Dairy! Dairy! Dairy!

Before I get started praising the wonders of dairy, and telling you how overjoyed I am to cross off my list of “can’t eats” anything derived from cow’s milk, I must give you fair warning. We are one of those families.
If one day you get the idea to call and invite us for dinner, here’s how the conversation may play out, unless you hang up on me first. You call to extend an invitation. I laugh knowingly. I ask if we can come with a basket of our own food or would you rather get a pen and paper out because there’s a good reason for my socially awkward requests.
Here’s what you learn after few long minutes: We would love to be gracious guests, gracefully sitting at table with you in your lovely home, but….
We have a few dietary restrictions (let alone preferences) you should know.
Our whole family steadfastly avoids white sugar because two of us turn into monsters if we accidentally eat even a small amount. A grouchy monster in her thirties is easier to handle than a havoc wreaking ten year old, but neither are pleasant. Sugar hides in most packaged food and home cooked recipes so you’re looking at either modifying tried and true favorites just for us or label reading all through aisles two through seven.
I’m considerate. I let you know we really are accustomed to taking along a large basket of food to eat potluck style with our hosts.
Because there’s more.
I’m gluten sensitive (it’s not pretty), allergic to most soy, I get migraines if I eat any kind of onion…but garlic is fine and until recently, I was lactose intolerant.
Now you know not to invite us for dinner unless you’re cool with attempting to navigate all that, or happy to make room for our big basket on your kitchen floor.
Now back to delightful dairy.
Of all the ingredients I’ve had to give up due to reactions including digestive difficulties, nausea, eczema, migraines and hives, dairy was the hardest to let go.
When I couldn’t eat dairy for two years, I missed sitting outside on a cool autumn afternoon savoring Brown Cow Organic, cream on top, fruit on the bottom, Cherry Vanilla yogurt.
I missed dinners of Kraft jalapeno jack in tiny squares sprinkled on a bowl of piping hot organic brown rice with steamed broccoli florets.
I craved late night snacks of light and crunchy fresh baked tortilla chips covered with refried beans, shredded mozzarella and Rotel Original diced tomatoes with green chiles.
I missed sharing with my boys spoonfuls of airy froth atop of a mug of steamed milk, or savoring every drop of a decaf vente cappuccino I always filled with a quarter cup of half & half from a black screw top tin at any cafe USA.
While I couldn’t eat dairy for two years I found exactly one vegan cheese acceptable for ingestion and it was prone to mold one day after opening so BLAH!
While deprived I gave thanks to ingenious creators of butter alternatives and drowned homemade split pea soup in soy free Earth Balance margarine.
This summer I experimented with a recipe for vegan cheesecake made of cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, agave nectar, and vanilla bean. I fooled no one, but everyone, including me, asked for more, more, more!
In my second year without dairy, I discovered raw goat’s milk mozzarella and willingly shelled out $14 weekly for a pound so I could add tiny squares of near perfection to steamed spinach with black beans over brown rice.
Armed with cheese made from a real animal’s milk, I found a simple gluten free pizza crust recipe to which I added garlic powder, diced garlic and dried herbs. On top I smoothed large spoonfuls of Organic tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, spinach and mushrooms and generous handfuls of goat mozzarella I willingly shredded by hand.
Then…one September evening, as my husband reached for a canister of Kraft parmesan, I decided yet another attempt at eating cow dairy was due.
And Lo! My body cooperated!!!
Of all the nice things people have said about me through my life, “You are good with moderation,” is not on the compliment list.
Oh man! There’s a dairy party going on at our house every night of the week!
I’m well aware of the less than wonderful facts about main stream cheese, milk and butter. In a few weeks, or a few months or…well, eventually, I’ll seek balance.
But for now, the party must go on! I’m heading out now to pick up two pounds of shredded sharp cheddar, fresh basil, spinach, mushrooms and a can of tomato sauce. We’re having pizza for dinner.

You have just read the finale of a successfully completed “30 posts in 30 days” self imposed challenge.

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One Response to Dairy! Dairy! Dairy!

  1. Amy says:

    Really good – creamy story! I’m glad you can eat cheese (and dairy) again. The song was cute; he must be a children’s entertainer like Red Grammer. It’s good to hear wholesome songs that we can relate to.

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