Why You Shouldn’t Eat Vegan Cheese
Supermarkets have become flooded with vegan products. We come across something labeled “vegan” and read the ingredient list just to make sure it is 100% vegan. That is good. BUT, do we give much attention to what the ingredients really are? what do they mean? what do they do to our health?
If you are vegan and are following that lifestyle/eating style for ethical reasons towards animals, then so be it. But if you are vegan because you learned it is healthier for your heart, gut, and vitality, you may want to take a deeper look at those ingredients on the back of that food product. Out of all the vegans I have met in person, a few of them look so vibrant, lean, fit, and full of color. Now, many, many, vegans I have met in person, don’t look very healthy. This is very unfortunate. Many people think vegan is healthy, and it CAN be, but there are so many vegan food products out there that are made with some of the worst ingredients one can be consuming. There are also certain whole foods that vegans/vegetarians tend to eat a lot of but their digestion can’t handle it well, thus causing health problems. Many of the vegans I have seen have began having problems with their skin or their acne is getting worse ever since they started eating vegan, they feel bloated frequently, they experience low energy, they have hollow eyes, their facial color looks off, their hair looks very brittle, and various other health problems. A vegan way of eating can be so beneficial to health if done in two important ways:
-your body does well with highly absorbing nutrients from plants.
-you are eating a variety whole foods and minimally processed foods.
I want to talk about this because it is something I feel very passionate about to inform people about foods that trick them into thinking it is healthy. The other day as I was walking around the salad bar at Whole Foods I heard a woman say she would like the vegan cheese on her sandwitch because it sounded better. The words that went through my head were, “ohh no no!” Do you know what most vegan cheese is made out of? and even vegan butter? Well, to put it short, it is inflammatory foods at a high concentration. I almost tried these products once before when I was eating vegan, but I didn’t know what the ingredients were at that time. Now that I do know, I’m glad I didn’t eat those animal replacement products. I will share two examples of these harmful products and the ingredients that make them very inflammatory to your health, and to brighten it up I will share some healthy options.
Commercial Vegan Cheese Spotlight: Daiya Cheese
There are various popular vegan cheese products out on the market that so many vegans, lactose-intolerant people, and health food adventurists like to buy thinking it is a healthy alternative. Remember the popular saying, “Just because it is vegan does not mean it is healthy”. So what are the ingredients in this vegan cheese health product?
As listed on their website: Filtered water, tapioca and /or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegan natural flavors, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), annatto, titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral).
The ingredients I highlighted in bold are the ones I want to point out that some of those are highly inflammatory and others have been detected as unsafe. People have experienced side effects to these ingredients and these ingredients are said to need further studies.
Commercial Vegan Butter Spotlight: Organic Earth Balance Butter
(I went for the organic one!)
As listed on their website all ingredients are organic: Natural Oil Blend (Palm fruit, Soybean, Canola, and Olive Oil)Filtered Water, Pure Salt, less than 2% of natural flavor (derived from corn, no msg, no alcohol, no gluten), crushed soybeans, soy lecithin, lactic acid (non-dairy), and natural extracted annatto for color. Contains soy.
First of all, Canola oil is not natural and should not be part of their “Natural Oil Blend.” (Read more great info from BalancedBites about how Canola oil is made by clicking here)
Most vegetable oils are highly processed, highly heated, and exposed to a lot of light while sitting on the shelf. All of these factors combined make these vegetable oils go very rancid, thus causing inflammation and damage to our DNA strands. “Vegetable Oil” used to be called corn coil, and now it usually stands for Canola oil and Soybean oil. So why do so many food companies use these oils? These oils are found in most packaged processed food as well as “health” food products. These oils are cheap! Be sure to check your ingredient list on the back of your food products. Remember they are in almost all packaged food, and small amounts do add up over time. Canola oil is very popular with packaged vegan food.
The other ingredient I want to bring you awareness of is Soy. Soy is the highest food source of phytoestrogens which lead to an imbalance of hormones where you end up having estrogen dominance. This has been associated with breast cancer, endometriosis, infertility, and low libido. Soy is also very disturbing to your thyroid. It is a highly goitrogenic food meaning that it prevents your thyroid from getting adequate iodine. Ready for another one? Soy is very high in phytates that you need to ferment in order to lessen the amount of phytates. Most soy products on our market are not fermented at all and are present in almost all of the ingredient list of food packages. Examples of fermented soy products are Tempeh, Miso, and Tamari sauce.
How sucky is this. This really sickens me. Most of the vegan food products I like to take a quick look at begin with the first ingredient as one of those inflammatory vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are all rancid. Canola Oil is made IN a plant, not FROM a plant. Even before it has been bottled it has already oxidized. Please don’t fall victim to these products when you are out shopping.
To make this post a little bright and greener I would like to mention some brands out on the market now that make healthy versions of vegan products.
If you do well with animal dairy then there is nothing unhealthy about that. Just make sure you are getting a dairy product that’s been sourced from grass-fed cows/ pasture-raised animals. Local is best! If you buy dairy produced in a large scale animal facility where they raise sick animals, then those animal food products will surely make you ill. Quality cheese will be more expensive but very good for your health if you choose to eat real cheese.
Great reviews of vegan cheese made only from nut milk, cultures, enzymes, and salt. http://www.kite-hill.com/index.html
You can sprinkle a little bit of Nutritional Yeast on top of your salad or chicken salad for a cheesy flavor and nutrient boost. You can find nutritional yeast at your health grocery store or online.
Use Olive Oil instead of butter.
Use real yellow butter from grass-fed cows that were roaming out on the field. KerryGold butter is one of the best producers out there. They have amazing cheese products as well.
http://www.organicpastures.com/ makes a good raw cheddar cheese.
If you can tolerate dairy products then make a trip to your health grocery store, head over to the specialty cheese section and ask for grass-fed cheese and/or raw. Local is even better if you can!
http://www.eatparma.com/ makes great animal-free products such as parmesan cheese that you can sprinkle on your salad, soup, homemade pizza, and most savory recipes. Made from nuts, seeds, spices, and sea salt.
Instead of using vegan Mayo for your tuna salad, try using a mashed avocado with a little bit of lime juice and onion powder. You won’t miss the Mayo! Try my avocado mix recipe instead of the vegan Mayo. https://viibrante.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/no-mayo-tuna-salad-gluten-free-paleo/
Cheesy Kale chips give you that cheese fix you need and can add a cheesy flavor to your salad or soup.
Let me know if you have other ideas!
Have a great day and I’m always glad to answer any questions.