Top 5 Vegan Cheese Brands

cheese alternatives

Thanks to the growing vegan cheese options on the shelves these days, giving up cheese is becoming easier and easier.

I get a lot of new clients who say, “I would go vegan, but I just can’t imagine life without cheese!”

Well let me just tell you… Vegan cheese has come A LONG WAY since I went vegan 22 years ago! In fact, vegan cheese has come a long way in just the last year. The options getting more and more realistic both in taste and texture. Just recently, vegan cheese products are also becoming healthier too. How cool! 

Here are my top 5 brands and favorite vegan cheese products. Explore and enjoy!

Image result for smoked gouda follow your heartBrand: Follow Your Heart

Favorite Product:

Smoked Gouda Style Slices

I don’t remember ever trying smoked Gouda cheese before going vegan at 15 years old. When I discovered Follow Your Heart’s smoked Gouda style slices I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. Perfectly smoky and creamy, these slices make a killer grilled cheese or melt. Being the southern girl I am, I absolutely love it in grits too. This vegan cheese is one of my staple “comfort foods”.

Pepper Jack Style Slices

All the spicy goodness you love without the horrific animal abuse. Try this flavor in quesadillas or on pizza, or just eat with crackers!

Brand: Daiya Foods

I recommend this brand for all your cheese needs. Not only are the products 100% vegan, they are also free of soy, gluten, peanuts, and tree nuts (except coconut), but they have their own factory to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. Daiya is becoming available in more and more mainstream grocery stores as well.daiya-mozzarella

Favorite Products:

Mozzarella Style Shreds and Pepper Jack Style Shreds 

These are great tasting and they melt just like “the real thing”!

The mozzarella is perfect for making a delicious vegan pizza, and the pepper jack couldn’t be better for topping burritos and making quesadillas.DF-Wedge-Havarti

Havarti Style Wedge and Jack Style Wedge

I used these at a house party recently, on a platter with olives and crackers. The non-vegans had NO IDEA that the cheese was non-dairy. In fact I received compliments on the Havarti wedge and it was gone in no time. They couldn’t believe it when I told them later that it was vegan. Go Daiya!

Brand: Heidi Ho VeganicsImage result for heidi ho nacho cheese

Favorite Product:

Chia Cheeze Sauce

Go Heidi Ho! I’ve had the privilege of meeting the awesome women behind this up and coming vegan cheese brand. This is the healthiest “nacho cheese” alternative out there to date. The kicker… It tastes incredible!

Brand: Kite Hill

Favorite Product: 

Cream Cheese Style Spread (Chive)

Kudos to Kite Hill for creating the single most healthy vegan cheese on the market today. Unfortunately, because they are a relatively young company, there is a good chance their products have not made it to your local stores yet. Be patient though, I have no doubt Kite Hill will grow exponentially. Not only is their vegan cream cheese the healthiest, it’s also the best tasting. How exciting is that?!

The chive flavor is my favorite, but the classic plain flavor is good as well. When I need a savory treat, I spread it on seed or rice crackers, and sometimes add slices of cucumber… yum! When I have guests I serve it with whole grain or gluten-free bagels and get nothing but compliments.

Image result for kite hill chive cream cheeseImage result for kite hill chive cream cheese

Brand: Galaxy Nutritional Foodsvegan cream cheese

Favorite Product:

Vegan Cream Cheese Substitute, Chive & Garlic

I only get this every once in a while because it is still a processed food, but of the vegan cream cheese that are available in many main stream grocery stores, this is one of the healthier, has the best consistency, and tastes great!

I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments! 


Store Bought Veggie Burgers

store bought Veggie Burgers

Wondering what store bought veggie burgers are healthy and which should be considered vegan junk food?

The First Question to Ask Yourself Is…

“Is this veggie burger vegan?” Some store bought veggie burgers are vegetarian, but contain animal bi-products such as egg whites. With that in mind, know that all the frozen veggie burgers I mention in this post are vegan.

Then What?

The second criteria can be taste. If a veggie burger doesn’t taste good, it really doesn’t matter how healthy or junky it is! That being said, all the veggie burger brands I will mention in this post are ones I find tasty.

The next criteria is how healthy the veggie burger is. Does it follow the vegan dietary guidelines I recommend?

The last criteria is how similar it is in taste and texture to meat. Since I haven’t eaten animal protein since the age of 7 (30 years ago) I’m not the best person to judge. However, I had friends help me give the vegan burgers in this post a “realistic rating.”

I split veggie burgers into two main categories… Those that I can feel good about eating on a regular basis, and those I consider “treats” and should only be eaten on occasion. Here are my top three picks for each category.

Burgers I  Recommend Suitable for Regular Consumption

These patties, though processed, are primarily made of whole foods. They are absolutely delicious, but must be looked at as their own unique food items, not to be compared to the taste and texture of a beef patty. My top picks include:

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger Dr. Preagers California Store Bought Veggie Burger

These store bought veggie burgers are great because they are made from whole food ingredients, are low in calories, low in fat, and high in fiber. I also enjoy Dr. Praeger’s Bombay Veggie Burgers. Keep in mind they really have no similarity taste or texture-wise from animal-based burgers (which for some of  us is a good thing, while others may find this disappointing.

Sunshine Store Bought Veggie BurgerSunshine Burgers

This vegan burger can be thought of as a hearty meal, as it is higher in calories and fat than the many others because it’s base is sunflower seeds. I also like the Southwest style burger from Sunshine Burgers. Sunshine burgers are great for cutting up and adding to a salad as well.
Hilary's store bought veggie burger


Hilary’s makes several great versions of their veggie burger (original, root vegetable, adzuki bean, etc.). You can feel good about eating these as part of you’re go-to foods list. The base for these store bought veggie burgers is millet and quinoa. They need to be cooked in the way specified in the directions, or else they can come out on the dry side. Hilary’s burgers are great alone or on a salad.

Store Bought Veggie Burgers for Special Occasions

These vegan burgers are ones that look, taste, and feel most like beef burgers. They may be something you want to use for barbecues or when trying to appease a meat-eater or your own craving for meat if you are at a point where you still have those cravings.

The down side is that they are more processed and contain less healthy ingredients. So while you are doing right by the animals by not supporting their horrific life and death, you are not doing your body a favor by eating them. That being said, we are all entitled to treat ourselves to some vegan foods that are not the best for us every now and then. I know I do! As long as you are keeping your regular diet clean and exercising there’s no reason for guilt 😉 

Beyond Meat’s The Beyond BurgerThe Beyond Burger Vegan

This veggie burger is probably the closest to “the real thing” on the market today. I therefore recommend this one if you want to show others how they could begin to transition to a vegan diet without feeling deprived. In fact the beets they use to give the patty a red-meat appearance have led some in the media to remark that the burger “bleeds” beet blood. (This is NOT an attractive feature to me though!)

The Beyond Burger, primarily made up of isolated pea protein, is similar to beef burgers in number of calories, grams of protein. The Beyond Burger has more iron and less saturated fat than meat burgers, but be aware that the veggie burger is high in sodium and contains some saturated fat (coconut oil). Of course, as for all plant foods, it has zero cholesterol (whereas beef patties have about 80 mg).Store Bought Beefless Burger by Gardein

Gardein Beefless Burger

Gardein prides itself on how realistic their meat substitutes are. Their veggie burger is no exception. This may be one of the least healthy options on the market today. It’s main ingredients are soy protein isolate and vital wheat gluten. Super tasty though!

amys bistro store bought veggie burger

Amy’s Bistro Burger

This veggie burger has been around the longest out of these top three “treat” burgers. Since Amy’s the brand has been around for such a long time, it could be easier to find at your local grocery stores then the others. It’s also gluten free and the option with the highest amount of whole food ingredients out of the three. It’s delicious too!

 I hope this guide helps you make the right store-bought veggie burger for the right occasions!

My Favorite High Protein Vegan Products


There are so many high protein vegan products on the shelves it can be hard to choose which ones to try first, so today I’m sharing my favorites to give you all a place to start! 

When I first became vegan my weight fluctuated a lot because I was eating too many processed foods. If it was vegan, I ate it, regardless of the amount of sugar, white flour, chemicals or bad fats in it. I soon realized that simple, clean and unprocessed was the way to go and these days I mainly stick to a diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds. But there are some amazing high protein vegan products out there that I use to supplement my diet. These are my favorites!

Field Roast:

Field Roast High Protein Vegan Product

Until I discovered Field Roast I had never found a veggie dog or sausage that I liked. These I love! The Smoked Apple Sage is my favorite but they also come in Italian and Mexican Chipotle. Each sausage is 240 calories and has 11 g of carbs and 26 g of protein. They come fully cooked and I often chop one up and toss it in a salad to get an extra protein and flavor boost. Field Roast also makes a host of other great products which you can check out at Apparently their Vegan Chao Cheese is amazing (unfortunately not yet available in Canada).

Simply Protein Chips:

Simply Protein Chips: High Protein Vegan Product


Finally a high protein, vegan, savory snack! With 15 grams of protein and just 140 calories you can’t go wrong with these.  Available in BBQ Tomato (my fav), Spicy Chili, Herb, and Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper.

Gardein Turk’y Cutlet:

Gardein Turk'y Cutlet: High Protein Vegan Product

Gardein really is the gold standard when it comes to vegan meat substitutes. I honestly don’t know how they do it, but this cutlet tastes like a turkey cutlet…but better!  Kids love it and I am sure you could fool a few meat eaters with it too. I actually served this as my protein last Christmas dinner and it was a huge hit. Two cutlets are 260 calories with 19 grams of carbs and 22 grams of protein.

Special K Protein Cereal:

Special K Protein Cereal: High Protein Vegan Product

Ok, I’m not proud of this, but I have basically had a bowl of cereal every night before I go to bed for the last 20 years of my life.  Not while this is NOT a habit I would recommend, if you have a cereal weakness like me, I think Special K protein is your best bet. A 1 C serving has 190 calories, 33 grams of carbs and 10 grams of protein. I find it very satisfying so I usually have a smaller portion than that. It has a very slightly sweet vanilla flavor that is good on it’s own or with added fruit.

These are my favorites…what are yours?  I would love to hear about what products you sexy fit vegans love!

Kirsten 🙂

Cover photograph courtesy of espnW


Vegans Indulge Too!

Vegan Cupcake

Hi Everyone!

I, like everyone else, over-indulged! Shocker I know 😉 but believe it or not, I’m human too! Today I want to share with you a few of the foods & drinks I splurge on. They are all 100% vegan of course, but they are not whole foods in that they are all processed to some degree. Some of you may think, “Those are not so bad!” and yes, in comparison to some of the junk food out there with highly refined sugars, corn syrups, GMO soy and other additives, these “aren’t so bad.” I’m here to tell you though, once you have some time under your belt eating a diet that is mostly comprised of whole plant foods, the foods I’m listing truly do feel like indulgences! So here are my confessions…

1. Vegan Snacks: Vegan “”Cheese” Popcorn, Lentil Chips

Vegan popcornHealthy Vegan Protein Lentil Chips










2. “Comfort Foods”: Organic Yellow Corn Grits (with Daiya Cheese), Gluten-Free Pizza (with Daiya Cheese), Sweet Potato Fries (I bake them!)

Grits Vegan Comfort foodVegan Cheese-Daiya


 Vegan Pizza Gluten Free



Vegan Baked Sweet Potato Fries







3. Alcohol: Tequila drinks (mainly tequila with soda and fresh lemon and lime), Golden Monkey beer.

Tequila- Don Julio



Golden Monkey Beer 








Stay tuned… I find new vegan “semi-junk” foods to splurge on all the time! Just remember, if you cut out all the really horrible processed foods (I’m talking Fritos, Pop Tarts, Snickers, you get the idea) ALL TOGETHER, you will lose the cravings for these types of terrible-for-you-foods, and Lentil Chips will become your new standard for an indulgence, at which point you can count on seeing major positive changes to your body, your energy level, your happiness, and your whole life in general! Stick with the program and you will see!


So… You Are Invited To A BBQ and You’re Eating Vegan… Now What?!

fireworks at a bbq

Don’t worry… if you’re invited to a bbq and you’re eating vegan just follow my lead!

Independence Day is just the kick-off to a BBQ-filled summer for many of us… which to me, means a super fun times with my friends and loved ones!

Have you ever experienced something like this? As you are being invited to a BBQ, the invitation ends with an uncomfortable, “Oh yeah, but you don’t eat meat!” Sometimes it even seems like the person feels badly about having even asked! But here’s the deal… A BBQ does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza! I look at BBQs as an opportunity to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!

So when I am invited to a BBQ, I get the details first because for me, a pig skewered over a fire pit is simply beyond the boundaries of what I am able to handle! (But for some of you who are vegan strictly for the health benefits, this might not be a problem!) Then, if I accept the invitation, I of course offer to bring some food, which is never turned down. And the friend usually realizes at that point that they are also planning on cooking up some veggies anyway!

grilling veggie burgers at a bbqIf you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving! There are tons of awesome recipes out there to try!

Since I am not much of a cook however, I usually grab veggie burgers and vegan hot dogs to bring, as well as baby carrots, celery (I chop ahead of time) and hummus. My top vegan picks to bring  are:

– Amy’s California & Bistro Burgers (Great tasting, satisfying to meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus the California one is gluten free!
– Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle (love adding avocado to this one)
– Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (Perfect hot dog sub and Gluten Free as well!)
– Vegenaise, Low Fat  (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
– Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)

Believe it or not both the faux meats and the veggies and hummus are almost always a hit at the party!

Now relax & have a blast!!!

And if anyone has links to recipes you have tried and love, feel free to post a comment to share!

Vegan Protein Pasta: Sexy Fit Vegan® Approved

Vegan protein pasta

Yes, a vegan protein pasta DOES exist and it blows away non-vegan protein pasta in terms of the nutrition and protein content!

Vegan Protein Past: Mung Bean Fettuchini

A low-carb, high-protein, high-fiber, organic, grain-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, vegan pasta that actually tastes great… it’s hard to believe!

Here are the details…

Product: Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine

Brand: Explore Asian

It can be tricky to find locally so you may need to order it and stock up. You can find it on Amazon
among many other online health food stores.

Make sure to sign up for the FREE Sexy Fit Vegan Newsletter for a super easy to make healthy Mac’n Cheese recipe I created. You will also find a recipe for vegan protein pasta primavera in the How to Go Vegan Beginner’s Guide… YUMMY!!!

Top Cream Cheese Swap

Vegan Cream Cheese

Brand: Galaxy Nutritional Foods

Product: Vegan Cream Cheese Substitute, Chive & Garlic (my favorite), & Plain

I only get this every once in a while because it is still a processed food, but of the cream cheese substitutes, this is definitely one of the healthier (if not healthiest), has the best consistency, and tastes fantastic! The chive & garlic is my favorite, but the classic plain flavor is good as well. When I need a savory treat, I spread it on rice crackers… yum!! And when I have guests I serve it with whole grain or gluten-free bagels and get nothing but compliments.

Vegan Cream Cheese