Velveeta Cheese contains dairy products such as milk, whey, and several other animal byproduct ingredients.
I like my carbonara very cheesy to give me that tangy, buttery, and salty taste that lingers. Ah, the mouthfeel. Okay, I’m craving now.
Unfortunately, I can’t use Velveeta on my carbonara because it contains animal rennet, which is not suitable for vegans. Milk protein concentrate, milk, whey, and milkfat, are among the key ingredients that make it non-vegan.
If you’re checking out some vegan-friendly cheese brands, you’re in the right place. I have a comprehensive list for you that you’ll find very useful and helpful in your search. Let’s dig in!
Velveeta, Your Velvety Smooth Cheese
Emil Frey of Monroe Cheese Company 1918 invented Velveeta Cheese with two varieties, the Swiss and American types. It was registered under The Velveeta Cheese Company until 1927, when Kraft Foods purchased the brand.
Initially advertised as nutritious food, Velveeta, in the 30s, gained the approval seal of the American Medical Association (AMA). In 1953, Velveeta was formulated as a cheese spread with labels in its packaging as a “pasteurized processed cheese spread.”
However, in 2002, the FDA warned Kraft that because Velveeta contains milk protein concentrate, it should be sold as a “pasteurized prepared cheese spread.” Kraft has agreed to this, especially since the FDA’s standards, Velveeta isn’t real cheese but a cheese product.
Velveeta Is Not Vegan
Velveeta isn’t vegan at its core. If you check its packaging, the ingredients look very “milky” or “cheesy.” This means that it includes animal rennet and is not vegan-friendly.
Here’s a list of Velveeta’s ingredients:
- Milk Protein Concentrate
- Modified Food Starch
- Canola Oil
- Sodium Citrate
- Calcium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate
- Lactic Acid
- Sorbic Acid
- Cheese Culture
- Paprika Extract And Annatto (For Coloring)
- Natural Flavor
- Vitamin A Palmitate
Whey, milk, milk protein concentrate, milkfat, cheese culture, and enzymes are not vegan-friendly. However, there are also other cheese cultures and enzymes that are not derived from animals. Most vegan products, though, would include the label in their packaging.
Also, according to the FDA, natural flavors can either be from meat, poultry, fish, plants, fruits, or vegetables. But on the plus side, it’s mostly derived from plants, which is good news for all vegans. I mean, not on Velveeta.
Velveeta Nutrition Facts – How Healthy Is It?
While lactic acid, canola oil, modified food starch, and sodium citrates are vegan-friendly, they might be genetically modified or engineered. This can contribute to more allergic reactions. A few studies also suggest that GMO products may increase cancer risk.
Most non-vegan cheese products are also high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. It’s worth noting that the USDA recommends limiting your calorie intake per day to 2,000.
For what it’s worth, let’s check what contains at least one slice or 19 g of Velveeta.
- Calories. 35
- Total Fat. 2% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Total Carbs. 1% of the DV
- Protein. 3 g of the DV
- Saturated Fat. 3% of the DV
- Cholesterol. 2% of the DV
- Sodium. 11% of the DV
- Vitamin A. 4% of the DV
- Calcium. 19% of the DV
Not only that, Velveeta is not vegan-friendly. If you notice, with just a slice, equivalent to only 19 g, you’ll get high calories, sodium, and saturated fat.
High Sodium Intake
Our body needs sodium to function well, alongside calories, fats, and more. However, there should be a limit to doing so, or you’ll get sick. The USDA recommends about 2,300 mg of sodium daily for most healthy adults.
What does high sodium intake do to your body?
- It increases your blood pressure levels.
- You’re at risk of heart disease.
- It’s also associated with stroke.
To avoid these adverse health effects, you should limit yourself from eating packaged, processed, and prepared foods. This includes frozen foods that sometimes we tend to overeat unconsciously just because it’s vegan.
Note that some vegan-friendly foods or drinks can also be loaded with high sodium content, so you must keep your intake in moderation.
High Calorie Intake
When you eat foods or drinks with high calories, your body will digest them, but not all. That excess will be stored as your body fat. While you can burn them by working out, your body can still store some. And if you keep taking high calories, you may put more weight later on.
What does high-calorie intake do to your body?
- You’ll put on more weight. Or worse, it will increase the risk of obesity.
- Obesity increases the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- It makes you feel tired or sluggish.
- It causes heartburn.
- Your stomach produces more gas, which makes you feel bloated.
- Your metabolism might also speed up and feel sweaty, hot, or dizzy.
- It slows down your body’s digestive process.
- It will also affect your sleeping pattern.
Always look out for your calories. This means that you should eat sensibly, such as fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. You can skip your snacks or keep them in small portions to avoid higher calories.
High Saturated Fat Intake
Saturated Fat is mostly present in meat such as beef, chicken, and pork and other food like cheese and ice cream. However, other plant-based oils like coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil also have small amounts of saturated fats.
Excessive intake of foods high in saturated fat also has adverse health effects.
- It increases your body’s LDL cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol in your blood causes heart disease and strokes.
Good fats like polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) help lower your body’s LDL cholesterol. Avocados, nuts, pecans, almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and oils like peanut, olive, and canola are rich in MUFAs.
Flax seeds, walnuts, and oils like canola, sunflower, soybean, corn, and flaxseed are also packed with PUFAs. Omega-3 is another type of PUFA, which can be found in mangoes, berries, muskmelons, seaweed, and green leafy veggies.
Try not to exceed at least 30 g of saturated fat intake per day for a healthier body.
Vegan Cheese Brands
I understand how important cheese is in our lives. I mean, it adds that salty and buttery flavor to your food. And even when you’re not cooking, eating food with vegan cheese from one of your favorite restaurants is definitely a must.
But what if you love cooking like me? Yes, you need that delicious, healthier vegan cheese. And I have a list for you. I have already tried some of these two, and they’re just a taste of heaven.
- Daiya Foods
- Field Roast
- Dr. Cow
- Good Planet
- Follow Your Heart
- Miyoko’s Creamery
- Nuts for Cheese
- Parmela Creamery
- So Delicious
- Applewood Vegan Cheese
- I Am Nut OK
- Tyne Chease
- Bute Island Sheese
- Moocho Foods
- Rind Cheeses
What Is Animal Rennet?
Animal rennet is mostly found in cheese, which is one of the main reasons, apart from milk, that makes it non-vegan. It does make cheese awesome for non-vegans, but for us, it’s obviously not.
Have you seen an unweaned or a very young calf’s fourth stomach? Or a lamb’s or a kid’s? Yes, it’s where animal rennet is from. It’s an enzyme derived from these poor, slaughtered young animals’ stomachs. Sounds disappointing, right?
This enzyme, called chymosin, is used to coagulate the milk to make cheese. It can separate the whey from the solid curd used to make cheese.
But why young ruminant animals? This is because, at this stage of their lives, they have only consumed milk from their mom. It means that the natural enzyme present in their fourth stomach are still in large quantities, which are a great way of making cheese.
Does it sound cruel enough? Yes, it does. And this is one of the reasons why consuming cheese that’s derived from animal rennet is never a good idea.
These enzymes are used in Velveeta, as you’ve seen in its ingredients It can’t be from microbial rennet because the brand, in the first place, uses milk to make its products.
What Is Microbial Rennet?
Now here’s what vegetarians or vegans like about microbial rennet. This is grown in the lab to ensure the highest quality of fungi, yeast, or mold in every ounce of rennet.
When the fermentation of the molds is done in the lab, this creates proteolytic enzymes that are highly suitable for making vegan cheese. Fortunately, nowadays, these are easily produced to create high-quality vegan-friendly cheese.
The Bottom Line
Velveeta Cheese is not vegan-friendly as it involves milk and animal rennet in the making. So, unfortunately, we can’t use this on our homemade carbonara or pizza.
However, there are many vegan cheese brands that you can opt for, such as Go Veggie. The brand has other cheese products that aren’t considered vegan-friendly. You can check its vegan cheese products in this article.