I recently decided to break up with cheese. Well, Mike convinced me to give up cheese for a little while and see how I felt. I had already decided to give up my small cup of ice cream each night. (I’m working out like crazy and gaining weight, but that is another story.)
We spent ten days together stuck inside a tiny house hiding from frigid temperatures. The weekend before Christmas, I made two delicious mac and cheese recipes for different sets of guests. The first used cheddar cheeses and Sriracha, the other asked for sharp cheeses and pancetta. I made pulled pork to top the cheddar mac and cheese. Because I am terrible at math and following recipes, I gathered the ingredients based on their pre-shredded amounts. Once I ran them through my shredder, I had a ridiculous amount of cheese, which led to ridiculous amounts of mac and cheese.
Mike and I spent the following week eating mac and cheese, refusing to spend money going out to eat or grocery shopping when there was a fridge full of perfectly good leftovers. At night, we snacked on meats and cheeses after Liam went to bed. We were on vacation! We could live it up!
My indulging caught up with me. I gained five pounds. This brought my weight right past my “Oh Crap” weight. (Does anyone else have a weight hierarchy? I imagine mine like the threat pyramid the government uses. It consists of Yay!, Good/Okay, Watch it Now/Reel It In, and Oh Crap.)
I also noticed that my face, which has been pretty clear, started to look like it belonged to a teenager. More like, it belonged to an awkward teenager who had both pimples and laugh lines. My biggest issues involved my stomach. I won’t get into the details, but Liam and Mike became fearful of sitting near me.
While Mike and I were getting ready for bed, he mentioned the amount of cheese I had been consuming and asked if I had ever considered giving up dairy.
Anyone who knows me knows this would normally be laughed off. I love cheese! (By the way, there is a name for someone who loves cheese; we are known as turophiles.) However, I had read quite a few articles about the benefits of eliminating dairy, including improvements to skin, stomach, and sinuses. My sinuses have been throbbing, causing me pain under my eyes and into my jaw. Netti pots, Claritin, hot compresses, and nasal sprays are no longer helping. I was planning to use the ENT referral my primary care doctor gave me at my physical. I really try to avoid taking medications. If giving up dairy would help me breath better and be pain-free, it’s worth a shot!
Now comes the difficult part, actually giving up cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products. I use almond milk in my morning smoothies. I can use that when having cereal and scrambled eggs. I purchased a plant-based butter type spread and soy-based yogurt.
I am now seven days into my breakup with dairy. So far, it isn’t as bad as I feared. It might be the placebo effect, but I swear that I am already breathing easier. I can breath deeper than I previously could. During my run Tuesday, I slowed down because my legs were tired, not because of breathing difficulties. Today, I ran my longest run! However, I know the cheese fit will kick in soon. While it is a bit too early to say whether it has helped clear my skin, I have noticed no new breakouts in the past few days.
This news is bittersweet. I am glad that I am experiencing excellent results from giving up dairy. Honestly, I was hoping that it would not work and I could go back to being my awesome, cheese-loving self.