Saturday, December 8, 2007

Til the Cows Come Home

The naturopathic doctor suggested I eliminate dairy for a couple of weeks to see if that's what's been causing some of my physical problems. In hindsight I realize agreeing to it was a big mistake, with me more stressed than ever, working harder than ever, and just not mentally strong enough to support eliminating one of my favorite things out of my life.
I've done detoxes before, eliminating alcohol and sweets and even eating in restaurants altogether, but the results are immediate: you lose a boatload of weight quickly. Eliminating dairy made me hungry, depressed, deprived, and crave other salty things like chips and fries to replace the cheese that would normally satisfy that.
I fell off the wagon a couple times - eating a little onion dip at Michelle's party last week, eating shepard's pie (made with grits instead of mashed potatoes) which had butter in it at Jimmy's No. 43 - but nothing major til Thursday night, when I sat down at Rodeo Bar and demanded steak soft tacos (cheese) and a big pile of sour cream. It had been a rough day.
Then last night, after managing to resist lunch at Murray's and cookies from Julian, I more than willingly ate dinner at Arturo's, my favorite pizza/Italian restaurant in the city. And it was a veritable cheese binge.
We had garlic bread with cheese, which I topped with parmesan cheese.
We had baked clams which most certainly had some kind of buttery garlic sauce with it.
We had arugula salad with big strips of parmesan laid across the top.
And we had the cheesy Fiesta pizza which I also topped with more parmesan cheese.
Most dairy I can go without. I don't drink glasses of milk, I don't really eat yogurt, I don't have butter or sour cream in my home...But once you start checking, you realize everything is made with some kind of dairy product. Whether it's butterfat or some isotrope of lactose or was just made on a machine that also processes dairy products, nearly every box listed "CONTAINS MILK" under the ingredients, or had a D on the front. And God only knows what restaurants use to make your food. Forget about it.
So when I was off dairy, I tried to find some replacements. I can't eat soy so the whole soy cheese / soy milk route was out of the question, but I did try rice milk. It sounds disgusting but I don't know, it's pretty good. I like it better than cow's milk. It's really good on cereal. But it's actually not that good for you, because it's basically carbs instead of protein. Argh.
I also discovered baking chocolate that's sweetened slightly but as no milk or butterfat in it. Pretty good and a little better for you. Definitely good for times I'm dieting and I fall off the wagon. But note: 100% cacao baking chocolate does not taste good by itself.
My "dairy fast," as I've been calling it, was supposed to end altogether on Monday, but I don't know if I'm even going to bother eliminating it for the rest of the weekend. This is just the worst time of year. And because I didn't feel one bit better off the dairy, there's really nothing encouraging me to keep depriving myself besides just stubbornness of doing what I said I was going to do.
I think in general cutting down on the amount of cheese in my life is a good thing, but again that's more for weight loss. My cholesterol is great and it seems like anything in moderation is probably OK.
The naturopath will still suspect I have a food allergy but I don't think I'm willing to cut out other foods people are commonly allergic to (wheat, tomatoes, eggs....).
Back to the drawing board.