My wife is poisoning me!

I have a wonderful wife, who looks after me and is very nurturing. However, recently I discovered that she was poisoning me, not deliberately, heaven forbid, but inadvertently.

I came by this discovery because we always have a large Shabbat dinner and this usually included chicken soup. When I was a teenager I found that after eating my mother’s Friday night dinner I always felt sick. I decided it was the chicken soup and I stopped eating it, much to her chagrin. Years later I was diagnosed with lactate intolerance (LI) due to lactose deficiency (lactose is the main component of milk). I was also told that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often associated with LI. IBS is also associated with gall bladder problems, usually due to stones that block the duct and prevent the delivery of digestive enzymes, particularly for digesting fats and oils. After suffering for many years I had my gall bladder removed in 1985 (appointments for viewing my impressive scar can be made privately). The major initiators of IBS are fat, oil, alcohol, caffeine (in coffee and tea), certain vegetables (cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, radishes), apples and red meat (animal meat contains fat, although chicken and fish have much less). So I have to be very careful what I eat, and I definitely avoid red meat and pizza, etc.

For years I never ate chicken soup, but a few years ago I started eating my wife’s delicious chicken soup again, as she assured me that she removed as much oil as possible and it seemed OK, but occasionally I would get the same symptoms, digestive pain, bloating, gas. So I told my wife that I would no longer eat her chicken soup, but not to worry she makes wonderful vegetable soups, so I ate them instead. But, I still had the same reaction. One time when she didn’t have time to homogenize the soup, I noticed a thick layer of oil globules floating on the surface. My wife got very upset and told me that she only put water and carrots in that soup, and a few other ingredients… then after thinking about it she admitted that she put a tablespoon of oil in the soup. I asked her why and she said that the recipe called for it, and she thought it was healthy oil. I told her that no oil is healthy for me because it causes me suffering, sometimes quite severe. Luckily I have an effective medication (called here Spasmalgin) that relaxes the muscles of the digestive system (mainly the colon) and stops the muscle spasms that cause the pain. However, the best “cure” is not to eat the offending substances in the first place.

So now I have to remind my wife not to add any oil to soups, margarine to eggs or mayonaisse to potato salads, and not to serve me caffeinated tea. I was worried for a while since I have an addiction to chocolate, but not to worry, although a chocolate bar contains about half the caffeine in a cup of tea, if you eat two pieces it’s not enough to cause problems. Chocolate bars are soldified with emulsified fat, so to avoid the fat I use chocolate syrup in my desserts. Also, I drink cocoa sometimes and this contains a very small amount of caffeine. Even though my diet is restricted I manage to eat enough (chicken, fish, eggs, salads, fruits, etc.) as my girth attests.

(This would be an entry in my putative book “Husbandry.”)

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