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Dairy ~ The Final Frontier: My Vegan Adventure

Posted Jan 18 2011 7:24am

When it comes to wellness it is my belief is that we all make changes when we’re ready and we’re each on our own time line.  Attempt to change because you think you should (not because you want to) and you’re bound to go back to your old ways sooner or later.  Probably sooner.  Knowing what you should do doesn’t equate to being ready to make it happen in your own life.  And that’s fine.  Just keep moving in the right direction at your own pace.

That said, one of my own wellness goals for this year is to go from Veggie to Vegan.  I’m not all for going cold turkey.  I think transitions are good and sustainable.  For me this is a process.  Here’s the story…

My husband is an amazing chef and loves to cook.  He’s made some of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.  He cooks at home like he’s cooking in a restaurant ~ food as beautiful as it is tasty.  And healthy is not on the menu.  At least it didn’t used to be.  I remember trying to get him to eat whole wheat pasta a few years ago.  It didn’t go well.  Learned my lesson.  I would eat healthy on my own, but when we ate together it was his menu.  Yes I love him that much.

Then one day about 2 years ago he decided to give up eating meat.  I was ecstatic!  Of course, for him that meant giving up beef and pork, because he didn’t really eat chicken or turkey anyways.  So I gave them up too, but hung onto the “white” meat as a lean, healthy option for a busy woman who was always eating on the run.  In September, when I changed careers, I gave those up too.

We were still eating fish, but soon realized we weren’t eating it often and when we did eat it, it didn’t agree with us any more.  Easy move.  No more fish.  Eggs too were a rare indulgence. No big deal to drop that from our diet.

But I knew I had one more step to go.
Dairy.
The final frontier.

I’d heard all the anti-dairy arguments and knew I would benefit by making this change.  But I had to be ready.  No lame-ass attempt destined to crumble as soon as Drunken Goat entered the picture.  Not that you’d have to pry the glass of milk out of my hand.  My dairy consumption was basically ½ and ½ in my coffee  (I have one cup of coffee in the morning and I’m not ready to give it up!), cheese, chocolate and stuff with casein or whey in it.  And ice cream, but I’ll deal with that when the weather warms up.

Here’s how it’s going so far…

I love Silk Soy Creamer.  I can’t believe it, but it’s true.

I’ve tried one vegan cheese and soy yogurt and instantly decided that I will never eat either again.  Period.  I hear there are some amazing nut cheeses and when I get the chance I’ll try them.  Unfortunately they’re hard to come by in Cleveland.  Go figure.

I’ve eaten milk chocolate once.  Now I’m done.  I think.

I’m realizing that I need to be more diligent in reading labels.  I’ve eaten a few things and then checked the label and realized that there was dairy or egg in the ingredients list.  Some of these are surprising… whole wheat crackers, veggie soup (in the pasta).  But I’m learning!

I’m on my way, but I’m not there 100%.  I still have some food in the house that has dairy in it (casein and whey).  I’m using up my last bottle of Fish Oil.

And how do I feel?  Are you ready for this?  After one week with no dairy I got my period with ZERO PMS.  Really.  No cramps, no moodiness, no bloating, no breast tenderness.  Nothing.
Add to that decreased sinus congestion, improved regularity, and 2 pounds lost and I’m thinkin’ this was a pretty good move on my part.

My companions for the trip are Kris Carr’s amazing new book Crazy Sexy Diet, The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter, The Vegan Gourmet, and The Yoga Cookbook.

I’d love to hear your vegan favs, cookbooks, & advice.  Bring it on!

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