Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Please note: The following post is based on anecdotal information and my observations. To my knowledge, there is no scientific proof for any of the claims made.
I was born into a family of allergy sufferers. I married into a family of allergy sufferers. My children suffer from allergies as do their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Last week Becka and I took the dog on a usual trail along the river. Dakota led the way and took his favourite route on a footpath at the river's edge. We had not been in this area for a few weeks and found ourselves surrounded by flowering plants, (which Cathy has identified as ragweed!) that were at least six to eight feet high. After making our way back to the groomed trail, Becka's arms began to itch and she started sneeze.
Thus began the fall allergy season.
Becka agreed to forgo the same foods during the late summer period. As a young teenager, it took discipline to pass on pizza and ice cream, but she was motivated to continue as her hayfever symptoms disappeared. We have narrowed the list of offending foods to three items and this weekend changed our diet to avoid those food triggers. Becka had to take an antihistamine for one day, but has been free of symptoms now for 24 hours. We went for a walk in the field near our home with no problems, but will avoid the river trail for now.
I also read that eating local unpasteurized honey exposes one to regional plant pollens and helps desensitize a person to their allergic effects. So we add a tablespoon of local honey to our daily ration. Perhaps it helps, perhaps not, but it tastes good.
Food and environmental allergies are very common and there are many theories on the causes for their apparent increase in incidence in recent years. Sensitivities can develop with overexposure, and our diets often contain an excess of refined products, particularly wheat and corn. For most people, sensitivities are an annoyance as true, life-threatening food allergies are relatively rare.
I know what foods I need to limit even if I cannot prove it scientifically. We need to listen to our bodies instead of reaching for a prescription or over the counter remedy for every symptom. Finding a trigger and removing it rather than masking a reaction is the sensible approach to any physical complaint.