Why is it that the things we love the most, often cause us the most harm? I love cheese. ᎤᏅᏗᎦᏚᏅ. Hot melty cheese, cold cheese, yellow cheese, commodity cheese, cheese-like product like Velveeta, queso, white cheese, salty cheese, stinky cheese, crumbly cheese.
Like many Indian people, dairy makes me sick and to varying degrees, that’s been the case all my life. I finally quit it, but as I started my plant-based journey, I thought that was going to be impossible.
I don’t like milk. Never got the taste for it as a kid thanks to a severe and life threatening dairy allergy. Not just lactose intolerance. It actually caused my wind pipe to close off and I’d stop breathing. No ice cream, milk or cheese as a kid. But they told me I might “out grow it” and so I did. At least the immediate life-threatening part of it.
I made do. Was not calcium deprived. As my childhood friend Brian Weatherman can attest, I put water on my Apple Jacks so I could eat a bowl of cereal. They didn’t have almond milk at the grocery store back then and if they did, we didn’t know what it was and couldn’t afford it.
By the time I was in my teens, I slowly started eating cheese and it was fine. I then started eating ice cream and yogurt. Fast forward to my 40s. Once I “discovered” that going gluten-free stopped my migraines, cheese became more of a go-to, stringy cheese packets was my gas-station low-carb “smart” choice. My love. But I felt like I was still bloat-y and brain foggy. And then came my cholesterol crisis.
Now that I’m dairy free, I feel awesome and my brain is functioning in a higher level. I am a smart women. Did I honestly think that having an allergy so significant that it made me pass out as a kid just magically went away? It didn’t. Just manifested differently.
Most of you won’t have that dire of a story but you might consider whether eating cheese and other dairy products makes you feel “great” and lighter. If not, maybe give it just one week or one month and see what happens.
When I went vegan, I bought some fake “cheese” just to have on hand. Throw it in a salad or on a sandwich or to sprinkle on things. It helped get me over the hump and I now use much less of it because it’s still processed and not a whole food.
Remarkably, crushed cashews and nutritional yeast gives a cheesy taste in many recipes and helped addressed my cravings.
There are many products out there you can find and I’ll add some more links later to help with that. Be forewarned, they aren’t cheap so I ration them and make up the budget elsewhere. I do save a ton of money by not buying any meat, so it all balances out when I spent $7 on some fake “Parmesan” cheese. I know this stuffwon’t be available on most reservations, so of you want to try it, it’s worth going online to get through the withdrawal period.