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Vegan Diet Helps Ease Bout with Gout

Determined to get healthy without relying on prescription drugs, Ives Doming, sales director for Medicare and Retirement in Houston, committed to a vegan diet to reduce his gout attacks.

Ives learned he had gout 20 years ago, after racing to the emergency room due to severe foot and ankle pain. What he thought was a severed Achilles tendon turned out to be gout – a kind of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints.

He was told to take medications and drink cherry juice, which helped the disease remain fairly dormant for 10 years. But in 2009, he had a major flare-up after eating seafood. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines that are part of many foods. An abnormality in handling uric acid and crystallization of these compounds in joints can cause gout, along with severe pain.

"After that incident, I started to eliminate basic staples from my diet," Ives said. "And then I weighed my options. Do I take medicine to mask what my body is doing or do I change my diet so my body reacts differently and I no longer need any prescriptions?"

The answer was obvious, even though he knew adjusting to an all-vegan diet wouldn't be easy. "In 2012 my wife, Brandi, and I decided to eat only homemade healthy plant-based vegan meals to see if it would help. Within a few weeks, things improved significantly. So, we stuck with it and never looked back," Ives said. "Our daughter has been raised vegan. She is now 7 years old and is thriving!"

Ives credits his wife for getting creative with recipes, making pizza with homemade "cheese" sauce made out of cashews, for example. (See recipe below.) "It might sound strange, but you really can't tell the difference. I don't sacrifice or feel like I'm going without," Ives said. "I'm also willing to pay a little bit more to make sure I'm eating the right things. We're willing to pay more for premium gas, why not pay more to fuel our bodies? Our bodies are priceless!"

More Resources and Support for Healthy Eating

  • Join registered dietitian, Julie, "In the Kitchen" for new recipes and videos each week.
  • Get help to eat better at home and on the go with free, personalized meal plans from Zipongo.
  • Visit the employee discount site for savings.

Vegan Cheese Pizza by Brandi Doming: The Vegan 8 Blog

vegan cheese pizza

5-minute pizza sauce

2 cups (480g) plain tomato sauce

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon fine salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

 

Cashew "cheese"

½ cup water

½ cup (75g) raw (not roasted), unsalted cashews

¼ cup (60g) Yukon gold cooked/mashed potato, skin removed

1 tablespoon (15g) fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon fine salt

 

Remaining ingredients

Fresh basil, sliced bell peppers, black olives and any pizza toppings you like

  1. For the pizza sauce: Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. This is important so that the dried herbs are pureed throughout the sauce well for full flavor.
  2. To make the cheese: Add the cashews to a bowl and cover with water. Soak them overnight. This is necessary so that the cheese sauce does not turn out gritty. This will soften the nuts, making for a smooth cheese. If you own a powerful blender (such as a Vitamix), you can just soak for one hour. Drain the cashews (discarding the water) and rinse well.
  3. Add the soaked cashews, the ½ cup water, cooked potato, lemon juice and salt to a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth, stopping to scrape the sides a few times. Do this repeatedly until 100% smooth and no bits of cashew remain. It should be thick and creamy.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F or 425°F depending on the crust used.
  5. Spread desired amount of pizza sauce onto the pizza crust and add the toppings.
  6. Add big dollops of the cashew cheese all over the pizza. The cheese will be smooth and saucy, but will thicken, firm up and brown beautifully as it bakes, just like regular cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes or more, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is looking firm and beginning to brown. Top with thinly sliced basil and vegan parmesan cheese. 

 

NOTE: The pizza sauce will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator or for three months in the freezer. It will thicken up quite a bit since there is no oil, so let it thaw overnight (if frozen) and whisk it really well or blend to make it smooth again before use.