Have you tried this? Dairy free, gluten free dreamy nut cheese. Made from raw cashews and nutritional yeast, herbs and spices, this is sure to be a holiday favourite.
A few of my patients came in to me and asked if I had tried nut cheese. I hadn’t. Until this past weekend. It’s much like the cashew basil pesto I made in the summer with lots of basil from the garden, garlic and cashews, but this is more like cheese. It’s the nutritional yeast that seems to give it that tangy cheese like flavour. You can buy it already made and I have found it at Stone Store in Guelph and Goodness Me!
Making nut cheese takes a little forward thinking, but it is not difficult. You can customize the flavour when you make it yourself. So you could do a cinnamon and cranberry, or a garlic and herb, or use crazy amount of basil.
Start with some raw unsalted cashews available at places like Costco, Bulk Barn or Goodness Me! The later two have nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand) as well. You can get herbs and garlic, or other ingredients just about anywhere.
Some blogs on line suggest a food processor works better than a blender. I think if you have a high speed Vitamin or Blentec you might get a way with the blender and not have to make it too runny.
- 2 cups (240 g) raw cashews
- 1-2Tbsp minced garlic (depends on how strong your garlic is and how you like it)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
- 2 Tbsp (6 g) nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- press on dried parsley, dill or other dried garden herbs, as you like.
- Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. I use a pyrex glass one with a fitted lid. Do it in the morning and leave on the counter for the day (12 hours). If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and store in refrigerator for up to 24-36 hours.
- Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to blender/food processor. Add minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
- Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should look like the consistency of hummus. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour/balance.
- If it is a bit wet, scoop out the contents and drain a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid.
- Otherwise you can directly lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel) and place nut mix into the centre. Gather the corners and twist the top gently so you may form the cheese into a what looks like a gouda cheese round. A twist tie or elastic might help hold it.
- Place the drained cheese round into a sealed glass container in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away. It is ready if it holds its form when unwrapped from the cheesecloth.
- To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and place onto a serving board. Gently pat a coat of chopped herbs on to the round.
- Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. I’ve also seen it whipped up with the herbs and placed in a dollop on the serving tray.
- Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days, if covered in the refrigerator.
From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND
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The GUT-Circadian Rhythm Connection
Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor, Certified HeartMath Practitioner, Ceritified Gluten Practitioner and has a Functional Medicine approach in her practice. What she really does is help people better digest their food and the world around them.
Wednesday, July 12th 6:30-8:00pm @ Goodness Me
Blood sugar control is not just for diabetics! Maintain steady blood sugar and it can help you loose weight, sleep better, balance your mood, increase your mental focus, and fend off chronic illness like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Get help now from Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND
5 Reasons to Regulate Your Blood Sugar
- Levels out Anxiety
- Helps with Weight Loss – Encourages Fat Burning
- Increases Mental Focus
- Reduces Chronic Inflammation
- Regulates Sleep
Blood Glucose Control
- Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Every carbohydrate will be broken down to the smallest of sugars – sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, galactose.
- Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar that your body makes from the food you eat. Glucose is carried through the blood to provide energy to your body’s cells.
- When you take in more glucose than required it is stored as glycogen in muscles and liver and then as body fat (triglycerides)
- Hyperglycemia means high blood sugar or glucose. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose into your cells to give them energy. Hyperglycemia happens when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it the right way.
- Hypoglycemia is when there is low blood sugar. This happens after prolonged absence of energy intake or insulin dysregulation.
- Anxiety – When your blood glucose rises quickly from a sugary drink or snack or high glycemic load meal, insulin is released to shuttle the sugar into cells, then you are left just as quickly with a low level of blood sugar. This rise and fall can affect your mood. A new word was added to the dictionary this year. “Hangry” is now a word. It means you are hungry and angry when your blood sugar is out of balance. The concept of anxiety and low blood sugar is real. The physiology of the body in both circumstances is very similar and the brain sometimes cannot tell the difference. It’s that same reason why a diabetic might have angry outbursts – their sugars are not well regulated. Help regulate the release of sugar into your blood stream with protein in your meal or fibre with your carbohydrates. That means eating whole grains, legumes or some type of soluble or insoluble fibre.
- Encourages fat burning. If you only take in a little carbohydrate at a time, your body has a just-in-time delivery of sugar, or energy to fuel your activity. If it needs a little boost, it will pull the extra from your cells – and result in weight loss. It’s a careful balance, however. Starve your body and it will go into a mode of preservation and shuttle any energy it gets into cells for safe storage – just like a squirrel hiding its nuts for winter. Give your body too much energy, and it will also store it in the cells as fat.
- Increases Mental Focus. Your brain has only one source of energy – glucose. If your blood sugar is going up and down like a roller coaster, so too will your ability to focus. Also your brain experiences sugar as a reward – it enhances the dopamine system. So sugar can be addictive if you use it as your only reward. You have 5 senses – taste is only one of them. Enhance your reward system with more than just food, try music, massage, theatre, aromatherapy, or intimate pleasures.
- Reduces Chronic Inflammation. Inflammation leads to cortisol release which over time can lead to insulin resistance which leads to inflammation… a bit of a dog chasing its tail. Reduce stress to regulate cortisol release. Cortisol is released every time you encounter a stressful situation – it was meant to stimulate the physiological mechanism that pulls glucose (energy) from storage so you can go chase the tiger. Problem is if the tiger is a deadline at work and your are madly typing away…it just doesn’t burn the same energy as running and huffing and puffing. So… when you don’t use that glucose the blood sugar remains high and – for reasons we are not entirely sure – will get re-deposited right around your waist line. These not so lovely love handles are a contributor to metabolic syndrome and pose diabetic risk. Chronic inflammation also is a precursor to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- Regulates Sleep. If your blood sugar is regulated, you will sleep better because you will not be so restless at night. Sleep time is a time of rest and rejuvenation. Too little sleep and your appetite increases, and this may put you at risk of disrupting your blood sugar balance. Eat your bigger meal at least 2 hours before bed and have a light snack with a little protein in it before you go to bed.
General over all tips to help regulate your blood sugar:
- Physical activity to counteract the extra energy release
- Eat only small amounts that meet your activity level, but don’t go below 50g of carbs per day – your brain and thyroid need it.
- Eat carbs with fibre and protein to prolong release of glucose into blood stream and promote satiety.
- Pay attention to the glycemic load of foods.
- Mindful meditation, focused breath to deal with stress response.
- Get a good night’s rest
- Support blood glucose regulation with botanical medicines. Check with your health practitioner for the best fit for you with the right dose & duration.
From the heart and mind of your local naturopathic doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. firstname.lastname@example.org