Day 70: The Ascetic Life — Dairy Products (5/7)

Why are humans the only species on earth that drinks the milk of another species? Isn’t that … weird?

I haven’t fully completed the circle here, and my recent trip to Pittsburgh made it borderline impossible for me to pursue vegan options without getting a lot of flack from the locals.

Still, I remain hopeful to eliminate dairy from my diet entirely, or at least relegate to a “special occasion.” On to the breakdown…

Why do I want to do this?

Once again, avoiding cholesterol is my top priority here. I’ve also developed an intolerance to lactose over the years, so consuming dairy generally has… consequences a few hours later. My body must be telling me something…

I think the biggest influential factor here is an obvious fact I learned but never considered before. Milk-producing animals such as cows and goats can only do so while in a state of pregnancy or nursing, so for much of their lives, they are artificially inseminated and pumped for milk until they’re “spent.”

In other words, a young cow is forced to be pregnant to constantly produce copious amounts of milk for decades, then be slaughtered once she is depleted.

Let that sink in for a minute, then try to eat a slice of cheese without tasting that level of suffering. I don’t normally change my dietary habits due to these concerns, but that particular revelation certainly made an impression.

What’s holding me back

Cheese. Ice cream. Yogurt. Milkshakes. Boba milk tea.

These are just a few of my favorite things. Losing cheese alone was almost too much for me, as one of my favorite pastimes is to attend fancy events, draw as little attention towards me as possible, and fit as much brie as I can into my face and pockets.

Certain favorite cuisines like French and Italian are now largely inaccessible, and if there’s one thing I’d hate to do, it’s deprive myself of new experiences. When the moment comes, I’ll have to ask myself whether I’d rather choose personal delight over health and sanctuary for the otherwise consumed.

What are your thoughts on dairy? I’d love to hear from people who already abstain from it and know of terrific alternatives. There’s still a lot for me to learn.

— Lee

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