Since oh around 2002-ish I have pretty much been a vegetarian. I had slip ups here and there but that’s what my diet has always been consistent of up to today. I have always however been sensitive to dairy. I never fully cut that out however. I mean cheese is life!
Well at the end of 2016 after a lot of bouts with stomach pains and feeling like general garbage I decided to do a little test (and yes I visited my Dr. first). I decided to see how I felt just cutting out dairy. It was only about 2 weeks or so. It was much harder than I imagined. Cheese is in everything! At least everything I liked, and Chicago isn’t that far from Wisconsin, the land of cheese. So you can imagine the struggle. Well I gotta tell you. In those 2 weeks I felt fantastic. I was a bit in denial. So much so I added some cheese back into my diet just to prove it. And guess what? The very next day I felt like garbage. Like I had the flu and was out of commission the whole day. It was the dairy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t test this theory out a few times just to be sure. I even tried to lessen it with some OTC digestive tablets. Which helped a little, but not completely. The truth of the matter is I can’t have dairy. Well, I can but I know what it will feel like if I do. So now that leaves me in this new category of a dairy free vegetarian. Which is a weird space to be in. Especially when dining out.
So how am I coping only about a month in? Well I’m getting through. I do love vegan cheese now, and have tested some of the easier found varieties. Daiya is my favorite so far. And I made a kick ass vegan cheese sauce from nutritional yeast. I know it sounds gnarly, and very much something out of a horror movie with hippies. But I assure you this stuff is great! This is very close to the recipe I use if you ever want to take the plunge. It makes a great Vegan mac and cheese sauce or, my favorite, poured on top of nachos!
I have even gone so far as to bring my coffee cream (coconut cream from Trader Joes) in a little container with me into restaurants. I mean I NEED my coffee. It’s been very obvious to me how restaurants around here don’t cater very much to dairy free/vegan lifestyles. But I’m making it work and it’s making me explore more options in reality.
So that’s where i’m at. I knew 2017 was going to be the year of change! I’m still exploring a lot of recipes and things of that nature. But I can say i’m happy that i’m feeling back to normal and pain free. I never realized how bad it was until I cut it out. It just goes to show you truly do need to listen to your body, it’s constantly sending you signals.