Or should I say this new challenge is more like an emotional adventure. It’s been 15 days since I’ve had red wine; yes I have given up red wine my friends to see if I’m allergic to red wine or sadly all wines. I started to notice my sinuses becoming congested the day after I had red wine, and at first I thought it might be that I had one too many glasses, but I would only have one or two glasses of delicious red wine with a great meal. Then I started to notice that the taste of certain wines turned me off. I thought my palate was changing and I would switch to a different region, a different vineyard, I was convincing myself that I was still able to drink a good Zinfandel or a light and sweet Pinot Noir. Sadly, the last Pinot I had made me sneeze within an hour of drinking the first glass and the next day I felt like I drank more than a bottle to myself. This was my wake up call, and I have very mixed feelings about the whole situation.
Like the no chocolate challenge, this new chapter in my life was going to open a few more doors to my truth self and that scares me a little. Then on the other hand, the rational side of my personality, I know that all things are to be done in moderation and if I had to start cutting back on drinking wine then I would have to, purely for my health, body, mind and spirit. The most important things.
When I was in high school I remember my mother complaining, as she normally did about most things; she was not able to drink red wine because it gave her a headache. I wondered if I was now allergic to red wine, or was it genetic? I cursed my mother for a moment before I started to remember other friends who expressed they were not able to drink either red or white wine. This was not a coincidence.
Why wine, why now?
It seems, according to CNN Health that Sinus congestion from alcohol is caused by an alcohol intolerance and high levels of histamine in alcoholic beverages. The intolerance is a genetic condition where a person’s body is unable to break down the alcohol, leading to complications. Thank you, Livestrong.com
The primary cause of alcohol intolerance is a genetic trait that makes the body is simply unable to break down the alcohol. In persons with alcohol intolerance, the digestive system is lacking the proper enzymes to digest the alcohol. In addition, ingredients in alcoholic beverages also can cause allergic reactions that result in sinus congestion. I don’t remember when I was younger any of these symptoms, but I also didn’t drink a lot of red wine in my early twenties or thirties. I drank a lot of gin and tonic in my party days, but I can tell you that if I drank a beer I would feel a little wheezy, which is another symptom of alcohol intolerance; beer and wine have higher amounts of the histamine that causes the congestion.
Where Do I go from here?
So where does this leave me now? Well, I said I wouldn’t drink red wine for at least a week to see if I felt any different; and you know what…I feel so much better! I feel like my head is out a fog that never knew was there until I could see things a little more clearly. I haven’t given up white wine, I have only had a glass of white wine in the last twelve days and when I was drinking it I didn’t have any reactions that were noticeable. So, for now I am leaving the red wine on the shelf and paying more attention to the body. In all honestly this sucks, I mean I love a good meaty Cab Sav with a nice meal and my husband is about to start his first level wine sommelier class and it would be great to taste the lovely wines that he’ll be bringing home. However, if I want to maintain my health and not look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, I’ll restrict myself to a little taste of red wine and be mindful of my body.
This new path has helped me be more aware of what I am putting in my body. I’m pretty health person and make my own smoothies, eat raw/vegan when I can, yet there are moments when a bag of Doritos or fish and chips calls out my name; and it’s important to acknowledge those cravings; that’s called being human.
Until next time, keep on typing….