Even those of us who are particularly tuned into to our bodies’ needs and weaknesses are sometimes hit hard by unexpected assailants.
That, or we’re so focused on preventing an expected illness — like catching your son’s cold or your husband’s stomach bug — that we completely forget how sensitive or ripe we are for another.
This week, I was so focused on steering clear from the many viruses circulating in my own house and community, I completely forgot how much eating too much dairy can hit me harder than a Mack truck heading down the interstate.
A few years ago, I completely cut dairy from my diet, which was a huge undertaking for this cheese and ice cream loving girl. But it really worked wonders for me. Within three weeks, I saw improvements. Less phlegm. Less mucusy stools. All the things most people want to see less coming out of their bodies. The year that followed, I got no colds and my spring allergies were practically non-existent.
Was it simply cutting the dairy? I can’t know for sure. Current scientific evidence doesn’t link the two. But lots of anecdotal evidence does, and Chinese practitioners, for instance, have been advising patients for years to cut milk as a way of decreasing asthma symptoms and congestion.
When I moved from New Jersey to Israel, and my choices for quality meat as a protein source decreased, I found myself turning more and more to dairy and eggs. I found that in moderation I could tolerate those two foods.
Over the last few days, I forgot about moderation. And went a bit…dairy crazy.
Last night, I was showing signs of a full blown cold. Sneezing every few minutes. Non-stop runny nose. Terrible, disgusting nasal drip. Sore throat.
I quickly upped my vitamin C. Started popping zinc; garlic; cayenne pepper supplements. Made myself cups and cups of homemade ginger lemon tea.
Got into bed early…sorry for myself and bummed out. Convinced I had gotten my son’s cold and cough.
This morning, however, I woke up and save for a little stuffiness and a dry throat, the symptoms had disappeared.
I don’t think so. (Though I imagine my body thanked me for the increase in immune-boosting foods and supplements.)
I think it was something else. Something I completely forgot to pay attention to.
I remembered an incident last year during the Jewish festival of Shavuot, a holiday where dairy dishes are the stars of the hour. I indulged a bit too much in cheesecake and quiche. What happened the next morning? I woke up with terrible cold symptoms. I was convinced it was a cold … not allergies.
But the cold lasted for one day only. The next day I was fine. Symptom free.
That’s not how colds behave.
Yesterday, I also indulged in dairy — cheese quesadilla and a pudding cake. Meals I normally never have.
These two dramatic incidents clearly indicate allergic reaction to me. My body simply cannot handle too much dairy.
I know I am not the only one who easily confuses the common cold with allergies. I just wonder how many people can identify the root cause of their cold-like allergic reaction. And how many people think food, as opposed to environmental allergens like trees, dust, or pets.
Most people don’t want to.
Like me: They like their cheese quesadillas too much.