Sunday, June 03, 2007

A literal pain in the neck

(. . . or throat, to be precise)

Sigh--Been there, done that.

I've been lactose intolerant since my freshman year of college. I haven't been able to drink a glass of milk--even with lactose digestion aids--in years. I've only been able to go back to eating yogurt since they reduced the cup size from an official cup--eight ounces--to a more manageable six ounces. But lately, I've found myself eating a lot of cheese. Seriously, folks, how many protein sources 1) can be grabbed on the way out the door in the morning, 2) require no cooking (scratch the hard-boiled eggs), 2) won't spill on the floor/stairs/ground when you're on the run (so much for nuts)? And how many protein sources, other than string cheese in the form of mozzarella cheese sticks sealed in plastic packaging, are not only neat (not even a fork needed), almost odorless (handy at the office), and virtually indestructible? Not only can I leave mozzarella sticks on my desk all day, to grab when hungry and munch while typing, but we took a whole bag with us to Rochester last week--which means that they went unrefrigerated for several days--and they came home none the worse for wear.

Imagine my dismay, then, when, trying to figure out why my singing voice has been so bad lately, I checked the list of acid reflux triggers and found dairy products on it.

I've already pretty much given up mint of any kind, booze, aspirin, citrus fruit or juice, and any tea that isn't herbal (the tannic acid in even decaf tea being a problem). I never really acquired a taste for coffee. I never cared much cared for spicy food or pepper anyway, and have always tried to avoid it. But seriously, folks, tomatoes (what, no pasta sauce?!), nuts, chocolate (you've got to be kidding!!!), and now, cheese??! What's left???!!!

I can't even figure out whether I should be seeing the gastroenterologist or the otolaryngologist. All I know is that I'm tired of having my voice crack like a teenage boy's, and being limited to singing in my "bargain basement" range. What kol ishah?


Blogger ByTheBay said...

Ugh - Acid reflux sucks. I have GERD - When i went gluten-free it went away 95% but I still deal with it now and again. I found that being on Protonix for two months helped a lot, as well. Anyway... On a totally different note: Do you know of any brands of hekshered string cheese, by any chance?

Sun Jun 03, 05:20:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Getting off of gluten helped alleviate your GERD? Hmm. I've cut down some, but maybe not enough.

Pardon my ignorance, but what's Protonix?

Re kosher string cheese, we've been buying Haolam, which is Chalav Yisrael, just because it comes in packages of 18 sticks, and I don't want to schlep to a kosher store every week. (I go to Supersol, 661 Amsterdam Ave. at 91st St., on Manhattan's Upper West Side,in case any readers from the New York City area are interested in that info.) If my so-called memory serves me correctly, Miller's also makes string cheese--theirs is, um, stam (? regular, not Chalav Yisrael).

Sun Jun 03, 06:35:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Alex in Miami said...

Miller's is absolutely awful... though after a few years, I've stared to think that it tastes like cheese... We don't get to the Israeli markets often enough, but the ones near us all have amazing dairy selections.

Sorry about the singing voice, but ya know, you could enjoy all the lovely bounties that Hashem offers us, and use Kol Isha as a way of internally rationalizing eating more delicious foods at the expense of the singing voice... :)

Mon Jun 04, 01:16:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

I'm afraid garlic is probably on that list, too.

Mon Jun 04, 01:58:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

I feel your pain. I have my own digestive issues.

Mon Jun 04, 10:18:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Alex, you're talking to a former synagogue choir singer here. Giving up singing is not an option.

Tzipporah, I assume that the "spicy foods" category on the list includes garlic. I try to keep my garlic and onion consumption limited. We cook with a lot of herbs.

Jack, I hope the pain isn't too literal.

On the other hand, I can't complain (er, too much), since it could be worse--our son has Crohn's Disease.

Tue Jun 05, 11:25:00 AM 2007  
Blogger rivkayael said...

I probably need to check my sources, but the kol isha prohibition refers only to singing in the presence of a man saying shema. So...sing it, sister! Hope you feel better soon.

"I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises unto my God while I have my being." Ps 146:2

Tue Jun 05, 03:50:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

RivkaYael, that line about kol ishah was a bit of an inside joke--I've discussed the kol ishah prohibition on this blog so many times that people are probably tired of hearing me kvetch (complain) about it. :) If you're still catching up, though, here’s a post with links to my “big” kol ishah posts—click where it says “here are the links.” (Note that there are four links there, three of which are parts of a series.) I hasten to mention that there are many opinions within the Orthodox community concerning whether the kol ishah prohibition (which forbids a man from hearing a woman sing) is binding, and, if so, under what circumstances.

For my part, I most certainly intend to continue to follow the advice of the psalmist and sing G-d's praises, quite literally.

Tue Jun 05, 07:56:00 PM 2007  

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