I’ve been vegetarian for 38 years and vegan for the last 6 of those. As a vegetarian, my diet consisted of lots of pasta, bread and cheese. Not the most healthy diet. After spending 2 months traveling around India in 2002, and not having pasta, bread, or cheese for that time, I was surprised at how good I felt. I had more energy and didn't feel bloated and sluggish anymore. Frankly, not having those foods for 2 whole months – I just about lost my taste for them, so it was easy to limit my consumption when I got home (I started cooking lots of veggie curries with rice instead!)
A few years later, I learned of the intense cruelty of the dairy and egg industries and stopped eating all animal products almost immediately. I still liked the taste of cheese, but chose not to eat it.
I hear many vegetarian say, “I could never live without cheese.” I thought that once. But, I think that just saying, “I will go one week without X” is enough to start the process of getting your taste buds used to not having that food item.
Just a few years ago, the non-dairy cheese options were pretty dismal. But now there are several good alternatives on the market. In the U.S., there is Daiya. It is good, and I use the melty version for pizza and lasagna, but it doesn't wow me enough to buy it very often.
Now that I spend a lot of the time in the U.K., I’ve found a non-dairy cheese that is so good, I’m indulging in foods I haven’t had in years – cheese and pickle sandwiches, cheese and apple slices, and just plain cheese and crackers. All with Vegusto No-Moo (non-dairy) cheese. Made in Switzerland, Vegusto is available by mail order in the U.K. and the EU.
I practically bought my weight in Vegusto cheese to bring back home to the States with me.
Since my boyfriend A. is a foodie and a new-ish vegan with a more recent memory of what dairy cheese tastes like, I asked him to provide an assessment of the two different Vegusto flavors we had purchased. Here’s what I got out of him.
The Vegusto No-Moo ‘Golden’ has a slightly grainy consistency and the mild flavor of a caerphillyn or edam. It is best on its own on crackers, and would be overpowered in a sandwich. The Vegusto No-Moo Piquant also has a slightly grainy texture but is more like a parmesan in taste. Both have the richness and ‘mouth feel’ of dairy cheese.
There you have it. So, with Daiya in the U.S. and Vegusto in the U.K. and EU, it’s now possible to have the taste of cheese without the cruelty (or the cholesterol).