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Is Vegan Cheese Keto?

Have you chosen a Vegan Keto lifestyle? Then you may be asking; is Vegan cheese Keto-friendly? It may seem like a simple Yes/No answer would suffice – but we want to be sure. We chose the Vegan Keto lifestyle for our health and for the love of our planet. We chose the Vegan Keto way of doing things for kindness and for wellbeing. It’s not a flippant decision; it’s not an easy lifestyle, but it’s definitely worth it!

Before we can decide whether or not Vegan cheese is Keto we should ask a few more questions.
Join us as we investigate a little further.

What does Vegan Keto mean?

A Vegan Ketogenic diet is quite restrictive, but it is great for your health and reduces the consumption of animal-based foods which reduces animal suffering

Here’s a quick summary of what the Vegan Keto diet entails:

  • Limit carbs
  • Eliminate all animal products
  • Eat lots of low-carb veggies
  • Enjoy plant-based fats
  • Eat plant-based proteins
  • Supplement nutrients if needed

Keto Diet
High Fat Low Carb Moderate Protein
Mostly animal-based foods
The Vegan Keto Lifestyle successfully combines the kindness of eating only plant-based foods with the health benefits of Ketosis.

Vegan Diet

No animal products

Usually fill-up on carbs
The Vegan Keto Lifestyle successfully combines the kindness of eating only plant-based foods with the health benefits of Ketosis.

Don’t you agree that being able to mesh these two diets is simply GREAT?! With a little planning and imagination (and awesome sites like this one) you can enjoy a Kind and Keto lifestyle. 

Bearing in mind that each of these diets have their own set of dos and don’ts it would make sense to have a closer look at what Vegan cheese is made from. 

What is Vegan Cheese Made From?

Cheese is traditionally a dairy product made from the milk of various animals including cows, goats, and sheep. That’s fine for Ketotarians but not at all suitable for Vegans. Thankfully, a variety of Vegan cheeses that are completely free of dairy and animal-based enzymes are coming to the fore. Many of them closely rival their dairy counterparts, making them popular with Vegans and non-vegans alike.  

Traditional cheeses not only use animal milk in the production of cheese, but they also use a product called rennet which is an animal-based enzyme. Rennet is used to curdle the cheese – making it coagulate. Using rennet is the most common way to produce the flavors, textures, and forms of different traditional dairy-based cheeses. 

Vegan cheese is entirely plant-based – no animal products, no dairy, no milk, and no rennet. Vegan cheese comprises combining the protein mass from various plant sources with lactic bacteria (which is needed for acidity). Plant-based oils, emulsifiers, and thickeners are added to produce firmer types of dairy-free cheese.

Here is a list of ingredients that are used in the making of Vegan cheese:

  • Soy Protein – Results in shiny, slick, rubbery cheese varieties
    (For Vegan cheese, make sure you choose soy that does not contain casein which is a dairy-based milk protein)
  • Plant-based milk
  • Solidified Vegetable Oil – Like coconut, palm or safflower
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Thickening Agar flakes
  • Nuts – Including macadamia, cashew, pecan, and almond
  • Seeds – Including sunflower and pumpkin
  • Coconut – milk, cream, and oil
  • Flour – Like tapioca, potato or all-purpose flour
    (Cheese made with a starchy flour, even if it is mixed with other ingredients, would be disqualified as Keto-friendly because of the high-carb count)
  • Natural Plant-based Enzymes
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Aquafaba – the liquid from canned chickpeas 
  • Assorted Bacterial Cultures
  • Arrowroot
  • Pea Protein
  • Herbs and spices of your choice

Vegan cheese is made by using one or more of these ingredients and, depending on the style of cheese you want, the ingredients are blended together and left to undergo the necessary process to turn them into a guilt-free plant-based cheese.    

The biggest difference between animal-based cheese and Vegan cheese is the consolidated protein – also known as curd. Dairy cheese goes through stages where the proteins bond; this is what causes the different flavors and textures. 

Vegan cheese doesn’t experience any modifications in protein so it can’t deliver exactly the same flavors and textures as dairy-based cheese. The good news is that many Vegan cheesemakers are now employing a bacterial aging process which means that more and more Vegan cheeses are rivaling the taste and texture of dairy cheeses.  

This brings us to the next question …

Is Vegan Cheese Healthy?

Unfortunately, to achieve a cheesier cheese, some cheesemakers are producing highly processed Vegan cheese. This is not a healthy option. Thankfully, as the number of Vegan consumers grows, so do the number of producers who are cutting out the highly processed ingredients and opting for the healthier, traditional cheese aging and bacterial culturing method to make Vegan Cheeses. We are so thankful that the Vegan cheese market has come such a long way since the first dairy-free cheeses were made in the 1980s. 

There are three ways to make sure your Vegan cheese is healthy. 

  • Look at the list of ingredients. The fewer the better! Whole-food ingredients win, every time. 
  • Buy from a trusted cheesemaker. The postA Comprehensive Guide to the Vegan Ketogenic Diet” mentions some trustworthy Vegan cheesemakers including Treeline, Miyoko’s Kitchen and Follow Your Heart
  • Make your own!  Vegan cheese doesn’t require such a complex processing method that it can only be done in a factory. And the wonderful thing about making your own Vegan cheese is that you have complete control over what goes into it.

What Styles of Vegan Cheese are there?

According to the postA Guide to Vegan Cheese: What’s the Best Dairy-Free Option?” there are at least six styles of cheese for Vegans to enjoy:

  • Shredded
    Many major brands now offer shredded-style Vegan cheese. Mozzarella and cheddar styles are probably the most popular. This variety is best for sprinkling on top of Vegan Keto pizza, tacos, or casseroles.
  • Cream cheese
    Vegan options for cream cheese are great for spreading on Vegan Keto bread or crackers or using in creamy sauces. Like traditional cream cheese, they also come in a variety of flavors.
  • Block and sliced
    Vegan options for block and sliced cheese come in many varieties, including Cheddar, smoked Gouda, Provolone, and American. They’re best used on Vegan Keto crackers or sandwiches.
  • Soft cheese
    Varieties include Vegan Ricotta, Brie, and Camembert.
  • Parmesan-style
    Grated parmesan-style Vegan cheese makes a great plant-based option for topping zoodles or other Vegan Keto noodles, pizza or popcorn.
  • Nacho cheese dips
    If you miss cheese dips and sauces, you can now buy Vegan nacho cheese or choose from a variety of easy recipes online.

To Recap

We discovered that combining a Vegan lifestyle with a Keto diet is quite possible.
We investigated the ingredients that go into making Vegan cheese.
We ascertained that it is possible to find healthy Vegan cheese.
We confirmed that Vegan cheese is available in any number of styles.

Finally, we can Answer our Original Question: Is Vegan Cheese Keto-Friendly?

Yes! It is indeed.

The ingredients are high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates which, even at first glance, reaffirms that Vegan cheese is Keto-friendly. Moreover, the fact that Vegan cheese is healthy and available in a variety of styles offers even more incentive to those following a Vegan Keto lifestyle to include cheese in your diet without feeling guilty.  

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