Healthy Alternatives to Cheese


**Update on this article 5/09/11:  I wanted to add a new vegan cheese product I found by a company called Daiya. It’s a cheese made with arrowroot (tapioca). It’s fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free, hormone and antibiotic free and kosher! As they stress on their site, the cheese melts and stretches and I can certainly attest to this fact! I have tried both the cheddar and the mozzarella styles and they are both amazing. I gave up cheese so long ago, but it’s always a taste I will know, remember and love, and this makes it possible to have healthy versions of things like mac ‘n’ cheese, nachos, pizza etc. I urge you to try it! Check them out here:

http://www.daiyafoods.com/index.html


So, I never intended to go dairy free, because I was a HUGE cheese lover. Brie, cheddar, muenster, mild, smelly, soft or hard…there was NO way I was going to give up that creamy, luscious, melty goodness. Heck, it made the perfect snack, topping or additive to most food choices. But, since I ADDED in other things, vs taking them away, the dairy just sort of fell off and now I don’t really think about it too much.

I wanted to talk about this cool new product I stumbled upon recently because I think it’s SO tasty and it satisfies my cheese craving (if any, as they really are rare these days…I’m a chocoholic, not a cheese-o-holic, but sometimes, it’s a nice flavor to include in foods).

In the refrigerated section of Whole Foods, they have a whole area devoted to ‘fake’ cheeses, and let’s face it, most of them taste like slightly tastier versions of plastic with cheese coating. They don’t melt and they add nothing to the meal-in fact, they may even take away because they can be so unpalatable.

But alas, amidst in that soy/veggie/fake cheese world, you can look for a little cream cheese looking package of something called We Can’t Say it’s Cheese. This product is so good! It’s not like a cheese you would cut (no pun intended), it’s more like a spread, but hey, that’s good enough for me. It’s not raw, but it is the following: vegan, gluten / wheat free, dairy free, soy free, has no trans fat, has 60 calories in 2 tbsp, 0 cholesterol, 0 sugar, has 10% calcium, and 2 g of protein per serving. It’s made from (get this) whole grain oatmeal! Weird, right? Tasty? YES!

The ingredients include: non-GMO whole grain oatmeal, oil, pimentos, nutritional yeast (yay!), sea salt, and depending on which flavor you try (there are 4 different kinds-I will post link to product info), some different ingredients are used.

I use it in wraps with hummus and veggies and make it more like a meal, or snack on it, just dipping raw veggies such as broccoli or jicama in it. I am sure you can get even more creative than I am and use it as a sauce over pasta or rice-hey, why not?

Just because you give up dairy, does not mean there are not fun and tasty alternatives out there! And even if you still eat regular cheese, I urge you to try something completely different. You never know! This might hook you and you may not crave the other stuff anymore.

Here is the link to We Can’t Say it’s Cheese: http://www.wayfarefoods.com/node/5

…and here is a link to the ingredients: http://www.wayfarefoods.com/content/ingredients as it’s always important to read labels and get informed about what goes into your mouth and into your body. Don’t just look at the nutritional information-look at what the product is MADE of! 🙂

I personally like the Hickory Smoked Cheddar-Style-yum!

Let me know what you guys think, even if it’s just a ‘cheesy’ little note saying you would never try it again-I want to know that you are open and tasting things that are brought into your consciousness…obviously, if you are reading this blog page, you are someone who is keen on getting healthy info, so here ya go! I’d love to hear from you at healingthrufood@gmail.com

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