These days when we speak of the rise of India as a global superpower, we take the early 90s as a reference point and the discussion hovers around industrialization, off-shoring, our burgeoning middle class, and the nouveau riche. One essential byproduct of globalization that we often fail to acknowledge is the rapid change in the pattern of food consumption over the past two decades – with all that is considered junk in the West being methodically passed over to India, year after year. Our recent love for cheese being just a point in case.
Cheese consumption in India, sadly, is growing at 15-20% every year with the European, Australian, and American companies aiming to grab bigger market shares and alter the eating habits of the Indian middle class with their tricky marketing (source). The educated urban population, unfortunately, falls for the bait. According to the same source, the metropolitan cities consume over 60% of the total cheese sold in India. No wonder that health concerns are rampant in the metros with people as young as 30 years falling sick with heart disorders and diabetes, thanks to their acquired eating habits.
Traditionally, cheese has been understood to be made from animal milk. In scientific studies done over the past few decades, animal milk has proven to be detrimental to good health besides being a cruelty product (PETA report: Inside the Indian Dairy Industry). So, why consume milk or cheese made from animal milk? Is it to gratify the acquired taste? If it is about taste, then how about giving Vegan cheese a chance?
Yes, Vegan cheese! Vegan cheese is made from ingredients such as nuts and wheat! This cheese is a great way of enjoying the taste of ‘cheese’ without stealing the milk from the mother animal – her milk which is meant for her young ones only. Nut-and-wheat-based cheese also proves one point: that there is no extraordinary substance present in animal milk that lends the ‘cheesy’ flavor to the cheese; it is rather the process that does the trick. Animal milk can well be substituted with nuts and ingredients obtained from other plant sources to make cheese.
You may want to try making vegan cheese in your kitchens by following the method recommended in the SHARAN website.
“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth—beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals—would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?” ~George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize Laureate~