Skip to content

a difficult goodbye

March 31, 2011

I would have thought that gluten would be the hardest food to give up because it is so prevalent in so many yummy items.  But I have been off of gluten for 8 months now (time really does just fly by!) and I have to say, it’s not so bad.  I can still have all the things I worried I would miss: pasta, pizza, cupcakes, beer…. I just can’t have them without going out of my way to make/buy special versions of these items.  And that, I have to say, is probably for the best.  I honestly do not want to be eating cupcakes and pizza on a whim anyway.

The only times I still feel frustrated are when I am in social situations when everyone else is drinking or eating something awesome that I can’t have, but behind this frustration is mostly the embarrassment I feel about having to be the “weird allergic one,” which is something I am sure will fade with time and some internal shifting… because, let’s be real, this embarrassment is mostly self-generated.  I have really supportive friends and family surrounding me these days:  My mom always keeps gluten-free snacks on hand just in case I stop by,  my step-mom baked me gluten-free versions of all of my favorite holiday food-items,  and on several occasions my friends have shown up at my office with gluten-free treats and coffee drinks!  I am so thankful.  Those little selfless gifts are so nourishing in times of growth and change.

Now I am facing my new challenge, and it may be the hardest challenge yet.  I have to give up casein-containing dairy items forever.  I am so not excited.

Dairy is my favorite.  In high-school I used to drink milk by the carton.  Seriously.  Whole.  Cartons.  Of.  Milk.  Ooh, and don’t get me started on cheese…. cheese has always been the MOST delicious, satisfying ingredient in any meal, especially for all the years I was a vegetarian.  In the past few years since I began my health-centered weight-loss journey I have cut back on my cheese intake a good deal, but it still remained a savored part of my diet.  And ice cream!  Oh, ice cream.

So when I figured out I was gluten-intolerant and I noticed that many people recommended going dairy-free while weaning off of gluten, I reluctantly agreed but I went back on dairy at the earliest recommended time (I believe it was 60 days).   When I went back on, some of my symptoms came back, but these things can be subtle & can be easily downplayed if one is not ready to face the whole picture.  And this one wasn’t ready.

Part of me has known for many months now that I need to kick dairy for good, but I have been unwilling to accept it.  I think I felt like giving up gluten should be enough somehow, but of course this is not how the body works.  In fact, giving up gluten is totally in vain if I continue to eat dairy because dairy stresses out my body just like gluten does.  I am not doing myself any favors by clinging to this fantasy that I can somehow will my body to be OK eating dairy, so with the coming of spring and my new wave of motivation, I have decided to stop.  Or, I have decided to start listening to these messages.

I have been dairy-free in a wishy-washy way for a few weeks (which really doesn’t do any good physically, but perhaps I have been gearing myself up for the big goodbye), and I have been hearing my body’s reaction to dairy louder than ever.  The other day I had some goat cheese — which is usually not a problem for me — and then my body started “freaking out” gluten-style.  Stress hormones pumping, heart racing, tummy gurgling, skin itching.  And I realized what it was: ANGER.  My body was ticked off!!  “I can’t deal with this!” it said.  Loud and clear.  So I checked the ingredients and low & behold: “Lactic Acid (milk solids)” was listed as an ingredient, right after goat’s milk.  Now, I’m not sure what cow milk solids were doing in my goat cheese, but the important thing is that this experience taught me a very valuable lesson: Cow milk makes my body angry.  And that is all I really need to know.   I am done with cow-dairy.

It’s sad.  I will miss dairy.  I will miss my lowfat decaf lattes and I will miss cottage cheese.  I will miss vanilla frozen yogurt and greek yogurt with almonds and banana slices.  But I will find things that are also good — better, even — like clear skin and a beautiful lack of food-induced stress.  Maybe I will even get to enjoy more efficient nutrient absorption and a healthy, happy glow.  Yes, that is even better than ice cream.

❤ Diana Banana

image courtesy of,r:17,s:70&biw=1600&bih=649

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sasha permalink
    April 1, 2011 9:22 pm

    are goat milk products different?

  2. April 4, 2011 11:05 am

    hey sasha,

    good question. goat milk products are different somehow — I can tell by the way my body reacts. if you google it, there is a lot of interesting information. apparently many people find goat milk to be OK even when cow milk products are not. there is some debate as to why — it may be that the composition of the fats in the goat milk products make it easier to digest the lactose, or it may be this:

    “Goat’s milk does contain a somewhat different set of proteins than does cow’s milk, so some people who can’t drink cow’s milk because they have allergies to casein proteins can drink goat’s milk instead.” -

    this second explanation makes a lot of sense to me because apparently the gluten protein and the casein protein are very similar and many people who are allergic to one are allergic to the other.

    for another response to this question, go to this site:

    hope this helps to clarify! i am still learning myself 😀

  3. April 19, 2011 9:04 am

    I’m started a 30 day no lactose/no gluten ordered by my dr. yesterday. So sad to have to say goodbye to those things…. 😦

    • May 3, 2011 1:23 pm

      It is so hard to say goodbye to those things! I still sometimes find myself wondering if it would hurt to “cheat” a little, but the answer is always yes. Life will be better in the long run if we stick with it! Hope it is going well for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s