Boy, I have had a busy month! Work, school, and vacations have tied up all mine time and I have been itching to get back to the blog, and finally here I am. Since the beginning of my spring allergy season I have been meaning to write another seasonally allergy update.
Seasonal Allergies – Background
With everything I have tried previously, I have not yet come across a final step that has removed all of my symptoms…until now!
As you know I follow an ancestral/whole foods/paleo/primal type of diet. By changing my diet in this way I was able to eliminate many of the problem issues for allergy sufferers including: chemical food additive sensitivities, food sensitivities, foods that have been shown to lead to leaky gut and autoimmune diseases, common allergenic foods, inflammatory foods, nutrient deficiencies, etc. While this change certainly reduced my symptoms, it did not fully remove them.
I then tried probiotics and soil based probiotics, and while I noticed improvement in other areas of health with these products, they did not improve my allergy symptoms any further. I then went to a naturopath who put me on a herbal supplement plan to assist with immune regulation and improve possible leaky gut issues. But again, no improvement. I then tried daily use of a neti pot which provided acute symptom relief but only when my sinuses were clear enough for me to actually use it properly, and that wasn’t often.
Seasonal Allergies – My Cure
In light of the above, this year I decided I would start to eliminate some more foods that can possibly contribute to autoimmune diseases. I knew that eventually I might have to bite the bullet and do a full on autoimmune paleo protocol (the below is taken directly from Robb Wolf’s website):
Emerging research has made clear the link between Neolithic foods (grains, legumes and dairy) and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and a host of other less well known conditions. Many people have found significant improvements in autoimmune disease by eliminating the Neolithic foods and building a diet around nutritious Paleo options. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease we highly recommend you start a Paleo diet and let us know what your results are. To give your body its best chance to heal we recommend that you initially limit the following foods:
- Tomatoes & eggplants
- Peppers including bell peppers and hot peppers
- Spices such as curries, paprika, and chili powder.
- Nuts and seeds
Some of these otherwise Paleo-friendly foods have been shown to be problematic in individuals with autoimmune issues. We recommend you fully remove not only these foods but also all Neolithic foods (grains, breads, potatoes, beans and dairy) for at least a month to see if they pose a problem for you.
I was putting off trying this for as long as possible because I really didn’t want to give up eggs, coffee, or alcohol completely; so, I decided I would try it in steps by eliminating one or two foods at a time.
Here is where the real story starts. Once I started to experience my seasonal allergy symptoms this year the first 2 foods I removed were eggs and coffee. I started with eggs because they are a fairly common food allergy and coffee because I drank too much of it and there has been unsubstantiated talk about cross reactivity with gluten.
I removed both of these foods for 2 week and my allergy symptoms almost totally disappeared. When I added eggs back into my diet, there was no change. However, when I added coffee back into my diet I began to experience quite strong symptoms. Obviously this indicated to me that coffee was unfortunately a trigger for my allergies. Throughout the remainder of allergy season I experimented with adding and removing coffee, and what I found was that 2 days after I had a cup of coffee I would have an seasonal allergy attack, and not a small one either.
I was hoping very much that coffee wasn’t a trigger for me, I enjoy it very much and consider it a healthful drink for the majority of the population; however, there are some people (including me :-() that seem to have a sensitivity to it. Sensitivity to coffee may be rare, but there is some support of coffee causing leaky gut (1), and an actual coffee allergen has been discovered (2).
So, at the end of the day, I will definitely abstain from coffee during my springtime allergy season; however, I will most certainly enjoy at least the occasional cup throughout the rest of the year, just not in the quantity I used to.
The Barefoot Golfer