June 4, 2013 Leave a comment
In the midst of a particularly difficult Spring for allergy sufferers I read this article from The Huffington Post. I have battled chronic perennial allergies since I was a child. I have had allergy shots, sprays, decongestants, inhalers, and daily medication. Two months ago, I suffered a sinus headache that left me nauseated and bed ridden for two days.
The attack occurred in the late afternoon in the beginning of tree season (those cool, breezy days that seem beautiful when in reality there air is full of pollen and mold), after I had eaten breakfast and lunch (I had a bowl of whole grain cereal at each meal with almond milk because I can be a lazy vegetarian.) Anyway, in the throws of nausea I realized that I hadn’t digested anything I ate this day. It sounds gross but it made me wonder if any of the food triggered this headache.
Years ago, I suffered from Gastro-Esphogeal Reflux Disease. When it stopped responding to medication, I put myself on the blandest, vegan diet I could create and tracked every food I slowly integrated into my diet until I realized I had an issue with MSG and preservatives. No more GERD issues and no more medication after this discovery. With my allergies, I have never tried to change my diet outside of avoiding foods that I know contain pollen like Saffron and edible flowers. A fried zucchini flower almost sent me to the emergency room about 15 years ago.
An easy Google search for “foods to avoid if you are allergic to pollen and ragweed” collectively suggested to avoid bananas, melons, zuccini, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, whole wheat, and rice.
If you are allergic to mold it is best to avoid mushrooms, dairy, smoked, pickled, and fermented meat, fermented vegetables and condiments (like soy sauce and vinegar), beer, cider, cheese (especially cheese with visible mold, fermented dairy (yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, and buttermilk), and leftovers.
Of all these foods, the only one I am really having trouble avoiding is cheese. Discovering that cucumbers and leftovers are bad for me is certainly not the worst news I will ever hear. As someone who has spent years dieting I am almost giddy to learn that I now have a medical reason to avoid celery and cottage cheese! Ultimately, it seems like root vegetables are the safest so long as they are completely organic.
Since that horrendous sinus headache and the research that followed, I have spent the last two months eliminating all of these foods from my diet. I don’t want to jinx myself but it is working. I still get sinus headaches but they are much easier to treat with OTC medication and they don’t last as long. My digestion has improved as well as my symptoms of asthma. I am down to taking Zyrtec daily and my rescue inhaler (which I hardly use these days).
The lesson here is this. I am not a doctor but a “seasoned” allergy sufferer allergic to mold, pollen, ragweed, dust, and dander. After altering my diet, this Spring has not been the worst for me. My sinus headaches are decreasing. My best, non-professional advice is we need to be aware of what we put into our bodies, especially now with GMO’s, factory farming, and climate change it has to matter. It has to impact how we feel. If you suffer from allergy issues, give this a try. It can’t hurt.
Of course, a little moderation may help too.