This is honestly a blog post I NEVER thought I'd be writing. My entire life, I've suffered from allergies. When I was in grade school I remember going in to get weekly injections and even having nasal surgery when I was in the 4th grade. My allergies ranged from certain animals, to dust and molds and of course everything that fell under the seasonal category. Anytime something was blooming or seeding, I was completely miserable.
Over the years I've tried just about every medication out there and most often have resorted to nasal spray just to be able to breathe. I can't remember a spring season where I haven't been completely miserable .... until now.
As I write this blog post, I'm looking outside and it looks like it's snowing in summer. Anyone who lives near Dogwood trees knows what I mean and for allergy sufferers it's the kiss of death! This year I was bracing myself because last spring was one of my worst seasons yet. That's why what proceeded to happen completely blew my mind! This season, as I watch most of my friends suffer, I am symptom free for the first time in my life! I can't even flippin believe it!
So what have I done? What's different in my life? It all comes down to one decision I made last year, which was to be 100% focused on healing my gut health, learning more about my body and how it functions. This is exactly what I've been doing and boy have I learned a lot.
I think deciding to follow the Whole30 plan and get on an awesome herbal supplement regime is where I really started to turn a corner. By eliminating most inflammatory foods and creating an environment in which my body could heal, I took a huge first step. I spoke to a number of people about my health and also had a few tests done as well. This allowed me to come up with what is the healthiest, natural course of action I could take.
I've learned so much about my body on many different levels. I know what foods allow my body to feel it's best and the foods that trigger skin and allergy symptoms/issues. I know which foods give me energy and which foods make me tired. I know which foods leave me bloated and the ones that don't. This valuable information has changed my life this allergy season.
So I want to share a few tips with my fellow allergy suffers that will hopefully bring you some relief! First I want to start by saying, this will not happen overnight. Allergies are a direct result of your gut health being imbalanced, as well as a weakened immune system. Your gut health can take months or years to re-balance but don't get discouraged - it's definitely doable I promise! While you are working to rebuild your gut health (I strongly encourage working with a naturopath) here are some foods you can be mindful off eliminating or eating in moderation (listen to your body).
Here are a list of the top 10 most inflammatory foods that are definitely contributing to your seasonal allergies. Ask yourself how many of these you are ingesting on a regular basis ...
1. The “3 Ps”–Processed, packaged, or prepared foods. And, yes, fast food is atop the list of inflammatory foods thanks to the harmful oils, sugar and artificial sweeteners, food additives, and a whole host of nasty ingredients.
2. Hydrogenated and trans fats found in margarine, shortening, lard or products made with them. That includes baked goods, cookies, pies, buns. Of course there are healthier alternatives to these baked goods but most grocery stores and bakeries are using these harmful ingredients.
3. Meat (not wild-caught fish). I’m not suggesting that you need to go vegan or vegetarian here — although a plant-based diet tends to be much lower in inflammatory substances — but meat and poultry tend to cause inflammation; make them the background of your meals not the main dish.
4. Fried foods (French fries, onion rings, potato chips, nachos, hamburgers, etc.). I think these items speak for themselves.
5. White sugar and sweets, including soft drinks and sweetened juices. Newer research is showing that sugar is one of the most addictive substances you can use. It’s also highly inflammatory. No, you don’t need to eliminate sugar and sweets altogether simply reduce your consumption and choose fruit as your “go to” food when you’re craving something sweet.
6. Synthetic sweeteners (Nutrasweet, Splenda, saccharin, aspartame, AminoSweet, etc.)—research links these nasty substances to many serious health conditions. I avoid them like the plague.
7. Food additives: colors, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc. Some of the main ones include sulfites, benzoates, and colors named FD&C #”X.” Unfortunately, many foods consumed by children are loaded with these harmful, toxic ingredients.
8. Dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter, cheese, etc.). Dairy products are packed with hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful ingredients so avoid them as much as possible.
9. Wheat/Gluten products - Wheat is highly acid-forming and inflammatory in the body. Worse, most wheat available now is genetically-modified (GM). Many serious health conditions are starting to be linked to GM wheat consumption. Gluten is also highly inflammatory and in just about everything.
10. Alcohol - High in sugar and a burden to the liver, alcohol makes the top 12 inflammatory foods list. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.
As if this isn't enough my allergy friends, we have something else we have to be mindful of as well. When certain fresh fruits, raw vegetables, seeds or nuts are consumed, typically during spring and early fall when inhalant allergies are more common like hay fever, the body's immune system recognizes and essentially mistakes a plant protein in the food for pollen, and this irritant triggers what allergy specialists call a cross-reaction.
If you are triggered seasonal by things like: Pollen, grass, flowers, seeding trees, etc. You should also be aware of foods that can mimic these allergies like ....
* Teas of Echinacea, chamomile and hibiscus
I know what you're thinking, "Oh Heather this is just too much! I can't even handle eliminating all of this!!" Take a deep breath because no one is asking you too. What I am saying is, if you desire reaching your optimum health and eliminating your allergies then start the journey. Learn more about yourself, your body and your internal health.
Being someone who has suffered from allergies horribly my entire life I can tell you ... the journey is worth it! This is the first spring in my life where I can breathe and it feels incredible. If you need help getting started, don't hesitate to send me a message here.