Milk = Enemy #1

The first time I realized that milk might be a serious digestive issue for me was the winter of 2008. I was at my in-laws drinking tea with a bit of milk, and I felt this horrible achey/rawness developing on one side of my throat. It wasn’t the first time that had happened, but it was the first time I realized that maybe this wasn’t the beginning of a cold. Maybe something else was happening.

Of course, I didn’t do anything about it. I kept drinking milk in my tea. I kept eating mug-fulls of cereal and skim milk at night if I was hungry at bedtime, even though I went to bed with a stomach ache right after. I was in the first year of my graduate program. We had just bought and started gutting an historic brick house and we were living in dust and chaos. I was exhausted from adjusting to my new life as a full-time graduate student, living in the middle of a house renovation and over committed to my neighborhood board, farmers market, and maintaining a constant social life. Giving up cheese and cereal felt like one more commitment I didn’t want to make.

Then, three really gross things happened in the span of 6 months.
1. Starbucks started selling tea lattes. And I started drinking them. A lot. There’s a Starbucks on campus, so between my back-to-back courses on Thursday evenings, I would run through the underground tunnels, making my way to the other side of campus and back, just in time for my second course. I hadn’t been feeling great, but I couldn’t seem to place it. I had about 6 colds in 7 months, my immune system was shot, and I couldn’t bounce back from anything. And every time I drank a tea latte, my stomach would begin to churn and protest for at least 3 hours. I had C pick me up early from class multiple times that semester before I realized that maybe I shouldn’t be drinking the tea lattes…at least not during class.

2. The tea lattes made me quit milk. It wasn’t gradual. It was an immediate cut-off. I wasn’t willing to keep getting sick in the bathrooms at school or leaving class early just because I wanted some tea and milk. Unfortunately, this began in May, so I knew I was headed into a summer without ice cream, which seemed like a horrid fate at the time. In early June, C and I took a trip to San Francisco for our 5 year anniversary and my 30th birthday. I stuck to my no-milk policy with the exception of one dinner where had the genius idea that after not consuming milk or milk products for 3 months, I should order a massive bowl of clam chowder and eat the entire thing. O, and also a full bottle of wine. Needless to say, C and I were unable to attend the concert we had tickets for that night because I spend the evening puking and sh*%ing my guts out from 10 p.m. till about 4 a.m. Happy anniversary babe: what other way could you possible want to spend your time than sitting in a hotel room, listening to your wife loose all of her insides?” We spent the next day wandering around SF, stopping every 30 minutes so I could lay on a bench or in the grass because I had nothing left in my body to keep me moving.

3. Despite the last story, I decided to one-up myself and make another genius decision later in the summer by consuming an entire bag of Cheetos at a party. I’m not talking about one of those tiny snack-size bags. I’m talking a full bag of Cheetos. On my own, all by myself, all within 30 minutes. Yup: my desire for crunchy fake-orange cheese was just that strong. Despite all my friends telling me I was nuts, I did it anyway. We all know the ending here. Only this time, it lasted about 3 days. My friend Greg tried to cheer me up by posting this picture on facebook and tagging me:

(random fun-fact: while googling images of cheetos, I found this. cheetos bath. double-awesome.)

After the cheetos incident, I finally learned my lesson. No more milk. No more milk products. Ever. Or until we find out what’s wrong with me, which took another 3 years.


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