A friend of mine, during a summer we spent trying to Better Ourselves, asked me to go dairy free with her for a month. I don’t eat that much dairy anyway, if you pretend I never eat froyo, so I figured I could cut it out for a month. Sure, I said, thinking this would be easy. And it was. For a time.
I started to intake a lot of soy. Dunno if you’ve ever had soy. It comes in many forms. Here are the ones I like the best.
1. Soy Joy bars, which are like the vegan gluten free candy bars filled with American Promise.
2. Edaname, fun to say and just as fun to eat.
3. Soy milk, because cereal is a main food source in my world.
4. Tofu anything because, delish.
The first couple weeks were just fine. Sure, I went through a gallon of soy milk every ten days, but that was par for the course when you’re going dairy free, right?
But then I started to get super depressed. It felt like the worst PMS ever. Even all the TiVoed syndicated Friends reruns in the world weren’t helping. I just disregarded it as Girlie Time Problems. “Don’t worry,” I told myself through the tears in the bathroom as I cried while brushing my teeth; a typical routine for someone who is super crazy by the way (should have seen the warning signs). “This is just PMS. This will get better when you get your period tomorrow.”
Yeah, except I didn’t get my period.
And I didn’t get it the next week either.
Still PMSing in a way that made Veronica Lodge look mundane, I called my friend Robyn in some mad frustration when I couldn’t get a jar of marinara sauce open (I snack on this like some people eat apple sauce. Sorry I’m not sorry if that’s gross for you). “IT IS NOT COOPERATING!” I say in a way that would make Joan Crawford proud. Then I burst into tears.
Robyn pauses tentatively as I cralk (that’s a portmanteau of crying and talking) to her about everything that had been going wrong at that point in my life. I list them here for you now in order of importance:
1. That marinara sauce jar would NOT OPEN.
2. Remember in Lindsay Lohan’s version of The Parent Trap when the new fiance’s mother says, “guesstimate” instead “estimate”? That just bothered me. That shouldn’t even be a word.
3. I STILL hadn’t seen Beach House live
“I don’t understand what’s wrong with me!” I said in that adorable sort of whimper some criers (criers like me.) have. “When am I ever like this?”
“Never,” Robyn answered, “Which is why I was concerned. You’re usually so happy and optimistic.” These words sound like a Yaz commercial script, but I swear, this is the exact phrasing Robyn used.
“Like a Disney character,” I offered.
Robyn paused again, “Sure.”
“I’m going to let that one go,” I tell her and burst into tears again. I am so good at crying, you guys. Like if I had a vaudeville act, like if vaudeville was still a thing, crying would totally be what people knew me for.
I was so sad and angry. No matter how I tried to get myself out of it, I felt like I was trapped in the movie Beaches but with less cancer and less Bette Midler. So like, a Pixar movie. There was just a massive amount of tears and I couldn’t control how they flowed out of me (often and with ease and great abundance).
Robyn took a deep breath. “Well, have you been doing anything differently lately?”
I think back to when I accepted the ‘benefits’ of soy without consulting anyone before hand. You know how they always say talk to your doctor before making any major dietary changes? I didn’t realize they totally mean it.
“I stopped eating dairy,” I admit. “So I’ve been eating a lot of soy instead.”
“Well, there’s your problem!” Robyn says, “Soy has like, fake estrogen. It makes your body insane in large doses.”
As soon as she said it, it clicked. I actually felt less depressed knowing I wasn’t depressed. I was just eating too much soy! Then, because I’m brilliant, this is how I react, “Will it make my boobs bigger?”
“Stefi,” Robyn says. “you need to stop eating soy products like, right now. Like you have a problem.”
“I can quit any time I want to,” I say, but Robyn is already on The Google and The Wikipedia and the Woman’s Health Magazine website getting me all sorts of information and everything began to make sense. Robyn explains its chemical reaction to me with some help from Web MD. To break it down: soy can make you totally insane PMSy all the time if you’re not careful.
“I’ve been eating so much cereal with soy milk and drinking so much soy chai tea,” I close my eyes and groan, “So much soy chai.” I go instinctively into panic mode because I am a girl and I have two modes when faced with hard truth; crying and panicky.
Robyn groans too, “Stefi, you need to stop with the soy right now.”
I took Robyn’s advice and stopped eating soy cold turkey. I started feeling better almost right away. Now I treat soy like I treat watching reality TV, in that it’s only good once in a while. So, I guess, the moral of the story here is; everything in moderation. Even episodes of The Real Housewives.