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Why giving up cheese is so hard for new vegans

Cheese is one of the most common reasons why most people think that they cannot go vegan, but why is this?

cheese addiction

There would probably be thousands, maybe millions, more vegans in the UK right now if it wasn’t for people’s love of cheese. Is it the love of cheese though or is it addiction? And how do vegans give up the cheese?

Let’s face the facts here, all cheese is is a block of fat from dairy milk mixed with a ton of salt – that’s far from healthy! Cheese makes chocolate look like a stick of celery. So why is this deathly dairy lump so addictive?


The Cheese Trap

Dr Neal Barnard has written an informative book entitled The Cheese Trap  where he explains that cheese is just like any other addictive drug. He talks about dairy cheese containing opiates and:

These opiates attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and morphine attach to. They are not strong enough to get you arrested, but they are just strong enough to keep you coming back for more, even while your thighs are expanding before your very eyes.’ Dr Neal Barnard

On top of this, our brain releases dopamine when eating salty foods (like cheese), which makes us start LOVING the salty product that helped produced the lovely brain chemical. We then start thinking about cheese all the time and craving it. The more we eat, the more we love it. A vicious circle?

addictive scientific image

How can you quit the cheese for good?

There are groups out there that will help you lose weight, give up drugs, alcohol, and smoking. But why are there are no cheese support groups? It doesn’t actually make sense if you think about it, especially when heart disease, obesity & diabetes are such big killers.

The good news is that there are officially over 500,000 vegans in the UK who don’t eat dairy cheese, many of whom successfully gave it up. Below is some experience and advice from members of Vegan Food UK.

Advice from Vegan Veterans

Avoid commercial vegan cheeze for a while until your taste buds change and sort cravings with fatty things like creamy pasta sauces, nut cheeze, avocados, houmous.” (Emily Bailey)

I just reminded myself that the cows/calves need that milk, not me.” (Sarah Ingham Douglas)

Experiment and buy different cruelty-free alternatives of cheese and have a go at making some, but with friends (keeps the fun factor).” (Louise Beagle)

When I had my lightbulb moment and went vegan I just stopped eating it, I only had to think about the cruelty involved to produce the cheese which completely stopped me eating it.” (Helen Bishop)

Reach for the avocados

Took a while to adapt to vegan cheese and I tried a variety to find ones I liked and ate different things like avocado, houmous and vegan pate in sandwiches instead.” (Cathy Kelly)

I stopped straight away, and instead had an avocado just about everyday for 2 weeks. The healthy fats kept me full and satisfied and think it helped.” (Norma Kimber)

I was one of these that said I could never give up cheese, but then one day I decided to be vegan and just forced myself not to eat the cheese. I realised I could actually taste the food I was eating that I usually covered in cheese.” (Bex Wilkes)

Cheese was a staple before going vegan! Had it on everything, I stopped the day I went vegan, after seeing the horror of the dairy industry, I couldn’t contribute to the pain!” (Adam Barton)

I really thought we’d struggle with my 5 year old daughter, we transitioned her more gradually to veganism. One week I just stopped buying it for her. She used to want cheese every day but now she never asks and has declined it at school.” (Kelly Jackson)

Living in a rural area where you can hear the cows calling for their calves which gives you a constant reminder of how cruel dairy is. Wasn’t difficult at all & in fact without the overpowering taste of cheese, other more subtle flavours are more pronounced and I enjoy my meals more.” (Heather Hazell-Marshall)

Vegan documentaries help

Watched Dairy is Scary on YouTube and realised nothing could ever justify that.” (Ruby Miranda)

I found cheese the hardest to give to give up, but once I discovered ‘nooch’ (nutritional yeast) it was so much easier.”(Anne MacDonald)

I went vegan overnight pretty much, but nothing cemented it into my being better than watching Earthlings. So anytime I thought about eating cheese, I instantly thought of the dairy industry and how cruel it is. Giving up cheese was such an easy sacrifice in the end and after a few weeks of not eating it your body feels brilliant and you wonder why you ever ate it.” (Liam Day, Co-founder Vegan Food UK)

If you liked this guide then maybe you will like our Vegan Survival Guide?



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