For the past decade, I’ve had issues with my nose. First of all, I got hayfever. Then as time went on, I started getting a runny and/or bunged up nose and itchy eyes pretty much all year round. I resigned myself to buying Flixonase in industrial quantities and having a stack of tissues on hand at all times, as well as trying new things such as nasal strips and weird machines that turn my nose a funny colour. It seemed that dust, pollen and general floating things were the cause – and there’s no way, really, to eliminate those from your life.
When I went to Thailand, I didn’t eat cheese for two weeks and had minimal milk, as dairy isn’t exactly an integral part of the South Asian diet. After a few days, I realised that I hadn’t blown my nose for ages and hadn’t had need for recourse to my spray. I mentioned this to my friend, who is someone that avoids milk as it causes her nose to snot up, and she suggested there could be a link.
So since coming back, I have eschewed dairy products as much as possible – no cheese, no yoghurt, and milk only in tea and coffee. I will then reintroduce them into my diet and see what happens. I really, really hope that dairy is not the reason for my sniffiness, as I have always been irritated by people who claim – usually without medical back up – that they are “intolerant” to wheat or dairy or fat or life or whatever. I don’t want to become one of those people that go to a restaurant and ask for a plain salad without the dressing and the chicken and the nuts, “as I have a food intolerance, you know”. I have always prided myself on the ability to eat pretty much anything (bar coriander and lamb and tripe) and not to cause headaches when I go to other people’s houses for dinner.
And cheese is – well, one of the most delicious foodstuffs in existence. After all, I’m from the West Country and we’re practically born with a hunk of it in our mouths. There is nothing more delicious to me than a glass of red wine and a plate of cheese and biscuits – rich, sharp Cheddar, smooth and creamy Port Salut, roule with herbs and garlic, a soft Bavarian smoked… I’m making myself hungry just typing this. As a brace wearer, cheese is an acceptable snack as it’s not got any sugar and it lowers acid levels in the mouth. And it goes with everything – sandwiches, pizza, pasta, risotto… the list of food enhanced by cheese is endless.
Only time will tell. If, after all, there is a link between dairy and my inability to breathe through my nose, then at least I can eat it knowing what the consequences will be.
Cheese sandwiches v. breathing normally? It’s a tough call.