In high school, I picked up a video about factory farming and the extreme cruelty and neglect faced by animals so that we can eat them. I immediately swore off meat.
Not too long after that, I started to learn about the inherent cruelty in dairy and eggs and wanted to ditch all animal products. And I did... except for cheese. I was in love with cheese, and I couldn’t imagine life without it.
And you know what? I gave it up anyway, and I don’t miss it. After seven years of vegan eating, I’ve figured out a thing or two about leaving cheese behind for good:
• Try a bunch of new stuff.
There are vegan versions of all your favourite foods, including cheese.
• Make things creamy!
Cashew cream, vegan mayo, avocado, and tahini are all great for making things creamier (and a little fattier) and creating a more satisfying dish.
• Find vegan pizza near you.
For me, part of the struggle was thinking I could no longer enjoy pizza. Luckily, that was far from the truth. More and more pizza places are offering vegan cheese.
• Make your own.
While making your own vegan cheese can take time and a wide array of skills, there are definitely some simple recipes that anyone can make.
• Buy some nutritional yeast.
Yeah, I know it’s an awful name, but this stuff is seriously good. Highly regarded by vegans around the globe, nutritional yeast is a must-have vegan pantry staple. From an amazing Parmesan alternative to a bomb nondairy nacho cheese dip, nutritional yeast (lovingly known as “nooch”) can do it all.
• Maintain perspective.
Remember why you decided to ditch dairy in the first place: animal cruelty. Cows at dairy farms are subjected to extreme confinement, mutilations without painkillers—and inevitably, a ruthless slaughter. Even worse, they are denied nearly everything that comes naturally to them, including caring for their young.
You’re making a big difference for animals, the environment, and your health when you leave cheese off your plate.