I’ve had a lot of enquiries recently about how to survive Xmas whilst on the Paddison Program so I thought I would give you the benefit of my discoveries over the last 18 months ! Being on the Program is quite like being on a vegan diet, except you can eat eggs !
1. This means NO MILK of any kind from either a cow, goat, buffalo or sheep and strangely enough, camels !! I found to start with I eliminated all kinds of the above milks. This meant having black coffee (not good for the stomach !), black tea – which took a lot of getting used to and all sorts of herbal teas till I settled on a berry one which I love. For cooking I use Oat Milk as I don’t like soya or almond, but this is a matter of personal taste. You also can’t have any yoghurt made from the above animals and definitely not condensed milk or buttermilk.
2. NO BUTTER at all which means you must check all ingredients on their packaging to make sure none has been put in. Out of curiosity I had a look at the ingredients in margarine and, yes, there are a few types that don’t have buttermilk in them. I have found one made by my local Supervalue and it’s made from palm oil so I use that in cooking – for example making my own pastry. This way I can be sure of what’s in it ! Oil of any variety is 100% fat, but I make sure I use vegetable oil in small amounts if needed.
At Xmas there are loads of sauces around that contain milk/cream which you must decline or make yourself using the above non-dairy ingredients. Also masses of scrumptious desserts awash with cream and they really are a no-no ! If you are confronted with one, keep an eye out for fresh fruit and have some instead
3. NO CHEESE. This means all kinds of cheese with no exceptions ! There is a vegan cheese made if you can find it, but I did not like it at all ! You will find that all processed foods/meals are smothered with cheese and you have to give them a miss.
4. NO MEAT. When I first went on the program I avoided all meat for the first 9 months. I used soya mince for spaghetti bolognaise which, if you put a little gravy browning in it at the end, your husband will never notice the difference ! I now occasionally eat white meat such as chicken or pork in small amounts as I found I could tolerate them. But don’t forget that there are loads of wonderful vegetables eaten raw or cooked and are delicious.
Of course Xmas is a very sociable time and you may be confronted with some or all of the above. When invited out to dinner I always immediately say to my host/hostess that I am Dairy Free and Vegetarian. If they throw a wobbly, I say that I am perfectly alright with a salad though on the whole I find most people get quite excited about cooking with my restricted diet and come up with all sorts of ideas ! In restaurants I tell them firmly when we are being seated that I am dairy free and vegetarian and even down here in the wilds of SW Ireland they always manage to come up with something tasty !
As far as my family is concerned I haven’t found it a problem. I will cook meat for them and I just eat the potatoes and vegetables. I make soups from a packet of frozen vegetables with vegetable stock and water added, cooked and then liquidised. Excellent, warming and filling ! My daughter-in-law is vegetarian so we both get on fine ! Salads in summer are wonderful, but not too many around at this time of year. Obviously Xmas rockets up your sugar intake and it’s wise to try and limit it a bit, especially as going out for long bracing walks in the pouring rain are not much fun ! Alcohol is OK (but full of sugar !) in moderation, but since I started eating well I just love as much water as I can get down me ! I do partake of a glass of wine now and then, but I am quite happy to be the ‘designated driver’ and stick to water. Luckily I have never liked fizzy drinks and since watching a tooth dissolving overnight in CocaCola, have avoided it like the plague.!
In the UK & Ireland a vegan diet is now the ‘In Thing’ and supermarkets and restaurants are eager to stock vegan food and trumpet it out to their customers but do always check the labels for any of the above as their idea of vegan may not be the same as yours !!
Lastly I hear you say “IS IT WORTH IT ?” and to you doubters I can only say that the total joy of the last 18 months on the Paddison Program and being without my RA pain of 17 years, off all my drugs and having no fatigue at all has made me feel reborn. Having to change what I eat is the very smallest price to pay and I don’t even miss the ‘NO’ foods any more ! Did I mention that on the Program I also lost 42 lbs without even trying ?! All I need now is a Program to cure my being 72 !! HAPPY XMAS TO YOU ALL !