Seriously Thinking of Becoming Vegetarian but... - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-11-2010, 04:35 PM
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I'm not a vegetarian yet although very seriously considering it but I really don't know what to do about cheese! I know it sounds silly, but I don't mind giving up meat too much, as I don't eat much at all anyway, my main worry is cheese.



I know it would be hypocritical of me to call myself vegetarian yet eat cheese with rennet in it, but my very, very favourite cheese (parmaggiano reggiano (parmesan)), I have read, is NEVER vegetarian, and I don't think the veggie substitute would be the same (although I am certainly going to give it a go)!



Another thing: I go to Italy every so often and it would be impossible to avoid it there. I don't know what to do.



I completely realise I am rambling here so I apologise for that :P



So... any advice? Tips? Do ALL vegetarians avoid rennet (I know this is just my petty hopes making me ask that)? What do I do if I go to Italy again? >.< What cheese is usually vegetarian, or is it just a matter of reading the labels carefully?



Oh dear, I sound so stupid. Cheese isn't worth this!



p.s. I'm new to the forums so please be kind to me even though I'm a bit of a bumbling idiot at the moment :P
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#2 Old 01-11-2010, 06:19 PM
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you're no bumbling idiot......Cabot cheese is not made with animal rennet nor is McCadam, but that only helps for the sharp cheddars. Each person had to make their own choices, so it's up to you. You can try to limit those cheeses that you know have rennet in them.

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#3 Old 01-11-2010, 06:39 PM
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Haha its ok dont worry! And welcome to VB! You're certainly not a bumbling idiot, when I first went veg I had no idea that parmesan had any meat (or animal products) in it..
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#4 Old 01-11-2010, 07:46 PM
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trader joes sells vegetarian parmesean cheese... i also find it at my local grocery store. it isn't gourmet, fancy parm... but it gets the job done and is animal rennet-free.



i dunno about italy, though
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#5 Old 01-11-2010, 07:57 PM
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First of all stop eating meat and fish, then concern yourself with the rennet, that's my advice. Eating meat is a much greater contribution to the death of animals than renneted cheese. I don't think you ought to eat that either, but you need to sort your priorities out.



I hope that doesn't sound aggressive, it wasn't meant to be but it seems a bit to me reading it.
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#6 Old 01-11-2010, 08:00 PM
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Some rennet free Gorgonzola would be welcome...



I guess I'm lucky being in the UK, all cheddar here seems to be vegetarian, and even British blue cheeses. If you get tempted in Italy though, don't go too hard on yourself, I'd find it hard to resist myself!
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#7 Old 01-12-2010, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sukisumi View Post

Cheese isn't worth this!



p.s. I'm new to the forums so please be kind to me even though I'm a bit of a bumbling idiot at the moment :P



(I'd hope we're kind to you whether or not you're new.



You said it yourself, cheese isn't worth it. Cheese is nothing but FAT, and humans are wired to crave fat. Kinda how we start eating more in the fall to get ready for winter even though there's no practical reason for this. So you may think you can't give up cheese but like anything else, once you're off it for a while, the craving goes away. You keep yourself addicted to it the more you eat it. (Also, consider that cheese is just the fat of moo milk, which is pus and antibiotic filled, and designed for baby cows, not humans. Is that worth it?)



But here's the thing: Why do you want to be vegetarian? If it's at all for the animals, then even if cheese seems like too much to give up, you'll try to, because a preference for eating cheese shouldn't be greater than the suffering of the animals that produced it. We can't motivate you to go veg; we can support you, we can provide facts and stuff, but ultimately, if you don't have the motivation from within, if it doesn't mean enough to you, then you may as well keep eating meat, forget the rennet. Being vegetarian (or even vegan) doesn't have to be hard - we make it hard by clinging to old ways of life or preferences, or discounting something as too hard before trying it. Yes, just read the labels, There are cheeses out there without rennet. Plan shopping trips so you know you'll be able to find the products you need. If you have to, don't walk down the cheese aisle till you're over craving it so strongly.



As for travel, a quick google search of Being Vegetarian In Italy turned up a LOT of links with advice. It's possible. It might be hard work and mean a commitment of time and energy, but it's possible. There's always pasta marinara w/o cheese on it. You recognize you're kind of using these things as excuses not to go all the way just from your tone and 'petty hope' line (you're not a bumbling idiot!) - and that's okay. Change is HARD. Leaving your comfort zone is REALLY hard. But it can be done if you're committed, have good reasons, and recognize baggage for what it is.



Best of luck, you CAN do it! (I used to put Parm on everything, by the way, and now I forget we even own a can of it. It can be done!)



Also, don't jump in to fake cheese. It's not the same and you won't like it. And you don't even need it, since there are good vegetarian cheeses out there.



ETA: I just looked at the can of Kraft Parm in our fridge and it looks vegetarian to me, no rennet, no any other animal trace ing. (Though I'm vegan at home which is why I don't use it.)
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#8 Old 01-12-2010, 09:36 AM
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I am a newbie here as well, but have recently began my journey to become a lacto-ovo vegetarian. This is a journey, so feel free to go at a pace that is comfortable for you. IMO, there is little good that can come from rushing to fast into this, giving up everything and running the risk of throwing your hands up in frustration and going back to being an omnivore. Here is a great link that discusses rennet-free cheeses; https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...-Cheese-thread Good luck and when you feel the urge to give up just remember your reasons for going veg in the first place!
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#9 Old 01-12-2010, 10:11 AM
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^^^ What passthepeas said.



Welcome, Sukisumi! What is your reason for going vegetarian? People with different motivations for going vegetarian probably run into somewhat different obstacles. (And you're not an idiot, bumbling or otherwise).

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#10 Old 01-12-2010, 11:20 AM
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Congratulations on going vegetarian! For the record, Whole Foods and Trader Joes often have rennet free cheeses. I haven't bought Parmesan in awhile, but it's worth a look.
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#11 Old 01-12-2010, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sukisumi View Post

Another thing: I go to Italy every so often and it would be impossible to avoid it there. I don't know what to do.

I'm pretty sure there are vegetarians in Italy. (Even vegans!) Assuming you read Italian, maybe see if you can find a chapter of the Vegetarian Society or similar there, and see if they have some information about vegetarian cheeses? (Or try Google Translate if your Italian is not so good.)

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#12 Old 01-12-2010, 12:02 PM
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Trader Joe's and Whole Foods in the U.S. (and other local organic stores) label their cheese a bit better than the average grocery store. Whole Foods makes vegetarian parmesan cheese. I didn't worry about rennet for a long time. Worry about meat and fish first, and then worry about the cheese!
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#13 Old 01-12-2010, 04:30 PM
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congrats on going veg! you should be able to get rennet-free cheeses.

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#14 Old 01-12-2010, 04:51 PM
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the closest Trader Joes, is 145 miles away! We don't have a Whole Foods store either, unless we go to NYC!

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#15 Old 01-12-2010, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dormouse View Post

Worry about meat and fish first, and then worry about the cheese!

I think dormouse makes an excellent point here. Nothing wrong with taking small steps.

You're doing great!
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#16 Old 01-12-2010, 07:11 PM
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congrats
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#17 Old 01-19-2010, 09:03 AM
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I didn't know that parmesan contained rennet.. I'll be sure to watch out for it. Thanks for the tip
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#18 Old 01-19-2010, 11:17 AM
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I don't think the fact that you may eat non veg cheese in Italy when on vacation should be a deciding factor in whether or not you otherwise eat a vegetarian diet. I used to love cheese, but now a few years out not eating dairy and it smells really pretty gross.

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#19 Old 01-21-2010, 05:01 PM
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They used to do a brilliant one in supermarkets in the UK called "Vegetalia" or something similar. I couldnt taste the difference between that and regular parmasan. I haven't seen it for a bit though.

Its generally pretty easy to avoid parmasan in Italy, as on most meals they add it at the table so you can just say no. The good news is that Mozzerella is nearly always vegetarian.



I don't really think people will get too wound up about you calling yourself vegetarian and not bothering too much about rennet. If I'm buying labeled cheese I will only buy non-animal rennet stuff, but I dont bother to ask about it when I'm eating out. Sometimes you just have to look at the bigger picture. Yes, its a bit hypocritical to call yourself vegetarian and eat rennet, but if rennet or gelatine products are the closest you ever get to meat, you will have a pretty extensive job describing your diet if you refuse to say vegetarian.
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#20 Old 01-21-2010, 05:15 PM
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I just want to chime in to say, don't let perfect be the enemy of good. What I mean is, it sounds like you're letting little questions like what to do about rennet determine larger questions like whether to give up meat. If you can't imagine life without cheese, then give up everything except cheese. It's silly to say "Well, I can't live without cheese, so I may as well keep on eating meat, too, since I don't want to be a hypocrite."



Do the best you can. Eating cheese (with or without rennet) but no meat is certainly a step ahead of omnivore.



Good luck!
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