Here’s good news for those who want to drop all animal products from their lives but whose love for cheese has held them back. A delicious vegan cheese all the way from Italy has reached supermarket shelves in India! Available in spreads, blocks, and slices in mozzarella, blue cheese, and cheddar, the rice-based cheese from Verys is now sold in Godrej Nature’s Basket stores in Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai.
While dairy-free cheese from the land of pizza and pasta is indeed special, this is not the first vegan cheese to occupy market shelves in India. Recently, the award-winning vegan company Violife brought its plant-based cheese to India. Already popular in the U.S. and Europe, Violife claims its vegan products are indistinguishable from their dairy-based counterparts. And it’s true; Violife’s products are so yummy, it’s hard to believe they are not made of cow’s milk.
And the growing popularity of plant-based cheese is not limited to packaged products. Many people are making dairy-free cheese in their own kitchens. Cheese can be made from nuts, tofu, coconut, tapioca, and many other healthy ingredients. For instance, you can make amazing American cheese at home with soya milk, cashews, and onion granules. And internationally renowned Chef Tanya has a popular cheese recipe that is definitely worth a try. You can also make instant mac and cheese with cashews, almonds, oats, and arrowroot.
Whether store-bought or homemade, vegan cheese spares cows a lifetime of misery.
Most cheeses start out as milk from cows. For a cow to continually produce milk, she must be repeatedly impregnated through a highly invasive and stressful procedure.
After carrying their babies for nine months—just like humans—mother cows give birth. Newborn calves are typically taken from their mothers within just hours. And yes, this incredibly cruel practice happens even at organic, “happy” dairy farms.
Understandably, this forced separation causes the mothers to bellow for hours or days; they even pace and search in vain for their stolen babies. Again, this torment happens at every dairy farm.
In 2013, residents in Newbury, Massachusetts, called the police because of crying they heard from a nearby dairy farm. Upon investigation, authorities discovered that the cries had come from mourning mothers whose newborns had been ripped away from them. Heartbreaking, right?
Scientists have proved that the mother-child bond is not exclusive to humans. Imagine the anguish and stress mother cows endure, giving birth repeatedly only to have their babies torn away.
As if the mothers’ suffering were not terrible enough, their babies also experience a brutal fate. Male calves are killed for veal, and females are raised to replace older cows who can no longer produce a profitable amount of milk.
Continually giving birth takes a physical toll. A cow’s natural life span is 15 to 20 years, but because of neglect and the traumatic breeding cycle, cows at dairy farms typically live only about four or five years. Once they are considered “spent,” they are sent to slaughter, usually becoming ground beef.
Countless studies show that dairy is detrimental to human health. For instance, cow’s milk is linked to a 60 percent increased risk of prostate cancer for every two glasses consumed daily. Moreover, women who switch from dairy to soya products reduce their risk of breast cancer by a shocking 43 percent. Consuming dairy products also increases one’s risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
And as for the environment, the Natural Resources Defense Council lists cheese as one of the top five worst foods to consume. Climate change is easily one of the biggest issues threatening our very existence. Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. Going vegan immediately cuts your carbon footprint by almost 50 percent!
We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, cheese lovers, but no matter how you slice it, dairy cheese is literally the worst. But with new vegan options throughout India, you can enjoy cheese without the cruelty.
With so many plant-based foods available to satisfy all your favourite tastes, there’s never been a better time to keep meat, eggs, and dairy off your plate. Ditch dairy and other animal products and switch to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here to get started!