Let’s have a look at what my diet has really consisted of…
Essentially I’ve not been eating cheese. I know that sounds simplistic because I have been counting calories, not eating loads of cake, having a bit less bread, trying to move around a bit more. But essentially cheese has always been my downfall.
For example, in the evening, having eaten dinner, I would often say to Denise, ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ And she would say, ‘Yes, please!’
We are very polite in our house.
And I would go out to the kitchen, switch the kettle on, put a couple of teabags in the teapot, and then get some cheese to eat whilst the tea making is going on. Denise knew that I was eating cheese, if not at this specific moment, then at some moment, because the cheese would vanish from the fridge and it wasn’t her eating it.
But one of the reasons for eating it while making tea was that the sound of the kettle boiling would mask, to a degree, the sound of me eating cheese.
It’s not that I eat cheese especially noisily, but there’s a certain amount of noise involved in getting a knife out of the cutlery drawer, opening the fridge, opening the cheese bowl, cutting the cheese, closing the fridge, washing the knife, putting it back in the cutlery drawer. And all of this noise is subsumed, slightly, in the noise of the kettle boiling. Of course, the cunning secret eater can reduce some of this noise by cutting the cheese in the fridge rather than taking it out, but with a hard cheese this does run the risk, as you force the knife down on the cheese, that the fridge shelf will collapse under the pressure. The thought of which causes a degree of anxiety in the secret cheese cutter.
Anxiety, yes, that was the point of all this.
So, could a reduction in cheese increase the level of my anxiety and stress?
Well, turning to the source of all knowledge I discover that cheese contains phenylethamine which causes the release of endorphins. Supposedly. If you like your brain biochemistry to be simplistic. Also according to Mr William K Pedia, the first pass metabolism of ingested phenylethamine turns most of it into phenylacetic acid, which William says outside of the body would manifest as a white solid with a disagreeable odour, but in small quantities it smells like honey and is used in some perfumes. Sometimes I wonder if William just makes this stuff up as he goes along.
I did a little more digging, using Medline and found a research article about dairy intake and cognitive health in middle aged Australians. Disappointingly this suggested, quite tentatively, that diets higher in dairy products (and it seems to be particularly cream and ice cream that your middle aged Australian likes to guzzle on) may be associated with poorer psychological health.
At the moment, science is not going to let me go back to cheese!
Curse you, science! Why do you hate me?