My doctor told me this week that I should give up dairy products. This was quite a blow, since I love all things dairy. I love toast slathered in butter, cheese sandwiches, desserts in pools of cream. One of my earliest memories is being caught by my mother with my fingers in the butter. But in order for my nasal medication to have the best chance of working, I have to cut out, or at least radically cut down, on dairy foods.
The whole subject of diet is such a minefield, rife with contradictions. I have always been an advocate of eating anything you fancy, in moderation, including as much variety as possible. Now my doctor says that dairy proteins are quite a foreign to humans, in evolutionary, biological terms. Milk is meant to feed baby cows. When we ingest it, the body isn’t ideally equipped to deal with it, leading to some quite adverse effects. Yet milk is considered healthy for kids because of the calcium (and the protein). I suppose when we reach adulthood we can sometimes develop an intolerance.
I am at the point now where I am almost constantly blocked up, especially at night when I often find I can’t breathe at all. So I wake up and pace about. This is very disruptive to my sleep and leaves me with a headache all day. It can’t continue, so I am being sensible and embracing the new regime.
The new regime consists of non-dairy alternatives to what I am used to eating. So at breakfast, instead of cereal with loads of milk, or yoghurt on muesli, I have some cooked plums, apples and raisins in a sort of syrupy compote, on muesli, maybe with a banana. At lunchtime, instead of the usual cheese salad sandwich (which included butter!), I am having a salad or a wrap of beans and feta cheese, or beans and tuna or smoked mackerel. At dinner time, I am cutting out creamy pasta sauces and cheese sauces.
I have stopped eating bread altogether, because I will only spread loads of butter on it. For snack time, which is the danger zone for me, I have stocked up with plain mixed nuts. As for tea and coffee, I don’t much like coffee anyway and can only take it with lots of milk and sugar. So I can quite easily give up coffee. I drink a lot of tea but I only have a drop of milk in it. So it’s a small step to having black tea. Fortunately I quite like Chinese teas like Pai Mu Tan, so it’s time to get the teapot out again.
I’m feeling very motivated at the moment because I really want to breathe properly and sleep well again. Ultimately if there is no significant improvement they will offer me surgery to widen the nasal passages. In fact they offered me this surgery 3 years ago but I declined because it seemed a bit radical at the time.
Still, I am not going to obsess over this. If I fancy a bit of cheese on top of my spag bol, I will have some. And the occasional butter shortbread biscuit is not going to guilt-trip me. Who knows, I might even shift a bit of weight.
If anyone has any suggestions of non-dairy snacks or recipes please let me know!
Til next time,