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The Painful Breakup with Cheese

How do I break up with thee?

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My love affair with Cheese

Since I was little, I was such a cheese fanatic that my family has a nick name for me… ratinha  which means, little mouse in Portuguese. My love of cheese continued on until a few years ago. As I discovered the plant-based lifestyle, everything was easy to let go off except my love of cheese.

Cheese has always been my go-to fav when having cocktails, or during the day for a quick snack…it was everything. So I get you if you have a hard time imagining life without it.

I’m not going to lie, giving up cheese took YEARS and it was a trial and error process. But, I want to share with you some ideas on how to start at least diminishing your intake, and gradually replacing that cheese craving need.

My Motivation

One of my main motivators was my health. I used to have terrible cycles (I know what you are thinking TMI) but I think it is important to share this with you. My cycles were long, painful (to the point that I had to have prescribed medication to deal with my cramps and I had to take at least one day off from work or activities to cope with it). I was miserable! But since I’ve been completely off dairy, it lasts three days max and my cramps are so light I barely need anything for the pain. Just for that reason alone, it has been worth it giving it up. 

Discovering new cheese is fun!

Understanding why I loved cheese so much was the first step.

First I had to really think about it why I loved cheese so much and I realized, I like how salty it is and the texture. I think the fat content was also an important fact. The body craves that fat especially if you are looking for that "comforting" feeling. So I knew that I would have to try to match these flavor profiles with some alternatives.

My Break Up Process and Tips.
1. CHANGE the type of cheese you buy - go for a sharper, aged, and more expensive cheese.

This will make your intake less because it is so rich you will find yourself eating slivers of it rather than big chunks of it. And because it is more expansive, you will savor the small bites so you can have left overs.

2. TAME YOUR EXPECTATIONS when trying plant-based cheese products to wean off cheese.

Let’s be real, it is never going to taste totally like cheese, but it can get to be really close. But I assure you as you try plant-based cheese, overtime, your flavor pallet will adapt and your body will too! It will scream thank you! 

3. REMEMBER one of the main aspects of real cheese - it is salty.

So what to do to replace or satisfy that salt and fat content of cheese?

Here are some fun cheese replacement ideas! 

  1. Olives are salty, delicious…you can buy or make a tapenade and add it to chips or crackers
  2. Buy Vegan Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto  or create Vegan Pesto from scratch 
  3. Try my favorite cheeses and cracker products (see products below)
  4. Make a Vegan Charcuterie board 
  5. Buy Veggie Cream Cheese and dip
  6. Try a Mediterranean tapas spread
  7. Vegan Ranch Dressing with Vegan Chicken Tenders
  8. Vegan Quesadilla
  9. Vegan Flatbread
  10. Artichoke spinach dip with vegan sour cream
  11. Mozzarella Pesto Bites
  12. Vegan Sausage & Sour Krout with spicy mustard (pairs well with beer)
  13. Buy vegan frozen appetizers (so many yummy out there…French fries are vegan!)
  14. Make melt bites (more work but def satisfying)
  15. Make it into a party! Have a vegan cheese tasting soiree! 
4. Have a Party! Vegan Tapas Tasting Ideas
  • Have each of your friends will bring a type of vegan cheese
  • Don't forget the vegan deli cuts to add to your charcuterie board
  • Add salt, grapes, toppings, pair it with fun wine selections
  • Add cranberries
  • Make it Greek with olives, cucumber, onions pita, vegan tzatziki sauce roasted red peppers hummus and olive oil
  • Buy some fun frozen vegan appetizers and add it to the mix
  • Remember there are no rules as to what you can add get creative with it!

And remember the most important thing…have fun with it! It is all about discovery. And I’m here for you if you have thoughts or new ideas…love to hear it! Xoxo

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