I’ve been sort of living a lie.
I can’t believe I didn’t know that “lactose intolerant” doesn’t normally have a hyphen in it…
Oh, and I’d like to also confess that I am a lactose intolerant individual, and I have been eating cheese for about, oh say… my entire life.
Until recently. When my body decided that I should cut out the shenanigans and stop eating cheese forever.
I know, I know. How first world problem can you get? Oh woe is me, I can’t eat pizza. Oh, what a world, what a world, I can never eat ice cream in the summertime. I’ll just have to settle for water ice.
But really, I’m used to it. I ate cheese all my life because I wanted to. It was a lifestyle choice. My side effects weren’t fun, but I could live with them. I’d rather stay mum on what they are, but I can tell you this: they are a far cry from the side effects I had when I was younger.
Once, (I say once because when this happens, you don’t do it again) my dear dad gave me a piece of cheese. A morsel, really. When I was just a wee babe, you see. He could literally see my mother pulling out of the driveway. He was holding me in his arms and then…
I threw up all over him. No problem, he thought. I’ll just put on another shirt. Except I kept throwing up. And barfing. And retching. And yakking. Until he decided that it was worthless to do all that laundry. So, he stopped putting new shirts on. He just allowed me to throw up on his chest for a solid couple of hours. (Yeah, that’s hardcore parenting.)
So, as long as I’m not projectile vomiting, I thought, what’s the harm in a little pizza once in awhile? And yes, I’d love some extra parm on my three-cheese tortellini. Sure, why not? We can grab some fro-yo.
Until recently. I’ve already lost my gallbladder at this point, which I had previously blamed on an overdose of Nutella, but now I am starting to wonder: Have I been killing myself softly with blue cheese my whole life?
In other words, the take-away from my life’s journey as a lactose intolerant American… and by the way, you think you’re special because you can digest cheese? You’re really just a mutant. Humans aren’t supposed to eat dairy so get out of my face with your Got Milk? ads and your delicious cheeseburgers because if I start, I won’t be able to stop… Ahem…
So, the take-away from my life’s journey as a lactose intolerant American: enough is sometimes really enough. You will come to a point in your life that your habits, or the habits of others, are just going to be too much for you to take, and you’ll make a change. I just hope it’s not too late for one of your organs, like it was for mine.
The point is, you can apply that advice to any area in your life. (For me, I applied it to food, which tells you something about me…) There are going to be times that you will need to push through the hard stuff to get to the gooey center of life. But, there will be times that you will reach your limit. And I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say, “I can’t do this anymore.” Because I don’t care how delicious cheese is (or how delicious your annoying partner is, or how delicious that job is that sucks your soul but pays you good money), sometimes you just have to say no because it will help you in the long run.
But you have to promise, next time you have a slice of pizza, have one for me. I’ll be over here with my rice milk (which is actually kind of amazing) and some goat milk (which is a bit goaty, but also very good.)
You shouldn’t stop yourself from doing (or eating) what you love, just have the courage to know when you need to mooove your life in a different direction. (Oh, c’mon. Like you didn’t see that coming…)