In my late twenties, I gave up dairy products.
I also gave up meat, wheat, alcohol, tea, coffee, processed food and as many E-numbers as I could without becoming a hermit, but it’s the dairy products that are pertinent here.
I had suffered from depressive illness for years and had failed to respond to a plethora of drugs. An open-minded doctor encouraged me to visit a dietary therapist, who turned out to be inspirational. Refreshingly free of any “Your body is a temple” cant, she explained how the toxins in food generated toxins in the brain, an insight which, though lost to the Tesco generation, stretched back to Hippocrates, who said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
So it proved for me. The change of diet combined with psychotherapy set me well on the road to recovery and I happily threw away my pills. Over the next decade, I worked as a theatre critic and wrote three novels, bolstered by a weekly regimen of yoga, aromatherapy and reflexology. I stuck religiously to my diet, issuing indulgent friends and hostesses with lengthy lists of requirements. At home I enjoyed regular goat and sheep cheeses brought by a friend from France.
Although the use of unpasteurised milk made them more flavoursome than their English counterparts, it also made them potentially lethal. Indeed, one contained a bug, which changed — and almost destroyed — my life.
My earliest intimation that something was wrong came with a series of stabbing pains at the base of my spine. At first I attributed them to posture and the hours spent hunched over a computer but after a couple of days the pains grew so intense that I could barely move, let alone leave the house. I rang and spoke to my doctor for the first time in a decade. She said simply: “You’re very tall, Michael. Tall people get sciatica. You’ve got sciatica,” before prescribing a week in bed.
Meanwhile, a friend urged me to call a husband-and-wife team of cranial osteopaths. Their willingness to visit me contrasted with my doctor’s phone diagnosis and confirmed my faith in holistic medicine. The couple appeared to be affable, down-to-earth and, above all, effective. On the first visit, as on all later ones, it was the man who took the lead, applying gentle pressure to various points of my body and rebalancing my energies. His wife, who was heavily pregnant, lent advice and the occasional hand. At the end of the initial treatment the pain had dwindled and I felt full of hope.
Source - Times