Thursday, June 2, 2011


My boyfriend hates the word "mucus." However, if I was forced to pick a theme that has stayed with me my entire life, that would be it. I was that kid. The one always stuffy and coughing. We affectionately called it the "Slis Nose" in our household because my dad and grandfather were the same way. Any slight temperature change in the weather and our sinuses would begin working overtime, resulting in extreme congestion. And in Michigan, the temperature changes on a daily basis - it isn't uncommon to go from 35 degree to 85 degrees over the course of a day. Therefore, congestion became the norm, with the only relief in the sporadic weeks Michigan held onto a consistent temperature for more than a few days at a time.

When I was little I would keep my family awake with my hacking. I have spent many nights walking around because the instant I laid down my closed off nose would suffocate me. I should have bought stock in Chapstick due to how much I needed it to offset my mouth-breathing. I have become resistant to just about every over-the-counter drug (although I had a good few years where Claritin gave me short-lived relief). I own a netty pot. I have a closet full of natural remedies (none of which work on me). I can often be found doing handstands at 4am because it will give me an instant of relief while the congestion rearranges itself. More than once I have had to pull over to the side of the road while driving because my nose was completely blocked and the drainage was choking me - so I would panic and have to chug water to get one airway open. And I get reprimanded in yoga a LOT for mouth-breathing - even though at those times I have no alternative.

I was in the store a few weeks ago waiting in the register line. The lady in front of me had the telltale red nose and 6 different kinds of decongestants in her cart. When she saw me looking she gave a sad smile and said "I love spring but hate the allergies it brings with it." It made me realize - I wasn't stuffy. Michigan has been fluctuating between 70 and 30 and then up to 90 degrees and I wasn't congested! Somewhere along the line, after 34 years, my sinuses stopped their attack and slowly receded. Thinking back, I believe the last time I had had sinus issues was back in Feb, and it was now almost June. This was by far the longest I had ever gone without the miserable feeling of sinus pressure and the inability to take deep breaths.

This got me thinking - what had I changed? That's when I realized the answer: my diet. I had cut out all dairy. Although I went vegan for compassionate reasons, it was actually helping me in a very tangible way as well. Bonus! Doctors had told my mom when I was a child to lessen my dairy when I had congestion problems, but I had never cut it out completely before. My dairyless lifestyle had just begun 6 months ago. My mucus-less lifestyle began just 1 month after that.

Since I have realized this the past few weeks, I have had constant gratitude for the deep breaths I am able to take. I am no longer tempted by ice cream because I just have to think about that horrible feeling of suffocation and the pressure making me feel like my head is going to explode. I am so in awe of how this yoga journey led me to fixing an issue I had assumed I would be living with the rest of my life.

I cannot express how immensely this will change my life. My quality of life. I know many of you think my changing to a vegan diet was extreme and unnecessary, but the benefits just keep coming. I know now, this is a lifestyle I will sustain for the rest of my life. And anyone else who has similar issues, I hope you give it a try. Drinking Almond Milk is so much better than hacking up a lung on a regular basis :)

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you are allergic to dairy. I know when you were a baby your Mom had a hard time finding a formula for you. That is amazing!! Glad you found some relief.