Today's post comes from Asami Osato, one of my Environmental Interns. Asami discusses her love of cheese and a cheese alternative- almond cheese.
Cheese is my weakness. There’s nothing more unsatisfying than a sandwich without a nice layer of melted cheese. At the same time, I always feel a little guilty because of what I learned in a Nutrition class; a slice of cheese is a slice of saturated fat. Well… I present to you, an excuse to eat more cheese.
A few days ago I went shopping at the IV Food Co-Op, where I always find new foods to try. While debating whether or not to buy cheese, I stopped when I saw that some of the “fake cheese” options were on sale. I grabbed the “Mozzarella-style” almond cheese since I love almonds, and looked at the ingredients. What surprised me was that this “cheese” was only made of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat (the healthy fats), and the ingredient list was quite simple, containing mostly organic ingredients.
I took it home and made myself a quesadilla to test if it really tasted like regular mozzarella cheese—I couldn’t tell the difference, and neither could my boyfriend (I didn’t tell him it was fake cheese until after he ate it). I am now obsessed. This almond cheese has no “bad” fats; it’s a good source of protein, and tastes awesome!
I realized this could be the answer to my prayers: yummy, healthy cheese! I try to stay away from cheese at home because it’s got lots of saturated fat, which almond cheese has none of. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are “good” fats; the same fats found in avocados and fish. Most “fake cheeses” don’t melt the right way and taste a little funky, but I can swear by this one.
Looking at the differences in nutrition, the almond cheese has some clear benefits: less calories, no bad fats and instead, loaded with good fats—all for the same amount of protein!
1 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, part skim milk (USDA Nutrient Database)
|1 oz. Mozzarella-style Almond Cheese (Lisanatti Foods):|
I should let you know that this almond cheese is not vegan—it contains casein, the protein derived from non-fat dairy milk. However, the casein is what gives almond cheese the texture and melting performance that regular cheese has. I highly recommend this product to anybody who is looking for a healthy alternative to regular cheese!
You can buy this cheese nearby at the Isla Vista Food Cooperative and Lassen’s on Hollister, as well as Whole Foods Market, Lazy Acres, and Tri-County Produce in Santa Barbara. Give it a try!