Switching to a plant-based lifestyle can be relatively easy except when it comes to one thing... cheese. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Oh I could never do it, I could never give up cheese." And believe me, we totally get it! But if there were a way to indulge in some comforting mac n' cheese, without the actual cheese? Let me introduce to your new bestie, nutritional yeast.

Nutritional yeast, also known as nooch (sorry but we love a good nickname), are crisp golden flakes that contain a nutty aroma and cheesy flavor. It's a deactivated yeast that is grown on a food source - like molasses - and is then harvested, heated, dried, and crumbled. It's gluten free, salt free, sugar free and actually contains a solid amount of protein (3g/tablespoon) and an awesome source of B-complex vitamins. This is a major win-win for someone with a strict vegetarian or vegan diet!

Not sure how to start incorporating it though? Sprinkle it on top of soup, salads, gluten free pasta, or popcorn for a simple boost of cheesy goodness. Pop some kale chips in the oven and top with nutritional yeast and spices for some guilt-free kale chips. Adding them to a veggie burger patty gives them a hearty flavor while also acting as a binder. Or mix with soaked cashews to make your own vegan nut cheese (it is sooo good, I promise)! We love the Bragg's brand but with increasing popularity there's a few different options at your local Whole Foods for you to choose from so just make sure to compare labels, love.

Next time you go to whip up the kiddos, hubs, or yourself a batch of mac n' cheese, just try swapping it out and see what happens. Those tastebuds will be jamming out and your body will be running off of some seriously high-vibes instead of feeling bloated and tired. Nooch for the win!