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Monday, January 31, 2011

Well, Pass Me the Stupid Hat

You ever do one of those face-palms because you were just stupid? Doing something you know you shouldn't, but it does not occur to you until well after the fact that oh yeah, that might be it, huh? Gather round, children, and let me tell you a little story...

I have a mild allergy to cows' milk. I'm not talking about lactose intolerance - although that holds too - I'm talking about a nose-sniffly and eye-itchy allergy to whey and casein, the two biggest proteins in milk. I know this. I've known it for years. Many times over these years it's been okay to the point where I can manage a serving a day, so I can get my calcium, filling in with supplements and/or dairy substitutes. But often this serving-a-day is not okay, especially when other allergies - like dust, or dog dander, or alder pollen - are in force. In other words, I can manage one, maybe two minor allergens, but not more than that.

I've had a dry, tickly cough for more than a month - since just before Christmas, in fact. (I know you can see this coming, Gentle Reader). And it did not occur to me until this weekend (that's right, I've been coughing for more than 45 days, been to the doctor for it (and was treated at the time for sinus infection, and during this treatment the cough went away), tried getting more sleep, drinking more water, etc.) that it might, in fact, be all the dairy I've been eating. You see, tickly cough is caused by post-nasal drip, which is in turn caused by sinusitis, head cold, or allergies.

It likely started with Christmas stuff - French Toast, fudge, assorted fancy cheeses, green bean casserole - and it went away during sinusitis treatment because I wasn't eating yogurt or cheese while I had a sinus infection. So when the light bulb came on this last Saturday around lunchtime, I decided not to eat any dairy (with dairy proteins - butter is okay) for a week and see whether that fixed things. And that's right, 24 hours later I was able to stop taking cough syrup, stop sucking on cough drops, and not cough. Amazing.

I think I'll just say that the dairy was stopping up my brain as well as my sinuses. And reserve my dairy experiments for summer and fall, when the dust of winter and the pollen of spring are not exacerbating matters.

Update: Weight Watchers leader says that while eating an allergen will neither make me gain weight, nor stop me from losing, that the resultant feeling-icky from eating said allergen could have the indirect effect of making me want to eat more comfort food. Thereby sabotaging my weight loss efforts. Makes sense, in a roundabout, issues-with-food sort of way.

And given that I lost 1.2 pounds this week, where I've been holding steady since the holidays, I think she's got a point.