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: 

  • 125g soaked cashews 
  • 100ml nut milk
  • 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 (optional)

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. 

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