People tell me that the worst thing about going dairy-free is the thought of giving up cheese. In fact, 90% of the time when I suggest to a client that they give up dairy, they stare at me defiantly and in no uncertain terms tell me that there is no way in hell they are giving up their favourite food in the entire world.
Cheese-aholics are not alone in their absolute, unwavering refusal to give up their beloved food. For gluten addicts, it’s bread, and for caffeine addicts, it’s coffee. Luckily, I have found that there are some simple tricks that work really well in helping ease the pain of giving up a beloved food (or any bad habit for that matter) and transitioning to living a free-from life.
- Know your why – Knowing your motivation for giving up dairy (or any other food or bad habit) and keeping it at the forefront of your mind is critical in ensuring that you will achieve your goal. I suggest being really clear on why you are doing it, and reminding yourself of your reason every time you feel an urge to stray from your path.
- Set up your environment for success – Willpower will only last you so long (it usually runs out by the end of the day) and if your environment is not set up to help you succeed, when your will power runs out, you will succumb to temptation. So, if you are set on giving up dairy, don’t buy it. If you family really needs to have it, keep it in the back of the fridge, where you can’t easily see it.
- Have good social support – Get your family, significant other, or friends on board. Having them in your corner can make a huge difference in making new habits stick. If your family or friends are not supportive, find new ones that are, even if it’s a group or an online community, so that you at least have someone in your corner.
- Find a healthy substitute – Finding a healthy substitute can take the form of another food, or an activity. Either find a recipe you really enjoy, like the Vegan Parmesan Cheese below, or find an activity that will distract you long enough for your craving to pass, like going for a 15 minute walk, reading a book, or taking a bath. Sometimes these cravings are the result of old habits or boredom and having a distraction for a few minutes is enough to get us back on the right track.
…But back to the cheese. You will not believe how well this Vegan Parmesan works as a substitute for the real thing. Even my two older kids, who are not totally dairy-free, prefer this one over the real version. Plus, there are so many nutritional benefits to this faux parmesan cheese.
The cashews are high in heart-protective fats, as well as minerals copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Bragg nutritional yeast, which you can get in most health food stores, is an inactive form of yeast, which has a cheesy flavour. It is high in B vitamins, which boost energy and chromium, which is great for blood sugar control. Plus, two tablespoons contain 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fibre.
Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!
Vegan ParmesanPrint This
- 1 cup cashews
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast (I like Bragg)
- 3/4 teaspoon Herbamare (you can buy it at Costco or your local health food store)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until you achieve a parmesan cheese (crumb-like) texture.
- Store in the fridge in an air-tight container.