…I had it. A couple of weeks ago Mark Sisson had a piece on his website about inflammation. I will tell you about my inflammation story and how I resolved it with the Primal Blueprint.
Starting the summer of 2007 or 2008, my allergies kicked into high gear. It was not unusual for me to go through a half box of Puffs Plus with Lotion in an evening. I attributed it to standing outside and grilling dinner for 20 minutes. I was miserable – taking Zyrtec AND Claritin AND Benadryl AND Visine AND Flonase every single day. It didn’t help. My allergies got so bad that summer that I was unable to wear contact lenses for 8 weeks that fall, and use steroid eye drops. I decided to start taking allergy shots so I wouldn’t have to take so many pills every day – they made me feel like a zombie, and I was a busy mom who worked part-time. The allergy shots did not reduce my dependence on allergy medication, and I had an anaphylactic reaction to the shots one fine day. It wasn’t pretty – my face swelled up, I was covered in hives, and it was difficult to breathe. A three-month long sinus infection drove me to give up on the shots – they didn’t seem to be helping anyway.
One observation I had was that, on the evenings I needed the big box of tissue, I was drinking a glass of red wine while outside grilling. Hmmmm. Could I be allergic to red wine? Perish the thought! I enjoyed it! It was like my little companion while I cooked! But experimentation finally told me the cold hard truth – if I wanted to drink the red wine, I would pay a price. I started experimenting with other forms of alcohol – beer, martinis, etc. Sometimes I reacted, sometimes I didn’t, but I was still taking a handful of allergy meds at this time so I didn’t have an accurate experiment going on.
Once I did clean up my diet I found that just about any alcoholic beverage consumption can cause some sort of rhinitis reaction in me – from getting slightly stuffy to all out serial sneezing for hours. I will never forget the Christmas party my boss had, where he took us all to Carvers for dinner – I had a small bit of vanilla-flavored vodka at his house before the dinner, and spent the entire evening sneezing! To this day I couldn’t tell you how awesome my prime rib was because I couldn’t remember eating it!
I noticed that once I started eating in a primal/paleo manner, I required a LOT less allergy medicine – I read Mark’s book in April 2010, and spent the remainder of the spring on minimal allergy medicine. Then I got pregnant, and for some reason they kicked into high gear – maybe because I was eating a lot of potatoes and rice in the beginning. However, after getting back to a cleaner diet I can report that I only take the occasional Benadryl when I choose to consume the (very) occasional glass of alcoholic beverage. My beverage of choice is usually sparkling wine. I almost never drink red wine, my former cooking companion, because it elicits the most severe response. I miss it, but I love the way I feel these days – clear-eyed, clear-nosed, and clear-headed.
Which brings me to the small rant – people who say “I can’t give up _____”. Inert food of choice there. Yes, you can. In fact, the more you think you can’t give up something, the more you probably should in my opinion. Cheetos, ice cream – when I talked about my eating habits with a friend last year, her one comment was, “well what about ICE CREAM?”. Now, I have an ice cream maker and a cabinet full of coconut milk. When the mood strikes, I can make ice cream, but it is what it should be in my life – a rare treat, not an everyday treat. When I see temptation in front of me, either in the form of a sugary desert or an enticing glass of social lubrication, I ask myself, is it really worth it? Sometimes the answer is yes with a side of Benadryl, but mostly the answer is no thank you! I feel better without it!