Lactose free – sorta, kinda, not entirely.

There are many things that, given the choice, I would dearly love to be allergic to – dairy products would NOT be one of them. Liver, lima beans and oysters come quickly to the front of the line. I was born with an allergy to milk. As a child I was tormented by my mother with ‘Cheerios in apple juice’ and ‘goat’s milk on hot cereal’ and for drinking, I still gag at the mere thought of both of those options. I am sure that she was doing the best she could at the time, for back in the 50’s alternative/substitutes for dairy were non-existent. Well, apple juice and goat’s milk were the alternative. (Gag, gag, gag and shudder!) She just wasn’t willing to deal with the rash that dairy created – ok fine, I get it. By my twenties I had grown out of the rash/allergy reaction. I adore, really worship dairy products. And I ate dairy with abandon for years without a misfiring.

However, somewhere along the road of life dairy rebelled and no longer could I find comfort in a cup of Greek yogurt, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream melting over a warm fudge brownie or a cottage cheese filled cantaloupe. Lord, I miss my 8ozs of milk before bedtime. And with a cookie it was a bit of heaven after a long day at work. (Sorry, but tea is a distant second, even today.)

I love cheese – let me count the many ways: cottage cheese, extra sharp white cheddar (or yellow will do), Havarti, Provolone, Reggiano-Parmesan, a divine Mozzarella/basil/tomato Panini -YUM-O! and/or good old American melted cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard. God did good when he created cheese! Cream sauces, oh how you are solely missed. Mozzarella (low-fat of course) cheese sticks were a staple in my daily diet.

So, about 2 years ago I sought out a naturopathic physician to help find some solutions to both a sleep deprivation issue and regulating/adjusting/finding hormones in this physical body. She had me do two things: 1)saliva spit test; and 2) a 2-week food journal. Both were agonizing after the 2nd day. Little did I realize just how much dairy I consumed in any one day. Every meal and snack had some form of dairy…because that’s what ya do if you love something. If it were even remotely possible, I am certain that an intravenous line would have been hooked up long ago to feed this obsessive love affair with dairy.

Well, I am here to tell you that I am, for the most part 98% dairy free. It was not pleasant at the time, and I did not go placidly into dairy-free-dom. Soy cheese is DISGUSTING! It does not melt worth a darn. And forget about the butter substitutes out there, yuk. I went back to good old butter-butter in small, seldom used, amounts. It took me about 6 months to find and enjoy some good substitutes for Half n Half – at Trader Joes I discovered a Soy Creamer that acts just like H/H. Goat cheese bricks, have become a fixture in my refrigerator, as has Rice Dream and Almond Milk for cereals and cookie dunking.

Last summer I decided that I could eat the occasional cup of Greek yogurt, dang it! 30 minutes after consuming it I was on the ground in my garden, curled up in the fetal position and wanting desperately to barf it up. No such luck, nor did I have the support of my husband who had earlier questioned me about the purchase of said yogurt. Ok, so dairy isn’t my friend. I still find myself standing in front of the dairy case staring tenderly at the Chobani yogurt packed shelf. The memory of withering on the ground is still fresh in my mind so I resist even as the temptation persists.

Because I haven’t found a perfect replacement for cheese in all markets, in all cities and towns – Trader Joe’s isn’t everywhere yet, I do have a small bag of shredded cheese in the fridge, for burritos and baked potatoes. I’m not perfect yet in this department either. But I don’t eat it every day…I now considered it a “special event” food. The temptation to eat some every day hangs on, I ignore it for the most part and eat something disgustingly healthy – like grapes.

But I have found a replacement for ice cream in the form of Trader Joes Mochi – a coconut ice dessert in 3 delicious flavors and 6 individual servings: coconut, chocolate and mango. Thank you TJ’s again for delivering a great product and saving my sanity…I think I should buy stock.

Now the sleep issue is somewhat resolved and I do credit the dairy-free ‘ness’ that I have obtained. However, that evil NP also determined that I was also gluten intolerant…that’s a whole blog post by itself. Can a body sustain itself without dairy, gluten and animal products? Answers to these and other questions coming your way soon.  Until then –

Ciao and bon appetit…

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