Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So, three weeks without milk. Has it been that long already?

Actually, to be fair it hasn't been completely without milk or dairy products. Yes, I've lapsed a couple of times and allowed a little sour cream into a dish I was cooking, or perhaps a small grating of cheese. But I've not had any liquid milk in twenty-one days, nor have I had so much as a bite of cheese sandwich. Breakfast's muesli is moistened with fruit juice, and my coffee comes black. I've had to give up tea, as I just can't stomach its bitterness without milk's softening embrace. Instead I drink rooibos sweetened with a little honey. My twin indulgences are Morrison's Finest dark chocolate with Italian orange peel and Morrison's Finest ginger and dark chocolate cookies. Neither of these fine comestibles list milk or its derivatives anywhere in their ingredients, although the cookies alarmingly then claim that they 'contain milk.' I am choosing to ignore that, along with the warning on the chocolate that says it's made in a factory where nuts and milk have been known to lurk. They print these things just to stop themselves from being sued. And anyway, I'm not lactose intolerant or allergic, just following the dictates of my rather strange doctor.

How, then, do I feel for my dairy holiday?

To be honest, no different. If anything, perhaps a little worse. My right ear still rings and feels slightly bunged up compared to the left. That's hardly surprising as it can take months for such congestion to ease, and even then the tinnitus may persist. I feel very tired most of the time, but that might have something to do with the running schedule, combined with a reduction in my calorific intake. I've also managed to do something to my back that is painfully working its way down my left arm, making sleep very difficult, but if I'm being ruthlessly honest I'd have to say that's not got anything to do with my diet. I might blame lifting heavy objects the last time I was north, or it could be my brother's incredibly uncomfortable spare bed. Whatever, it hasn't helped my general demeanour.

On the plus side, I've lost more than half a stone. At this rate I may have faded away entirely by Christmas.

So will I persist with this milky aversion? Well, I've got a follow-up appointment with the doctor at the beginning of next week, so I'll keep at it as best I can until then. I may well stick with the fruit juice on the muesli, since I actually quite enjoy that. A healthy salad laced with not-so-healthy bacon and egg for lunch is probably just as good as a cheese sandwich, so I'll keep that up until the soup season starts. But I do miss cheese, more than anything else. Except perhaps butter on home made sourdough bread.

The evening meal presents difficulties too, especially given the Horse Doctor's legendary fussiness when it comes to food. Milk and its associated products get into everything - we're drowning in the stuff. White sauces, butter (even most margarines have some butter fat in them these days), cream and sour cream and ice cream, chocolate, cheese. These are just the obvious things. Esoteric milk derivatives are everywhere. My doctor suggested Sudafed decongestant to help clear out my glue ear. 

Its main non-active ingredient? Lactose.

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Anonymous Ellen said...

I've found a Zyrtec (cetirizine hydrochloride) tablet once daily takes care of all that ear stuff. It also helps with the constant sneezing, and all other annoying symptoms of whatever allergies I may have!

October 19, 2010 11:11 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Thanks Ellen, I'll give that a go.I've no shortage of cetirizine hydrochloride tablets - I've been taking antihistamines every summer since before I first met you (and we don't want to think how long ago that was!) but this year I switched to a steroid nasal spray. That worked fine, but coming off the tablets might have been a contributory factor.

October 20, 2010 9:03 am  
Blogger Laura Paine Carr said...

have I said this before? do you have a chiropractor?

mercy. all of the symptoms you describe would be addressed with a few sessions with a chiropractor.

October 20, 2010 6:26 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

I don't, Laura, but the Horse Doctor sees one and swears by him. That he doesn't claim to be able to cure all ills works in his favour - I'm not a subscriber to the more fantastic claims for the practice. I may well book myself in for a consultation and see if he can do anything for me, so thanks for the advice.

October 20, 2010 7:13 pm  

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