The Cheese That Won’t Trigger Migraines: DIY Almond Feta Recipe

A few years ago, my parents decided to experiment with going vegan for three months.  They loved it so much, they are still vegan now.  Whenever I go home to visit them, my father serves up this delicious almond cheese with many meals.  He makes it a few times a week, and many of his non-vegan neighbors also make it now just because it tastes so good.

This exquisite vegan cheese has a lot to offer those of us who are migraine prone (even if we are not vegan) because it is not fermented and therefore won’t trigger a histamine response like most cheeses or fermented dairy will.

Through all of my experimenting with different ways to eat, I’ve learned that anything that is perceived as a limitation (such as not being able to eat cheese) is really just an invitation to explore a whole new world of options that would have never been discovered otherwise.

This almond feta cheese shows us that we can avoid fermented dairy products and still enjoy creamy, savory, “cheese”. This cheese is also great for those of us who are migraine-prone because the almonds are full of magnesium and oleic acid, the olive oil increases DAO and reduces histamine, the salt improves electrolyte balance, and the rosemary reduces CGRP, an inflammatory neuropeptide implicated in migraine.

Yes, it will take some time to make this cheese (more than going to the store to buy some cheese) – but the more involved we are in our own food production, the more we are likely to savor and appreciate every bite.  And yes, almonds are more expensive than cheese (thanks to big subsidies for corn and soy fed to milking cows), and require a ton of water as well as imported pollinating bees to produce.  All the more reason so appreciate every single morsel rather than gorge on it.  Bottom line: I think we can all agree that having this cheese substitute is much preferable to caving into a cheese craving and then spending the next day with brain fog or a migraine headache.

So enjoy this recipe from Vegetarian Times!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole blanched almonds
¼ cup lemon juice
3 Tbs. plus ¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves

Instructions:

1. Place almonds in medium bowl, and cover with 3 inches cold water. Let soak 24 hours. Drain soaking liquid, rinse almonds under cold running water, and drain again.

2. Purée almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbs. oil, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water in food processor 6 minutes, or until very smooth and creamy.

3. Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon almond mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into orange-size ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine. Chill 12 hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid.

4. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap cheese (it will be soft), and transfer from cheesecloth to prepared baking sheet. Flatten to form 6-inch round about 3/4-inch thick. Bake 40 minutes, or until top is slightly firm. Cool, then chill. (Cheese can be made up to this point 2 days ahead; keep refrigerated.)

5. Combine remaining 1/4 cup oil, thyme, and rosemary in small saucepan. Warm oil over medium-low heat 2 minutes, or until very hot but not simmering. Cool to room temperature. Drizzle herb oil over cheese just before serving.

Anti-inflammatory Chai with Ginger, & Coconut

Antihistamine Ginger Turmeric Chai Simplywell Migraine Protocol

If you’re familiar with the low-histamine diet as a way to manage histamine intolerance symtoms, you’re probably aware that many spices traditionally used in delicious chai contain histamine – especially cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice.  I love cinnamon, and am so grateful I can eat it again.  Cinnamon is a plant that is dear to my heart, because it was the ingredient that clued me in to my migraines and histamine intolerance.  Early on in my migraine hell post c-section, a naturopath prescribed a Chinese remedy that contained cinnamon in it as its first ingredient.  She was trying to help me with my peripheral neuropathy issues, and thought cinnamon would be great for increasing circulation to my limbs.  But while on the remedy, my migraines got even worse (she also prescribed vitamin B12 to me, which increases histamine). I examined the ingredients and started doing some online research.  It was the realization that cinnamon contains histamine that tipped me off to the whole concept of histamine intolerance, which was one step on the path towards me finally healing my migraines.

The beauty of my protocol, the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol, is that elimination of histamine and tyramine rich foods is only a temporary step while your gut heals.  So, you should be able to drink normal chai with all the cinnamon and nutmeg in it again – but you may not want to after tasting this delicious and creamy antihistamine chai.  Eventhough I can consume traditional chai spices now, I stick to this chai recipe because I love the benefits all the ingredients confer, and it tastes amazing.

This chai imparts an incredible creaminess without the use of dairy, thanks to the coconut oil.  You can use coconut manna too (which has arabinogalactan prebiotics in it) but it will be a little bit gritty.  I prefer just the oil. Cardamom is anti-inflammatory and incredibly delicious.

This chai will spice up your antihistamine diet during the temporary month long elimination phase of the Simplywell Migraine Protocol.  The majority of antihistamine foods are bland and have little flavor – so this chai will bring some much-needed character and kick to an otherise bland diet.

Anti-inflammatory Chai Recipe

2.5 thumbs of chopped raw ginger (a thumb is the width and length of the tip of your thumb to its first joint)
3 cups of water
seeds from 2 pods of fresh cardamom, or 1/8 t of turmeric powder
a dash of fresh black peppepr
honey or maple syrup to taste (I use 1.5 teaspoons)
1.5 T coconut oil (or manna)

Important Note: I also like to add 1 thumb of fresh turmeric (or 1.5 teaspoons of dry turmeric powder) to this mix, but I don’t include it in the main recipe here because turmeric is a DAO inhibitor.  If you get migraines relatively infrequently, adding turmeric to this drink will probably be overall very beneficial for you, but if you get constant migraines, you should probably leave the turmeric out.  Now that I no longer get migraines thanks to the SimplyWell Protocol, I use turmeric liberally.  Turmeric is not a migraine trigger, but because it is a DAO inhibitor, it is not supportive of the breakdown of histamine.

To make this, simply blend together all the ingredients except for the coconut and honey in a blender on high.  Transfer this mixture into a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes.  The color will change from a lite to a deep orange.  Strain the mixture back into the blender so that only liquid remains.  Add the honey and coconut and blend for about 30-60 seconds so that the coconut gets fully whipped into the chai.  I like my tea very strong but if you prefer it less concentrated, just add a little more hot water.

Enjoy!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]