My Food Sensitive Life 1968 Two years lecturing January 29, 2023 by Joan Breakey Blog Cary and I were married at the beginning of 1968, and I applied for and got a job as lecturer at the Emily MacPherson College. This was at the time when the whole college assembled in the hall to watch the extraordinary event of man walking on the moon.I was often teaching students only three years younger than me which was fun and rewarding. My nutrition knowledge was so fresh I enjoyed teaching. I went to great effort to make practical classes interesting and relevant to what they would be doing, and demonstrating cookery in a way that reflected the changing lifestyles for families in the 1960s.The down-side was that while lecturing I still remember the bad monthly pains I continued to have. I would have severe nausea and pain. I would feel feverish and lie on the cold tiles in the old-fashioned toilets. I knew that I just had to put up with it and that in three hours it would all be over. This was like many food-sensitive symptoms in that the pain decreased over years, especially after I went on the low-chemical diet. Once I was on the diet, two pain-killers was enough to help me through the one bad day. It wasn’t until I began seeing many people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome that I realized that IBS symptoms were often accompanied with menstrual pain. At times I was not coping well emotionally, so my GP prescribed a low dose of Valium which helped especially the ADHD symptoms of not sleeping well and being too intense.It was a busy time with full days at work and cooking in the bed-sit. We then had a flat. The electric coils on the stoves were slow heating and most young people on budgets still cooked all meals from scratch. I used to allow a full hour to prepare meals as there were few convenience foods available. We occasionally ate out, which really meant eating dim sims with soy sauce, and having a milk coffee. Cary worked hard in his last two years of medicine training. We did find time to enjoy the busy social life in inner city Melbourne, often going to movies and parties.I was a very active member of the Victorian Dietetic Association—including being on the state committee. (There was no national Dietitians Association until 1976). I was working with some of the dietitians who had trail-blazed the profession up to forty years earlier. Some had been the first dietitian at the main hospitals, the Cancer Institute and beginning the Children’s Health Survey research. Nancy Turner developed the “As Tolerated Diet” where the cancer patients were given just the food they felt they could eat with comfort.Like many other eczema people I experimented with different hypoallergenic make up and still reacted with skin feeling itchy. During those years everyone spent much time on their hair: setting it in curlers, teasing it up into the “beehive” hair fashion of that time. This meant that much hairspray was used. I didn’t connect all the perfumes I was using in the spray, make-up, occasional bubble bath and cosmetics to any symptoms as I had constant mild itchy skin and headaches anyway. Although I did avoid some perfumes and did not walk through the perfumed entrances of the cosmetic departments of large department stores.Attitudes to nutrition were moving away from traditional meals with moderate use of sugar towards sugar being seen as “pure white and deadly”, while honey was fashionable as part of the “back to nature’ hippy attitudes.”
Jan martin says
Amazing times Joan. How resilient you are. 1968 was when my first son was born and we lived in a hospital flat in London. I was pushed into bottle feeding as I had a hungry baby. We survive these events only gaining wisdom as we grow! Love jan
Fiona Gringel says
What an interesting time to have experienced ..I love reading your stories Joan!