Wow I haven’t written a blog post since 2019 before my life blew up and my parents got ill and everything turned upside down.
BUT I have a new theory, so I needed to come back here. I haven’t had a theory since 2019 or 2018. Maybe 2017. This is a big one (but I’ve been wrong before so who knows).
We moved to Nashville from Canada in September 2020. Technically I moved to Franklin (just south of Nashville). And immediately I got strep throat I couldn’t get rid of with multiple rounds of antibiotics. I had pretty severe tree allergies in Franklin pretty rapidly after we moved and after a month we moved to Nashville to a condo to escape the allergies. It kind of worked. The allergies improved. My strep throat however, didn’t. On antibiotic round three the strep throat changed into bronchitis and in December I ended up with pneumonia along with Scarlett (my 4-year-old poor thing) and fiance Jordan Fuller (more personal stuff later – a lot happened in the last few years – I went through terrible family illnesses, got divorced and met the love of my life).
Anyway, we all ended up on antibiotics and steroids. It was pretty brutal. Nothing compared to having a full-blown autoimmune disorder and depression… Nothing is that bad. But not good.
We finally recovered in December and I was healthy for December (except covid (for the third time) for a week) and I was healthy for January.. The only two months there aren’t allergies in Nashville. Then as soon as tree allergies started again late February I got “sick” almost immediately and Scarlett got a cough again and it occurred to me I was having an asthmatic reaction, something I haven’t really experienced since I was a teenager, caused by these ridiculous tree allergies. Scarlett unfortunately also has similar allergies. She’s had a chronic cough, and rhinitis since February, poor thing. Can’t wait until we’re out of here.
I’ve been allergic most of the time since late February. Aching body, bronchitis, cough with a tickle that keeps me up at night, hoarse voice, itchy ears, stuffy nose, itchy eyes. Unbearable really. I had to cancel so many podcasts. By April this year (2022) the tree allergy illness had progressed to actual joint pain and my arthritis was bugging me for the first time in years. Nothing like what I’ve experienced before dietary changes but still very scary. To the point of tears multiple times scary. It’s terrifying not knowing if things could progress. Terrifying to think the diet might stop working when it’s kept me in remission for years. Why on earth would I have mild arthritis for the first time since I went on the lion diet? Could tree allergies really be doing this? How!? I thought tree allergies were confined to lungs and itching and eyes and ears. Not joints and mood. What was going on?
So I went to an immunologist who specializes in allergies. The first doctor I’ve been to in years. I did a prick test on my back and as you can see, I am very allergic to trees. So is Scarlett, poor thing.
Then it occurred to me.. What if I am so allergic to pollen, latex, dust, etc., that I’m having allergic reactions to foods that have similar proteins to those allergy proteins? This is something I had considered briefly in 2016 but for some reason forgot about it.
If you have a severe birch allergy for instance, you can have cross-reactivity issues where your body will react to proteins that are shaped like the protein causing the birch allergy. Most doctors would tell you not to worry about this. “That’s just called oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and it’s confined to the lips, mouth, and throat.”
I was up last week at 3 am from this stupid cough wondering why I had pain all over my body including joint pain from tree allergies and I thought… If you can have oral allergy syndrome from foods that have proteins shaped like pollen, pet dander, latex, or dust, couldn’t those similarly shaped proteins induce more of an immune reaction? Not just oral allergies? What if I’m not reacting to the food exactly, but the protein in the food that’s shaped like what I’m truly allergic to? The other crazy thing.. I used to react to cane sugar terribly. But not beet sugar. It made no sense at the time and I did think, “what if this is a grass allergy?” But after the lion diet, I kind of forgot about that because I’m not eating those foods anyway. Now that environmental allergies are triggering my autoimmunity though, it’s back to the drawing board. I’m not nearly as sick as I was but it’s not tolerable with the allergies.
What if consuming those cross-reactivity foods trigger minor allergic reactions that contributed to leaky gut (along with gluten and gut damaging foods) and then that resulted in Type 3 Hypersensitivity reactions (I wrote about those in 2017 here
). That’s worth a read too. It was a theory back then but it turns out Type 3 Hypersensitivity Reactions can cause autoimmunity
so that part of my theory was right. Ha.
Anyway, one of the major symptoms my dad and I both have that make whatever reactions we get (and have mostly avoided with diet) horrifying, is an impending sense of doom. The only place I’ve really found scientific literature on an “impending sense of doom” was during anaphylaxis
. A severe allergy attack. Dad had an anaphylactic reaction to a bird when he was young. He gets pain all over his body when he’s exposed to down. I had an anaphylactic response to a spider bite when I was 17 (right in between my hip and ankle replacement – great summer). But neither of us has had full-blown anaphylaxis since. However, we’ve been plagued by these stupid “reactions” if we eat anything that isn’t ruminant meat, and now I’ve had similar symptoms around long exposures to tree pollen.
I actually do get most of those above symptoms without the obvious lip and throat swelling and tightness in the throat. Everything else is there (except vomiting and loss of consciousness). So could these reactions actually be allergies? Seems like it.
I also get a majorly not cute puffy face (see here when I was having tree allergies vs. when I’m not – crazy eh?). The left side is no allergies and the right side is when I do have allergies.
You know how frustrating podcasting with a face that randomly puffs up with trees is? It’s frustrating.
When I eat something I can’t tolerate I get itchy everywhere too. That hasn’t happened for years since I’ve been on the lion diet but before the diet when I reintroduced soy prior to that I had a full body itch. And before I started any diet I was constantly itchy. Itchy enough that I used to scratch my legs in my sleep until they bled.
So this seems like an allergy but every doctor I spoke with said “you can’t be allergic to everything”. And fair enough. But I’ve had severe environmental allergies since I was a kid and it makes more sense that I’m having allergies to similarly shaped proteins in almost all plant foods than having allergies to the actual foods. (All plant foods that I know of and most animal foods too – I haven’t been able to reintroduce anything successfully other than wild salmon, sardines, and a specific brand of honey is okay-ish). Still can’t eat dairy, eggs, pork, or chicken either. That theory is at least more logical than an allergy to all foods.
SO what if I’ve just had severe environmental allergies the whole time? And because I was in an allergic state since forever, and eating the wrong foods on top of that, (that contributed to leaky gut
, gluten, etc.) which made the entire situation and the allergies worse. Then I had proteins from foods shaped like proteins from trees I was allergic to leak into my body and that triggered a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction where antibodies surrounded these proteins to protect me from them? But because I was producing too many of these complexes I couldn’t get rid of them fast enough and they started building up in tissues and caused tissue damage (resulting in tissue damage and therefore joint replacements). See my post on type 3 hypersensitivity reactions from 2017 here.
Great. Finally a logical explanation behind the inability to eat anything that isn’t lamb. Kind of. Doesn’t exactly explain the inability to eat aged meat… That could be a mold allergy though so maybe that’s the explanation there. Maybe the inability to eat aged meat is more of a mold allergy than a histamine intolerance, but the verdict is still out on that.
This theory almost explains everything.
So, more importantly, what to do about it?
Well I’ve started taking low-dose naltrexone at 1.5mg per day. It’s only been two days but I’ll write an update on this soon. People see amazing changes with this and so far I don’t seem to be reacting to it (unlike almost every other medication out there other than opiates). So I’m going to give LDN a good shot and also do allergy shots too.
It’s been used to treat chronic fatigue
, autoimmune disease
, potentially cancer
, and allergies. It seems like a miracle cure but miracle cures don’t generally exist, so… who knows. So far it isn’t giving me side effects too, that’s fantastic. It might actually be making me feel good but stay tuned because sometimes it feels good at first and then WHAM a problem.
If you have severe allergies you can get allergy immunotherapy shots where doctors will mix a tiny bit of the allergen in a concoction and inject you with it. The point of this is to expose yourself to a very low dose of an allergen so you can desensitize your immune system. It’s a pain though you have to do it twice a week or once a week for years. I wanted to do this a while ago when I was 18 but I was told that I was so allergic to trees that the doctor was worried about inducing anaphylaxis. And at that time I could still tolerate antihistamines so we didn’t do allergy shots.
However, I haven’t been able to tolerate medications since I stopped taking all of them in 2015. Antihistamines make my skin crawl terribly and give me that horrible impending sense of doom. The only medication I can take without horrifying side effects are opiates without sodium metabisulfite. So morphine or codeine basically.
So it would be interesting if naltrexone – which almost works in the opposite way opiates work – would help. Plus allergy shots.
Hope you guys are well! I will solve this one day. I’m also moving to Miami where the tree allergies aren’t going to plague me as badly. Can’t reduce my productivity with autoimmunity again! I have too many great things going on.
Stay well fellow sickies, I’ll figure this out yet. So far at least I have a diet that works to keep me in remission, and others in remission, just need an actual cure now. Let’s see what LDN and allergy shots do.
Mikhaila, I think you should further research Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. It’s not uncommon at all (although very underdiagnosed), and it explains all the different symptoms that you have.
Unfortunately doctors will only prescribe antihistamines as a solution. There are also new biological drugs being developed.
But, nonetheless, the approach with diet and the avoidance of environmental triggers is a cheap and natural way of treatment. Maybe you need some supplements, but you’re definitely on the right track.
Antihistamines do not break down histamines, they block the receptors to prevent symptoms, but the histamines remain in your system. Also antihistamines only block two of the four types of receptors because the second two are more difficult to reach. Long term use of antihistamines can push histamines to find the deeper receptors which come with more severe symptoms.
Also, excess histamines can trigger mast cells to create more histamines which creates a vicious cycle.
I spent a lot of time reading about this cycle and started researching what actually breaks down histamines in the body. I found that it’s called a DAO enzyme and they are available over the counter. I convinced my doctor to prescribe me a mast cell stabilizer. In the matter of a few months, I successfully reduced the number of histamines in my system and slowed the production of new ones. Years later and I don’t need either.
I’m not a doctor
Check out the DNRS program with Annie Hopper. I think it would interest you. There is a good interview by BetterHealthGuy.
It seems to me that you killed all the good gut bacteria (which you had built up since going carnivore) with all those antibiotics. This would definitely only make your allergies worse and worse. Healing a leaky gut can take about seven years in bad cases and taking antibiotics destroys any progress made. All medications will contribute to the destruction of the gut lining.
Try the “no plants” version of the GAPS diet. Natasha Campbell’s books: Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Gut and Physiology Syndrome are amazing. People have been able to get rid of or at least minimize both environmental and food allergies Best to work with a certified practitioner while doing it.
We’ve tried that. Can’t tolerate any reintroductions. I’ve had Natasha on my podcast.
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I am new to reading your blog. A little introduction:
I read “12 Rules For Life” after seeing it featured at my local library a few years ago. I really didn’t know who your father was other than that fact that he wrote a book I had read until I started watching YouTube during the pandemic where I discovered both of you. I became a fan of but a quiet one as I’d left social media for the most part in 2020. (I’m sticking my toe back in at the moment to see how it goes.)
Regarding this post, I moved to the Charlotte, North Carolina area from Westchester County, New York when I was 12 and experienced reactions to the pollen here similar to what you are experiencing in the Franklin/Nashville area. Not. Fun. In fact, I ruined my new friend’s family vacation by temporarily losing my eyesight from severe sinus pressure. It was my first Spring season in NC and they’d taken me along to their Lake James cabin in the NC mountains where the pollen was apparently much worse!!! After a day of boating and water sports, I woke up in the middle of the night to discover I could not see. I groped my way back to the bedroom and explained to my friend that I’d lost my vision! The next day her family had to cut their vacation short to take me back home. My grandparent’s chiropractor used ultrasound on my face to drain my sinuses and my sight was magically restored. Afterwards, he gave me an adjustment and thank God, my allergies have never affected my eyesight again. Still, all the other symptoms you describe were a big part of my life depending on how bad the pollen was that particular year. I used to get such severe tickles in my throat I would have to leave my classroom to go hack up mucous in the hall. This made me very popular in school … lol. As a newlywed, my husband and I rented a duplex surrounded by giant oak trees. The oak pollen made me so miserable that Spring that my doctor gave me a cortisone shot to which I had such a severe reaction that I would have rather have had my allergies!!! My period became erratic. I was menstruating about every other week for months. I was depressed not by the fact that I was having my period so often but from whatever hormones were in the cortisone shot. Though, I am NOT saying I enjoyed that menstruation schedule. It was awful but I would never have chosen to cry about it. I would cry at work for no reason I could discern which was very embarrassing. My OBGYN said she couldn’t help me b/c it would mean giving me more hormones and she felt that what I needed was let the cortisone clear out of my system. What a mess!!! I have NEVER taken any type of hormone derivative since then. Fast forward many years into the future and my biggest discovery about how to handle my seasonal allergies came from a holistic veterinarian after our 3-year-old husky-terrier mix became terribly sick following his third round of annual vaccinations. Two weeks after those shots, he became allergic to EVERYTHING or so it seemed. He couldn’t eat his regular food, his skin itched like mad … sound familiar? The shots made his immune system go NUTS. (I also get itchy skin if I eat foods I am sensitive including anything with gluten in it. Gluten actually makes me much sicker than just itchiness but that’s another story. I’ve been gluten-free for over 10 years and would never go back.) The traditional vet gave our dog Benadryl tablets for the allergies and antibiotics for the skin infections he’d developed from chewing himself raw in multiple places. Still, his beautiful white fur was coating the floor instead of him! He continued chewing, scratching and bleeding. Next, the traditional vet put him on cortisone but the poor dog just kept getting sicker and sicker. I was so sad for this sweet boy. Out of desperation, I started researching online and became convinced that herbs might be able to help him. I went to local herb shop and was referred to a holistic vet who put him on guess what? A raw beef diet. Nothing but raw beef for several weeks. This was an unpleasant task for me but it worked. Our dog was also put on Omega-3 fatty acids and Chinese herbs known as “Wind Toxin.” Once, he was healthy again I was encouraged to give him things like plain yogurt or sardines as a snack and not the doggie junk food he was used to getting. He was also put on a teaspoon of raw local honey to combat his inhalant allergies. Testing revealed he was highly allergic to birch trees and we had a huge birch tree in our yard. The holistic vet said it would not help to take it down because birch trees where everywhere in our neighborhood. She said, we could give him allergy shots but that raw local honey would be better and cheaper. So that is what we did. This dog lived to be almost 19 years old. I had to put him down last year (8/2021). I learned a lot about vaccines, food, and allergies from my experience with the dog. My son was taking Zyrtec every Spring and he started taking a tablespoon of raw local honey in January (you have to take it ahead of the pollen season to build up your immunity) and was able to ditch Zyrtec. Then my daughter, who was on Singular, did the same for her fall allergies. I also started taking raw local honey. Interestingly, after a few years we didn’t even need to take the honey anymore. We just didn’t have allergies around here BUT when my son moved to Ohio in 2020 to accept an offer to work on his PhD then his allergies started acting up so he had to search out raw local honey from the bees in Bowling Green, Ohio. I put a link below to a 2006 story about my experience with my dog that was published in a local paper where I had a “dog beat” in the early 2000’s. Even back then, I had to be politically correct. For example, I could NOT talk about the vaccines being the root cause of this issue with my dog. (I used to be a journalist but I am a literacy teacher now.)
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