Trying to find an alternative to regular dairy cheese that fits your dietary needs and which actually resembles real cheese can be about as frustrating as trying to win the lottery. Many alternative cheeses, even if made with rice or soy, still contain casein, a milk-based dairy protein and common food allergen. Others have lackluster taste or just do not properly melt when heated.
With the health benefits of eating soy (a common ingredient in many cheese alternatives) now being questioned, many people are looking for completely soy-free, dairy-free products. Fortunately, Daiya Foods, based in Vancouver, has fit the bill with a fantastic vegan cheese substitute that more than holds its own in the area of taste and texture.
Daiya’s product is available in shreds, wedges, slices and spreads, and in flavors such as provolone, mozzarella, swiss, cheddar and jack. It melts reasonably well and is also very creamy with smooth texture and rich taste. The main ingredients are tapioca/arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola/safflower oil, coconut oil and pea protein.
Daiya is great to use for making pizza, quesadillas, pasta, or anything that normally requires dairy cheese. You might even find that kids like the taste of it in macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and other kid-friendly foods. To help smooth the transition from regular cheese to Daiya, try mixing half of each for the first few meals, then gradually decrease the amount of dairy cheese.
It is important to note that by containing no dairy or soy, Daiya’s products are very low in both calcium and protein. If you are vegan, fortunately there are plenty of options such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds to increase your protein intake. For good dairy-free sources of calcium, try eating almonds, sardines, white beans, broccoli, oranges, dark leafy greens and sesame seeds.
Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan or just looking for an alternative to traditional dairy-based cheese, Daiya is a stand-out product that is definitely worth a try. Incorporating dairy-free foods into your diet is also one of the strategies you can use for controlling asthma, allergies and associated mucous production in chest and sinuses.
With a myriad of alternative cheese product choices, it can be quite difficult to find one with no dairy or soy that actually tastes good. Thankfully Daiya helps close the gap. There are several large food store chains that carry Daiya; use the store locator to find one near you.