Missing milk chocolate

The other day, I decided – fairly out of the blue – to give up dairy. Ok, not give up. But cut back drastically. Avoid it wherever possible.

I’ve been doing great for about a week. Granted, I’ve let myself enjoy buttered toast with breakfast on Sunday and a splash of cream in my coffee as the days get colder. But overall, I’ve opted for salads instead of pizza, grilled chicken instead of macaroni and cheese. And I figure that can’t be all bad.

It’s funny, though. I didn’t realize until I decided to stay away from it just what a big slice of my diet dairy-based foods makes up. The other morning, it wasn’t until I had the bagel (slathered in cream cheese, mind you) in hand that I realized I probably shouldn’t have selected that particular breakfast item.

But yes, I ate it anyways.

Milk chocolate, too. Oh, how I miss milk chocolate! I’d developed quite a taste for chocolate dipped peanuts lately – little bites of heaven I haven’t enjoyed in what seems like forever right now. When a bar of dark chocolate showed up on the kitchen counter at work (the universal symbol that it’s up for grabs), I snapped off a piece like a bear scavenging food from a campsite. No way was I leaving without some of that chocolate!

I wish I could say I made the decision out of some extensive research; out of a need to realign my physiology; for any reason with a sound basis other than because it seemed like a good idea. But that’s really the only reason. It wasn’t even out of a misplaced “maybe if I cut out dairy I’ll lose weight” theory. Because I’m still drinking a soda every now and then, still finding room for carbs in most meals. Clearly this isn’t about any kind of detox, either.

But it has made me more cognizant of my near consistent preference for cream sauces, cheese toppings and ice cream desserts. It has forced me make better choices at each mealtimes, opting for vinaigrettes instead of ranch or caesar dressings, red sauces on pastas. I’m not sure this is a permanent vacation from all things dairy, but it’s treating me well so far.

I’m still figuring it out, though, and ask myself often, “Is that dairy-based?” Like this Bailey’s in my coffee as I wind down a Tuesday night….is that dairy-based?