Greetings Dear Readers,
Many who have transitioned to a dairy-free or vegan diet enjoy cheese and dearly miss it
when they feel called to eat this way. Many have tried dairy alternatives such as soy cheese and found it to be a poor substitute, myself included. Alas! There is a very rich and dreamy food experience that many have not yet discovered: raw vegan nut cheeses! Try something different today! Delicious rich nuttiness blended with nutritional yeast for extra cheesey flavour and vitamin B nutrition combined with tangey citrus and a little garlic or herbs for flavour and show, a red pepper mixed in to make an orange coloured raw cheese dip – oh the creative possibilities in texture, colour and flavour are endless! Nut cheeses are a gourmet art.
Here I’m just giving you a simple basic recipe to get you started along with, of course, health information from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) so you can understand the health benefits of your health food adventures. From a TCM perspective, dairy cheese is Damp-forming. Too much Dampness (runny nose, cysts, sinus congestion, weight gain, coughing up sputum, sluggishness, foggy-mindedness, etc.) is often a reason why vegetarians run into digestive problems and end up going back to eating meat. Many vegetarians eat “salad and cheese” meals regularly which quickly leads to “Cold-Damp” (lettuce is thermally Cold and dairy is Damp) which then leads them to an acupuncturist who tells them they need to quit being vegetarian and start eating meat. This is a very common story. Well, as a vegan myself for many years, I’ve learned to adjust the diet to achieve good health. Here we are mixing the old with the new. The TCM sages of yesteryear did not have access to marvellous electrical appliances such as blenders which pre-digest the food to make it less work for your body. These raw vegan cheeses will counter-balance the Cold nature of dairy because nuts are warming and the garlic, mustard and vinegar will help clear Dampness.
Cashews moisturize the lungs and colon. The lungs and colon belong to the Metal element in TCM which also corresponds with the autumn season, the best time of year for eating nuts. Cashews treat Lung Dryness issues such as dry cough, wheezing (dyspnea), bronchiectasis, external pathogens (i.e. “colds and flus” in Western terms) and Large Intestine dryness such as dry stools that are difficult to pass, dry mouth and throat and chronic Yin and Blood deficiency.
This is a great addition to most people’s diet if you haven’t yet discovered it. It is a healthy kind of yeast that contains an abundance of B vitamins and certain minerals. Not to worry, candida, or “yeast infection” in your body is not the same species of yeast. Nutritional yeast is a great food supplement especially for vegetarians and vegans due to its’ high levels of b12 and folic acid. For the nutritional profile of nutritional yeast click here.
- 2 cups raw cashews (soaking 2-4 hours improves nutritional quality)
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup filtered water (add a bit at a time until desired thickness)
- 1/4 cup juice of fresh lemon (or lime)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 4 cloves fresh garlic minced (optional)
- 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
- Place the cashews, 1/2 of the water, 1/2 of the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended.
- Gradually add in more lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, garlic and salt to taste. Garlic as optional but does add a lot of flavour.
- Use as a dip for celery, carrots, or dehydrator chips/breads.
Yours in health,