Monday, May 20, 2013

Allergy Free Mom

I had history of asthma. My last asthma attack was when I was about 7 or 8. I can't remember my exact age then but I remember every detail of that moment because it was my father's birthday and I was alone with my mom on the second floor of our house missing out on all the fun. Yeah, asthma is such a kill joy.

I'm happy to say that I somehow outgrew asthma. Thanks to my parents and to all natural diet. But I guess having a weak respiratory at birth and having it in the genes made me acquire allergic rhinitis since I can't remember when.

This post is all about my allergic rhinitis journey and I'm sharing with you in the hope that it will bring awareness and help to those who suffer the same condition.

What triggers the allergies? Upon careful observation, I believed that dust mites and pollen get me sneezing nonstop for days. This has been my observation for years but somehow I can’t totally prove it because a visit to the park sometimes trigger an attack, sometimes not. 

At times the allergy gets worse and turns to colds and cough especially during summer seasons or crazy weather like we have now. I would cure the cough and cold with OTC drugs only to get exposed to the allergens again. It's a vicious cycle. As much as I don’t want to depend on meds, I usually have no choice.

So to help me from an attack, I make sure I have zero (if possible) exposure to dust mites. Everything in the house has to be squeaky clean (from the floor to the ceiling). No furniture or houshold items that attract dust fast like carpet or furry stuff (and animals!). Even the bed needs to be cleaned and vacuumed every week or as often as possible. Too much work I know but I just have to live with it (thank God for helpers). 

Until I found a life changing solution to the problem.

After years of continues research and hits and missess to cure my allergies, I found a study that made me give up one major part of human diet - dairy products. Vegan advocates and experts insists that dairy is not food for humans. This information didn’t get my attention right away because I knew what I’m really allergic to anyway.

Then one morning, out of curiosity and ‘there’s no harm in trying’ mindset, I decided to give no-dairy diet a try for a few weeks – almond milk instead of cow’s milk for cereals, no cheese in breads or dishes, even no breads (especially wheat)! Since I can’t drink coffee without milk and sugar I just decided to stop drinking coffee at all. My chocolate intake has been dark ever since. I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate anyway and milk chocolates make my throat scratchy. 

The result? I haven’t had any allergic attack since the start of the year. Zero. Nada. There are sneezes every now but it never got as far as a rhinitis attack anymore. How cool is that? I only wish I discovered this very life changing information earlier.

I'm thinking that it I may not be allergic to ALL dairy products but eating less of it made my immune system stronger that I'm able to fight off allergy attacks whenever I'm exposed to the allergens. 

Just to prove how effective (almost) dairy-free diet is in curing the allergic me, I exposed myself to dustmites and didn't request the helpers to vacuum the bed for weeks. In fairness, just one or two sneezes last week but that's about it. No more teary eyes, red nose, headache and runny nose for months! That's a real feat for me :) And yeah, last month we bought our very first living room carpet, they real furry one :)

Slowly, I'm making my kids eat less dairy because the doctor says they have the tendency to acquire the same respiratory problem and allergy as I. Although they are voracious consumers of cheese, wheaning them slowly made them not crave for cheese anymore. For this year, they haven't been to the doctor for colds, fever or cough. Double feat for us!

To date, we still have some dairy products in our fridge like the kids’ milk, flour, etc. Our house is not yet dairy-proof, I don’t know when we will get to that part. Maybe if there will more alternatives available in the market or maybe in time. Sometimes I can get almond milk in store but most times it's out of stock and I still can't find organic butter in local stores.

We are taking this route one step at a time. I am also on the look out for gluten-free recipes like the Flourless Cake recipe I shared here. I hope to find more healthy recipes that my family will enjoy. 

This month of May is Food Allergy month and I hope every year, more valuable information and research will come out to help people suffering from allergy. I hope our local market will deliver more organic and gluten-free, dairy-free products (at a reasonable price) so Filipinos will have healthier alternatives.

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