Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Going Vegan Has Taught Me.... Everyone is addicted to cheese!

In this multi-part series I will talk about things that I've learned since going vegan almost a year ago.

Everyone is addicted to cheese.

When people find out I’m vegan almost every single person says “I could never be vegan because I could never give up cheese. I think I'm addicted!”

Cheese actually IS addictive.

There are studies that show dairy has addictive properties.

Here is a great article detailing dairy addiction.

But... as great as it may be, dairy is also really bad for you. It’s just  concentrated fat and cholesterol.

I thought it might be hard for me to stop eating it but once I went thru the detox of it, I was fine. I really don’t miss it now that I know how bad it is for my body and what is IN in. Do some research, it will gross you out. The easiest way for me to avoid something is to learn why I shouldn't consume it and what is actually IN these foods..... that is the best deterrent ever! 

Even tho I really never had a huge acne problem, going off dairy has totally cleared my skin (I’m guessing because dairy contains hormones that can mess with your system) and I had a sort of ‘fog’ lifted from my mind. I can’t really explain it but I feel more aware. I have less respiratory issues (I hear dairy is especially bad for you if you have asthma), I used to get rapid heartbeat but since going vegan, I haven't had that happen since and my belly is a lot flatter too!

I now make delicious snacks like creamy cashew cheese that is much like crock cheese, my own version of 'parmesan' using nuts, seasonings and nutritional yeast and some really yummy vegan queso (see below for recipe) for nachos that tastes great and it’s actually good for me!

I still enjoy mac & cheese and white saucy pasta. There are so many great cookbooks on the market and so many vegan blogs that I haven’t found anything I can’t make vegan yet, and that includes cheesy stuff!

There are also good cheese substitutes available at retail. I avoid them as much as possible since they are processed but a few times a year I will indulge in a few that I enjoy like Teese Nacho Sauce, Daiya and We Can't Say It's Cheese Hickory Spread but for the most part I let nutritional yeast give me my cheesy fix because it's healthy.

Nutritional yeast can usually be found in a health food aisle or store. The link shows you a popular brand. Another well-known brand is called Bragg's. Do not confuse it with baking yeast or Brewer's yeast - totally different product!

Give this recipe a try....

I like less salsa in mine so start adding it slowly until you get it how you want it. Serve with chips! I'm going to try making this and adding in a can of vegan chili one of these days. By the way... this recipe was actually used to create a brand of jarred  vegan queso that is being sold at Whole Foods! It's yummy.

Nutritional Yeast Queso Sauce


    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/4 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
    1 teaspoon paprika (I like using smoked paprika)
    1 teaspoon salt
    Dash of garlic powder
    1 cup water
    2 tablespoons margarine (I use vegan Earth Balance sticks)
    1 1/2 cups salsa OR 1 can diced tomatoes and peppers (Rotel or other brand)

    2 tsp yellow mustard (optional)


Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan.  Add water. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat and add margarine. Stir until margarine is melted. Stir in can of tomatoes or salsa

Return to low heat and cook just long enough for tomatoes to heat.

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