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SamIAm's avatar

Dietary question (allergy/sinus related, see details)

Asked by SamIAm (8628 points ) September 24th, 2010

I just went for acupuncture for the first time to hopefully alleviate my allergy issues and she said that I am extremely congested. She could tell that I had poor circulation in my upper body by looking at my tongue, and also could feel in my face that everything is very “full.” Her suggestion to me was to change my diet – cut out pasta, pizza, cow dairy products (goat cheese is fine though), orange juice and tomato sauce because of the sugar, etc…

The problem is that these are things I eat all the time! She basically told me I can eat meat, veggies, and brown rice.

So, hoping that this will help me be able to breathe (and maybe drop a few pounds too), I am going to try it!

What do you suggest I cook at home? Order in? I am uncomfortable cooking meat (it just isn’t my thing and always comes out dry) and I’m highly addicted to flavor and condiments.
Any inexpensive, easy recipes or ideas would be great!

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15 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

First of all, you should go to a qualified medical professional for your allergies, not an accupuncturist. There is no clinical or scientific reason why someone could look at your tongue and determine that you shouldn’t eat dairy product.

Best thing to do for allergies is antihistamines, buffered hypertonic saline nasal sinus irrigation, nasal steroids, and avoidance of allergans.

tranquilsea's avatar

Although the diet your acupuncturist has prescribed isn’t dangerous or awful I don’t believe it is ever good to axe whole portions of your diet (with the exception of high fat/high sodium etc). The main problem is that the diet is usually not sustainable.

I have a chronic sinus infection that I treat with a sinus wash. As long as I do the wash every day I am symptom free.

laureth's avatar

What @Rarebear said, noting of course that wheat and cow’s milk are common allergens that can stuff you up.

An, stirfries. Lots of stir fries. Strips of veggies and meat, served on brown rice.

Kardamom's avatar

You should definitely go to an allergist (not an acupuncturist) to find out what you are allergic to first. If it is something in your diet, then you can eliminate those items. Usually what the allergist will have you do is try cutting out one type of food that is commonly known to cause problems and then see if that helps. You only remove one type of food at a time so you can narrow it down. You may or may not have food allergies. You may be allergic to pollen, dust, pet dander or mold (one of my friends developed severe nasal allergies and then found out that her bedroom wall was full of black mold, due to moisture buildup from a leak). An allergist will perform several kinds of tests to determine what, if anything, you are allergic to. You need to find out exactly what is causing your problem before you can treat it. The overuse of over the counter nasal sprays can actually cause you to be congested. They are only meant to be used for a very short time, a few days according to the label, after that, you may end up with a re-bound effect. Other medications, both over the counter and prescription, can also cause problems with congestion. Make sure to give your doctor a complete list of medications, supplements and vitamins that you take and tell him/her what activities/environmental factors and weather conditions seem to bring on or aggravate your sinus condition and let the doctor know whether you are more congested in the morning or at some other time of the day. Although acupuncture can be very beneficial for certain conditions, you really need to see a doctor that specializes in the type of problems that you have first, then branch out if that doesn’t work out for you.

gravity's avatar

Even though I am the daughter of a pharmacist that sells drugs legally and I have worked in the medical field, I do believe that alternative medicine has some good points and many in the field of allergies. If you go to an allergist or ENT they will just put you on meds and why not try and treat the problem at the root cause if you can? Try the suggestions and see for yourself how they work.

SamIAm's avatar

I went to an allergist, who prescribed me 4 different medicines… 3 of which do not work. this was an alternative measure…

I don’t want to put pills and over the counter meds into my system if they aren’t working, I wanted to try something new….

I was skeptical because I don’t want to cut all of these goods out of my system and risk gaining a ton of weight when I start eating them again… but I want to feel better, so I’m going to think it through over the weekend and figure out some sort of trial period.

Rarebear's avatar

Hypertonic buffered saline nasal irrigation then is the thing to do if you eschew medication. Take a half a teaspoon of baking soda, and a teaspoon of non-iodized salt, and mix it with 500 cc of warm water. Then get a rubber bulb syringe and squirt it up your nose, holding your head over the sink so it pours out your other nostril. Repeat on the other side. Sounds gross, but it works.

tranquilsea's avatar

If you don’t like the rubber bulb syringe that @Rarebear has suggested you can buy this. I mix a teaspoon of non-iodized salt with a ½ tsp of baking soda, just like @Rarebear has stated, and I’ve gone from being stuffed up 24/7 to breathing clear. I used to have tissue boxes in every room and now I don’t use them at all.

llewis's avatar

I actually had much better results from the acupuncturist I went to than the several allergy specialists I had gone to before. My acupuncturist did a therapy called Bioset (which is similar to NAET, but easier and – for me – more effective). It is a whole different system of thought, and it uses different modalities than western medicine does. It is at least as effective for this type of thing – although I think I would apply western medicine for a broken leg!

What you described in your question is very reasonable, and if you follow your acupuncturist’s advice, I suspect you will find relief from your allergies. What she is telling you to avoid are “junk foods” – white flour, white sugar, cow’s milk (which causes your body to produce excess mucus). The closer you can get to a whole food diet and away from processed foods, the healthier you will be. Once you get your system cleared up, having a pizza now and then is not going to cause you major problems – although you probably won’t feel all that great the next day! :)

I used a neti pot with the saline solution described by @Rarebear. It would give temporary relief, but was only treating one symptom rather than the cause. After several Bioset treatments, I was finally able to get completely off of the antihistamines and prednesone shots and eye drops and nasal sprays, etc etc. It’s been about six years since I had a treatment, and I still am breathing better than I had in my entire life prior to the treatments. I still take an OTC antihistamine now and then when pollens are really bad, but the improvement is amazing.

BTW, homemade pizza with a whole wheat crust and goat cheese, fresh basil and sliced tomatoes, plus whatever veggies you like – pretty good! And if you can’t have wheat, I can send you an almond flour crust recipe.

Rarebear's avatar

By all means, if you have a bunch of money to throw away, then do what @llewis says and do bioset medicine. I did a search on my evidenced-based medicine sites and it didn’t come up. One thing that I did see is that bioset practitioners all want their money up front. Imagine that!

In any case, your best bet is to see a GP or an allergist.

SamIAm's avatar

@Rarebear : thanks for looking into Bioset for me. I have tried a GP and allergist, neither with good results… I will try the diet change and stick with the acupuncture for now and see what happens.

llewis's avatar

The Bioset was expensive – the first visit was $125 and the subsequent visits were $50. However, my insurance at the time covered acupuncture. They also covered the allergy specialist, with a $25 copay, for two visits a week for shots. They did not cover the first $500 of the two emergency room visits I had from reactions to the allergy shots. So for me, the allergy specialist was much more expensive. And much less effective.

dabbler's avatar

Dairy (cow) products and yeasty foods are known mucus promoters and a lot of people notice reduced congestion if they are eliminated from the diet. “Ezekiel” bread and tortillas can be alternatives to yeasty bread, and if you drink beer you may need to give up the craft beers (oh no!) and go with something pasteurized.

I’ll agree with @Rarebear that nasal irrigation can work wonders. But it can also be done with a simple neti pot with saline solution in it.

LiLu's avatar

We all need doctors, but not every time, for everything. It sounds like you want an alternative approach, so follow through with it, as many here have recommended. I have a primary care doc that respects my beliefs towards medicine with an open heart, as I also see a holistic doc. The two combined are a blessing. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, so why not give it a try? For flavorful, healthy recipes, I highly recommend: Handmade in the Present Moment (Yvette Schindler). Healthy and savory! You’re taste buds will be forever grateful! :)

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