This post comes from 2 Fat Nerds contributor, Brooks. 

As I fill my cart with flaxseeds and vegan mayonnaise, I realize I am that person.  My judgment of anyone who was not a strict omnivore, has come back to roost.  I have always been a lackadaisical regarding my food.  Until now, I’ve been an “Oh, what is that? Doesn’t matter, I already ate it” type of person.

But, like my parents before me, their cousins, and almost everyone else I know, I am developing a thyroid condition.  There are synthetic hormones you can take to help with this, and they work.  But as a person who already takes a pill every day for one chronic medical condition, I am not ready to start taking more.

For one thing, multi-pill regiments freak me out.  I remember my grandparents, and their morning habits.  They were my father’s parents, so we were just less close, as seems to happen in a lot of families.  When we did visit I felt like we watched each other like zoo animals, getting to know one another through anthropological scrutiny.  Their morning habits were a ritual of redemption for past sins.  Half a grapefruit and then out came the pills.  So many bottles next to ridiculously small juice glasses, the size they no longer make, the pills were all colors and sizes, some milky and opaque, others like small colored jewels, catching the light.  They would sprinkle pink Sweet N’ Low packets on their grapefruit and begin carving into them, pink fleshy jewels occasionally splashing the table full of capsules.  I still smell grapefruit and think of multicolored soldiers, warding off disease.  I thought “this is what is to be old.”

So, my other option was to adopt a vegan diet and see how my thyroid level did with my new dietary restrictions.  I do not eat that much meat as it is.  My real challenge is dairy.  I love cheese.  I love yogurt.  But mostly cheese.  I love the saltiness of it, the creamy texture it gives things, put it on anything and it tastes good.  I love how many varieties there are and that is served at every social function.   It is in everything.  Have you looked at a menu at a restaurant and tried to order something without cheese on it?  Because cheese is delicious, and as stated before, it makes everything else taste good too.

vegan

Dave has made things easier/harder.  I was particular grumpy about the no cheese issue on Day Two/Three and he decided to enter into a Cheese Blood Pact with me.  Objective: who caves and eats cheese first.  My mother asked “Well, what do you win?”  Mother, dumb question.  You win winning.  Since the beginning of Cheese Blood Pact, Dave has ordered burgers with no cheese, we have made a vegan Alfredo sauce, which is pretty tasty though you could kill anyone in a 10 foot radius with your garlic breath afterwards, and Cheese Blood Pact still rages on.

cheese

Like any restrictive diet, being prepared seems to be the key.  Preparing meals at home is the easiest (and cheapest) way to go and making sure that the work is done and that you have what you need on hand is really what is getting me through so far.  I am also aided A LOT by the fact that I live in Boston, which has a few great vegetarian/vegan restaurants and I have options outside of my own kitchen, products and recipes (seriously so many recipes) that I would never have had access to if I needed to do this diet twenty years ago, and the advice of many really nice people who are helping me out.

But, the thing you probably really want to know is do I feel better?  Yes.  I thought the bad, uncomfortable feeling I have after eating things was just how people feel after eating.  Apparently it is not.  Apparently everything vegans have been saying out about humans not being designed to digest cow milk may actually have merit.  I need more data and I feel like this will be at least a 30 day road test before I loosen restrictions.  I still dream of Queso dip.  Cheese Blood Pact!