Monday, September 22, 2008

Cheese Wagon

We hopped back on the cheese wagon yesterday.* (For breakfast I had a "sausage," egg, and cheese sandwich on a poppy seed bagel at Jitter Beans. Then I hiked Mt. Monadnock to make up for it.)

The 30-day cheese fast was a great experience. Being vegetarian makes eating out difficult enough, and eliminating cheese made it even more interesting. Instead of being deprived of tasty meals, though, we were forced to try new things we might have ignored if we were eating cheese. (I didn't even miss cheese itself very much, but the pizza cravings were often just shy of being more than we could stand.)

I'm not going to give up cheese forever (right away), but I have learned that cheese doesn't really add that much to a dish. It adds fat, often overtakes other flavors, and definitely isn't necessary for a delicious and filling meal. We're not keeping a cheese collection in the fridge anymore, and when we eat at restaurants, we're going to steer in the direction of cheese-less dishes so we don't miss out on something great.

Cow milk is my last hurdle to becoming a healthy and mindful eater. Ice cream and cheese, specifically, are the next two things I want to get rid of in my diet. I've decided to keep egg,** but milk products (specifically casein) need to go. I'm starting very small and slowly, but I do see myself breaking the habit in the not-too-distant future.

*We did eat pizza that night we came home from Maine and thought our house was infested with bugs (which it was not) and stayed at the Radisson down the street. The only place open for dinner was a pizza place. We extended the fast by two days to make up for it.

**In store-bought ingredients when necessary, but never in my own cooking. The egg in my breakfast sandwich was the last I'll eat as an actual food.

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