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Is Vegan Cheese Healthy?

Vegan cheese is a non-dairy alternative to cheese, usually made from plant-based proteins and fats. It can be a great option for people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or those who follow a vegan or Mediterranean diet. But not all vegan cheese is healthy!

 

Vegan cheese can vary widely in its ingredients, nutrition, and quality. Some vegan cheeses are highly processed and contain artificial additives, while others are made from whole foods and natural ingredients. Some vegan cheeses are low in fat, protein, and calcium, while others are rich in these nutrients. Some vegan cheeses are high in sodium, while others are heart healthy. Just like other foods just because it's vegan doesn't mean it isn't processed food that is junk.

 

Therefore, it is important to read the labels and compare different brands of vegan cheese before buying. Here are some tips on how to choose the best vegan cheese for your health, based on the practices of functional medicine.

 vegan cheese

The best vegan cheese should:

 

  • Contain natural, high-quality fats and proteins. Fats and proteins are essential macronutrients that support many functions in the body, such as hormone production, immune system regulation, muscle growth, and brain health. Some good sources of plant-based fats and proteins are nuts, seeds, soy, coconut, and pea protein. Avoid vegan cheeses that contain hydrogenated oils, palm oil, or other unhealthy fats.
  • Be free of colorants or chemicals. Artificial colors and preservatives can have negative effects on your health, such as increasing inflammation, disrupting hormones, or causing allergic reactions. Look for vegan cheeses that use natural ingredients to create their color and flavor, such as turmeric, paprika, nutritional yeast, or bacterial cultures.
  • Provide microorganisms that are beneficial for intestinal flora. The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. It plays a vital role in your health, affecting your digestion, immunity, mood, metabolism, and more. Some vegan cheeses are fermented with probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can improve your gut health and balance your microbiome. Look for vegan cheeses that contain live cultures or state their probiotic content on the label.
  • Be free of hormones. Dairy products can contain hormones that are naturally produced by cows or artificially added to increase milk production. These hormones can interfere with your own hormone balance and cause health problems such as acne, weight gain, infertility, or cancer. Vegan cheeses do not contain any animal hormones and are safer for your hormonal health.
  • Have high levels of fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by the body but helps to regulate your blood sugar, cholesterol, and bowel movements. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut and supports your digestive health. Most plant-based foods are high in fiber, but some vegan cheeses may have more fiber than others depending on their ingredients. Look for vegan cheeses that contain nuts, seeds, vegetables, or grains as their main ingredients.
  • Help to level sugar and cholesterol levels in the body. Sugar and cholesterol are two substances that can affect your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Sugar can spike your blood glucose levels and cause insulin resistance, while cholesterol can clog your arteries and increase your blood pressure. Vegan cheeses can help to lower your sugar and cholesterol levels by providing healthy fats, proteins, and fiber.

 

When reading nutrition labels, if you can’t pronounce it, stay away from it. We love using this as a rule of thumb. There are a lot of great companies out there that have quality vegan cheeses that fit into an anti-inflammatory and longevity nutrition plan. Our spreadable vegan Pharmer cheese has probiotics, fermented chickpea miso and all of its ingredients are always organic!

 

Try this delicious morning toast recipe when you want to switch it up from your healthy breakfast protein shakes.

 vegan cheese and gluten free bread

What you’ll need

 

How to prepare:

  1. Chop your mushrooms and put in a pan with water or oil if you choose. Sauté on medium heat for up to 5 mins or until desired texture is achieved. 
  2. While that’s happening, toast your bread. If you’re using Pharmer bread we recommend toasting it in the oven on 350 F until it gets to your desired texture. 
  3. If using avocado put that on the bread first, then spread the vegan cheese, layer the sautéed mushrooms, and finally top it with kimchi. 

 

You won’t want to share this, so make extras =)


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