Seriously. Cheese is a big deal in this house. We love it.
But I no longer eat it because I am allergic to cow's milk.
Sad, sad panda.
It's been long enough since my allergy tests that I had come full circle from "thank God I now know what's bothering me and I can avoid those things" to "maybe it's not that serious and I will be fine if I just have a dab of sour cream on my tacos ... or three slices of cheesy pizza ... or a bowl of cereal with milk." Would that be the "bargaining" stage of grief?
Now I am back to square one, having convinced myself that yes, this is a real issue I need to deal with, and by gosh I'll be a better person and probably a more fit person if I do. I spent the tail end of last week paying little mind to what I was eating, and then paying the price for it. It's time to get serious. So I reached out to a friend who recently discovered she has some major food allergies and asked her for some guidance and encouragement. God bless her, she validated my feelings of grief and pointed me toward some great resources for dairy-free living.
Call me dramatic, but dangit this hurts. Think of all those comfort foods and their creamy goodness that I can no longer eat. Like mac-n-cheese. Biscuits and gravy. Cream of mushroom soup. Breads, cookies, pastries. What's a caprese salad without mozzarella?? Or an egg sandwich without a slice of cheddar? It's shocking, really, how many foods have some sort of milk product in their ingredients lists. Over the weekend I stopped at the grocery store to pick up just a few things and I spent almost an hour looking over the labels of every single thing I put in my cart. This is a lifestyle change, and lifestyle changes take no small amount of effort.
The good news is there are folks out there who have done a lot of the work for people like me who are new to this. Web sites about living with allergies abound. And there are some great alternative foods on the market, too. So rather than look at my allergies as limiting, little by little I am seeing them as a catalyst to broadening my palate. Instead of focusing on what I can't have (oh, I have allergies to pork and white potatoes, too), I am doing my level best to turn my focus to all the things I still can have.
Today I think I'm having a bit of withdrawal ... a fabulous reminder of why I'm making these changes. I look forward to feeling much better in a few days. I'll keep you posted.