The Curse of Dairy.
I’ve suffered from allergies my whole life. I was the kid with snot, puffy eyes and Kleenex with me everywhere I went – my mom was nice enough to have them in her purse, handing them to me quietly so as not to draw attention. Teachers would bring me the classroom box of them so I didn’t have to walk to the front of the room and disturb class. Boyfriends would comfort me while I sneezed all night and went to bed early. Running partners would turn the other way while I shot snot rockets into the woods on our runs.
Over the counter medicines – spaced out medicine head – addiction to Sudafed (it’s kind of like speed). A casual conversation in 2002 directed me to chiropractic care for relief. I found chiropractic adjustments would help by alleviating my allergy symptoms and I could take less medicine, but I was still managing misery. In a moment of weakness, I went to an allergist.
The allergist explained that she was going to use my back and graph out 60 different allergens to see which I had a reaction. She would put eight tests in a row and just continue down my back. Measuring the reaction on a scale from 1-4, 4 being the worst reaction. Before we started, she asked if I had anywhere to go for the next week. I said “No, why?” and she explained that if the reactions were bad, the bumps could be super itchy and stay for a week and I wouldn’t want anyone to see my back. Great.
It was torture! Immediately itchy and tickling. This is not good. On a scale from 1-4, fifty-seven allergens scored 3+. I wasn’t surprised and I don’t know what I had expected. She didn’t offer any correlations or trends in her findings. She simply grabbed a plastic baggy and started pulling drug samples. Offering nasal drops, daily pills and eye drops. I sighed. As you can imagine, I’m not a big fan of all of these chemicals every day for something as silly as allergies.
While visiting my chiropractor and relaying this allergist story, he challenged me to give up dairy for two weeks. See what happens, he says. Famous last words!
I gave up dairy almost three years ago. Remembering things is not in my wheel-house, but I know it was a few years ago. Dairy is not worth giving up because cheese and yogurt and milk and ice cream are so amazing: how could anyone live without dairy? I travel every day for work – living on cheese and yogurt and soft-serve ice cream! However, a two-week challenge is so easy. I can do anything for 14 days. So let’s go.
Change my to-go foods, remove cheese or milk or cream from every meal. It’s really hard to eat out and stay dairy-free. There’s cheese or milk in everything – salads, salad dressing, sandwiches, dips, spreads, and my head was spinning. And then the A-HA moment! I was going about my business, working, cleaning, living. And it dawned on me that I had been cleaning all day and hadn’t blown my nose. The dust didn’t bother me, the cleaning products didn’t bother me…this is nuts! This is exciting! I called my mom and my husband to tell them the news! This was life changing! And it was only day 4 of the challenge.
My life hasn’t been the same since – I feel free. And so much healthier – less sickness, no sore throats, short colds if I even get one…I can go on and on! Something so “hard to do” but so simple made a huge difference in my day to day life – no pill could give me the relief that I found in identifying this allergy to dairy. I haven’t gone back to the allergist to see what my reactions would be today – perhaps I should. But my quality of life is really what I had been trying to improve with that visit to the allergist and I have found my quality of life with the absence of dairy.
Pills and medicines aren’t the only answer – your food choices have so much to do with how you are feeling, how your skin looks, acne, aches and pains…we are such complex beings. How can you think that food choices don’t affect your body when without food you would die? Food is so powerful and it’s due the same respect we give to medicines and doctors. If you suffer from sinus infections or seasonal allergies, I challenge you to give up dairy for 2 weeks – see what happens. And please let me know – I love this crap!