Can Vegans Eat Cheese?

The important facts you need to know!

While veganism is now universally recognised and growing in popularity, cheese remains an area of confusion to many. 

So can vegans eat cheese? Or is it off-limits? What’s the deal with dairy? Is there a way to be vegan without giving up your melty cheesy dishes? 

These questions and more will be answered below as we explore whether or not vegans can eat cheese!

What’s the difference between Vegetarians and Vegans? 

Vegans are often confused with vegetarians, who CAN still eat cheese. So let’s look at why vegans are different from their cheese-eating counterparts.

Vegan vs Vegetarian – What’s The Difference?

According to Healthline: A vegetarian does not eat any animal flesh such as meat, poultry, or fish. A vegan is a stricter vegetarian who also avoids consuming dairy, eggs, and any other ingredients derived from animals.

As cheese is a product derived from animals, it is NOT vegan. But one of the most important reasons vegans don’t eat it is that it’s not cruelty-free.

Why Dairy is a big NO!

Most cheese comes from dairy, which is known for its cruelty to cows that are confined to tiny stalls, separated from their calves, and pumped full of hormones.

But even if you can get past the fact that your favourite cheese comes from a farm with such poor animal welfare standards, there are other problems with dairy: Dairy is bad for you, and it’s also bad for the planet.

Dairy products are packed with saturated fat and cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Dairy products have also been linked to inflammation, asthma, osteoporosis, and digestive problems like Crohn’s disease.

On top of its negative effects on your body, the dairy industry is also incredibly toxic to the planet. 

Dairy products are a major contributor to climate change. The production of milk, cheese, and other dairy products requires huge amounts of land, water, and energy. What’s more, cows are heavy producers of methane, which is even more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.

So, by cutting out dairy, vegans are doing their bit for the environment, but how do they get by without eating cheese? 

Luckily tasty plant-based options exist that can help you feel like you’re still getting your fix and nowadays are almost taste-for-taste too.

How do vegans go about substituting cheese?

The number of vegan cheeses available is growing. Not only that, but they’re better than ever! Nut-based cheeses, sunflower seed-based cheeses, and nutritional yeast-based cheeses make for some incredible alternatives to dairy cheese.

There are so many cheese options available that are healthier, more humane, and delicious, that any cheese lover can have his or her cruelty-free fill at the grocery store. Grated, smoked, greek, and spreadable, you can even find blue cheese—though it is, of course, made without mold. With all these options you’re better off without dairy!

Here are some alternatives that taste just as good as the real thing:

Indecisive, no need to choose! Honestly Tasty’s Full Collection. Tuck into a variety of cheese alternatives, including Shamembert, Veganzola, Bree, and more. 

Their Shamembert styled on Camembert is a bestseller for good reason. It has an authentic rind and a gooey creamy center. Perfect for bread dipping. An easy swap out for the festive season. 

The best cheddar alternative? 

Ilchester Vegan Melting Mature is THE mature vegan cheese known for its meltability, which it shares with dairy cheddar cheeses. It’s something that many other plant-based cheese alternatives lack.

For soft cheese fans and bagel smearers, Nush Natural Almond Cream Cheese Style Spread is perfect. “Truly goodness in a nutshell.” It’s deliciously thick and creamy and made with artisan almond milk. And each pot contains over 60 almonds—a great source of protein.

If you’re feeling adventurous, though, you could even try making your own vegan cheese—this recipe for cashew cream cheese on GoodFoods is a great choice for beginners, but the possibilities are endless!

We hope this blog has cleared up the ‘Can vegans eat cheese?’ debate and also persuaded you to take the leap into dairy-free alternatives.

With the wide variety of vegan cheeses on the market today, you can get all of the flavour and texture you need without sacrificing one bit of deliciousness.
Happy experimenting, and thanks for reading!

Check out our section on The Vegan Diet for more vegan do’s and don’ts 🙂

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Vegan children's book writer- check out "Ollie The Vegan Dinosaur"!- and loves all things word-y. (Oh, and a sucker for reasonably-priced cruelty-free mascara!)

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