Be honest…have you ever found the following words come out of your mouth?
“I could NEVER give up cheese.”
Now it’s my turn to be honest. I remember specifically saying this a million times before I decided to go vegan.
That’s why I was SO surprised to discover that I could, in fact, nix the cheese and that life is actually better without it.
You might be shaking your head right now, thinking that I’m totally full of it. But I’m 100% serious. Let me explain…
Let’s start by talking about why everyone is so obsessed with cheese and other dairy products.
Did you know that dairy is literally addictive? And not just because it tastes good. Casein, a protein in dairy, contains casomorphines which have an opiate-like effect in our brain, which causes addiction – the severity of which has been compared to that caused by HEROIN. Keep in mind, casein is in all dairy products, but it’s highly concentrated in cheese!
Dairy is physically addictive.
To be fair, you might be thinking…”well, dairy products are not as bad as heroin. It’s not harming me.”
And this is where you would be 100% wrong.
Some of the negative side effects of consuming dairy include:
- excess mucus production
- digestive problems like constipation, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea
- acne, rashes and other skin irritations
- respiratory problems
None of these things are fun to deal with. But it starts to get really scary when you learn that the substance you’ve been told your whole life will make you strong and healthy is actually linked with increased risk of osteoporosis and cancer.
That’s right. Cancer.
Milk does NOT do a body good.
So now you have some pretty good health-related reasons to cut dairy from your diet. But wait, there’s more!
Did you know that 21 million baby calves are killed each year?
You may be as surprised as I was the day I found out the truth and decided to go vegan. When I was vegetarian, I used to think that eating dairy was ethical because no animals were killed.
But I was wrong.
Cows are mammals and, just like humans, have to either be pregnant or have recently given birth to lactate. This means that in order for humans to have access to cow’s milk, cows must consistently be impregnated.
So what happens to all of the baby cows? Offspring from dairy cows end up with the same fate as their mothers if they are female. If they’re male, they’re sold off to be slaughtered as veal.
The feminist argument for going vegan
Cows carry their babies for 9 months, just like humans. They have an emotional bond with their babies, just like humans. But they never get to live out their lives as they normally would.
The exploitation of the female body in the dairy industry is overwhelming if you take a closer look. The fact that this web page discussing post-partum intervals for female cows even exists is horrifying to me. Do me a favor – as you read, try replacing the words “cow” and “heffer” with “women” and see if it shifts your perspective at all.
If all of isn’t horrible enough for you, consider the horrible living conditions in which these animals are forced to live, and which we can hardly say we’re not aware of anymore.
Think of everything these cows go through to “provide” for us and as soon as they can no longer “give” milk, they are immediately sold to slaughter for meat.
All because humans love cheese. All because we’ve been convinced that dairy is necessary for our health.
Now we know the truth. Dairy is harmful to our health, to the environment and billions of innocent animals every year.
How to deal with the truth
So I didn’t just write all of this to make people feel bad. Some people might read this and immediately be angry and at me for bringing it into their realm of consciousness. But don’t blame the messenger. And please, don’t turn away.
The fact that you opened this post means you are interested in giving up dairy and possibly making changes in your lifestyle. Change requires us to learn and grow in ways that can be scary or that we will want to resist.
This truth is not easy to accept. And that’s why it’s so much easier to completely ignore what is going on and continue living the way we always have.
When we open ourselves up to acknowledging the truth, it can be expected that we are going to experience a lot of feelings and emotions around it. I wrote this post about the intense feelings I went through after deciding to go vegan.
It’s important to acknowledge your feelings. Consider journaling, join online vegan forums, find a local vegan meetup. It helps to talk with like-minded people.
Are you considering trying a vegan diet? Sign up for my FREE 30-Day Guide to Going Vegan!
When it comes to cutting out dairy, I recommend going “cold turkey.” Since dairy, cheese specifically, has addictive qualities, it makes sense that it will be a lot easier to say no once you get it completely out of your system. During this time, explore all of the vegan options available to you.
Something to remember is that vegans don’t give up cheese because it stops tasting good. We give up cheese because we’ve learned the detrimental effects on our health and the horrible truths about animal cruelty in the dairy industry.
Luckily for us there are many ways to enjoy creamy, delicious foods without dairy products. Try some different vegan products and find which ones you like best. Test out some recipes for vegan versions of your favorite foods. My favorites include macaroni and cheese, nacho cheese and corn chowder.
Notice that you have a craving for a specific food? Ask yourself what emotions might be surrounding your desire for that food. Perhaps it’s actually the emotion you associate with that food such as comfort, and not the food itself. If that’s the case, perhaps there is a healthy alternative for achieving that feeling that you are craving.
Read the label
Casein can sometimes be hidden in products such as veggie cheeses, non-dairy yogurts, non-dairy creamers, so be sure to check labels.
Ingredients to avoid:
- milk (obviously)
- milk fat
- casein (caseinates, calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate and sodium caseinate)
- whey (another milk protein)
Have questions? Concerns? Please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!