Food & Fitness

Re-Cap of a Weekend Getaway and Thoughts on Cheese

Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, the mother dear and I took the Friday and Monday off work and drove to Riding Mountain to stay at a resort for a few days. We just wanted some time out of the city; a little mini-break holiday to relax and be pampered. And pampered we were!

The room at the resort had a fireplace in it, so we spent much of our time curled up in front of a crackling fire, reading novels and drinking tea. We had intended on going cross-country skiing but the weather was too warm so the snow had melted considerably, making it treacherous for skiing. So we changed our plans a little: instead of skiing, we went hiking! Although our hikes were short treks, they were still challenging because we were trudging through snow and the trailsΒ were hilly (unlike walking around in our flat city of Winnipeg). On one of the trails we had a little adventure, too: the trail led out onto the lake, which would have been fine in the middle of winter when the lake is all frozen over, but by this point it was definitely not safe to venture out there. So instead we had to forge our own path through the trees to meet up with the road. A fun and unexpected detour!

The mother dear, before becoming a veterinarian, used to work as a naturalist in this particular national park. She enjoyed showing me where her old house had been and telling me stories from the late 70’s. When I was a little kid, my family and I used to come up to Riding Mountain all the time to go skiing, and my parents actually met at the resort that we stay at, so there’s something very special and nostalgic about the place.

I was a little anxious about whether my disordered eating would crop up again, but luckily it did not! We ate out at the resort restaurant and had plenty of snacks in our room; when we went grocery shopping and bought chips and cookies in preparation for the trip, the mother dear was laughing at the “look of glee” (her words ;)) on my face. Yes, sometimes it can be a little fun to indulge (even if it is dark chocolate and Guiltless Gourmet chips)!

Since our weekend, and since my most recent struggles with disordered eating, I’ve decided to try a little “experiment” of incorporating some dairy back into my regular eating. While we were at Riding Mountain, we ate smoky Gruyere cheese with apple slices, and it was incredibly swoon-worthy. I resisted buying cream cheese at the store a few days ago, but I think I may start buying really good quality cheese- smoky Gruyere or jalapeno cheddar or brie- and having small amounts of it at a time again. I prefer to drink non-dairy milk for the present and not go overboard on the dairy, and I do want to try to stay vegan for at least a few days each week, but I also know that it’s important right now to be careful with my restrictions. I don’t want to be vegan if I feel deprived; that’s not the point of being mostly-vegan. When I eat as a vegetarian or as a meat-eater, I do it because that’s what I feel like at the time; if I eat as a vegan, it’s because that too is what I feel like doing in the moment. And that’s crucial: really listening to the body and being mindful of it. Being healthy for the environment and being healthy for our own bodies is critical to truly living healthy, but at the same time our mind and hearts have to be in it. That’s why I think it would be good for me to have cheese on hand for the occasions when I’m more in the mood for cheese than I am in the mood for veganism.

Can I live without cheese? Sure. Can I live with cheese? Sure. But I don’t see it as all-or-nothing. And mentally, that’s a good place to be in.

Do you like cheese? Is it a staple in your fridge? Have you taken a weekend off lately? What sorts of plans have you recently “adapted” due to unforeseen circumstances (eg. a super-early spring causing the ski trip to turn into a hiking trip, or creating a path through the trees instead of following it out onto a lake)?


  1. Dr. J

    I lived in France for a few months studying cranio-facial surgery in a large hospital in Nancy. They had a lot of cheese there! Here, in the US, we have a section for cheese in the store, there they had an entire aisle with cheeses, one for every day of the year I think. Now, I don’t eat cheese.

  2. the Bag Lady

    I LOVE cheese! Almost always have it in the fridge, and most of the time in several forms (extra-old or cream cheese…..)

    And going vegetarian is not going to be an option around here for awhile – we just picked up our meat from the butcher…… all 480 lbs of it! Wanna come for a steak cooked over an open fire? (ummm, in a few weeks, that is – we just got a huge dump of snow, and it’s supposed to continue snowing off and on all week. Sigh)

  3. Sagan Morrow

    Dr. J- When I lived in Holland they had whole stores full of cheese there, too. Giant wheels of cheese! Such a novelty when we’re not used to it.

    Bag Lady- YES. I’m there. I’ll be finished classes in a couple weeks so I’ll come by right as it’s warming up πŸ˜‰ Hehe.

    Lance- String cheese is fun to eat. I’d forgotten about it!

  4. JavaChick

    In our fridge right now…Havarti, Parmesan, several kinds of cheddar (smoked, 1 year old white, medium and marble) and some Laughing Cow which I bought to try but am not crazy about (to me, has a fake cheese taste, like Cheese Whiz). I think I would have a hard time giving up cheese.

  5. Em

    I used to not be into cheese. I didn’t NOT like it, but I wasn’t craving it either. At least until recently. I went on a cheese binge the beginning of this year. I loved cheese and ate it all the time. It’s now definitely in the fridge and I eat it often, but it’s . . . well I guess I really do like cheese come to think of it!

  6. Sagan Morrow

    JavaChick- I’m raiding your fridge.

    Westwood- Mmmmmm melted brie over matza πŸ˜€

    Em- Funny how that works! I figure when I start craving something like cheese, there’s likely a biological reason for it (although it could partially be mental)… I don’t think I get enough calcium so I expect that’s what it is, for myself.

  7. love2eatinpa

    sounded like you had a wonderful getaway, good for you! it was great that you were able to adapt to changes and feel comfortable with your food choices.
    i do love cheese, but i’m a plain jane and just keep reduced fat american in the house as a staple. i enjoy getting the protein, calcium and a bit of fat. it is satiating.

  8. liz wx

    Glad you had a couple of good weekends, and they sound very relaxing and restorative. This comment is a bit of a tangent, but we went to Gruyere 9 or 10 years ago, and you should definitely visit if you’re ever in France or Switzerland anywhere near Geneva. It is a beautiful, mediaeval old fortified town on a hill, with gorgeous green mountainous views all round. The cheese factory is in the valley and you can go on a tour round it. It is so interesting! You see all stages of cheesemaking and the whole thing is so impeccably hygenically super-clean it takes your breath away. You end up seeing great caverns of cheeses maturing for different lengths of time for the different strengths. The only downside is that the commentary tape was narrated from the point of view of a cow, and it was so cringe-makingly cheesy (sorry) that we wanted to just destroy it, but somehow restrained ourselves. But ever since, when we eat Gruyere, I think of that lovely town and the beautiful countryside and it adds to the pleasure of the taste. When we’re in France I generally buy cheese from markets or from farms, rather than supermarkets, and here too from farmers’ markets where I can. I love goats’ cheese and very strong cheddar and stilton. One of our friends grew up near Camembert and tasting a cheese which he’s chosen that day from the local market is a joy! For me at any rate. For Mike it’s torture, since he hates soft cheese and is just being polite. But it’s very character-forming for him πŸ™‚

  9. cathy

    I’ve given up cheese (and all dairy) cold turkey for up to a year and a half twice. I missed it, but I didn’t just yearn for it. It’s surprising how quickly one can adapt to a life without dairy. Once I could eat cheese and dairy again, I welcomed it back into my life joyously. Cheese is one of those things that just can’t be replicated. I was able to find wonderful gluten free breads, pastas, and the like when I was without wheat. The same cannot be said of cheese. It’s the real deal or not at all, in my opinion. (With the exception of soy cream cheese, which I found passable.)

  10. Sagan Morrow

    FatFighterTV- There’s something about smoked cheese, isn’t there?!

    Love2eatinpa- That’s a major reason why I want to incorporate cheese into my diet again: I feel like I could really use the calcium/protein/fat combo that it provides. Nut butter is a good vegetarian fat/protein option, but sometimes I’d prefer something a little savory, and I’d just rather cut back on my intake of nut butter. (Hopefully I can keep my cheese-intake under control!)

    Liz- That sounds LOVELY! (And I strongly encourage tangents in the comments. I like hearing stories!). I traveled all over France with my family when I was younger but I’ll have to go back to that part of the world just to visit Gruyere πŸ˜€

    Cammy- I’m looking forward to trying some local products as well this summer. I’ll be trying out the 100-mile diet in a few months… that will be a fun time!

    Diane- When I was younger I didn’t appreciate cheese. All I’d eat was marble cheddar or processed cheese. But the sisterroommate is some kind of cheese connoisseur; when we were living together, there would always be about four kinds of really good quality cheese in our fridge. She’s taught me the goodness of it πŸ™‚

    Cathy- I agree. Since my vegan experiment in September, I just stopped eating dairy because I didn’t feel like I NEEDED it. In January when I went raw, I started craving cheese a lot, which I think was because of the calcium need… I don’t feel as though I need cheese every day, or even every week, but it’s something that is nice to have sometimes. Dairy milk, however, I don’t miss at all. I never really liked the taste of milk anyways. I just drank it before because I knew I OUGHT to for the calcium and all. Now I like drinking vegan milk instead.

  11. julie

    I like cheese, I shred a pound of pepper jack, pound of mozzarella, keep it in the freezer for omelets, pizza, quesadillas, etc. I sometimes get cream cheese, which I mix with a bit of wild smoked salmon, chives, and eat it on bagels. I get organic if possible, grass fed when possible, tried vegan as a teenager, doesn’t work for me. I’m into sustainable and humanely raised, which makes it expensive, which means I eat less, but I like it, and I don’t get enough fat without it.

  12. anony-mum

    “National, Sagan, National Park….not Provincial”
    I have been remiss in viewing your blog of late, and I just have to say: you are just too darn cute dancing in front on your apartment in the video clip…and you are totally awesome in the 4 video Raw food interviews. Your parents must be VERY proud of you! πŸ˜‰

  13. Sagan Morrow

    Julie- I like those ideas to freeze it and all. And it’s nice to get organic/grass-fed etc… gotta do our part!

    Miz- Yum πŸ™‚

    Anony-mum- *cough* well thank goodness for being able to edit posts after they’re published… hehe.

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