Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear Diary Dairy

I miss you.

[I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago and then I decided not to publish it because it just felt whiney.  I've said it before, but I feel like there is a fine line between being real and honest and transparent and being negative and complaining all the time.  But this week, I hit a wall again.  So, I'm going to be honest and put it all out there.]

This is so stupid and meaningless in the greater scheme of things, but oh my gosh, this going without dairy for the benefit of sweet Graves's tummy has gotten so hard lately.  The other day, I just lost it and cried about it.  It had been a long day and I thought of several things I wanted to eat so bad and they were all, of course, milk or cheese or whatever.  I'm so awfully tired of peanut butter sandwiches.

I talked to my mom the other day and was telling her that I felt like he'd never grow out of this- that we'd be having lactose free ice cream at every birthday party and a vegan groom's cake at his wedding.  "Darling," she said "it's only been seven months." I totally dissolved into tears again and blurted out "THE LONGEST SEVEN MONTHS OF MY LIFE." Now, that is a lie.  They've been sweet, beautiful months.  Months where we've all grown and learned and loved.  But in that moment, I felt such defeat. 

I guess I am just kind of desperate at this point.  Like I said, I know there are bigger issues in the world, but it's been so hard lately, for some reason.  For one thing, Peyton (bless his heart), asks me all the time if I want a bite of his ice cream or whatever.  Poor thing, he remembers before I can respond and I can see him wanting to suck the words back in.  I asked him the other day what he would say if I told him I was going to just put Graves on formula.  I know he thinks breastfeeding is really important and also he's hecka cheap, so I kind of knew his response, but I was just curious.  He said ultimately, he'd want me to decide, but he'd want to sit down and talk about it first.

I'm nowhere near that.  (If y'all haven't noticed) I feel really strongly about breastfeeding my children and in the end it's a small sacrifice.  I would feel so incredibly selfish if I stopped at this point for such a trivial reason.  But I'm not gonna lie.  The thought has crossed my mind, as evidenced by the aforementioned conversation with my sweetie.

Y'all want me to be REALLY honest? I'll tell you the other thought that crossed my mind.  Something that kind of horrified me.  Although I've been accused of having an eating disorder multiple times, it's something I've never, ever struggled with.  But a few weeks ago, for just a brief second, I thought maybe little binge and purge wouldn't be so awful just this once.  I wanted some pizza that bad that I thought about scarfing it down and barfing it back up.  That is NOT healthy. Please don't tell me that I have a problem.  I know it wasn't a healthy thought, but it didn't go anywhere and it was good for me because it woke me up to things.

It really didn't change anything, but it did make me recognize that this is harder for me than I've led myself to believe.  I keep telling myself that it's a dumb, minute thing and I'm stupid for obsessing over it, but it's gotten rough and I need to be honest about that.  We've also tried to limit our chocolate to mostly fair trade stuff (see this post) and I've cut out caffeine and sometimes I just look around and think "What CAN I eat?".

There's one more sad part and then I'll be done.  I feel like (among lots of other things) it's kind of making me Graves's  babyhood.  Or I should say, I'm allowing it to make me rush things.  I want so badly to get to a year and just be done.  And I feel so much guilt for saying, even feeling, that. Giving up a few foods seems like such a small thing and I can't understand why I get so upset over it.  I guess it's just that SO many of my favorite foods contain dairy.

Additionally, if it weren't for this, I'd probably really consider nursing him longer.  Probably not past eighteen months and I'm sure not past two, but it's something I've thought about.  For those of you that think I've all of a sudden gotten super crunchy, I actually considered it some with Annie, before I was a natural birthing, non-circumcising hippie mom ;) But, for a variety of reasons, I didn't end up doing it that time. My mom breastfeed me until eighteen months and it didn't seem that outlandish.  I just don't think I can do it at this point, thoug.  And I feel so horrible about that. That I would allow something so shallow to affect that decision. But it is what it is.  And right now, I'm thinking nobody will ever have such a celebratory first birthday as he will.  I'm throwing myself a party!

I really didn't write this to illicit a bunch of sympathy or because I want people to pat me on the back.  I'm doing what is the norm, what is expected, and what is the only reasonable thing in my mind (despite a bit of well intentioned advice of the "just give him a bottle" variety from some people very dear to me). I just wanted to process this and also have a record of my feelings.  Thanks for bearing with me.

Edited To Add: I have found a few substitutes- I've found some lactose free milk that's not bad and even some ice cream.  The main things I really miss are cheese, sour cream, and creamy soups.  We've been eating a lot of "meat and potatoes" type dishes because most casseroles have dairy.  I realize that things could be WAY worse!  And if you have any, I welcome all suggestions you want to send my way!

13 comments:

Kodi said...

I'm not sure if this is helpful, so if it's not please ignore and move on, but have you looked for substitutes of some of those favorite items? I'm just thinking that might make it more bearable for you. My friend Gina blogs at namastebyday.com & she has a son allergic to dairy. She has found good ice cream made w/o dairy etc. I'm sure she'd be happy to share with you if you want me to hook you two up!

Elizabeth said...

Please don't give up on nursing beyond a year yet, of course that is a very personal decision and I'll love y'all regardless:) But he will probably outgrow it by a year.

Sarah Broadus said...

i did the vegan thing for a week. No dairy, no cheese, no ice cream....it was hard but i did discover...Kroger Soy Milk is amazing ( i like the chocolate and its cheaper than cow milk) cheese, there is no substitute for, but their is a rice cheese slice that is suppose to be like provolone. I put that on whole wheat bread, avocado and tomatoes...then grilled it. It was super good.

Mallory Pickering said...

I'm wondering your thoughts on eating fair-trade chocolate (and fair-trade in general). I guess I just see the potential damage it could do if everybody chose the route of boycotting products that utilize child labor in their manufacture. It's sickening, no doubt. But if this is their livelihood---what would happen to them without it?

Sarah said...

I know that you've probably tried this already, but when I was dairy-free for a few years, what saved me during the dark craving times was those pre-made frozen vegan meals in the "healthy" section of the grocery store. Vegan pizzas, mexican dishes, etc (especially the "Amy's" brand ones). They're not the same as the real thing, but they satisfied my craving enough that I didn't lose my mind. I'll be praying for you.

Megan said...

This may be a dumb question b/c I'm not a mom and have never breastfed, but if you could store up a small stash from pumping, could you eat normally for a meal and have it out of your system but the next time? (giving him a bottle of your milk not forumla)? Again, sorry if it is a dumb or rude question.

Anonymous said...

Hi SD! My name is Kylie, I've responded on your blog once or twice before. I have just a couple of suggestions, but mostly sympathy, because I am A HUGE cheese fan myself. I live in Madison, WI, so every single dish around here pretty much involves cheese! (though we have about a million vegans, so lots of vegan options everywhere as well..go figure!) I try to keep my cheese intake to a reasonable amount...but yes, I would be in major pain too! As far as the creamy soups go, I often substitute silken tofu in place of cheese and blend it all together..makes it incredibly creamy and wonderful! JUST like cheese :) Also, I have a pasta trick, if you really miss cheesy pasta. Cook everything for your pasta first, then right at the end, beat an egg or two in a bowl and then stir the egg into the pasta....it makes it incredibly creamy, like a super cheesy delicious alfredo sauce or something! SO good. Plus...cheap. Also, have you ever tried almond milk? It's really delicious. I also agree with the Amy's cheeseless pizzas that another reader told you about, they are awesome! Also, this is probably a real DUHHHHHHHH question, but, can you eat greek yogurt? I know it's dairy, but does it have the same effect on Graves? If not, you could substitute plain greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Anyway, good luck and remember, you will have your whole life to eat delicious cheese after this stage is over!

Allison said...

There are vegan cheeses. Just googled and found this review of different ones: http://www.veganbaking.net/vegan-baking-articles/product-reviews/the-big-vegan-cheese-review.html

Mary Louis Quinn said...

I would have such a hard time giving up dairy for that long, so I feel for ya. I only gave it up for about a month with C and when it didn't seem to help her colic, I started back.

Clearly it has really helped Graves, but have you started to slowly add any back to see if he has outgrown it yet? Just curious...

Anonymous said...

I love how honest you are. I had to go dairy free for about 6 months for my daughter, then was able to transition to lactose free, and eventually back to regular dairy. I am already a strict vegetarian, so I had a hard time, too. But, she did outgrow it, and we nursed past 2 years. Have hope that he may outgrow it, but if he doesn't, it will be A big celebration for you both. I consider myself a pretty big lactivist, but breastfeeding needs to be mutually beneficial to mother and baby. When he turns one, if he isn't over dairy issues, and you still feel this way, just think about how hard you fought to make it to a year and feel proud. You are doing a great job and seem like a very giving, selfless mother. Graves is so lucky to have a mom that has sacrificed so much for his long term health!

Melanie said...

I decided to go dairy free too and have satisfied my ice cream cravings with coconut milk ice cream... the first flavor I bought was cookie dough and it was really good! I tried all the non dairy yogurts except soy bc I read that can be irritating too and coconut milk is my favorite. My understanding is that the dairy allergy is from cows milk so you could try goat milk/cheese. I tried goat milk yogurt, but it was so thin. Earth balance "butter" is supposed to be a good substitute for butter for making pie crusts and such. I am sad about a dairy free thanksgiving as last year I felt sick at the holidays and couldnt enjoy food then! I plan on making a dairy free pumpkin pie and enjoying it all myself ;)

Sarah Denley said...

Mal,

Sorry I am just now responding. The thing is, with this situation in particular, the children are being used as slave labor, so they are in no way compensated for their work. I guess they are given food and water enough to sustain them, but many times they are sold by their parents or captured and become slaves. I just don't think it can be justified or rationalized. Now, children working in sweatshops and being paid small wages is horrific, but it's a totally different scenario that (to me) is not as black and white.

Tara G said...

Oh SD, I feel your pain! Because of health reasons I was gluten and casein free for a while, and for other personal reasons I was vegan at one time as well. What helped me the most were blogs with vegan moms! They post SO many wonderful recipes. Sometimes I still even buy vegan/dairy free because I just enjoy how they taste. For mac and cheese and pizza cravings, go to kroger and check out the organic section- "amy's" has dairy free on both.(sometimes expensive, but they have good sales every once in a while) You can also try coconut dream ice cream (I prefer it over regular). Rainbow co-op has a seasoning called "nutrional yeast" that many vegans use as a cheese substitute. It has a cheezy taste and is VERY healthy. SOO many vitamins and minerals. When I was vegan there was absolutely NO food I could not have I just had to "tweek" it to meet vegan standards. You don't have to deprive yourself, it just takes a new way of thinking.