I am participating in the Blogging From A-Z Challenge. Each day in April (except Sunday), I will post topic themes that begin with the letters of the alphabet, from A-Z. Today's letter is D.
During last year's challenge, for the letter Q, I wrote about quitting dairy. Whether you're curious or not, I'm going to share an update to this saga in my boring little life.
Last April I decided to test my theory that I could be lactose intolerant. I gave up all dairy for 2 weeks to see if I would notice any change. I figured if I didn't notice any change, I'd have to see a doctor to find out what the hell was going on with my guts. Thankfully, my little experiment confirmed that it was the dairy causing me the "discomfort". (And when I say it was all my discomfort, I really mean it was partly mine and partly my family's b/c they had to live with me & that was NOT a pleasant olfactory experience.)
After being entirely dairy-free for 2 weeks, I allowed myself some food with dairy in it. I figured if I just ate dairy in moderation, it would be fine. I was wrong. Once again, I went back to complete lactose abstinence. Until October.
In October our little fam went to Disneyland to celebrate our daughter's 10th birthday. Before we left, I decided to buy some Lactaid b/c I didn't want to waste my time worrying about what I was eating during vacation. The first few days, the Lactaid was wonderful. It kept the bloated, crampy tummy at bay. It was not, however, effective enough to spare the people around me the joy of being crop dusted by a green cloud of stench. (Thank goodness I'll never cross paths with those people ever again. And if I did, I'd be none the wiser.) Still, the smell factor was not enough to deter me from taking my Lactaid and indulging in Dole Whips, pretzels w/ cheese, and all other manner of dairy-laden foods.
Unfortunately, after a solid week of my over-the-counter crutch, it seemed to stop working as well. I started noticing the rest of the side effects coming back in full force. When we returned from vacation, I talked to a friend who is also lactose intolerant and he confirmed what I suspected: taking Lactaid regularly will cause you to build up a tolerance. My carefree days of cheese eating were over. *cue sad & dramatic orchestral music*
Alas, I survived the crushing disappointment of being forced back into a life of label checking, cheese-passing, and almond milk substituting. I know I'm making it sound awful, but it's actually not bad. In fact, I feel good. The only time my dietary restrictions become a challenge is when we're eating at friends' houses or during major food-oriented holidays. Even then, I can usually find plenty to eat that won't send me directly to the bathroom. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I now have the added side-effect of copious pooping when I eat dairy. Awesome!)
I haven't been overly adventurous when it comes to finding non-dairy versions of the foods I love. Mainly I just skip anything with cheese or milk and substitute almond milk when I can. I have made a few happy discoveries. For instance: canned coconut milk whipped into a cream is AMAZING as a whip cream alternative. Also, there are plenty of options for me in the frozen treat section. Tofutti Cuties are one of my favorite sweet treats. They are little ice cream-esque sandwiches, but they are made with tofu instead of cream. I know, it sounds totally gross, but trust me: the mint chocolate cuties are DELICIOUS!! Even before my little lactose discovery, a friend gave me one & I was in love. Another friend has recommended I try a soy cheese that she said was good enough to use on pizza. Most non-dairy cheese tastes pretty rough and is nowhere near good enough to be used as a primary ingredient. I'm very excited to try to make homemade pizza w/ this new cheese b/c damn, do I miss pizza with cheese on it!! (Although, I get the Papa Murphy's Chicken Bacon Artichoke deLite pizza w/out the sauce and cheese & it's pretty freakin' tasty.)
A big problem I've discovered is that healthy food costs quite a bit more than "regular" food. That has played a huge part in why I haven't tried more vegan products and have opted to just skip the foods that contain milk products. Dairy free shit ain't for po' folk, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.