Date: 17 May 2019
Author: Claire Insley - Vegan Society
So said Jacinda Ardern at the Just Transition Summit last week. To be honest, she's not the only one. As any vegan will tell you, it's pretty much what everybody says if you suggest they go vegan to help the environment. I have always replied to these people, so go vegan apart from cheese then. It actually works. I have “converted” a few people by this method. Many are now full time vegan, having overcome their cheese addiction (and make no mistake, it IS an addiction, there are opioid compounds in cheese that the body becomes addicted to). And then what? Well then you can explore the deliciousness that is plant-based cheeses. WHAAAT? Yes, although I have been vegan for nearly 20 years now and was vegetarian since 1985, my first boyfriend was a milker, I loved cheese. I haven't knowingly eaten it for many years now and you know what? I don't miss it, not now, there are so many good vegan cheeses available in most Kiwi supermarkets these days, it's truly amazing. So many in fact that a year ago I did a review of some of those cheeses for the Vegan Society magazine Vegan. What are they made from then? All sorts of things, coconut, cashew, almond, pea, with so many different bases, there should be one to suit your taste. For high quality fine dining wine and cheese evenings, you really can't go wrong with Savour and they are not the only New Zealand company making artisan soft cheeses. For your standard cheese sandwich, give Angel Food or Zenzo cheddars a try, and again so many others coming onto the market now. Check it out, you will be amazed. But why? Why can't I just eat cheese? With New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions one of the highest per capita and with the Zero Carbon Bill making very little difference in regards to methane, which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, we really need to reduce our dairy herds. I can tell you now that dairy products in NZ are very expensive! We make so much milk, but it gets exported as milk powder, some of our dairy herds contribute to the orangutans' demise as they consume palm kernal extract, a by-product of the palm oil industry. The increase in cattle has had a detrimental effect on our rivers and waterways and is using up our most valuable resource, clean water. Who is paying for this? Who is profiting? We have less than 11 years to make drastic changes to the way we live, if we want a future for humanity. The science has been out for over a hundred years, the oil companies knowingly and willingly created climate change and over the last 30 years there has been steady ignorance and inaction on the matter. We are sending a gift pack of the nation's finest vegan cheeses to Jacinda Ardern, we would love her to try them and find out for herself that they are not all bad! She will be receiving a package containing cheeses from Angel Food, Crescent Cashew Nut Cheese, Savour, Terranut and Zenzo, they all taste good. They may not taste exactly like the cheese you are used to, but they are very yummy and some of them melt on a pizza really well. Why not give it a go? There is no more time to waste. We have to act now. Maybe you need to start liking plant-based cheeses?