Being vegan through choice comes with its pitfalls and I have to admit that going without cheese can take its toll on my will power.
A lot of other vegans say things like “It’s easy to be vegan” and “you should just try it”. Which I totally agree with, It is easy to be vegan in terms of finding things to eat; there is such a huge variety of alternatives in shops and people should try it.
However, I can’t deny the fact that if you really like certain foods and have given them up, you can’t just give up the craving for that food in the same way.
My Struggle Is With Cheese
I used to love cheese. All types of cheese. Fourme D’ambert, Reblochon, Keen’s Cheddar. You name it, I loved it. I loved it so much that I once devoured a whole wheel of Brie with a friend at a wedding, then slumped in the corner and fell into a deep cheesy coma. Classy.
The great thing about cheese is all the different flavours and textures you can get. My dad and I would enjoy many an evening gorging on cheese and biscuits with red wine, sat in front of the fire. I now feel like I have been cut off from those experiences as there isn’t really an equivalent vegan option that is as indulgent in the same way.
Funnily enough, I don’t miss the fancy pants pretentious cheeses quite as much as plain old English Cheddar. Grate that into a fajita, or melt it on toast or over some loaded nachos and it just lifts the dish and adds that fatty creamy taste it so often requires.
It doesn’t really help when I stumble into my living room, delirious at 1am, to find my boyfriend polishing off some cheddar and pickle on crackers. This has happened on several occasions. I usually have to drag myself away before I snatch it off of him. It would be so easy to blame my hazy sleepy state…
No matter the struggle though, I still won’t eat cheese. Even though I crave and pine over cheese all I have to do is remind myself of it’s origins and the health impacts and I can easily persuade myself back out of it again.
The Vegan Cheese Hype
There is a lot of hype about vegan cheeses. It’s something that is always thrown at me when others are trying to wrap their head around my diet choice.
“Oh but there are all these new great vegan cheeses now right? So I suppose you don’t miss it?!”
I have tried tirelessly to find indulgent vegan cheeses….but nothing compares. Some restaurants have nailed it, but f**k knows how they do it because I’ve tried and haven’t come close!
The vegan cheeses I have bought from the supermarket are rubbery at best, some even taste like feet. Yes feet. If you’re a vegan and you tell me that you prefer the vegan cheeses from the supermarket, I will be well within my rights to judge you heavily.
Part of my lack of enthusiasm for these substitutes is because I am of the opinion that you shouldn’t go vegan to then make efforts in recreating faux meat and dairy products. That’s a big no-no. Let’s be real, it is never going to compare to the ‘real thing’.
Why not channel that energy into mastering the use of the stupid amount of vegetables that we now have access to, making new and innovative recipes, using those natural ingredients? There is so much information out there online now.
Vegan isn’t ‘Easy’
The main reason for this post is for those that may be struggling with staying vegan, or those who are trying to decide if they will take the plunge. Don’t go vegan thinking that it is going to be a walk in the park and that you’ll never crave all those animal products you loved and can no longer eat. Of course you will.
Everyone will have their own reasons for going vegan. Those reasons will be the things that keep you going through the days of doubts. From my experience – Don’t be too hard on yourself and take it one day at a time. If you can’t cut it out completely, don’t worry; just eating less animal products than you did before is always going to be better for the environment and more positive for your soul.