What To Do When You’re Seriously Craving Cheese
Cheese! Who doesn’t want some queso?!
Is cheese standing between you and a plant-based diet?
Ooey gooey melt-in-your-mouth cheese pizza?
Mama’s Thanksgiving mac and cheese?
Why do I ask?
Because it’s usually the hardest thing to give up before going plant-based.
And c’mon. Everyone knows cheese tastes so finger-lickin’good!
I called it, my thorn in the flesh. I gave up my Mommy’s Pollo Guisado (Dominican Chicken Stew). Even my staple Chinese General Tso’s Chicken couldn’t catch me by the tail.
Cheese in all forms was in its own category.
Then I learned about its dangers: cheese can contain cow pus, is sprayed with mold to create the rind, and messes with dopamine receptors in the brain; making it so addictive. Yikes (Learn more about the dangers of Dairy in my easy to read infographic: You & Dairy=Scary).
These revelations made me uneasy. So after several relapses, coupled with cystic acne breakouts (it flared the mess out of my skin), and unsightly hawking (sorry for the graphic, but I constantly spat up this lingering cheese-induced phlegm in my throat), I finally learned to conquer the impossible.
Are you ready? It’s way easier than you think.
Please enjoy these game-changing options to satisfy your cheese cravings, today.
Nuts & Seeds
Specifically, cashews! Listen. It’s like a must in this plant-based world. Blending cashews into a cream is the perfect cheezy base for dips, casseroles, soups, and of course, mac and cheese! If you want to get fancy, macadamia nuts blended into a smooth paste with some lime and seasonings are a delectable cheese topping. If you can’t do nuts, sunflower seeds also do the trick!
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Literally, just sprinkle this stuff on anything, and get an instant cheese-flavored burst. A plant-based staple in most cheese sauce recipes, it’s highly nutritious and a B-vitamin king! I like to make parmesan “cheese” by blending almonds, nutritional yeast, and pink Himalayan salt, to top over spaghetti. Nuts blended with nutritional yeast flakes are God’s plant-based cheesy gift to the world. Trust me on this one.
Cauliflower & Potatoes
Surprisingly, cauliflower makes a fabulous ultra-creamy alfredo sauce (especially if you’re nut-free). Use it for a white sauce lasagna! Blended potatoes with carrots also work nice as a cheese dip substitute for nachos. Again, nutritional yeast flakes is the key ingredient in these recipes, for the cheesy taste.
If you’re making a cheese sauce, and it calls for milk, replace it with non-dairy milk. You’ll still get the cheesy creaminess, without cheating. If you’re going for a sweeter taste, coconut milk is a dreamy option.
This starchy flour derived from the tropical plant Maranta
Store Bought Vegan Cheese
If you can’t make your own cheese, look out for plant-based market options. Make sure they don’t contain dangerous casein, a protein found in dairy milk. In addition, most alternatives are made with hydrogenated oils, like canola, which is harmful. Sodium content can also be equal to or higher than dairy cheese. Always check labels.
A note about casein: Casein is a protein found in dairy milk and is linked to serious health risks including allergies, respiratory issues, and cancer. In the China Study, Drs. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell detail how casein, the majority of protein in dairy milk, promote cancer in all stages of development. That’s a link you shouldn’t ignore.
PRO TIP: Read product labels. Casein is also found in foods labeled as non-dairy or dairy-free. Some alternative names are sodium caseinate and casein hydrolysate. Even the ever popular whey, is made from this protein. Keep your head in the game and read up.
Concerned that eliminating dairy and cheese will leave you calcium deficient? Don’t be. Here’s my plant-based calcium cheat sheet.
A plant-based diet doesn’t mean a lack of flavor, a lack of cheesiness or a lack of anything, including calcium. There are tons of home-made cheese recipes you can try plus store-bought plant cheese options. Finding something to satisfy your taste buds will be a breeze!
What are some of your favorite plant-based cheese substitutes? Please let me know in the comments below. Let’s swap ideas.
Attribution: In-body photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash
Hey friend, I'm Mel!
I'm a certified holistic nutritionist, certified health coach, plant-based food instructor, and a certified personal trainer. My passion is helping people like you transition to a plant-based diet, with easy step-by-step strategies that work. I'm committed to empowering you to heal through a plant-based lifestyle so you can freely live out your God-given purpose and thrive. Let's start today!
Join The Conversation!
Melissa, thanks so much for the cheese and other tips. I’m blessed to have your input into becoming healthier. Blessings to you and your family!!!
Most welcome, Cynthia! Blessings to you also ☺️
Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome, Louise!
Thanks a zillion for this one. Regular cheese actually made me feel sick but I still liked the stuff. Thank you for the link to the cheese recipes. It’s exactly what I needed!
Thank you Lilia! So happy you find this helpful! Blessings ☺️
Thanks. You have got me really motivated ! Im still a baby as far as plant based is concerned.
Starting my shopping on Monday
Will keep you updated
Christine, I’m so thrilled you’re motivated to do this! You can do it! I recently released a couple of videos you’ll find helpful when shopping.
How to Choose Foods On A Plant-Based Diet
5 Plant-Based Pantry Must-Haves To Build A Balanced Pantry (Vegan Fridge & Pantry Essentials).
Please let me know how your journey is going. I’m cheering you on!
Meghan! I know the struggle first-hand! What helped me is knowing my triggers, and recognizing food as my medicine. I literally had to bombard my at-home environment with quality food choices I wouldn’t regret. Take baby steps, and make them consistent. And thank you for your affirmation 🙂 This lifestyle is the TRUTH! I’m so excited to share what I’ve gleaned along the way, in hopes to truly help someone heal.
I am so blown away by your transformation!! Thank you Melissa for starting this plant based lifestyle, honestly, I struggle so much with eating right. Mainly because I am an emotional eater, and instant carb is always screaming “Eat Me” anyhow keep it up and I look forward to reading and learning more from your blog!