This week on the podcast I’m talking about re-emergence. How to head back out in to the world after our long pandemic winter with grace and good energy. One thing that can make spring tough is seasonal allergies. All those budding flowers, bushes and trees can really bog your immune system down. That can leave you feeling stuffy, sluggish, and just worn out all around, but there are some food cures for seasonal allergies that can help.
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When I was a kid, my mom and I moved from arid Oklahoma to the lush, semi-tropical Gulf Coast
I developed a wicked case of seasonal allergies. For months, I was just horribly stuffed up. Believe me, snuffling and talking like I had cotton stuffed up my nose was not the first impression I wanted to make as a new kid! I had seasonal allergies for decades after that. Making spring my least favorite season. Even though it was so pretty to see the bright green shoots and colorful flowers, my allergies made me feel foggy, tired, and like I just wanted to stay in bed.
Things didn’t turn around for me until I was in my early 40. I went to go see a naturopathic physician who prescribed me a simple detox that I’ll share with you in this episode. There wasn’t anything special to buy, nor did it require a lot of prep. I call it the 3-3-3 detox because it consists of three phases of three days each.
Now is the PERFECT time to do it
Because it’s going to help you shift away from the rich foods of winter and burn off some of the fat that’s accumulated over the winter months. Which was necessary to keep you insulated from those lower temperatures. And get you ready for the warm half of the year. It can also radically shift your experience of allergies. It certainly did for me.
In Ayurveda, the Indian school of medicine that is the sister science to yoga, early spring is a time of kapha, or water and Earth. Think how melting snow leaves the ground muddy. Rivers are at their highest now as the snow in the mountains melt. And even the sap is running through the trees and it’s maple syrup season. For us too, our fluids are running high and that can mean a lot of mucus. Especially with seasonal allergies, it can almost feel like you’re drowning in your own fluids. But, you don’t have to rely on meds or just suck it up and be miserable until spring is over there are food cures for seasonal allergies like this simple detox and help your body keep that liquid flowing and your congestion and exhaustion and all the other fun symptoms that come with allergies at bay.
Food Cures for Seasonal AllergiesHere is the 3-3-3 formula. You might want to write this down.
For the first three days:
Take out anything from your diet that you would be embarrassed for a doctor or nutritionist to see if you ran in to them at the grocery store. You know, the ultra-processed stuff like chips, frozen pizzas, sausages, ice cream. The things you know aren’t really good for you. Stick to whole foods as much as humanly possible.
For the next three days:
Take out the foods that are hard to digest and generally considered to be mucus-producting. Meaning, wheat, sugar, meat, and dairy. You may be wondering, what’s left? Well, you can have stir fries with rice or quinoa, giant salads, smoothies with nut or oat milk, soups, chilis, and snack on nuts and seeds. We’re only talking three days here; the first day might be kind of challenging to figure out what to eat, but once you get in a groove it’s not that hard. In fact, it can make deciding what to have a lot simpler.
The final step is:
To go three days eating only fruits and vegetables–fruit salad for breakfast, salad for lunch, sautéed or roasted veggies and a vegetable soup for dinner. You can snack on olives, apples.
Why? Fruits and vegetables have a ton of fiber and are a great food cures for seasonal allergies. Since 80% of the immune system resides in the gut, eating plenty of fiber helps you process any irritants you take in. Fruits and veggies also contain lots of polyphenols, which are the building blocks of the body’s immune response to pollen and other environmental irritants. So you’re basically taking away anything that could bog your digestion and immunity down while also giving you body ample amounts of what it needs to handle the allergens that are everywhere right now with no problem. You clear out the obstacles, and provide the raw ingredients; it’s a powerful strategy that will also leave you energized and perhaps a little lighter, too.
Ideally, you’d come back out of the detox the same way you came in
With three days with no wheat meat sugar or dairy, and then after those three days are up, keeping as many ultra processed things as you can out of your diet.
A side benefit of the 3-3-3 cleans is that it resets your taste buds so that you start to crave the fresh healthy stuff–the salads, the smoothies, the fruit–and the really processed stuff can start to taste overpowering and weird. Sometimes you just have to interrupt a pattern long enough to realize that you didn’t really like the pattern all that much anyway.
I can tell you that this 3-3-3 detox works–I only did it in full that one year and I swear, my allergies have NOT come back, and that was 7 years ago!! True story!
Speaking of coming back, be sure to check back in tomorrow, when I’m sharing a re-emergence strategy that will help you stay steady on your feet through the transition.