No cheese is a breeze

February 16, 2016 by Ray Morgan

No cheese is a breeze

I've given up cheese. Oh god, there it is. I've said it out loud. I've not eaten cheese, milk, cream or yogurt since December. I even had a dairy-free Christmas Dinner.

I'm also a veggie, and have been for many years. If you are not a vegetarian, I must tell you that when 'out and about' most vegetarian options are: cheese, hot cheese, things covered in cheese.

I have long been considering going vegan, which I've decided to do slowly. It causes people to have a major reaction, I'm learning. "What will you eat?" they cry. Well, pretty much what you have for your three meals a day without the animal stuff. "How will you get your protein?" they ask, as though protein is their #1 priority when choosing from a menu. Amazingly, things like protein, calcium and essential vitamins come from plant-based foods - such as nuts, seeds, veg. Who would have thought it? *sarcastic wink*

Lots of bad, fun foods exist that are vegan that you wouldn't realise; jam tarts. Bacon crisps. Beans on toast. It's not like I'm going to go hungry. BOURBONS. Bourbons guys.

What I'm enjoying so far is how much healthier I feel for not having pumped my body full of things made from cow's milk. That stuff does not agree with me. Last year, I had such bad eczema on my arms, legs and hands that I would scratch the backs of my legs before going to sleep every night until they were raw. I could have scratched them with knives just to satisfy that itch. I had weeping blisters on my hands which, believe it or not, weren't pretty. The eczema has gone. Actually disappeared; not a patch on my body, and I'm not using any creams or taking any medication.

I have had teenage-style spots on my face since Year 6 - until now. Yes, the girl who was nicknamed 'Clearasil' by a particularly evil class-mate at primary school (who also bought me a Valentine's card, make of that what you will) is SPOT FREE. I'm now 31 - and not a single year has passed since adolescence where I've not had spots collecting around my chin, temples and neck. THEY HAVE GONE. People have actually commented on my skin, which has never happened before.

I've lost weight; it hasn't dropped off as quickly as I thought it would, but I'm slimmer than when I'd eat buttery toast or milk-soaked cereals for breakfast, melted cheese on a jacket potato for lunch, and more handfuls of the grated good stuff on spag bol for dinner. Not to mention the 6+ cups of tea with semi-skimmed milk I'd sink during the course of an office day.

I feel better. I like that I'm not putting milk into my system; it's not for us. We're not baby cows that need fattening up. We can get calcium from green leafy veg, or tofu, or nuts and bread, and soy milkshakes as a treat.

I get that people don't want to give this stuff up: I used to down glasses of ice cold milk straight out of the fridge with a guaranteed instant refill, and walk around the house chomping on blocks of cheddar. I was always the person who ordered the cheese board. But I don't have it anymore and I'm over it. I feel good, not to mention that a shopping basket without cheese and meat is a cheaper one.

I am still eating eggs (from local farms) and fish (mostly in the Old Town) at the moment, but I'm probably going to give them up eventually too. This isn't a preach, I'm just passing it on. If you feel sluggish, or have bad skin problems, or fancy trying a new way of thinking about food, I recommend trying to go dairy-free.

My top 5 tips for going dairy free

1. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up at the start!
2. Pure Sunflower spread is the SAME as normal butter in baking
3. Hit up the Oaktree Bistro and The Railway for great vegan dinner options
4. Don't overdo the soya. It's not that great for you either
5. Rude Health oat milk works in tea like you wouldn't believe. Good lord that stuff is ace.

To read Ray's previous articles please click the link


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