Away with Allergies

Island Epicure


Now that flowers are blossoming, both wild ones and the garden variety, we’re hearing a lot more sneezing, and experiencing more stuffy noses and clogged sinuses.  Relatives and friends call in to report seasonal allergies flaring up. That downpour we had several nights ago really  cleared the air. But those sunny days that followed had us reaching for tissues to catch sneezes again.

It cannot be a coronavirus. Our temperatures remain normal. We have no true cold symptoms. So our sneezes must come from allergens that come in whenever we open an outside door or window. Son Steve and I mainly stay in our house. Nobody visits except my grandson James, wearing a facemask. He sometimes eats lunch with us, keeping much more than the required six feet away from Steve and me. James also  takes our recyclables to the recycle collection place, and rook all our dead curlique light bulbs to  the hazardous waste truck. That was a big favor, too.

For exercise, I do qi gong; Steve walks in the woods or on the beach wearing a scarf that covers the bottom half of his face. Or goes to Harbor Mercantile for groceries, wearing said scarf as stated. James, when he shops for  his mother’s household, phones Steve to text him our grocery list and brings us Thriftway or IGA  groceries, items the Burton store doesn’t carry.

We enjoy telephone visits with our far away and  not so far away relatives and friends. We stretch our eyes by looking across the harbor toward and beyond Portage, and by watching dog walkers in the park below us.  We cooked a superb pot roast for supper. We read a lot.
The two camellia trees beside our house have never caused sneezes, only pleasure from their red and deep pink blossoms. They can stay. We enjoy bouquets of them in the house. The three golden rain (laburnum) trees don’t clog our noses either.  The quince tree produces so few blossoms that even if we could pin an “allergenic” label onto it, we’d keep it. The apple tree we keep for it’s delicious fruit is not blooming yet. The Douglas firs near the house do us no harm, but being shallow-rooted they sway alarmingly in winter’s east winds.  The madrona trees flower, but  they do not seem to cause any allergic reaction. I don’t think they could cause current sneezing and other allergy symptoms because they blossom later in the spring.

So what plants rev  up  the allergies now? The trees and bushes  in  bloom in our neighborhood now are rhododendrons, golden rain trees, laurels, rowans and lilac.. The wild cherry trees have just finished blooming here at Jensen Point, at least,  Have faith, allergic people. Those plants will soon stop blooming, and so stop producing allergens. People can be allergic to red roses.

Think of food. What we eat has an effect on our allergies. For instance, I don’t fare well if I eat white potatoes, or pasta or bread made with white flour, or cane sugar, or drink soft drinks, or coffee. Coconut sugar, totally rye bread, brown rice and brown rice pasta, these work for me.The nightshade vegetables:  white potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers of any color are all somewhat allergenic to me. I need to go easy on them.

Grass pollen causes people the most allergenic trouble, I think. Find someone to whack your grass before it blooms. Trees, not even shedding pollen, can be as  bad as grass for some people. One year we had a pine tree for a Chrisrmas tree. It gave me migraine for Christmas.  We finally put it out on the balcony. Now we sometimes bring in holly sprigs and tuck them behind pictures on the walls. We just pile the Christmas presents on the antique sewing machine.

Sometimes we put Christmas lights on the apple tree.

Foods make a big difference in how you feel.  You may find that your seasonal allergies that you’ve been blaming  on plants tend to slack off or even go away when you eat different foods.

Choose  these least allergenic foods:
All meats, fish, shrimp, clams, oysters; sweet potatoes, yams, jicama; carrots, parsnips, peas, onions, beans, tomatoes in small quantities, mushrooms, rutabagas, turnips, spinach, zucchini,  and all green leafy vegetables; all fruits except dates and raisins. Gluten free whole grain bread. Peanut butter. Nuts (brazil nuts, no more than three a day), granola,  cream, almond milk. Green tea, but not too strong.

Avoid these most allergenic foods:
White potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, corn, spaghetti and fettuccine,  unless made with brown rice,flour; pie, cakes, cookies, sweet puddings, candies, dates and raisins, alcohol in all forms, coffee, strong tea.

After eating like this for a few weeks, you may find the grasses a;nd other allergenic plants don’t bother you nearly as much–not at all, I hope.