Monday, February 1, 2016

Connecting with vegan cheese

Vegan cheese is pretty tasty these days!
I grew up in dairy country, you guys. In fact, we lived directly across from a dairy farm out in the country in upstate NY. My Grandpa worked in a cheese factory. My best childhood friend now lives in that factory, because it was her parents house after the factory closed. Many of my other friends grew up on dairy farms too. Even my first boyfriend did. Crazy history for someone who's going vegan, right? Yup, I have a lot of connections to conventional dairy alright. But now....

Well, now I'm making a connection with vegan dairy products so that I can go all the way vegan. In my fridge, there are a few dairy products because some of the people in my house are vegetarian, not vegan. But it's also because I'm not quite there yet. But guess what? I'm proud to say that as of last week, I am much closer. Diet wise, I am pretty much down to real butter and a little Parmesan on my spaghetti. There are some Chao vegan slices and some tofutti cream cheese in the fridge, just in case I get tempted to eat that conventional dairy that's in there for those other folks.

If you're going vegan and the people around you are not, it really, really helps to connect with some vegan cheese alternatives and have them on hand. And honestly, they're not as bad as you think, if you stick to the better ones. The vegan cream cheese tastes pretty much the same as dairy cream cheese. The vegan cheese slices resemble processed cheese slices, which I have admittedly never really cared for. Still, they are close enough to the real thing that they stave off my dairy cravings. And if I don't mind paying a little more, which I don't, there are vegan cheeses that taste exactly like dairy cheese. And to be honest, they cost about the same as the higher quality dairy cheeses anyway.

Next week when I buy groceries, I'm taking things a step closer. I'm getting some more coconut oil based “butter” and some vegan parmesan and sour cream. I already make whipped cream with fatty coconut milk. I also need to get some vegan egg roll wraps because I love egg rolls. In fact, I will be buying all vegan dairy products and nothing else very soon. I am lucky because my life partner, Gary is not opposed to them and actually prefers some of them. So, the rest of my transition will be smooth as silken tofu.

And the next time we visit NY on vacation, I'll bring my vegan cheeses and the like with me, so I won't be tempted by “dairy country” traditions. I'll have to stay away from NY cheese curd. I may have to get my NY subs and pizza without cheese and add my own vegan cheese. Traditions are wonderful, you guys, but sometimes we need to make changes and sacrifices. It's super hard for me to let the old comforts and ways go, but I have to consider the quality of life for future generations. It's just not in me to live with blinders on, oblivious to anyone's needs but my own.

I'm excited, you guys! In less than a month, my diet will be all the way vegan. With a bit of good fortune and a lot of willpower, I'm hoping it stays that way. No, it WILL stay that way! And then, it's on to vegan shoes and belts and other products. Now, I know that it's completely impossible in today's world to know that all the products you buy are vegan and in some cases, it's just not happening. But I intend to vote vegan with as many of my purchases and as much of my lifestyle as is humanly possible.

Wish me luck!

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