)

435 23rd Street

San Francisco, CA

(415) 314-7675

Contact: Christo

Or

(415) 221-4440

Contact: Paul 

N.B.  They are brand new and open as of next week to accepting shipments from Vinfolio.  No pickup from Vinfolio.  Call and they can help you arrange for pickup with a local company at your expense.

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© Alexandra Alznauer, CS and Wine Watcher, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alexandra Alznauer, CA and Wine Watcher with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In The Real Dark Night of The Soul My Wine is Still at Vinfolio

I had intended this first post to give a bit of background about myself and why I consider myself a “wine watcher”.   Then I heard that Vinfolio is going into an “Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors”, a state-law, state-level alternative to filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 for federal bankruptcy protection.  Eighty percent of my wine is stored in Vinfolio, the finer eighty percent: French Sauternes, German Rieslings, Vintage Port, etc.  F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Jazz Age author and Depression-era failed, alcoholic screenwriter famously wrote, “In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning”.  I began this blog at three o’clock in my own dark night of the soul after reading the heated discussion on Vinfolio’s reorganization over at eRobertParker.com.  Mark Squires Bulletin Board on that site has been ablaze with theories about what will happen to buyers and sellers of wine through Vinfolio’s Marketplace…and what will happen to wine stored there by people like me.  I’m taking no chances and retrieving my wine ASAP.  Where I will store it is another issue.  For now the weather is cool in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wherever I keep my wine until it finds a new home, it will be fine.

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© Alexandra Alznauer, CS and Wine Watcher, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alexandra Alznauer, CA and Wine Watcher with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Safely Serve (and Conserve!) Champagne

You know it when you here it, a LOUD pop followed by spraying, fizzing, spurtling sparkling wine. You try not to think how much you spent as a good percentage of the bubbles and liquid literally blast into the atmosphere. You say nothing as you take your first sip and note that your Champagne is flat. Oh well, you say to yourself. At least no one was hit by the cork! Don’t let this happen to you again. There is a tried and true method for serving Champagne that guarantees not only that your Champagne will stay in the bottle until you pour but also that it remain delightfully sparkling. More importantly the safety of you and your guests will also be ensured. Grab a case of the cheapest bubbly you can find (ex: Trader Joe’s sometimes carries a Cava from Spain at $4.99)…and practice while you watch this video!

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Decanting Old-School Style

Sure there are a variety of gizmos on the market to aerate your new and older red wines. But when it comes to really fine aged, red Burgundies, Bordeauxs, and even some California Cabs nothing gets the job done like a simple decanter and your well-practiced technique.

more about "Decanting Old-School Style ", posted with vodpod

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Proper Still Wine Service

If you want to impress your friends with proper table-side service, this is it: the proper way to serve and open a bottle of wine. When dining out you should always be shown the label before the bottle is open…even if the service is less formal (sans the white napkin).

more about "Proper Still Wine Service ", posted with vodpod

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