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

allergies

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

gluten and allergies

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.

The Allergy Fighting Garden

allergyfightinggarden

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.

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

rp_woman-with-cold-150x150.jpg

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?

What is a Macrobiotic Diet and How Can It Help Allergies?

foodasmedicine

Have you heard of the macrobiotic diet? Neither had I until I came across it as a part of my training to become a certified health coach with IIN and then ironically was assigned to do a product demo in whole foods on the MACROBARS Organic Variety Pack of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Granola with Coconut, and Cherries and Berries, 1.8 oz- 2.5 oz Bars (Pack of 15) and these bars were created as a snack and meal for people who are on the macrobiotic diet. So exactly is it and how can it help your allergies?

1. It’s a diet based almost exclusively on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds which small amounts of whole grains such as brown rice, however, gluten and soy are not allowed. Small amounts of chicken and fish are allowed if you feel like you need it, however, it is recommended to be vegan if possible.

2. Another way of viewing it is that is is almost the complete opposite of the raw vegan diet, in fact, the macrobiotic diet when followed strictly does not include any raw food including salads.

3. You cannot eat potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, egg plant and any other nightshade vegetables.

4. Many people have hidden food intolerances and this diet by default eliminates the ones that most people struggle with.

5. The macrobiotic diet is based on fruits and vegetables and doing a cleanse of sorts by eating very clean for a time period can help with a lot of allergies and allergic reactions.

Here is a video that also explains in more details the macrobiotic diet.

Is leaky gut syndrome causing your allergies?

rp_wheat-and-gluten-free-diet-150x1501.jpg

Do you have leaky gut syndrome? For many people this term is not familiar and even many doctors don’t even know much about it. However, it can wreck havoc on your immune system and may very well be the root cause of your allergies including food allergies and intolerances.

Some of the common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include:

1. Digestive issues including gas, bloating, diarrhea and other stomach discomforts.

2. Asthma

3. Chronic sinus infections

4. Seasonal or food allergies

5. Fatigue

6. Weakened Immune System

7. Skin rashes

8. Anxiety

9. Frequent colds or flus

10. Joint paint and headaches

11. Auto-immune diseases

In short, are you sick a lot? If so, chances are very good you have leaky gut syndrome.

Here is a video that talks about leaky gut syndrome and what to do about it.

Allergy Free Menu Planning for Dummies

allergy free menu planning

Do you struggle with menu planning because you or maybe even yourself and other members of your household have food allergies or food intolerances and so you have to avoid certain foods when planning menus? Allergy free menu planning can be challenging and trust me, I know. I originally had to avoid 60 foods for 4-6 months and then I had another 20 that I could only eat ever 4 days. In addition I also couldn’t have soy, or sugar and had to eat 3 servings of vegetables for every 1 serving of fruit. I also couldn’t have any gluten or milk products. It was very challenging and annoying to say the least. So all I can say is if I can do it so can you. In fact, I still can’t have gluten or milk products. I still have to be careful with sugar or too much fruit. I still have 5 other foods I can’t have and I have to rotate my original list of 60 foods and only eat them every 4 days so the challenge isn’t over for me. Through this process though I have learned a lot about allergy free menu planning.

Here are some of my best tips:

1. Keep is simple. Trying to create complicated menus or trying to cook foods with lots of ingredients just makes it harder.

2. Plan your full menu at least a week in advance. This makes rotating foods a lot easier.

3. Use a mobile app to keep track of what you have eaten and when. Fooducate and Diet Tracker are two of my favorites.

4. Be willing to explore and to eat new foods or foods you think you don’t like. For example, I hadn’t eaten brussel sprouts in over 10 years and I finally tried them again and actually liked them.

5. Get some tupperware containers to store leftovers of foods that you have to rotate in. This makes it much easier for you to avoid wasting food because it goes rotten before you can eat it.

6. Use the website Allrecipes.com to create recipes for your allergy free menu using your list of ingredients.

7. Network in groups on Facebook, linkedin and Google Plus to find recipes and ideas created by people with similar allergies and diet restrictions.

8. Use pinterest. Seriously though pinterest saved my life and I’m not kidding. I found so many great recipes there that I could eat, I couldn’t believe it.

What other Allergy free menu planning ideas do you have to share? Share them in the comments below.

Fooducate App for Food Allergies

foodsmall

If you have food allergies or are just trying to be more health conscious then you are certainly aware of the fact that many foods have hidden allergens and other unhealthy things in them. So how do you know what you are really eating?

I recently discovered a new app for iphone and android that is amazing. It’s called the fooducate app. I installed this app on my android phone. It’s free. The way it works is this:

1. You scan the barcode of any food item or you can look up the food.

2. The app tells you how many calories per serving are in the food. It also gives you a letter rating from A to F and includes additional information such as if the product has known GMOS in it, the amount of processing in the food, the vitamins in it, dieting info and more.

3. You can rate the food based on if you like it or not, share it with others or comment about your experience with the food item.

4. You also are shown alternatives that may be healthier than the given food item.

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A disorders

childhoodbook

This is one of the best books I’ve read on all four of the A disorders. Written by a medical doctor, this book shares stories of many of the children he has helped heal from allergies, asthma, autism and ADHD. He also talks about many of the reasons why these disorders have skyrocketed in recent years and offers advice about how to help your child or adults to heal as well as how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

The end of the book includes lists of resources as well as several useful appendixes. One of these which is particularly useful is a recommended adjusted vaccine schedule that offers advice on how to safely vaccinate your children. I’ve read other books that had similar advice but this one is the most detailed and the most common sense approach I’ve read. The main ideas are that you want to avoid giving your child more than one vaccine at the same time, double check to make sure that their is no thermasol in the vaccine, never vaccinate a child who is sick or who has been sick within a week prior to the shots, and give your child some recommended supplements and vitamins before and after. He also does not recommend the Hepatitus vaccine for babies unless the mother has it. Instead you wait until the child is 3-4 or getting ready to start preschool.

Throughout the book are recommended diets, recipes and tips for sticking with the diet, suggestions for natural remedies and other tips to help you heal your child without the side effects of drugs.

Need more detailed help? Check out my Healthy Eating for Children with Autism Online Course

Summer and Allergies: 15+ Important Preparation Tips

Allergy

Tree, grass and plant pollen can trigger allergic reactions. Hay fever is a common allergy triggered by weeds, particularly ragweed. Ragweed is a primary carrier of the allergen pollen. Pollen is an environmental airborne pollutant that causes upper respiratory health problems, including the most chronic childhood disorder, asthma, an inflammatory lung disease.

Allergy Seasons

Some allergies are seasonal, occurring during the pollination season of particular grasses or trees, in fall, spring or summer. In the spring, maple, oak and elm trees pollinate. During summer months, timothy, orchard and Bermuda grasses pollinate.

An allergy to grass is often tied in with hay fever. Symptoms and causes are alike. Among symptoms is inflammation of the sinus cavity or nose, called “rhinitis”. This inflammation results in an allergic reaction in the nose. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, and watery, itchy eyes. Some may experience a tickle at the roof of the mouth or at the back of the throat.

Pollen allergy is also referred to as “seasonal allergic rhinitis” or “hay fever” because the pollen count and allergic reaction is highest during hay season. Typically starting in March, high pollen counts signal the start of allergy season. This allergic reaction to pollen makes your nose run during certain seasons.

Allergy symptoms in general typically include severely itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing and symptoms that appear to be a cold or flu. A physician can conduct an allergy test to determine the source of an allergic reaction.

Prepare, Prevent and Remedy Allergies

Progressively building tolerance to airborne allergens such as pollen can help weather allergies through the summer’s high pollen count. Additionally, different strategies can be used to manage allergies.

Finding Eyes and Nose Relief

  • Eye drops. Over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory eye drops can relieve eye irritations.
  • Nasal sprays. Used prior to and during allergy season, nasal sprays may prevent hay fever symptoms from escalating during summer season.
  • Itchy eyes may warrant hay fever intervention by a physician for more than over the counter medication.

10 Indoor Tips to Combat Allergies

  • 1. If the pollen count is high, stay indoors, especially in the morning.
  • 2. During summer, close doors and windows.
  • 3. For fresh air, use air purifier.
  • 4. Regularly clean air filters.
  • 5. Regularly clean locations where pollen collects easily, such as vents and bookshelves.
  • 6. Use hot water washing for rugs and bedding to kill allergens such as dust mites.
  • 7. Steam vacuum clean carpets.
  • 8. Upon coming indoors, wash hair to eliminate pollen.
  • 9. Use a mask when dusting, vacuuming, or cleaning house.
  • 10. Maintain the range of house humidity from 30 to 50% to inhibit dust mite populations, which thrive in highly humid environments.

    2 Outdoor Tips for Fighting Allergies

    • 1. Use a mask, regardless of allergies, when performing yard work, such as mowing or raking to prevent inhaling grass pollen, dirt and dust.
    • 2. Avoid wearing contact lenses and opt instead for glasses, which allow more oxygen to reach the eyes.

      8 Organic Tips to Remedy Allergies

    • 1. Use licorice, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can significantly reduce allergic symptoms such as swelling.
    • 2. Inhale eucalyptus oil in steam to reduce chest and nasal congestion.
    • 3. Use nettle tablets or tea for hay fever to combat eye irritation and sinus blockage.
    • 4. Drink chamomile tea which has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
    • 5. Use ginger which has anti-microbial properties and promotes platelet production to combat allergens.
    • 6. Reduce dairy intake may help hay fever sufferers keep mucus at bay in the sinus cavities
    • 7. Increase honey consumption may build up pollen tolerance.
    • 8. Consume vitamin C to boost immunity and lowers allergic reactions. Consume citrus fruits, such as lemons, grapes, and plums, and other vitamin C sources.

    Pollen is a significant source of allergies. Allergy sufferers can use this wide range of prevention and intervention strategies to successfully manage allergic reactions throughout the seasons.

    Guest author Andrew Rios is a freelance blogger for accessrx.com where you can order medications online. To learn more you can visit the Accessrx Site or their Accessrx Facebook page.