Thursday, May 28, 2009

Geek Salad

Some of my meat-space friends know I don't always have an appetite.
I love to taste your food, but I can't get too much of it in my mouth without feeling... full. Queasy. Unwanting to eat.
I was lying in bed yesterday, with the New York Times and a big glass of buttermilk. I love, love, buttermilk. Cranky brings me a glass every morning because he wants me to get enough nutrients, and he knows I can't always feel enthusiastic about supper.
I turned to him and said, "Isn't it neat that we wake up so happy together?"
And then in about half an hour, I felt sick.
It was a usual pattern. My dairy "breakfast," unwanted lunch, and unwanted dinner.
I think I'm not a total dumbass, but it took me years to get to this. I whimpered to myself: "Why do I wake up feeling good, and then I drink a glass of buttermilk — what's the harm? — and start feeling bad."
The milk!
I looked up lactose intolerance symptoms on the Internet, seriously expecting not to fit the profile at all. It would be too easy, and nothing is ever too easy.
But. I fit the profile, even though I'm a white person of Northern European extraction. We don't GET lactose intolerance. Except a few of us do. And more, as we age...
OK, disclaimer. I have not been checked out by a physician on this matter. I took things into my own hands, and today, I skipped the buttermilk.
Well! Hungry for lunch was I!
Cranky wanted to make a Greek Salad, but not hungry for feta cheese was I.
Yoda, I mean Cranky, toasted up some local walnuts and made a beautiful platter. Why aren't we all eating more walnuts? (Except for you who are allergic to tree nuts; gosh, now I understand.)
It was good.


Becks said...

No fun! If you are lactose intolerant, you might still be able to tolerate cheese and yogurt - the cultures used to make them use up most of the lactose. Also, you can buy lactase supplements so if you DO want to have a little something with lactose now and then, it's a little easier to digest. No need to give up that feta yet!

dancingmorganmouse said...

Walnuts are a lovely European nut, as are hazelnuts (filberts, doesn't the word filbert make you smile?) I think they suit people of Northern European extraction, like you & I.

J-in-Wales said...

Knowledge is power and all that. But it is amazing how long it does take to get these messages through to the brain sometimes.
I struggle with carbs - high GI food leaves me feeling shaky and clammy a couple of hours later. This has definitely worsened with age, but it was only a couple of years ago that I worked out what was happening.
Being an eejit about these things, I don't always act on the knowledge, but it does allow me to decide whether that piece of cake or portion of pasta really is worth suffering for later in the day.

Kalyn said...

Sorry to hear about the lactose intolerance (if that's what it is) but I think it's the neatest thing in the world that you wake up so happy together! Bravo! (And I'm sure I'm not the only long-single person who would be in awe of it!)

Miss Karen said...

As another pasty white person who suffers from lactose intolerance, I would like to virtually bond with you if that's okay. I was so resistant to the diagnosis because I love love love cheese and ice cream that I begged my doctor to do invasive tests to prove that I had, like, stomach cancer instead. But she said, seriously, just Go Off Dairy for a little while and see how you feel. And it was good. And Turtle Mountain's coconut milk non-dairy ice cream stuff is pretty freaking good.

Greg said...

A nice salad indeed! Walnuts and dried cranberries is one of our house favorites.

Liz said...

sorry about the lactose suspicions, but it's good to (finally) connect the dots. one hot tip for ya: cheese doesn't have a whole lot of lactose... the softer it is, the more it has, but most of the lactose is in the whey, not the curd (no whey!).
glad you feel less crummy!

cookiecrumb said...

Becks: Thank you so much for the support. I'm puzzled why buttermilk doesn't use up the lactose the way yogurt does, but this isn't the first time I've heard that. Lactaid, here I come. :)

Morgan: My middle name might be Filbert. I love nuts. I am especially partial to almonds.

J-in-Wales: When I think about all the suspicious digestive warning signs I've ignored over the past few years... well, eejit. Good luck with your diet.

Kalyn: Awww. Blush.

Miss Karen: We are both LOL at your comment! Bonding is ON! Thanks.

Greg: There's so much good un-dairy one can put in a nice salad. xx

Liz: Thank you. I'm looking forward to sampling some cheese as soon as this week of dairy-fasting is over. xo

Zoomie said...

You might ask your doc about calcium, too, as a little bit of a thing like you is at risk of osteoporosis if you don't get enough calcium - if you do have to reduce your dairy intake.

Maybe yogurt for breakfast rather than buttermilk? I recently discovered Greek yogurt and it's amazing.

My Beloved's daughter, also tiny, blond and pale of complexion, is lactose intolerant, too. Sometimes the rules are just unfair.

kudzu said...

It may be worth your while to get this checked out, Cooks. My son-- he discovered this in adulthood -- is allergic to cows' milk but can tolerate all things goaty and sheepish. Inconvenient but better than cutting out ALL dairy. (He is also allergic to wheat: try that for someone from an Italian food heritage.) It's amazing how different life can be when puzzles like this are solved definitively.

Meanwhile, glad you are feeling more peckish and less queasy.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Oh, thank you, nurse Zoomie. I appreciate it. I'm actually on the calcium thing... Big jar of oyster tablets (ick).
I would gladly switch to yogurt for breakfast; I love the yogurt flavored with fresh bay leaves I used to make. Greek yogurt, while totally awesome, may be too rich for me.
Poor MB's daughter! Life is funny.
BTW, Cranky is totally into changing *our* diet. Whatta guy.

Kudzu: I know. I hate doctors, but...
I think I will continue my weeklong experiment, and then gradually reintroduce dairy foods. There's some Bulgarian sheep's milk feta in the fridge that keeps screaming at me.

namastenancy said...

Actually, lactose intolerance is a lot more common than you'd think. Most of us drink a lot of milk as kids so we have the enzyme but often lose it as we get older. You could probably still process yogurt and cheese (although maybe not all cheeses). In any case, it's worth checking out and if you normally start your day with a glass of buttermilk and then, feel queasy, that's probably it.
Just think - you are not an idjit. You are just continually discovering something new.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Very soothing words. Merci.
I'm not kicking myself as hard as you'd think for only now coming to this conclusion... I'm actually a little proud that I finally thought of it! It was one of those "eureka" moments.

Sam said...

As Harold Mcgee will explain to you (if you ask him nicely ;), lactose intolerance is the rule, not the exception and even in Northern European countries it does exist, albeit in smaller percentages than everywhere else. Lactose tolerance goes from 98% in Scandinavia, drops to 90% in France and Germany and then down to 40% in Southern Europe. I have Norwegian blood in me so I am hoping, because of my love of cream, I won't suffer from intolerance in the future.

Sorry it might be this for you. But now you have a theory to go and test which hopefully will bring you a comforting result.

Sam said...

PS here is the link

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Thanks for the science. I love Mr. McGee.
I'll wait to see how this week goes, and even if I do decide to give up milk, I'm OK with that. Like -- if stabbing yourself in the eye with a ballpoint pen keeps making you blind, it's totally cool to stop stabbing yourself in the eye.
BTW, I think butter is still allowed. Sigh.

dancingmorganmouse said...

A Lebanese friend taught me a trick for almonds, if you aren’t keen on the tannin-y skins. Pop some in a bowl, cover with hot water from a kettle and leave to soak overnight. Drain the next morning, the nut slips right out of the skin, just squeeze (but be careful, sometimes they shoot out and ping your beloved in the eye!)

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Oh, yes, I know how to blanch almonds. Thanks for publishing this tip. In fact, I don't mind the skins at all, as long as the almonds are toasted into sweetness. Mmm.
(Don't want to ping Ping in the eye!)

EB of SpiceDish said...

Super bummer!!! Sorry to hear about it. At least you won't feel like ass anymore, yeah?

ardie said...

Ha, this story sounds version went "Why does my tummy hurt after my nightly bowl of cereal?" As others have mentioned though, cheese and yogurt are still fine for me too.

Lactaid milk is actually pretty good (and I'm not just saying that like Soy milk god that stuff is horrible). I drink the 2% to try to be healthier but the whole might even taste more like the real thing.

Good luck to you!

cookiecrumb said...

EB: It will be a real learning experience. Today, for instance, because I am bonding with a blogger in Boston who got bad news, I'm having potato chips for supper. Cranky was like, "What will we do for dip?"
No dip, ya dip!

Thanks, Ardie! You can't imagine how rewarding it is to hear from fellow sufferers. (And so often, all I can do is send {hugs} to sufferers of other varieties of bad news; see comment above). Your words really do buoy me up.