In a former life, in a galaxy far, far away, I was once a Nutritionist. So, when confronted with a nutritional conundrum, friends sometimes try to pick my brains.
On one occasion, my good Friend G posed the following question:
Once a month, I have Cheese Night. Although I eat quite healthily the rest of the time, I always end up two pounds heavier in the morning. Could it be the port I serve it with?
First of all, let me say that I’m wholeheartedly in support of Cheese Night. It’s probably the best idea since putting wheels on suitcases. But I see you’ve discovered the lead in the silver lining.
Am I right in assuming that cottage cheese doesn’t get much of a look-in on Cheese Night? Instead, you are serving only the Good Stuff? Luscious dollops of the creamiest of cream cheese, fragrant Pié D’angloys, ripe and runny romadur, a Danish blue so whiffy it makes your toes curl and your eyes water all at the same time. If you’re greedy like me, you’ll be cramming it onto your crackers to maximum load bearing capacity. It’s Cheese Night, for God’s sake!
Now, if you’ve ever looked at the labels on your favourite kinds of cheese, you will have spotted that pesky little line, which reads: “full fat cheese”.
Time to take a deep breath. This isn’t some sort of mysterious code, nor is it a baffling statement akin to “this product may contain nuts”, printed on packets of salt & vinegar crisps as a get-out clause, in case some hapless, I’m-allergic-to-everything North London yoga dolly breaks out in purple hives after the first crunch.
Yes, my dear G, and I can hear you groan as you begin to fathom the awful truth: Full fat cheeses consist of – eeeek! – 80% fat. Cheese is little more than a rather tasty lump of lard that slides down your gullet and onto your hips in 60 seconds flat. So, there you have it, at least one of your post-Cheese-Night pounds is now neatly accounted for. Feel free to blame the other one on the port and the bread, if you like.
I hope I haven’t ruined the romance for you. I fear that, from now on, Cheese Night might feel a bit like going on a date with Brad Pitt after finding out he’s got athlete’s foot, scabies and suffers the occasional flare-up of genital herpes. He’s still gorgeous, your hormones want him, but there will be consequences.
I can only offer two solutions to your problem: The first is to reduce Cheese Night to the frequency of Pancake Day. The second is a jog round the block, morning noon and night, every day for a week, before AND after Cheese Night.