Wean Yourself

I am weaned. Like most adult mammals, I don't eat dairy products. When I quit, at age 23, my face cleared up. No more pimples. Then my nose cleared up. I could smell! Then my energy level went up. I started riding my bike from Providence to Boston. I was clearly onto something. But in the mid-80s in New England it was not so easy. Now it's easy.

Dairy is not really good for you. The places with the highest dairy consumption have the highest osteoporosis. Do you really need all that fat and protein?

So I haven't had dairy in 30 years. Except in small amounts, like in baked goods. Not croissants. But an occasional cake. I employ the don't-ask-don't-tell policy sometimes. But mayonnaise is not dairy, so that's OK. My favorite food was Fettuccine Alfredo at Moran's Riverside restaurant in New Orleans. Amazing! But I don't miss dairy now. Not at all.

Lately dairy has been creeping into more foods, especially at restaurants. I recently order fried calamari, which came with (completely un-announced) lots of parmesan cheese all over it. When this happens I can't help feeling that they have sprinkled dirt all over my food, and then server it to me with a smile. I always send it back. Even more amazing was the cheese in the cole slaw I was served recently. I asked the manager over, who admitted they had added cheese but not mentioned it on the menu. She said "but it's so good!" Except when it's not.

Everyone always says "Give up cheese? I could never do that!" But it is surprisingly easy. Hamburgers are great without it. Even pizza is just as good without cheese... that's the way the italians do it, anyway. Other ethnic foods don't use it to begin with (although I have noticed a starting increase in the use of cream cheese in sushi). Just Say No!

Are you weaned?

2 comments:

Sandro Magi said...

I am weaned. Like most adult mammals, I don't eat dairy products. When I quit, at age 23, my face cleared up. No more pimples. Then my nose cleared up. I could smell! Then my energy level went up. I started riding my bike from Providence to Boston. I was clearly onto something.

Correlation is not causation. There are plenty of hormonal changes occurring in that stage of life that can account for all sorts of effects.

Furthermore, if avoiding dairy were really critical for healthy living, there would have been a torrent of studies citing evidence that the lactose intolerant are mysteriously healthier than the norm. In fact, studies on osteoperosis on the lactose intolerant are mixed, some showing higher risk, some showing no risk. No study I'm aware of demonstrates that the lactose intolerant are healthier. The case for avoiding dairy seems weak at best.

Which isn't to say that dairy is important for healthy living either, but the contrary position isn't the strong case you seem to imply.

I agree menus should really list all ingredients and not just assume people want additional toppings like cheese.

Will Cook said...

I'm not even sure that lactose is the only problem. Do you have stomache ache after eating dairy, or skin or nasal problems? Try avoiding dairy and see how it feels. Until the science gets done well have to stick with accecdote.

Genetics probably plays a huge role, as Northern Europeans have a mutation that let's them digest dairy. As an occasional food, processed into yogurt or other traditional forms, for people who can handle it, I'm sure it's fine. But not for me!