Cashew Cheese . . . Is it Possible?

Over the years, I’ve embarked on several adventures in the diet that feeds my family. First of all, I love to bake so my early years saw a lot of bread and Christmas time kept the house smelling of cinnamon and spice and everything very nice. The children were small and my husband and I ran around too much tending to family needs to worry about weight gain.

A few years into the marriage, the lactose intolerance that plagued my husband when he was an infant returned so dairy was used sparingly and my husband always had his medication at hand in case I forgot to give the preliminary dinner warning.

Twenty years go by and we are used to the lactose problem but, basically enjoy home-cooked meals with dessert on Sunday. I worked at keeping out the dairy but it still made appearances in deference to the budget and meatless Fridays. Things got worse, however, and it took more and more pills to calm down any intake of dairy so I cooked around that and we still enjoyed good meals. Even leaving out the dairy, my husband still experience pain but nothing seemed to explain why so we coped.

We were browsing at Costco, one day, and came across an interesting book on taking wheat out of the diet. I like to read cookbooks like others read a good novel. My husband purchased the book for me and the idea of taking wheat out of the diet intrigued me more as a challenge than a real life change. As long as he gets his meals, my husband was okay with the experiment for ONE month and then we go back to normal. A couple of weeks of going gluten-free, my husband suddenly realized that dairy wasn’t bothering him anymore and the mysterious pains were completely gone. We did a little more checking and discovered he had never had lactose intolerance, he was sensitive to gluten!

We have been gluten-free for over three years but anyone sharing a meal at our home wouldn’t know it as I took on the challenge and could replicate most all of my baking recipes and dinners without gluten.

We were browsing at Costco, one day . . . sound familiar? And I came across an interesting book on taking several categories of basic foods out of the diet with the promise of feeling better. My husband bought me the book and said I could try it for ONE month and then we were back to our now regular gluten-free diet. Six months later, we are still on the Whole30 way of eating which means we do not eat dairy, gluten, grains, legumes/beans, sugar, or alcohol. We liked the way we felt, discovered new foods, and have yet to miss any of the ‘forbidden’ list. Okay, I sort of missed a cheesy lasagna of my making but not enough to include it in our lives, again. It just wasn’t worth it.

We were browsing at Costco, one day. . . we go to Costco a lot! I was looking at the books (Yeah, you’d think my husband would forbid me to go down that aisle by now!) And found Paleo Takeout, Restaurant Favorites Without the Junk. Now, Paleo allows some of the items we omit from our Whole30 diet but the book kindly includes substitutes on some recipes to make it usable for us. In this book is a recipe for Cashew Cheese on page 248 (Yes, I have the page number memorized!). I tried the recipe and used it for a vegetable lasagna recipe (no noodles but slices of zucchini!) and happily discovered I could have the taste and texture of a melty Italian dish with a third of the calories and a fresher taste. We no long say that we ‘can’t’ eat something with our diet but that we don’t chose do eat it but I never stop looking for innovative ways to bring some old favorites to the dinner table with the new rules.

Anyone interested, the Book is Paleo Takeout, Restaurant Favorites Without The Junk by Russ Crandall. A hint: the Asian recipes in the book are excellent!