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“Dear Chef Linda”…Giving Up Cheese

We get questions and comments from our readers about cooking, vegan substitutions, nutrition, and about the lifestyle changes and challenges that are part of the compassionate journey. Because April is National Grilled Cheese month, we wanted to share this recent comment about how many of us struggle to give up cheese and what helps keep some people strong. 

“Hi, I have been vegan for 2 years, having turned vegan from vegetarian after visiting Catskill and learning more about the horrors of the dairy industry. It was and still is, hard to be around cheese because it was one of my very favorite foods. The thing that has kept me strong in my commitment to veganism is my love of animals, especially cows. Knowing about the baby calves that are taken away from their loving mothers so their milk can be taken was huge in my decision to give up dairy. It is a very hard thing to do when you have a strong attachment, but the big brown eyes of a baby calf are very powerful. I think it would be great if you shared this point for people still struggling. Thank you for the work you do every day!”

It seems obvious, but many good-hearted people don’t realize that in order to produce the milk that goes into all the cheese we eat, “dairy cows” have to be kept perpetually pregnant. Just like with humans, only a mother cow who has given birth is able to produce milk. When her calf is born, her instinct is, of course, to feed her baby. Sadly, calves are immediately taken away from their mothers so that the milk can be “harvested” for human consumption. And in order to produce the maximum amount of milk possible, female cows are pregnant nearly all of their entire lives…think about that ladies. For those who eschew veal because of the cruelty, you should know that the dairy industry feeds into the veal industry. Male calves are sold off after short, tortured lives, and are slaughtered and sold as veal. Unless we kick our addiction to dairy, the veal industry will continue to thrive.

Change is hard. Giving up the things we enjoy can seem impossible. Cheese seems to be the last holdout for would-be vegans, but with so many delicious homemade and store-bought alternatives would you consider giving it up? If you need help or have questions, please reach out and we’ll gladly share what we know. We have classes, recipes, and real-life advice if you need it!

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