22 Days of Eating Like Beyoncé, Day 3: I Really Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

You will pry this butter from my cold, dead hands...in fact, just bury it with me.
Photo: Maiysha Kai

Fun fact: I love toast.

In the days that I attempted to lead a low-carb life, toast was what I missed the most—closely followed by grits, and sweet potatoes, and popcorn, and...wait.

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Maybe I just love vehicles for butter.

Yep, that must be it, because while I’m intellectually on board with living a meat- and dairy-free existence, above all else (yes, even above cheese and bacon) the one aspect that has always given me pause is butter. Because everything tastes better with butter, yo.

So needless to say, I was looking for an adequate substitute when I decided to follow the plant-based plan that is 22 Days. While my vegan friends assured me that Earth Balance’s “organic buttery spread” would more than satisfy my needs, I must admit that the bougie foodie in me was turned off by the margarine-like, take-it-from-the-tub aesthetic of it all. So, when I saw a very butter-like looking box while perusing Trader Joe’s vegan options the other day, I paused. It was admittedly a dollar or two more, but like Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, sometimes, you get what you pay for. So I gladly plunked down my 30 percent markup for great graphic design and brought home Miyoko’s Classic Fresh Organic Vegan Butter ($5.99 for 8 oz. at Target).

As one who likes to cook and bake with thick blocks of European-style butter, I was pleasantly surprised by the look of Miyoko’s similarly cut blocks, which had the consistency of slightly softened butter—and tasted like it too, as a quick finger swipe confirmed. Though the brand boasts “cashew cream fermented with live cultures” as its magical ingredient, the soy-free recipe has a coconut and sunflower oil base...so far, so good.

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Instantly, I began considering various applications for my new find—is a vegan brown butter sauce in my future? But any foodie knows that first, you have to master the basics, so for my first Miyoko experiment, I went for my old favorite, toast. Because what’s more basic than bread and butter?

Choosing a raisin-sprouted wheat loaf from Angelic Bake House ($4.99) as my base, I went to work. And while I’ve apparently yet to master how to get the perfect golden crisp on sprouted bread in a toaster oven, of Miyoko’s perfectly melted performance I have to say—no, shout to the heavens—I can’t believe it’s not butter!

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But now that I’ve discovered that I can indulge all of my butter cravings, I’m realizing I need more checks in place; after all, isn’t the point of this experiment not just to eat plant-based, but healthier—and hopefully, a little slimmer?

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Dishing on my dietary changes with Felice Léon, the established vegan, marathoner and video producer here at The Root confirmed that veganism doesn’t automatically equate to lower body mass. After all, I’m sure we all know more than a few fluffy vegans, though their cholesterol may be far lower than their carnivorous counterparts.

“At some points, I would tell myself that I could eat what I wanted since I gave up meat,” Felice admits, reflecting on her early days of going vegan. “At one point, I actually gained weight—I needed to find the right proteins and portions...and we all know that french fries will still be french fries, either way you slice ’em,” she laughed.

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Point taken—and speaking of points, I’m thinking that bringing an old and faithful friend along for the remainder of this journey may help me keep my intake in check as I explore this plant-based life. So, in addition to following 22 Days, I’ll be tracking my meals on my Weight Watchers app—which should also allow me some comparative analysis on how much I was able to eat in my meat and dairy-loving life as opposed to now.

All that to say stay tuned...because I’m not ruling vegan brown butter sauce out.

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About the author

Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.