Disclaimer: the first few lines are going to have many shameless links to previous posts. Necessary: yes, a desperate attempt to get more traffic to my posts: you bet ya!
I introduced you to my genius Lollipop man in my post Tackling Demons- Kapow, now I’m able to explain why I decided to give up dairy as briefly explained in Long Time No Speak (you were warned about the linking!).
If you clicked the links, you’ll have a good understanding of my journey of the self-improvement and how it requires me to challenge (myself) various limiting beliefs I’ve accrued over the years. You’ll also be interested to discover why I asked Lollipop man’s help in getting over my food thing.
Forget the wine-ing, I’ll have me some grub
“What a crap day, I need a glass of wine!”. How many of us have heard that before? I know that I have. I’m not so bothered by alcohol or drink as a stress reliever; my thing is food.
If I’m not enjoying what I’m doing, I look to food to cheer me up, chill me out and get me back to my happy place. In one sense I’m fine with that; we all have things that we enjoy more than others and as such, it’s natural that as a food lover, I turn to grub. But it also bothers me that I tend to have a dependency on food to make me feel better.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy diet, don’t have to watch my weight (for fear of making enemies) and I regularly exercise with cycling to work, which is probably why I’ve not addressed my food thing before. My concern is that it’s not healthy to rely on an external stimulus to make me feel better; that improvement of mood should come from within me.
After explaining this to Lollipop man, he agrees. The conversation then takes a turn for the worse, something like the following:
Lollipop man (not exact words): See this as being like any of the things you’re trying to change at the moment. At a base level, your body only needs food as a fuel. Your mind is what craves the comfort food, it’s a case of re-programming it.
Me: But I love food, I enjoy it, what’s wrong with that? (Yes you’re right, I was the one who went to him for help and I’m now arguing the point that I made. I realise this).
(Yoda like wise and searching look from LPM. I’m pretty sure than an eyebrow was raised).
Me: I know that dairy is my biggest thing, I love cheese, cream, butter. Ok, I’ll give up butter for a month.
(Yoda like look from LPM).
Me: Don’t look at me like that, I couldn’t do dairy for a month.
(Yoda like look from LPM).
Me: No! I’m not doing it, I can’t, I really can’t.
LPM: What if I’ve got Smelly Boy hostage and will kill him if you don’t give up dairy for a month?
Me: OK fair enough, I could do it then.
LPM: Well then, you can do it.
The seed was planted. I knew that if I didn’t go ahead with the ban, there’d be that little voice in my head, teasing me for wussing out. Plus I’m a sucker for a challenge/reverse psychology. It was decided. The dairy ban was on like Donkey Kong!
Milk no more
I didn’t go in completely cold. I cut down dramatically for a couple of days but then… there I was, in the barren land that holds no milky treats. It was a cold dank place I can tell you.
Leaving the drama behind, I found it a lot easier than I thought. On reflection, it was pretty much the worse/ best time that I could’ve chosen to undertake such a feat. Mid July to mid August = BBQ and fete season. BBQ haloumi, homemade fudge and cakes acted as the mirage in my diary desert (not to be confused with dessert, not that I was obsessed).
I soon discovered found that I was limited in the menu department (dairy is in everything. I feel for the lactose intolerant) and that I needed to have a fully stocked fridge with easy access to non dairy food. Hungry, I was a sitting duck for temptation.
Talking of duck, I found dairy free solace in a lovely Vietnamese restaurant by the name of Dangs. I’d heard wonderful things about this local treasure, namely the fact that it features in the Michelin Guide. It my bid to avoid dairy, my first dining out experience would be in a eatery far away from milky delights.
As I’ve already alluded, the duck was a great choice. The ambiance was lovely and relaxed combining chat with class as I watched shapes dance across walls thanks to candle feature. One thing that did disappoint the presence of westernised dishes although it’s difficult to find an independent restaurant in Northampton that hasn’t succumbed to the less adventurous food lovers. Added to the fact that I’m no expert on Vietnamese cuisine and there was plenty of gorgeous, it was a very positive dining experience and I thank the staff and Smelly Boy for a lovely evening.
It was then off to the supermarket (not in the same evening) and what did my eyes behold but an end of aisle fridge with ‘free from’ emblazoned over every products. I’m 99% sure that I actually heard the song of angels and saw a ray of light shine on the soya/coconut/almond based products. Call me dramatic but when you’re as hooked on dairy as I was, that shizzle got emotional so much was the relief!
I’d never before tried dairy free substitutes. In my humble opinion(sweetened) Soya milk was the best alternative in tea. Coconut milk was pretty good on cereal although I was disappointed that it wasn’t creamier (I’m a blue top girl). The saturated fat is pretty high so look out for the ticker, yet I’ve never actually looked at the saturated fat for the cow’s milk that I usually drink. Almond milk tastes as I’d imagined it would taste: like the juice of almonds, although it’s also pretty good one cereal.
I found that I was limited for sweet treats as they usually include cakes, creamy dessert which of course were out of the question. The interest is a dairy fighter’s best weapon. There are so many sites that help people with intolerance to find a dairy/gluten alternative to their favourite dishes and I found a recipe for banana bread that employed vegetable oil, not butter.
Am I a changed woman?
I very much doubt it. I completed the month dairy free which I thought impossible to do before. I did realise how much my diet relies on dairy and although I did crave and miss dairy, I felt better for doing it.
This was probably more of a psychological improvement than physical as I found that my face broke out in spots and I felt incredibly tired the first few weeks of the ban. By all means this could have been a mere hormonal coincide as I have been very busy the last month or so but I also think that it could have the dairy detox expelling certain things from my system.
It most definitely made me more aware of food or more notably, what I eat. As I have no known food intolerance and I’m not overweight, provided that I eat a balanced diet without too much saturated fat, I’m a happy bunny. The ban month showed me how difficult it can be when certain food groups aren’t an option, even for types of food where you would expect dairy or wheat to be present. I mean, who would’ve thought that the so-called cheese slices for burgers actually contain dairy?
The ban came to an end last Wednesday in the form of Raclette.
It was a celebrated day. I felt quite apprehensive eating cheese, sheepishly taking my first bite but I did enjoy it. It was weird having the feeling that something so familiar was also quite alien and it has taken me a week or so to get back in the dairy swing of things.
I’m hoping not to rely on dairy as I did previous to the ban. I’m a lot more conscious of having dairy once or twice a day instead of it playing a pinnacle part of every meal. That said, I’m having a very merry time of making my way through this bad boy.
Happy bank holiday peeps.