Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake (Vegan)

When I was growing up one of my favorite desserts was cheesecake. When I stopped eating cheese about 5 years ago for my health, I looked into other ways to create a creamy, texture without the use of dairy. This is when I discovered the power of cashews. This dessert is rich with flavor and nutrients with a crowd-pleasing spin for fall: pumpkin spice.

The relationship between dairy and PCOS is complex and still debated by health professionals. A study conducted in Iran examined the dietary intakes of 400 women with PCOS and found a direct relationship between milk consumption and a diagnosis of PCOS. An additional study in Italy indicated women with PCOS consumed more cheese than controls who were matched for age and BMI. Additionally, milk protein consumption has been reported to lead to an increase in insulin-like growth factor 1 which is involved in the progression of diabetes and cancer. However, other research suggests that dairy can have an anti-inflammatory effect, assuming one does not have an allergy. More research in the area is necessary, but paying attention to the impact of our diets on our own bodies and determining what works for each of us is likely the best we can do for now, along with individualized support from health care providers, if accessible.

Test this recipe out on your friends and family to see if anyone notices you failed to use cheese in your “cheesecake”. I would love to see or hear about your results!

Pumpkin Spice Vegan Cheesecake

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 2/3 cup canned or raw pumpkin
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice (2 parts cinnamon to 1 part each all-spice, ginger, nutmeg)

How to:

  1. Leave cashews in a bowl of water for 6-8 hours.
  2. Place parchment paper in a square cake pan for ease of cheesecake removal.
  3. Mix together almonds, hemp hearts, dates, cocoa and almond milk in food processor (forms the crust). Spoon mixture into cake pan and flatten with a flat surface (back of measuring cup). Place in the freezer to harden.
  4. Place pumpkin, cashews and pumpkin spice mix in food processor and blend until smooth. Spread out this mixture on top of the crust. Put in freezer for a couple hours (or whenever you want to cut and eat it!).

PCOS Powers:

  • dairy-free = avoids hormone and endocrine blockers
  • pumpkin = low in glycemic load which helps balance blood glucose levels, high in beta-carotene which may prevent cancer
  • cashews = a tree nut known for preventing cardiovascular disease, contains tryptophan and B6 which synergize to assist in serotonin uptake and therefore increases relaxation and improves brain health

Recipe inspired by: Miryam Quinn Doblas, RD, of Eat Good 4 Life

If you enjoyed this creamy, nutritious dessert you may like my Lemon Lavender Cashew Cakes.

 

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