Why I don't miss cheese

The most common thing I hear when I tell people I'm vegan is:

"I could never do that. I like cheese way too much."

I take it in and laugh a little to myself. I LOVED cheese. (and cookie dough shakes from Braum's.) Loved it, and I loved going to Cattlemen's for prime rib my birthday and partaking of their house dressing (a garlicky ranch). I guess I laugh at the slight fallacy that perhaps they love cheese more than I did - the one who went through, on average, a pound of cheese a week - and that was just at home. Who knows how much I consumed elsewhere?

Anyway, I don't eat cheese anymore. I've officially been vegan for about six months, and I can't imagine ever going back. Here's why:

I spent a great deal of my life as a sufferer of seasonal allergies. I'm not talking a few sneezes and a runny nose, I'm talking upper-respiratory infections at least twice a year, and that was a good year. In my middle and high school days I would get bronchitis at least once a year (but usually twice) - all thanks to the respiratory complications of my allergies. And on top of that... Allergy induced asthma. I have a huge collection of handkerchiefs for aesthetic and practical reasons.

I was hunkering down as spring rolled around, I had all of my allergy medications lined up. People around me started suffering as the season changed, but wow, not me. Like this is an absolute miracle. I used to pray for relief, but after so many doctor visits and different medications growing up, I had succumb to my fate.

I ran in high school: Cross-country all four years, and track for like a season and a half. You see, they were both at the worst time of the year for an allergy sufferer. I loved running, but I hated it too. I was always so full of allergy medicine that I was super dried out, you know how allergy medicine does that. Allergy medicine and inhalers were my constant companion. I made it to state in cross-country my junior year, and I ran a 60 second split in a 4x400 relay my senior year. Those were good days. You see, I was sick on the actual state championship race day - I still came in slightly on the better half of middle, phew - I could never be consistent, which is super frustrating if you're working hard every day at something. There's nothing worse than pushing it, working as hard as possible, and then just having your body flake out on you because it's being deprived of a little thing like oxygen.

Anyway - the urge to run comes in waves with me. If you've been reading for an extended period of time, you probably know that. I am on an up swing of needing to run. I'm just so curious how different it will be without the bulk of the respiratory problems of my past.

But this post isn't really about running. It's about this very magical thing I could have never imagine. Something I truly never thought possible - cutting dairy out of my diet has completely taken the suffering out of seasonal allergies (aka that place we do not speak of), has taken seasonal allergies away from me. So, sometimes I get the urge for an ooey gooey pizza, sure, but only when I'm really hungry, and only until I think of how awful I used to feel. I wouldn't go back at all if it means that my bouts with seasonal allergies and all the poo they bring with them are gone for good. I can't even express how grateful I am that I happened upon (ha...happened over a thoughtful transition that took several years) this new way of life.

PS: It's also done wonders for Cora. She, too, was following in my footsteps. She had 10-12 ear infections in 2010, they were all caused by the drainage that would roll around from allergies. She had one at the very beginning of this year, before she'd completely gone dairy free. That's all.
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