Kite Hill Cheese

Another nail in the coffin of dairy.

Kite Hill vegan brie

I recently tried a vegan brie–yes, brie–by California-based company, Kite Hill. Kite Hill specializes in hand-crafted, artisanal, nut-based cheeses.

When you read that description, you might think “pricy,” but you can’t put a price on compassion. The wheel of brie was about $12 at Whole Foods–and worth every penny. Cruelty-free, rich and smooth. Just like “real” cheese. Because it is real! It’s made with macadamia nuts.

And, with such a rich product, a little goes a long way. I served the brie with crackers and apples. I went through about a third of it so I saved the rest for two other occasions. Wine and cheese nights are always fun to have and with this brie, everyone is happy.

I hope you get to try Kite Hill cheese. So many people tell me that their love of cheese is what prevents them from going vegan. With Kite Hill, you’ll know that no cows were harmed. No calves were denied a mother.

You can have your cheese and be vegan too!

Vegan wine and cheese party

Moo-ve over dairy, there’s a new kid in town.

Last night I had the most amazing time at a vegan wine and cheese party that NARN put on at Ltd Art Gallery in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The event was a fundraiser for Precious Life Animal Sanctuary in Sequim, WA. We were really lucky to have Ralph and Caryl Turner, the sanctuary founders, at the event.

Ltd Gallery

We were treated to an array of non-dairy cheeses. I’m not talking about weak substitutes; I’m talking creamy, rich, tangy, flavorful spreads and slices that hold their own. I’ve already written about what’s wrong with dairy, so you know I was thrilled to taste cruelty-free cheeses. No cows harmed. For a lot of people, cheese is one of the hardest things to give up, and with options like these, you don’t have to.

The generous companies that donated cheese for the event included Wayfare, Treeline, Punk Rawk Labs and Field Roast. Additionally, Joyce Huesemann made several delicious spreads. Thank you all!

So what’s vegan cheese made from? Lots of things. It was a diverse grouping of cheese with ingredients like cashews, nutritional yeast, tofu, garlic, herbs, oatmeal, sesame seeds and macadamia nuts.

food collageAs for wine, it’s a much subtler offender. All wine is technically vegan–it’s grapes! However, many wineries use animal products like egg albumen (from egg whites), gelatin (from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (from fish bladder membranes) in the refining process. But there are vegan alternatives. Until recently, I hadn’t paid much attention to whether or not wine was vegan, but I like to vote with my dollars and choose companies who are striving for a better world.

That’s why I was happy to taste the delicious selections from The Vegan Vine and Frey Wine. These two vegan wine companies generously donated wine to the event. They had a delicious selection–from sangiovese to chardonnay. Perhaps I woke up without a headache today because these companies are organic and don’t add sulfites to their products.

And of course (probably because the organizers knew I was coming), there were other vegan wines too. You can use Barnivore to find out which of your favorite wines (and beer and spirits) are vegan.

DJ and raffle queen collage

The best part of the evening was spending time with like-minded people and catching up with friends. We listened to swingin’ tunes by DJ Dubonnet and took in art by Siolo Thompson. The event was a hit–tickets went on sale in August and sold out in less than two days! I hope that means there will be more vegan wine and cheese events in my future. After all, the future is vegan!

Jean in Lois Eastlund dress

What’s wrong with dairy?

“I could never live without cheese.”

That’s what a lot of people tell me when they find out I’m vegan. I used to feel the same way. Today, cheese has a different connotation for me and I not only don’t miss it, I loathe it.

For 18 years I was a vegetarian. If people asked me if I ate cheese and drank milk I answered, “yes, because the cows don’t get killed.” I was ignorant and completely clueless to reality. I wish someone had told me the truth.

I don’t eat dairy now because cows DO suffer and die and also because it’s disgusting and unhealthy. Here’s what the dairy industry doesn’t want you to know:

Cows need to be pregnant before they lactate

Just like a human female, cows don’t “give milk” until after they have a baby. And the dairy corporation can’t have all those babies drinking their profits. That milk is for people! In order to keep milk in production, cows are kept pregnant.

Norman was rescued from the veal industry and lives at Farm Sanctuary

Norman was rescued from the veal industry and lives at Farm Sanctuary

Calves are stolen away from their mothers

Cows don’t give us their milk. We take it away from them. Just like we take away their babies. Normally a calf nurses for up to a year, but usually within a day, calves are either killed or auctioned off for veal (if they’re “useless” males), or separated into pens where they can grow up into milk producers to replace their mothers.

Dairy cows are sold for meat

After four or so years of constantly being pregnant and lactating, a cow’s milk production goes down. She isn’t profitable anymore. She is “spent.” Dairy cows are auctioned off and turned into cheap, ground beef. They’re normal lifespans are closer to 20 years.

dairy cow

Fanny, a “spent” milker, was rescued by Farm Sanctuary too

Milk doesn’t do a body good

Milk will turn a small calf into a 1000-pound cow. It does the job well, but I don’t want to grow that big. I don’t want to drink hormones and antibiotics. I don’t want to fuel disease. Milk has too much protein, and we excrete the excess–along with calcium from our bones! It taxes our kidneys, and increases our risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, heart attack and stroke. I get calcium just like cows do: from dark leafy greens. Milk doesn’t have fiber, but it is full of cholesterol and fat. Who needs it (well, besides cows)?

It doesn’t matter if milk comes from a small, organic dairy farm or a large corporation. These things remain constant:

  • Cows are kept constantly pregnant;
  • Calves are taken from their mothers, killed, sold for veal, or raised to be milkers;
  • “Spent” dairy cows end up as hamburgers.

I wouldn’t drink milk from a dog or a monkey so why drink milk from a cow? After infancy, no other animal even drinks milk at all–not even from their own species!

So next time you think about life without dairy, think about the animals who suffer for our taste buds.

Alternatives

With a plethora of dairy-free alternatives, you won’t miss milk. We have choices like dark chocolate, coconut yogurt, hemp, oat, soy, almond and rice milk, non-dairy creamer, sorbet and soy or coconut ice cream, and delicious vegan cheeses from companies like Daiya and Tofutti.

Daiya

Dump dairy and ditch cruelty!