April 2014 Newsletter
|Aachoo! Take control of your allergies!
by Dr. Elisa Song
With the warm winter we have had, the Bay Area is already in full bloom. Spring has sprung! Gorgeous cherry blossoms, jasmine, and wisteria are filling the air with their beautiful scent - and filling our noses and eyes with their, aah-aaah-aaaachooo! Pollen! For allergy sufferers like me, this is not a fun time. If you're like me, you have had your fill of sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy red watery eyes, itchy nose and throat, itchy ears, postnasal drip, cough, wheeze, fatigue, brain fog - to name just a few symptoms! Sounds miserable, right? Well, it's time to take control of your allergies. There are several easy and natural ways that you can reduce your allergy symptom load.
First, find out what you are allergic to, with testing if possible. This can be done through blood or skin scratch testing, through your doctor or an allergist. We are happy to discuss which testing method would be most appropriate for you or your child. If you know what you are allergic to, it makes it easier to try to stay clear. Then minimize avoidable allergens (i.e., dogs, cats, dust mites) in order to keep your allergy "bucket" low, so that when you're faced with unavoidable allergens (i.e., pollens), your bucket doesn't "overflow" and cause a flood of allergy symptoms. Use HEPA air filters for your home. Keep windows closed, especially on windy, high pollen-count days. Irrigate your nose to remove allergens daily, if not more. This can be done with sinus rinses, like a neti pot, Nasopure, or Neilmed sinus rinse, or saline sprays like Xlear. Take a coldish shower after being outside on a high pollen-count day. As soon as you get in from outdoors, change your shirt, wash your face focusing on eyebrows and eyelashes, and take a wet comb through your hair - to remove as much pollen as possible so you're not constantly shaking it into your eyes and nose when you move your head. Carrying wet wipes to wash your face and wet your hair frequently even when you're outside can be very helpful. Removing your shoes before going inside can prevent tracking allergens into the house.
And when these commonsense measures aren't enough, there are a variety of natural treatments that can significantly reduce allergy symptoms, without the drowsiness that many OTC allergy medications can cause, or the problems that longterm steroid use can cause. First, ensure that your diet is rich in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. Eat Omega-3 rich foods, like wild salmon. Try to "eat a rainbow" of fruits and vegetables every day. Ensure adequate Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 from your food and/or supplementation. Avoid foods that are rich in histamines or that cause histamine release - unfortunately, chocolate, wine, and strawberries top this list! Other foods that can cause histamine release or are high in histamines include avocados, bananas, dairy, eggs, oranges, peaches, pineapples, raspberries, spinach, and tomatoes, Also avoid foods that may cross-react with pollens you are sensitive to, something known as Oral Allergy Syndrome - you know that itchy mouth you get after eating cantaloupe - it could be due to your ragweed allergy! What are other examples of cross reactivity?
Quercetin is a "natural anti-histamine" with powerful anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin is found in many foods, such as onions, apples, red grapes, kale, and chili peppers, so try to ensure that your diet is rich in quercetin-containing foods. It is found in several natural allergy supplements, and can often be used in the place of over-the-counter anti-histamines. Concurrent vitamin C supplementation helps to activate quercetin. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples that has anti-inflammatory properties and can help thin mucous. It has been found to be helpful for chronic sinus infections, chronic ear infections, asthma, and other inflammatory conditions. Stinging nettle is another anti-inflammatory herb that blocks histamine production and supports healthy nasal passages. Our favorite product that contains all four of these supplements is Orthomolecular Products D-Hist and D-Hist Jr - these work best when first taking a "loading dose" followed by a maintenance dose. Local honey, which contains pollens from local plants, flowers, trees, and grasses, in small frequent doses, taken several months before the pollen season can also help prevent allergy symptoms by "desensitizing" you to the most common allergens.
For immediate relief from those annoying allergy symptoms, don't forget homeopathic medicines. There are good studies to support the use of homeopathic Galphimia Glauca for seasonal allergies. Homeopathic Apis Mellifica has been shown to significantly reduce the release of histamine from white blood cells when exposed to an allergen. Boiron's Sabadil is a combination homeopathic medicine that can combat the most common allergy symptoms. When eye symptoms predominate, Boiron's Optique eye drops can work amazingly well. For nasal symptoms, my favorite homeopathic nasal spray is San Pharma's Notatum-Quentans nasal spray - this is an amazingly effective anti-inflammatory and anti-infective nasal spray that I use for any nasal symptom caused by allergies or infection alike. And if these don't do the trick, don't despair - there are countless homeopathic medicines that can help reduce and resolve allergy symptoms. Consult with one of our doctors to figure out which homeopathic medicine(s) is best for your specific allergy symptoms.
Acupuncture is a powerful option for both prevention and treatment of allergies. Acupressure can be used at home, on you or your child, along with various essential oils that can help keep allergy symptoms at bay. One of our favorite essential oil combinations to be diffused or massaged into specific acupressure points is Elizabeth van Buren's "Allergy Blend." Drs. Ruiz and Song are available for acupuncture treatments and to discuss home acupressure treatments for you or your child.
As always, any of our practitioners are available to help you figure out the best dietary and supplement treatment plan for your or your child’s allergies. So, put away that tissue box, take control of your allergies, and feel great outdoors again!
|Detoxification - Spring Cleaning For Your Body!
by Kandice Stellmon
By the time spring officially arrives each year, I am more than ready to fill my shopping bag with all the goodies that come with the rains and the warmer weather. Goodbye apples and pears ... hello strawberries and apricots! I've been dreaming for weeks of bitter dandelion salads with crushed hazelnuts, steamed artichokes dipped in garlic-infused olive oil and slow roasted beets drizzled in local honey, sprinkled with radiant green parsley leaves. You get the picture. Meet me at the Farmer’s Market anyone?
Although the bright colors and heavenly flavor of these spring delights make me starry-eyed and oh-so-happy, I'm not fooled by looks and taste alone. I love the gentle detoxing and natural cleansing that come from eating spring's harvest. Asparagus, green peas, dandelion greens, beets, radishes, green onions, nettles, lemons, artichokes and strawberries - just now beginning to make their real appearance - are among those that vie for my attention. It is not without coincidence that these amazing seasonal foods have many of the nutrients we need to detox. Mother Nature takes such wonderful care of us! Artichokes contain cynarin, which increases bile production and helps the liver move toxins out, green peas are rich in soluble fiber which we use to absorb and eliminate toxins, asparagus was studied and found effective at protecting liver cells against toxins and dandelion greens are a natural diuretic, used by our Western ancestors to treat liver disorders.
Why does all of this matter? Our liver, kidneys and colon are fantastic at eliminating toxins, and yet they require certain nutrients to do their job. Diets that are processed, or low in fiber and lacking in colorful fruits and vegetables are not going to provide the nutrients we need to detoxify. Many of us are exposed to extra toxins from pollution, household products, pesticides, drinking water or simply from leading a sedentary lifestyle. Toxins are also created inside of us whenever our digestion is impaired! Our gut can actually produce toxic by-products which often lead to unpleasant conditions, such as bloating and other digestive problems. When toxins accumulate in our body, it is not uncommon for symptoms to appear such as itchy skin, foul breath, constipation, fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, headaches, and many others.
Spring is a perfect opportunity to give your body a helping hand in the area of detoxification. Start by loading up on seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs - they are full of antioxidants, fiber and can support natural detoxification. Aim for 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, starting at breakfast. And of course, choose organic whenever you can - give yourself a break from toxic pesticides. Need a few extra ideas? Try these:
Happy Spring … see you at the Farmer’s Market!
|Spring Juice Cleanse
Give your body a break between the holidays this year!
Kandice Stellmon, Certified Nutrition Consultant, will be leading our spring group juice cleanse that combines a 7-day elimination diet in preparation for a 3-day juice cleanse that will leave you feeling healthy, refreshed and recharged.
For the first 7 days, Kandice will guide the group through an elimination diet where poor eating patterns will be replaced by healthy, nutritious foods in preparation for the juice cleanse and a new lifestyle of healthy eating.
For the juice cleanse part of this program, we use the Can Can Cleanse. We have received fantastic feedback about these juices. 8 easy-to-digest vegetable and fruit juices, warming teas, nut milks and seasonal soups each day. These wholesome, organic beverages are packed in individual-serving canning jars and delivered to us during the second group meeting. The spring menu and ingredients and more can be viewed at www.cancancleanse.com.
Group schedule (each meeting will be from 7:00pm to 8:00pm):
Group size is limited to 25. Be sure to reserve your space soon!
To register, please call 650-595-5437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Baby Food 101 - Introduction to Solids
Learn the basics for introducing solids to your little one!
Kandice Stellmon, Certified Nutrition Consultant, will discuss when to start, which foods are best through the first year and tips to make things easier. Topics also include variations for a vegetarian diet and spotting food allergies/intolerances. Last but not least, there will be a fun home-made baby food cooking demonstration!
Babies in arms are welcome to attend!
Class size is limited to 25. Be sure to reserve your space soon!
To register, please call 650-595-5437 or email email@example.com.