Cheese is my favorite food. As a child, I would inhale shredded cheddar faster than oxygen. However, recently I have realized my quarter-life crisis: I am fairly allergic to dairy. It makes me feel sluggish and my stomach feels worse than a punch to the gut. This has been one of the worst realizations of my life. I am not allergic enough that it makes me violently ill, but definitely allergic enough to make me regret consuming any dairy approximately 12 minutes after putting it in my mouth.
Because of this, I have come to realize nine things about my life:
1. Italian food is off limits. Most of the time.
As a non-dairy late bloomer, Italian food is a bitter subject. No matter how far fake cheese comes, it will never be the same as a real four-cheese pizza. Alas, if I’m ever going to accept a self-induced tummy ache, it shall be for pizza.
2. Sandwiches are boring now.
I used to be a huge fan of deli sandwiches. Yeah, I’d pay the extra $0.99 for double Havarti. Nowadays, it’s bread, mustard, and turkey. The magic is gone. It’s honestly tragic.
3. You realize you are actually addicted to ranch.
I used to eat ranch on everything. Salad, chicken, pizza, EVERYTHING. Guess what? The main ingredient in ranch is BUTTERMILK. Ugh, RIP me.
4. You regularly weigh the benefits of not eating dairy and feeling A-OK verses inhaling cheddar goldfish and being in a state of constant fluctuation for 12 hours.
I recently went to New York with my mom and sister. We shared a hotel room. And several NY pizzas. I’m still apologizing.
5. “I can’t believe it’s not butter” has become your life motto.
I am constantly in awe of how many non-dairy alternatives there are. The list of ingredients may seem intimidating but some are honestly not that completely bad. Some.
6. Recipes are suggestions.
I have learned to modify almost every recipe I follow nowadays. Does it call for butter? Throw in some margarine. Cream cheese? Tofutti it is (although I am 100% unsure what Tofutti is actually made of. YOLO?) (I also hate myself for saying YOLO in 2018… but YOLO).
7. You have found that coconut milk IS NOT the same as real milk.
I am very glad there are milk alternatives but coconut milk is just not the same thing. The texture, the taste… As a recently non-dairy convert, you will never be able to convince me that the alternatives are an equivalent substitute.
8. Grilled cheese sandwiches and nachos are synonymous with unicorns.
They do not exist in the dairy free world. Sorry, kiddo.
9. You have become the most obnoxious restaurant guest.
"Is there dairy in that?" "Can you switch your gloves out?" "I'm really sorry, but I ordered this without cheese..."
Last week I thought my waitress for taco Tuesday was going to murder me for sending back my cheese clad burrito. I'm sorry!!!