The "Bucket Theory"
Allergists sometimes speak of the bucket theory, and it is one that makes much sense to me. It works like this: Pretend that your life starts out anew each morning when you wake up, refreshed from a good night's sleep. Picture your body like an empty five-gallon bucket. In the morning your bucket is empty of any allergens, you are symptom free, and you feel great.
You walk to the kitchen to get some coffee and the family cat strolls by, kicking up a bit of cat dander…this dander goes in your bucket, but you feel fine. You go out on the back porch, read your newspaper and drink your coffee, and on the morning breeze some allergenic pollen from a male yew in your yard floats by; you inhale it, but never notice…but the pollen goes in your bucket, too.
For breakfast you have bacon and eggs and toast, and allergens in the wheat, reacting to an already existing grass pollen allergy you sometimes suffer from, the wheat allergens too go in your bucket. Your bucket now is half full, but you feel fine. By the end of the day all kinds of different allergens have found their way into your bucket, and by early evening the bucket is now full, but not overflowing, and you still feel fine. With your dinner you eat some salad, made with lettuce that had been sprayed with a potent chemical insecticide…and the pesticide residue, an allergen, it too goes into your bucket…. but now, ah, now the bucket is too full, and it overflows. Suddenly you don't feel so well, the allergy symptoms appear, and now you're miserable.
How does the bucket theory relate to using local honey?
In local honey there will be tiny amounts of local pollens, the exact same pollens that one would normally be getting exposed to on a regular basis. But because the amounts of these pollens in the honey are so small, instead of triggering allergies, the local honey instead works as an immunology agent. And how does this relate to the bucket theory?
It works like this: regular use of local honey often results in a build up of immunities to an already existing pollen allergy. Once the body is no longer allergic to these particular pollens, the body will no longer see them as allergens…they won't go in the bucket…they won't "count" any more. Anything we can do to avoid over-flowing the bucket is good. We probably will never cure our allergies, but the aim is simply to remain symptom-free as much of the time as possible. When we are symptom-free, we feel good, and that is the goal.