Originally published June 8 2010
Daiya, a soy-free, vegan cheese that actually tastes like cheese
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Many Natural News readers are probably aware of the many "cheese-free" cheeses on the market. Most of them are derived from soy, which more often than not is genetically-modified (GMO), and many of them lack the characteristics of cheese that would make a person want to actually eat them. Some do not melt, others do not even taste like cheese, and still others are filled with artificial chemicals and processed fillers. There is one brand, though, that stands apart from the rest.
Daiya, a dairy-free, vegan cheese is definitely one of the best cheese alternatives on the market. There are many varieties of cheese alternatives available, but Daiya is arguably the best one out there based on its excellent taste, texture and ingredients.
Tapioca and arrowroot flours, non-GMO canola and safflower oils, coconut oil and pea protein are some of the primary ingredients that make up Daiya. Though not certified organic, the product is a good start in an otherwise vacant landscape of quality, vegan cheeses.
Because it is still somewhat difficult to source organic gluten-free flours, it makes sense that not every gluten-free product, especially those that are sold on a large scale, is fully organic. As the industry burgeons, the availability of certified organic gluten-free flours should increase, and hopefully Daiya will make this transition in the future.
Daiya cheese is free of soy, casein, lactose, gluten, egg, wheat, barley, corn, rice and nuts. There are no artificial ingredients, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, or animal products of any kind. Daiya melts like cheese, grates like cheese and tastes like cheese. Fortunately, for those with dairy issues, Daiya does not digest like cheese, but rather digests like other whole, plant-based product.
Currently, Daiya is used primarily in the foodservice industry, but is growing in retail availability nationwide. It is great for making pizza, as a salad topping, or on a grilled-cheese sandwich, and it contains no cholesterol or trans-fats. It currently comes in two varieties: cheddar and Italian blend.
In 2009, Daiya won a "Product of the Year Veggie Award" from VegNews, America's premier vegetarian lifestyle magazine. Over 35,000 readers voted in the survey, which highlights the best vegetarian products available and is the largest survey of its kind. After tasting it, it is easy to see why it won this award.
Daiya truly is a delicious and healthy vegan product. Its only drawbacks are that it is not certified organic, it contains conventional salt rather than sea salt, and it is relatively low in protein. But for what it is, Daiya is one of the best in its class. If you cannot or choose not to eat dairy products but wish to enjoy a meal with cheese every now and again, Daiya is definitely a top choice.
Daiya is available at many Whole Foods stores and at many local health food stores nationwide. Some local health restaurants also carry and use Daiya.
To learn more about Daiya and to locate a store or restaurant near you that carries it, visit www.daiyafoods.com.
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