Another Point of View About Allergies

Spring was in the air this weekend and I was ready to get in some walking time indoors and decided to visit two of the largest craft events in the area. There was another one I wanted to attend, but I was not able to fit it into my schedule. Anyways, while strolling through the Festivals, there were a lot of food and skin care samples to try. Being more intentional about fully eliminating my allergens and intolerances after watching how they have impacted my health and scale, it was really hard to walk past everything and take a hard look at all of the ingredients and be aware of what is truly in them including the non-consumables.

At both shows, there were a lot of choices for people to look at and each show was different. The first one had too many handmade jewelry booths, a wide variety of photos, paintings and was more of a true craftsperson festival. The second show had more vendors and a wider variety of choices for more of a retail setting in one large location. Direct sales, home booths, small companies, clothing and so many food sampling choices, it is actually too much in one place and in the food aisle at the first show, I had to barrel through as the different ingredients were really overpowering my senses and allergies. However, I did enjoy both shows, but I found one common theme at booth shows. People are more desperate in wanting you to try and buy their products, almost to the point of insulting a person if they are not interested. I have participated in many shows over the past 20 years, but this weekend had proven to be one of the pushiest.

Many years ago, a former favorite was always the dips with the pretzels. For the past few years, I have gotten away from sampling dips at events and stores because people flock all over them and with all of the germs floating around, I would rather not try them, and you never know if someone has double dipped. So I have learned to ignore them and leave the samples for someone else to enjoy, but I know my hubby really likes the dips and sampling, so I generally browse to see what they have and see if there is something that he may like to try.

One booth I visited had handmade scarves and accessories. The Fiberist was very proud of her profession and as I was fingering a shawl thinking how pretty it would be over a dress I ordered for an upcoming event, she interrupted my thoughts and pushed me to try it on. I backed away and said I was fine and was looking and moved into the booth to see more of what she had made. Not my style, but I didn’t want to be rude and while she talked, I absentmindedly touched a neck wrap and as soon as she said feathers, I pulled my hand away because I am very allergic to feathers. When I shared I was allergic to feathers, she became very offended, defensive and swiftly said all of her feathers are sanitized as if I had withdrew my hand because they were dirty feathers. After allergy meds and itching for two aisles of browsing, I finally was able to wash my hands so I could get rid of the allergens that were on my hands. Dirty or clean feathers doesn't mean a thing when you are allergic to feathers and it was my fault for not paying attention.

Glitter lips, oh so fun and as much as I wanted to try them, I knew I needed to ask for the ingredients and no one could tell me what was in their products they were selling, not one ingredient. Instead they referred me straight to the website without telling me what website name, the company name or offering a business card. I did manage to find a card on the table and looked it up when I came home, and sadly, not one ingredient is listed. Fortunately, I have some glitter makeup from a company I trust and will try this on my own at home with ingredients that I know are good for my skin. Maybe I will share the results and if you want natural and pure ingredients, I can refer you to an awesome company.

Another tacky approach is a man offering to fix the bags under my eyes. WOW, talk about really pointing out the obvious allergy flaw that I already know I have and when they give you the one over looking for my flaws, it is really uncomfortable. I find it truly an insult to target a flaw on any person, let alone a man peddling his chemically laden product.

Allergens and intolerances are real for many people. I see eye rolling and hear the snarky comments about it being impossible for a person to have as many allergies and intolerances that I have in my life. Believe me, I did not think it was possible to have more than the initial testing that I had done years ago, but as Lyme’s Disease continues to wreak havoc on my body, more intolerance to foods and ingredients are surfacing.

Years ago, when I was doing an intense elimination program, I learned quickly what I could and could not eat. When I began to introduce foods back into my lifestyle, I was excited to make stuffed peppers and mashed potatoes. It was a family favorite and I had been so excited to taste the flavors together. When you reintroduce foods that you have eliminated, it is usually one food at a time, but I introduced two foods quickly and had a significant allergic reaction. Fortunately, I am not anaphylactic, but allergies seep from my eyes, think pink eye and how uncomfortable it is.

Having Lyme's Disease has really exasperated the intolerances and has made me more aware of the good and bad ingredients for my body. But learning what ingredients I can and cannot use has become very challenging, especially since many of the alternatives are also on my allergen and intolerance lists. It is not as simple as changing from grains to gluten free or drinking a shake that is plant or protein based or taking a pill that can stop the allergy in its' destruction on a body. It is being more of how your body responses to the foods and products you are eating and using. It is reading labels and being aware of your surroundings, plus paying attention to how your body is reacting to the scents and airborne ingredients.

My favorite organic anti-aging serum has three primary ingredients and I love how it makes my skin feel and look, but one of my most recent allergens that I have become aware of is Myrrh, which is the third primary ingredient of my serum and ranked very high on my allergen list. Opening my new bottle, I realized it had Myrrh and had to intentionally stop using it even though I have been using this product for more than a year with no significant reactions. But here is what I have noticed in the short time. My face does not feel as inflamed and itchy, my nose is not as dry and stuffy, my swelling and itchiness on hands is subsiding and the often rubbing of my eyes is stopping because they are less irritated.

Friends, allergies and intolerances are real. It is not always an excuse not to try your products, it is to protect what we put into our body. Just because you are not allergic to something or don’t understand it, does not mean you should have less respect for a person. When I decline trying your food that smells delicious, it is usually because of labels I did not read and ingredients I do not know. When I walk pass your booth and decline the offer to try your products, it is to protect my body from the inside out. I try to have an allergy pill with me at all times, but sometimes one pill is not effective or I need a different allergy pill depending on the type allergy, because I am not an every day pill popper and I am choosing to be more aware of ingredients.