What’s in one slice of pizza? You’ll find that one slice of pizza contains as much as two-thirds of a day’s maximum recommended amount of saturated fat, according to the latest Federal Nutrition Campaign. Why the Sacramento big push to eat more cheese for the past two years between 2010 and 2012? The fat stays on the pizza with more toppings nowadays, even though in countries where pizza is served frequently, sometimes the pizza, in parts of Italy, for example, is served with only tomato sauce and not cheese on the bread-like crust.
Check out the November 6, 2010 New York Times article by Michael Moss, “While Warning About Fat, US Pushes Cheese – The New York Times. Or “U.S. pushes cheese while warning of fat: federal nutrition cop backs a calorie-loaded campaign.” Also see the NY Times article, November 6, 2010, “Why the Government is Promoting Cheese,” and also see the Food Health News article on why the government is promoting sales of cheese. See, While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales – NYTimes.com.
The expanding U.S. dairy industry produces more milk and other dairy products than it can sell. Dairy Management’s program has a $140 million budget, financed largely by a government-mandated fee on dairy producers. What will the farmers do with all the excess milk and cheese to make use of it? Why they’ll put the gusto for dairy into a push to have more cheese in restaurant foods, such as pizza and even tacos. U.S. Farmers with more milk than they can sell have to push that cheese and milk somewhere.
Remember when people on welfare sometimes complained about the government giving poor people so-called “government cheese?” Today’s Sacramento Bee article, November 7, 2010 noted that one quarter of a six-cheese pizza (Domino American Legends Wisconsin pizza) contains 12 grams of saturated fat, which is 77% of the recommended daily maximum, 430 calories, representing 22% of recommended daily maximum, and a whopping 990 mg of salt (sodium), which amounts to 66% of recommended daily maximum.
And that maximum is for healthy people without high blood pressure, not for kids with high blood pressure or any other age group, and not for the salt sensitive who may have a variant kidney gene whereby their blood pressure may rise upon eating too much salt. So you first have to find out whether you’re the 30% of the American population with high blood pressure, or the 60% of the population with high blood pressure who also are salt-sensitive.
That leaves you with the saturated fat with which to contend, let alone the calories. Pizza sales are great. They’re rising, and the government wants sales of cheese to continue rising. Consumers ate more pizza when the pizza contained more cheese.
The November 7, 2010 Sacramento Bee article “U.S. pushes cheese while warning of fat,” reported that a group called Dairy Management teamed up with Domino’s to develop a line of pizzas with 40% more cheese, followed by a $12 million marketing campaign, according to that article. Sales went up by double digits. At the Dairy Management website, also at that time were links where scholarships were offered to those interested in dairy-related careers.
You won’t find no-added salt pizza in most Sacramento’s eateries
Would anyone in Sacramento like to develop a healthy pizza without dairy, cheese, or salt? How about those vegan restaurants in Sacramento serving vegan pizzas made from raw foods and perhaps rice or nut-based nondairy ‘cheese’?
You can make cheese lookalikes from nuts or grains. Health food stores in Sacramento may have pizza crusts made from rice flour or other gluten-free flours. You probably can find whole grain pizza dough, and you’ll find cheese substitutes such as rice or soy cheese on various types of nondairy pizza in health food stores, usually in the freezer/cooler.
Our family traditionally eats home-made garbanzo bean flour pizza topped with vegetables and hummos instead of dairy products. You don’t need to use soy ‘cheese’ or vegan ‘cheese’, rice ‘cheese’, almond ‘cheese’ or simply pureed chick peas mixed with two or three tablespoons of sesame seed paste (tahini) instead of cheese.
Not all pizza toppings have to be dairy-derived. Some pizzas are topped with pineapple slices or various roasted vegetables that taste good on a thin whole-grain or sprouted lentil-derived crust.
As for a crust, you don’t need bread flours to make a pizza crust. You can make a pizza crust with finely chopped cauliflower. You’ll find a recipe for a pizza crust made with cauliflower instead of bread flour at numerous sites online such as at the site, Cauliflower Crust Pizza. Or check out the site, You Won’t Believe it’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe. Check out, Cauliflower Pizza | The Dr. Oz Show.
There’s even raw foods-based pizzas in some vegan restaurants. What multi-ethnic varieties of baked or toasted flat bread can Sacramento chefs serve in the way of pizza, open-faced sandwiches, or ‘mezza’?
Some people like to top pizzas with baked fish, onions, zucchini, and red bell peppers or ‘cheese’ made from ground nuts and various sauces, whether tomato-paste based or from layers of hummos (ground garbanzo bean paste and pureed sesame paste) and vegetables, fruits, or even chunks of cooked fish–salmon, cod, or sardine balls with pitted olives and onions.
The problem with saturated fats is that it has been linked to heart disease, whereas what looks like cheese that’s made from ground up nuts and juices is good for the heart, for example almond cheese, if only it didn’t contain so much salt in the commercial varieties. It’s time to make your own cheese from nuts and seeds without adding salt.
Did you know that Dairy Management which helps to market cheese is a marketing creation of the US Department of Agriculture? That’s right. The government wants you to buy all that cheese. But at the same time, the federal government is on an anti-obesity drive discouraging the eating of too much, well–excess cheese and other saturated fats.
Dairy Management, according to the Sacramento Bee article, has an annual $140 million budget and is largely financed by a “government-mandated fee on the dairy industry.” But it also gets several million dollars each year from the Agriculture Department, which “appoints some of its board members.”
Biblical pizza crust from ground sprouted lentils as flour instead of grain
So maybe it’s time for you to make your own pizza. How about a cheese-free Eastern Mediterranean pizza popular in the Levant called “Biblical Pizza.” Here’s what goes onto the whole-grain crust instead of cheese:
First you take a thin-crust pizza that you make not from white flour but from ground sprouted lentils. Buy yourself a dry grinder such as a Vita-Mix dry grinder or use a coffee grinder. And grind lentils into flour. Then make a thin pizza crust from sprouted lentils. Go ahead and sprout lentils overnight or for two days in a jar of a little water until they start to sprout. Grind them into meal or grain.
Or use garbanzo beans ground into flour. You can buy garbanzo bean flour at most health food stores or natural food stores here in Sacramento. For example, Elliot’s on El Camino Avenue has packages of garbanzo bean flour. Or use your own whole grain flours or your favorite bean flours.
Make your pizza crust with or without added yeast following any recipe for pizza crust. When you top your pizza before baking it, top it with a mixture of ground sesame seed paste (tahini) and ground garbanzo beans (chick peas). You can buy this ready-made hummus in any Sacramento supermarket.
If you make it yourself, adding a quarter cup of lemon juice, a pinch of pepper, salt if desired, or other herbs and spices, some chopped garlic, chopped parsley and chopped mint or pitted olives in the amount you prefer from a pinch to a quarter cup, and olive oil or sesame seed oil.
Add two or three tablespoons of tahini sauce which you can buy or make yourself by turning sesame seeds, a little water, a little lemon juice, a little oil into a puree in your blender. Basically it’s a mix of a little ground sesame seed paste to each cup of pureed cooked or raw, soaked chick peas (garbanzo beans). When you mix ground sesame seed paste with ground chick peas (garbanzos) it’s called hummus, popular all over the Middle East, North Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean.
What you’re going to do is top your whole grain or whole legume or whole bean flourless pizza crust with circles of hummus. The hummus takes the place of cheese. If you need that cheesy sensation, you could add almond cheese that you make from nuts or buy in various Sacramento health food stores. For example, Elliot’s carries almond cheese. Or make your pizza without cheese.
Using sesame seed paste and garbanzo bean paste instead of cheese
All you have to do is wipe the hummos all over your pizza crust. Then top the hummos instead of cheese with all types of herbs and chopped or sliced vegetables such as thin slices of zucchini or eggplant, tomato or red bell pepper, slices of yellow squash, cucumber, mint, parsley, thinly sliced red onion, and any other pizza toppings you like from shiitake or maitake mushrooms to spinach. Then sprinkle a handful of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, or pumpkin seeds and pistachio nuts on top.
If you like fish, top the pizza with pieces of wild caught canned salmon or cooked pieces of cod. If you want a vegan pizza, sprinkle nori seaweed on top or a pinch of dulce. Pick the vegetables you enjoy most and top your pizza with slices of your favorite vegetables. Then bake your crust until it’s crisp, but not for too long.
Use tomato paste if you like the taste of tomato as the first layer and put the hummos on top of the tomato. Or skip the tomato and use hummos topped with zucchini or eggplant thinly sliced and other vegetables of your choice such as sliced tomatoes, red bell peppers, and thinly sliced red onions, parsley, and mint. Add garlic and spices such as thyme, oregano, or your favorite fresh herbs.
Make your own pizza, your way. In the Sacramento Bee article, you’ll find a subtitle on page 20, “Dairy: Ag agency touts cheese-heavy restaurant meals.” You’ll also see reference to ‘disputed’ studies and research. For example, the clinical study that showed “people on a reduced-calorie diet who consume three servings of milk, cheese, or yogurt each day can lose significantly more weight and more body fat than those who just cut calories.”
The Sacramento Bee article notes that milk consumption is in decline. The article examines how Dairy Management “hit on a fresh marketing strategy,” with its weight loss campaign. Check out the book on which the campaign has been based, according to the NY Times article by Michael Moss, reprinted in today’s Sacramento Bee. That book is, The Calcium Key: The Revolutionary Diet Discovery That Will Help You Lose Weight Faster.
Your job as a consumer to to find out whether further research says whether there was weight loss. What’s the research saying about weight loss and eating cheese? Read the NY Times article. It’s online also as well as reprinted in today’s Sacramento Bee. The article also appears in yesterday’s news releases in a variety of other newspapers online. Read online the full report, “While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales.”