Of cheese and Zen

One of the biggest lessons I learned from all this meditation malarkey is that the main, if not only, source of suffering in our lives lies in the difference between what we would like reality to be and what reality actually is. This applies to so many things, from the profound to the mundane, and it also applies to food.

In my experience there are two distinct approaches to adopting a vegan diet: you can try and bend the vegan diet to resemble your existing one or you can go for complete change. Being the extremist that I am I went for the latter, and I am thankful I did…

Most of the time I try and explore with the huge arsenal of ingredients that are now available to me rather then trying to recreate all my favourite pre-vegan dishes

Over and over I hear new vegans asking about what the most credible vegan cheese substitute is, and every time I cringe and hope their vegan resolve survives the encounter.

I sometimes have vegan cheeze, mainly slices as a sandwich filler, but rarely – and it took me at least two years to get used to it, I hated it. This is not because the products were horrible (well, a couple were) but because I was expecting CHEESE – and this wasn’t.

I find that if you go through your initial vegan months trying to find credible alternatives to animal products you’re making your life unnecessarily miserable.

No, agave nectar does not taste like honey. Vegan sausages do not (fortunately) taste like pork. All these things are OK in their own right but are bound to disappoint quite brutally if you’re expecting the ‘real’ thing, especially if your memory of the real thing is fresh.

How to live without cheese

And, this may come as a shock, we CAN live without cheese. Happily and healthily. So just let it go!


With the multitude of vegetables, pulses, grains, fruits one has access to you can create fabulous dishes that will be extremely satisfying in their own right. Splurge on a good vegan cookbook and at least for a few months forget about trying to replace cheese and meat with substitutes. You’ll live a long and prosperous cruelty free life!



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