28 Apr 2011

Allergic to the World

53329662, George Marks /Hulton Archive
As some of you who know me from 'real life' might know I suffer pretty badly from allergies. After years of sneezing, wheezing, and generally feeling pretty lousy I went and got an allergy test. Initially I got a mini one, but after a few minutes we both realised this was not going to be enough. I went back for a full consultation this week, which tested 100's of substances. 
I'm now allowed to officially say I'm allergic to the world. If the aim was to tick as many boxes as possible in the test then I got an A+, whereas really I got a big fat F. It turns out I'm the worst case she has ever seen when it comes to the chemicals that are used the products we use every day like; make-up, deodorant, hairspray, household cleaners, plastics, etc etc,basically stuff that's nigh impossible to avoid. I still have to get the comprehensive list,I'll be getting my new food/lifestyle bible tomorrow.

AA026264, C Squared Studios /Photodisc
In the meantime I know it will be a complete lifestyle overhaul. This means giving up wheat, sugar, caffeine (which I did a year a ago), alcohol, and quite a few other specific foods, along with minimising my contact with plastics and chemicals. I also will be investing in a posh new water purifier, eco friendly and chemical free detergents and cleaners, along with replacing my shampoo, deodorant and shower gel with a soap and chemical free alternatives. Also I've started on a series of suppliments which means chomping down 14 tablets a day, which will increase to about 20 per day in a few weeks.It seems like it will be a really tough first 6 months, after which I will be slowly able to reintroduce foods into my diet. She said that I have a few core allergies that ballooned over the past few years which led me to the state I'm in at the moment.
I'm half excited and half terrified. In the past few years I've made lots of changes to my lifestyle, I've cut down hugely of crap fast food, sleeping more regularly, drinking a lot less, and I gave up caffeine.These small changes over a period of time has made me feel a lot better in myself and I know it makes me more prepared to face the months ahead of me. I know that if someone had come to me 4 years ago with this challenge I would have failed miserably.

101928940, Phil Ashley /Stone
Giving up drinking for 4 months is going to be difficult. To anyone outside of Ireland this will sound crazy, but our entire social scene is centred around alcohol, and people are not very understanding when you say you're off drink. But the suppliments I'm on will not be effective if I drink, so there is no point in spending all that effort and money on them if I just wash it all away with beer.
I'm choosing to see this as an exciting new opportunity to get healthier, to learn how to eat differently,and find new ways of cooking. My friend described it very well the other day, he said it's not about giving things up, just about making new habits, it's a much more positive way of looking at it.


  1. If anyone can do this, you can! And you can put a positive spin on it. Best of luck.

  2. It's actually not as difficult as it sounds. I have really really really REALLY sensitive skin, and use eco friendly household products, washballs, chemical-free special shower gels and creams, wear no make up, most of my t-shirts are organic cotton, etc.

    Luckily I have no problems with coffee (phew) or ham and bacon (PHEW!).

    Not drinking in Ireland is really difficult, however. I am allergic to something in alcohol, but nobody quite knows what it is - I am fine with some wine, not with others, so I hardly drink - and it has been a struggle to convince people NOT to buy me a drink.

    You can do it!!! And you will feel so much better for it - you won't know yourself in a few weeks!

  3. I love your friends comment.."making new habits!".....I should take a leaf or three out of your book! :)

  4. Thanks Gillian-I've been told not to got completely cold turkey off sugar, so I'll be getting a bag of your nibs at the weekend for a tiny sugar treat when I need it.

    Purls-it's good to hear of someone else doing it, and getting through it.My most difficult changes will be sugar,wheat and drink...but I'm as stubborn as a mule so I'm sure I'll get there.

    Rebecca-it was Mark Halpin who said it, I really liked the positive angle on it. I'll keep you update on my new life as a monk.


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