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What's the Scoop on Plant-Based Cheese?

February 23, 2021

Many of us that are less familiar with plant-based foods often assume that cheese is a thing of the past for those that have chosen to abstain from the dairy-filled substance, or those with lactose allergies. On the contrary, those that stay away from lactose now enjoy a whole world of plant-based cheese that doesn't weigh on your conscious—or your bowels—when consuming.

Plant-based cheese is on the rise, with most major supermarkets now carrying a variety of soy, nut, seed, and root vegetable-based cheeses. We recommend giving our NU Food plant-based queso a try, if you haven’t fallen in love with it already—it offers that same delicious cheesy taste you love, without all of the guilt. NU Food plant-based queso is soy and nut free, and offers an amazingly tasty alternative to traditional dairy-filled queso. Our queso is unique because it’s packed with superfoods like nutritional yeast. This star ingredient gives it all of its ooey, gooey, cheesy flavor that everyone loves, while providing a healthier alternative to dairy-based cheeses.

Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Cheese

If you’re lucky enough to find a plant-based cheese that uses nutritional yeast, don't let it go! Nutritional yeast is great source of complete protein, B vitamins, and trace minerals. It’s extremely important that we all get enough B vitamins and trace minerals in our diet, and if you switch to a vegan lifestyle, that becomes even more essential to pay attention to. Even more, for a protein to be considered complete, it must contain all nine essential amino acids... and just one tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains two grams of complete protein. Our queso is also packed with healthy vegetables like tomatoes and carrots, making this an essential add to your diet. There are so many different ways you can add a little NU Food plant-based queso to your life. We’ve put together some recipes to give you a little inspiration: nachos, enchiladas, and our queso fries. We also recommend using it to make your next batch of mac and cheese, or adding it to a homemade lasagna or casserole, just to name a few ideas!

So why have so many people made the switch to plant-based cheese as of late? Around 68% of the world’s population has, at the very least, a reduced ability to digest lactose, AKA lactose malabsorption. This means that for 5,218,320,000 people across the globe today, lactose is more or less off limits. Even further, approximately 78 million people across the world identify as vegan, meaning they’ve made the choice to abstain from animal products, including dairy, completely. If you or someone you know falls into one of these categories, make sure they know the good news—there are a multitude of delicious cheeses that will not make their stomach churn, because they’re the furthest thing from lactose-filled!  

Even if you don’t think you have a lactose intolerance, many people have difficulties digesting dairy but don’t even realize it. If you find yourself experiencing digestive difficulties like bloating, gas, or pain after eating lactose, consider swapping out the dairy with a plant-based alternative. The best part is, they don’t taste like alternatives, they’re even better—and your stomach won’t be making any more complaints.

Save the Planet

Even if your stomach handles dairy just fine, there are a lot of other reasons people choose to eliminate the substance from their diet. When you make the decision to cut dairy out of your life, you save around 50,033 gallons of water in just one year. Consider this... it takes an entire month of showers to produce just ONE gallon of milk! The dairy industry consumes an insane amount of water, not to mention the greenhouse gas emissions—a single cow produces somewhere between 250-500 liters of methane a day, a greenhouse gas that can trap up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide does.  

Choosing to go without the lactose absolutely helps to reduce the amount of water consumption your diet contributes to. For example, one glass of cow’s milk takes 30 gallons of water to produce, whereas it only takes 9 gallons to produce a glass of soy milk. Going dairy-free helps to reduce the amount of water used, the greenhouse gases emitted, and it’s helping to eliminate the suffering of many animals that are used to produce commercially available dairy products. 

End Cow Cruelty

According to the New York Times, “the typical dairy cow in the United States will spend its entire life inside a concrete-floored enclosure, and although they can live 20 years, most are sent to slaughter after four or five years when their milk production wanes.” Even further, most dairy cows are repeatedly impregnated via artificial insemination, and their newborn calves are taken away immediately after birth. Female calves are confined to pens in solitude, and have their horn buds destroyed at 8 weeks old, while the male calves are sent off to veal farms or cattle ranches right away. The easiest way to help put an end to their suffering is by abstaining from the product altogether. Especially now, when the alternatives are even more delicious and tasty than ever, there really is no reason not to make the switch! 

If you’re still thinking that plant-based cheese can’t possibly match up to the flavor that traditional dairy products offer, it’s time for you to try a plant-based alternative for yourself. We recommend NU Food’s best-selling line of popcorn, NOOCH, which features a cheesy, nutty, buttery explosion of delicious savory taste, all while remaining 100% plant-based. What’s not to love?

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