The last twelve months has had it’s high points and lows but the curious area has somehow orbited around food and the consumption of it. I started to notice an increase in the bloated, sometimes painful feeling I had after eating white bread or white bread type foods. Due to the popular idea that honey can help reduce hay fever symptoms, I had already started using it in a lot of my meals but since converting to wholemeal bread, I discovered the delight that is honey on wholemeal toast. It is, to my mind, the closest thing to cartoon honeycomb it is possible to imagine. The open texture of the bread, crisp and light, when drenched with honey warmed by the heat from the bread, becomes filled with the sweet, almost malty earthiness of the natural and aromatic honey, making the whole thing melt in the mouth irresistibly. We regularly have, until recently, opted for home made pizza at least once a month rather than any of the various expensive and frankly bland and limited home delivery or supermarket bought varieties. This makes it easy to have a wholemeal base, something I cannot recommend heartedly enough. I thought this was helping my stomach issues but I seem to have missed the obvious culprit. Before I went over to the darker bread side, I had already dramatically reduced my milk consumption after my Mother suffered some health issues which led to my cholesterol levels being checked. I was near the upper level but o.k. so I chose to act then. I had experimented with cereals without milk, substituting with fruit juices. As a result, I can happily say that muesli with apple juice is a revelation. Try it. But ultimately I turned to toast instead. I had been trying out alternatives for butter in sandwiches, as it seemed counterproductive to layer spreads or sauces on top of it and had even started a blog here to promote the wonderful new combinations I had discovered. All these things failed to alert me tot the fact that perhaps dairy was the key.
That was brought to my attention in an alarming way.
I have probably spoken at length, too much for most of my friends I am sure, about my experience with gallstones but needless to say, something triggered the attack which brought them out of hiding. It was most likely cheese according to my specialist.
Cheese. The very centre of many wonderful, memorable and innovative sandwiches, pies and even tarts. My erstwhile culinary companion, now my evil nemesis. My bile trigger, soliciting a waterfall of fat attacking fluids which flushed my tiny spiky stones out of their safe zone and into my pain thresh hold.
So, since the fateful day I have removed any trace of dairy from my diet. Also, any suspicious fats, red meat or oily meat based chartucery. This itself has opened new doors for my taste buds, as well as a headache for my wife, chef and head researcher.
Dry ingredients in a sandwich have an annoying habit of evacuating at the first chance so something has to go betwixt bread and filling to adhere one to the other. Butter, margarine or mayonnaise is out, so what comes up to the job?
Despite the name, peanut butter contains no dairy so that works, but it doesn’t compliment salad or some white meats. Chicken is surprisingly good with it though, think satay and you’ll understand. Tomato paste, with or without red peppers or chilli is delicious and pesto has it’s place too.
Go on. try it yourself. Pickle or piccalilli is great with chicken or turkey and salads but the link with fruit can’t be ignored. Who hasn’t had cranberry sauce with turkey? Put it in a sandwich and you’ve upgraded to sandwich making maestro.
Go on, experiment. Leave dairy to the cows and seek out new horizons.
Then let me know what you find here!
As an aside, the silver lining to this story is this. I now weigh just under 100 kilograms. That’s about 15 1/2 stone in old money. That’s also the lightest I have been since I was married almost 30 years ago. Fresh fruit salads and no dairy. Raw/steamed vegetables every day and, due to a job change, a 2 mile walk to and from work each day have all helped but the result remains. I have added not one but two new holes in all my belts and my suits look more Saville Row and less stuffed sofa .
It’s not a recommended way of changing your eating , being rushed into accident and emergency then waiting for a laparoscopic gall bladder removal, but the diet works.