I have been meat-free since January. I still remember sitting on my couch one cold afternoon watching a Netflix documentary while eating lunch. I had a heaping serving of grilled chicken on my plate while a golden beet was roasting in the oven. (I'd never tried a golden beet before and thought I'd give it a try.) Little did I know... watching one film, Food Choices by Michael Siewierski, would be the flame that ignited a major life journey. As I pushed the gristly chicken around on my plate, it turned grisly... When the golden beet was finished, I took a bite and realized it had a surprisingly satisfying, fleshy texture. I just might be able to live without meat!
Obviously it wasn't one film. It's never one choice. It's a thousand small choices and changes that add-up and get you to the place where you are not TERRIFIED by the word VEGAN. (I prefer 'Plant Based' for a few reasons... Number One, it is easier for people to understand...I eat a diet primarily of plants and grains found in the earth. Number Two, I am still adjusting to this lifestyle and while I don't EVER eat meat, I'll still eat a cupcake at a birthday party that I'm 99.9% sure is loaded with eggs and milk. I'll still indulge in a slice of pizza.)
And I think that's the fear most people have when they hear VEGAN. 'I could give up meat, but there's no way I could give up dairy!' While I'm still adapting and weaning dairy out of my diet entirely, THE DAIRY-FREE industry has made HUUUUGGGE (in my best Trump impersonation) advancements.
When I'm at home, I try to live dairy-free. One day I was craving a grilled cheese, so I went to Kroger searching for dairy-free cheese and butter. I had memories of the 90s when, for some reason, I tried dairy-free cheese that tasted like flavored cardboard. Without doing any research, I randomly selected a cheese and butter. I picked-up my usual Ezekiel Bread, hummus and veggies and headed home to see just what dairy-free cheese tastes like... You Guys... It is AMAZING!!!! And I'm not just saying that because it's been months since I've had cheese, like I said I will indulge in pizza. No, this stuff is awesome because it's awesome! It tastes JUST LIKE CHEDDAR CHEESE!!
Since making this recipe, I've gone on to make dairy-free lasagna that my kids and husband LOVE! (I'm still struggling with vegan egg substitutes, but I've got the cheese-thing down.) So, if you are thinking about cutting dairy out of your diet - or just cutting back - I highly encourage you to look at the 'alternative' aisle at your grocery store.