An open breakup letter to Dairy
27 July 2014
My good friend Jeannine wrote a post on Facebook this week:
“what is the meaning behind craving savory creamy flavors and textures ALL THE TIME? What do I REALLY need?
Alexandra Jamieson, you are the cravings whisperer! You must know.”
I totally feel her pain. Dairy has been a huge craving of mine, and I didn’t feel like taking the old “just avoid it and you’ll feel better” line.
Dairy is a more emotional craving than most – so I decided to answer her in a more emotional way:
With a break-up letter:
I love you. I crave you.
You’re creamy, fatty, and often sweet or salty, which just makes me love you more. When you’re mixed with salty niblets like pretzels in a sweet ice cream, or mixed with chocolate in a salted caramel, my brain lights up with extra dopamine, because it loves texture, contrasting flavors, and the heady combinations.
And dairy, my dreamy love, there’s nothing wrong with you. You were my first food, perfect in nutrients, bonding me with my mother. My brain and body are built to crave you, otherwise I wouldn’t have thrived as a baby.
But sweetie, I don’t know if we are right for each other anymore. I think I need some time alone. A couple of weeks without you, so I can feel what my life, energy, and body are like without you.
See, I’m wondering if when I eat you, I’m also taking synthetic growth hormones that may have been fed to the cow, thereby upsetting my own hormones. Even if you’re organic, I know that I’m still taking in extra hormones, and that could be enough to set me off kilter.
I think I’ve become allergic or sensitive to you in my adult years. You didn’t used to bother me as a kid, but now that I think about it – I did get a ton of acne growing up, and I did eat a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. Could it have been you all along?
And what about your lactose? Is this really hurting me, more than helping me?
I thought you were helping me – giving me what I needed to grow healthy, strong bones! But now I hear that this was a lie all along: that many people and animals (traditional Asian cultures and most large mammals like elephants) don’t eat any dairy and have no problem growing strong bones…nor do they have any problems with osteoporosis, so what gives!?
It turns out your naturally acidic nature might be part of the week bone epidemic, rather than a solution. I feel so betrayed…
I think it’s time to try my life without you…for a little while.
I’ll get my calcium from the natural sources that other animals get it from: greens, like broccoli and bok choy, salmon, sardines, nuts and seeds…they don’t need you, and perhaps I don’t either.
Then, after a couple of weeks off, let’s have a date. A steamy, indulgent date. Full-fat, yogurty creamy goodness, buttery and milky. Then I’ll leave you alone for a few more days to feel into how my body, mood and digestive system react to you.
It’s nothing against you, and I hope we can stay friends. But I need to get clear if this relationship is really working for me or not.
I’ve loved you my whole life, and I’ll always love you. But that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to live together or see each other every day. We may see each other after this experiment, flirt and spend a fabulous night together every once in a while. And I’ll not feel guilty or punish myself for tasting your deeply pleasurable goodness. But what I’m open to discovering is that you may not be the one for me.
Not every day. Or maybe you are. I know you’ll wait for me, and that you won’t hold it against me, no matter what I discover. I know you just want what’s best for me.
And I’ll always love you.
No matter what.
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