Part 1 - Welcome Spring! Hello Allergies. What can you do?

Welcome flower buds, greener grass, flowing streams, and more sun! Also welcome tree pollen, flower pollen, grass pollen, and mold spores. If you are really getting into the Spring spirit, then I can probably add dust to the mix too after that deep clean. 

Have you started sneezing yet?  

What are allergies? "Allergies" are a general term that means your immune system is overreacting to what is usually a benign substance. 

Now is the time to get ahead of your allergies!

In order to address the allergy, you need to remove or decrease your exposure. When there is less to react too, there will be less reaction. In other words, any decrease in the overall allergic load will decrease full body symptom expression. The easiest place to begin is in your home.  

Step 1 - Decrease your exposure at home. 

  • Put a fresh pillowcase on your pillow each night.

  • Wash your hair before bed. (Think about all of the dust and pollen you collect during the day).

  • Avoid your food sensitivities and foods high in histamine, such as cheese, some wines, certain kinds of fish such as tuna and mackerel.

  • Use "Free and Clear" laundry detergent, and "Fragrance Free" cleaning products. This will reduce the chemical load in your home. A simple and effective cleaning product to switch too is baking soda and vinegar.

  • Get a HEPA filter for your bedroom. Not all HEPA filters are created alike. Its worth doing your research to find the best one for your home and needs.

Step 2 - Eat Foods That Improve Your Immune Response

  • Include more anti-oxidants rich foods in your diet, such as green, red, and yellow vegetables.

  • Essential fatty acids are also high in anti-oxidants. These include flaxseed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, grass fed/grass finished animals, and cold water fish (sardines).

  • Oats and Barley contain a fiber called beta-glucan that is an antimicrobial and has antioxidant properties.

  • Your skin is a first line of defense, and to keep it healthy the body needs its daily dose of Vitamin A. The best way to give yourself Vitamin A is through food. Some options include - Vegetables: kale, sweet potato, mustard greens, beet greens, carrots, dandelion greens. Fruits: Persimmon. Mango, Papaya.

  • Mushrooms increase the production of white blood cells. Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi pack the biggest immunity punch.

  • Onion and garlic are particularly antiallergenic because they inhibit inflammatory enzymes.

Step 3 - Reduce intake of foods that increase your histamine production. 

  • Foods that are rich in Tryptophan encourage histamine production. When histamine is released, your eyes water, your nose runs, and you start sneezing. These foods include cottage cheese, liver, peanuts, turkey, lamb, tuna, beef, salmon, and cashews.

  • Buy (when possible) pasture raised, grass fed and grass finished meats. Animal Fats, especially grain fed beef, pork, and lamb generally increase inflammatory prostaglandins, and should therefore be kept to a minimum.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help? 

If you feel that you have tried everything under the sun to manage your allergies and seasonal sensitivities, schedule an appointment soon!  We will work together to map out the rooted causes that continue to manifest as branch symptoms, such as runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, foggy brain, headaches, watery eyes, poor sleep. 

The three main organs that play a role in allergies are the bowels, the liver, and the adrenal glands.

Thus, treatment strategies will include: improving the good gut bacteria in your belly and ensuring your bowel movements are healthy; reducing the load on your liver's filtration process as well as addressing the Chinese medicine pathologies that tax the liver's physiological role; and reducing the amount of cortisol secreted into your system. 

Ready to get started? I want you to be able to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather, allergy free!   








A Year Of 30 Day Challenges


The Chinese lunar New Year begins February 8th, which means that Spring is just around the corner! (Spring on the Chinese calendar begins in a few days, far head of the March 20 Spring equinox on the gregorian calendar).

At this time of year, the Yin energy of Winter is receding and the Yang energy of Spring is expanding. The momentum of this yang energy (aka spring fever) is the reason we all feel a desire to organize our life, clean out the garage, rearrange the furniture in the house, cleanse our colons, and move our bodies more.  

If you've been thinking about making good on your New Year resolution, now is the perfect time to commit. 

The conveniences of modern living are addictive, and the more distractions we are exposed too, the more challenging it can be to break from our routine. 

Its a small example, but I am inclined, for instance to bring some kind of “power bar” to work rather than an array of nuts and fruits to eat as a snack. Why? Because its easy and cheap. I know that eating a sugary snack is not the best choice, yet I keep doing it. I keep doing it because it is less expensive and convenient to buy a box of power bars at Grocery Outlet versus expensive organic nuts from the local food coop. I do it because I don’t want to eat something that is going to create a food smell on my clothes or be messy at work. I do it because I have been unwilling to schedule time in my week to make a nutritious snack to have on hand throughout the day. 

You see how this works? Each choice we make has a story. That story is what tethers us to the habit. 

Over time the habits accumulate and compound into genuine health concerns

Joint and Muscle Pain, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Type II Diabetes, Chronic Allergies, Poor Digestion, Headaches, Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, Addictions.

What we eat, how we consume, and how we move (or don’t move) dramatically effect our health and well being.

This is where the 30 day challenge comes in. 

What is a 30 day challenge and how does it work? 

You choose 1 thing to do (or not do) everyday for the next 30 days that will have a positive impact on your health and well being.  

I’ve been doing a 30 day challenge almost every month for the last year, and it has grown from something I had to really work at,  to a practice I look forward too. The compound effect of making incremental adjustments to my choices around consumption and movement has had a huge impact on my overall physical and mental health. 

Tips to get you started

  1. Start simple. It is a lot easier to choose something small than go whole hog the first month.

  2. Buddy up! You don't have to do the same challenge, but do check in with each other each day.

  3. Make yourself accountable. Create a penalty that is something you really don't want to have to do.

  4. Give yourself a reward at the end of 30 successful days.

  5. Don't give up if you skip or forget a day.

  6. The goal is to be consistent, not perfect.

Possible Challenges

  1. No sugar (or caffeine, or alcohol).

  2. Don't eat anything that is pre-packaged (like a power bar).

  3. Ban internet shopping for a month.

  4. Give one thing away each day for a month.

  5. Walk 1 mile everyday no matter what.

  6. No TV (including Netflix and other digital versions of TV)

  7. Sit in nature for at least 30 minutes each day without using your phone.

  8. Set an alert to move around (walking, stretching) for 10 minutes every hour of sitting.

  9. A digital curfew (no internet, phone, tablet, computer before a certain time and after a certain time).

  10. Brown bag it. Make all of your meals at home and bring a lunch to work.

Share your 30 Day Challenge in the comments section!