Breaking up is hard to do – – dairy chronicles

….So here I am standing in my dining room, speaking into the Iphone microphone to tell you what’s on my mind as I fold two loads of laundry. At this very moment, it’s two weeks from my 37th birthday! I can tell you that I am totally looking and feeling better than I have in 20 years!! On August 21, 2019 I will be dairy-free for THREE years. Let’s say it’s my 3rd anniversary of being weaned off the cows teat. (insert grossed out face here).

Let’s flashback to my bEARTHday celebration in 2016 – taking a trip down memory lane to the summer of 2016. A critical and life changing event leading to the last time that I purposely consumed dairy. Simply speaking dairy includes yogurt, milk, creamer, cheese, ice cream, heavy dressings and dips.

So the story begins!!! It was a sticky icky, hot, humid, blood, sweat and tears type of summer day in the mountains of Sharon Springs, NY. I was on a mission! Shannon Theresa, my little sister (with her 1 1/2 year old toddler) and my stepmother needed a hand moving from one house Upstate in the wide-open countryside to a quaint little town farther down off the mountain into a more urban area and closer to Connecticut. The move itself made my heart smile. To top it off I was hanging with my sissy, it was my birthday weekend, no other place I had rather be at the moment. You know, besides sitting under a rainbow umbrella, lakeside with my feet in the water… *wink wink. My very grateful stepmother showed her gratitude by ordering two large pizzas, buffalo wings with a antipasto salad. I was very grateful for the big meal to share with my family. We had spent all day moving from one house into another. Tired yet humbled I sat down to eat a pretty groovy plate full of flavorful food knowing that my tummy would soon be turning and churning from the cheese on the pizza and hot wings smothered in blue cheese. My plan was to stuff my face, hang out late night, get a good night’s sleep and head home at the crack of dawn. Let’s just say that that didn’t go as planned. Ok, it didn’t go well at all. Sigh. I literally was sick within roughly ten minutes of my first serving of food. I immediately felt my stomach extend. My jeans felt like they needed to be unbuttoned. Uh oh…. First thought at that very moment: use the bathroom, quietly wash my hands, kiss the family goodbye and drive like an NYC taxi driver back to my home in southwestern Connecticut. Again, all was not OK. I felt so ill I wasn’t sure if I was going to vomit or go back in the bathroom and explode from the gas build up (tmi- sorry, eww, I know). The plan was very calculated. Than carried it out flawlessly.

Finally, I made it home -Praise The Most High! Boom, crashed and landed in the second floor bathroom. Not a fun ride home in total discomfort or agonizing walk to the second floor with my 137 pound rottweiler trailing beside me in excitement to see me! I ended up curled in a ball on my bed for hours with the worst stomach pain ever… it was a year of having pretty bad reactions to dairy but never like this time.

At this time in my life I had only been dating my former husband, for one week. I called him to let him know I was home from my journey in the mountains. After talking about my completed mission of moving an entire house; I nonchalantly mentioned how I having pain worst than my 17 hours of childbirth back in 2004 and didn’t know how I made it home. Hey, here’s to being transparent (cheers)! I left no detail untouched. He had been lactose intolerant for many years (he was living as a vegetarian for a few years) and said he knew the feeling all too well. Then, the sad sad sad moment that I realized I knew the next truthful statement that was going to come out of his mouth, “you know it’s only gonna get worse”. My eyes opened in pure fear as I thought OUCH!! My reply was “I’m never eating or drinking dairy again, ever.”

That afternoon, I broke up my hot and heavy romance with dairy. Me, Jona, the woman eating double slices of cheese on my morning egg sandwich, a yogurt on my break, shredded aged cheddar or feta on my lunch time salad, parmesan cheese on my pasta and chicken for dinner, frozen yogurt for dessert every night and steaming hot coffee with heavy cream as I read books until I fell asleep, was no longer in a relationship with dairy.

The break up was excruciating!! What the heck do I now I thought over and over as a few days passed… I started looking at plant based m!lks, plant based cheez and coconut based yogurts. Wowwww, a whole new worrrrld! A new fantastic point of view. No one to tell us no or where to go… sorry, I starting singing. Oops 🙂 but seriously – I was absolutely amazed at the selections there was to choose from.

By Christmas week I was a professional at saying “NO” to all dairy. I weighed myself Christmas morning and realized I had lost 17 pounds. My weight when I started dating him was 172 pounds. [Just for reference I’m 5′ 2″] That’s 17 pounds from August 21 to December 25. I was absolutely shocked! I knew I had lost weight because my clothes were a little looser. But I had no idea of the actual pounds shed just by making the permanent choice of eliminating dairy.

The moral of the story is that I can’t believe all the damage I was doing to my body just because I liked the taste dairy products. Don’t be like me, suffering, “eating it anyways” or having unnecessary weight that causes joint pain or just plain discomfort.

Make the switch!! You can find more info on my Facebook group:

Become a healthier version of YOURSELF

Ditch dairy, you won’t be disappointedly the results!


Ex-Cheese Addict,

Jona Marie

📸 In my kitchen … Ripple chocolate m!lk made with peas and my Connecticut area code glass.

From bloody roast beef and swiss cheese sandwiches to vegan overnight… 1,2….3

Oh, the things I have eaten that you may never taste or think to taste!! How do I even start to explain this list?! I’m born and raised in the Northeast; United States and I was well vacationed in the Caribbean and Mexico as a youth with my family.  Let’s begin – I’ve eaten and enjoyed black bear, elk, moose, raccoon, squirrel, snake, duck, goose, iguana, frog legs, shark, gator, deer, lamb, goat, ostrich eggs, quail eggs, guinea pig, wild boar, rabbit, mahi-mahi (dolphin-fish), almost every salt and fresh water fish, eel, shellfish and then all the American chosen three – pig, cow and chicken (and chicken eggs)… and God knows what I didn’t eat from the local Chinese food places here in our big city! [Inserted gagging sound effect here].

I literally went from eating savory sesame seed topped hard rolls stuffed full of bloody roast beef, Swiss cheese, horseradish, mayo, lettuce and tomato sandwiches to being a hardcore vegan. I don’t regret being a fisherman or hunter because I used the harvest to feed myself, family and friends. I also didn’t know that I could survive without meat, dairy and animal by-products.  BUT I can painfully say, honestly, wish I went vegan 20+ years earlier for the animals and my health.

You may think; WOW that’s wild!! Well, it really is! The end summer of 2016 I started dating a man who is now my former husband; he was dairy free and vegetarian.  As we started hanging out more and more, he actually started eating small portions of chicken/turkey I would make dinner for my daughter, him and I.  Overall, I was o.k. with him not eating the meat part of the dinner I prepared but I guess it smelled amazing enough for him to want to eat it right along with us.  I’m a pretty good cook after all. *wink*wink.  By early November I started making meatless meals every other day.

…. here comes the push, tug and battle!!! I started using Pinterest to look up “dairy-free and meatless” meals. The more I search the results were amazing – I was completely floored by the delicious recipes and stories about plant living!! Then there was the post that shook me right to the core. Animal Rights Activist exposing abuse at chicken meat factory. I watched the 3-minute video with tears in my eyes. I scrolled up a few inches and saw a pin of the egg industry; it was how chicken got on your plate IN REVERSE. From the dinner table to the chicken growers (yes, it’s a thing) and I decided once and for all to take off my rose color glasses and see the truth. Over and over again my heart was ripped out of my chest (I was sure I didn’t want it inside me anymore because I couldn’t take the emotions that came with it) as I watched a few documentaries on the “American meat and dairy industry”.  I became very very intrigued and disgusted with the thought that not only were the animals raised in awful condition but also tortured as they make the journey to slaughter.   TRUST me I tried to just keep scrolling but the screen couldn’t move fast enough.  There I went down the proverbial rabbit hole!!  Secretly, for many years I felt bad about serving meats knowing that it was the same animals I was petting at the local sanctuaries, nature centers and farms.  Suddenly, almost overnight the connection was there that made it come all together…  The studies of plant-based diet and animal suffrage were enough to not put meat of animal by-products on my plate Christmas Dinner 2016.

BOOM!! A vegan was born. I will definitely talk about my health before and after my lifestyle change on a future blog.

P.s. Thank you for spending time with me,

Sincerely, The Ex-carnivore,

Jona Marie