Thinking about going vegan but iffy about giving up cheese made from milk? Or when talking to your friends and family about going vegan, do you often get the ridiculous rebuttal “I wish I could go vegan like you, but I could never give up cheese”? Well, listen up, because all that is about to change.

dairy cheese
Photo: theCSSdiv | CC by 2.0 

Here are five gross things that you may not know about milk-based cheese:

  • Milk-based cheese is a product of rape. Like humans, cows produce milk only when they’re pregnant or nursing, so to keep their milk constantly flowing, farmers artificially inseminate cows over and over, often on devices called “rape racks.” RAPE racks, y’all.
  • Milk-based cheese has stomach lining in it. Rennet is an enzyme used to curdle (EW!) cheese, and it’s made from calves’ stomach lining—meaning that this pre-cheese gloop must pass through someone else’s stomach before making it to yours.
  • Milk-based cheese kills babies. In the dairy industry, male calves are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and sold for veal. Confined to dark, filthy sheds, they’ll live their entire short lives chained by the neck in tiny crates so small that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. When they are just a few weeks old, they will be killed.


  • Milk-based cheese has ADDICTIVE drugs in it. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, milk contains DRUGS. Cows naturally produce morphine, codeine, and other opiates (aka “drugs”) in their livers, and all these can and often times do end up in their milk—and, ultimately, in your body if you drink milk. This means that if you’ve ever tried to give up cheese or any other product made from cow’s milk, it probably made you feel sick—but not for the reason that you think. It’s not because your body is trying to tell you that it needs cheese to survive. It’s because your body is literally going through physical, chemical withdrawals in the same way that drug addicts go through withdrawal symptoms when they’re kicking an addiction. Stay strong and fight through it. You’ll survive and come out on top, and your body will totally thank you.
  • Milk-based cheese is … well, it’s just gross. Aside from the drugs we already mentioned, milk products are also loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. And that’s not all. It’s also crawling with bacteria—some of it harmless and some of it pretty icky. For example, the same family of bacteria that makes Limburger cheese smell so bad (brevibacterium linens) is what makes your feet smell so bad.

The good news? There are so many milk-free cheese options in stores made by companies like Daiya, Teese, and Follow Your Heart. They’re easy to find, taste just as yummy, and are just as melty (yeah, I said, “melty”). And the best part? No animals were harmed in the making of any of them.

So, next time your friends are all, “OMG, I would die without cheese!” you’ll know better and can share with them these nifty (and super-icky) facts and guide them in the right direction—you know, the vegan direction. 🙂

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