Are you ready for this? I’m about to alleviate and possibly cure your allergies for life.
The best part? I won’t be telling you to give up your favorite foods (“Just give up everything sweet and tasty forever! No big!“) or to start an expensive and unreasonable diet (“Drink a smoothie of greens every day! You have $50 to spend on one drink per day and $400 for a great mixer right?“) or lifestyle overhaul (“Just live inside forever with a top of the line air purification system!“).
Instead, I’ll be sharing my tips for managing mild to moderate environmental and food allergies.* Why should you keep reading? Because I have struggled with moderate environmental allergies my entire life, which get worse in the spring when people’s seasonal allergies kick in, to the point where I was taking 3 prescription drugs at a time and still suffering. Then I was introduced to neti-pots and the mind-body connection and was able to tame my symptoms a bit. Eventually I started working in the natural products industry and had the opportunity to try virtually EVERY allergy supplement out there. I have now been prescription drug-free for five years, and every allergy season seems to go by a bit smoother each year. In the past year, I have started to struggle with a gluten allergy after watching many friends and family struggle for years. This added allergy made me realize the most incredible thing: my environmental allergies got worse when I ate something with gluten in it. This lead me to a breakthrough in the way that I thought about and managed my allergies!
There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza…
Think of your body as a bucket with a hole in it. Every day, as you encounter elements that your body must process, you are adding water to the bucket. As your body processes these elements and heals itself, the water trickles out of the hole in the bottom.
If you introduce your body to too many challenging elements too quickly, your bucket overflows and you get symptomatic.(Please excuse my amateur paint illustrations!)
Someone with allergies is having their bucket filled too quickly all of the time. They are frequently symptomatic (sneezing, itching, hives or rashes, breakouts, intestinal upsets, increased inflammation in general, getting sick more often, etc.)
-get a great night’s sleep
-avoid foods that are difficult to digest (meat, bread, pasta, dairy, alcohol)
-drink plenty of water
-take herbs, supplements, or similar anti-inflammatory agents for sensitivities
-use a neti pot regularly to remove environmental allergens from the sinuses
-breathe clean air from a HEPA filter
-keep your living environment clean and free of dust & mold
-avoid overexposure to chemicals (fragranced body care products, pesticides, etc.)
-avoid foods that you are sensitive to
-eat foods that are highly nutritious and easy to digest (vegetables, fruits)
-keep your body in great shape by getting adequate movement and exercise
-manage any other existing health problems
However, if you slip up, and don’t take it easy on your body, it’s as if you are plugging up those holes (with gum, let’s say.) The following activities will undo your hard work and increase the possibility of getting symptomatic:
-not getting enough sleep
-consuming caffeine or alcoholic beverages-being “stressed-out” and overworked
-eating hard to digest foods (I can’t stress this one enough!!!)
-not getting enough exercise
-encountering lots of chemicals
-exposing yourself to your allergies (no brainer, but bears repeating)
-forgetting to take your helpful supplements
-ignoring your neti pot
Combine a few of these, and before you know it you’ve plugged up your bucket, and will be experiencing symptoms of allergies.
Your body is a miracle. It is always trying to heal and protect you. In the case of allergies, often the body is telling you that it is a little overworked, and could use your help. If you manage this cry for help by silencing your body, it will only find other, possibly more drastic ways to get your attention. Please consider a holistic approach to your allergies.
I hope that my bucket analogy has helped you! Please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts! And most importantly, share with your friends!
For more information on what foods to eat and what supplements may help you to manage your particular sensitivities, I direct you to the fabulous Dr. Weil:
I wish you health in the upcoming allergy season!
* If you have severe allergies, please do not attempt any of my tips without first consulting a doctor, preferably an allergist!