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How to give up cheese

April 17, 2013

Cheese is basically dairy, salt and rennet.  Rennet is usually not vegan and it is a terribly horrible thing but you can look that up for yourself if you want.  I just want to talk about cheese for now.

If you make a fat free cheese without salt you will have . . . . a rubber ball.  You can bounce it, roll it, throw it but I guarantee that you will not want to eat it after the first bite.  It tastes awful, like eating, well . . . a rubber ball.  And yet, this is the dairy portion of your cheese.

In other words you like the salt and the fat of the cheese but not the dairy part.  If you do not like that part then why eat it?

When you separate out what you really like, the salt and the fat, you not only have something that is healthier for you, but healthier for the environment and certainly healthier for the cow and her babies, at least some day when everyone comes around on this.

From now on think of cheese as your favorite oil and your favorite salt.  Not all oils are created the same.  This is one time when you give yourself permission to buy the highest quality best tasting oil as well as REAL sea salt (if it’s not gray it’s not really sea salt) and a pretty grinder.  That bottle of oil, I prefer California Olive Ranch EVOO, will last you way longer than any brick of cheese so the cost is not more than all the cheese or cheese products you already buy.  You can use this in place of cheese for almost every single thing you ever used to put cheese on.

Here are some examples that I have tried and not only do I love it, so do my kids.  At first do not limit yourself as to how much liquid gold you pour on.  One change at a time is all anyone can handle, and giving up cheese is overwhelming enough:

Order a pizza but order it without cheese (and of course without bits of animal on it).  Now pour on your favorite delicious high quality  olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite gourmet salt – there are so many different salts did you know?  I like to pour the oil near the crust of my slice and then tip the slice so the olive oil runs down and coats the whole thing evenly, then sprinkle salt.  Hey there is definitely a finesse to this new way of eating 🙂

Make a lasagna – when I first did this I thought there is no way in HELL I will even like this.  I substituted tofu (not firm or extra firm, just ordinary tofu) for the Ricotta and used olive oil and sea salt in place of the cheese.  Not too much.  If it doesn’t seem enough you can always drizzle more oil over at serving time.  Can I tell you it was amazing?

Grilled cheese sandwich – Unless you want to try vegan cheese, your grilled cheese is now really good bread with really yummy oil toasted in a pan sprinkled with salt.  Crustini – it’s pretty good!

Macaroni and cheese – again, this is now pasta with yummy oil, salt, and any herbs or veggies you want to sautee and throw in.  You can try vegan cheeses and cashew creams too.  There are some good recipes for vegan mac and cheese.  But simply and inexpensively just make pasta a’olio, sea salt and veggies.

Veggie Burgers – hold the cheese please!  Go for sauteed mushrooms, onions, barbeque sauce!

Bean and veggie tacos and burritos – just hold the cheese.  Yes you can drizzle olive oil on these it is amazing!

Remember, fat that is liquid at room temperature is better for you.  Solid fats tend to stay solid in your system thus clogging up veins and arteries.  Liquid fat stays liquid.  That is way too simple of an explanation for how it really works, but visually I think it gets the point across.

I hope you will try some of these ideas and find new ones that work for you.  I never really used a recipe book.  I just made the simple substitution of one kind of fat and salt for another.  And it has been wonderful!

Enjoy!

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