If you ask a group of people their thoughts and feelings on cheese, you might receive some of the following reactions:
“I’m literally addicted to cheese.”
“I FREAKING LOVE CHEESE.”
“It’s my one true love.”
“Cheese makes everything taste better.”
I know, because I probably uttered similar phrases throughout the years. When I lived in San Francisco, I would make weekly trips to the Ferry Building to get my Cowgirl Creamery fix and splurge on delicious, rich, creamy gourmet cheeses. Once, I brought a small wheel of it to the airport with me…AND ATE THE WHOLE THING WITH A BAGUETTE. Salads with cheese. Sandwiches with cheese. Cheeseburgers. String cheese. Cottage cheese. Cheesy scrambled eggs. Extra cheesy pizza. It’s a miracle that I didn’t have high cholesterol at the age of 18, truly.
Once I gave up meat, cheese was my lifeline. The thought of giving it up was both terrifying and laughable at the same time — part of me thought that life without cheese was a life not worth living, and the other part of me knew that there was no way in hell I’d ever actually be able to give up cheese.
But after battling some stubborn chin acne, dealing with constant bloating, and waking up with phlegm every morning, I knew something had to give. I got my hands on some helpful resources that helped me understand that dairy could be at the route of my issues, and the only dairy that I was eating in excess was cheese.
The frustrating part of all of this is…I KNEW ALL OF THIS. I was vegan for a time in college, and read everything I could get my hands on, including The China Study, which laid out exactly what kind of havoc that dairy can wreak on your body. But after ditching my super unhealthy college vegan diet, I went back to cheese with a vengeance — like a true addict.
Now, after being vegan for a few years, I can honestly say that the smell of cheese is actually repulsive to me. When we were training our puppy, he only responded to cheese for training treats, and the smell of it turned my stomach. For everyone reading this, thinking, “Yeah right, I would NEVER be disgusted by cheese!”, I’m here to tell you that I understand 150% because I was in your shoes just a few short years ago. But it’s possible!
So how do I get my cheesy fix now? Below are some of the recipes that I swear by. They hit the spot when you’re looking for that ooey gooey cheesy comfort food goodness, without all of the nasty side effects. Win-win! Warning: buying vegan cheese is usually more expensive than buying actual cheese. Why? Because vegan cheese is generally made in smaller batches, and more often than not is nut-based, which takes time to make. Also, actual cheese is only cheap because of shitty agricultural subsidies which make it artificially inexpensive. Your tax dollars hard at work, folks!
VEGAN PARMESAN CHEESE from Minimalist Baker — I put this on pasta, salads, toast with some Earth Balance, popcorn…we always have a batch in the fridge.
GARLIC MAC N’ CHEESE from Minimalist Baker — hands down the most insanely delicious vegan mac n’ cheese recipe I’ve tried.
DAIYA MOZZARELLA CHEESE — we make homemade pizza on the regular, and this is the best melting/tasting vegan cheese I’ve found.
EARTH BALANCE CHEESE PUFFS — as a die-hard Pirate’s Booty fan, this stuff hits. the. SPOT.
EARTH BALANCE CHEDDAR SQUARES — Cheez-It lovers, rejoice. These rock.
EVERYTHING FROM MIYOKOS KITCHEN — Have yet to find a product from them that I don’t enjoy.