Cheese… this guilty pleasure is the number one reason why many individuals have such a hard time converting to veganism 100%. This creamy, savory, amazing brick of deliciousness was the hardest thing to give up 2 years ago, when I made the switch. I used to find myself hiding in my bedroom with a whole pizza; or would go two weeks without having it and then crash and eating an entire wheel of brie… it was sickening really. But nonetheless terribly, terribly hard to give up… Keep these tips in mind if you are a new vegan, finding yourself with cravings for cheese or other non vegan products. Having a great inner dialogue will help you to exercise willpower.
Why are you Vegan? It’s important to be clear on your reasons for giving up animal products. Spirituality or religion? Have you taken ethical position because of animal rights, or the environment? Or have you done this for health reasons- experimenting with the diet to reap the many benefits associated with eating a plant based diet? If it is the later, than I suggest beginning your venture into veganism with being predominantly vegan while enjoying without guilt, though perhaps only on special occasions, your favorite dishes. Pizza was my special treat two –three times a month when I was making the conversion.
For the first two reasons try this easy but effective strategy–it works well for cravings in general, especially those more unconscious ones (smoking, for instance). When a craving arises, look directly at it with your mind’s eye. Try to see what it looks like; its color, its shape, its texture. In shining the light of awareness on your craving, you’ll find that it has seemingly vanished. The more you practice this, the more effective it becomes in reducing cravings. Of course drinking a huge glass of water or nibbling on a vegan treat will help as well.
Learn how to substitute. With a little to no effort, you can make your own vegan cheeses from nuts, or purchase whole food alternatives like Daiya. Then use these in your favorite recipes. Voila, easy vegan nachos, pizza, grilled cheeses and poutine!!! The list really is endless. If you need creative inspiration just visit my Bitchin’ Recipes page. I am a firm believer in the fact that you do NOT have to give up your favorite dishes just because you go vegan. You will not have to say goodbye to these items forever, no quite the opposite, indulge and feel fantastic, the vegan way.