Yesterday I went to my naturopath, who I am crediting in large part to helping me to be feeling better. Now, before you throw up into your mouth about how groovy I’ve become since I moved to Seattle, or how I’ve thrown common sense to the wind and am now just being carried away on a cloud of witch doctory, I will tell you the following: I am still extremely skeptical of anything I hear from anyone. I still research anything I am told, be it from a “western” doctor or from the naturopath.
Recently the pain specialist (a new one, who is more aggressive than the first one, who I am two-timing with the second one. Yeah, I am mercenary like that when my needs are not being met medically, but you kind of have to be…) prescribed me a specially compounded cream to use on my neck. This cream had such high-level pain stuff in it that I literally felt ashamed to be using it. I felt like the DEA would kick down my door at any second, or like I would appear on some list of People Who Use Super Hard-Core Meds. I used it once, twice, three times and it didn’t help. I cautiously used more and it still didn’t help. I gave myself a very firm talking to along the lines of, “Now look here! This is Very Strong Stuff! Of course it is helping! Of course it will work! For some reason, I am not noticing the benefits of it, but it is CLEARLY working, and maybe I just need to work on BELIEVING it is working!” So I worked super hard to put my remaining brain cells toward that task. I was going to believe my way to success with that cream. I was going to get pain relief! The problem was that it really didn’t help me. And then it started to eat my skin off. No joke. I felt like my neck was burning one night, and the next morning I checked in the mirror and an entire section of my neck was totally burned away. Hunh. I guess that was my body’s way of saying enough with the cream. So I stopped using it and a few days later I happened to be at the doctor who prescribed it and I showed her my neck and she was more horrified than I expected (have you ever noticed that it’s really hard to horrify a doctor?) and she told me she had never seen that before and I should stop using it right away and I told her it was fine because it didn’t help anyway…
But the point is that I tried to believe… I wanted a placebo effect. I would have been delighted to trick myself into having something work just because it was supposed to.
Now flash over to the naturopath. I went to her because I was like, “Why not? At least I can say I tried that and it didn’t work and people won’t bug me about it any more…” But she was totally on target about so many of the things she said. She had insights about how things were connected that were so spot on I was electrified by her. She asked me about things that led me to think about them in a different way. She explained things to me so that I could find out more about them. She wasn’t afraid of an educated and informed patient (like so many MDs); in fact, she embraced it!
But I went to her yesterday and she pulled out some blood work and she said my body is having an immune response to cow’s milk and it was like that moment in a move where you hear “SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
and I was like, “Oh no… that has to be wrong.”
Yeah. That was my response to a blood test. Very brilliant, huh? I may as well have fallen to the floor and flailed around and kicked my heels up and down and ripped out my hair and threw it around the room- which, quite frankly is what I felt like doing. But I just sat there slack-jawed with no good response except, “Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”.
Just to clue you in fully as to why that is so tragic, here is a snapshot of my typical daily diet:
breakfast: coffee (the international foods kind, which isn’t really coffee as much as chemicals + sugar that tastes like delicious creamy vanilla heaven) with milk
lunch: are you kidding?
supper: if I eat, it’s most likely pasta of some sort with cheese of some sort. I also love pizza, although that’s a rare treat. If we have vegetables in the house, I inhale them. Often, I am too nauseous to eat supper, though.
evening: I realize I’m starving because I haven’t eaten all day, so I grab some cheese or a hard-boiled egg, followed by some chocolate or some ice cream.
On the weekend, I have fish once and chicken once. I have lots more salad-type things. So I think that’s when I fill my tank for the week. Mostly I survive on anti-nausea meds. (This is obviously not how my family eats, and not at all an indication of what I cook for them, just in case you are sitting at home right now plotting how to come and rescue my children from this nutritional void…)
So you can see why getting rid of dairy from my diet pretty much cuts my food intake down by about 90-95%. That’s not a good thing, since I’m one of those people who eats based on what sounds good rather than being hungry. So even if I’m starving, if I’m not in the mood for what’s being served, I’ll pass. That poses a big problem for changing my eating habits. But it also poses a big problem for my health.
Because if the one doctor who has been right on target so far- who by all indications I should really trust- is telling me that dairy is causing me problems (not like lactose intolerance, where I can just say okay, so I’ll feel bloated, but real immune system stuff, that I can’t afford to have right now…), then I really need to man up and listen.
So here’s where you come in. I would like you to help me out with some dairy-free main course recipes. Ideally they will be meatless. Extra points if I can make them in a crock pot, and/or if they are not too expensive to make. I am not super-adventurous about hard-to-find ingredients, so if the recipe relies on acquiring a rare north African leaf, or an exotic Vietnamese spice, chances are I’m not going to make it.
What I do like: chocolate.
I just wrote that to throw you off :)
I love soups, so even though those don’t make great main courses, I am always open to good recipes. I think I will need to start using more beans and legumes, so if you are handy with those that’s great. As far as everything else, what are your go-to recipes? What are the things you make again and again because everyone loves them? What are recipes that feed a lot of people or that are easy to double or triple? Right now I am very much craving the creaminess of dairy products (I think that’s because I have ulcers), so do you have any recipes that mimic that? My naturopath suggested I drink coconut cream and I was like, “Are you crazy? That’s like drinking motor oil…” But I think she had the right idea maybe. I have a potato soup recipe where you smash up some of the potatoes and it makes a fake cream of potato soup, so I am thinking there have to be other such recipes out there…
And other than that, I dunno. I will leave it up to you. Maybe this will be a post where some of the people who read this blog but don’t comment will finally come out of the shadows and help me out (hint, hint ;) ).
Wish me luck, and I will try to keep you posted. I don’t expect this to be a smooth transition, and I don’t even know honestly if I can do this; dairy is for sure my drug-of-choice. I guess we’ll all see together, huh? (I say this here to give myself extra incentive to try to be good- let’s see if it works!)