The Moderate Vegan


Cheese! Oh Glorious Cheese!
June 29, 2010, 4:26 am
Filed under: Product Review, Veggie Forum, Veggie-saur

All-in-all my journey of Veganism has been going fantastically smoothly.

In truth, it really has been surprisingly easy.

This isn’t just Veggie Propaganda, but it really has not been that hard. Now I am not saying that becoming a Vegan is easy, or that it would be easy for everyone, but so far, it has really been pretty easy – for me.

I think that one of the MAJOR reasons that I have had such smooth sailing is because I have been lactose intolerant, or as my friend Andrea would say “a Lac-tard,” since college.

While many people would feel an intolerable degree of deprivation giving up their meat products – I have found (in my very unscientific and/or controlled polling)  that the notion of giving up CHEESE is so utterly ridiculous that it strikes most people as borderline comical.

In fact, the most common response is something along the lines of, “OH MY GOD! I would DIIIIEEE without cheese.” No one has ever said to me, “OH MY GOD! I would DIIIEEE without ground beef!” It is usually more subtle – a little, “I don’t think I could give up meat,” or a, “How do you get enough protein?” sort of response.

Now I am sure that there are a lot of very scientific and legitimate reasons for this….blah blah blah…..casein……blah blah blah……oxytocin receptors in the brain…..blah blah blah….. (If you are interested in the real low down on this and are not really into reading scientific articles, I would highly recommend reading the book Skinny Bitches by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Very easy & entertaining read.)

But let’s just call it what it is: CHEESE IS FREAKIN’ AMAZINGLY GOOD!!

You don’t even have to DO anything to it to be good. It is just good. My particular weakness was always melted cheese – in all its delicious gooey forms, particularly in its Mexican form…..sigh. Something magical happens to cheese when you melt it. Something great becomes even great-ER. I would go so far as to say, “great-ER-ER-ER.” I will freely admit – now – and in this public forum – that despite my sometimes debilitating lactose intolerance, in my past, sometimes (sometimes often) the cheese won. Yes the cheese won, and common decency and the fight for a non-flatulent world LOST. It is just that good. I get it.

AND to add insult to injury….and I might get in trouble with my fellow veggie-saurs for saying this…..Vegan cheese blows like a big wind.

The magical Veggie scientists of the world have made brilliant strides in the past few years. We now have Veggie meat product that is so good that (in the right preparation) you could honestly fool a militant, bunny-hating, barbecue-rib-eating, drum-stick-wielding carnivore. But where are the CHEESE SCIENTISTS?!?!

I have tried an awful lot of the products out there, and most of them are down right disgusting – no ifs, ands, or butts (maybe a few butts – that could be the problem).Funky oily, yet still too crumbly texture. Strange plastic-y smell. Oh, and the grody aftertaste (yes I did just use the word “grody,” and yes, the spell check did flag it, but it seemed the most appropriate and descriptive word)…..

My current favorite product (which will sometimes pass the toddler-test) is the Rice Cheese from Galaxy Nutritional Foods. It come in a Vegan variety (no casein – sometimes the faux cheese has casein in it, which is a milk protein, making it not VEGAN).  Even though this product is at the top of my list right now, it really is not fooling anyone. It is okay in stuff. I can get E (toddler test) to eat a slice plain, but only if she is really hungry; and you definitely are not going to see me grabbing a slice out of the fridge and mowing down with sated happiness. And the Troy Test. Complete FAIL.

So I suppose the purpose of this post is two-fold.

1. To give evidence to the idea that sometimes things that seem horrible (lactose intolerance), can actually turn out to be positive (helping me to live the life that I choose with more ease), albeit way way way in the future. I admit that there were an awful lot of years that my glass was half empty on this subject, and I was just pissed off that I couldn’t eat a plate of nachos without farting all night. Fortunately my husband loves me – a lot.

2. To put out the fishing lines for decent cheesey substitutions. My next foray is going to be into the world of “Nutritional Yeast Sauces.” Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

In my quest for the ultimate faux-cheese, I came across a blog entry at Vegan Yum Yum. The entry was about the holy grail of Vegan-ness: Macaroni & Cheese. And her basic philosophy went something like this (WARNING – much paraphrasing about to happen): We are never going to be able to exactly replicate a box of Kraft Macaroni Dinner. We must accept this, and try to find ways to satisfy the same craving (creamy-slightly-salty deliciousness) with a different taste experience.

Ahhh….the wisdom of Vegans-Past (not “past” as in dead, but “past” as in more experienced & culinarily gifted).

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