How I Cured My Chronic Allergies, Sinus Headaches, and Sinus Infections

Picture found here

Before I figured out the solution to these problems, I was sick all the time!  I had sinus headaches, post-nasal drip, and mucus in my throat daily.  So, how did I cure myself of these issues?  The short answer: I gave up dairy.  I gave up dairy 2 ½ years ago, which was very difficult at first because I LOVED cheese.  Luckily, I have found some great dairy alternatives (see list below).  Later I learned that dairy has chemicals that resemble morphine and has addictive properties, which is why we love these products so much.  I have found that the less dairy I eat, the less I crave it.

Why is dairy so bad?  To read an article by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) on the health concerns of dairy products, go here:  Health Concerns of Dairy Products

How do you get your calcium?  There are many non-animal sources of calcium including:

  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Barley grass powder
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Okra
  • Tahini
  • Almonds
  • Almond milk
  • Almond butter
  • Figs
  • apricots
  • Blackstrap molasses

What are some non-dairy products that can be used in place of dairy products?  These products are yummy, quick fixes for recipes and for cravings, but should only be used rarely; they are processed food and some contain processed soy.  If available, get the options that are soy-free and organic.

  • Cheese = Teese “cheese,” (the nacho sauce is amazing!), Daiya shredded “cheese”
  • Parmesan cheese = Vegan Grated Parmesan Flavor
  • Cream Cheese = Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • Sour Cream = Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • Milk = Coconut, Hemp, Rice, or Almond milk
  • Yogurt = So Delicious coconut yogurt
  • Ice cream = coconut, almond, or rice ice cream (coconut is my favorite)
  • Butter = Earth Balance
  • Creamer = So Delicious (French Vanilla or Original flavors)
  • Ranch = Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch
  • Honey Mustard = Follow Your Heart Vegan Honey Mustard
  • Caesar Dressing = Follow Your Heart Vegan Caesar Dressing

Where do I buy these non-dairy products?  You can buy some at your local grocery store.  Others, you’ll have to look at your local health food store or healthy grocery store such as Whole Foods.

Are there even healthier dairy alternatives?  Yes!  You can make your own!  To see how, go here: DIY Dairy Alternatives

Do you have some of the same symptoms as I did?  Or do you just want to make the change to be healthier?  I challenge you to try to give up dairy for 21 days.  Then, let me know how you feel when you’re done in the comments below! 

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66 thoughts on “How I Cured My Chronic Allergies, Sinus Headaches, and Sinus Infections

  1. I didn’t know that dairy food contained addictive properties. No wonder I can’t stand it any more when I try to see if I can eat dairy food again.

    • Yes, that’s what the experts say! Every time I eat it now (which is hardly ever), my stomach hurts and I get all stuffed up and need to clear my throat excessively, reminding me why I don’t eat it anymore!

    • Thanks! Yeah, soy isn’t a good substitute for everyone. I really like almond milk, too, but my husband doesn’t. Luckily we both really like coconut milk and hemp milk!

  2. I really enjoyed this post. It hits close to home. I have severe allergies including environmental allergies and food allergies. I gave up dairy 3 months ago. I no longer have achiness in my joints, but I still have several allergy symptoms, including mucus/drainage. I’m still searching for my “cure”, but I’m sure that giving up dairy is a part of the answer for me. (I have an allergy to the casein in dairy. Unfortunately, casein is still found in many of the “dairy free” options in the marketplace.)

    • It sounds like you may have more food allergies than just dairy. It may be beneficial for you to check out my About and Health sections which detail other things you can try to give up and see if it helps your symptoms. And yes, some veggie options really still contain dairy (e.g., morningstar farms, veggie shreds). All of the products I have listed above are completely dairy-free, though. Good luck on your health journey!

  3. Wow, this is interesting. I have terrible sinus troubles and am always looking for relief or new ideas. I don’t know if I can give up dairy, but maybe I should cut back 🙂 Thanks!

    • Yeah, I totally understand, I didn’t think I could give it up completely either at first, but once I started feeling soooo much better, I realized it was worth it! You could do a temporary 2, 3, or 4 weeks with no dairy to see if it’s the culprit, because if you just cut back, you may not notice a difference, but if you give it up (for a little while initially) you will be able to truly see if that’s what the problem is. You will not regret it! I have not had sinus issues since I stopped! It’s amazing to be able to bend over and not have a throbbing head (among other relief)! Good luck! 🙂

  4. Hi Jamie,
    It is a wonderful blog, I have just stumbled on it and have been reading through it for the last three hours 🙂
    I was wondering what is your take on oat milk as a dairy alternative?
    Thank you,
    Inna

    • Thank you so much Inna! I’m so glad you like it 🙂 Oat milk is good, too. I just don’t drink it because I eat oatmeal quite often. Coconut milk and hemp milk are my favorites for the taste as well as the nutrient content. Almond milk, oat milk, and rice milk are all good choices, too!

  5. i have to say, ive given up on Lattes, i was consuming Grande sizes 2x a day!! altho non fat milk still a big problem im sure. Its been 6 days…I also have hardly had any extra products with milk in it, yogurts, cheeses ect, I have to say this is the clearest my head has felt in years. im so hoping this is the answer to my chronic sinus headaches and infections!!! crossing my fingers and will let u know in a few weeks.

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  8. I used to get chronic severe sinus pressure headaches that triggered migraines and put me down for days. On my quest to find a migraine cure, I tried a raw vegan route but couldn’t stick with it. When I began eating dairy again I realized I’d get sinus headaches within a day or so, even if a single shred of cheese just touched my food. I have now been 100% dairy-free for about 5 years now and it has made a world of difference. I will never have dairy again and I do not miss it. I’ve since realized that there’s still something else that makes me feel I’ll and tired and I believe it’s wheat and soy. I recently started excluding those from my diet and hope it makes a difference in my well-being and energy.

    • I forgot to mention 3 other benefits I experienced when eliminating dairy from my diet: I dropped a few pounds, my total cholesterol level went down about 30 points, and acne that I had been suffering with for about 20 years cleared up like magic! I was finally able to leave the house without make-up and I loved my skin!!!!!

    • Yasmin,
      This sounds similar to my story! And I have also eliminated wheat and feel so much better because of it! (Soy is okay for me) I got tested to see exactly what intolerances I have which ended up being a severe intolerance to dairy and shrimp and a mild intolerance to eggs, gluten, and sunflower seeds. I would highly recommend getting it done so you don’t have to guess anymore. The tests are called IgG and IgE food intolerance testing.

  9. I love this page of dairy alternatives I gave up dairy for 2 weeks I still was blowing and snuffing, and I thought well maybe it is still draining the mucus? How long does it take to rid the body of mucus?
    I ate some dairy Sunday and this am I am back to the old plugged up feeling which went away somewhat ,in the 2 weeks .
    thank you I will try to see if a longer time dairy free will be the answer ?
    betty k VT

    • I would definitely give it a couple more weeks, but it sounds like it’s working! You also may have other intolerances as well. Many people who have a dairy intolerance have intolerances to gluten, soy, and/or eggs. I have an intolerance to dairy and eggs. Good luck!

    • You should have up wheat wheat could be the culprit because I was getting bad posts nasle drip that stop after I gave up wheat.

  10. Hey lady thanks for this blog! please tell me from your experience…how much time/days did it take to get rid of all mucus after leaving dairy products? and now that u r free from dairy, u get know sneezing, clogged nose at all?

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  13. Great work, I love this!

    I know you have asked yourself ” Why does it keep coming back?”

    I know because I had asked myself the very same question for over 20 years.

    I suffered from a chronic sinus infection for years. I tried every single antibiotic, decongestant, nasal spray, irrigation device… you name it, I tried it.

    It was only when the Doctor suggested sinus surgery that I began seriously looking for an alternative to the scalpel, stitches and a life time of saying “If only had found a sinus treatment that worked.”

    http://paydotcom.net/r/45747/ybnr/27212460/

    What I suffered in 20yrs was gone in 3days.

    This was where I found the solution.

    http://paydotcom.net/r/45747/ybnr/27212460/

    This is now my 2nd year without sinus problems.

    http://paydotcom.net/r/45747/ybnr/27212460/

    I Hope I helped.

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  15. Hi Always good to have what your find works for you confirmed by someone else. I am currently suffering migraine because I ate a Haloumi and Lamb kebab at a party last weekend. A Chinese herbalist told me to get off the dairy and it was the best decision ever. I was frequenting the emergency room for years to get injections for the pain and no one could offer me an answer. Please if you have any sinus or migraine problems give dairy the flick you wont regret it.

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  17. Hi – Can you please tell me if, when you first gave it up, did you suffer headaches for the first few days? A little like the ones when you withdraw from caffeine?
    Thanks.

    • Hi Lyn,

      I can’t remember for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised – I was having constant sinus headaches until I gave it up, so I’m sure my headaches continued for a short time until they started to go away. Hope this helps!

      Jamie

  18. Hi Jamie,

    Loved this article! I’m wondering if a similar diet change will help with non allergic sinusitis? I suffer from similar symptoms, sinuses draining into stomach, inflammation, headaches etc., but can’t trace it to allergies. Also, have you found that eliminating grains was helpful/necessary in healing?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Haley,

      It very well could help you! You can always give it a try for a few weeks and see how you feel. As for grains, they are fine for me, but I only eat gluten-free grains (e.g., rice, quinoa, millet, etc.). Hope this helps – Good luck!

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  20. Hi,
    Thanks for your article, I find it very interesting and inspires me to try this.
    Do you think my sinus headache congestion & pain is related to my reflux? I’m on nexium daily and Claritin D as needed but makes me wonder if I try your dairy free diet I might go medicine free. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Hi, they may have something to do with each other. I had both sinus issues and reflux as well and both went away when I eliminated dairy, and both my reflux and sinus issues are nonexistent now that my diet is so much healthier. Good luck! Hope it helps you!

  21. I gave up dairy and then went on soy milk and have had issues ever since. I first thought it was the carageenan in the soy milk but I’m still having terrible sinus pain. And because I can’t have dairy (I do have a dairy allergy), I can’t have coffee so went to black tea with coconut sugar, so maybe it’s the sugar even though that sugar is just lightly sweet. I do have the celiac gene but all testing was negative. It’s hard because I have multiple food allergies tested by an Allergist and some of the food allergies seem to change.And believe it or not you can be allergic to carrots and tomatoes and beans, even..because I am.

    • Hi Cheryl,
      Allergies are so frustrating and hard to figure out! A lot of people that are allergic/intolerant to dairy are also to soy. Maybe try giving up all soy products as well. You could drink coconut or almond milk instead and see if that helps. Good luck!

  22. Reblogged this on Live Sustainably and commented:
    I think dairy (probably particularly milk) gives me sinus problems, such as being mucusey or causing a partially blocked nose. I am going to try avoiding dairy and using other alternatives, and see what changes occur. However, I think soy products make me burp a lot, and possibly also contribute to sinus problems, so I think I’ll avoid soy as well.

  23. This is a really useful article, thank you. I just wondered if you had tried goats cheese and how you found it?

  24. Nice article. I gave up dairy long back. next thing to give up is starch. i am having rice once or twice a day. now slowly getting rid of rice too. I like the way you listed the dairy alternatives. good job. 🙂

  25. Hi, great blog! Chronic sinus headache sufferer here. I’m on day 2 of dairy free and sinuses feel a little better. Did you eliminate anything else the whole time, like coffee or eggs? Think their might be something else lingering.

    • Hi Adam, It took a couple weeks before I really noticed a difference, but yes, there may be other things that you may be intolerant to that I wasn’t, such as soy, gluten, eggs, nuts, or corn (high allergy foods). Good luck and hope you feel better soon!

  26. Hi I just found your website. I just started day 2 of GF diet, but others and myself are suggesting dairy free….I think I am going to switch to dairy free first. I love your suggestions for dairy free options. I already do Almond Milk, the cheese is going to be my hard part!

    Wish me luck!
    Jennifer

  27. I’ve had sinus issues all my life, had surgery which didn’t change much. Since I’m lactose intolerant, I have to avoid dairy which helped slightly but the real culprit seems to have been all animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs. I’ve been going without and my throat is completely free, no mucus. another reason why I want to commit to that diet is that the post nasal drip did give me a stutter or stammer that was completely out of my control. The air-passage through my nose and throat was just so impaired that it made me stutter. I’m free now 😉

  28. You don’t need to substitute dairy products, simply because dairy is not a normal food for humans anyway. Many cultures have (Asian, Native-American mostly) never used milk as food and yet thrived. Japan and most of China are good examples…
    There are no other animals in nature which live by sucking milk from another species, the whole thing is unnatural…
    If you stop the dairy products, you don’t need to compensate anything.

  29. Hi,
    I am a lifelong Sinus Headache sufferer.
    9 months ago I eliminated Dairy from my life. Sinus issues reduced dramatically, but as some people have found, there’s something that still causes them to happen on occasion.
    Yesterday I was given an initial diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and given a prescription to fill which will be a lifelong requirement .
    6am this morning I took the little pill, by 8am I was suffering a Sinus Headache. I checked the box for ingredients. ‘Succrose and Gluten free. Contains Lactose’. Of course this means an antihistamine is required to help alleviate the pain. As I had not consumed anything other than the little pill, I ascertained that the allergic reaction was to the Lactose. All of my research indicates that Lactose is a digestive intolerance and is not an allergen. How can this be true?

    • Hi Iona, sinus headaches are common with intolerances. It sounds like you do have an intolerance to all things dairy including the lactose. You may also have an intolerance to gluten? Good luck on your health journey!

  30. I have the exact same problem as you.
    I am fed up with mucus in my throat and I want to stop phlegming up 24/7.
    I really need more advice from you if you could provide me with an email address, or email me on my email address id appreciate it.
    Thank you.

  31. Reading your article made me laugh because my story is literally the same as yours! I gave up dairy as recommended by a naturopath almost 2 years ago and have never felt better, no more sinus or infections, weird throat clearing, dermatitis or asthma. One question I have is do you also avoid milk powders in process foods?? I don’t eat dairy but sometimes succumb to the temptation to eat foods like cakes and doughnuts that I shouldn’t eat but can’t help myself. Do you notice a change in your body if you consume cooked dairy such as cakes and biscuits or milk powders?

    • Hi Lauren,
      Yes, I notice a difference when I eat those things, but I’m not sure if I feel crappy because of the dairy, the sugar, the gluten, the fake food, or the combination of all of these things. I try to avoid them as much as possible, but I’m not perfect that’s for sure! Hope this helps!

  32. I have same problem, looking to quite all dairy, citrus, meats etc. Thinking to include soaked soy beans and soaked almonds, beans etc. but will they make same impact on sinus as citrus fruits do. They also get soured.
    Any advice on what to take after hitting the gym which may provide enough protein and calcium also be available easily in the market.

    Appreciate your help!

    Mukesh

  33. I have same problem, looking to quite all dairy, citrus, meats etc. Thinking to include soaked soya beans and soaked almonds, beans etc. but will they make same impact on sinus as citrus fruits do. They also get soured.
    Any advice on what to take after hitting the gym which may provide enough protein and calcium also be available easily in the market.

    Appreciate your help!

    Mukesh

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