Is Wheat Gluten Causing Your Sinus Symptoms?

August 01 2007 – 02:47pm

Until recently, I was prone to sinus infections – or not so much prone, but rather, I had a sinus infection all of the time. My voice was nasally, I was fatigued all of the time, and I pretty much felt gross. I had seen a number of doctors over the years for my recurrent sinusitis. They tended to test me for environmental allergies, stick a camera up my nose, and ultimately prescribe some bullshit allergy medication that didn’t work, or even convince me to try nasal irrigation – which was actually their best idea.

Then one day I was reading an old book on holistic medicine. Of course, the first thing I wanted to know was how could I prevent being constantly congested. The book said that foods such as wheat, meat, and dairy often contributed to excess mucous production – and thus, sinusitis. I was miserable, and clearly willing to try anything, so I cut out all three of those things the very next day.

Within two days, the difference was incredible. My head had cleared up, I had boundless energy, and other problems – such as a patch of eczema that I had on my eyelid for years – all cleared up. My armpits didn’t even smell – which is an odd observation, but remarkable, so I’m remarking upon it.

I continued with this “fast” of sorts for about a week. Through a bit of experimentation I was able to place the blame for my sinus woes (and that eczema thing) on wheat. Since I re-introduced animal products like meat and dairy, my armpits just smell like a normal person’s.

“Wheat!? You can’t eat wheat!?,” is the usual response of anyone whom I tell this to. Yeah, that’s right – I can’t eat bread, pasta, flour tortillas (burritos), cupcakes, crackers, cookies, brownies, cake, or even drink beer. This means staples such as pizza and sandwiches have been out of my diet – except for the occasional (regretted) indulgence – since I discovered this problem seven months ago. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been quite worth it.

How could you avoid something as ubiquitous as wheat? Good question. Fortunately I had the advantages both of living in the hippie capital known as San Francisco, and working at a hippie company; so knowledge on this subject was pretty easy to find. I discovered grains such as quinoa, and millet, and these other things called “fruits” and “vegetables.” The whole experience of trying to restructure my diet had me looking at food totally differently. Ultimately, I found it easiest to just eat Thai and Indian food every day, but there are websites dedicated to wheat and gluten free diets, if one is so inclined.

Not only did the experience have me looking at food differently, it also had me looking at medicine differently. How could I see so many GPs, allergy specialists, ENT specialists, and dermatologists without a single one of them saying “you know, you should look at your diet?” How many other people are out there with health problems related to food allergies and intolerances that are being underinformed by their doctors? I get the sneaking suspicion that somewhere in the depths of that problem lies the fact that there’s so much money to be made pumping people full of drugs.

But keeping wheat out of my diet has just plain gotten old, so I’m seeing an accupuncturist with the hopes I can have that allergy (and a few others) eliminated. You can bet that if she can make it so I can eat pizza and drink beer again, you will hear about it right here.

This post is filed under Health, Miscellaneous.