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.

Beauty IS More than Skin Deep

I’ve been asked a lot lately about several skin conditions like acne and eczema and if I have any products that will help. Although we have a few products coming down the pipeline, I think it is prudent to explain what you can do from a holistic stand point TODAY.  It doesn’t much matter what you slap on top of your skin to fix a problem (which is really just a symptom of something deeper oftentimes) without fixing the real underlying problem – the inside! The old adage “you are what you eat” is SO true! Many skin ailments begin on the inside. Remember last week we talked about how the skin is actually the largest organ in the body? and how it absorbs and excretes things? Well let’s dig deeper.

Recent research has shown that ailments like asthma, allergies and eczema (all three ride on the same gene) and even psoriasis can be improved with taking probiotics. Why is that you ask? Many chronic illnesses with immune system or inflammatory issues actually begin in the gut just like Hippocrates said!

All disease begins in the gut.

So we talked briefly before about gluten and leaky gut.  So here we are again.  Allergic or inflammatory responses like eczema and psoriasis can find their root in your gut.  If you have the typical Western or American diet, then likely all of the (genetically modified) additives have poked microscopic holes in the lining of your gut and caused an imbalance in the bacteria that line your intestines.  Recolonizing your gut with the good bacteria it needs from fermented foods and high quality probiotics can help. Taking colostrum can also help plug those holes in your leaky gut as well.  When you have a leaky, improperly functioning gut, partially or improperly digested food particles can slip straight into your bloodstream through the gaps that are created in between your intestinal cells by this unhealthy environment.

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These molecules are recognized by your immune system as foreign invaders and attacks them.  The problem is that your now overactive immune system also attacks your own healthy tissue by mistake – including your skin.  In addition, as we mentioned earlier your skin excretes and absorbs things.  When your liver (which typically helps filter and clean your blood of undesirables along with your kidneys) becomes overloaded, the skin takes the hit as things spill over into the blood stream in uncontrollable amounts. The consequences can be eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives among other things. One thing that you can do to help is adding Epsom Salt to your bath water. The magnesium sulphate is absorbed directly through your skin and gives your liver the cofactor it needs to help with the excretion of toxins via a sulfation process.  It will also help calm the itching.  If you can’t stop to take a bath try soaking a clean cloth in warm (not hot) water with Epsom salt dissolved in it and apply it to the rash. Don’t apply to broken skin that has been scratched raw as the salt may cause a stinging sensation. Be sure not to bathe in hot, hot water as heat causes histamine to be released from your immune cells and will aggravate itching. Hence, the use of anti-histamines to treat allergies (anti means “against” or “opposite of” so an anti-histamine medication works “against” the release of histamine to reduce or prevent itching).

One other thing to consider is not using harsh soaps. In fact, try to refrain from lathering your whole body and taking prolonged showers or baths as that disrupts the protective lining and probiotics that naturally coat your skin.  I’ll tell you like I tell my kids “Get in, get the good parts, and get out!”  Of course, they don’t always listen as they LOVE to play in the tub but I try.  That’s part of the reason that I created my own Body Wash without the harsh Sodium Laurel Sulfates and the like so as to minimize the damage to our skin. I also load their bathwater up with Epsom salt to boot.  Infants (especially newborns) and very young children don’t need baths everyday by the way. They don’t have developed sweat glands like adults that cause odor yet. (Put a pin in that topic for another day). So unless they’ve had an extensive day of outdoor play in the hot sun, it’s okay to skip a day especially in the cooler months when eczema symptoms can be more intense. Now if they smell like the “great outdoors” after a day of play, of course, give them a bath.  But if not, don’t stress about it.

Be Mindful – Herxheimer Reaction

Be aware but don’t panic! Sometimes as you begin a new regimen, your skin symptoms may sometimes appear to worsen briefly before they get better. This is a phenomenon known as the Herxheimer or die-off reaction.  As the new, good bacteria starts to squeeze out the old, the old bugs will die and release some toxins which have to go somewhere. If your liver is overloaded, the toxins will exit through your skin. This may appear as an increase in your original symptoms or new rashes.  You may also feel a general sense of ‘blah’ and maybe even joint or generalized aches and pains.  Have no fear – this, too, shall pass.  If you can push through the discomfort (consider slowing down on your new regimen for a few days if it becomes too much) and drink plenty of clean water, then life will be better on the other side! Applying coconut oil to those areas of your skin rash flare -ups can help.  If you mix in a little lavendar or Teatree oil with the coconut oil that may help even more. Coconut oil is antiseptic and anti-bacterial and also helps kill yeast which is one of the main culprits in eczema.

canstockphoto23765846Cleaning up your diet  (and personal care products) and removing processed foods by sticking to organic vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats (in that order) is a great first step.  Daily probiotic use, drinking clean water, and even juicing can take you to the next level of health. We will go into more detail about juicing in the future – it’s more than just a fad. Awesome things can happen when you add it to your healthy lifestyle. Can’t wait to chat about it later!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

Questions? Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in….