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 really 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 favorite foods, including cheese. With so many varieties, you should really try a bunch to find your favorites. If you find one you don’t like, don’t let that stop you from finding ones you do!
• 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. Click here for tips on ordering from your favorite pizza chains.
• 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. Click here for a list of our favorites.
• 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.