Dear Dairy

I hate milk.

I just feel the need to get that out in the open. It tastes nasty and feels slimy on my tongue and teeth. I am not a baby cow; therefore, I see no need to drink from a mother cow.

I detest milk. Everything about it.

So, you’d think it would be a pretty simple matter to give up dairy, wouldn’t you? And you would be wrong.

Let me backtrack a bit. My fiftieth birthday is just a few weeks away, and I’m dealing with the uncomfortable realization that I am tired of not feeling good. There’s the fact that I need to lose weight, and I really should be eating healthier. I obviously need to get more exercise and a lot more sleep. I drink too much coffee and not enough water, and I’m much too dependent on foods of the “comfort” variety.  

Someone close to me has begun to study Ayurveda, and she has sort of taken me under her wing. She’s got me taking supplements and drinking turmeric tea every day — which is delicious, by the way. I’m supposed to sip it slowly while meditating for at least five minutes. No reading, no checking my email, no playing Word Chums. Just sipping and meditating. I’m up to a minute and a half so far. For a fairly sedentary person, I don’t just sit well. I need to be doing, and trying to meditate totally stresses me out. Apparently, I do not have the ability to relax. At all.

I’m working on that.

In addition to the tea and supplements, she suggested that I give up certain foods for short periods of time to determine whether or not I have any food sensitivies. Since I have one sister with Celiac Disease (which she refers to as her “Silly Ass Disease”) and another with a milk allergy, it only makes sense that some of my health issues may be a result of a food sensitivity.

“Let’s start with dairy,” I told her. “I can give up dairy for 30 days. No problem. I don’t drink milk.”

Let’s take a look at how that’s working out for me, shall we?

Day 1.  Whoops, couldn’t have my cereal for breakfast. Or my scrambled egg whites with a splash of milk. Nope, none of that beautiful Swiss cheese sitting in my fridge, either. No cream in my coffee.

Oatmeal and black coffee.  Life sucks.

I work in a school cafeteria, so I made my own wrap for lunch: turkey with lots of veggies. Life began to suck a little less.

I ended up at Arby’s for supper with friends. No beef-n-cheddar. No farmhouse salad with roast turkey and cheese. I don’t even remember what I ended up with, but it wasn’t good. Life started to suck again.

The next few days were easier, but I was amazed to realize just how much dairy I really eat without realizing it. I had no idea. Even milk chocolate is a no-no right now. No iced coffee, no cheese pizza, no crispy bagel with melted, gooey cheese. Holy hell, I eat a lot of cheese.

Almost immediately, I saw that the unexplained swelling disappeared from my right foot. My heartburn vanished. Some of my random aches and pains lessened. Headache? What headache? A few other symptoms went away as well, although I’m not going to list them other than to say they were in no way ladylike and they often called for the burning of many aromatic candles in my home.

Last night, I caved and had a piece of pizza with a friend. Within an hour, I had a throbbing headache, puffy ankles, and plenty of time to practice my meditation in the bathroom.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a pretty strong indication of a milk sensitivity.

I’m going to keep going for the full thirty days, just to see what happens. My sister has promised to give me her recipe for vegan Parmesan cheese, so that’s something to look forward to. She’s trying to convince me to try Yoga as well, but I’m just not there yet. I am a clumsy, middle-aged fat woman with a spine that is more metal than bone. Flexibility is not really my forte.

Baby steps.

Next month, I’m giving up red meat. Only for thirty days. I’m sort of praying that it doesn’t have any kind of effect on me because I am much more devoted to eating cows than I am to drinking their milk.

I’d like to hear back from some of you. What sort of food-related issues have you faced? Any allergies or sensitivies that surprised you? And if so, how have you dealt with them?