Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Killing the Cow

For those who knew me growing up (like my mom), you probably already know the background part of this post.  Ever since I can remember, I havent liked milk.  The taste.  The smell.  Any of it.  Cheese and (Greek) yogurt- that's another story.  But milk, in general.  Yuck.  Even chocolate.  I can swallow it down and, sometimes, might even get the urge for a glass.  But, for the most part, it's not something I want as part of my day.  Not even over cereal.  (Until I found unsweetened almond milk- I vote we saint the girl at Whole Foods who turned me on to that one!- I was debating on either never eating cereal again or pouring juice over it.  Yeah.  I really really dont like milk.)

Ice cream... Love the ice cream that is made from milk.  Half and half... Love a splash of that in coffee.  Cheese... Oh, yes please!  Greek yogurt.... Get your hands off my crate- it's MINE!  Glass of milk?  No, please, you take it.  Really. YOU.TAKE.IT.  Now, preferably.  (There's one exception- I'll get to that.)  Lactose free milk?  You can have that too.  Ugh...

I didnt push this hatred onto the kids.  We had milk.  They would drink it.  We got raw milk.  They liked it better (and, honestly, if I have to drink milk, that would be the one.  It tastes better.  But better is still gross.)  We opened a local chocolate milk.  Man, those kids are nuts.  I actually cut it with 2 parts oat milk and 1 part chocolate milk.  Otherwise, Peter's paycheck should be made out to the farm!  But I will also admit that the fact they prefer nut milks (like almond and hazelnut) and grain milks (like oat and hemp) to dairy does cause me to smile a bit. :)

Why the hatred?  Well (and here's the aforementioned background), growing up, I would always get a sick stomach after drinking milk (even over cereal) and, when I ate or drank a decent bit of dairy (milkshake anyone?) I would have to drink something acidic (lemonade, soda, something) or risk puking.  Yeah.  Not cool- especially when you're a teenage girl making googoo eyes at a cute boy.

What's even more not cool?  Being a thirty-something mom who has to excuse herself after dinner to go puke.  Every other day.  At least. 

Yeah.  SO not fun. 

Welcome to the last few weeks here at Casa Haytko.

At first, I wasnt sure what the problem was.  So, I turned to my trusty food journal (which I keep by hand; I update Less of Me... weekly with stats, but not so much menus any more) and started noticing a pattern.  Dairy?  Puke day.  No dairy?  No puking.

Insert explicative here.  Not because of the moo juice.  But Greek yogurt... They have that in heaven- I'm sure of it.  (And if they dont, then I'm shooting off a text to the heavenly chef to get some pronto!) 

I brought this data to my resident scientist for some analytical mojo.  Certain dairy still seemed harmless.  Certain cheeses were okay (thank you Feta!!!), my beloved yogurt was fine (which includes frozen Greek yogurt which, if you havent tried, you need to!), and a splash of half and half in coffee didnt seem to do any damage.  Which left me feeling like 'what in the...' because you're either lactose intolerant or your not... Right?

Apparently not.  (for a great article on lactose intolerance, you can visit Wikipedia... very interesting! there's also a good article on milk alergies too)

Peter (and I love him, not just because he indulges my whims and crazy moments, but because, in some cases, he provides me for scientific back-up!) has an interesting theory built, surprisingly enough, around the one milk I would drink as a kid: sweet acidiphilus milk.  Apparently, I cant find this outside of visiting my mom (and the last time I was there, I nearly single handedly drank a gallon without any nasty side effects).  The bacteria (in this case acidiphilus and bidfidobacterium cultures) break down the part of the milk (which is what I'm apparently unable to digest, hence my projectile olympics in the bathroom), giving the milk a slightly acidic and sweet taste and odor.

And all this time, I thought it was the taste that got me. :)

He took my yogurt out of the fridge.  Yep.  You guessed it.  My favorite bacteria!  So, yogurt is saved!  It also explains why some cheese seems okay and other cheese doesnt.  Depending on the bacteria used and the amount of "eating" that it has done, I may (or may not) decide on a repeat showing a few minutes after dinner. 

But what about half and half in my coffee?  That, apparently, is a small enough dose of whatever the problem is that the acid in the coffee cuts it enough to make it okay.  (I'm a big black coffee girl so this isnt that big of a deal, but it's good to know.)  Which makes sense.  After drinking a milkshake or having something like a slice of cheesecake, I would always have my acidic beverage and, while my stomach would feel off, I wouldnt puke. 

But that brings us to a new place, food wise.  This week, we've decided to cut dairy from my diet to see if I am without puking.  (So far, so good.)  I had a vegan milkshake yesterday (Coconut Milk ice cream- NSA mint- blended with unsweetened almond milk)  It was so much like a dairy milkshake that I actually waited for the sick stomach and the urge to run to the bathroom.  And waited... And waited... And still- nothing!  No sick stomach!  No retching!  Nada!  (I'm waiting now to delve into the Coconut Milk Pomegranate Chip... Sounds like another delicious time!)

Part of me is excited about the venture.  I mean, I like vegan baking, and have things like this and this as staples.  But, at the same time... Does this mean that bread and butter is off limits?  I mean... hot southern cornbread with a slather of freshly made butter is... well, it's almost Greek yogurt good!  Ice cream I can live without (thank you coconut milk) but I will miss partaking in the ice cream outtings to the local dairy.  And what about cheese filled pasta dishes?  I made baked ziti florentine (which is a favorite in the house) and ended up in the bathroom... twice.  The food was fine (everyone loved it) but I couldnt handle the ricotta.

And vegan cheese?  The only vegan cheese dishes I've really enjoyed are the ones at Pure in NYC (where the cheese is made from nut sources), although thankfully our town is home to a raw, vegan cafe that makes pretty close versions!  And Sarah just found another raw/vegan cafe near her place that we are going to try out for her birthday celebration!  But, in general, the rice/soy based "cheeses" arent exactly on my "must eat" list.  While I'm good with feta and some others right now (or seem to be), I'm a bit fearful that, just as this issue hasnt given me a problem for 3 decades (as long as my acidic beverage was nearby!), it has now decided to rear its ugly head... Will that head also include a love of my precious feta and yogurt? (NO!!!!!)

Thankfully, we're crunchy enough (and live in a foodie enough area) that we are able to get a variety of non-dairy alternatives to the actual dairy that I enjoy (like the ice cream).  I've also found that raw dairy has less of an impact (not really that much of a sick feeling and, so far, no puking afterwards), so perhaps the pasturization that is killing off the bacteria in store bought milk is what actually helps me digest the dairy and, since the raw dairy has that, I'm better for it. 

Talk about a new fun to add to Casa Haytko!  Glass of (nondairy) milk, anyone?


Brigid said...

that vegan milkshake sounds delish! (and easy enough to make, even for me) and thankfully you don't have to cut out your Greek yogurt and most cheeses...b/c life is hard enough, right?

MrsSpock said...

My husband is very lactose intolerant. Certain cheeses, especially hard cheeses, have less lactose and he is able to tolerate. Have you tried Lactaid or lactose free milk?

Michele said...

I have the same response to lactose free milk (and I cant handle the taste either)