Hi, my name is Rachel, and I'm addicted to cheese. It's my worst habit and the even bigger problem with my addiction is that I'm lactose intolerant. As Lent is here, I'm trying to give cheese up.
Lactose intolerance makes my love affair with cheese not a pleasant one after the fact. But I can't stop, I have zero willpower when I have the opportunity to eat something like mac n' cheese. It's too good, and words cannot begin to describe my love for pizza. Not to mention snacks like the almighty Cheez-It and Goldfish.
That being said, I've decided that it's time to finally make steps to quit.
For those who don't know, Lent is a religious observance for Christians that requires people to give up a luxury or fast for the 40 days before Easter. In the past, I've given up things like Starbucks, gum, and chicken.
By giving up cheese for Lent, I'm hoping the impressive power of Catholic guilt will motivate me. As I write this, I'm on day five and hanging in there. This doesn't mean it doesn't completely suck, because it does suck, but it's getting easier.
Thankfully, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday so I didn't have to suffer through a full week from the get go. The first day was the hardest, though.
Since I've been at school, I've been trying to eat healthier. For some ungodly reason it was on this first night that I decided that I not only wanted pizza, I needed pizza.
With Domino's on call, this cheesy goodness was at my fingertips, but I didn't do it. I was so tempted on my walk home, but in a cruel twist of irony the Catholic House on campus is right next to my dorm so I had to trudge past it in a cheese-starved state.
Having to walk past the sign showing the times to get ashes hit hard, and the Domino's plan was nipped in the bud.
Day two actually started out good. I was busy with midterms, so I only had raw oatmeal from Juice Press until later in the day. The oatmeal was super filling, and I barely thought about cheese until much later on.
By that point, I was watching Chef's Table on Netflix holding back tears as Italian chef Massimo Bottura cut into a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano. This was certainly my low-point.
Searching for anything remotely unhealthy in my dorm room, I settled on Veggie Pirate's Booty. Miraculously, it contains no cheese. After ravenously devouring half of the bag, the block of Parmigiano-Reggiano was a distant memory.
God bless the Boston University dining hall for having vegan pizza. If it wasn't for the vegan Mediterranean pizza in Marciano Commons on Friday, I likely would have given up.
I don't know if it was just me getting used to my life without cheese or the options for eating with restrictions in the dining hall, but this vegan pizza made me reconsider how hard these 40 days would be.
I may have slipped up just a little. The day started out strong, I had gone home for spring break looking forward to having more control over the food available to me.
I had a pear for breakfast and made plans to meet my friends later in the day. After a full day of doing errands for my family, I realized that I was starving and had barely any time to grab food before meeting my friends.
Making a split second decision, I stopped by my best friend's house to hang out with her before she went to Tampa for spring break. As soon as I walked in I could smell them. Meatballs, with cheese.
"Rachel, would you like a meatball sub? I just made them," asked my best friend's mom.
Without thinking, I gave her a possibly over-emphatic yes and scarfed down the most delicious sandwich I had ever had. Yes, I did slip up, but I was also about to faint from hunger. And afterwards I paid for it, as my body had not had any dairy for a number of days.
As the first week of Lent was coming to a close, I decided to prevent any repeats of the meatball sub fiasco and head to the store. I had spent the week in school looking at dairy-free pizza and mac n' cheese recipes that I was excited to try some out.
That miracle was Daiya's new Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but now there's an alternative to Kraft's Mac & Cheese for the lactose-intolerant community.
Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I threw all of these in my cart. For the first time since I left school, I felt like I had it under control.
Hopefully these products will get me through the rest of Lent. Knowing that I have them in my fridge makes me think that the withdrawal in the coming weeks will get easier.