Salt and fat is the key I think. Grilled cheese was one of my favorites. I swear, I could eat grilled cheese and vegetable soup for lunch everyday. You can get some "cheese" slices that are vegan (I think Tofutti's what I've tried a couple of times). They're not bad, but grilled hummus (with margarine on the bread too, of course) filled the gap for me. In dishes like enchiladas where there are lots of other flavors, I think that Daiya or any cheese substitute you find non-offensive (some are really really bad) can work okay. Where the cheese is the main event might be a bit more difficult.
Some other ways I still get my "cheese" fix:
- mashed tofu with some basil, oregano, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, a dash of mustard and oil makes a good mock ricotta for italian dishes
- Sourdough bread with margarine or olive oil, or sourdough crackers (Whole Foods sells some). The crackers remind me just slightly of Cheezits
- Nutritional yeast sauce (there are some recipes here I think) for "macaroni and cheese"
- white Daiya makes a decent quesadilla
In my case, it was a stop-start sort of thing. I struggled for a long time (like a year) with cravings for cheese pizza. I've written on here before about how I got some a couple of time because it was even entering into my dreams! Eventually, the lactose got me and I started getting sick because the only dairy I was eating was like 1/2 of a cheese pizza every 6-8 weeks. It's given me something to hold onto as even now, only very occasionally, the idea of cheese pizza (really greasy, heart-clogging, nasty stuff) sounds absolutely delicious. I just think about my last experiences with cheese and the desire fades.
For most of the non-dairy cheeses, I'd give them a pass for awhile, as none of them are going to taste like dairy cheese. I think they made me miss dairy *more*, but there are many who say that the soya/rice stuff was a good sort of cheese patch for them. I guess you just have to try and see for yourself.
The health benefits to me were far more remarkable that any other change I've made in diet (except giving up aspartame perhaps). My sinus issues virtually disappeared (no sinus infections for like 6 years), and the migraines improved immensely (1-2 a year, maybe less now, down from about 8 a year). I'm sure my gastrointestinal system is happier too.