So you are trying to make the switch from vegetarian to vegan and you did so well with milk. You thought it would be easy. But then you discovered it seemed nearly impossible to give up cheese. Does this describe you? Has your path to being vegan while coming from a vegetarian diet been like this? There is a reason.
It’s no coincidence that so many vegetarians trying to go vegan have an issue with cheese. It’s basically concentrated milk. And there is a very addictive substance in it that makes you crave it. A lot of people are surprised to learn this. But it sure does explain a lot!
“When casein, the milk protein found in cheese breaks down, it releases opiates called casomorphins. Attaching to the opiate receptors in your brain, these mind-altering chemicals not only cause your body to actually crave cheese, but also experience withdrawal from it. This is a big reason why so many people say that cheese is the only thing that keeps them from going vegan.” – Home Made Levity
If you know this and understand the power of addiction then the solution is very clear. It’s not an easy way to quit cheese in the short term. But in the long run it’s so much easier. You have to rip the band-aid off! You have to go cold turkey. As with any addiction this is the quickest and most painless way to leave your addiction behind. If you really are ready to transition from vegetarian to vegan then this is the answer
If you have an addiction to something, every time you take a little bit the addiction and cravings are right back. So you can spend all that work and effort staying away from something from a day or two. But as soon as you have a little bit of it, you have fueled the addictive cravings all over again. This applies to eating less of it too. Basically every time you eat a small amount you are just torturing yourself. And you are dragging the process out longer and longer. Stop the cheese cold turkey and never go back!
Now, what about vegan cheeses. I think they are great if you must have some cheese flavor in your diet. But you need to go cold turkey for at least a month. NO cheese for an entire month. Get that association with the flavor and the addictive chemicals out of your mind. That way when you start eating the vegan cheeses you won’t have to deal with that.
Butter is the final thing to address. And it’s another easy one. If you are worried you won’t be able to switch from vegetarian to vegan because of butter, don’t worry at all. There are some amazing vegan butter products out there. You will not be able to tell the difference. Just like switching milk for plant milks, switching butter for vegan butter is super easy. They are all good. Just see what brands your local store has and try them. You will be pleasantly surprised.
It’s not hard to make the leap from vegetarian to vegan. Letting cheese go will be your biggest struggle. But if you just stop cold turkey and let the addiction go you will find it much easier. And you will always be glad you made the switch!