Fermentation

A word many of us have heard before, but perhaps with only a vague understanding of what it is.

In short, it refers to a regular household practice that has been lost in North America since the invention of refrigeration and canning, and with it, numerous health benefits.

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“The pathogen is nothing. The terrain is everything.”  -Louis Pasteur

–> In other words, if your gastrointestinal flora is robust, you should be able to handle most any assault. And what better to keep your gut strong than a daily dose of lacto-fermented vegetables?

Here’s how lacto-fermentation works:

  • Lactobaccilli are present on the surface of vegetables and are further provided by the addition of whey.
  • They convert the starches and sugars in vegetables to lactic acid.
  • Lactic acid acts as a preservative and antibacterial.
  • It promotes the growth of good gut flora.
  • The process increases vitamin levels, digestibility, produces helpful enzymes, and anticarcinogenic substances.
  • This is different than industrialized fermented products which use vinegar and pasteurization, destroying the health benefits of fermented foods.

Fermented vegetables make an excellent addition to any daily meal.

Below are two delicious beginner recipes as well as instructions for making whey, a required ingredient for both recipes. It is easier than you think, and once you’ve done it once, it can become as regular a part of your life as watering your plants or walking your dog.


Whey & Cream Cheese

Ingredient:

  • High quality plain yoghurt

Directions:

  • Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel.
  • Pour in the yoghurt, cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer.

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  • Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready.

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  • Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container.

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  • Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about 1 month and the whey for about 6 months. Makes 5 cups whey and 2 cups cream cheese.

Ginger Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups grated carrots, tightly packed
  • 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 4 TBSP whey

Directions:

  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients and pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer to release juices.
  • Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices cover the carrots.
  • The top of the carrots should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. Makes 1 quart.

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Pickled Cucumbers

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pickling cucumbers or 15-20 gherkins
  • 1 TBSP mustard seeds
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill, snipped
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 4 TBSP whey
  • 1 cup filtered water

Directions:

  • Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.
  • Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers.
  • The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. Makes 1 quart.

Source: Sally Fallon, 2001. Nourishing Traditions; The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, 2nd ed. NewTrends Publishing, Inc. USA. 

Everything Can Change in a Heart Beat

The Human Heart

Love & Heartbreak, Aspirin & Turmeric, Cholesterol & Statins

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I have recently been reminded about the importance of taking care of this vital organ as I have watched someone close to me struggle with heart failure, especially as they still have a lot of life left that they want to live. Most often a diagnosis like this can come as a huge and unwelcome surprise and it can seem like a mystery as to where it came from. A heart attack or a stroke man be an even bigger shock – and a strong reminder that we only get one heart and if it stops working there are often no second chances available.

The heart makes its very first beat when an unborn baby – still only the size of sesame seed – has just been implanted into the uterine wall at about 4-5 weeks gestation. And it will continue to faithfully beat without rest until that person’s final breath. The heart muscles will work harder over our lifetime than any other muscle in our bodies. It is easy to take this for granted since we have never had to give it a thought. That is why heart disease is often referred to as a silent killer, because if a moment comes when we do give it a thought, it is often already too late.

"The human heart has hidden treasures
In secret kept, in silence sealed
The thoughts, the hopes,
the dreams, the pleasures
Whose charms were broken if revealed."
- Charlotte Bronte

Heart disease and stroke are the 2nd and 3rd leading cause of death in Canada, just behind cancer, and the 1st leading cause in the United States (1). That looks like one person dying every 7 minutes. Every year this costs the Canadian economy more than 20.9 billion dollars.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation themselves tell us that healthy behaviours can prevent up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke (2)! What do these behaviours include? Maintaining 5 or more of the following:

  • not smoking
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • regular physical activity
  • eating a healthy diet
  • reducing stress
  • and keeping high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels in control.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has also found that 9 out of 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Do you have any of them? They include eating less than 5 servings of vegetables and fruit per day, physical inactivity, smoking, overweight or obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stress.

“The ever-increasing pace that characterizes our modern way of life is one of the worst poisons for our heart. Even though, for the most part, individual productivity has not exceeded that of former times, it has become the custom to cram too many activities, especially those connected with our job, into a short space of time. Related to this, of course, is the shortened working week, which has become so popular. The resulting free time is hardly ever used in a wholesome recreational or relaxing way such as pursuing a hobby, say working on an arts and crafts project, listening to good music, acquiring more knowledge through a study course or some other favourite subject or activity. Instead, we continue at the same hectic pace we use for work and seem to find enjoyment at weekends in the midst of the mad world of crowded motorways. No wonder the result is a state of complete exhaustion instead of recuperation from the week’s work. Driving at high speed creates anxiety and inner tension and affects the heart like a poison. Not only is the speed of the drive harmful, but the exhaust fumes are equally dangerous to the heart and blood vessels, particularly the fumes caused by leaded petrol. How much more sensible it would be to take a short leisurely ride to a nearby forest or the hills, get out of the car and go for a relaxing walk or hike. This kind of exercise would be invigorating for the blood vessels and, of course, the heart. The time spent in a clean environment would then permit us to return to work and our duties on Monday morning refreshed and relaxed, instead of tense and irritable as is so often the case today, when we misuse our leisure.” –A. Vogel

The recommendations from the Heart and Stroke Foundation are a great place to start, but let’s get a little more specific! Here are some great lifestyle changes that will do wonders for the health of our hearts.

General

  • Slow down
  • Walk in nature
  • Take time for things you enjoy
  • Take time for what is important
  • Make time for leisure
  • Implement a regular exercise schedule
  • Avoid overly strenuous athletic pursuits
  • Breath deep and slow
  • Walk barefoot outside (3)
  • Take care of your teeth (4)

 Nutrition

  • Eat a variety of whole foods (organic, local, grass fed)
  • Increase fiber (legumes, bran, nuts, seeds, psyllium seed husk, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables)
  • Increase bright fruit (eg. berries) and vegetables and dark leafy greens
  • Increase healthy fats including omega 3
  • Increase filtered pure water
  • Reduce sugar (5), carbohydrates, alcohol, & caffeine
  • Increase “ORAC” antioxidant-rich foods
    • Ex. Cloves, oregano, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, turmeric, parsley, basil, cumin, pecans, ginger root, walnuts, hazelnuts, blueberries, plums, blackberries, onions, cocoa/dark chocolate
  • Eat 4-6 celery stalks per day to lower blood pressure (contain 3-n-butyl phthalide)
  • Eat 1 clove of fresh garlic per day

 Specifics about Food Preparation

  • Refrigerate butter, dairy products, meats, vegetable oils, & nuts in airtight containers
  • Minimize consumption of foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Avoid cooking with sunflower, safflower, corn oil, canola oil, butter or lard
  • Boil, poach, or stew more often than you fry, broil or roast
  • Avoid eating oxidized cholesterol products:
    • Butter left at room temp
    • Dried egg products (pancake mixes, bakery products, cake mix, salad dressing, noodles)
    • Broken egg yolk during cooking
    • Powdered milk
    • Grated cheeses
    • French fries
    • Processed meats
    • Butter oil
    • Heated butter, tallow, lard

 Specific Heart Nutrients

There are many nutrients that can be beneficial to aiding your heart to work optimally, depending on your unique circumstances: for example, L-carnitine, EFAs, CoQ10, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, ALA, Resveratrol, L-arginine, and Taurine.

There are also many medicinal herbs that can strengthen the heart such as crataegus spp.,  lycopus virginicus, eleutherococcus senticosus, cactus grandiflora, avena sativa, convallaria majalis, vaccinium myrtillus, tilia platyphyllos, and salvia miltiorrhiza.

In addition, there are treatment options that include homeopathic remedies, acupuncture therapy, or hydrotherapy. I say this just to let people know that there are plenty of options when it comes to heart health that do not include drug therapies or surgeries. But please see your healthcare practitioner for the specific dosages, formulas and treatments that will be right for you.

“Nevertheless, no matter how good the natural remedy, the cure will not be lasting unless we stop subjecting the heart to harmful influences. Taking great care of this vital organ should be our first priority.” -A. Vogel

 A Note on Aspirin

It is no longer recommended by the FDA to use aspirin as preventative medicine since the risks of using it daily are higher than the benefits. Instead, I would recommend a warm cup of Golden Turmeric Milk before bed!

“However, after carefully examining scientific data from major studies, FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called “primary prevention.” In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks—such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach—are still present” (6).

 A Note on Statins

A modest amount of saturated fat and cholesterol are essential components of our diet and do not increase risk of heart related deaths. Cholesterol is in every cell in your body, the precursor for sex hormones, helps to digest fat, is involved in the production of vitamin D, insulates nerve cells, and is important for brain health.

Statins are used to decrease cholesterol but also deplete CoQ10, Vit K2, and selenium which are essential for heart function (7)! Research is now showing that statins do more harm than good (8). In fact, something as simple as the Mediterranean diet may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease more than statins do (9).

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This may be a lot of information to digest and my intention is definitely not to add any additional stress to your life. But perhaps there is something from this article that will stick with you. To be lasting, lifestyle changes must happen one at a time, and gradually. And when they do happen, we are then able to introduce healthy habits to our children that they can then carry forward in their lives and pass on to their future children. So all I ask today is for you to pick one thing you might be able to implement into your life that is new. What will it be?

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Live, Love, Laugh, Let go,

Forgive, Breath, Smile, Grow,

Look, Listen, Smell, Go slow.

~

The “A” Word

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Anxiety.

One of those terms that can mean so many different things to so many different people.

Something that steals from life.

The most common mental illness in all of Canada.

A rising burden on young people…

in 2014/2015, 1 in 12 youth were placed on a

mood/anxiety or antipsychotic medication!

Can such a multifactorial and individualistic symptom be dumbed down to a Title to be treated by a handful of different medications?

I don’t think so.

I think there is more to it than that. And that it is worth discovering what that is.

I believe it is something worth fighting against.

That it is something that does not belong.

That we can break the chains and be free from it.

That we can embrace the good and the bad in life without it.

It is for ailments like anxiety that I am so proud to be a part of the Naturopathic Medical profession and to be able to use such a variety of different tools in my treatment approach. Each individual’s treatment plan must look different – how can it be the same? There could be roots in any of the mental, emotional, social, physical, or spiritual arenas. For example, specific physical treatments might target things like the HPA axis, neurotransmitters, the digestive track, inflammation, or just a totally overwhelmed system. And to do this modalities such as lab testing, acupuncture, massage therapy, counselling, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, or auricular acupuncture may be used. In this way we can slowly, and one step at a time, begin to heal the greater picture.

Here are 10 simple yet powerful anxiety busters. Pick your favourite one and start there!

  1. Eliminate stimulants where possible (caffeine, screen time, alcohol, loud chaotic environments, triggers)
  2. The basics – eat well, sleep well, exercise, drink water. (‘blah’ ‘blah’ ‘blah’ I know, but if the basics aren’t there, there is nothing to build on unfortunately!)
  3. Breath deep and long. In emergency medicine, ‘vagal maneuvers’ are used to slow a deadly fast heart rate. These work by stimulating the vagus nerve. Some ways to do this are to take an ice cold shower, to hold your breath or to ‘bear down’. Or you can just take some nice long deep belly breaths to switch you from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode.
  4. Connect with nature. Walk barefoot in the grass. Smell a flower. Hug a tree. Bring a plant to work. Believe it or not there is a lot of science behind this! It works!
  5. Ground yourself in acute situations. Feel your feet on the floor, feel your body touch whatever it is touching, focus on the immediate things around you, and breath.
  6. Get involved in something in your community to help others.
  7. Express yourself through writing, art, music, and/or comedy.
  8. Get together with girlfriends/guyfriends, have a good laugh and/or a good cry
  9. Take a bath with chamomile, lavender, oats and epsom salts.
  10. Try progressive muscular relaxation therapy at bed time (contract each muscle one at a time from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet for 10 seconds and then relax it)

Know that there are many specific nutrients such as GABA or L-theanine as well as multiple herbal options such as passion flower or lemon balm that can also be very helpful in addition to the various other treatment avenues I alluded to earlier. But most importantly know that no therapy will work without your involvement. You are the only one who can take the steps you need to take. You are more powerful than you think.

My hope is that you will soon (metaphorically, or not) dance barefoot and carefree in the rain and that the “A” word will no longer hold any power over your life.bare-feet

 

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Canned Tomatoes, Peaches, Pears, & Pickled Beets!

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Today my grandma taught me how to can my own tomatoes! I only wish I knew sooner how easy it could be! It is something she has been doing for decades – starting back when she lived on the prairies with no running water or refrigeration and grew her own food! What a concept! My gardening skills have a long way to go before I’m growing enough to make it through the whole year. Thank you Grammy for passing on your recipes!!

Canning your own produce is an awesome idea for so many reasons. For starters, you get the tastiest in-season produce, and you get it in bulk for cheaper. In addition, you know exactly what you will be adding and that you won’t be sprinkling any chemical preservatives or unnecessary ingredients in there. Plus you’ll be using glass instead of BPA-lined tin cans. And finally you get to enjoy something you made all year long! Or enjoy giving it away as a great gift idea!

Here’s what you need:

  • A friend or partner – “many hands make light work”
  • 20 lbs of fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • ~15 500mL or pint size mason jars
  • salt & sugar
  • canner (*Don’t have a canner? See tip below!)
  • pot for boiling water
  • large clean bowl for tomatoes
  • a clean sink

Here’s what you do:

  1. Set everything up so it’s ready to go before you begin
  2. Wash the mason jars in warm soapy water and put all except the outer ring of the lids into the dishwasher on rinse cycle. Do this right before you begin because you want the jars nice and warm when you add the tomatoes.
  3. Blanch the tomatoes, about 7 at a time (place into pot of boiling water for about a minute and then remove and place into sink full of ice cold water)
  4. Peel the skin off the tomatoes and core.
  5. Dice into bowl, juice and all, removing any bad bits as you go. Every once in a while, run your fingers through them and squeeze – this helps bring more seeds up to the surface (you’ll see why later).
  6. Remove jars from dishwasher and place on old dish cloth or paper towel on the counter. Fill about 3/4 full using hands (don’t worry about adding all the juice yet)
  7. Pour the last bit of juice left in the bowl through a strainer and discard the leftover seeds in the strainer. Use the juice to top up the mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar.
  8. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar to each jar. No need to mix.
  9. Dry the mouth of the jar with a paper towel.
  10. Place lids on and tighten all the way and then reverse as if you were going to open the jar, but just a smidgen. This will allow the jars to “breath” so they don’t explode.
  11. Put the jars into the canner and turn on the burner. Bring water to boil and then start the timer for 20 minutes.
  12. After timer goes off, turn off the burner and take lid off canner. Allow water to settle and then gently wipe the water off the top of the mason jars and carefully remove, placing on rack to cool. Leave the lids as they are, don’t tighten them.
  13. If you see clear liquid at the bottom of the jar and you hear the lid “pop” you know it has sealed properly.
  14. Once cooled, store in a dark place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate.

 

*TIP: Don’t have a canner? If you want to try canning just a few things at a time, you can use a large pot, add water, and put the jars in on top of some extra mason jar lids so they don’t bump around and break in the pot. Or if you have a roaster with a tight lid that won’t let the steam out and some pieces of wood you could put on the bottom of it, you could place that over two of your burners and use as a canner that way. Or you could try the pickled beet recipe below which doesn’t require a canner at all!

 


If you want my grammy’s recipes for Canned Peaches, Pears, and Pickled Beets, continue reading below! Continue reading

So you don’t like taking vitamins?

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So you don’t like taking vitamins for general health?

Well you don’t have to! All the vitamins and minerals our bodies need can be found in the foods all around us, the only secret is that we have to eat them!! In fact, when they come from a food source they are even better absorbed than any other way (as long as our digestive tracks are working properly)!

If I were to try to make a list of all the best nutrient dense foods it would be endless because REAL food is REALLY good for us! So I have tried to condense it to the foods that contain some of the most essential nutrients we need and are often low on.

First, here are some simple ways to ensure we are getting what we need:

  1. Eat foods of a variety of CoLoUr. Meals should be vibrant – different colours provide different nutrients!
  2. Eat Dark Green Leafy Vegetables wherever we can. These are loaded veggies and it is hard to get enough of them on a daily basis!
  3. Eat nuts, seeds, legumes and a variety of whole grains. These are rich sources of nutrients and fiber and essential for our health.
  4. Use spices and herbs in cooking such as turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, sage, rosemary, and oregano to name a few. These are high in antioxidants among multiple other health benefits.
  5. Let the SUN find your skin – free of sunscreen – for around 15 minutes a day to get a daily Vitamin D dose. The amount of time varies depending on skin tone, the time of day and time of year among other things, but just don’t turn pink and that should be enough! A little bit of sunshine can go a long way for our health – especially here in Canada!
  6. Juicing a variety of raw vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to get a high dose of nutrients into our bodies.
  7. Finally, don’t forget about water! Our bodies need water more than anything else!

Below I have listed some Bonus Foods to help us get the most bang for our buck with the foods we eat. Just remember that too much of a good thing is not necessarily better, so like everything, enjoy in moderation!


 

Avocado: Omegas, potassium, Vitamins B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, phytonutrients, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, copper, Vitamin K

Bee Pollen: B vitamins, all 9 essential amino acids, lipids, polyphenols, flavonoids, leukotrienes, catechins, phenolic acids, carotenoid pigments, phytosterols, enzymes, coenzymes, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, inositol, rutin, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, manganese, iron, copper

Blackstrap Molasses: Magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, calcium, copper, selenium, choline, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B1

Dulse, Kelp and other Sea Vegetables (from unpolluted areas): Iodine, Vitamin B6, iron, potassium, sodium, protein, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C

Gelatin (grass-fed beef) or Bone broth: excellent source of collagen

Goji Berries: Vitamin A, selenium, copper, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, calcium, protein, antioxidants

Hemp Seeds: Protein, EFAs including omega 3, Vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc

Nutritional Yeast: Protein, B vitamins (we’re talking 1 TBSP has 240% your daily value of Vitamin B6), zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese

Red Cabbage: glucosinolates, polyphenols, glutamine, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B9, copper

Sardines: Protein, Vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, omega 3, Vitamin D, calcium, Vitamin B3, iodine, copper, choline, Vitamin B2

Sprouts: these have a high nutrient composition that varies depending on the sprout

Watercress, Kale: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, B vitamins, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, omega 3

.              .               .             .               .                .               .               .              .              .

Essential Fatty Acid sources: Salmon, sardines, walnuts, flax seed, chia seed, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard seeds, cauliflower

Probiotic sources: fermented foods, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh

Prebiotic sources: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, apple cider vinegar (mother), onions, garlic, cabbage, leeks, jicama root, dandelion root, apples, oats, psyllium, legumes

 


♥   Eat well to shine from the inside out.   ♥

 


 

 

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27013064

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377380/#B2

http://file.scirp.org/pdf/FNS_2014061716305882.pdf

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10681-004-4811-6

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23088580/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/389172-dulse-nutrition/

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02859553

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

http://whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Toddler Cookies II

Ever go to make cookies just to realize that you’re all out of flour? Well that happened to me the other day and that is where these cookies came from. Substitution after substitution, I ended up with a whole new cookie!

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All-Out-Of-Flour Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butternut squash, cooked and pureed
  • 1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax + 3 TBSP warm water)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup nut and/or seed butter (use whatever you have; mine was a mix of cashews, almonds, chia seeds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hazelnuts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup oat flour (I just grind my oats in a coffee grinder)
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 TBSP psyllium husk powder
  • 3 TBSP coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each of baking soda, salt, cinnamon & allspice

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients together separately, then add dry ingredients to wet mixture and blend.
  • Drop by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet and flatten with a fork, dipping the fork into water between cookies.
  • Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes.
  • Transfer cookies on parchment paper to wire rack to cool.
  • Enjoy them warm or refrigerated. 🙂

Seasonal Allergies

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For some, spring is a season to endure…

Ode to Dandelions

O dandelions!
You are so happy and unconventional.
Your ragged leaves furl out like wings;
Up pokes your sunny face and sings
Of summer and warmth.
You trick me, wicked things!
For beneath your yellow crown,
Hidden, is that dusty pollen–
The color of ripe earwax–
Which makes me mercilessly sneeze;
Till colder turns the breeze,
When your head becomes flaxen,
Full of downy fluff,
And away it flies!
I watch through puffy eyes,
As you escape in glee.

By “annwyndesfey

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Sneezing, itching, headaches, leaking eyes and nose…

While there are many pharmaceutical options to simmer down those annoying symptoms, an important question to ask might be whether or not these options have ever made those symptoms disappear for good? Just like cutting off the top of the dandelion won’t get rid of the dandelion, covering up the symptoms won’t get rid of the problem. In naturopathic medicine we believe that it is important to dig down as deep as we can to the root of the issue in order to heal the whole person. Why? Because these little annoying symptoms can be signs that something more might be going on, and it is important to eliminate the chronic inflammation and immune dysregulation that could lead to larger health complications down the road.

Allergic rhinitis is known as a type 1 or immediate hypersensitivity allergic reaction. In this type of reaction, your body’s IgE antibodies that have formed against the allergen (eg. pollen) cause certain immune cells to release histamine into your body causing the various symptoms you may experience.

So how do we make this go away?

I’ll share a few ideas, but it is important to remember that every person is different and needs to be treated so. An often-used metaphor is the bucket analogy. We can think of our bodies as a bucket that can fill up with various junk from all sorts of places. While our bodies have some defences against this, if our buckets get too full it can overwhelm these defences and suddenly various health conditions start to show up. So, in a very oversimplified way, if we decrease our bucket load we can clear up some overflow issues. Here are a few ways we can help out our bodies:

  1. First, and perhaps most obviously, avoid what you are allergic to! And if you don’t know, get tested.
  2. Often, people who experience seasonal allergies also have food sensitivities. Following an elimination diet to discover hidden allergies will improve symptoms in most people
  3. Good quality probiotics have been shown to help by strengthening the immune system and increasing protection from invading allergens
  4. Specific helpful nutrients: omega 3, bioflavonoids, quercetin, bromelain, vitamin C, N-acetylcysteine, zinc…
  5. Nutrition: Juice foods that are rich in quercetin, bromelain, Vit C and bioflavonoids (citrus fruits, pineapple, apple, berries, mint, ginger, turmeric). Incorporate onions, garlic, ginger, dark leafy greens and yellow and orange veggies into your every day diet. Increase water. Avoid refined foods, dairy, sugar, wheat, red meat, alcohol, caffeine.
  6. Specific herbs: urtica dioca (nettle), petasites hybridus (butterbur -caution to use pyrrolizidine alkaloid free extract and don’t use if allergic to ragweed family), euphrasia officinalis (eyebright), silybum marianum (milk thistle), sambucus nigra (elderflower), achilliea millefolium (yarrow)…. These can be taken as teas or tinctures. Nettle tea is easy to find in stores – add some raw grated ginger, lemon and honey and you’re set!
  7. Hydrotherapy: cold cloth on the forehead, hot foot bath, nasal lavage, constitutional hydrotherapy
  8. Other things your ND may be able to offer you: acupuncture, sublingual immunotherapy, homeopathics, a spring detox

Every individual is different in their health history and lifestyle and for this reason it is so important to see your doctor so that they can implement a plan that will work specifically for you. Remember that certain health conditions and medication lists require special attention, so for your safety it is best not to treat yourself!

In the meantime, I hope these ideas will inspire you and give you hope to know that perhaps one day you will be singing a happier tune when the flowers start to bloom.

Ode to a Worm

Oh worm, why do you turn into the earth from me?
Tis spring oh worm!
Lift up your head, which ever end that be, and smile at the sun
Untwine your naked form and fling the dirt high in ecstasy!
Tis spring, tis spring, tis spring…

grass-828706_640

 

References:

http://ndnr.com/autoimmuneallergy-medicine/allergic-rhinitis-a-review-naturopathic-treatments/

http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=117

http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/5/5/448.pdf

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/allergic-rhinitis