Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Cheese; It's what's Not for dinner
Think about all of the yummiest and quickest meals you love. There are grilled cheese sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, Enchiladas, quesadillas, cheesy mashed potatoes, cheddar perogies, nachos, fettucini alfredo and how about cream of broccoli soup. It's an easy list to make.
I can't eat any of them. Since I read about how dairy intolerance can cause acne, depression, lethargy and insomnia (all problems I've had) I've decided to try living "dairy free". So far my "before" and "after" photos aren't exactly a miraculous transformation, but I do have more energy and have been sleeping better, so those are good signs.
Going without milk and butter was a surprisingly easy transition because of good soy substitutes. Unfortunately there is no good non-dairy cheese (Vegans claim that there is but that's only because they have forgotten what cheese is supposed to taste like).
Even if this dairy experiment proves to be inconclusive I have at least learned how dependent on cheese my snacks and dinners have been. I am guaranteed to cut calories from my lack of cheese and butter. Breakfast has been fine. I've used soy milk and soy butter and even found an Amazing vegan pancake recipe. Lunch is ok, mostly I have sandwiches,or soups or rice with vegetables anyway, so that wasn't a big adjustment. Dinner is the hard part of the day. I have to think really hard to avoid the entire list from the start of this post, plus a rather shocking amount of other dairy filled foods. I am fortunate to live in Berkeley where we have at least seventeen restaurants (that I counted) that are vegetarian and four of those are exclusively vegan. Since I cannot afford to dine out every night, I find myself staring at my veggie bin thinking "these would all taste great covered with cheddar cheese." Despite the cheesy longing in my heart, I must admit this is much easier than trying to give up bread. When the Low-carb craze hit I tried to cut out pasta and bread for three miserable days. Every single day I thought about bread all day. By the third day I could smell it everywhere, that was torture. This lack of cheese is sad but really only distressing when I have no idea of what I should eat. The no bread thing was a diet (which I haven't done before or since) if this no dairy thing works out it will be a lifestyle change which I think will be much better for me.
Still, right now cheese would be the Easy thing to make for dinner. I need to add more recipes to my repertoire.
cheese and crackers... quiche... cheesecake... baked brie... Limburger on Rye... cheddarwurst... patty melts... ranch dressing... Oh sigh.