Cheese Alternatives

We opened a dialogue on our Facebook page about the animal products vegans/vegetarians had the hardest time giving up and how they coped. A lot of veg-curious and vegetarian individuals were having (or had) a hard time with cheese.

This isn't entirely unexpected. Milk from cows contains casein which, when broken down, produces casomorphins. These protein fragments act upon the brain in similar ways as other opiates (morphine, codeine, heroin). Cheese contains a concentrated amount of casein. Our brain can become addicted to these casomorphins, making the elimination of cheese particularly difficult.

So be kind to yourself if you are a cheese-lover desiring to move towards a kinder way of living. You may want to eliminate all dairy cheese so that your body can detoxify itself. Or you may wish to slowly replace your favorite cheese products with alternatives that are not addictive. 

I put together this list of animal friendly alternatives to dairy cheese. Many of these are commercially available at natural food stores, Whole Foods, and several large grocery chains. If they are not, they can be ordered online and shipped to you. Of course, you can also make your own cheeses so I have included a few recipes for that.

Sheese is available in two forms: hard and soft. They do contain soy protein but are gluten-free.
Flavors available:
  • Hard: Strong cheddar (my fave), Blue, Cheddar with chives, Cheshire, Edam, Gouda, Medium Cheddar, Mozzarella, Smoked Cheddar.
  • Soft: Cheddar, Chives, Garlic & Herb, Mexican, Original
Uses: The hard cheeses are great with fruits and breads. Once your palate adjusts, they are very tasty by themselves. The creamy cheeses are great on bagels and crackers.
How to order: Online

Daiya is commercially available in shredded form. It does not contain soy. It is becoming more and more easily available to the public.

It comes in cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack.
Uses: Great for pizza, calzones, vegan french onion soup (FOR REALS!), anything you need really melty cheese!
Find out if it's available in a store near you

Chicago SoyDairy also makes vegan marshmallows and why isn't their soft serve vegan ice cream in my living room? Seriously. It does contain soy.

It comes in mozzarella, cheddar and nacho. It comes in a tube of awesome.
Uses: Great on pizza, awesome on nachos, mac n' cheese, good for grilled cheese sammiches.
Where to buy

Nacheez comes in a jar of goodness and is made from cashews, so it is soy free. It is available in mild and spicy flavors.
Uses: Perfect for those of us who loved Velveeta style mac 'n cheese, stadium style nachos, and who just likes to scoop spicy nacheez out of a jar on to our chips (or just into our mouths!)
Where to buy

Dr. Cow
If you are a cheese snob of any kind, this is the animal friendly alternative for you! Seriously. It's like super woah expensive and absolutely divine. It is soy free.
Where to buy

Make Your Own
Cashew Nut Cheese
Vegan feta cheese
Buy The Uncheese Cookbook