Although I’ve never officially been vegan, I was pretty darn close for a couple of years, including the time when I met Matthew. On one of our first dates, we made vegan chocolate chip cookies. He went out of his way to buy vegan chocolate chips and Earth Balance spread for the the recipe, knowing that I tried to avoid dairy products.
Though he had been vegetarian for much longer than I had, he liked cheese, butter, ice cream, and eggs, and my diet gradually came to incorporate more of those foods.
Over the summer, we started buying local milk regularly (one gallon every two or two-and-a-half weeks), some of which became yogurt and ice cream. We’ve also been eating a decent bit of cheese, either local or non-local plastic-free.
Everything seemed fine and dandy until I suggested that Matthew visit my homeopathic health care provider (she has a doctorate, but cannot be considered a “doctor” in Missouri) about some ongoing health issues he’d been experiencing since August. She ordered a simple food allergy blood test, and, lo and behold, the results came back with a Level 3 allergy to dairy.
While it is hard for him (and me too at this point, to be honest) to consider completely eliminating dairy from his diet, that is exactly what he (we?) will be doing for a month. After his system has a month to recover, he will slowly reintroduce specific dairy products to see if there are some that he can tolerate.
We expect that straight up milk will be out of the picture altogether (which would not be a huge loss) but are hoping that butter, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese might not cause a reaction.
Since he has been eating them for years, this is clearly not a life-threatening allergy, but as the past few months have made clear, the allergy is most likely affecting his health on a day-to-day basis. This may very well come down to a choice between optimum health and continuing to eat some favorite foods.