Okay, I honestly never in a million years thought I would look for vegan products...but suddenly when all dairy is off limits and the stupid soy cheese they carry at Smith's has casein in it, along with so many other soy and rice cheeses, I discovered it's so much easier to look for a product that says vegan, that way I know they are not sneaking in casein. So, I did a google search and came upon Daiya, I looked at their website and they made it sound wonderful, but that's their job...so, I did some more searching, read people's reviews and decided that yes, this may be the 'cheese' that we have been hoping for...the problem, no one in town has it.
I have this week off of work to help the boys through this diet change, so I thought we would head out of town and make a fun day of it. After the fun kid activities, we went to Whole Food Markets (sad that I have to travel an 1 1/2 hours to just get cheese, I think I'm going to fill out some special request forms at the grocery store). I was like a kid in the candy store when we got to the vegan cheese section. They of course had the Daiya cheese shreds, but only in the mozzarella, the cheddar was sold out, so we I got like 4 bags (one bag to take to day care, one bag to use now, and 2 bags to freeze, so we'll be good for a little while). The also that Silk Live soy yogurt, so we got some of those for my little one to have a day care, along with vegan cream cheese and sour cream...I'll let you know what I think of them as we use them. But today's post is all about the Daiya cheese.
The ingredient list is: Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, vegan natural flavours, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor). So, yes, this is not cheese, this is a product that resembles cheese. It surprisingly melts, we used it last night for nachos and it melted! My little one downed the nachos, like he would if it was normal cheese...but a warning, this is not cheese, it does not have the same nutritional values as cheese...the calories are probably about the same as a part-skim milk mozzarella, but there are definitely more carbs and less protein, obviously because there is no milk and it's flour that is taking its place. Also, it's not fortified, so there is no calcium in this cheese. That being said, it's still nice to have to give some normalcy to at least some of our meals. I think we could easily be cheese free in our home, but at daycare, with mac and cheese, mini pizzas, cheese sandwiches, etc., there is no escaping it, and I, at least, want my little one to enjoy the taste of what he's eating and this at least tastes good.
Overall Rating 8 out of 10 I would have given it a 9 or 10 if it had calcium in it, but it doesn't, but still tastes good and my little one will actually eat it, so it still gets a high rating, but not as high as it could get.