November 1, 2009

Hasta Luego Manchego

I'm sitting in my kitchen right now waiting for dinner to finish cooking. I went all out tonight and made Mike's favorite meal. It's an Indian dish his mom first made for us a little over a year ago. She was kind enough to share the recipe with me, and now I make it as well. But it's a several step, several pot meal. After more than an hour of cooking, it's almost done. But as I sit here waiting to call Mike to come and get it, I'm debating how much of it I'll actually eat.

It's not that I don't like it. In fact, I like this dish very much. It's the knowledge of the ingredients in this dish that are giving me pause. It's called butter chicken so naturally the recipe calls for an entire stick of butter, not to mention a full cup of heavy whipping cream. That's what makes it so delicious, but that's also why I can't really enjoy eating it. You see over the past few months, I've come to the realization that I'm lactose intolerant. And it's a cruel, cruel condition.

I gradually have started cutting dairy products from my diet. And the positive changes I noticed when I switched from two percent milk to soy milk was enough to convince me that I should attempt to severely limit my intake of dairy products.

Easier said than done.

Cutting out milk hasn't been too much of an ordeal. I don't mind soy in my cereal. I do miss having my daily yogurt snack, but I've found other snacks to replace it. And even though ice cream is my favorite dessert, I also don't mind substituting it for sorbet if I feel I absolutely need an ice cream fix. I do worry about the unknowns. Lactose is sneaky. Did you know that packaged hot chocolate, pancake mix and lunch meats all contain lactose? I did not until I started researching lactose intolerance.

By far though, the thing that's killing me is my inability to consume cheese. I love cheese. Oh cheese. Cheese of any and all kinds. A firm manchego with some wheat crackers is one of my top five favorite things to eat. Cheese is a staple of so many good dishes. Try finding any sort of Mexican food that doesn't layer on the cheese (or sour cream). Same goes for Italian. And hamburgers just don't taste the same without a good slice of cheddar. Mike picked up some Jimmy John's for us yesterday. I got my favorite sub - the veggie. I took one bite of it and frowned realizing that the provolone is my favorite part of that sandwich. I will no longer be ordering it because it's just not any good without cheese.

Lessening my lactose consumption hasn't been all bad. The lack of diary in my system has had a direct impact on my girth. Mike made a comment last night about my midsection looking leaner these days. I haven't been to the gym in more than two weeks so I can't attribute that physical change to any sort of physical activity.

It hasn't been easy to distance myself from my moldy love. I'm weeping internally knowing that there's so much tasty cheese in our fridge right now. I do get tempted to eat cheese and crackers from time to time, but then I think back to a calzone I made for myself a few months ago. I ate it and 20 minutes later looked like I was progressing nicely trough my second trimester.

As for the dinner I'm about to eat, I can't back away from it. I'll eat it. But I will probably make the rice to creamy chicken mixture ratio a little higher than I want to. The rice isn't the standout of this dish. They don't call it butter chicken for nothing.


kelsalynn said...

I never knew you were lactose intolerant. Very interesting. After a while it will probably be an easier decision for you... after feeling like crap you'll realize it's just better not to eat it.

I hope the butter chicken was yummy though!!!

Alexis said...

Been there done that! I gave up all forms of dairy- and as much soy as I could for the first 8 months of Katie's life or so because she didn't tolerate it well. I totally changed the way that we cooked- cuz I am all about the caserole- and there isn't a caserole out there that doesn't have cheese and/or cream of something soup. You could always try those lactase pills for before a cheese treat once in awhile? the inability to eat mexican is surely the worst side effect of a lactose free diet!

Megan said...

I feel your pain. I could have written this post myself. I have issues with dairy too. I went a month totally vegan/dairy free and didn't have an upset stomach or bloating once in the entire month. But darn it, I love cheese and there is lactose in everything! The little pills help a bit, but for real relief from it - no dairy is the way to go. I struggle with it daily. I even found the same substitutions easy - like switching from regular to soy in my cereal. Not a fun thing to be intolerant of.

madre said...

Well kiddo when you were little I found that if I gave you fat free milk you were a happier baby but as you got older it didn't seem to matter so by late toddler and older went back to whole or 2 %. Then as you and your sister were late teens for health conscious reasons the house went to 1% or less. Sorry - don't know where this came from doesn't effect your parents.