The Vegan Holy Grail -- Good Cheese for a Healthier Planet


Those of us who have dabbled in, or committed fully to a vegan diet, can feel good about a lot of things: the health of the planet, the health of our bodies, the ethical treatment of animals. But there is one thing that just isn’t good about veganism: cheese! Slimy soy substitutes that never melt, and other brave attempts at making vegan cheese from rice, almond, or some other substrate tend to fall flat when compared to the taste and feel of real honest-to-cow cheddar. Two California-based companies are looking to change that, according to Alix Wall of Bay Area Bites.

Through trial and error, some impressive science and a commitment not only to veganism, but the growing market of people concerned with the origins of their food, Kite Hill and Miyoko’s Kitchen have fashioned some impressive nut-based artisan cheeses that can pass for the real thing, according to Wall:

I’ll admit I’m not vegan, and I love cheese. But I was so impressed by both company’s products, that I would happily cook with them for dairy-intolerant guests (and there is no other product I’ve tried that I would say that about).”

Wall takes us through the facilities and explains the operations of these two businesses and offers some great looking recipes on how to use these delectable dairy-free delights.

A ringing endorsement for veganism might be just what our planet needs according to Jason Best on Take Part. Best explores a new report recently released by Chatham House which found that while meat and dairy consumption account for a whopping 14.5% of planetary greenhouse gas emissions, governments and consumers alike are not making many steps toward curtailing their animal-based habits. Perhaps we’d all become vegans if we learned to associate animal-based consumption with climate change:

But while many national governments appear willing to at least try to tackle other sources of greenhouse gas pollution, they seem wary of possibly coming off like tsk-tsking nannies meddling in people’s decisions about what they eat. “A number of factors, not least the fear of a backlash, have made governments and environmental groups reluctant to pursue policies or campaign to shift consumer behavior,” notes the Chatham House report.

Yet in the first international survey on the issue, commissioned for the report, it appears the global public might well be receptive to such a message—if only they knew their meat-eating was causing a big problem."

The survey results are heartening. The overall message of Best’s piece and the Chatham House report is that of hope through raising awareness on the connection between animal based food consumption and climate change.

The next time you’re shopping for cheddar, you may want to consider its impact and lean toward buying a more climate-friendly and just as delicious alternative.


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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