Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Who Doesn't Get Cold Sores?

I remember getting my first "cold sore" on my upper lip when I was an adolescent. In those days, the Middle Eastern folk medicine explanation I usually got for it was, "oh, your stomach must be in disorder." As a youth who shunned many things Old World and traditional, I laughed it off. As I got older, I continued to get these unsightly lip menaces on occasion. I never really found any other explanations for them until the birth of the internet and the information revolution. I finally was reassured by 'modern' medicine gurus that cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus, and that once a person was infected, her or she would forever be damned with more of them...and blah blah blah. This explanation didn't make intuitive sense to me. I still wanted to know what exactly triggered the cold sores, because at times, I could go months without them, then suddenly I would get one. Eventually, I turned to my favorite website Earthclinic.com for alternative answers. Although I found much useful information and remedies (acetone!), I still couldn't find out why it happened. If it was really the so-called Herpes virus, what triggers it?  I couldn't be sure my sores were triggered by artificial sweeteners,  either, because I've diligently avoided that stuff for years. But hey, artificial sweeteners in food might add weight to the theory that it's indeed "stomach related."

Well, about nine months ago, I went through a period of getting one cold sore after the other. One would heal and another would pop out. It was so frustrating. But this time I noticed that it happened at a time when I had eaten a lot of seafood, and I felt like I might have had some kind of food intolerance since my stomach was also showing signs of disorder. Maybe there was some truth in the old Arab folk saying that cold sores are related to the state of the stomach. So I decided to have a food allergy test to see if it would reveal any food sensitivities. I had been meaning to do this test ever since my husband did a it year and a half ago. He used to suffer greatly from a mystery food-related reaction, but we never could figure out what it was until he did this blood test. To our shock, the culprit was eggs! And, boy was my husband a heavy egg eater at the time! Plus, eggs are in just about every baked good out there, and he's a big fan of those, too. Of course we found this out in the same summer when we ordered FOUR DOZEN eggs to be delivered with our weekly CSA. Anyway, once he started avoiding eggs, the symptoms went away, and now they only return when he consumes eggs. Could my cold sores be food related, too?

So we ordered and administered the blood test kit from The Life Extension Foundation, which is where we order all our blood tests (and many vitamins and supplements) without having to rely on a doctor's prescription. When the results arrived in the mail, only one food sensitivity stood out on my chart--not seafood, but CORN!  That explained a whole lot. No wonder popcorn (popped in corn oil!) made me feel so bad after eating it, even though I love it. Of course, corn is in just about everything these days. So many things are fried in corn oil. High Fructose Corn Syrup is also in  many commercial sweet foods, so is corn starch. I was doomed to a life without corn, but at least I might avoid a lifetime of cold sores if I stopped eating it. It was worth a try, so now I avoid this food and its extracts.

Since I started to watch out for corn, I stopped getting cold sores for a while, until a couple of weeks ago. Drat! I got another one. And this time I was even more convinced it was stomach-related because the week before it popped out I had been complaining about not moving smoothly, if you know what i mean.  So what happened? What might I have eaten?

In talking to my husband, we tried to put the pieces together of what I might have consumed that was outside my normal diet. He recalled that this last episode happened to me just after Halloween. Though I normally don't eat any chocolate except the organic dark variety, I had guiltily indulged in some of the junk chocolate my son had collected, specifically Snickers and M&Ms. Aha! The ingredients list clearly shows corn products and a lot of other garbage in those candies. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.

As I nurse what I hope to be one of the last cold sores I get, I want to encourage my dear Broo readers to consider getting a food intolerance test. Regardless of whether or not you get cold sores, you may have other unexplained ailments puzzling you and your doctors. This information can truly be life-changing. I believe that when something goes wrong in your body, the first thing to suspect is food, unless of course you're on some prescription drug and it's causing side effects. Either way, it's clear that most our sicknesses come from what goes into our bodies-- bad food, bad water, bad drugs, unclean air, etc. Even if one stays away from the processed foods, the additives are now sneaking into meats and produce without the consumer's knowledge. Have you had any pink salmon or a tasteless bright red apple lately? Be careful what you think you're eating.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." I'll bet he would have a change of heart (or a heart attack) if he saw the GMOs, ultra-processed, MSG-laden, artificially flavored/colored and highly sweetened garbage we consider "food" today. 

Stay tuned...

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