Why Do Vegans Eat Meat and Cheese Alternatives?

If vegans love vegetables so much, why do they eat “fake” meat and cheese? Let’s dive into this common question about eating vegan.

I have been vegan for over a decade, andafter people tell me that they’d die without cheese, they often will ask why vegans eat things that taste like meat and dairy. Ifvegans hate animal foods, whychase those flavor profiles?

Sometimes, this question is meant as a snarky “gotcha!”, but sometimes I do think it is on the level. It can seem like a disconnect, can’t it? If the idea of eating animals is abhorrent, why would you want food that tastes like animals or animal products?

I think this questionreveals some confusion about whymany people go vegan.Veganism isn’t an eating disorder or some kind of contest to see who can cut the most things out of our diets. Most people don’t go vegan because we hate decadent, delicious food.

Vegans are people.

Some vegans choose this lifestyle for health reasons or because they think it will help them lose weight. Some go vegan for the environment. Others go vegan for the animals. For many of us, it’s a combination of these factors.

Vegans are just people, and like all people, we have different reasons for eating the way we do and different tastes. There are certainlyvegans I know who aredisgusted by meat and cheese alternatives that taste too much like the “real thing”.There are many, though, who embrace these foods.

As a vegan, you’re often treated as the spokesperson for all vegans. I certainly don’t know what every vegan person is thinking, but I can speak from my own experiences. I amone of those confusingvegans who loves meat and cheese alternatives. Here’s why.

If vegans love vegetables so much, why do they eat "fake" meat and cheese? Let's dive into this common question about eating vegan.

Theymake the switch easier.

Most vegans didn’t grow upeating a plant-based diet, and meat anddairy alternatives can help makeit easier. Deciding that you don’t want to harmanimals doesn’t instantly undo a lifetime of habit-forming.

I hear a lot of people in vegan groups talk about vegan meat and vegandairy products as “transition foods”.If someone wants to go vegan, but they’re afraid that giving up cheese will be too hard, vegan cheese is there for them, either short- or long-term. Why shouldn’t you useproducts like these to help support a switch to a more ethical way of eating?

They taste good.

For me – and formany people who go vegan for the animals – vegan meat and dairy products are not just transition foods. They’re tools in our permanent toolbox. We are simply choosing away of eating that reflects ourbeliefs, and these foods help make it easier to do that.

Why should animals have to suffer, just because I’m having a craving? If I want cheese, I eat vegan cheese. Ifmy family isfiring up the grill, I pick up a pack of vegan sausages or burgers at the store, because that’s what I like.These choices don’t fly in the face of my ethics -they align perfectly.

Vegans eat meat and dairy alternatives because we can. When I went vegan 10 years ago, vegan cheese was horrible, andthat made it incredibly hard for me.It was almost impossible to find vegan milk that didn’t separate and curdle in my coffee. And the pickings were slim, if you were craving a hot dog.

I’m so happy for new vegans today, because there isa world of delicious options out there to help them transition with ease.These options make it easier for people to go vegan and easier to stick with it, whatever our motivations.

Related at Care2

If vegans love vegetables so much, why do they eat "fake" meat and cheese? Let's dive into this common question about eating vegan.

Images via Thinkstock.


natasha p
Past Member about a month ago

because they taste so good!

Clare O
Clare Oabout a month ago

some folks will not eat the sheep's meat but will wear her wool.

Clare O
Clare Oabout a month ago

Enjoy your meal. I see nothing wrong with eating vegetarian cheese if the dairy animal had a nice natural life. In particular goats and sheep are not kept in sheds.

Clare O
Clare Oabout a month ago

Someone below mentions thickening gravy - it always baffles me how Americans add cheese to soup, stew, casserole, gravy and veg. We don't do it anywhere else so this probably came from a dairy-heavy economy. The usual thickener is barley, wheat flour or cornflour.

Christine S
Christine Stewartabout a month ago

I agree with the article- I don't think there's anything wrong with having cruelty free foods like vegan cheese and "meats'- we don't want animals to suffer, but most of us grew up on these foods, so they are familiar comfort foods. Why not have a delicious tofurky Italian sausage in your pasta, or veggie burger, instead of wistfully missing your childhood favorites?

Tammy Andrews
Tammy Andrewsabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing. : )

Just Human
Just Humanabout a month ago

Because being Vegan doesn't mean you don't like a good sammich now and then.

Katie S
Katie Sabout a month ago


Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago


Dana W
Dana Wabout a month ago

Thanks! You took the words right out of my mouth.