July 28, 2010

A Life Without Cheese


Let's face it. No one wants to live her life without cheese. It's a crazy thing to do. Even people who are lactose intolerant don't live without it. I'm so jealous of them. Yeah, yeah, yeah, gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramps. Pish posh. They have Lactaid for all that. (Lots and lots of Lactaid, if you're Graybeard, who will send his spaghetti back if it has Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, and then later order tiramisu from the very same waiter, Lactaid in hand. Jealous.) Some of us, however, are allergic, and bad things happen when we eat dairy that isn't so easily combated.

So it is what is. If you can't change it, and denial doesn't work out too well, you must accept it. When I learned that I had to stop eating dairy--for real--I naturally assumed that I would drop all kinds of weight, and that would be the silver lining. Unfortunately, and yet fortunately, that didn't happen. Unfortunately for obvious reasons. What in the world would be fortunate about not dropping (a responsible and healthy amount of) weight, you ask? Well, the good thing is that, even without dairy, there is so much wonderful, delicious food out there, and some of it even looks like dairy. Okay, not the cheese. Most imitation cheeses have dairy in them if you look closely at the ingredient list. Some of the less obvious terms for dairy are:

* casein (in all its forms)
* curds
* diacetyl
* ghee
* lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
* lactoferrin
* lactulose
* milk protein hydrolysate
* tagatose
* whey (in all forms)
(Adapted from The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis website.)

Yeah, bummer. And the truly vegan imitation cheeses are pretty nasty. It's not even worth it to eat them to pretend like you're eating cheese, at least in my experience. Please, enlighten me if I've overlooked a good one. And I do not intend to bash any companies that make vegan cheese, because I truly appreciate their efforts to provide us with cheese alternatives, and am sure that some people must enjoy their products. The closest thing to real cheese I've had is Diaya, which does melt, and is pretty good if you really need it to be. However, personally, after I eat it I get bloated and my stomach just doesn't feel right. It could be a coincidence, so try it yourself, and let me know if anyone notices the same.

In the end, there is life without cheese, thanks to all the other wonderful foods out there. Though if someone could make dairy-free cheese that actually does taste like cheese, that would be ideal. So let's work on that, shall we?

July 21, 2010

The Carnivorous What?

Would a carnivorous vegan be a subset of vegans or a superset? There are all types of words to distinguish vegetarians, such as ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and pescatarian. But what about carnivores who eat everything but dairy? Are we such a small group that we don't have a name? Okay, maybe, yes. But if I exist, others must. The lactose intolerant must at least relate. But there have to be others out there allergic to dairy, and this site is for us, whom I dub, for lack of a defining term, the carnivorous vegans.