I spent a good portion of the last ten years avoiding dairy of any kind. At times, it was because dairy seemed to be negatively affecting me, either through stomach upset, heartburn, or brutal acne. At other times, it was because it was negatively affecting my baby via my breastmilk. Despite how much many of us love it, there are plenty of reasons dairy is bad for you. Some of us anyway. I know, it's tragic, considering how damn good the stuff tastes (if there is anything better than baked brie, I don't know of it), but it's time to move on.
There's one tiny problem, however, with being dairy-free: Practically everyone else in the universe eats and cooks with dairy of some kind. That can make things challenging when you're visiting friends and family, but in general, people are far more accommodating to food restrictions than they used to be.
However, I believe that if I don't have to hear another person's commentary on my choice to abstain from dairy, it won't be soon enough. Whether it's people judging me for being dairy free, or quizzing me on how it's possible, or telling me it isn't possible to be dairy-free (I hate to break it to you, but it is). Here are all of the things you no longer need to say to those of us who don't eat dairy:
"How Can You Not Eat Cheese?"
Well, it's pretty easy, actually. You just don't. The end. (I mean, no one said it was fun, but it's not...ya know, complicated.)
"I Couldn't Live Without Cream In My Coffee."
So does that mean you'd die? Like, actually, literally die? Sounds like ~someone~ has more severe dietary restrictions than me simply not eating dairy.
"So, Do You Not Eat Pizza?"
Believe it or not, there are cheese alternatives out there, if I want cheese on my pizza. Also, newsflash: You don't have to have any kind of cheese on your pizza, believe it or not!
"I Couldn't Do It."
Uhhh, yes you could. If you had a choice between having a limb cut off and swearing off dairy for the rest of your life, would you still not be able to do it? Exactly.
"All Of Those Dairy Alternatives Are So Gross!"
Thanks for your input, but I'm surviving just fine, thanks. Also? You actually don't even need dairy alternatives! Paleo diet followers stay away from processed stuff (which is really what the dairy alternatives are, unless you're making them from scratch) and manage to stay dairy-free, so there you go. It's not impossible.
"Don't You Miss It?"
Maybe, but I don't miss the headaches/acne/stomachaches/my baby screaming/whatever other reason you've got going on, so that's a pretty good motivator.
"Oh God, WHY?"
Because it's always a choice, right? It's like you're saying that if I did choose to not eat dairy for non-essential health reasons, I'm stupid for choosing that, and if I did choose for health reasons...like, do you want to know my entire medical history? Why are you even asking this?
"Does That Mean You Don't Eat Eggs, Either?"
Well, considering eggs aren't actually a dairy product, no, that's not what it means. (If you're vegan, obviously you would have a different answer.)
"What About Butter?"
Well, you see, butter is still dairy. It's true that some people who are lactose-intolerant can have dairy, but when you're dairy-free, you still can't have butter.
"Do You Eat Gluten?"
Wait, why are these two things related? Just because I can't have one, doesn't mean I can't have the other. This is such a random and common thing, this assumption that one dietary specification means having all the dietary specifications.
"Yeah, But You HAVE To Try A Bite Of This. Just One Bite."
Umm, back off, pushy-pants. I. Said. No.
This is generally said with a dismissive hand wave, as if to say, "Oh, even though I have no idea what your reasons for not eating dairy are, I'm going to go ahead and casually dismiss them because they are surely stupid." Thanks for that.