Let's start here: I come from a home and a family where an acceptable meal is milky coffee and a piece of cheddar cheese, where the most popular and spirited debate is "Is chocolate on bread delicious or disgusting?" (Answer: delicious, duh). And the follow up was always "No, but seriously how good are chocolate croissants?" My travel plans have always revolved around food and namely cheese and chocolate. There is nothing I love more in this world than a piece of bread with butter.

So we get to this: right before Thanksgiving Olivia somehow rangled her amazing husband and I into doing a Whole 30 with her. I was okay with the idea of a Whole 30 but I was panicky about giving up my dairy products. When I lost 50 pounds in college it was in great part due to dairy (I had 3 slices of smoked gouda (oh god gouda is good) and 12 almonds every morning for breakfast). Milky coffee is my comfort. I am actually one of those people who says things like "I don't remember anything before my coffee." Frozen yogurt is the only comfort food I've ever had, and boy we're we comfortable with each other. So yes, I was concerned. I kept saying over and over that the first thing I wanted to get back would be my coffee.

The lovers during happier times.

We started the Whole 30 2 days after Thanksgiving and sure enough the hardest thing for me was no creamy coffee. Everything tasted thin, weak, hollow- nothing had body. I tried coconut milk but it didn't quite do the job. I actually cried to my sister about this. This should tell us all something.

Anyway somewhere during the Whole 30 I noticed something strange- my neck, which has been giving my chronic problems since I was 12 bothered me a whole lot less than usual. I have 2 issues with my neck, one is a seemingly over sensitivity which makes it tense up quickly and makes it very easy to pull something. The other issue is a tightening in my neck leading up to my head and eyes. Doctors and other smart people would call this "sinus issues." Relating to these symptoms was also an over all sensitivity in my body. Basically everything hurt all the time, my neck, eyes, face. If I scratched my arm against a door it really hurt. Like I'd look around at other people and they didn't seem to be constantly hurting as much as other people. Pains that shouldn't have hurt me at all brought me close to tears. I started thinking maybe I had the catch-all diagnoses of Fibromyalgia.

But then I went off milk. And I stopped hurting. I could stub my toe without a near break down. Walk into my car door? Oh well! I felt normal for the first time in a very long time. But I didn't realize all of this freedom until the Whole 30 was over. It was Christmas and I had milky coffee, amazing brie, CHEESECAKE, whipped cream. And all of the sudden the wonderfulness I had felt was gone. I was in pain, I was asking Andrey for endless neck rubs and worst of all I felt bloated. Like all the time. I had a milk belly.

But I still sort of feel like this about black coffee.

The only thing I had added back post Whole 30 was dairy products. It seemed obvious what was to blame, a follow up trip to the allergist revealed my biggest fear. I am highly allergic to a protein in cow's milk. The good news is it's just cow's milk, I can still eat goat cheese like it's my job (Is that a job? Because if it is I'll take it!). It's just a little harder to find goat's milk or buffalo milk everything. Victory Garden in the West Village does an out of control salted caramel goat's milk frozen yogurt. But it's in the West Village, which does not make it super convenient as I live on a totally different island. I'm still trying to locate goat's milk ricotta and butter.

The other good news is I'm not chronically exhausted, dizzy and in pain. I've stopped having to go to physical therapy for my neck. I don't have times where I must-nap-because-oh-god-can't drive-will-have-accident. I feel better, my mood is better because whose mood rocks when they're in constant pain?

To answer your question: Yes, I COULD eat pizza and cream cheese and cheese cake and frozen yogurt, I would not die- but it's so uncomfortable I can't and won't bring myself to do it. But does that mean I don't sometimes cry while watching Anthony Bourdain eat a sweet cheese pastry on No Reservations? Heck, I cry about that on the regular.

So let's hear it readers, what's your love-hate food? What makes you tear up at the idea of giving it up?

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