Did you know chronic issues like adult acne, bloating, and excess weight gain can all be attributed to dairy? It’s true! Many clients come to me with these common ailments, and the fix is usually relatively simple: cut out (or at least back on) dairy cheese.
Many standard dairy-cheese products contain hormones, extra calories, cholesterol, saturated fats, and salts that aren’t good for the body. The extra hormones often cause people to break out in acne, while the saturated fats and salts cause bloating and clogged arteries, and can lead to heart disease. Not only can traditional cheese contribute to heart disease, but research also indicates that those who consume dairy cheese regularly are more likely to develop illnesses like dementia.
Since cheese is typically the most common form of dairy in the standard American diet, I advise most of my clients to try cutting back on it to see if their symptoms improve. The first step to reducing intake of dairy-cheese is finding a delicious and healthy replacement. Although there are many dairy-free cheese alternatives available today, not all of them are made with clean, wholesome ingredients. Vegan cheeses often contain unhealthy starches and vegetable oils that the body converts to sugar, causing weight gain and uncomfortable bloating – the exact symptoms we are trying to avoid!
Another important note about vegan cheese: flavor. To put it bluntly, a lot of vegan cheese options taste terrible! If I’m going to eat plant-based cheese, I want the flavor to resemble regular cheese. Luckily, I’ve done the taste testing and found the most delicious (and nutritious) dairy-free cheeses available, so you can still get your cheese fix! Here are my favorites:
I adore Yvonne’s delicious and creamy vegan cheese. The company founder, Yvonne Ardestani, is a French-trained chef (and all around lovely human) who reinvents treats without dairy, eggs, or gluten. She sells three flavors of dairy-free goat cheese: Roasted Garlic, Onion & Chive, Black Truffle, and Cranberry & Dill. The ingredients are phenomenal, too, with only organic cashews, filtered water, organic coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and Himalayan sea salt as the base. I always have some Cranberry & Dill Vegan Goat Cheese on hand for last-minute cheese boards and cheese and cracker plates. Yvonne’s Vegan Kitchen ships the cheese straight to you or allows local pick-up, so it’s super easy to get your hands on some.
If you’re looking for delicious vegan mozzarella, pick up some Miyoko’s Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella. It’s a cashew-based vegan cheese that tastes fantastic on pizzas, salads, and paninis. I can’t believe how authentic this cheese tastes – it stretches and melts like dairy cheese. Miyoko’s Creamery’s cheese products are all Non-GMO, Lactose-Free, Palm Oil Free, Gluten-Free, and Soy Free. Another reason I recommend Miyoko’s is because the vegan cheese wheel flavors are fermented. Flavors like Smoked Gouda Cultured Plant Milk Cheese and Aged Herbes De Provence Cashew Milk Cheese will light up your taste buds all while boosting your gut health. Miyoko’s Creamery is available at most major retailers so grab some in time for your next pizza night!
After a lot of taste testing, I can tell you there aren’t many delicious vegan cream cheeses on the market– one of the few is Monty’s Cream Cheese. It’s spreadable, creamy, thick, and made with a simple combination of cashews, sea salt, and live cultures. I love the flavor options, too. You can choose from Truffle-Rosemary, Cinnamon Sugar, Scallion, and Original. All cream cheeses are 100% dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO. Order directly from the website to build your cream cheese bundle.
Many of my clients struggle with giving up feta, but I always tell them the same thing: try Violife Feta. I’m a fan of the Violife Foods brand in general, but the feta, in particular, tastes exactly like regular dairy feta. It comes in a block with the same crumbly texture and salty taste as traditional feta cheese. Try crumbling it on a salad or pairing it with tomatoes and olive oil. Violife Foods’ cheese comes in slices, blocks, and grated styles, so it’s always a go-to brand for those new to the vegan lifestyle. It doesn’t hurt that all the cheeses melt and spread like dairy-based cheese! Violife Foods is sold at most major retailers, so it’s highly accessible.
I first discovered Misha’s Kind Foods at the Los Angeles Farmers Market in 2018, and I was blown away by the rich texture and cheese-like flavor. The creamy cheese comes in various flavors like Black Truffle, Smoked Cheddar, and Mediterranean. This decadent cheese is made from a blend of cashews, purified water, almonds, vegan cultures, salt, olive oil, and spices. Add the Smoked Cheddar flavor to vegan macaroni and cheese for a delightful flavor bomb! Although I pick up Misha’s Kind Foods cheese from my farmer’s market, the brand also ships its products through GrubMarket and is available at many Whole Foods.
Now that you’ve read my suggestions, you’re well on your way to enjoying a dairy-free lifestyle! For the next step, check out my blog on the healthiest dairy-free milk alternatives.