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From: Leslie (
Subject: Re: Help! New vegetarian
Date: May 11, 2004 at 7:26 pm PST

In Reply to: Help! New vegetarian posted by Corinne on January 22, 2004 at 6:40 pm:

Cheese is an interesting thing. When you are used to it and eating it all the time, like I used to, you think you can't live without it and you want to, as you say, find an alternative that tastes just like it without the dairy. But most people find, and I have experienced this myself and heard it over and over from others, that once you get away from it, not only do you not miss it, but you have an aversion to it because it is so greasy and fatty. Could it be a kind of addiction?

Well, anyway, most commercial soy cheezes do NOT taste like real cheese, in my opinion, so I quit buying them. I guess Tofutti makes a pretty good sliced cheese for sandwiches, but I don't even care about that anymore. I do use the Melty Pizza Cheeze from Bryanna (New Veggies) on quesadillas and the like, and I do use crock cheeze from Joanne's Vegan Vittles, but other than that, i can honestly say the thought of wanting cheese never enters my head anymore (4 years).

I think the very best argument against dairy is simply this: that milk from a mammal is intended by nature to be food for the young of that species, it is formulated perfectly for that purpose. For another species to take it and consume is it especially as an adult (no other mammal does this) must by reason invite problems. And problems they do create -- in my book Nutritional Healing which lists 150 common disease, fully 1/3 suggest to eliminate dairy products from the diet. From osteoporosis to cancer to asthma and bronchitis, dairy can exacerbate many common ills.

Believe me, at some point you will realize you CAN live without cheese and food is just as good as before. With some good homemade "cheezes" that you like, and substitutes like avocados, it's really not that hard. And I find that I like pizza just as much without cheese as with, as a matter of fact, that cheesy greasy stuff honestly does not appeal to me anymore.

As far as retraining yourself, you're right, we are really culturally conditioned to believe a meal must have a high protein "centerpiece" with side dishes around it. As you go along and create different kinds of meals, you will eventually lose that too. Dinner can be a colorful stir-fry with a small amount of tofu in it, or just vegetables; a large spinach salad with sesame dressing and grilled tofu on it; a stack of pancakes with blueberry syrup, a big pot of vegetable stew or soup with fresh homemade bread. Keep in mind most Americans get four to six times more protein than is good for them, a high protein diet is hard on the kidneys and other organs, if you eat a varied vegan diet you will get enough protein.

Just keep going, follow your heart, and keep experimenting. Changes of habit take time, but it's an exciting journey.

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