‘It’s chef-ear‘, scoffs the owner of the Iranian deli, enunciating slowly, baring his pearly teeth on the second syllable, ‘not keh-fir. But we have none.’ Humbly corrected, I take my itchy body home and resolve to continue my hunt for the promised miracle cure online.
Kefir is my new obsession. Like a love struck teen, I scour the Internet for information about him. Originating in the Causcaus mountains, this fermented milk has been drunk for centuries and is said to contain good bacteria for the gut along with an army of other goodies. It promises to cure my eczema, boost immunity and bust any digestive troubles.
Finding a supplier online, website replete with images of goats gambolling under azure skies, I wholeheartedly (because what is love if not wholehearted) buy into the dream, tapping in my credit card details with the blissful abandon of a coup de foudre. I order it by the case, like expensive champagne, filling my fridge with the blue-topped bottles.
It is a demanding lover, and requires drinking first thing in the morning, thirty minutes before eating. But reward is built on sacrifice, and I set my alarm clock a half hour earlier, mouth-breathing while dutifully sipping my prescribed pungent half glassful. Adhering to the company-advised ‘dose’ of Kefir – the appropriated medical language doubtless intended to lend it an air of legitimacy – I ignore my inner cynic. I long to be one of the before and after stories on the Internet; I can already imagine a perky voiceover: Pre-Kefir, I was covered in itchy eczema, a slave to cycles of steroids. I am waiting for the after-story, to be transformed into a pink-cheeked, plump-skinned peach, with gut bacteria to die for.
Su Yin Yap is a Clinical Psychologist and Psycho-sexologist living in London. She is a winner of the City Writes Summer 2018 competition. She writes on psychology for the award winning Arts and Culture website Headstuff.org. She is fascinated by the stories we tell about ourselves, whether that is in the clinic room, on the page, or on stage.