Strawberry Cashew Mousse and thoughts on dairy

Strawberry Cashew Mousse

I’m not vegan, but I know lots of people who are. When I started reading a lot of Michael Pollan just before I began studying nutrition, I thought veganism might be on the horizon, but the more I learned, the more eating well for me because about moderation and quality meat/animal products.

Being an (almost-1 course to go!) nutritionist, I’m very interested in many peoples’ dietary choices. I don’t think a good diet is one size fits all. For example, we eat vegan at least a few times a week at home…but to us that means eating tons of veggies. I always feel great when I eat loads of veggies.

However, I’m not the biggest fan of vegan food that pretends to be other things (fake chicken, fake cheese, all kinds of soy concoctions)…though I really wanted to give a vegan cheesecake a chance. This recipe is actually a vegan cheesecake, but I’ve renamed it, as, being a lover of cheesecake, for better or for worse, I just couldn’t call this cheesecake. It is delicious and smooth and creamy, and I’m indeed in awe of how cashews can turn into this mousse, but this ain’t no cheesecake.

strawberry cashew mousse
That doesn’t mean it’s not pretty.  I brought it to a dinner at a friend’s house, and everyone liked it, but we all decided it wasn’t a cheesecake.  This recipe is from the Vegan Post Punk Kitchen.  Check it out here.  I have to say, I was quite amazed at the crust–and the crust is definitely something I’d repeat.  It came together in seconds in my Vitamix (thought any food processor would do the trick).  I’d use this crust for any no-bake dessert.  I think it’d be a great option for these lemon squares.

Onto the topic of dairy.  I was particularly interested to find a happy, healthy cheesecake alternative because so many people are lactose intolerant.  There are lots of campaigns out there to make us think that we need dairy. Here’s the thing:  many people have lactose intolerance because we’re not designed to drink milk beyond childhood.  We’re also the only species on the planet that consumes milk from another animal.  Many people are lactose intolerant because we stop producing lactase, the enzyme that allows us to drink lactose.

We’re led to believe that milk is the key to calcium, but there are so many other way to get calcium.  Broccoli, sesame seeds, any dark leafy greens…so many ways! Here’s an article about how milk actually decreases the calcium in your bones http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/

But I doubt you’d be having cheesecake everyday anyhow.  I might experiment with this again…or maybe play with goat cheese. Maybe a hybrid of cashews and goat cheese would be the perfect compromise. We’d get a tang in a dairy form that is more easily digestible by many.  Goat’s milk more closely resembles human milk, and it is therefore a lot easier to digest.

strawberry cashew mousse

If you’re looking for a mousse, though, this is a delicious option.  It’s extremely filling.  I didn’t have a 9″ cake pan that the recipe called for, so I used a 6″, and also made a bunch of mini muffin size bites. The minis were the perfect portion size.

Cashews have excellent health benefits!  They have the same heart healthy oleic acid as olive oil.  They’re also rich in magnesium, which can help you and your muscles relax. They are rich in one class of flavanols that can help prevent cancer.  The strawberries are a good source of vitamin C.   So, cheesecake or not, this isn’t a bad cake!

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What are your thoughts on dairy?

Lauren Breuer

Author Lauren Breuer

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Julie @ WolfItDown says:

    Wowser, this cake looks absolutely scrumptious!

    As for my thoughts on dairy, I like it! …a lot, but I also don’t mind vegan and vegetarian dishes! In fact, I used to hardly eat any meat for a while, just because it seemed more convenient in many ways! Exceeding my five a day almost on a daily basis.
    I felt great, but my body disagreed a little bit, and got kicked off track, not getting all the right nutrients and so on. I am still working on getting my health back on track, hopefully I’ll get there soon 🙂

    I am a firm believer in “all in moderation”, and I have learnt how important that is over the last few years. If I had grown up on a vegan or vegetarian diet from birth, then I am sure it would be no problem at all, alas! I have been thinking of having a few vegetarian or vegan days every week, all it requires is a bit of planning ahead, easy peasy!

    I have heard that there is a difference between eating cheese, yogurt and “soured” dairy products, as opposed to milk, but I don’t actually know what that actually is. If you care to enlighten me, that’d be great!

    Sorry, I tend to ramble on a bit when it comes to nutrition myself 😛

    Thanks for a great post!
    x J

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Julie! Yeah, everything in moderation is key. Most nutritionists I know follow the 80/20 rule. Do what’s best for you 80% of the time, and be less strict on the 20% (if that’s eating out, having a favorite food that’s not too healthy, etc). These days more of my meals are vegetarian and I find meat requires more prep/planning, but it’s all about getting into a routine, whatever your goals are.

      In terms of dairy, yeah, it varies. Drinking Kefir or something fermented is beneficial (if you can digest it) because it will help build your friendly flora and improve your immune system and digestion. Cow’s milk on the other hand is less beneficial. Skim milk particularly, is loaded with sugar (as are many dairy products). I like plain greek yogurt for the protein content, myself. All dairy is “mucous forming” so that’s an important thing to note for many people. If you’re looking for something fermented, still read the other ingredients–I’ve heard one super mainstream yogurt company uses a probiotic from rat feces! Also, it’s non-colonizing (so you have the benefits that day, but not longer term).

      Hope that helps, and hope it makes sense! Have a wonderful day!
      Lauren

      • Julie @ WolfItDown says:

        That is really helpful, thank you so much!

        In Norway where I’m from, kefir is used in a lot of baked good and it tends to make eeeverything mor esucculent! I actually posted about “lapper” which are thick kefir pancakes last week, took me back to my childhood mmm 😀
        Here in the UK, kefir is less popular, but you can find it in the polish section in the supermarkets.

        I usually have quark, natural yogurt or cottage cheese, adding my own syrups, fruit, grains and such, and it comes out tasting so much better!

        The 80/20 is a good thumb rule, although because of my situation, I tend to lean more towards the 70/30, which is still not bad 😀 Usually treat myself for a meal out once every week or two 🙂

        Thanks again!

        x J

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