All this year I’ve had one awful random physical ailment after the next that keeps me from sleeping. It started out with a wheezy month-long chest cold my dad brought back from Cuba last December, and since then it’s just been a constant parade of things from whooping cough to pityriasis rosea to having my toenail ripped off. How predictable, then, that just when I had recovered from a bad neck adjustment that left me in horrible pain for over a week (and through both Mirin and Clothilde’s birthdays), I got a nasty, lingering stomach bug for a couple of weeks. I was just getting better from that, so naturally it was a perfect time to break out in mysterious head-to-toe hives the past three days. I’m blaming my horrible luck on it being the Year of the Horse, which is supposed to be a bad year for Rats like me. It’s the only explanation I can come up with. Is the universe trying to tell me something here? Maybe it’s telling me I should just have stayed in bed until 2015.
I haven’t had hives since I was a kid, and that was from a reaction to antibiotics. I am fairly sure the hives were from something I ate. I recently went shopping and actually bought vegetables. I know, it’s almost sacrilegious to buy vegetables with our huge garden. But the garden is in-between seasons at the moment, and I just wanted something other than pickles, pumpkin, or roselle after awhile.
The first night they weren’t too bad, and I thought they were flea bites because our kitty Teasel was caught sleeping on my pillow. The bedroom is usually forbidden to her, because she rolls in the gutters and hey, her nickname is “Fleasel.” The only thing I had all three nights was cauliflower for dinner. It was organic Canadian cauliflower (awful, I know, but I hardly ever buy it). I’ve never gotten hives from cauliflower before, but I had a vague sense that I was reacting to pesticides or agricultural chemicals on it, partly because my brother got horrible hives from non-organic grapes when he was a baby.
The hives were so bad, I was trying everything I could think of. It looked like I had rolled in a nettle patch, and it felt like that, too. I tried Urtica homeopathic, chamomile, baking soda, Epsom salts, the NAET allergy treatment, an adrenal supplement, B vitamins, vitamin C, clay, ice. Nothing helped in the least. Finally on Saturday night I had an idea it was maybe pesticides, so I drank several tablespoons of cod liver oil. It was like magic! They started clearing up almost immediately.
Last week when we went to the horse farm to get a load of manure (it’s not so much manure as very well-rotted hay from their hay rings), one of the horse people said to us, “Now that’s hard work!” She said it as if we were nuts to even attempt it, almost looking down on us for being dedicated to something that was so hard.
It’s true that labeling can help you make better food choices, but when it really comes down to it, you don’t really know much about your food from the store. You can buy a package of salami that says the animals were humanely raised, but you don’t really know what that animal’s life (or death) was like. You don’t know how it was handled or where it was born or what it’s personality was. The cauliflower I bought was marked as “Organic” but I do suspect. All the vegetables I bought last week looked pretty, but you can tell they have been kept refrigerated and were handled by many strange hands. The food we get from our garden has so much life in it and seems so fresh and clean. We know what has happened to them and who has touched them from seed to table. We know the earth that it grew from. I had replied to the hard work comment, “But it’s so worth it,” and it really is.