The V Spot

A vegan general store

For a kinder, greener world

Veganism and Nutrition 4th September 2018

Tell someone that you are vegan and often they will instantly turn into an expert nutritionist: You’re not getting enough protein! You’ll get sick! You need meat to live.

Ignoring the armchair experts, there is a lot of scientifically valid research out there about vegan nutrition and health and it’s generally good news. Vegans tend to live longer than meat-eaters and vegetarians but there are still some things to look out for. The Vegan Society collates the evidence and keeps their vegan nutrition guide up to date.

It’s a good idea to read it through. It’s much more balanced than the information you will find from pseudo-scientific health gurus who are trying to sell their latest faddy diet product or make people panic about what they eat. Anyone who takes an interest in what they eat is likely to improve their health. It goes without saying that avoiding junk food and eating a varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will be good for you, whether you are vegan or a meat-eater.

One thing to look out for is Vitamin B12. This is produced by bacteria in animals guts but, because our food production methods are cleaner these days, there’s less of it in our diets, particularly vegan diets. Animals bred for food are given B12 supplements to ensure there is enough in their meat but even meat-eaters should be taking B12 supplements as they get older. Luckily, there are lots of foods fortified with B12 and supplement tablets and cheap and readily obtainable. For example, you can get Engevita yeast flakes fortified with vitamin B12.

Most meat-based diets contain a large excess of protein and this can lead to obesity, heart disease and other serious conditions. Plant food such as pulses (beans, lentils, peas) and grains (wheat, rice etc) contain the amino-acids that make up protein. Some plant foods such as soya have all the necessary amino-acids so, for example, tofu is a good food for protein. Other plant foods have only a selection of amino-acids and so you need to combine them to get the full range. Generally, if you are eating some pulses and some grains each day then you will be meeting all your protein needs. This is really easy to do: beans on toast is a good example of combining pulses and grains.

Although at first it requires a little thought to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need, it becomes second nature after a while. Becoming vegan is a period of transition and once you are there, you don’t need to think about it very often.

If you want an easy way to ensure you are getting enough B12 and the various trace elements you need, then this can be done with a daily dietary supplement. Many supplements are not suitable for vegans but Quest make a vegan multivitamin. Also the Vegan Society produce VEG1 tablets which are designed to complement a vegan diet. There are also supplements for individual nutrients such as Vitamin B12 but, again, check carefully that they are suitable for vegans. Although supplements aren’t needed by everyone, they can offer peace of mind that you aren’t missing out on the nutrients that are harder to obtain.

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Vegan Alternatives 8th August 2018

Product Alternative
Béchamel sauce (white sauce) Ecomil Organic Almond Bechamel Sauce
Black pudding VPud Black pudding
Cheese sauce Free & Easy Cheese Sauce Mix
Chocolate bars
Chorizo VBites Cheatin’ Chorizo Pieces
Condensed milk Nature’s Charm Condensed Coconut Milk
Cream cheese
Eggs (as an ingredient)
Evaporated milk Nature’s Charm Evaporated Coconut Milk
Fish & Shellfish
Gammon VBites Cheatin’ Gammon Roast
Hot chocolate
Ice cream
Jelly babies / Haribo / Gummy sweets
Kebab meat Wheaty Doner Kebab Pieces
Mac & Cheese
Marshmallows Freedom Mallows
Meat slices for sandwiches
Milk chocolate
Milk Plant milks
Duck Mock duck
Pancakes Vegan pancake recipe
Ready meals
Salad cream Granovita Salad Cream
Sausage rolls
Scrambled eggs
Steak Sgaia steaks
Sour cream
Stock cubes
Sweets (boiled) Candy Shack sweets (sugar free)
Worcester sauce

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Vegan Cheese

Picture of an artisanal vegan cheese


A lot of people say they could never go vegan because they would miss cheese too much. While it’s probably fair to say that vegan cheese doesn’t entirely match up to the dairy version, it has improved rapidly over the last few years in terms of quality, range and availability. There isn’t yet a vegan cheese that melts in quite the same way as the ‘real’ thing but we’re getting close. Read on to find out about the huge variety of vegan cheese.

Popular vegan cheeses


Picture of the Violife vegan cheese range

Violife is probably the most popular cheese alternative in the UK. It is made from coconut oil, which makes it better nutritionally than soya based cheeses. Violife has a wide range of products. Their basic cheeses come in around 10 flavours in both blocks and slices, and some are available grated. The ‘Violife for Pizza‘ variety is a good melty cheese that’s great for cooking. They also have spreadable cream cheeses, ‘after dinner‘ cheeses, feta-style, Halloumi-style and a Parmesan alternative.

Bute Island Sheese

Bute Island make the ‘Sheese’ range of products. Recently, they have launched a variety of new flavours and are it the process of reformulating their cheeses to be free from soya. They have various flavours but the Mature Cheddar is probably most popular. Their Greek Style Sheese is a great replacement for feta in salads. The Caramelised Onion Sheese and Wensleydale with Cranberries are excellent on their own.

Follow Your Heart

Follow Your Heart (who also make the very popular Vegenaise mayonnaise) make shredded gourmet cheese – their pizzeria blend is possibly the best vegan pizza cheese out there. Their Gouda and pepperjack style cheese slices are also a very popular choice.

Those are the most common varieties you will find but there are many more. Mozzarisella is a white cheese made from rice. This is the one that Zizzi restaurants are using on their pizzas as it melts very well. Cheezly is another brand that was very popular before being overtaken by Violife, but it still has its fans.

Artisanal Cheese

Picture of an artisanal vegan cheese

Then there are artisanal vegan cheeses. These are generally made from nuts such as cashew and almonds and use the traditional cheese making process where the nut mixture is fermented with bacteria. Often herbs or other flavourings are added. The end result is a very tasty cheese with an authentic flavour and texture which make great after-dinner cheeses. Naturally these products are more expensive but they are worth it for an occasional treat.

Popular artisanal cheese companies include Tyne Cheese, Nutcrafter, Cicioni and Lettices. If you get the chance to go to a large vegan festival, you will probably find a couple of artisanal cheese makers there. Go and try their free samples!

Cream Cheese

There are also many alternatives to cream cheese. Tofutti plain cream cheese is good when you are baking a cheesecake or something similar. Creamy Sheese comes in a variety of flavours and is particularly nice – the garlic flavour is excellent for making savoury sauces. Violife’s herb flavour cream cheese is great for spreading.

Parmesan alternatives

There are very good alternatives to Parmesan cheese. Violife Prosociano is a wedge of parmesan-flavoured cheese which is a great topping for savoury dishes when grated finely.
Grattugiato is a kind of cheese powder that can be sprinkled onto pasta dishes.
You can also use Engevita (nutritional yeast flakes or ‘nooch’ for short). It so good, we have a whole article about nutritional yeast flakes for you.

Advice for new vegans

There are many types of vegan cheese, too many to list them all here. As with other vegan alternatives, it’s a good idea to try a variety of them to find one you really like. If you don’t like the first one you try, don’t be put off – it may be an acquired taste or it may be that you’ll like a different one much more. If you have just turned vegan you may find that you don’t like vegan cheese at all at first, but by sticking with it then over time your tastes will change and you will start to love it.

If you are trying vegan cheese for the first time, we recommend that you start with Violife Original or For Pizza and then work you way through all the other varieties.

Try some vegan cheese

The V Spot is a vegan shop in Nottingham. You can browse our whole range of vegan cheese online or in The V Spot shop.

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How to use Nutritional Yeast Flakes (nooch / Engevita) 6th August 2018

Picture of nutritional yeast flakes

If you are trying a vegan diet, everyone will tell you that you need to try nooch. But what is it and how do you use it? We tell you all you need to know about this vital and versatile ingredient in vegan cookery.

About Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast (‘nooch’) is made from yeast that has been dried into flakes, which are a pale yellow in colour. It has a cheesy, nutty flavour so it’s extremely useful in vegan cookery and a great substitute in cooked dishes that would normally contain cheese. As you will see from the list below, it can be used in many different ways to replace cheese. It also helps to boost the flavour in savoury dishes. In addition, nooch contains essential nutrients that are tricky for vegans to consume, so it’s a very good thing to include in your diet.

The most common brand of nutritional yeast in the UK is Engevita, made by Marigold Health Foods. They have four varieties available: Original Engevita, Engevita fortified with B12, ‘Super’ Engevita fortified with vitamins D and B12, and Organic Engevita. They come in big cardboard containers that seem to weigh nothing but they are well worth the price. There are other brands available though be careful if you are gluten intolerant as some of them contain wheat (Engevita is gluten free).

It sounds amazing, where can I buy it?

You buy Engevita nutritional yeast flakes from The V Spot. Visit our shop or buy online and collect your order or have it delivered to your home.

What makes it so nutritious?

Nooch is a good source of protein. Protein is made from various types of amino acids and there are nine amino acids that are essential in the diet. Nooch contains all nine of these. Nooch also contains a substantial amount of iron and vitamins B1 and B2. Some varieties of nutritional yeast are fortified with Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential in the diet and difficult to obtain from vegan food so eating fortified nooch is a great way to make sure you are getting enough. Vitamin B12 can survive high temperatures so there’s no need to worry that you will destroy it when cooking with nutritional yeast. Super Engevita is fortified with vitamin D as well as B12.

If you are interested in vegan nutrition, or concerned about your diet, we recommend a thorough read of the Vegan Society’s nutritional information pages. The Internet is full of wild, unproven theories and poor quality health information but The Vegan Society provides reliable, complete, easy to understand, evidence-based advice.

How do I use nooch?

Nutritional Yeast is very versatile. It’s can be used as a substitute for cheese when cooking sauces. It’s not a complete replacement for cheese, though: if you are making a pizza when we recommend trying a vegan cheese such as Violife.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Cheesy Toast

    Toast bread slices on both sides under a hot grill, then spread one side with vegan margarine and sprinkle nooch on top. Put them back under the grill until the nooch starts to brown.

  • Parmesan

    Make pasta with tomatoey sauce and sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes over the top as a substitute for Parmesan. Tastes much nicer than the real thing (not hard to be fair). You can also use it in risotto.

    We also love to use Grattugiato as an alternative to Parmesan.

  • Pesto

    Use nooch as a substitute for Parmesan in fresh pesto. Follow our vegan pesto recipe.

  • Lasagna

    Make a white sauce by frying some flour in a little oil and then slowly stirring in soya milk until you have a smooth mixture. Add salt and pepper and then some nooch to give it a cheesy flavour. You can use the sauce when making lasagna.

    If you don’t have time to make your own cheese sauce, try the Free & Easy Cheese Sauce Mix. It’s very tasty and gluten free too.

  • Sandwiches

    Spread hummus over bread slices, sprinkle on some nutritional yeast and add cress or any salad veg of your choice.

    If you want a really cheesy sandwich, we recommend Violife slices.

  • Seitan

    Add nooch to your dough when making seitan to boost the flavour. Check out our seitan recipe to see how it’s done. We sell a seitan making starter kit that includes some nooch so you don’t have to buy a whole jar.

  • Scrambled tofu

    Scrambled tofu is another dish where nooch is a great flavour enhancer.


    Once you start using nooch, you will use it on everything!

Other kitchen essentials

While we have your attention, here are some other kitchen essentials we think you should try.

  • Liquid smoke

    A great way to give savoury dishes a smokey, meaty, barbecue-y flavour.

  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce

    Regular Worcestershire sauce contains fish but the vegan alternatives are just as good. Or, try some Henderson’s Relish.

  • Liquid Aminos

    Another great all-purpose flavour enhancer, similar to soy sauce.

  • Marigold Bouillon

    Another brilliant product from Marigold, the makers of Engevita. Just mix with hot water to make a really tasty stock for use in any savoury dish.

  • Tahini

    Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It’s used in making hummus but it’s also great as a sandwich spread and a thickener for sauces. Light tahini is most commonly used but whole dark tahini has a richer flavour and is more nutritious.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that you have been inspired to try some nutritional yeast flakes in your cooking at home. If you have any questions, the friendly, knowledgeable staff at The V Spot are happy to help – just pop in for a chat.

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