Recently someone came to me frustrated that he could not get friends to see that they are damaging their lives due to alcohol and drugs. I told him, “We see this all the time. It’s not just drugs; it’s also illness. Sick people are often unwilling to make changes that might bring them health – particularly people with chronic diseases.”
I told him the story of a guest who said she had multiple sclerosis. She had asked to speak with me and I found her wandering around the lobby on a Lark – a personal scooter. I asked her, “Have you given-up dairy?”
“Oh no! I have to have my cheese! I just love cheese!”
Many MS patients know the work of Dr. Roy Swank. He found that dietary change can often alleviate MS symptoms and that dairy may be particularly pernicious. The Lark rider acknowledged this, yet she would not give up dairy, not even for two months, which I suggested. Cheese was too important. It may not have been just cheese, but, also, butter, milk, ½ and ½., and the whey hidden in many processed foods, including bread. The proteins in dairy, particularly casein, cause inflammation for many. One would think it easy for a person to quit dairy but it isn’t. Part of the reason is because milk protein generates an endorphin effect – the one necessary to calm a baby when nursing to help assure digestion.
Something’s going on. And it isn’t just one woman on a Lark. It is common and totally exasperating.
I asked the friend concerned about his friends’ drug and alcohol abuse to look at this deeply. The disease, drug use, whatever it is, seems to have become an essential aspect of identity. One’s diet, regardless of whether or not it is harmful, is also an aspect of identity. And although the disease may be fatal, it is not yet fatal and the entire constellation of one’s behaviour is usually almost instinctually understood to be “self” and that self is very resistant to change. Change brings one into the unknown and the ultimate unknown is death. Associating change with death, most avoid it. To state this in another way, any aspect of one’s self that changes leads to death of that self. That self no longer exists.
And, yet, if one looks at this closely it is apparent that there’s an aspect of him or herself that is beyond a particular identity. That aspect is that being that has identity, not the identity itself.
The issue then isn’t cheese, even endorphins, in this case, casomorphins, or the disease. It is a matter of identification; not understanding who or what one is. Most of us are probably unaware of what it is with which we identify. And most important, most of us forget or don’t recognize that it is within our nature to identify and, that said, it is our nature we must come to understand. Just this understanding is liberating. And perhaps can liberate some of us from dairy.
This article was written by stanford