One of the biggest excuses people have when transitioning to a plant-based diet is that they simply can’t give up cheese. I understand. I loved cheese too – mature cheddar on toast with a good helping of butter. You know what I am saying right?
But that’s the thing. Once you know what happens in the dairy industry that cheese just never tastes as good as it did. You can never enjoy that toast and cheese like you once did.
But listen, this is not all doom and gloom! If it were just five years ago I would say just give up on ever eating cheese again. However… its 2019 and vegan cheese is where it is at!
People are figuring out how to cure cheese just like milk and it tastes amazing. Just like dairy cheese, there are all sorts of versions. From pre-sliced burger cheese made from coconut to brie and camembert style cashew nut cheese. People are understanding the science and flavours and applying it to plant-based alternatives.
Why everyone should give up dairy
- Dairy is scary The process of impregnating a cow is imposing and on top of that cows have their newborn calves taken away from them within 24 hours of birth.
- Male calves are not of use and are used for veal, killed or taken to be used for beef. Female calves get prepped and ready to be on the milk-producing line as soon their bodies are able to give birth.
- On average, dairy cows only live out about 6 of their 18-22 years
- Cows inevitably face fatigue and can after years of birthing cycles and lactating not provide milk. Farmers then discard those cows to slaughterhouses for meat.
- Most people are intolerant of dairy
- Many skin, sinus and digestive issues are related to dairy.
- Dairy is not essential for health. All its nutrients can be found in the plant world.
- Dairy and meat farming have negative impacts on the health of the environement.
- You just don’t need it when there are amazing alternatives and coupled with a healthy diet.
Making better choices means reflecting on life and where you are making choices out of convenience and habit. Dairy is one such thing. By quitting all dairy you can save these animals years of suffering, have a positive impact on your health as well as enjoy something new… plant-based cheese.
Moving away from dairy is just the same as we move away from stoning people. Or skinning animals for fur. What about progress on women’s rights? Consider our progress on child slavery? Or even jailing people for animal abuse. As humans progress along the timeline of our existence, we need to review and let go of practices that no longer serve us and ones that we have a better ethical understanding of.
What is vegan cheese made from?
Vegan cheese can be made from various different plant proteins depending on what kind of cheese is being made. Soy protein solidified vegetable oils or nuts are the main ingredients. Various other elements such as nutritional yeast, salt and enzymes are used to get various flavours and depths.
I will be honest, plant-based cheeses can’t mimic the real flavour and depth of dairy cheeses. But I will say this, some come dam close. And to be honest, unless you are a professional cheese taster, you probably won’t spot that much of a difference. As the desire for more ethical food is increasing, new tech and financial backing are going into creating alternative products and the results are awesome. So the more we support ethical alternatives, the more financial backing goes into developing new products.
Top plant-based cheeses out there
Don’t worry! Giving up dairy cheese does not mean you are giving up cheese. You are simply going to experience a new type of cheese. And if you give it a chance, I promise you will never look back.
Loving this brand. Their story is amazing! Did you know that these guys created the one and only Veganaise? Of course, there are lots of vegan mayos out there now but it was these guys who first took it on. Personally, from me, thank you. Veganaise is amazing. (and their flavour selection is incredible!)
Well aside from Veganaise, Follow Your Heart also has an amazing cheese selection. Regular cheddar and mozzarella and also offer gourmet options for when you really want to go all out (hello Friday night pizza). Follow Your Heart can be found across the UK in different plant-based supermarkets or online sites such as The Vegan Kind Supermarket
Handmade in Scotland this little company is great. Creating plant-based cheese came from their desire for ethics as well as a love of cheese. That’s how you know it’s going to be good! Their selection is small but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They have focused their time on 3 select variations to offer the best product possible.
Bella Cheeze is committed to honest production. They aim to create their cheeses from ethically sourced ingredients. We often overlook the source of ingredients when buying products. Bella Cheese offers 3 flavours at the moment and looks absolutely delicious. Camembert cashew style cheese, feta style tofu cheeze and for those that like to go deep down the cheezey cheeze hole, a quite good looking blue cheese.
Daiya has been around for a long time. It started when the founders decided it was time for a plant-based cheese to break into the market. What started as a home-based startup broke out into amazing success when Daiya Cheddar Style and Mozzarella Style Shreds debuted in 2009 at the Natural Products Expo West. Since then it has been onwards and upwards for the company producing over 30 variations of plant-based cheeses.
One thing that stands out for me is how they introduce all their employees by department. When we look at successful companies we often just see the CEO or founders and think to ourselves how we could never reach that. But the truth is a success is made from teamwork and its great to see Daiya showing off their awesome teams.
Daiya is a US-based company however in 2008 they launched across the UK in various Sainsbury supermarkets and another speciality online vegan vendors. Their selection is almost overwhelming with shreds, blocks and slices and various great looking flavours.
I remember way back when Violife was the only choice available to me. At that time I was a young professional trying to make ends meet so it was a treat every now and then to enjoy. And boy, did I enjoy it! Violife is one of the pioneers of vegan cheese and steadily they have grown to be a giant.
Not only do they have a stellar selection of vegan cheese, including a Christmas cheese platter (uh yes!) but their ethics are well aligned too. Violife products are not only 100% vegan but also non-GMO, soy free, gluten free, soy free and cholesterol free for those looking for extra clean eating. When I see products like this, I feel a sense of excitement for the future.
There is more where that came from
There are so many new and exciting brands offering amazing cheese. My aim is not to list every single one but to show you, whether you are vegan or not, that amazing plant-based cheese exists. It’s about embracing new ways of doing and experiencing things so that we can move forward to a more ethical and sustainable future.
Cheese is not ethical. Perhaps 100 years ago when it was solely dependent on two cows getting their freak on, having a baby and the farmer enjoying some of the milk and using it for cheese. Back when life was a lot harder and humans were a lot more vulnerable.
But that is sadly not the case anymore. If you watch dairy is scary (I will let you go and look into that video yourself), you will have a glimpse of what is going on behind dairy and cheese. I don’t know anyone that has made an honest look into the dairy industry and continued to eat cheese and drink milk or yoghurt.
The new wave of plant-based cheese means that we all have the choice to move away from that industry and save so much suffering. Let’s all take a stand to be more ethical and spread the gift of compassion to all. So that all creatures may enjoy a life of freedom and the gift of family.
Where can I buy plant-based cheese?
You will be able to find a plant-based cheese at most supermarkets across the UK these days. Sainsbury, for example, is on the vegan train big time and have their own brand of vegan cheese on offer. There are amazing online and local vegan supermarkets that you can look for that are most certainly offering a wide range of plant-based cheeses.
Have fun with it! It’s also food…
Some people are so resistant to plant-based alternatives I am starting to wonder if they think vegan food is from outer space. But seriously, vegan food is just a new cuisine based on an ethical belief that we don’t need to kill animals or take advantage of their bodily secretions for survival.
So basically it’s just a new cuisine based on plants. And everyone eats some sort of non-animal based food right? So its only that food but made in such a way that its the main meal and really healthy. Doesn’t sound so bad when you think of it like that?
Go and enjoy the new cuisine that is vegan food and opens your mind (and palette) to it. What’s wrong with embracing a new cuisine that’s better for you, the planet and animals?