Refreshing My Book Concept…

Ever since I started teaching Beer & Knitting classes last October, it seems as if I’ve shelved progress on my book project and my homebrewing. In addition to the classes, my time has been filled with holiday activities, family issues, and trying to find a solution to my Rosacea… which is aggravated by alcohol consumption.  In hindsight, though, it turns that everything is related (isn’t it always!) and that the experience I’ve gained through the Beer & Knitting classes has helped me to see a better way to approach my book project.

Even my Rosacea has a connection to beer… and not just because it can aggravate my condition. I found an amazing line of skin care products by Googling “rosacea hops”. I did this after noticing that IPAs with a high hop content don’t aggravate my Rosacea nearly as much as some other beers. My proving beer for this is Firestone’s Union Jack. Darn awesome stuff. The product that turned up in my Google search was evanhealy’s Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk, designed specifically for Rosacea and includes hop extract in the ingredients. Pretty cool! And the stuff works amazingly well.

As I was planning my Beer & Knitting class offering through the end of the year, and thinking about what I’ve learned from my previous five classes, I realized that the way I’m approaching my Beer & Knitting classes is how I want to approach my book. I’ve revised my Table of Contents and am motivated to start writing again. I’ve also decided to include several of my own knitting patterns in the book.

I’m making progress on my Rosacea, and have found that I can have a half-bottle of beer now and then without much problem. I now have hope that these two things in my life (beer & Rosacea) will be able to find a way to work together.

-Jenne Hiigel

Working Through A Quandary…

What’s a person to do when her current book project benefits from the regular consumption of beer, for research and inspiration, and her health condition is greatly improved by avoiding alcohol altogether? Hmmm…

I’ve had Rosacea for years and have learned to just accept my bright red face as an unavoidable side effect of my enjoyment of beer and wine. For those of you unfamiliar with Rosacea, the red face is not related to the amount of alcohol consumed. Some red wines will turn my face red after ONE SIP.

In December, however, my Rosacea developed into Blepharitis (a form of Ocular Rosacea) where the constant inflammation of the facial skin starts to affect the eyes. The dry-eye symptoms became difficult to just shrug off. It was clearly time to take my Rosacea more seriously and work towards improving my condition, rather than just managing my symptoms.

I have a great  appreciation for my eyesight and would prefer to not have it deteriorate… at least no more than age is already doing. I decided it was time to see a doctor to get a professional diagnosis and opinion. The ophthalmologist confirmed my Rosacea/Blepharitis diagnosis and offered me an ongoing prescription for tetracycline to help manage my eye symptoms.

Enduring the side effects of life-long antibiotic use for the sake of symptom relief just didn’t sit right with me, so I thanked him for the diagnosis and declined his prescription offer. I then went home and dove deeper into my research for alternative treatments to reduce my symptoms, rather than just mask them.

I’m now working at this issue from several angles including diet changes, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, herbal supplements, digestive aids, healing skin-care products, organ cleansing, and…  alcohol avoidance! Argh!!

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on my mood at the time), the alcohol avoidance is helping to improve my condition. I’ve limited my beer consumption to Beer & Knitting Classes (once a month) and Beer & Knitting Nights (approx every six weeks). It is my hope that as my Rosacea improves, I’ll eventually be able to enjoy a beer more frequently than once or twice a month.

On the plus side, the one beer that seems to aggravate my Rosacea the least is my current favorite… Firestone’s Union Jack. I’m not sure why this is, but since Union Jack has a massive hop content and hops aid digestion and Rosacea is related to digestive problems, then maybe that connection has something to do with it. Whatever the reason, I send thanks to Matt Brynildson for creating such an awesome beer!

My health is very important to me, but so is this book project. I will continue to work towards making progress in both areas.

-Jenne Hiigel