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Don't Eat That Cheese Alternative, All You Vegans and Vegetarians!

Updated on November 5, 2012

Curse you, Casein! You infect my cheese-alternatives!

I am a Vegan. My whole family are Vegans. The evidence to us is pretty clear after reading the famous China Study. Critics of this, particularly the paleo-diet-enforcers, attack such a clear, concise, population-based study with pseudo-anthropology and the sort of specific, out-of-context mineral-by-mineral approach to diet that's sort of the problem, really. Quite like you Americans out there, I've noticed that corporations are trying to cash in secretly on this growing demographic by taking advantage of laziness and weariness of the consumer. You see, there's numerous brands of fake cheese, pseudo-cheese, and cheeseless cheese on the marketplace that attempt to fool the health-conscious consumer into believing the cheese is not really cheese, at all, but it is cheese in the only way that matters: It is derived from milk.

Case in point: Casein. Numerous "soy cheese" products contain this protein, and pretend that they are vegetarian. As an avid reader of labels, I can say with certainty that this is not a new development. My brother, in his desire to meet me in the middle when I went to visit him, prepared a dish with one of these soy cheese products. He was quite surprised that I wouldn't eat it. I had to pull out the cheese he had spread over everything and pointed out that it was, in fact, for all Vegan purposes, exactly as bad as cheese, if not worse. It still contained the most-damaging of all milk proteins: Casein. On the front label, it was a model of Veggie restraint, with green colors and the marketing buzzwords of "Soy" and "Veggie" etc. On the back, in the ingredients, in very small letters: Casein, derived from Milk Protein.

Ladies and gents, this is what business thinks of you. It would try to trick you into eating the single most damaging protein in the whole glass of milk. If you were attempting to avoid an allergy, for instance, casein is a cause of milk allergies. If you were trying to avoid cheese on Vegan grounds, or to appease Vegan family members like my brother, you would be paying a premium for (frankly, terrible!) cheese-like products that are only terrifically bad, chemically-altered versions of the very thing you were trying to avoid to begin with!

Casein is almost ubiquitous in our grocery store shelves, even at Whole Foods. The marketing gurus decided to make this terrible, cheese-like paste nominally for lactose-intolerant folks. And, they market it in such a way that it can trick the unobservant vegetarian and Vegan into picking it up. The cancer-causing Casein can easily creep up to the dangerous 15-20% levels with a "soy cheese pizza" covered in fake pepperoni (often also containing Casein and animal-derived proteins).

Basically, if you're a Vegan, you shouldn't buy anything premade. Buy whole grains, veggies, and raw foods, and just make the best of it, yourself. It's time-consuming, but a reliance on simple stir fry, soup, and salads for your mid-week meals will provide a wholesome and fast way to prepare these vegetable-based dishes, without the time-savers of fake, pre-made products. During the weekend, pull out your handy-dandy copy of "The Veganomicon" and make your own cheese alternatives with vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast.

And, if your brother is coming over with his wife and daughters, by Cromwell's head, don't serve them just any old thing you picked up at the store that had a green label and the word "Veggie" in big letters on the front. Actually read the ruddy back of the bloody package before you feed casein and other known carcinogens to my daughters on a "veggie cheese" pizza.

Also, more importantly, if you are a corporate executive at one of these companies, get ready for the lawsuits. Keep your unwholesome, dishonest packaging, and you're bound to fend off some lawsuits as the rising tide of plant-based consumers strike back against your dishonest packaging.

Watch this.

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      matt 5 years ago

      the vegan meats and cheeses are actually pretty darn tasty -- that's why people eat them. and they make the transition away from animal products to plant-based products super-easy. getting someone to make the switch from gooey cheese pizza with pepperoni to a veggie pizza with no cheese just doesn't cut it for a lot of folks. but when i pile high a veggie pizza with melty vegan cheese and even throw on some yves pepperoni, my animal-eating family and friends are interested in knowing more about the vegan path. i can even take a pack of my favorite cheese (Daiya) into my local pizza joints and top off my favorite pie. TONS of great products out there in almost every major grocery store. check out www.livevegan.org/make-the-switch for help choosing products that can help folks break the meat/cheese addiction everything listed is free of animal products. :)

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 5 years ago from Holly, MI

      I've never really gotten into the whole "imitation meat and cheese" thing. As a vegan of nearly 8 years, I do just fine without these products. You're right...natural, raw ingredients are the way to go. Quite honestly, one of the main reasons I stay away from prepackaged vegan foods is because most contain palm oil...and considering palm oil is harvested into the cruelest way possible, torturing and killing our orangutan population...I don't see how these products can be considered cruelty-free anyway. Great hub!

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