I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years. Put another way, I’ve been a vegetarian for more years that not. All of the sudden I’m facing the potential that I may not be a vegetarian for much longer.

My acupuncturist told me on Thursday that she wants me to give up dairy. As a vegetarian, the thought of giving up dairy scares the crap out of me. Dairy is my easy protein go-to food group. Not to mention the fact that I have lived all but three years of my life in Wisconsin, THE DAIRY STATE, for those who are not in the know. I’m not a big milk drinker, but good lord do I love me some cheese. All of my favorite foods include cheese, milk or cream: macaroni and cheese, pizza, nachos, burritos, mushroom stroganoff, an easy bowl of cereal. I also love yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese an sour cream.

OK, so imagine for a moment that dairy is off limits. Other non-meat protein sources include soy products, eggs, nuts and legumes. As any woman struggling to conceive a baby knows, soy is a no-no. My acupuncturist also said that peanuts are about the worst form of nut based protein, something about mold or something…I wasn’t paying that much attention. So that leaves me with eggs, nuts (but not peanuts or peanut butter) and legumes.

I am not a fan of non-peanut nut butters, like almond butter or cashew butter. My mom adores these imposter butters and can’t fathom how I am not just as in love with them as she is, but I can’t help it. I’m a peanut butter girl. In fact, most mornings I eat a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast. So let’s take away peanut butter…just for fun. That leaves your basic almond, cashew, pecan and walnut as far as nuts go. I hate walnuts (too bitter), cashews are a no-no according to my blood type, almonds are only OK, and pecans are nothing without a healthy dose of sugar glazed on them (and sugar is banned). Yup, the nut category is pretty darn barren once you take away my beloved peanut.

So nuts are out. What are we left with? Right, eggs and legumes. Let’s start with eggs. I love eggs. I do think that I could eat eggs nearly every day and be OK with that. However, my most favorite egg dishes also include cheese, like egg and cheese on an English muffin, or an omelet with feta, tomatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Even scrambled eggs are better with a nice layer of cheddar or Colby cheese melted on top. But despite the fact that eggs are so much better with cheese on or in them, I still think that I could get by eating them without cheese.

So legumes then. I have never been a huge fan of beans. In fact, as a kid I avoided them at all costs. As I got older, my tastes changed and I do find myself enjoying them more than I ever thought I could. I’m guessing it kind of comes with the vegetarian territory. If you go out for Mexican and you’re not eating meat, you’re probably going to end up with beans, that’s just the way it works. OK, fine. I like beans now. But do I like them enough to eat them every single flippin day? No, I do not.

So what I’ve essentially got is beans and eggs every day for protein. I just can’t fathom how that can work (seriously, how do vegans do it?!?). Not to mention the fact that I’m feeling a bit gastronomically deprived to begin with since I’ve already eliminated sugar, sugar substitutes, and alcohol from my diet.

So yeah. I’m considering ditching the vegetarianism. It kind of terrifies me and excites me all at once. I became a vegetarian back when I was in 8th grade because I just didn’t like the idea of dining off of an animal’s corpse. It just grossed me out. But don’t get me wrong, I do like meat. I am soooo weak for roast beef sandwiches, grilled chicken breast, turkey and bacon. Every time Mark gets Arby’s for dinner, he taunts me with his roast beef sandwich, which smells just like heaven. I’ve come this close to taking taking a bite of his sandwich on so many occasions.

And in reality it makes sense. Once I do become pregnant, I will need to eat even more protein than I would normally. And I’ll be honest, I’m not a very “good” vegetarian. In fact my mom calls me a “junk fooditarian.” Eating meat would probably actually make me a much healthier person and I would definitely get a lot more protein than I currently do. Plus once we have a family, it will be so much easier for us all to eat the same thing and not have to prepare something special for myself.

Additionally, if you were to google the “IVF diet” you would find that it consists mostly of eating a high protein diet, plus lots of fresh fruits and veggies. From the above commentary, I think we’ve already established that getting a “normal” amount of protein is going to be difficult enough for me, much less a high amount of protein. I don’t want to endanger our chances of success this cycle by not getting enough protein because I’m avoiding dairy.

And I agree with my acu’s assessment of the fact that I should eliminate dairy. In the day and a half that I’ve stopped consuming dairy, my spotting has drastically slowed down, so I have first hand proof that this is probably something I should do. Plus dairy is said to create a mucous on the endometrial lining that can impede implantation. Clearly that’s not something that we want to risk…creating these embryos and then not giving them the best environment in which to implant and grow for 9 months.

Oh, and I asked her what the very most important time frame would be for giving up dairy because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it long term. I was hoping that she would say “from egg retrieval though positive pregnancy test” or something to those ends. That I could accept. Her actual response was “from now up until the end of your first trimester.” Holy crap. This is not a short-term thing. No way I can give up dairy with no additional protein source for that long.

Sigh. So it seems as though I’ve just convinced myself that I shouldn’t be a vegetarian anymore. Now I just have to work up the guts to actually pull the trigger.

It’s completely insane the things we will do for kids, no?

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