How to Pretty Up Your Space with a Healing Herb Garden

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Have you ever considered growing a healing herb garden at home? Many people grow smaller gardens or pots with herbs in their kitchens, or in a small outside area, however, you can grow a healing herb garden of many sizes at home. Having a healing herb garden can help with improving indoor air quality and therefore reduce allergies and seasonal threats. An herb garden can also be a convenient way for you to have herbs on hand for cooking, using to help with burns, skin irritations and other common household needs.

Furthermore you can easily grow herbs in pots whereas you can’t as easily grow vegetables and fruits. You can also inexpensively purchase starter plants and herbs in pots that have already started growing. For example, when I was younger we almost always had an aloe vera plant by the kitchen sink for handy use. I remember touching something hot for example and grabbing a piece of aloe vera to soothe my burn. You can also easily purchase starter plants with basil, peppermint, rosemary and cilantro just to name a few of the healing herb garden plants that are sold at most garden stores.

If you want to get more heavily involved with healing herb gardens, here are two kindle ebooks that I’ve found helpful.

Herb Gardening for Beginners: Quick Guide to Beginning your Herb Garden Today

Herb gardening for beginners offers a great overview for people who have never done it before. From choosing a site for your herb garden to growing herbs in window boxes, hanging baskets, or pots to common mistakes to avoid, this ebook has it all. Learn all about the basics of growing and prettying up a space with a healing herb garden with this helpful guide.

and A Beginner’s Guide to Patio and Kitchen Herb Gardens: 21 Herbs You Can Grow at Home (Gardening Quick Start Guides Book 5)

This book offers a more in depth look at various common herbs and why you might want to grow them. It also talks about how to conserve and save space and how to maximize light. There is also information on how to avoid problems as well as seed and supply vendors.

Have you tried growing herbs or having a healing herb garden? Share your experience with me in the comments.

Why Doctors are Missing the Boat on Allergies and What You Can Do About It: My Story

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For as long as I can remember I have had allergies. Sometimes they were minor and I could live with them, othertimes they were so bad I thought I was going to die and sometimes my allergies seemed like a never ending cold. Between the sniffles, sore throats, clogged up nose, cough and runny eyes I seemed to always be sick.

So what did I do? In a word- everything. I’m not kidding. You name it I tried it. I tried every drug on the market for allergies and asthma, both over the counter and prescription. I used neti pots. I used saline solutions and nose drops. I used a variety of herbs. I used various vitamins and supplements. I tried cleaning out my ears. I went to one doctor and then I went to another one and another and in all I probably went to at least 10 different doctors and health care specialists of one kind or another over the course of about 20 years. While some of these things helped a little, nothing ever really cleared up my allergies. In short, I was still miserable. Then I discovered essential oils in 2007 and while those worked better than most things I had tried, I felt like I was still covering up my allergies rather than getting to the root cause and I was still sick.

In all, I took over the counter allergy drugs every day for over 20 years. It didn’t mater what they weather was like, the ground could be covered in snow and I was still sneezing like I had hayfever even with no trees or leaves in sight.

At a couple of my doctors appointments I suggested to my doctors that I might have a food allergy but was told that I was fine. “It’s not food, it’s just environmental, it’s the bad air in Utah, everyone has allergies.” I was told.

So I believe them, kind of. However, in the back of my mind, I still continued to wonder if certain foods weren’t at the root cause. At that time I was a broke college student and my insurance wouldn’t cover any functional medicine testing, so I just continued to use the remedies I had without the kind of relief I was hoping for.

Then in 2005 I left to go to school in Indiana for two years. At last I was out of the muck and dirty air and the trees and plants that bloom each Spring and Fall and leave their pollen everywhere. Now maybe I would finally get some relief. With some excitment and some skepticism, I looked forward to finding out if I would finally be allergy free.

However, within a few weeks of my arrival in Indiana, I was left yet again with allergies and more allergies. In fact, not only did they not improve, but they seemed at times to be worse.

Ugh. I was really getting frustrated now.
Fastforward to 2007 and I was back in Utah and still suffering. I’d always had a hard time blowing my nose since I was younger and my dad had had surgery for a diviated septum in the nose. I had a new job with insurance and so I make an appointment with an ENT to see if surgery would help. He said it would and so I had the surgery. While it did help some and I was able to blow my nose more, I still continuted to struggle wtih allergies, frequent sinus infections and my nose still didn’t seem as clear as it should be for someone who had had the surgery I had had.

Fast forward four more years and I began to break out all over with rashes. These rashes seemed to come from no where and at this point, I really began to question what I had been told during the past 30 years about food allergies. I had better health insurance and more income and so I booked an appointment at an integrative medicine clinic that also offered acupuncture and eastern medicine. They specialized in food allergies and autoimmune conditions.

The first thing they recommended was a food allergy and food sensitvities panel. I did the blood test and when the results came back I was shocked. Severe allergies to wheat and milk and varying degrees of food sensitivites to about 40 other foods. Many of these were things I was eating on a regular basis and had no idea. While I was shocked, I was also rather upset and annoyed. How come after all these years, no one ever told me, that the foods I was eating were at the cause of many of my allergies?

At the direction of my new doctors’ office, I did an elimination diet with all the foods on my list and I gave up wheat and milk. I also did 6 months of extensive acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments.

Fast forward to almost 4 years later and my allergies are almost 90% gone. Yep, that’s right, after almost 30 years of non-stop allergies, I almost never get them anymore and if I do, I know it’s because I’ve eaten too much of something that I have a sensitivity to and I know how to fix it.

Why and How did this happen? Why did I suffer for all these years and try all these allergy mediciations and remedies with little to no relief, only to find out that I had food allergies and food sensitivities?

There are a variety of reasons but they really boil down to these:

Doctors have little to no training in nutrition. While the amount of training in nutrition doctors get varies, the average is only about three hours. Because of this lack of training, we have a healthcare system full of doctors and medical professionals who know next to nothing about nutrition and how the food you eat impacts your health and wellbeing.

Food sensitivites vs Food allergies are not well understood by most doctors including even many holsitic providers. So just because you don’t have an “allergy” as determined by a traditional allergy test, does not mean that the food in question, isn’t bothering you. Any food can cause problems at any time and yes the symptoms can be similar to those caused by seasonal allergies and or hay fever.
Food allergies and or food sensitivites can make seasonal allergies worse.

While I’m not happy about what happened to me and I’m frusterated by all the years of allergies, pill popping and still not feeling well, my hope is that at least my story can help others to avoid years of suffering and hassles.

Need help? Schedule a time to chat with me.

The Truth About Gluten and Allergies

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Is gluten causing or making your allergies worse? What? Yes, the reality and truth about gluten and allergies is that if you have really bad allergies then gluten may be causing them. While gluten may or may not be the only reason your allergies are out of control, it is certainly worth looking into the connection between gluten and allergies. Personally I had horrible so called “seasonal” allergies that never went away and I tried everything you can think of both over the counter, prescription, holistic, alternative you name it I tried it. My allergies never really cleared up until I went gluten free. Sure the other allergy remedies that I tried helped but they didn’t get to the root of the problem and I still had sinuses that were constantly stuffed up, eyes that watered a lot, etc.

That said, here are some articles and other support materials to help you really understand the truth about gluten and allergies.

1. Gluten is a known inflammatory. See my article about the connection between inflammation and allergies. How an anti-inflammatory diet can help with allergies. Also see this article on Why You Should Ditch Gluten Now If You Have an Autoimmune Disease. While having allergies does not necessarily mean that you have an auto-immune disease, if your allergies are severe, then there is a good chance that you do.

2. Gluten is one of the top 8 allergens that are known to cause problems in a lot of people. [Even if you have had a blood test or a skin prick test that was negative, this does not mean that you are not sensitive to gluten and yes gluten can still be one factor for really bad allergies.]

3. Gluten causes what is known as leaky gut and leaky gut is proven to make allergies worse.

4. There is a known connection between allergies in your head and your digestive system. A healthy digestive system means that you will not have severe allergies. Yes, you may still stand under a tree with pollen and sneeze but you will not have allergies year round. Gluten is proven to cause problems in the digestive systems of a lot of people.

Here is a video with even more information about gluten sensitivity and gluten and allergies.

How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can Help With Allergies

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Do you have allergies that drive you nuts? Do your eyes, ears, nose and throat swell up? Did you know that inflammation that is out of control is one of the causes for allergies that never seem to go away. While most doctors either don’t know or won’t tell you, it is possible to control these allergies most of the time with an anti-inflamatory diet.

What exactly does this mean? While it can get complicated, the simple way to explain it is that everyone needs some inflammation in their bodies in order to stay alive, however, inflammation that gets out of control is the primary root cause of all illnesses and pain. If you have allergies you have inflammation that is too high. If you have a headache, or a backache or digestive issues then you have inflammation that is too high etc.

Most people will use medicines such as tylenol or ibuprofen to lower inflammation therefore also lowering the pain. However, there are a lot of foods that you can use to lower your inflammation in a more natural and safer way. This is also true for allergies. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the keys to eliminating allergy medications from your life and reducing the amount of allergies you have in your life.

In order to figure out how to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, you have to first understand how foods cause or reduce inflammation.

1. All foods either increase inflammation, reduce it, or are neutral.

2. Examples of foods that reduce inflammation include: berries (all berries but blueberries and strawberries are the strongest), cherries, green vegetables although certain ones such as broccoli, and cabbage are higher than others, nuts, (they must be the raw unsalted and unfrosted ones.) avocados, fish oil, and most kinds of fish but especially salmon. These are not all the foods that help reduce inflammation but are some of the better ones.

3. Examples of foods that increase inflammation include: white bread, pasta, fries, fried chicken, anything deep fried, all processed foods and most food you eat at restaurants, canola oil, and some other kinds of fats, meats and dairy products.

4. Examples of foods that are neutral include things like iceberg lettuce, apples and roasted or baked chicken or other meats.

In short, in order to reduce your inflammation by eating an anti-inflammatory diet and therefore reducing your allergies, you must eat more than half of your diet from foods that are anti-inflammatory and the other half must include at least 70% of the foods that are neutral.

White Lake Farms Honey

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Have you heard that honey can help with allergies? Well it’s true raw honey is great for allergies. However, it must be local raw honey created from bee hives within 100 miles or less of where you live. Otherwise it either won’t work or will have limited effect. If you go to the grocery store and buy honey chances are really good that the honey you get there will not be local. Here in Utah where I live most of the honey at the grocery stores is from Arizona and California. So where do you get raw honey and how do you decide which one is the best? Personally I get my raw local honey from the farmers’ market. It’s the easiest and most reliable and you can try free samples of most if not all of the local raw honey. For the past few years I have bought White Lake Farms honey. While I do have other choices in raw local honey I’ve found that White Lake Farms has some really great tasting honey and it works. As soon as I get a little bit sniffly I eat a teaspoon and my sniffles decrease. I also like that their honey comes from a variety of hives throughout the Wasatch Front so I’m not eating honey that comes from only one location. White Lake Farms also has their honey available at several local health and wellness stores and markets so if you run out during the winter when the farmers market is not running, or you aren’t able to make it to the farmers market, then you can get your honey from one of these locations. White Lake Farms also does not filter or process their honey so it comes to you as is fresh from the hive.

To buy this great tasting raw honey check out White Lake Farms at White Lake Farms Honey

Are your seasonal allergies really food allergies?

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Are your seasonal allergies really food allergies? Did I catch your attention? I hope so, learn more with this week’s podcast episode.

The Allergy Fighting Garden

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Have you ever considered growing a garden to fight allergies? While I know that eating organic food can help with allergies and therefore the least expensive way to get organic food is to grow it yourself, it never occurred to me that you could actually create an allergy fighting garden with plants, flowers and other things that are not food.

In his book “The Allergy Fighting Garden” Thomas Ogren teaches you exactly how to do just that. Some of the things he talks about include: how to chose allergy fighting plants, the importance of the sex of the plant for fighting allergies, the different types of flowering plants, how to tell the boys from the girls, allergy blocking hedges, eliminating allergy causing spores, how to do proper watering and irrigation, insects and disease and much more.

He also ranks various plants according to those which are least and most allergenic with very thorough details on each plant. Also included are: a glossary of horticulture terms, recommended reading list, useful websites, and a pollen calendar. This book has really got me thinking as I am now quite fascinated with the concept of growing a garden specifically for allergies. For now, I can’t do it as I don’t have the land on which to grow the garden, but it is certainly something I will consider for the future.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free ebook copy of “The Allergy Fighting Garden” after connecting with Thomas Ogren on Linkedin.

Buy your copy at: The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping

P.S. The small print on the ebook version is somewhat hard to read so I do recommend the hard copy of this book.

How to Do a Healthy Home and Kitchen Makeover

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Does your home and or kitchen need a makeover? If your home and kitchen are like many people’s the answer is a definite yes. However, how do you actually do a healthy home and kitchen makeover? As you have probably discovered, this is much easier said than done.

Here are the steps to follow to do a successful healthy home and kitchen makeover.

1. Decide what your goals are for your healthy home and kitchen makeover. Are you just trying to redo your eating habits and therefore clean out our cabinets, fridge, freezer, pantry and other areas where you store food? or are you also trying to make other changes to your home and kitchen? Once you have made these changes, what are your long-term goals for implementing them and why are you doing it?

2. Get and stay committed to making your healthy home and kitchen makeover a success.

3. Get everyone in your household on board. This is a must. Especially if you are making major changes.

4. Decide what you will do with the foods that you are not going to eat or that you want to stop eating. If you want to eat them first and then start your healthy lifestyle plan, you can, but I don’t usually recommend doing that. I think it is better to get rid of the food by donating it to a food bank or to neighbors or other people.

5. Have a clear plan as to what you will do to replace the unhealthy items you have removed.

6. Remember that food is not the only thing you should be removing for a complete healthy home and kitchen makeover. You should also be taking a look at your skin care, bath products, cleaning products, water supply (tap water is not good for anyone to be drinking.) and more.

Need help? I’m here to help you with the process. Schedule a time with me to do a healthy home and kitchen makeover.

How to Survive and Thrive with the ALCAT Rotation Diet

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Have you taken the ALCAT test? If not, and you are having digestive issues, chronic sinus issues, constant “seasonal” allergies and other similar issues. I highly recommend it. See my post on My Experience with the ALCAT Test. That said, once you get your results, if you are like any normal person you will probably be overwhelmed, frustrated and maybe under the impression that there isn’t anything to eat. This simply isn’t true. No matter how bad your results are, and mine were really bad you can find ways to survive and thrive with the ALCAT rotation diet. I had very high gluten sensitivity, allergy to whey, and over 70 other sensitivities of various kinds.

So how do you actually stick to this diet and still eat healthy and eat food that is delicious and satisfying?

1. Be committed. When I got my ALCAT test done, I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired, that it didn’t matter for me what I had to do, I was determined to get better and to become healthier. This is the attitude you have to have.

2. View it as an opportunity to try new foods, or to try again foods you previously thought you didn’t like. For me, I hadn’t eaten Brussel Sprouts in years and after I got my ALCAT results, my diet was quite limited and I tried them again and actually found ways to like them.

3. Recognize the long term benefits as well as the long term problems you will have if you don’t stick to it. Failure to follow the ALCAT rotation diet will likely cost you more money, hassles and lost time at work, with family and more if you don’t stick to it.

4. Realize that the food suggestions they give you for each day are just recommendations and you do not have to eat exactly what they tell you and on which day. You are free to eat what you want as long as you avoid the foods in red, and orange and you rotate the yellow foods every 4 days.

5. Get some help. If you want me to help you, this is one service I offer as a health coach. Schedule your free wellness discovery session and let’s chat about how I can help you.

6. Seek out some accountability and use this person or these people to help motivate you.

7. Realize that with proper treatment and supplements, you will not have to avoid everything that is red and orange forever. It is only temporary. I highly recommend a probiotic to start with.

8. If you have the option get acupuncture treatments while you are following the ALCAT rotation diet. I did acupuncture twice a week for the first 12 weeks and it was very helpful. I still do it once a month even though it’s now been nearly 2 years since my ALCAT test.

Comments? Other thoughts? Please share them in the comments box below.

P.S. Make sure to get some help. I offer an ALCAT Coaching program to help you.

Allergy-Proofing Your House? 8 Things You Should Do Today To Prevent Common Household Allergies

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Are you struggling with allergies and yet you know that its not only the outdoor pollutants that are causing your allergies? Do you need help allergy proofing your house? Here are 8 things you should do today to prevent common household allergies.

1. Do you have pets? If so, you need to take a serious look at whether or not your pets are causing or making your indoor allergies worse. The first thing you need to do is make sure that your pets are not sleeping in your bedroom. You also need to take a look at how much pet hair is on the floors, inside furniture etc. You don’t necessarily need to get rid of your pets, but you do need to take a look at what is going on with your pets.

2. What are you using for cleaning supplies? Most cleaning supplies are very toxic and can make indoor allergies as well as asthma worse. I highly recommend getting rid of all of your cleaning chemicals and replacing them with essential oils, castille soap and vinegar. You can actually even clean more effectively with these natural cleaners.

3. Consider purchasing allergy free bedding and or covers for your current bedding. This can help with dander, feathers, and other pollutants on furniture that can increase allergies.

4. Evaluate anything that you are using for smells in your home. This includes candles, scented plug ins, air fresheners and anything else scented. Chances are that these things are making your indoor allergies worse. They are nearly all full of chemicals and so you need to stop using them.

5. Have you replaced your carpet within the last 15 years? If not, you may want to consider doing it. Old carpet can have allergens and pollutants in it.

6. Get an essential oil diffuser and use it. This can help cleanse and purify the air in your house.

7. Consider purchasing an air purifier. This is a machine that helps clear and clean the air indoors.

8. Consider using a humidifier at night. This can help you breathe and sleep better.

What other tips do you have for reducing indoor allergens?