I just can't quit you, cheese — you delicious temptress, you. But Heidi Ho, a new product that will be on Shark Tank this Friday, is trying to change that. Heidi Ho, described as a "delicious plant-based cheeze," is an alternative to the cow-produced cheese many Americans are used to eating. But there are reasons why you might want to reduce eating that yummy goodness (I know, I know, it's really hard to believe). Some people choose to reduce their cheese intake for a low-fat or dairy-free diet or a weight-loss program. For others (like myself), it's issues with the dairy industry. And of course, vegans (who may not eat cheese for the reasons listed and more), don't eat dairy. But what's the big deal with cheese?
Well, cheese can be bad for you from a health standpoint because it's high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. And what if you're more concerned with the animal welfare side of the dairy cows? For cows to produce milk — which, ya know, leads to cheese — they must be pregnant. So, cows are impregnated repeatedly, can have their young are taken from them, and then they are usually slaughtered once they stop producing milk.
Now, I'm not here to make you vegan or vegetarian (seriously, although I'm sorry for the depressing view of cows), but it can never hurt to reduce your intake of something that has the potential to lead to health problems in large quantities. Or something that just doesn't make you feel great, if you have a dairy allergy or intolerance. And I just assume everyone overeats cheese like me ('cause how can you not?). But, I'm always suspicious of any sort of food substitutes, so here are my top questions (and answers) for Heidi Ho.
What Are Heidi Ho Products Made Of?
Heidi Ho promotes their products as plant-based and from their list of ingredients, they aren't lying. The base of their Creamy Chia Cheeze (which comes in three flavors) is made of a vegetable puree that includes red potatoes, red bell peppers, carrots, onions, and garlic. Add in the cashews, chia seeds, lemon, safflower oil, sea salt, and other natural flavoring (almost all of which are certified organic), this cheeze is something you can feel good about eating. And did I mention it's creamy?!
How Should I Eat the Cheeze?
Instagrammer whollyvegan posts some amazing vegan recipes, including those made with Heidi Ho cheeze products. Heidi Ho regrams some of her tasty treats — like the tater tot dish above. Heidi Ho also shares a few recipe suggestions for their cheeze. They're clearly focusing on how to get new vegan recruits with healthy alternatives to waffle fries and nachos, but when it looks that good, who cares if you're vegan or not?
Where Can I Find These Mystical Cheezes?
OK, so by now you may be intrigued on where can you get these cheezes. Right now, they seem to have a pretty limited distribution (mainly Whole Foods stores in Texas), but they encourage you to contact them directly to buy in bulk. And a banner on their home page states that they will be launching nationally in March 2015 with Whole Foods. If the Sharks back them, you might be finding their Creamy Chia Cheeze and their Ne Chèvra cheeze (which is modeled to taste like goat cheese) near you.
And the Most Important Question — Why the "Z"?
On the Heido Ho FAQ site, they explain the reason for the "z" in their name.
The word cheese is defined as “a food made from the pressed curds of milk." Since we obviously don’t fall into that category we aren’t allowed to call it cheese with an 's', so we call it cheeze with a 'z'.
Well, however you spell it, it seems like a delicious alternative to our gooey friend. They just need to make a version I can put on pizza and I'm sold.
Images: Michael Desmond/ABC; Giphy (3)