My head says that I should probably stay away from dairy. As a child I was allergic to milk. I grew out of that, but to this day, if I have had too much dairy, my stomach will give me problems: bloating, nausea, and pain. Early in life,I was diagnosed as having too much acid in my stomach and I even had an ulcer because of it. The funny thing is that they told me then (30 some odd years ago mind you) to drink milk to coat my stomach...that drinking milk would actually help, not hurt my stomach. Funny since milk itself is acidic, but then that is what they told me. So I have to ask myself: Do I really want to intentionally put more acid into my body when I already naturally have too much? I mean I wouldn't overfill a glass with liquid if it was already full, so should I do that to my stomach? Probably not.
I actually thought that going vegan would be harder than it has been. Maybe if I had not already been vegetarian the change would have been harder for me, but it really hasn't been that bad. There are things I have missed like sour cream, real half and half in my coffee, milk with cereal, blue cheese salad dressing, and cheese. Mmmmmm...cheese. Now, I may try fake sour cream and fake coffee creamer, but cheese is one of those things to me that should just be real. If I'm going to choose to eat it, then I want the real thing, not some flavored not-so-natural knock off. I realise that not everyone feels this way, but I'd rather eat no cheese than fake cheese. I feel the same way about bacon. As much as I love and miss the flavor of bacon, there will be no Fakon Bacon for me. No sir, not ever. That's just me.
And I just don't trust that all organic milk is organic, or that it comes from grass fed cows who were given no hormones or antibiotics. That is, I believe, the real problem, not necessarily the dairy itself, but the unnatural things we have done to the dairy. If I had my own farm and owned my own cow, it would be different..To me, the dairy problem is one that we,ourselves created, sadly. And then I have to ask myself, why should I use fake butter when I believe real butter is better. Not only do I think Earth Balance tastes nothing like butter, on toast for example, but it has way more ingredients. The butter in our fridge that my family uses has 1 ingredient: cream. I have always heard the less ingredients the better. The difference is that EB is plant based and butter is animal based. I am not a moral vegetarian/vegan so I don't have problems with dairy because it comes from animals. I am only concerned about health. That's not to say I think that everyone should go out and use butter everyday or at every meal...of course I don't . Health risks are still health risks, but these issues are some of the things I question in my quest to be healthier.
And so I am struggling with the should I remain vegan? question. My guess is that I will remain vegan most of the time, allowing myself cheese only once in awhile, but striving not to have it as a general rule. I guess we'll see. One good thing about the kickstart challenge is that it has forced me to give up the cheese and to know that I can do it and still enjoy my food. And much like a detox, I am not craving it like I did when I first started the challenge. In fact, I don't crave it at all.
I am very proud of myself for sticking with it though. My little sister, Tricia, will be proud of me I think since she got me into this no milk mess in the first place. I know I am strong, because DH brought home some Robusto cheese, my favorite, from Whole Foods 2 days ago. When he asked if he could cut me a piece I said matter of fact but emphatically, no. I have not had any, and I'm not sure I will even after Monday...we'll see, It is quite delicious, and is readily available to me, and I have not wavered...I am stronger than I know!
I am menu planning tomorrow for next week and am planning to stick with the vegan thing for my meals. We'll see where it takes me....one day at a time is probably how I'll choose to proceed.