The Truth About Cheese (A Love Letter)

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Dear Cheese,

It’s been just over a year now since we broke up, and the truth is…things have changed.  We used to hang out every single day.  Literally.  We were inseparable.  We’d get together over nachos & football or we’d find comfort in a girls’ night over wine.  You just always made sense and you always made me happy.

I genuinely…cross my heart…never, ever thought I could live without you.

But, since we broke up, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown tremendously (not in the pant size department, thankfully).  I honestly believe I’m better off now.  I mean no offense to you, as I know you make so many other people happy, but, if I’m being honest, I just don’t think our values align as we once thought they did.

You may not believe me since I was over-the-top obsessed with you, but I’ve been able to recognize that your flavorful characteristics just weren’t enough for what I needed to feel satisfied in other areas of my life.  Once I learned more about what you stood for, I realized there are much better cheeses out there that can please me and don’t cause harm to the ones I love.

I know, I know…cheesy, but I have to face the facts if I want to be the person that stands up for what I believe is right and puts others before my taste buds.

It’s not easy to hear, I'm sure, but I’ll always cherish the fond{ue} memories of us over the years.  I hope you feel comforted knowing that I’ve found a new cheese that can come with me on adventures without feelings of guilt and over-indulgence that still tastes as kick ass as you.

I appreciate the times you were there for me, but this is never again going to be what it once was.



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I could never give up cheese
— Every vegan ever

Giving up cheese was the last thing I ever, ever, ever thought I could do.  No way in hell was I going to give up grilled cheeses, quesadillas, charcuterie boards, pizza, mac ‘n’ cheese, pesto, parmesan on my pasta…I could go on and on and on.

If you eat cheese and you love cheese, I’ve never understood you more.  My love letter was silly, but the point is…I genuinely get it.

And, the truth is…I learned a bit more about why eating cheese isn’t great for me (aside from the tummy aches) that convinced me that life is still just as amazing without cow’s milk cheese and goat’s milk cheese.  I promise, promise, promise.

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Here are some facts about cheese that made me scratch my head:

  • Cheese is a very high fat and high calorie food – we all sort of know that, don’t we?
  • Cheese contains lactose, a sugar that causes gas and bloating in lactose-intolerant people – aka your body is rejecting it
  • Cheese also contains whey and casein, proteins found in milk, which is an allergen to many humans

Okay, those aren’t as shocking.  I thought I'd ease you in to start.

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Now, let’s step it up a bit:

  • Diets heavy in meats and cheeses have found to be three times more likely to cause death by cancer
  • Processed cheese has been found to be as addictive as cocaine…yup, COCAINE – that makes sense with the whole I-can-never-give-up-cheese concept, doesn’t it?
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Shall we jump into the real nitty gritty?  I know you can handle it.

  • Cheese is made from milk, which is baby cow growth hormone syrup aka it’s meant for intense calf enlargement from 65 pounds to approx 700 lbs in a very short period of time
  • A mother cow injects her own hormones into the milk, intended for a calf, in order to hook her baby into coming back for more growth hormone syrup – hence the properties of addictive cocaine!
  • Cows are inseminated, i.e. raped, into be coming pregnant (yes, against their will) so they produce a calf and, thus, produce more milk that later is turned into cheese
  • Dairy cows can live until 20 years old, but after we use them for their milk – turned into our cheese – we cull them around age six, cutting their lives short by about three quarters
  • Baby calves are taken from their mothers sometimes just a few hours after birth (depending on the country’s laws), then fed from a nipple or a bucket while the mother often cries for days due to separation from her offspring
  • Consuming milks and cheeses regularly from a young age can cause sexual maturation issues through increased levels of estrogen and decreased levels of testosterone leading to earlier periods in girls and decreased testosterone secretion in boys
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If those facts don’t put you off cheese, I’ll tell you why I stopped eating it:

Our planet is at an all-time high of unhealthiness with increased rates of obesity, disease, and food-induced morbidity.  Consuming the by-products of another species just is not what nature intended.  Full stop.  Our planet is also being destroyed by the dairy industry (approx. 51% contribution) due to methane emissions from cows leading to a raised temperature in our atmosphere, the cause of global warming.  I do not want to contribute to the destruction of the planet if I can help it.

That stomachache I’d get after eating cheese, downing an ice cream, or drinking milk is an indicator my body does not like what’s coming in.  Sound familiar?  The cheese industry has completely taken advantage of the addictive power of cheese and uses it to its advantage to make billions of dollars off of us without caring about the illnesses it causes.

The pain the cows and calves experience just for me to eat cheese didn’t seem worth it.  If there are other options that don’t cause pain to anyone, it seems like a more logical choice in my opinion.

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I can tell you wholeheartedly that this recovering cheese addict absolutely survives just fine at dinner parties, sandwich shops, pizza parlors, and Italian restaurants.  There are so many options these days that can replace just about any type of cheese you’d ever need.  Plus, making them from scratch is really fun and actually kind of empowering.

The availability of plant-based cheeses may vary in your area, but here are a few of my favorite vegan cheeses in New Zealand:

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  • Zenzo
  • Angel Food
  • Bio Cheese
  • Green-vie
  • Sheese

I’m not here to guilt you; I’m here to talk to the past version of myself.  All I want you to know is that the benefits of replacing your cheese with a plant-based option are tremendous.

My taste buds have changed over the last year and that addictive feeling is completely gone.  I hope you believe me when I say, “if I can do it, you can do it,” because with cheese, that’s never been more true.

I’d love to hear your reaction to this article with any comments you have below.

Kelsey PowellComment