Saturday, 5 December 2020

Breaking the cheese addiction

Vegan sun-dried tomato spaghetti littlepackofvegans

I'm now approaching three and a half years of veganism. It's flown by and I can't imagine life before now. So I wanted to resume my vegan mini series, and today I want to tackle cheese - the weakness for so many people! I remember before I was vegan we would have phases where it felt like everything tasted better with cheese on top, so today I'm going to explain why you might feel that way and to provide some alternatives.

When chatting veganism, many say they couldn't *ever* give up cheese. I felt exactly the same! But did you know that cheese is addictive? The dairy proteins in cheese act as mild opiates - the cheese protein (casomorphin) attaches to the same brain receptors as heroin. So each bite of cheese produces a little dopamine hit. This addictive design is to reward a baby calf for nursing (nature doing it's job, ensuring offspring thrive) but as humans we don't need the milk that helps a baby calf transform into a grown cow!

Dairy milk contains residual pus and, if not organic, antibiotics. The estrogen in cow's milk has been linked to growth of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast or ovarian cancer, acne, and early puberty in children. And in my last post in my vegan series, I explain why dairy is so heartbreakingly cruel. So what else can you top your dinner with?

🌠 Citrus - a squeeze of lemon on your veggie paella or lime on your chilli or pad Thai gives them a huge level up!

🌠 Seeds - there are very few meals in our house that don't benefit from a handful of pumpkin seeds on the top. They're full of protein, zinc, magnesium and give an extra texture and crunch. But you can use all kinds of seeds - why not experiment and find your favourite?

🌠 Coconut yoghurt - unsweetened vegan coconut or plain yoghurt gives a lovely creamy coolness - this works especially well alongside spicy food.

🌠 Sliced vegetables - think Wagamama style sliced chilli, ginger and spring onion to add heat, diced cucumber for coolness, a handful of watercress or rocket for a peppery taste. This is such an easy and versatile way to add an extra dimension to any meal.

🌠 Pickled vegetables - I love pickled jalapenos but there are tons of options out there. We also make our own sauerkraut (you just need cabbage and salt) which is delicious, plus fermented food is great for probiotics.

What's your favourite non-dairy food topping?

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