Think you can’t give up cheese? You’re not alone. For many people considering a healthier, more compassionate lifestyle, not eating cheese is often their biggest hurdle to overcome. For some, it is a lack of alternatives or knowledge that keeps them choosing cheese. For many others, cheese has literally become an addiction, making the animal byproduct seem impossible to live without, even if they are allergic or intolerant to it. It is time to snap out of the cheese high and stop dairy dosing; it is just fatty fluid from a cow that has been processed and flavored to intensify the addictive reaction in you. It is not necessary to your well-being or happiness. You are not a calf. You can live without it. You will feel and look amazing as a result. Plus, you will be doing the easiest animal activist work possible by not contributing to the exploitation of dairy cows, who undeniably have feelings. So check out this simple step by step guide to help you give up cheese:
1. Ask Yourself Why and Be Specific
Being honest with yourself about why you want to give up cheese is a crucial first step. It serves as insurance against relapsing into a dairy daze. For instance, if your reason is to stop the exploitation of dairy cows, that will be your rock when those Friday night, greasy-cheesy pizza cravings hit. However, if it is to improve your health, try being more specific. Specificity creates a goal, like improved skin complexion or more efficient digestion, that you can noticeably achieve. In short, it is too easy to backslide on overgeneralized goals because they seem too immense.
2. Clear Your Home of Animal-Derived Cheese
The day before starting your goal to give up cheese, you must empty your refrigerator, cupboards, and freezers of all things cheese. This step involves going through your pantry and reading, possibly for the first time, the ingredients. If any ingredients are considered dairy, you do not want them around. Even if cheese is the only dairy product you want to quit, you need to go completely dairy-free to stop the addictive cycle. If you decide to consume other dairy products thereafter, know that the only way to really kick the cheese addiction is to get over it completely; that means leaving dairy behind, too. If you do not live alone, this can be an even more emotional process. Remember to be honest with your family or friends about why you are doing this too and ask for support.
3. Stay Focused When Shopping and Eating Out
Pushing your cart past the dairy aisle if you have not fully accepted life without cheese can be torturous. Don’t do such things to yourself. Avoid the aisle altogether. Likewise, don’t waste time at a restaurant looking through cheesy options and pictures only to feel restricted — focus! If you feel stronger choosing your meal online beforehand, rather than scanning a menu in the restaurant, do so. If you did not pre-decide and are panicking, go back to my first step and remember why you are doing this. Know that while this particular restaurant may be limited in options, the vegan cheese wheel is turning. Even major pizza chains are adding a vegan cheese option to their menus now. As a last point, never enter a market or non-vegan restaurant if you are beyond hungry (drink even a glass of water first) because your defenses against cheese will again be down.
4. Re-learn How to Order
If you are vegetarian, you already know about glossing over irrelevant spaces on menus. This becomes slightly more taxing when giving up cheese, but hang in there because I have a trick. First though, understand that most chefs are accommodating, but some really are not. My go-to restaurant option is ordering “cheese-less” for simplicity’s sake. What this means is that you still order what you want, but you ask for it without cheese. This works for most pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches. Not only does this step help end dairy cow exploitation, it saves you hundreds of fat and cholesterol-laden calories.
5. Get a Good Alternative
The quickest way to reach cheese-less foodie bliss is by finding a favorite cheese alternative. Cheese alternatives create new recipe options too, making sure this is a sustainable lifestyle, not a route to a food rut. Now, be aware: there are a few terrible cheese substitutes on the market, but opinions differ on which ones they are. The other option, which we have totally covered here for you, is to make your own vegan cheese. You will have to find what works for you and your family, but it will be worth it. I mean, did you ever think you could eat fettuccine alfredo or nachos again? In the meantime, don’t forget the vegan quick-cheese secret: nutritional yeast flakes. Sprinkle them on savory dishes for a cheesy and vitamin-filled boost
So you have tried everything and are still dreaming of laughing cows. What now? Sometimes it takes tough love. Your dose? Visual information. If you are having a hard time sticking to your goals, they are not real enough for you. The quickest way to put things into perspective is to check out some online videos of the dairy industry. After watching and hearing the pain and fear for yourself, you will (hopefully) replace the laughing cows with the truth and leave cheese (and dairy) behind for good. If you need some inspiration right this second, click here or here.
Consider the lives of dairy cows, your heath, and the environment any time a craving hits, and stay strong!
Image source: Vegan Cashew Dill Cheese