October 1st is National Vegetarian Day, a day for those who have given up meat and even those who are taking steps to eat more plant-based foods. The difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that vegans avoid all animal products including dairy products, while vegetarians have avoided meat but still eat dairy products like cheese and eggs. But what many vegetarians don’t know is that they have delicious plant-based cheeses and great egg replacements. Either way, we know one thing for sure: the more plants you eat, the healthier you are.
A plant-based diet can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, and strengthen your immune system thanks to plant-based foods that are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
A cheese-free diet is healthier and can help prevent disease
Dr. Neil Barnard, who wrote the book Your body in balance, declared to The beetroot in an exclusive interview that consuming too much dairy products can cause all sorts of health problems, including hormonal cancers like breast and prostate cancer, as well as mood disorders, fertility problems and more. “Adding even small amounts of estrogen to your body increases your risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast, uterine and prostate cancers,” said Barnard The beetrootEditor-in-chief Lucy Danziger. “Milk contains estrogen too, but cheese is more condensed. Worst culprit? Goat cheese has more of it. All animal cheeses are loaded with fat and hormones that add up,” he added.
5 dairy-free recipes we know you will love
To celebrate a plant-centric national holiday, we’ve rounded up our three most popular cheese-free recipes, made with either cashews, nutritional yeast, Brazil nuts, and carrots, or a mix of everything for the ultimate sticky, cheesy experience to help you live healthier, and go even the extra step of going completely herbal if this is right for you.
Find your favorite recipe or create your own on this national day. If you’d prefer not to make your own vegan cheese, we ran a grilled cheese stretch test on five different store-bought dairy-free cheeses and then rated which cheese melted the best.
1. Grilled spinach cheese with homemade vegan cashew cheese
“The ‘cheese’ in this sandwich is based on cashew nuts, but the key ingredient for the perfect texture is tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour), which will help you achieve that cheesy stretch. Note that there are no other substitutes for this can be other starch like corn starch. ” – JD Raymundo, The beets Recipe developer
2. Vegan Mac and Cheese for the stove
“Take this dairy-free macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s simple, economical, and uses everyday ingredients so you can grab these delicious, creamy family favorites anytime you want. Our approach is deceptively delicious. Carrots, potatoes, and chickpeas are blended to silky-smooth perfection and along with a few additional ingredients, a sauce that is undeniably cheesy. ” – Chef Linda Soper-Kolton
3. Mini oreo cheesecake cups
We saved the cutest recipe for last. This “cheesecake” recipe is made with non-dairy cream cheese, coconut cream, and coconut oil, which is the same consistency as regular cheesecake, usually made with a softer cheese like brie.