What IS Vegan ‘Cheese’?

One of the arguments against veganism that truly drive me crazy is:

“Well, if I’ll feel like eating cheese, I’ll have to put chemicals and bad things that are really unhealthy in my body”

This argument used to really piss me off because I knew that even if that were true, the effect meat and dairy have on our bodies is not that great either. Still, I couldn’t really say anything other than

I barely have these anyway, I don’t find a need for them in my diet!

Which is true by the way!

BUT, I was still curious to know what I was having when I occasionally ate vegan ‘cheese’. This is for the Vegans out there who need to pack sandwiches, have late nights, or would just like to indulge in a Vegan Pizza every once in awhile!

🇱🇧 Lebanese shoppers, there’s a special section in here for you! 🇱🇧

PS: you can make your own cheese at home with cashews/almonds, water, mustard, nutritional yeast, and other spices! I still haven’t figured out a recipe on my own since I don’t own a blender, but there’s plenty online!

The investigation was simple; I went on Violife‘s (the vegan alternative to cheese that I use if needed) website and read the ingredients to their regular sliced cheese. Here is a list of the ingredients used + whether or not I approve of it:

  • Water, Approved
  • Coconut Oil (23%), Approved
  • Modified Starch*, **google: “Modified starch is the starch extracted from grains and vegetables which has been treated to improve its ability to keep the texture and structure of the food”** , Approved
  • Starch, Approved
  • Sea Salt, Approved
  • Flavourings,
  • Olive Extract, Approved
  • Colour: B-Carotene, **google: “Beta carotene is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and plays a very important role in health. It’s responsible for the red, yellow, and orange coloration of some fruits and veggies.“, Approved

*Not to be confused with GMO (Genetically Modified) Ingredients

Here is the same list for their grated Mozarella:

Water, Coconut Oil (24%), Modified Starch*, Starch, Sea Salt, Mozzarella flavour, Olive Extract, Colour: B-Carotene, Vitamin B12
*Not to be confused with GMO (Genetically Modified) ingredients.”

I asked a couple of friends who studied Nutrition and Food Science about what “Flavourings” usually means in ingredient lists. They told me they couldn’t really know unless I had more information. So I asked them about what other foods we find flavourings in.

An example they could think of was: Syrups!

So basically, your Ketchup, Mustard, Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte, Pumpkin Spice Latte, etc. all contain “flavourings”

I then asked if one should be concerned about finding flavorings in an ingredients list, and they answered with a simple: no.

🇱🇧 Lebanese Shoppers 🇱🇧

You can find “Violife” Cheese at Better Life Market in Beirut, “Nature et moi” at Spinney’s, “Badass Vegan” at ChiTabi3i and “Ada’s Vegan” and “Vicky’s” at either Live organic, or by delivery by finding them on their Insta page!

I also thought sharing an example of the kind of vegan cheeses we find in Lebanon would be a good idea; they’re actually quite different than the ones I find in stores in the UK.

As an example, check out the ingredients’ list for Ada’s Vegan Mozzarella:

Water, Almond, Lemon Juice, Tapioca Flour, Coconut Oil, Herbs, Spices, Himalayan Salt.”

AND all products are organic! Can it get any better?

In Conclusion: I think it’s safe to say that Vegan Cheese is completely A-Ok. I still wouldn’t have it every day because I’d simply get bored of it, and if you’re a vegan, you probably know how extensive the list of ingredients we can’t wait to use is!

So go on ahead with a restful mind, and celebrate with a big Vegan Pizza!

I recommend Luna’s Kitchen’s Cheese and Pesto Pizza for Lebanese residents, and Mamma’s American Pizza in case anyone from Edinburgh’s reading this!

How good does debunking stereotypes against veganism feel?

This was taken during my meal at Frankie and Benny’s Edinburgh: Rigatoni (Veganuary Menu) and Melted Fries!

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