Whole-food, plant based diets have been shown again and again to protect the body against decline and disease. Whether it’s heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or cancer—chances are if you’re trying to avoid it, incorporating vegan alternatives into your diet is going to help you do so. There’s an outdated notion that incorporating healthy choices into your diet feels like punishment and deprivation. This is patently untrue, and to prove it, here is Kim Barnouin’s fabulous list of ways to get your creamy fix without the negative side effects.
This passage is excerpted from the Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps, which you can buy now for just $1.99 from your favorite ebook retailer now through November 30 (sorry, this offer is valid in the U.S. only).
Cream Cheese: Follow Your Heart Cream Cheese
Truth be told, there’s no true cream cheese matchup on the market. . . yet. But Follow Your Heart Cream Cheese is thick and creamy and spreads as smooth as the real thing. Plus, it has a slightly tangy flavor that makes it my number-one choice for desserts and frostings, hands down (makes a mean cream-cheese frosting for carrot cake). Made with natural, GMO-free, organic goodness (followyourheart.com)!
Shredded Cheese: Daiya Cheese
Daiya is the bee’s knees. The plant-based, soy-free cheese that I so dare to call an “alternative” comes in shredded cheddar and Italian blends in a bag; it melts like a champ, but without the artificial ingredients, preservatives, or cholesterol. The cheddar has a nice rich and sharp flavor that gives burritos and quesadillas a punch. Tofurky and Daiya have even teamed up for a line of frozen vegan pizzas (I’ll get to those). Over-the-moon delicious (daiyafoods.com).
Block Cheese: Follow Your Heart Cheese
My second favorite next to Daiya, this rich, cheddary vegan cheese comes in blocks, but shreds nicely too. Made from soybeans and expeller-pressed canola oil, Follow Your Heart’s cheese requires higher temperatures to melt, but hey, it still melts. Don’t get too picky. Available in Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Nacho (followyourheart.com).
Appetizer Cheese: Dr. Cow Aged Vegan Cheese
Your mom always told you that you were “different” from the rest. Well, sweetheart, meet your match. This line of aged gluten-free cheese blocks is made with cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts; some varieties have kale, dulse, and hemp seeds thrown in. The sharp flavor is tough to describe, but slice it up next to some fancy crackers or toasted French bread, and I guarantee your guests won’t give a rat’s ass what’s in it. Each block is 100 percent organic, with no additives or artificial ingredients, and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Available in Aged Cashew Nut, Aged Cashew and Crystal Algae, Aged Cashew and Brazil Nut, Aged Cashew and Dulse, Aged Cashew and Hemp Seeds, Aged Cashew and Kale, Aged Macadamia Nut, and Aged Macadamia and Hemp (dr-cow.com).
Cheese for Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Teese Cheese
This one is great for kids, especially those with food allergies (it’s made in a facility with no egg, dairy, peanut, tree nut, or sesame in the vicinity). The texture is smooth with a mild, slightly buttery flavor that the whole family will love—vegan or not. Break it up into smaller pieces in a pan with noodles to achieve a more creamy consistency, and it makes a supreme mac ’n’ cheese. Teese Cheese is made from non-GMO soybeans and is also low in fat. Available in Mozzarella, Cheddar, Nacho Sauce, and Creamy Cheddar Sauce (teesecheese.com).
Yogurt: So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt
Even your hubby will dump the Yoplait after trying this coconut yogurt. It totally looks like regular yogurt, with a thick and creamy consistency—not all watery and thin like some imitation yogurts. (My son loves it!) Choose from GMO-free, soy-based or soy-free yogurts and smoothies that are so creamy and flavorful. Available in a variety of flavors including Chocolate, Strawberry-Banana, Blueberry, Passionate Mango, Vanilla, Raspberry, and Pina Colada (turtlemountain.com).
Rice Milk: Rice Dream
Made by the same company that produces Soy Dream, Rice Dream comes in both non-refrigerated and refrigerated versions, including Carob, Enriched Chocolate, Enriched Original, Enriched Vanilla, Heartwise Original, Heartwise Vanilla, Horchata (aye, aye, aye!), Original, and Supreme Chocolate Chai (tastethedream.com).
Hemp Milk: Pacific Natural Foods Hemp Milk
Available in Original, Hemp Vanilla, and Hemp Chocolate (pacificfoods.com). Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. No THC included. It has a creamy nutty flavor, making it a prime candidate for baking, and is high in essential amino acids, potassium, and folic acid.
Hazelnut Milk: Pacific Natural Foods Hazelnut Milk
Available in All Natural Hazelnut Original, All Natural Hazelnut Chocolate (also in single serve; pacificfoods.com). Low in fat with no saturated fat or cholesterol, Hazelnut isn’t the most popular milk alternative on the market, but it’s a nice choice for baking.
If soy ain’t your thang, almond milk is another great milk alternative for cereals or dunking cookies. The best “milks” for making desserts or hot chocolate are vanilla or sweetened almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk. Hemp and hazelnut milks are ideal for baking nut breads, since they have a sweet, nutty taste