Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guest Post: Vegan Cheese vs. Dairy Cheese

A note from Bou: Hi all! Super busy, busy! I miss blogging here so much but med school training is no joke! I hope you enjoy this guest post from Health Line - and feel free to contact me and add your own! <3 br="">
Cheese is often considered an integral part of a balanced diet. The art of cheese-making itself goes back at least 4,000 years, with some of the earliest versions surfacing in the Asia and the Middle East. Despite the popularity of traditional cheese, the fact is that it doesn’t fit all lifestyles. Aside from a saturated fat content, regular dairy cheese is not acceptable in diets based on plant foods. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy cheese as a
vegan. The key is finding the right cheese that fits to your dietary goals and overall healthy lifestyle.

Facts About Dairy Cheese

From a nutritional standpoint, dairy cheese is best-known for its calcium content. The precise amount of calcium depends on the type of cheese. According to the Dairy Council of California, this may range from 18 to 22-percent of the recommended daily value of calcium, per one-ounce serving.
However, dairy cheese comes with a cost. Saturated fat is among the most prominent nutritional concerns since it is made from milk. The Dairy Council of California ranks cheddar cheese at the top, with an estimated 6 g saturated fat in a one-ounce serving. The fact that dairy cheese comes from animals is also a reason vegans abstain from this food.

What to Look for in Vegan Cheese

The term “vegan cheese” can seem like an oxymoron because it is anything but the conventional dairy cheese. By definition, vegan cheese is not really cheese at all because it isn’t made from milk. Instead, this far-healthier version is made from plant-based ingredients, such as nuts, grains and tofu. Vegan cheese is nutritionally dense with antioxidants from the plant-based ingredients. It even contains fiber, which is an important heart-healthy nutrient not found in traditional dairy cheese. Some versions are even fortified with just as much calcium as cheese from cow’s milk. Depending on the type, vegan cheese may also contain a thickening agent such as organic flour.
There are a growing number of vegan food companies making cheeses available for easy purchase at the grocery store. However, it’s important to make sure that the cheese you choose is actually vegan. Some misleading companies actually use casein to improve the texture, an ingredient contained in cow’s milk. So while the whole product might not come from milk, there are still related ingredients. This is why it is important to read all food labels carefully.
Another problem with store-bought vegan cheese is that many of the products are overly processed. You may find a great deal of preservatives, as well as salt to help make the cheese last longer. This is certainly beneficial in terms of shelf-life, but not so great when considering your overall health.

Cheesing it Out Yourself

Perhaps an even better solution to packaged vegan cheese is to make it yourself. This way, you can be sure the cheese is purely vegan, and you don’t have to worry about added salt, sugar and preservatives. Almonds, soy and cashews are great sources for creating vegan cheese—the key is to make sure the consistency stays creamy. Soak the nuts overnight in cold water, and then rinse before use (this is the same technique as using dried beans). A food processor works best to achieve the right texture, but a blender will work, too.
Making your own vegan cheese also doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the same recipe all of the time. Spruce up your everyday cheese by experimenting with finely cut peppers, seasonings and herbs. Overtime, you’ll find that vegan cheese has far more variety and you won’t likely crave the conventional versions ever again.


Author Bio: Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who also has a certificate in nutrition. Her work has been published on numerous health-related websites. Previously, she worked as a communications and marketing professional. Kristeen holds a BA in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University, and is currently pursuing an MA in English. When she's not writing or studying, she enjoys walking, kick-boxing, yoga, and traveling.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vegan Pancakes: Cutie Style

I've been free-handing my pancakes lately - and I think they look really great!

I might not be on par with these peeps just yet;

But hand me a squeeze bottle and you'll be saying hello to a few Chewbacca pancakes for your morning breakfast!

For a recipe - hit up my awesome recipe!

Hope you enjoy! <3 p="">

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vegan Orange Chicken (Gluten-free option, Chinese-American)


You know what I really miss? Seitan. Do you know what I really, really used to dislike? Orange chicken! Let's see how much my opinion will change when we combine them.

But this orange chicken was spicy, sweet, tangy and so simple! It was so complex and so smooth, it bared a slight resemblance to the bright orange sauce you would order at any quick Chinese restaurant, but once you get this awesome sauce in your mouth - there's no going back. It's medium-thick, so you can taste the crispy, nuggety goodness of the seitan without it being over-powered by an overly-saccharine thick sauce.

I didn't have time to actually MAKE the seitan, that's where good Ol' Gardein* comes in. I just ignored the fact that they have a sauce to go with it, because that's how I do.

 *You can use tofu, for a sure-fire GF option!
Orange Sauce Ingredients:
1 tsp Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp Ginger
2 Cups Orange Juice
1 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
3 tbl (Apple) Honey or Agave Nectar
2 tbl Sriracha
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Cornstarch + 1-2 tsp cold water (mix)
Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flake
Cracked Black Pepper
The best part of this sauce is that you can start it at any time - even the day before and then you can just warm it up or "bake" it onto the vegan chicken!

Mix all the ingredients except for the cornstarch slurry, and make sure to do a taste test before adding all the hot and sweet stuff!

Whisk it all together, and let it bubble a bit...keep stirring! Faster and faster, and then you can drizzle in the corn starch. Keep stirring until fully incorporated, and then a little bit after. Let it boil and cook down a bit and RESIST adding more!

Let the cool down while you follow the instructions on cooking Gardein's Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n. The plot thickens...

Or at least the sauce does! Pour it over your chick'n, slam it on top of rice and you're good to go!

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