RE: CHEESE HELP!
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM
I was meaning to contribute to this question yesterday, but didn't get time. I hope this helps. I can relate.
I was a vegetarian for decades prior to my first Kickstart in April. I was one of those who put cheese on everything. I loved it, and I mean real cheese, blue or 10 year old cheddar, the stinkier the better. I loved it!
I joined the kickstart for a project I was involved in, and never looked back. I was online for two weeks prior, freaking out, thinking things like HELP, or WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT CHEESE!
I tried every pretend cheese product I could find, and hated it all. I tried the soy yogurt and tofu cream cheese too. Hated it too. Then I remembered all the talk about the taste buds changing, and decided to just jump in. Just a few months later, I do not even think about cheese, I am serious! Here is how I would do it now.
1. Don't even try any fake dairy product until your taste buds have really changed. It only takes a week or two. Get it out of your life totally for that amount of time. Cheese is very very strong. You don't even notice until you are away from it for a while. I had an accidental tasting of a few crumbs of blue cheese a few months after. Someone had put it on a salad, remembered, and tried to take it all off... they got most of it. It was really horrible. I know you can't believe it until you experience it, but it was really horrible.
2. After a while goes by, try the Daiya brand shredded vegan cheeses. They have three flavours. They are actually delicious, although I find them too rich at this point. I think you might like them. Cheddar is great in a burrito.
3. Try to find alternatives for what you actually like about cheese. For me it was sauces. I like what I can do with nutritional yeast to get that flavour now. I also find that blended soft tofu or soaked and blended raw cashews are very interesting. It was the "creamy" sauces I didn't want to give up, but found that cream was not necessarily a part of "creamy".
4. Look for recipes to replace your favourite dairy/egg meals. There are a few versions of scrambled tofu out there... try it with these two changes:
- use the veggies and the spices you would normally use with your own scrambled eggs.
- freeze the tofu first, then squeeze out excess water before crumbling. This gives the tofu texture and capacity to absorb flavour from your veggies.
Also, try grinding a cup or so of whatever nut you like best (my favorite is cashews) together with an equal amount of nutritional yeast and a bit of salt. This makes a very good "parmesan" cheese substitute. It stores in the fridge well, and also carries well in a small container... even an old pill bottle, for that trip to a restaurant where you know you are going to be limited to pasta primavera.
Won't worry. I was a cheese head and I did it so I can tell you that it is possible.
Director: MEET IRENE - An Unlikely Vegan
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