As we get older, we produce less and less of the enzyme lactase, which is the enzyme that breaks down lactose. This is a natural process that our body goes through as we age, which can cause digestive issues such as gas and bloating, as well as inflammation within the body. Sounds like a lactose intolerance, right? That’s because it is, and thus why plant-based cheeses are both advantageous and necessary. But this predisposition to dairy isn’t the only reason we’re all for the no moo way of life.
Animal agriculture is having a devastating impact on the planet, and when you consider the cruelty and suffering that goes on behind the scenes, the need for plant-based cheese is even more evident. Fortunately, we are now seeing an increase of dairy-free alternatives popping up in supermarkets and health food stores to cater to this growing demand. But with so many options on the market, how do we know which is best?
Let’s first take a look at traditional dairy cheese to identify the nutrients we should opt for in a plant-based alternative. Dairy cheese provides a good source of protein, calcium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B2 and B12. At the same time, dairy cheeses can often be high in fat and highly processed, which can have adverse effects on our health.
Plant-based cheeses on the other hand can mimic the same tastes and textures of traditional dairy cheese without the need for animal by-products, removing some of the health concerns associated with dairy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all plant-based cheeses are healthy. Just like traditional cheese, these alternatives can also be highly processed, lacking in the nutritional department and harbouring other nasties like trans fats which we definitely don’t want in our bodies. They may also be high in sodium, so checking your labels is important.
Plant-based cheeses are generally made out of soy, nuts, coconut cream or flour. Due to the manufacturing of these products, preservatives, thickeners and colourings can often be added to give you the experience of a dairy based cheese. Therefore, plant-based cheese can be healthy depending on the type you choose and how often you consume it. Remember, too much of any food can be unhealthy. Research shows that people who consume a wholefood diet over processed food are healthier overall.
We recommend avoiding cheese alternatives that are hollow in nutrition and instead look for those that use natural, functional ingredients and superfoods to fill the nutritional gap left by the absence of dairy. Nutritional speaking, your best bet is to make your own or choose an option with the most whole food ingredients. At least this way you know what you’re putting into your body.
This is why we created Better Cheddar, the vegan cheese alternative that isn’t just for vegans! Get the experience of real cheese without the health risks and cruelty. And it’s not just an alternative yeast product, our Better Cheddar is so much more. Fortified with natural, superfood ingredients, this versatile powder can be made into solid block or sauce to work with your favourite dishes.
Better Cheddar will make all your cheese dreams come true, so why not give it a try today!