Sustainable habit change is especially difficult when we feel constricted and constrained, unable to move and pressed into an uncomfortable position.
When I was first presented with the results of my allergy testing, I was unwilling to believe that my body was unable to enjoy the things I loved. I honestly felt like it was a point of weakness, similar to someone saying ‘you can’t handle your liquor’. Yet, everything that the doctor told me made perfect sense.
My full-time job used to take me to Lexington, KY several times a year, particularly from January - April. The Bluegrass State is aptly named because of the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky bluegrass on which the horses feast. Even in the dead of winter there seemed to be something in the air that would invade my nostrils, settle in my chest and take me down either in KY or shortly after my return. It got so bad that I knew where the Urgent Care and pharmacies closest to the hotel and our office were located without consulting my GPS. I feel like they should have given me a frequent visitor punch card so that I’d get my 10th visit with a Sinus or Upper Respiratory Infection or Bronchitis for free.
The Inhalant Panel that I did has 6 categories of environmental substances for measuring our response to allergens, with 0-1 being almost negligible and 6 being highly sensitive to the substance. I scored 3 for ragweed, 4 for oak trees and 4 or 5 for almost all of the common grasses. Yes, I have an allergy to all sorts of trees and grasses, but I no longer take any kind of allergy medicine and I haven’t had Bronchitis or a Sinus or Respiratory Infection in the spring over the last 2 years, even when I go to Lexington. Why? Because my body is no longer fighting a war on 2 fronts.
The E95 Common Food panel testing that I did came back with some very high scores that alerted me to why eating dairy was so troubling for my body. Aside from goat’s milk, I scored high in the moderate or even the avoid range for EVERY SINGLE dairy substance.
When I stopped eating cheeses and creams, I could zip in and out of Kentucky without any issues. Of course, that meant I could no longer enjoy their signature sandwich, The Hot Brown, replete with its decadent creamy, cheesy sauce. Truth be told, it is probably something you should enjoy once but not on every visit, so not a huge loss. Left only to defend itself against the environmental allergies, my body was completely capable of fighting the grasses and leaving me symptom-free without the need for allergy medicines or antibiotics.
I never connected the discomfort I was experiencing to what I was eating until my friend and Health Coach, April, posited that my coma-like sleep in the middle of a spring day was not me getting sick while on extensive travel but a response to the homemade biscuit from breakfast and the flour tortillas from lunch. Ever since that day in 2017, I became vigilant about avoiding gluten and whenever I accidentally ingested it a headache and the drowsiness of a sleeping pill soon followed. It was as if my body was producing its own Benadryl-like antihistamine to counteract the gluten and all I could do was go to sleep while it did its work.
Don’t get me wrong, I still sometimes hate having to avoid certain substances because of allergies. You can listen to our podcast episode ‘Mad at the Menu’ for my full-on rant about this topic. Yet, I recognize the power of listening to my body and eating in a manner that aligns to my biology.
Learn to listen to your body and change your health forever.
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