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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. Im looking for some help with dairy. Yes, Ill say it, Im addicted to cheese. I have given up all dairy except cheese and yogurt and seem to be unable to take the plunge. I try to limit my cheese to one serving a week (somewhat successfully) and I eat one organic greek yogurt single serve a day. I could probably give that up, but I dont know what to replace it with. I find soy yogurt pretty yucky.

Im sure there are others who had the same issues and Im wondering how they powered through it.

Thanks in advance.
 

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You'll find many of us here who had little trouble with meat or eggs, but that cheese was killer. I think there are some things you can do to soy yogurt to make it more like Greek yogurt, but I'll leave that to others (I hate yogurt before I was vegan..blech). In what sort of ways/dishes do you like to eat cheese? Maybe we can offer some non-dairy suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm, let me think. I like all cheese. The more exotic, the better. American, cheddar, mozzarella, feta, parmesan, swiss, I like them all. I used to have it with almost every meal. I can't think of a single way I don't like it.
But, let me see if I can narrow it down. I don't have a problem giving up cheese slices on sandwiches but I do love grilled cheese and tomato for lunch once a week or so. I don't need it in my salads anymore, but Broccoli Cheese soup is a favorite of the entire family. When I eat out, which I don't do much, there seems to be a lack of vegetarian options that don't include cheese. We don't have anything that approaches a vegetarian restaurant, let alone vegan. Oh yeah, I love Mexican food. Especially enchiladas. I could probably give them up when we eat out if I could find some substitute while I was home.

I used some daiya mozzarella for pita pizzas a couple weeks ago. I didn't tell anyone I was using "fake" cheese and received a lot of compliments that the cheese was really "melty". I don't really like it uncooked though.

I know it sounds like I'm a cheese junky, which I totally am. I'm actually proud of the progress I've made so far in cutting down as much as I have but want to take that last step. The more I read about dairy, even organic dairy, the scarier it is to me. I cut out milk completely and went to soy and then cut way back on that. There are better ways to get calcium and Vit D.
 

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Dairy does have a physical addiction quality but cravings for cheese are also often about salt and fat. You could get the uncheese cookbook and try a different vegan cheese recipe every week instead of having cheese every week, or have daiya instead. Salty, fatty foods might fill the gap, like humous, avocado with sea salt etc. Why not try daiya for your grilled cheese and tomato? I use cheezly (British cheese substitute) in my toasties and on my Mexican food.

The main advice I can think of is just give it up. I loved cheese before I was vegan, I was even guilty of saying 'I could never go vegan, I love cheese too much', and then one day I just gave it up. I missed it for a while, mostly on pizzas, but eventually I found myself a bit disgusted by it and now it doesn't appeal to me at all.

As for restaurants, you may have to ask them to 'hold the cheese' to get a vegan meal and get used to cheeseless pizzas etc when eating out.
 

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Cheese was my biggest hurdle, too. I used to love cheese. Good cheese. I was a total cheese snob.

My advice: give it a month.

Suck it up, and go without dairy for a few weeks; that was long enough for me to develop an actual aversion to it. My reaction to pizza commercials went from "OMG that looks so good" to "Eww...look at how ****ing greasy that is."
 

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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.
 

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I'm not a huge fan of the soy yogurts (except in things is ok), but the Coconut milk yogurt is delicious! I understand Whole Foods makes an almond yogurt now, but I don't live near a whole foods, so I can't attest to it's quality (reviews have been positive).

Cheese... ehh.. once you get used to it isn't such a big deal, honestly. I buy nondairy cheese with a purpose now, like making a pizza, then I can't figure out what the heck to do with the rest of it!! Dr. Cow cheese is fantastic for eating with crackers, but really expensive and hard to come by. We Can't Say It's Cheese makes some awesome hickory smoked cheddar spread. My omni husband eats it every day!! The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook has some good recipes. We love the Parma Sprinkles and the Crock Cheeze. There is a recipe for broccoli cheese soup in that cookbook, which I haven't tried to make yet, but it might be something worth looking into.

To add to Jen's "cheese fix" list -- GRILLED AVOCADO!! It is so delicious, and it gives you that fatty creaminess that cheese does. I also like avocado spread on bagels, and avocado and marmite is even better!! Mmmm savory and salty and creamy and fatty!
 

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Cheese and yogurt I am not giving up I don't have it alot anyhow, but there are other versions out there. I decided I will be a Milk Dairy and Eggs Vegeterian until after our move I am under alot of stress.
 

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As rabid_child mentioned, have you tried alternatives to soy yogurt like coconut milk yogurt? I've never had it because vegan dairy alternatives (except soymilk) aren't available where I live - but I've heard it's really good.

Also, the advice to straight up cut it out might be good. Cheese is hard to give up, at least for most people. I was never a huge cheese fan, with the exception of cheddar (specifically grilled cheese). I still get cravings for it when I have tomato soup, but nothing major. I miss yogurt, though.
When I move back to the US in August I'm going to attack all the dairy alternatives with a vengeance for a while, haha. Then I'll get over it.
 

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Whatever your reasons are for wanting to give up cheese - whether it's ethical, environmental, or health - that's much more important than a fleeting taste on your tongue. You're not a slave to your cravings. You're strong. You are energy, not flesh, and you can do anything you set your mind to. Choose to succeed and then succeed.

Try some of the delicious alternatives out there. That'll make it even easier. And always, always keep reasons in the back of your mind. Reasons are what make you human, and they're what make you strong.
 

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Sounds just like me. I loved cheese-all cheese. I had days I stuffed myself just to make sure I wouldn't cave in to it.
Finally I just quit. Quit looking for alterntives, just sucked it up. Best advice. Leave everything about cheese. Turn to things as unlike cheese as possible. That worked for me in about two months. I then lost interest.
The best part of loosing interest was I actually had changed my tastes! I finally acquired the taste for nutritional yeast that makes people here call it "cheesy". I have the Uncheese cookbook, and the recipes I had thought were"ehh, okay", became really, really good after I cleaned my palate from dairy cheese.
I don't know if that will work for you, but it's certainly worth a try. Subsitutites only reinforced my desires.

Daiya cheddar is the one exception. Even during my cravings, it made a grilled cheese just like American. But American isn't real cheese anyway!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for the great responses and encouragement. I decided last night after supper that yesterday was my last day of cheese. It is just unhealthy and I it bothers me to eat things when I dont know where they come from or how they are made. JoshJames is right, there are more important things than my taste. I gave up meat without a single craving, I quit coffee and soda both cold turkey and never missed either. I changed from milk chocolate to dark (very) dark chocolate without batting an eye. So I can do cheese too. Im setting an example for my children and eating and using cheese is making me feel like a hypocrite.

I love the idea of a grilled avocado sandwich and am actually contemplating a grilled peanut butter for lunch today with my tomato soup instead of cheese.

I can do this!
 

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i never eat cheese really but last 2 weeks had a more then usual which gave me huge break out it wasnt pretty so now also trying to cut out diary completely, I do not enjoy rice or soya milk and can't find almond milk in cape town (not yet anyway) -

what is the rule when you pick chocolate? does it have to be 70% or higher dark chocolate?

Luckily I never liked cheese so no problem giving that up.

I switched to rooibos tea and black coffee to avoid milk.

What products have hidden dairy in it?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackenzie View Post

Thanks everyone for the great responses and encouragement. I decided last night after supper that yesterday was my last day of cheese. It is just unhealthy and I it bothers me to eat things when I don't know where they come from or how they are made. JoshJames is right, there are more important things than my taste. I gave up meat without a single craving, I quit coffee and soda both cold turkey and never missed either. I changed from milk chocolate to dark (very) dark chocolate without batting an eye. So I can do cheese too. I'm setting an example for my children and eating and using cheese is making me feel like a hypocrite.

I love the idea of a grilled avocado sandwich and am actually contemplating a grilled peanut butter for lunch today with my tomato soup instead of cheese.

I can do this!
Banzai! You'll do it, we're all cheering for you
Remember: it's a bodily secretion of another mammal that's meant for their babies. You don't need it. You are not dependent on it. You're a strong enough person to live happily even if you give up a food item. Don't let it dominate you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kasandra View Post

i never eat cheese really but last 2 weeks had a more then usual which gave me huge break out it wasnt pretty so now also trying to cut out diary completely, I do not enjoy rice or soya milk and can't find almond milk in cape town (not yet anyway) -

what is the rule when you pick chocolate? does it have to be 70% or higher dark chocolate?

Luckily I never liked cheese so no problem giving that up.

I switched to rooibos tea and black coffee to avoid milk.

What products have hidden dairy in it?
Have you tried different brands of soy milk? There's only one brand so far that I like, everything else is mediocre at best. Don't give up until you've tried every brand!

Dark chocolate typically doesn't use milk, I've found that 70% and up is generally dairy free, but it always depends on the brand. My favourite marzipan-filled chocolate is vegan!
 

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Before I went vegan, I was a big cheese-oholic and didn't think I could take the plunge (that mindset stopped me from going vegan for a while). Milk was easy to give up, just swapping it for rice or almond milk for my cereals, smoothies and baking, and tried to drink more water instead of a glass of milk. I was never a big fan of yogurt, but there are some good soy yogurts available that I have tried out of curiosity. Daiya was my saving grace when I finally decided to go vegan, for a month I was making grilled "cheese" sandwiches and pizzas, mac n "cheese", it was never ending, and I was beginning to think I was going to end up failing, considering how many cheese substitutes I was going through.

Then the unthinkable happened: I lost all craving for cheese. It took maybe a month and I didn't notice that I stopped craving till about two months after going vegan. Looking back, I can see why I was going through all the cheese substitutes because I felt I needed it. Then I stopped buying them, and started broadening my food palate, trying to eat more fresh, homecooked meals, then realized that none of my meals included some vegan form of "cheese".

I realize that cheese and other dairy products contain some sort of enzyme in our bodies that make us crave it. It may seem hard and first, and by all means, try cheese substitutes if you think it will help. They'll be pricey at first, but you just need to wait out the first few months before your body stops craving it. After you'll feel like you wont need them any more.

Just go for the plunge,
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, two days dairy free and onto the third. I had a huge craving for a grilled cheese, but went for the grilled peanut butter instead. It worked pretty well. I love peanut butter too so it wasnt too much of a sacrifice. The night before, I had an avocado, tomato sandwich. I have to confess, the avocado was a bit overripe so I mashed it into guacamole. A friend was over and was a bit put off that I was eating guacamole on my sandwich, but only cautiously asked if that was what I was serving to everyone. Once my husband told her he was grilling to suit, she was fine.

Funny story: Yesterday, my five month old came down with bronchitis (not the funny part) so I ended up spending the day at home with him. It was exhausting because he wasnt sleeping except for catnaps on my shoulder so at dinner time I just didnt feel like cooking . Now, there are many things my husband does well, but cooking is not one of them so we decided to order a pizza. I told him it was fine but to order mine w/out cheese and I would put some daiya on it when it got to our house. He agreed and even thought that sounded better than their cheese so ordered a garden fresh with no cheese. The lady taking the order asked three times if he was sure he meant no cheese. Then, before it was delivered, the cook called back to clarify that we meant no cheese and finally the delivery guy asked at the door if we meant to order no cheese. I guess they dont get that request much.


I really havent had cravings since the one yesterday at lunch. I really want to be successful at this.

As far as chocolate goes, I have always loved it as well. I found many years ago that I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate and ate lots of hersheys dark. Recently, I started looking for the highest percent cocoa I could find which is usually around 80%. Nothing this high has ever had dairy that Ive seen. There are two huge advantages to really dark chocolate:
1) no one else in my house will go near it so I never have to worry about having a craving and finding myself unknowingly out of it; and 2) with really dark chocolate a little goes a long way. I cant even finish a recommended serving without feeling overfull so it is really hard to overindulge. According to my family its really bitter though. I dont taste it, I just find it satisfyingly rich.

I have to confess, I drank coffee this morning. Ive been up for approximately 3 days with no more than 3 hours of continuous sleep at one time and I had to be at work at 8:00 a.m. I just need to get through today however I can.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackenzie View Post

As far as chocolate goes, I have always loved it as well. I found many years ago that I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate and ate lots of hershey's dark. Recently, I started looking for the highest percent cocoa I could find which is usually around 80%. Nothing this high has ever had dairy that I've seen. There are two huge advantages to really dark chocolate:
1) no one else in my house will go near it so I never have to worry about having a craving and finding myself unknowingly out of it; and 2) with really dark chocolate a little goes a long way. I can't even finish a recommended serving without feeling overfull so it is really hard to overindulge. According to my family it's really bitter though. I don't taste it, I just find it satisfyingly rich.
The highest I've ever had was - sit down - 99%. It was reallllly bitter and tasted kind of powdery, actually, but it's one of those try-it-before-you-die things
Normally I prefer 80-85% though.
 
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