I am a cheese addict and went a MONTH without it
It wasn’t grate
As a vegetarian, cheese is a very staple part of my diet. Over the past few years, however, it has become more than that. It has become an addiction. Granted, there are definitely worse things to be addicted to – although a few weeks back it was declared that cheese was as addictive as Cocaine, this has since been widely disputed amongst scientists.
Regardless of this, my own addiction has been growing ever since I took my first nibble of cheddar as a little girl. From then on, I have been known to heap a mound of cheese onto any food that took my fancy.
I would easily go through a whole packet of extra mature cheddar, feta, and halloumi every week and just slice blocks off, eating it bare.
I would make waiters in restaurants stand and grate piles of Parmesan onto my dish. “It’s healthy”, I would say, “full of protein”. I was kidding myself. In reality, it is in fact a whole lot fattier than I ever thought and it was beginning to cause me to bloat at a very alarming rate.
I have tried many times to give up dairy to free myself of eating animal products altogether and every time I have failed because of my love for cheese.
My addiction finally came to a head when, during the Christmas holidays, I sleep-walked and ate half a block of Danish Blue cheese in the middle of the night. My mother, furious that I had scoffed such an important part of what was meant to be the Christmas day cheese board, temporarily banished me out of the house.
They say that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem and it was then that I knew that I had to do something. I decided to challenge myself to a month without my beloved cheese.
“You’ll never do it”, they said, “you love cheese too much”.
My friends and family urged me not to go through with it. My mother was terrified that I wouldn’t eat anything and would just waste away. My boyfriend laughed at me, declaring that there was “no chance in hell” that I would ever go a day without cheese, let alone a month, but I was determined to prove them all wrong.
The first two weeks were surprisingly painless. I boasted about how easy it was, how cheese didn’t matter to me anymore and how much better I felt because of it. I threw out all the remaining cheese in my fridge and banged on about the “new me”.
I no longer suffered from strange nightmares and midnight sleep-snacking. I even started waking up earlier and experimenting with my cooking. Soon, however, things started to get really hard.
Eating out proved difficult as I tried in vain to find a dish to my liking without the usual cheesy element whilst friends gorged on pizzas in front of me, testing me, torturing me. Everything I ate felt like it was missing something. I got bored of having curry and longed for a mozzarella pasta bake.
My friends and I have a weekly meet-up where we cook a cheesy dish together and devour it all. Suddenly, I couldn’t participate and having to watch them smother cheese on top of their fajitas was more torturous than I could have ever imagined.
The hardest moments were the drunken snacks. Usually, cheesy chips and beans is a personal favourite of mine, or some cheesy crumpets and marmite. With alcohol in my system, the temptation was harder to fight. No-one would know if I just snook a couple of bites at some cheddar.
Slowly but surely, this temptation kept growing. I could barely take it any longer. Embarrassingly, I was brought to tears on more than one occasion when I realised that I could no longer eat some of my favourite dishes. All I wanted was some nachos smothered in cheddar, a piping hot lasagna and a big, fat Camembert. It just wasn’t fair. Each week seemed to go by slower than the last as I crossed off the days on my calendar.
The only thing keeping me going was my competitiveness. I knew that if I failed then I would never live it down and my pride couldn’t take that.
In the end, I almost cracked several times but against the odds I made it.
I had done it, so I gorged for days on celebratory cheesy meals, and all the hard work that I had done over the past month suddenly meant nothing. Nevertheless, I am proud of myself. I set a seemingly impossible challenge and I managed to make it through when nobody else believed that I could.
For now, however, I remain unashamedly addicted to cheese and this will never change so long as Brie still goes so deliciously well with cranberry sauce.