Dear Dairy: Week 3

Wherein I discover some things and ask some questions.

I am slowly realizing how many foods secretly stash dairy products in the ingredient list. And that if you eat foods that don’t come in a wrapper, you can avoid the gruesome discovery of “milk products” while you’re reading the package and chewing.

Here’s the thing: that granola bar has whey in it. And even though cheese isn’t listed on the menu, it’s sprinkled on top of your taco. And when everyone is eating homemade potato and cheese frittatas, you damn well better find a way to make your oatmeal look appetizing or you’re going to fall, hard.

These are the pitfalls, so what are the benefits?

Well, I’m still kind of waiting on that one. My energy seems better (which could also be a product of the running and the yoga – but who’s keeping track?). But there’s none of this miracle cure I read about in other people’s success stories. The skin-clearing-weight-loss-lighter-than-air thing isn’t really happening. Am I asking too much? Or not doing enough?

My dad offers that maybe it’s not dairy. Maybe it’s gluten. Or sugar. Or a combination of these things that are effecting my overall. Or, and here’s my alternate theory, everything is actually already fine. And the fluctuations in weight and energy are normal – overblown in my mind because I’m focusing on them. Am I Gaslighting myself here? I feel as though I’m looking for a miracle – but I don’t even know what I’m trying to cure. It’s exceptionally possible that I’m trying to “fix” myself – emotionally, psychologically – by controlling my diet.

On the other hand, there’s the simple concept of going through life without needing to support the meat and dairy industries. That’s a pretty attractive lure in itself. It might help me in this experiment to stop thinking so much about myself. (Despite my obvious need to talk about myself all the time to strangers online, all this navel gazing starts to feel self-indulgent at a certain point.) And to think instead about the overall good that comes from avoiding a tacit support for industries whose practices are noted for cruelty – physically to animals, and economically to farmers and small businesses.

After week 4, will I continue? Will my mom, as she fears, have to construct me a separate salad without cheese sprinkled on top come Christmas? Or will I have jumped on another well-fed bandwagon at that point? It’s hardly a cliff-hanger, but, still, something to consider.

If anyone has any vegan wisdom out there, I’d be glad to hear it.

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