Thursday, August 01, 2019

Life without cheese: worth living, but complicated!

For reasons relating to nursing, I'm on a no-dairy diet for the foreseeable (nursing) future. Yes, I'm now one of those people. What follows is... something? Advice, I guess, fully on the nursing-mother end of things, or really for anyone in a similar conundrum.

The thing is, I'd apparently been on an all-dairy diet previously, given how difficult this has been. I thought of myself as someone who was sort of squicked out by plain cow's milk, but it turns out this was very selective squeamishness-veganism as it were, and that once you put together steamed milk in espresso drinks, milk in cereal, cheese (including those soft ones I couldn't eat while pregnant), baked goods, chocolate croissants in particular, and just generally eating foods whose ingredients I couldn't begin to guess, that's a lot of dairy! I keep returning to the Kate Moss line about nothing tasting as good as skinny feels, and thinking how false it is. Because unsurprisingly, eliminating cheese, ice cream, iced lattes, and pastries from my diet has made me thinner than pre-pregnancy and I would prefer the version with food. (My days also involve library baby time, not runways, which might enter into it.)

That said, I'm trying to get creative about this whole no-dairy thing. After all, there are people who give up dairy to be chic and wellness-y! Which comes in handy I suppose when needing to eliminate the ingredient for other reasons. So many vegan bakeries! So many milk imitations to put in coffee for an additional charge of 50 cents!

That said, my impression - perhaps Toronto-specific - is that Western approximations of dairy-including foods are ugh, and that the answer is (some) East Asian food. With that in mind, I went to H-Mart and rather than buying almost everything, went with full-on everything. Stroller is useful for this.

Going with cuisines that wouldn't be expected to contain (much) dairy also has the plus of not being the thing where it's assumed that you're eliminating dairy as part of a general all-ingredients-pose-problems diet. It's really just dairy I can't eat (at least, as far as I know at this point; I am jinxing myself), which makes me that much more interested in the presence of all other ingredients. If I can't put milk in cereal, I'm not going to rule out soy milk as well. If baked goods can't contain milk or butter, am not about to leave out eggs and flour. And yeah it's probably the moment to get past whichever near-vegetarianism I'd landed on.

I'm trying to treat this as an opportunity to buy the fancy groceries I wouldn't otherwise when I was still spending (redacted) per grocery trip on cheese. I have visions of complicated meals, of the surf and turf varieties. The reality: three halves of Montreal-style bagel with - because I'm running out of non-cheese topping ideas (enough peanut butter, enough avocado) and can't look at another egg - tahini. A steep learning curve, this.