Thursday, February 23, 2012

March: Allergy-Free Month

I have had to deal with allergies almost my whole life. I can remember suffering really bad during spring because of my pollen allergy. For a long time, my parents thought I was allergic to wheat, so we removed wheat from all of our diets. We replaced the wheat with spelt flour and for the most part, our allergies disappeared. 

Enter college: I’m on my own for my first time and my stress levels skyrocketed for various reasons. I was trying to still eat healthy and avoid wheat, which was rather difficult since all the food they served in the dorms had pasta, bread, breadcrumbs, soy sauce (which has wheat in it, believe it or not), etc. The lame part was that by living in the dorms, they required you to pay several hundred dollars for food and even if you had a severe allergy, you still had to pay. I cooked for myself, using ingredients from the salad bar as a way to use up the money.

After my first quarter at college and sick and tired of being sick and tired, my mom suggested I see an allergist to get tested. I made an appointment for my birthday and waited rather impatiently. I got my arm poked and pricked and voila! I’m not allergic to wheat.

But I am allergic to eggs, dairy, cats, dogs, dust mites, trees, grass, pollen and about 3 or 4 other minor allergies. None were serious, but I had enough of them to combine together to make me feel miserable. My allergist suggested I take an over the counter allergy pill everyday to alleviate symptoms and to also avoid eggs and dairy. I’ve been really good at taking the allergy pill every day.

But I’ve been terrible at avoiding dairy and eggs.

I’ve noticed that over the years, it’s gotten worse. My stomach gets upset more frequently, I feel tired rather often, and it makes me frustrated because I want to have the energy to go do things. I’ve also had to miss a lot of work and I haven’t been able to save much vacation or sick leave because I’m constantly using it because I feel sick.

So, I’ve decided that this March is going to be a dairy and egg free month. I want to see if by eliminating those two (since I can’t do much about the trees and pollen), my sickness and lack of energy is improved. I have never seriously tried to do it, so this is going to definitely be difficult.

When I first decided to do this, I kept thinking about all the things I couldn’t have.  Yogurt, cheese, and ice cream were all obvious. Then I began thinking of things that include milk or eggs. Cappuccinos (which have been my newest addiction), pastries, many breads, a lot of processed foods include eggs or dairy. I started to get a little depressed.

Then, I realized I should be looking at all the things I can eat. I can eat meat, vegetables, fruit, rice, grains, oatmeal. I also thought, wow, this is really going to test my creativity in the kitchen. I’ll need to use oils for everything instead of butter. I’m going to need to read labels more closely before I buy things.

It’s going to be tough, but I’m hoping that I will start to feel better quickly.

What food allergies do you suffer from? What are some of your methods of dealing with them?

Share This!