That Didn’t Come From a Cow! Vegan Nut Cheese!

Broccoli with Vagan Cheese


Broccoli, Roasted Red Pepper, Kalamata Olives and Vegan Feta Cheese!


So your lactose intolerant and you can’t eat cheese.

I’ve tried to beat, ignore and dodge the aftermath of eating diary, which for me is cheese.

If you are affected by dairy you either end up sitting in the ladies room for hours, can’t go the bathroom for days or have gastric distress that makes going out in public rather, precarious.

I’ve eaten that coveted pizza then taken extra magnesium, fiber and gallons of water in hopes that my usual reaction to cheese would not occur….it always does.  Not pretty and many times down right painful!

So for the last couple of years I have avoided dairy completely. No cheeseburgers, pizza, lasagna, or grilled cheese!

I am a personal chef for goodness sake, a foodie but hey at some point the discomfort became much more important than the pleasure gained from eating cheese.

The alternatives like the weird plastic soy and almond cheeses you find at the grocery store kind of freak me out. They don’t taste or act like cheese so I won’t waste my money on them.

We recently started frequenting a few newly opened vegan restaurants that have cheese dishes on their menus.

The cheese is made with nuts and actually have convincing texture and taste.

My most recent fav is vegan feta made with cashews.

Besides being wicked easy it taste great and has that firm feta feel.  I am all about texture – I have a hard time with anything that is slippery or rubbery – ewww!

So here’s how easy it easy.

You take 1 cups of cashews and place them in a sauce pan, cover with water and boil them for an hour.

Make sure they are soft.

Drain and mash with a potato masher until small pieces remain.

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, italian seasoning (I like Penzy’s Tuscan Sunset) some garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in well and let this sit for at least 24 hours.  It get better with age.  I just ate the last bite of a batch I made a week ago.  It was awesome.

Most vegetarian and vegan cookbooks will have a cheese recipe made with nuts.

I love The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak.  In her book she has recipes for Swiss Cheez, Gouda, Cheddah, Buffalo Mostarella, Muenster and Brie.  Most are made with cashews, some brazil or hazel nuts and a few have tofu in them.

So if your craving cheese, as I always am, and you either can’t eat dairy or know that dairy products are not very good for you, try making your own nut cheeses.

Please let me know, in the comments below,  if you have a recipe for non-dairy cheese that you really like!

You Deserve to be Healthy (and eat nut cheese!)

DSC_4822 - Copy






Dealing with Chronic Constipation

Constipation affects 4 million Americans each year.  Physicians write more than a million prescriptions for constipation annually, and we spend $725 million a year on laxatives.

Constipation is a disorder that inhibits a person from moving their bowels.  Not everyone needs to go every day but if you have chronic difficulty, constipation can be uncomfortable and painful.  It often produces a bloated feeling because the bowel distends with gas and a large amount of stool.  Some people feel fatigued; have aches and mental sluggishness and still others get headaches.    This condition can also lead to other issues such as diverticulitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

The most common cause of constipation is insufficient fiber in the diet but there are many other contributors to this very frustrating problem.  People with IBS sometimes have constipation because their colon may not contract properly.  Some medications may also cause constipation: iron supplements, antidepressant medication, painkillers and some hypertension medications.  People suffering from low thyroid or an excess of calcium in the blood can suffer too.  Other disease can also affect our ability to move our bowels: lupus, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease are just a few. Hormones also play a role in digestive regularity. As women go through the various stages of their menstrual cycles their bowel habits change.

Change of lifestyle habits can have a huge affect on your body’s ability to move waste.  Change in eating, sleeping or fluid intake amounts can alter the rhythm of the body.  Some people have a lazy bowel where the muscles do not effectively contract; this is sometimes caused by an overuse of laxatives. 

Many issues are caused by our ignoring our body’s urge to go to the bathroom.  Whether we are shy in a public bathroom or don’t have time – the longer the waste remains in the body the more water that is reabsorbed back into the body making the stool, smaller, harder and more difficult to move.  So we need to pay attention to our body, when you have to go, stop what you are doing and go to the bathroom.

Bowel transit time is the preferred measure of digestive health.  Optimal time is 12 to 24 hours.  Slow transit time raises the risk of colon cancer and contributes to other health problems as well as raises toxins in the body.

The way to remedy constipation is determined by the cause.  If medication is at fault then dosage and drug type can be altered.  

1.  Addition of water, fiber, vegetables and fruits are an incredibly simple remedy for this chronic condition. 

2.  Exercise is also a wonderful addition to a healthy diet along with stress reduction and relaxation therapies.    It may take time to retrain your bowels, mostly if you have been putting off the urge to go for a long period of time. 

3.  The addition of Psyllium fiber is another way to help move things along.  Taken in the morning and in the evening with an 8 oz glass of a juice and water mixed will surely speed up the process without the urgency and drama that can be caused by some of the harsh teas and laxatives. 

4.  Adding probiotics can remedy an imbalance of intestinal flora which also brings relief for constipation or diarrhea. 

5.  Try magnesium taking this supplement can restore the rhythmic muscle relaxation and contraction.  We have a widespread deficiency of magnesium that strongly contributes to the prevalence of constipation. 

6.  Address lactose intolerance.  You may have an issue with dairy.  Try to eliminate it from your diet for three weeks and see how you feel.  There are many different ways to remedy constipation.

7.  Exercise, you move your bowels move.

8.  Slow down.  You digestion will run much more smoothly if you eat slow and when you feel the urge to go to the bathroom, relax and take your time!

Constipation can be embarrassing, painful and debilitating.  In almost every case I have had in my practiced all that is called for is simple changes in lifestyle of food consumption to have a last impact in eliminating constipation. 

Please leave a comment below letting me know if your suffer from constipation and what remedies have worked for you in the past.

You Deserve to be Healthy!