This Dairy-Free Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’ is Perfect on Pizza (Raw Vegan)

This Dairy-Free Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’ is Perfect on Pizza (Raw Vegan)

alternatives

Dairy-free
Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’

Making your own alternatives can seem daunting, but this dairy-free cashew ‘cream cheese’ is about as quick and easy as it gets! Use it as a dip or try it as an alternative to cheese on a gluten-free pizza or seed crackers.

Recipe

Dairy-free Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’

Portion: 1 cup

Ingredients: 

  • 250g soaked cashews 
  • 250ml water
  • 1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (This is what gives it the cheesy flavour – try it with 1 tbsp to start and add more to ramp up the cheese factor.)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. (If you have a low-powered blender, don’t overcook the motor – use short blasts with rest in between.)

 

Health Notes

Cashews

All nuts should be soaked before using. While this may seem like an annoying step, it is not without good reason. 

Firstly, if you have ever struggled to digest nuts, this is because they contain high levels of enzyme inhibitors. When you soak the nuts, you neutralise these enzymes, allowing for easier digestion. 

Secondly, nuts contain phytic acid which binds to minerals during digestion and prevents them from being properly absorbed – and as minerals are the start of good health, we really don’t want that! Soaking nuts breaks down the phytic acid.

So by this point, you may be thinking why eat them at all… Well, most good things in life don’t come easy. Once you’ve soaked nuts, they are a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein.

250g cashew contains 45g protein. 

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast is soy, dairy and wheat-free (check the label though as brands can add weird stuff like whey) and is not the kind of yeast that aggravates Candida. It is instead a nutritional powerhouse.

A complete protein, it is also a source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. Some are also fortified with B12 (handy if you are vegetarian).

Relatively inexpensive, you can find it in most health food stores or online. 

Garlic

With most foods, you want to eat as soon as you’ve cut into them. As oxidation begins to occur and so the food begins to degrade.

Garlic, however, likes to be different. After you’ve cut into a garlic clove, it is best to let it sit for 5-10 minutes before eating or cooking.

Why? Well garlic contains a compound called alliin and an enzyme called alliinase. In its whole form, the clove’s cell structure keep these two separate. However, once you break into that cell structure, allinn and alliinase come into contact and begin to form a super compound called alliicin.

…And it’s alliicin that is responsible for many of garlic’s health-promoting benefits – and you could compile quite a list of those. Notably, it’s ability to help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and detoxify the body.

Finely chopping, pressing or mincing garlic helps get the most bang for your buck. 

This Roast Veg Tabbouleh with Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip is Full of Flavour and Naturally Cleansing

This Roast Veg Tabbouleh with Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip is Full of Flavour and Naturally Cleansing

Mains

Roast Veg Tabbouleh
with Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip

This middle-eastern dish is one of my favourites – so much so I even had tabbouleh at my wedding! Packed with fresh herbs and lemon juice, it is full of flavour and helps support the body’s natural detoxing function. As tabbouleh is often a cold dish, I used roasted vegetables to warm it up for the winter season.

Recipe

Roast Veg Tabbouleh

Portion: 2+

Ingredients: 

  • 100g quinoa 
  • 200ml water 
  • 1 lemon + 1/2 lime (you can stick with lemon if you like) 
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 courgette/zucchini
  • 1/2 small aubergine/eggplant
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tbsp oil (either high-quality extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil)
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • Handful of fresh parsley (*Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing)
  • Smaller handful of fresh mint
  • 1/2 pomegranate to top if desired
  • Optional: I had some honey & mustard dressing leftover so I poured that over the top. It’s not necessary, but a nice addition.

Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip | Honey Mustard Dressing

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 180 degrees C. 
    .
  2. Measure out the quinoa (100g) and rinse well – it can be bitter when unwashed (use a fine sieve or cheesecloth).
    .
  3. Roughly chop your courgette (1), aubergine (1/2) and red onions (2) into small chunks and place on a baking tray with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Mix well and cook for 30 mins.
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  4. Add 200ml water to a pan and bring to the boil.
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  5. Reduce boiling water to a simmer and add the quinoa, along with the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt and pepper. Give the pan a shake to help the quinoa settle evenly and simmer for 10-12 mins.
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  6. Dice 1/4 cucumber and set aside. 
    .
  7. Grab a handful of parsley and a smaller handful of mint and roughly chop these – I use scissors. 
    .
  8. If topping with pomegranate, cut in half and submerge one half underwater in a large bowl. Break apart the pomegranate. The seeds will fall to the bottom and the fleshy bits will rise to the surface to scoop out and discard.
    .
  9. Now that the quinoa is cooked, remove from the pan and place in a large mixing bowl. Do not rinse again as you will wash the flavour out.
    .
  10. Mix the roast veg into the quinoa, along with the herbs and cucumber. Add more lemon to taste.
    .
  11. Top with pomegranate seeds and the cashew ‘cheese’ dip. I poured over some leftover honey & mustard dressing too.

Storing: Store any leftovers in the fridge and consume within a couple days.

Serving suggestion: Add a dollop of cashew ‘cheese’ dip, a drizzle of honey & mustard dressing and you can serve with a spicy salsa.

Health Notes

High smoke point oil

When cooking with oil, I use an oil with a high smoke point, meaning the oil can withstand high temperatures well. The smoke point of avocado oil is 270, while a high-quality extra virgin olive oil is 206℃. 

This is important because smoking an oil creates harmful free radicals in the body which can lead to degeneration of cells.

Fresh herbs

Mint is reported to have one of the highest antioxidant content of any food, which can help fight inflammation, disease and oxidative stress. Its cooling and calming effects have been made use of for thousands of years.

Parsley is packed with antioxidants too and is a source of iron. Notably, parsley contains volatile oils that help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). 

 

Quinoa

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain, meaning that it can be used like a grain but is actually gluten-free. 

Containing all 9 essential amino acids, it is a complete source of protein. 

Quinoa is rich in fibre and also a source of iron and magnesium, both important minerals in endometriosis and fatigue.

Nettles for Iron, Energy & Liver Support

Nettles for Iron, Energy & Liver Support

Nettles for Iron, Energy & Liver Support

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

The singing nettles that grow wild in our gardens and countryside are often viewed as a weed and all-around menace, but they are a haven for wildlife, a delicious leafy green (nettle pesto) and potent herbal remedy.

Benefits of Nettles:

  • Nettles are reported to have the greatest levels of chlorophyll of any herb, making them a more affordable superfood than blue-green algae. This chlorophyll content helps support the immune system and aid liver detoxification, key in both chronic fatigue and endometriosis.
  • They are also deeply nourishing, containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals, most notably iron – another key element in both fatigue and the monthly cycle.
  • If your immune system is impaired, UTI’s can be a common occurrence – as a diuretic, nettles help stimulate elimination and flush out harmful bacteria.
  • A wonderful uterine tonic if consumed regularly. 
  • 2.7g protein per 100g, cooked.
  • Due to their strengthening properties, nettles are often used to build up energy and stamina.

Sourcing nettles:

Dried nettles can be purchased online or fresh nettles can be picked yourself if you fancy a foraging adventure:

  • Choose your nettles wisely. Do not pick nettles that grow by the side of a road, are in an area where pesticides are sprayed or that are low-down on a well worn dog-walking route!
  • Take a pair of scissors to snip the heads off and a bucket to catch them in – there’s no need to touch the nettles with your hands, but you can take a pair of gardening gloves if you find it easier.
  • Use a colander to give the nettles a good shake. 
  • Soak them in a salt solution to remove any debris. 

Consuming nettles: 

Nettles must be cooked to mitigate the sting!

For eating, simply saute or steam and treat them like spinach.

For drinking, steep fresh nettles in hot water – 15 minutes if you can’t wait, longer if you can (overnight or for at least four hours according to Wise Woman Herbal Ezine). The hot water helps extract the properties, though you wouldn’t want to have them on the boil as this can destroy nutrients.

Enjoy 🙂

 

~ Further reading ~

The Top Sources of Plant Based Calcium

The Top Sources of Plant Based Calcium

The Top Sources of Plant Based Calcium

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

If you are currently taking hormone treatment for endometriosis, or have done in the past, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects.

The below study, while a bit of a mouthful, shows there is concern over these medical treatments in relation to bone-loss.

Impact of medical treatments
of endometriosis on bone mass

 

A review of studies examining the effect of medical therapy of endometriosis on bone mass and potential approaches to preventing bone loss was undertaken. Studies specifically examining bone density in women with endometriosis treated medically were used.

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…While initial studies with dual-photon absorptiometry were unable to detect appreciable bone loss with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, subsequent studies have invariably found significant bone loss beginning as early as 3 months of treatment.

 

Quantitated computerized tomography always shows significant trabecular bone loss of the vertebrae and hip with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist. Depot preparations appear to produce more marked loss than daily injections of intranasal spray.

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Recent studies indicate recovery of bone loss may take longer than 6 months or even 1 year after discontinuation of therapy with considerable individual variation.

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…Impact of medical therapy on bone mass should be a practical consideration in the selection of patients, in repeat medical therapy for recurrence of endometriosis, and in the formulation of medical therapy so as to attenuate or overcome such silent adverse effects.

.

pubmed.gov

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones?
.

While we may most often think of our bones as a skeleton to hold us up, we mustn’t forget they are a living structure; continually forming new bone tissue and then breaking it down and reabsorbing it.

After our peak bone density is reached at the age of 30, reabsorption of bone tissue gradually begins to exceed new formation.

This is how our bones become weaker over time.

The ageing process isn’t the only cause of bone-loss, a low-calcium diet, smoking, lack of exercise and certain medications can contribute and tip the scales in the favour of reabsorption.

Bone loss (osteopenia) can eventually lead to osteoporosis, which makes you more fragile and susceptible to fractures.

Building up your bones

Calcium is well known as a key mineral in the formation of new bone tissue, and if we don’t get enough calcium through our diet, it’s taken from our bones.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of calcium for women aged 18-50 years old is 1000mg.

This is easily achievable on a plant-based diet.

While the importance of calcium is clear, other nutrients are involved in the overall health of our bones and plants have us covered here too.

Here are the top sources of plant-based calcium:

  • Blackstrap molasses: 2 tbsp = 400mg
  • Collard greens, cooked: 1 cup = 357mg
  • Almonds: 100g = 264mg
  • Turnip greens, cooked: 1 cup = 249mg
  • Chickpeas: 1 cup = 210mg
  • Kale, cooked: 1 cup = 179mg
  • Seaweed (kelp): 100g = 168mg
  • Bok choy, cooked: 1 cup = 158mg
  • Mustard greens, cooked: 1 cup = 152mg
  • Okra, cooked: 1 cup = 135mg
  • Amaranth, cooked: 1 cup = 115.6mg
  • Tahini: 2 tbsp = 128mg
  • Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp = 87.8mg
  • Chia seeds: 1 tbsp = 63mg

Hemp and nut milks are also a good source of calcium.

 

~ Further reading ~

What is Endometriosis? Symptoms, Myths, Prognosis and Treatment Options

What is Endometriosis? Symptoms, Myths, Prognosis and Treatment Options

What is Endometriosis?
Symptoms, Myths, Prognosis and Treatment Options…

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that occurs when tissues similar to those that line the uterus ‘crack their own detail’ and start growing elsewhere in the body (though mostly within the pelvic area).

These tissues then shed in the same way that the uterus does (your period) – except this time, there’s nowhere for the blood to exit the body. Blood, where it shouldn’t be, is corrosive. This can cause pain, inflammation and the development of scar tissue and adhesions. 

Oh and did I mention, unlike your monthly cycle, these rogue tissues grow and shed at their own leisure. 

It’s like a perpetual period party.

This is endometriosis.

Or as I call it, uterus-gone-wild.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

The experience of endometriosis is not clearcut. For some women, endometriosis is extremely debilitating and has a significant impact on their day-to-day life. For others, it’s most apparent during their period. Yet still, there are those who don’t present with one of the most common symptoms – pelvic pain -and are only diagnosed through investigations into fertility or other conditions. 

Symptoms can include:

  • Chronic pain, notably pelvic pain
  • Extreme period pain
  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating (often called “the endo belly”)
  • Depression
  • Low immune system
  • Painful bowel or urine movements
  • Painful sex
  • Fertility complications
  • Nausea and vomiting with periods

Prevalence

  • 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffers from endometriosis.
  • 10% of women worldwide have endometriosis – that’s 176 million worldwide.
  • The prevalence of endometriosis in women with infertility can be as high as to 30–50%.
  • Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK.
  • Endometriosis affects 1.5 million women, a similar number of women affected by diabetes.
  • On average it takes 7.5 years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis.
  • Endometriosis costs the UK economy £8.2bn a year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare costs.
  • The cause of endometriosis is unknown and there is no definite cure.

endometriosis-uk.org

Receiving a diagnosis

In 2011, a diagnosis survey by Endometriosis UK found that, on average, it takes 7.5 years from onset of symptoms to receive a diagnosis.

In the documentary “Endo What?” it takes eight doctors over 10 years for a woman to be diagnosed.

My diagnosis took over a decade too, even though I saw practically every GP in my local medical practice and my symptoms were severe enough to render me unconscious – what’s a girl got to do! 

…And the kicker was, a specialist endometriosis centre was set up in a hospital just 30 miles from where I lived. Yet it took years for me to access it. 

The trials and tribulations of receiving a diagnosis are shared by many women.

But why? 

Since endometriosis is associated with the monthly cycle, it is often brushed off by GP’s as “just period pain” with no further investigation. 

Words Your GP Didn’t Let You Finish 

In other instances, it is misdiagnosed – often as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). 

Yet without knowing what you’re dealing with, how can you begin to deal with it? 

A diagnosis is the first step.

If you’re having a hard time getting your GP to understand you, ask them for a referral to an endometriosis specialist, if there is one in your area (Google what’s available before your appointment so you can be in the know), or at least to a gynaecologist. As GPs are being put under increasing pressure to refrain from making referrals (The NHS is rolling out a scheme that requires all family doctors in England to seek approval from a medical panel for all non-urgent hospital referrals) this may be met with resistance. Don’t be put off, list each your symptoms and the impact they are having on your life and persist.

If the gynaecologist doesn’t give you the time of day, ask to see a different one for a second opinion. Don’t stick with a doctor who patronises you or minimises your symptoms. There are plenty of good doctors out there so don’t settle.

Diagnosis can include a pelvic exam and ultrasound as a start, but the only definitive diagnosis is through a laparoscopy. This keyhole surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and gives the surgeon a clear look into the pelvic region.

You can usually go home on the same day, or stay the night and go home the next morning (you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first night). As the incisions are tiny, I had thought I’d be off climbing by the weekend. Not so, it will take a couple weeks to recover.

While the are inherent risks with surgery, a laparoscopy is about as minimally invasive as you can get and I feel very thankful to have been given the opportunity to have mine done. 

Stages of endometriosis 

Endometriosis is classified with four stages: 

Different factors determine the stage of the disorder. These factors can include the location, number, size, and depth of endometrial implants.

 

Stage 1: Minimal

In minimal endometriosis, there are small lesions or wounds and shallow endometrial implants on your ovary. There may also be inflammation in or around your pelvic cavity.

 

Stage 2: Mild

Mild endometriosis involves light lesions and shallow implants on an ovary and the pelvic lining.

 

Stage 3: Moderate

Moderate endometriosis involves deep implants on your ovary and pelvic lining. There can also be more lesions.

 

Stage 4: Severe

The most severe stage of endometriosis involves deep implants on your pelvic lining and ovaries. There may also be lesions on your fallopian tubes and bowels.

 

healthline.com

Endometriosis Myths

 

Myth 1: Severe period pain is normal.

Too many women are crippled by severe period pain every month and it’s not normal. Pain is not a happening for the sake of it, it’s your body’s way of alerting you to a problem.

Myth 2: Endometriosis equals infertility.

Endometriosis may put you in the category more likely to have fertility complications, however, it does not automatically mean you are infertile. 

Early diagnosis can help you manage your fertility, so it’s important to get diagnosed if you think you have endometriosis and are worried about fertility.

Myth 3: You’re too young and/or fit & healthy to have endometriosis.

I was told by doctors, as well as nurses who carried out tests, that I was too young, fit and healthy to have anything wrong with me – until I finally clawed my way to a diagnosis. Being young or physically active doesn’t exclude you from endometriosis.

Myth 4: Medical treatments cure endometriosis. 

  • Surgically removing endometrial-like tissue does not mean the endometriosis is gone. As with the lining of the womb, it grows back.
  • Painkillers work by masking the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause.

    NSAIDS: The Painful Truth Behind Painkillers (Infographic)

  • Hormonal treatments similarly suppress the symptoms, and like every drug, have a side effect and can result in further imbalances.
  • A hysterectomy may remove the uterus and associated period issues, but as endometriosis is ectopic – growing outside of where it should – does not prevent or cure endometriosis.

What we know about endometriosis

While there is much to discover about endometriosis, there seems to be three main factors that are deeply entrenched in the disease and influence our degree of symptoms: 

  1. Immune dysfunction 
  2. Chronic inflammation 
  3. Hormone imbalance

I find it helpful to look at endometriosis from a physiological sense and break it down in this way – because the more we understand endometriosis, the more we can do about it.

…If endometriosis is rooted in immune dysfunction, is there anything that is contributing towards this dysfunction (a gut imbalance, history of antibiotics, post-viral fatigue, fungal infections, candida, food intolerances…)?

…If endometriosis is inflammatory and my body is in a state of chronic inflammation, how can I reduce or eliminate inflammation?

…If endometriosis is oestrogen-dependant for its survival, how can I remove excess oestrogen and rebalance my hormones?

The 3 Factors that Influence Endometriosis (coming soon)

Prognosis – so you have endometriosis, now what?

Whether the body can resolve endometriosis is yet to be seen, though it can certainly be managed.

How you do that is up to you. 

I chose the natural or holistic approach, as this made the most sense to me.

My aim was to:

  • Strengthen my immune system so that my body becomes more resilient and better equipped to handle whatever comes its way.
  • Reduce, if not eliminate, chronic inflammation so that I can improve my overall health and wellbeing and so that my efforts can hit their mark.
  • Balance my hormones to help prevent the spread of the endometrial-like tissue.

By the time I received my diagnosis, I already had my symptoms under control through natural means, however, the diagnosis gave me confirmation of what I was dealing with and so I could approach it as endometriosis (not just period pain on steroids).

  • An anti-inflammatory diet (see The Endo Diet Explained)
  • Hardcore relaxation – switching the body over from predominately running on the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) aka “fight or flight” mode to the parasympathetic nervous system (PSN) aka “rest and digest” mode. 
  • Herbal remedies to support the immune system, relax the body and restore hormonal balance.
  • Pain-relief techniques such as myofascial release.
  • Movement, such as yoga, to help you connect and communicate with your body and improve flow.

Whether you have been diagnosed or not, the natural methods listed support your body as a whole, so they’re a good place to start.

 

~ Further reading ~