30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 13 – Live without Cheese

Discovering There is Life After (Dairy-based) Cheese

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe” … of course you can live without cheese.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Yes, you can absolutely live without cheese, and nobody could have been more surprised by that than me!  Before I went vegan, it loomed on my path, blocking my movement forward, a life without cheese.  Could I voluntarily give up something I loved so much?  I didn’t even eat that much of it, or so I thought.

It was one of the original motivators behind putting a time limit on being vegan, my ‘vegan experiment’. The anxiety around making a complete commitment was too overwhelming. I’m not sure now what I was even clinging to, but at the time I couldn’t psychologically walk away from foods like cheese forever. However, I could stop eating them for a designated period of time. So, I did.

When I said I didn't want a life without cheese, I was really saying that could live with cruelty, oppression and abuse. Even though I hadn't made the connection, my actions still caused great pain to someone .
When I said I didn’t want a life without cheese, I was really saying that I could live with cruelty, oppression and abuse. Even though I hadn’t made the connection, my actions still caused great pain to someone .

Now, my earlier perspective seems absurd and insufferably privileged. Hundreds of millions of people around the world can barely get enough food to survive, and here was I angsting over food choices.  Now, I can’t even look at cheese and see food. The system required to produce dairy is so incredibly cruel. If I think about eating cheese today I start to feel anxious; flooded with sadness and disgust for all the oblivious cruelty I participated in for decades. Massive numbers of people in other places live without cheese – they don’t even know they are living without cheese.

Day 13 breaks down the ol’ life without cheese problem. Cheese isn’t a roadblock to veganism, it’s a mirage. For some, it’s a deep seated emotional need for comfort that becomes fixated on cheese – the subconscious nostalgia for childhood or other life events and rituals that comfort us, made us feel safe or bring us enjoyment.  Food is one of those things we scour into our personal and collective sense of identity with emotion and culture. To say, “we are what we eat”, is much more than a material statement.

New Zealanders are one of the world’s highest dairy consumers and producers. For an economy our size, we supply the world with a staggering amount of milk. It accounts for around a third of our export earnings. Ironically, we consume less dairy now than we did when I was growing up, but we produce a lot more, primarily for Australia and China.

My relationship to food is not about me.
My relationship to food is not about me.

For those who feel that it’s not the emotional, cultural or ritualistic attachment to consuming cheese that’s the issue, but the taste, Colleen suggests that they really think about what matters more – a few moments of mouth pleasure or your reason for going vegan.

A good portion of the chapter is taken up with the practical side of a life without cheese. Because what do you do, especially in the beginning, if you have a craving for cheese, you’re feeling isolated from a family ritural, you want to feel comforted, or are just plain missing it on your pasta?

“Consider the common custom of sprinkling Parmesan cheese onto pasta. What we really get out of that is the satisfaction of salt and fat. With that in mind, try roasting some pine nuts or walnuts, along with some salt, pulse them in a food processor, and sprinkle them on your pasta instead.”

Colleen Patrick-Gaudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 13 also provides a comprehensive list of vegan cheeses that are sold commercially in the US, but these are no use to me. To be honest, the one expensive vegan cheese I did try – not a fan.

3 thoughts on “30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 13 – Live without Cheese”

  1. you should try Miyoko’s Kitchen cashew cheeses. They are phenomenal and worth every penny. I didn’t hate the Daiya wedges but for the most part, not a big fan of vegan cheeses besides Miyoko’s. I make my own mac & cheese sauce and queso for nachos that are really good…. and I make my own cashew parmesan for pizza, which is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, unfortunately I live in New Zealand. There is only one dairy-free cheese available I know of and it is expensive. And for me not really worth the money. Although I did order Hell pizza last night and they are the only place that uses this cheese. I said no dairy cheese, but they put the vegan cheese on. I still prefer it without, but obviously my taste buds are changing because it was fine and I enjoyed the pizza.

      I have found a mix made from potato starch that will a bit of additions – tahini and yeast is very moreish and can be used like a cheese sauce. I have seen Miyoko’s book and I was thinking of getting it. I like the idea of her nut based spreads. I think they would really work great – they sound like they would be delicious anyway.
      Otherwise, I have found that living without cheese is actually okay. It is a lot better than if I was still eating it!!


  2. You really don’t miss it once it’s out of your system but if you need recipes, I’m happy to share! I have a blog where you can reach me.. just google Plant Hungry.


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