As a wannabe vegan (I consume seafood, but no other meats, and very rarely dairy, but no eggs—how’s that for confusing?), I’ve come to love the benefits of nuts in my diet. These tiny protein and good-fat powerhouses make a fabulous replacement for dairy products, and this post intends to convince you of that. There are even DIY videos for making nut cheese are the end!
Here we go…
Nuts are an amazing way to pack protein and good quality fats into your plant-based diet. Adding a handful of almonds to a salad, or eating a few walnuts with a banana for your morning snack is crazy healthy. The key is to only consume 6-10 nuts at a time—they are high in calories, and it’s very easy to throw back your entire day’s caloric intake by snacking on a whole bag.
Best nuts to consume? I love raw, organic, unflavoured almonds, cashews, walnuts, beech nuts, and pecans.
Ditch the boring peanut butter, and say hello to a whole new world of other nut and seed butters. Cashew, almond, sesame seed (tahini), sunflower, and brown pea butters are my absolute faves. Always be sure to purchase organic nut products, because unfortunately, nuts are one of those crops that are usually soaked in pesticides.
Yuck. Go organic, all the way.
Ok—you’re in Jen-Land, now. I am the absolute connoisseur on milk alternatives. (Cow milk is nasty—even the organic stuff. It does not work well with our bodies, and is usually full of hormones, additives, antibiotics, and even (gulp) pus from the animals’ mastitis issues. Gross.)
Milk alternatives have come a long, long way. In the past, the only alternatives available were soy (but not organic, and tasted very chalky), and goat’s milk, which was incredibly wild and pungent tasting. Welcome to 2015—where milk alternatives rule the universe!
Although there are many notable brands that make a fab milk alternatives (Silk, So Nice, So Good, etc), my go-to is Vancouver’s Earth’s Own. They make an insanely delish cashew and almond milk, as well as other types. SERIOUSLY—try these products. They’re to die for.
It’s also pretty simple to make your own nut milk using soaked nuts, a Vitamix, and a cheesecloth, but honestly, I just prefer to purchase it ready-made.
For the non-vegans out there, I can almost hear you think “Errr…what? Nut Cheese?!”
Nuts make a great base for homemade, plant-based cheeses. My favourite way to make nut cheese, is to soak 1 cup of raw, organic cashews in water for 2 hours. Ditch the water, and place in Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Add 2 tbsp. almond or cashew milk, a pinch of sea salt, and 1 tbsp. or nutritional yeast (Red Star is my fave). Blend until smooth, and use to top steamed or raw veggies, in pasta, or anything else you want.
If you’re looking for a hard cheese, check this awesome 3-part series on YouTube:
You’re welcome! xo