Cutting the Cheese

Since I’ve been home – back, uh, unengaged and living in my parent’s guest room – I’ve picked up some extra weight and acquired unhappy skin (some blemishes, a little extra allergic to bug bites, and once, a huge growing rash that took over my torso. Fun!).

I can chalk it up to stress and to life changes. But these are not strangers. The fact is, I’ve acclimated to the way my parents eat. Which is to say, with a lot of cheese. As a tenured vegetarian, I’ve always relied on cheese and dairy as a protein source. But I’m starting to question the whole concept. I even ordered Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet.

Digression: First of all, she’s so cute I’d probably buy whatever she sold. I’m a sucker like that. But truthfully, she just looks healthy and happy. I want what she’s having. And I’m pretty willing to give whatever-she-does a shot.

This morning, as I woke up with a quiche hangover – stomach aching, sinuses stuffed, throat gross – I thought, maybe my questions were answered. The bloating, the stuffiness, the inflammation. Could it be a dairy thing?

I’m not saying cutting out cheese is going to solve all my problems. And even though I don’t want to work at getting back in shape (I’m over Jillian’s 30 Day Shred. I’m over portion control failure.) I’ll still do it. But it would be nice if all the hard work were accompanied by feeling physically healthy. I wonder if this will do it.

So, I’m embarking on this adventure slowly, with trepidation. What is life without cheese? I love cheese. And eggs. And yogurt. But, at this point, I’m willing to give it a try.

Has anyone out there shunned dairy? A little, all the way? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I could sure use the support.

4 thoughts on “Cutting the Cheese

  1. I went vegan two years ago. I was worried about giving up dairy, since it is everywhere and I liked it.

    I went vegan for humane reasons so I felt good philosophically in those first few months and didn’t pay too much attention to any immediate physical changes – so can’t help you there. Probably everyone’s body is different anyway.

    I was very surprised to lose 20 pounds with no effort whatsoever in those first few months. I got a little worried because I had not planned to lose weight and it kept coming off. But then I started baking more desserts and that stopped. 😉 A year later I had gained a few pounds back so I cut down to reasonable dessert 3 x per week and bottle of beer 4 x per week – I’m easily maintaining now. This weight loss doesn’t happen to everyone, I’m told.

    My skin was still kind of bad after a year, but someone suggested it might be stress (said acne on the forehead = reaction of some sort, acne on the chin = stress) and sure enough, I have worked on that and my skin improved.

    If you have trouble sticking with things and think this is something you want to stay with, I have an honest, no-hidden-agenda suggestion to help you: find out how cruel dairy and eggs are, unleash your compassion, and you might find that you never want it again. It takes no willpower for me to say no to this industry. No matter any petty hassles of package-reading or waitress-pestering – it’s so easy for me – I know I could never eat these things again. The Kind Diet, indeed – when would you decide you were done being kind?

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I guess I’m still “flirting,” because some part of me is not committed to this change. I keep on telling myself that today is the day I have no dairy – just try to do it for one whole day first, before I commit to 4 whole weeks (or even two days in a row).

      But inevitably, as I take a huge bite into an egg-salad sandwich, I remember. Dammit! And then I start again at the next meal.

      Today I was so proud of myself for finding a snack with whole oats and no refined sugar, only to read the rest of the ingredients mid-cookie to find eggs on honey on the list.
      It is taking some planning and some thought. But I might be getting closer. Slowly.

  2. It is tricky at first. I found it exciting to find new things to eat, because I was feeling that warm vegan glow of love for the animals, but if you’re just feeling deprived, I can see how that would be a drag.

    It got easier after a few trips to the store. Now I just walk down the aisle and toss the stuff I buy in the cart like it was nothing.

  3. I think I’m still at 60/40 vegan. The warm glow of love, the perimeter grocery shopping – all those things help. Yesterday I was out and about, and fell off the cheese wagon in a serious way. Frankly, the way I feel this morning, I think that will help the most. Today my belly is like the Grinch’s heart after he stole Christmas from Whoville, namely, three times its normal size.

    Thanks for all the encouragement! I love it! Keep on writing. I’d love some new recipes and fun tips. If any of you read the sandwich post above and have any vegan sandwich love to share, I’ll give them a try and post it here.

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