Sneezing Into Spring? You Don't Have To!

iStock_000000848735XSmallWhile walking to the health food store on the Upper East Side in NYC, I overhead a conversation between two people ahead of me.

The older man, who looked like he was in his 70’s, with a full head of gray hair, said to the younger woman, “It’s such a nice day. Spring is finally here!”

She said, “Have you started taking your allergy medicine yet?”

He said, “No, I don’t have any symptoms. I feel really good.”

She said, “Come on, Dad! You’ve got to start taking your medication BEFORE the allergies start. Not after.”

“But, what if I don’t get allergies this year?” He said.

“Well, that’s an awfully high aspiration, but don’t count on it. Just start taking your medication today!”

I understand that gal was concerned about her dad; she was being a dutiful, loving and caring daughter. But, with age comes wisdom. The man was correct for listening to his body and questioning, “What if I don’t get allergies this year?”

Most folks are so quick to pop pills that they don’t wait to hear what their body is physically saying. The human body talks to us all the time and tells us exactly what we need to know about what is happening with our internal environment.

Many people think allergies come from something outside of their body, but that’s not necessarily true.

Allergies can be an indicator that the internal environment, the organs, digestive system and detoxification system, may be out of balance.

When I was growing up, I had awful seasonal allergies. Lord have mercy! I would wake up in April and literally sneeze through October. I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplash from all of that darn sneezing!

I too, used to think I was allergic to the external environment: the flowers, trees, grass and even the air. Today I know that is simply not true.

My body was overwhelmed by toxins and excess mucus due to my diet and lifestyle choices. I was eating crappy foods that contributed to an inflammatory reaction inside my body, creating the perfect environment for allergies to develop. I was also weakening the health of my liver with alcohol and drug abuse. Hey… no judgement! I was a teenager at one time, for gosh sakes!

But, with age comes wisdom, and today I know that I don’t have to suffer with seasonal allergies by making some better choices.

If you want to enjoy spring without all the boogery, eye-watering mess, here are some suggestions.

  • Start the day with a warm breakfast; soup, porridge, eggs, and herbed tea (nettles, goldenrod). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, cold foods, especially in the morning, can dampen digestive fire and inhibit the process of digestion. When food is NOT being digested properly, excess mucus can develop.
  • Chew your food! Digestion begins in the mouth, not in the stomach. If you want to digest food properly, you have go to chew. Simple as that. Read more about that here: Take Human Bites!
  • Eliminate foods that your body cannot process well. For example, if you eat something and your eyes, ears, nose or throat begin itching, it’s a good indicator that those particular foods are not working well inside your body. Start eliminating the top allergens; wheat, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, citrus and peanuts. Take them out for two weeks and gauge how you feel. Then put one back in at a time and watch if your body has a negative reaction.
  • Eat local honey. People often recommend raw honey for seasonal allergies and that’s a smart idea. Bees travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their furry little bodies. Inevitably, that pollen goes back into the hive with them. Eating pollen-infused honey naturally makes the body create the antibodies needed to enhance immunity. It’s the same concept with an allergy shot – the doctor gives you a shot of the substance you are allergic to. With the honey remedy, keep in mind that the honey needs to be LOCAL to your environment. If you live in Ohio, Manuka honey from New Zealand will not help your seasonal allergies.
  • Support adrenal health. If you are chronically fatigued and not getting the nutrients and rest you need, your body can become hypersensitive to external (and internal) pathogens. Learn to support your adrenals here: Feeling pooped?
  • Do a yearly liver cleanse. If liver health is deficient or compromised, allergies to both food and the environment are fairly common. Watch my Liver Support Cooking class for insight and recipes.

If you still think allergies come from outside the body, try this experiment. Do a water fast for 72 hours. Then take yourself to a blooming field filled with flowers, grass, plants and trees and plop yourself down in the middle of it.

Let me know if you still experience an allergic reaction to the external environment.