April Showers Bring May Flowers – Achoo! – and Allergies….

Allergies are in full bloom right now! You’ve probably noticed that your car has a nice glow-in-the-dark colored coat of dust in the mornings right about now.  If you haven’t noticed it yet, your nose probably has if you suffer from seasonal allergies.  There are some things that you can do to take the miserable out of your March, April, and May…..

There are some basic things that you can do to reduce the amount of environmental exposure to allergens.  Keep your doors and windows closed so that that nice yellow coat on your car doesn’t float into your house and cling to your couches and carpet, too. Change the filters in your air conditioning units to a HEPA filter.  You can also purchase portable HEPA filters to clean the air in your bedroom as you sleep at night. Make sure you change your filters regularly to help clean the air inside your home clean.  Also consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap the pollen versus just spreading it around. Remove your shoes at the door so that you don’t track the dust in that way.  If you work or play outdoors, consider showering off especially before bed so that you don’t take the pollen into the bed with you where you will marinate in it all night.  When you dust, use a damp cloth or a microfiber one that will trap the pollen.  Otherwise you will probably just end up stirring up the dust and flinging more back into the air to resettle somewhere else in the house.Now! We’ve talked about adjusting what’s happening outside so let’s look inward. If you have allergies, asthma, and/or eczema, then by definition you have a leaky gut! ‘What’s leaky gut?’ you ask?  Learn more about that here. Also, be mindful that if you and/or your spouse have any of those conditions, then your children can have any combination of one or two or all three as those three ride on the same gene. But fear not! There ARE things that you can do to address the root of the problem and get some genuine relief. Take it from me. I used to take FOUR medications daily and still felt awful.  After cleaning up my diet and lifestyle, I take NO medications and I feel ten times better than I ever did on those medications.  Most medications simply address the SYMPTOMS not the true cause of allergies.

Here are a few simple things that you can start today.  Consider removing gluten (the protein found in wheat) from your diet as it literally pokes holes in your intestinal lining allowing partially digested food molecules to slip in to your bloodstream triggering an angry antibody response and all the histamine release that goes with it.  If you just can’t live without your bread, then at least consider digestive enzymes to help mitigate the impact of gluten on your gut. Don’t forget – there is always good old colostrum to the rescue to seal that leaky gut and calm the storm.

Also, consider a good herbal cleanse to clear out any bad bugs in the microbiome in your gut that are contributing to the leakiness.  Part of the reason I no longer need the FOUR medications that I used to take daily for allergies is we do a one month herbal “cleanse” every so often.  I do a cleanse maybe twice a year and I feel better than I ever did on all of those prescriptions!!  You don’t need to spend a lot of money either.  There are super expensive ones that cost over $100 and have been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long.  However, we found a small family owned company that literally grinds the herbs by hand the day that they ship it to you and it costs just $40. That’s a LOT cheaper than a copay for four prescriptions every month I tell you!

The next step is to start a good quality, multi-strain probiotic.  Studies show that various probiotics help reduce allergy, asthma, and skin symptoms. Each strain of bacteria has different properties. Some help synthesize vitamins, some modulate your immune system, some directly displace yeast off of your gut cell receptors, and on and on.  That’s why its good to have a wide variety of strains in high numbers along with a clean diet will have the most impact.

There are a couple of other things that you can do to alleviate some of your allergy woes. Taking raw, locally grown honey for instance.  The premise is that locally produced honey contains small amounts of the pollen that is common in your area the may help desensitize you to it over time.  **(Do NOT give honey to children less than 1yo due to the risk of botulin toxin and paralysis!!)  In addition, honey has good antiseptic and anti fungal properties which can help clean up your gut a bit. There is also propolis which is a resin produced by bees to help solidify the honeycomb structure. It has immune modulating and antibacterial, anti-oxidant properties as well.

Remember! Never underestimate the power of a clean, organic diet with lots of fruits and veggies. The microscopic phytonutrients are rich with nutrients and antioxidants that help heal and cleanse from the inside out.  If you don’t think that you will meet the mark of 5 – 9 fruits and veggies a day, consider a whole food plant based supplement like Juice Plus.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Questions, Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • Keep pollen outside by keeping doors and windows closed.
  • HEPA filters can help remove the pollen from the air in your home.
  • If you have allergies, you have a leaky gut.

What’s For Dinner?! Picky Eater Problems

If you have a child that is just a little stubborn or persnickety, then this likely isn’t for you. If, however, you have a child (or an adult for that matter) that just REFUSES certain foods after you have tried everything short of letting them starve with the hopes that if they get hungry enough they will finally eat to no avail, then listen up! It may NOT be all in their head! Your picky eater may very well have a medical issue that needs to be addressed by the appropriate professional.

There are several reasons why your child may be avoiding certain foods.  If there is a theme to their refusal, that may give you some clues as to what the problem may be.  For instance, do they seem to avoid foods with strong or distinct odors? or do they always smell their food before they try it?, then there may be a sensory processing issue that is causing an aversion to smells. This can be evaluated and addressed by a well trained Occupational Therapist.

Do they seem to avoid certain textures? For example, do they seem to only like soft foods like things made from ground meat like spaghetti, chili, well cooked vegetables? or they just “can NOT” swallow pills to save their life? It might not be an issue of just mind over matter. There could be a texture aversion and/or an oral motor coordination problem.  We sometimes take for granted that everyone knows how to shift the food to the back of the mouth so that the molars can properly grind the food and then move the food back to the back of the tongue and then swallow it.  Infants have a reverse swallow that facilitates breastfeeding but as they mature so should their swallow.  If it doesn’t, I’m sure that you can imagine what it must be like to get food (or pills) to go down your throat if your tongue keeps pushing things forward instead.  Hence, the preference for super soft foods that are easy to try to slide down the chute backwards. Also, bear in mind that gastroesophageal reflux can sometimes coexist with an oral motor/swallow problem or just be the culprit in and of itself. Be sure to consider that as well. Again, a well trained Occupational or Speech Therapist – especially one that specializes in oral-motor coordination or myofunctional (muscle function) issues may be able to evaluate all of these problems and help if needed.

Another sometimes subtle issue could be food allergies or intolerances.  If your tummy hurt overtime you ate cheese for instance, you don’t have to a rocket scientist to decide that eating cheese isn’t such a good idea…Your physician can order simple blood tests to evaluate for this possibility with just one needle stick versus the VERY uncomfortable skin prick tests. Start keeping a journal of the foods or food groups that are being avoided and bring that with you to the appointment to help hash out which food panels should be ordered and any foods or ingredients that may need to be added to customize  the standard panels.

Of course, if none of these ring true for your family, then stick with the good old “tricks” to get more buy in from your picky eater when it comes to meal time. Remember, small children have control over two things – what goes in, and what comes out! Sometimes they say ‘no!’ just for the sake of saying no. Try not to get in a power struggle with a young toddler. If you’re fighting with a small child about something iso basic, then you may have already lost. Besides, it’s just not a good look.

Where age appropriate include them in the grocery shopping selection or food preparation. Offer two reasonable choices before you prep the food when possible.  ‘Would you like peas or broccoli for dinner tonight?’ “PEAS!”  I call that a win-win. The kid feels like that have a little power/choice, and they’re eating something green. Score!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

 

Questions, Comments?! Post them below.

The Doctor is in!