I am about to confess some embarrassing things, so promise me you’ll still love me when I’m done.  Yes?  Oh, you’re good to me.

I have had a long and tumultuous relationship with my body’s various smells.  Oh, friends.  It used to be bad.  Real bad.  I used to re-apply deodorant two or three times a day.  I used to have to throw out shoes after 4-6 months, and could never wear shoes without socks – not even sandals!  In fact, some friends and I were recently recalling how we used to lament the failure of our natural deodorants (shortly after I abandoned antiperspirant), clamping our armpits down tight and trying our best to minimize the lavender-scented B.O. that would waft about.  I just figured it was my lot in life to be a stinky girl.

I used to think what a lot of you probably think: well, that’s just the way my body is / everybody stinks / I just haven’t found the right product yet / I just have to shower every day even though my skin is dry from having its natural protective oils stripped every 24 hours.

Three years ago my nutritionist had me give up gluten and dairy and guess what?  My feet stopped stinking so much.  Actually, my body stopped stinking so much.  I could wear those cute little ballet skimmers without having to powder them to high heaven three times a day!  I could wear the same shirt twice in a week before laundering!

And then, one day last spring, it finally happened: I stopped stinking altogether. Oh. My. Gawd.

Around that same time, I took a class in Five Element Theory from my friend Cas, a gifted healer and teacher.  She related the following story (which I relate with some artistic license due to poor memory):

“At a party one night, my friend was giggling and everyone was gathered around him.  I got closer and saw that they were all smelling his feet!  He laughed, they laughed.  His feet smelled incredibly sweet, like birthday cake!  Everyone thought it was funny, but I knew from Five Element Theory that a sweet smell on the body signals a grave imbalance of the spleen meridian.  I warned him to check it out but being a guy, he didn’t.  A week later, his spleen burst and he required surgery.”

I realized that our B.O. is not something to cover up and ignore; it is one of our body’s ways of communicating that something is out of joint.  Now I use either homemade deodorant or the rock crystal type, and it’s really just a safety now – just in case…

Oh yes, well, just in case this happens.  Out of the blue, I woke up Friday morning…stinking.  I hadn’t even done anything yet!  Had I forgotten deodorant?  No, but I swiped it again just to be sure.  Didn’t help.  Was it time to do laundry?  I took off my shirt and smelled it – nope.  And then I remembered the sour cream on my potato the previous night.  Even though I am sensitive to dairy, my food choices had been very limited down in Daegu and I was a bit desperate for some fat and protein.  Could that really be the cause?  Of course, I avoided dairy for the rest of the day and by evening the stink was gone.  The episode reminded me of the small cup of gelato I allowed myself in Germany; the next day I took off my shoes at lunchtime and you would have thought I’d stuck a wedge of cheese in there!  Hoowee.  Not pretty, folks.

So I invite you to pay attention to your B.O. signals.  Does it get worse after you eat something unusual for you?  I’m not saying you have to give up your dairy (I know – heaven forbid!) but if B.O. mocks you regularly, you might consider doing an elimination diet and see what happens.

And if you’re ready to stop shopping in the antiperspirant aisle, just wait!  I’ll detail my recipe for homemade deodorant in a future post.

P.S.  Oh, hey!  Welcome to my permanent home on the web!