“I can’t have that! That’s bad for me.” We’ve all done it. Classifying foods as good and bad can start turning your thinking more negative than it has to be. True – to meet your personal goals you might need to avoid or limit certain foods like salty potato chips and ice cream. But there is a balance.
These are foods that are nutrient dense. Your whole vegetables and fruit, whole grains, lean meats, beans, nuts and seeds. But, there is even a balance with healthy foods. To make sure you are getting enough nutrition throughout your day/week you need a variety of foods from all the different categories. Just because something might be “good” for you, doesn’t mean it’s good for you in mass quantities. Take for example almonds.
Almonds are a Good Source of:
Plant Based Protein
Almonds are nutrient dense and healthy for you to have. However, just 1/4 cup of almonds gives you a total of 18 grams of fat. Yes, they are “good” fats. For an average 2,000 calorie a day diet the recommended intake of fat (“good” or “bad” fats) is between 20-35% of your calories. Which equals 44-78 grams of total fat. 1/4 cup almonds would give you 23-41% of your total intake of fat for the day.
Too much of a good thing can be “bad”.
Balance is needed. Yes almonds are good for you. Yes almonds are healthy. Yes almonds are nutrient dense – including healthy “good” unsaturated fats that your body needs and uses other than storing. But that doesn’t mean you can eat them freely because they are “good” for you.
Depending on your goals, always make sure to get a wide variety of healthy foods throughout your day and be aware that just because it might be healthy, doesn’t mean you can indulge in them.
“Some of the Time” Foods
Some of the time foods are your processed foods and added fat and sugars. Like your potato chips and ice cream I spoke of earlier. The reason why you can look at these as “some of the time” and not “avoid at all cost”, is the thinking behind it. Processed foods, added fats (especially unsaturated or hydrogenated fats), and added sugars are not something you want to eat on a regular basis for the fact that they are more calorie dense than they are nutrient dense.
However, when you think of those foods, say your favorite cookie, as “some of the time” instead of “bad”, then when you do have your rich and fattening chocolate chip cookie that you just had to have that has no nutritional value other than feeding your wants, it’s a treat and not some imaginary betrayal of yourself or your body.
Thinking negatively can lead to feelings of useless guilt and worthlessness that no one needs.
It makes people think they’ve lost, or they’ve given up on themselves or their goals, and it’s not that at all. You had your treat, it was delicious, you feel balanced, and now can get back to your normal pattern of healthy eating. No imaginary harm, betrayal, and definitely no reason to have feelings of guilt.
In actuality, if you do watch what you eat, you could have all your nutritional needs met and have a few hundred calories to spare. You could have an “end of the day” treat, like a few squares of chocolate, on the regular. It just depends on your goals and needs.
When you have a balance perspective of food you’re not restricted. You know if you regularly keep with a healthy routine, you’ll have your “some of the time” foods when you really want it. The trick is to know when and how much. When you can manage having a treat every once and a while, you won’t feel the need to binge and not have control.
People with a balanced way of eating and perspective of foods also have a more balanced and healthy perspective of themselves. The better view of yourself, the more you will stick to healthier habits because you are doing it for none other than yourself.
Keep food in it’s place, even the healthy foods, and never neglect yourself a treat every once in a while. Have a proper perspective of your eating habits and yourself.
In a few weeks I’ll be posting about, “Can Comfort Foods Be Beneficial?” Stay tuned!
Darker and shorter days are here. The time we had in spring and summer is now cut “shorter” with earlier sunsets and gloomy days. I know it effects me, although I love fall and winter foods and clothes. The further we get into winter, the worse it gets. A lot of people have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Most, at the least, feel the effects of winter days and notice the difference in how they feel in winter compared to summer. Is there anything you can change in your routine or diet to help? Let’s talk about a few ideas to try and a few things I know that have helped myself and my family. Then we will get into some foods you can add to your diet that are mood boosters!
Sleep – Stick to a Schedule
Sleep is an important part of any healthy routine. It decreases anxiety, helps to maintain a healthy weight, and improves our memory. Since we repair when we sleep, it’s no wonder why it helps with recovery (including in the brain), and aids our immune system by helping to take care of some inflammation in the middle of the night. In winter time it almost feels like our bodies go into hibernation mode. Sticking to a schedule of when you go to bed and when you wake up can help in general, but especially in the winter. They are saying now that sleeping more than 8 hours (when you are not sick or recovering from surgery) can be unhealthy. It messes your system up. So shoot for 7-8 hours a night, no more, no less.
When your body knows when it’s time to wake up, whether the sun is up or not, it will produce the hormones it needs to naturally wake up around the time your alarm goes off. If you are like me and already have a hard time waking up in the morning without hitting the snooze, try going to bed and waking up roughly around the same time every day, weekend days or not. Not only will your body be ready to wake up and move, but your mind will be better equipped to take on the day.
Sticking to a schedule has helped me. I noticed I’ll start waking up a few minutes before my alarm goes off, which means my body is naturally producing the hormones to wake me up. Some days, not so much. It takes time, but if you stick to it, it’s worth it. Your body naturally sticks to a schedule, and that includes sleep.
Get Sunshine Whenever You Can
Increase Your Vitamin D
I live in Texas. We get a lot of sun most of the year. And the winter isn’t that long. But when your body is used to sunny days for half the year or more and then going to rainy overcast gloomy days, 3 days of that can feel like years. It feels like a yo-yo effect some times. So whenever there is some sunshine, I try to make sure I take in every bit of it that I can. Keep the blinds open during daylight hours as much as you can. Your body wants natural light. If you can walk outside during your lunch break, go for a walk, even 5 minutes. Early afternoon time is when the sun is the brightest in winter. Even if it’s overcast. Fresh air and daylight, filtered or not, helps.
We naturally get “vitamin D” from the sunlight. There’s a whole process that our bodies go through that takes the sunlight, transforms it into something we can store, and then when needed activates it to what we call vitamin D, so that we can use it inside our bodies. Just like plants, we need our sunlight. When the sunlight is restricted, taking vitamin D supplements helps. It can help to improve your mood during those months that you can’t get as much sun as your body became use to in summer. If you already take vitamin D, talk to your doctor about if you should increase the dose in the winter if you don’t already do so.
Start a Project and Plan Ahead
Keep your mind active. Become creative. Start a hobby. Have something to look forward to doing other than sitting and watching TV when you get home. Do something with your hands while you stay warm inside with a cup of tea. Also, staying proactive with planning outings like dinners, movies, inviting people over, and so on, can help. Stay active and don’t close yourself off too much. I’m the type of person that needs to have some time alone to recharge, especially in winter, but too much of anything can be bad. Keep your balance.
You can even plan a vacation during winter months just to get away from the norm. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but getting out of your normal routine and away, even a day trip, can give your brain the rest it needs from the every day stresses that are at home.
Bright colors are known as happy colors because they can brighten our mood. Having clothes with colors other than grey and black is part of it. Or, if your like me who wears a lot of black already, add the color in jewelry, scarves, etc. Keep bright colors in your house too. Fresh flowers in the kitchen or in the bedroom when you wake up can stimulate your brain and start off your day with a positive attitude.
I usually try to have a small vase, like the one in the picture, in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It doesn’t take much and you can buy a bouquet at the grocery store and have the flowers spread throughout the house. It’s something little but once I started doing it the more I loved it and the more I missed it if I didn’t have some sort of fresh flowers in the house.
Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean you can’t move. That’s something I have to repeatedly tell myself in winter. Even if it’s inside, keep some sort of an exercise routine. Exercise helps our health in many ways, but specifically for what we are talking about, it elevates your mood because it helps our bodies produce endorphins. Then there is the fact that in the winter we eat heavier foods, so exercising helps our bodies digest and feel better although we might of had a huge pile of mashed potatoes at dinner. When I feel light instead of sluggish or bloated, I feel better about myself which adds to the positive attitude we need in winter.
This is probably the hardest one for me because I can’t stand being cold. And thinking about going outside in the cold to do something that already is hard to get my mind to accept is even harder. Having others with you helps. But even if it’s just a 10 minute walk or jog around the block everyday whenever you can fit it in, helps.
Winter Mood Foods
Here are some foods you can add to your diet in winter or have as your snack after lunch time to help make sure your body and brain are getting the right “feel good” nutrients.
To Increase Omega 3s and help with brain function
Increase Folic Acid to help increase Serotonin
Increase Trytophan to help increase Serotonin and Melatonin
It’s not a cure, but doing these things and adding more of these foods in your diet can help.
Stay warm, well fed, stay active, and sleep well this winter season!
Being mindful of nutritious meals, keeping a routine for exercise, and then also making sure you have time for relaxation can be stressful, which then becomes something unhealthy. I wanted to share with you a few things I do to keep on track so that my time is best spent in other ways and with my family.
1 | Meal Prep
I will be completely honest with you – I hated the idea of meal prep. The thought of having to plan more (even though I am a planner) and cook more (although I love cooking) was not appealling to me at all! My first “meal prep” experience with lunch was literally a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with carrot sticks and either apple slices or clementines. I usually just focus my meal prepping on lunch since our breakfasts are usually the same – yogurt, oatmeal, or a smoothie, and dinners I usually will be home to cook. But here are some things I’ve learned and why it truly is beneficial.
Don’t Have to Think About Lunch
After that first week, I realized throughout my busy week, I liked not having to think a wink about lunch. Where was I going to eat? What I was going to eat? Would it be nutritious or would I regret it? It was done and already decided and it wouldn’t be something I would regret.
Not As Tempted
I also realized that because I knew what I was going to be eating, I didn’t think about other foods whether nutritious or not, so I stayed on point with my goals. I set aside the time to prepare salads this week, so I’m having salad for lunch – or whatever it might be. No other internal conversations with myself, it’s already decided.
Keep it Simple
If you haven’t done it yet, try it out with an easy lunch like peanut butter sandwiches and fruits and veggies you just throw in a bag. And now they have those “snack packs” with chopped veggies and dip, or carrot sticks and almonds already prepared in the produce department to grab and throw in your lunch bag that it can be really simple.
Meal prep is suppose to be a time saver, so don’t get hung up on a complicated recipe.
Here is an easy hot lunch to get you started:
Frozen Turkey Meatballs
Frozen Broccoli Florets
Jar of Marinara Sauce
Make the rice. Add salt and pepper or other seasonings you might like.
Add 1/2-1 cup of rice to your lunch container
Add in 3-4 frozen meatballs
Add 1/2-1 cup frozen broccoli
Put Marinara in a small sauce container or sealed baggie if you want to keep it separate, otherwise drizzle on top.
When you are ready to heat up your lunch, the meatballs and frozen broccoli will cook and will have enough water to steam in the container. The only cook time is cooking the rice. The only clean up is the pot for the rice. DONE!
2 | Meal Plan
To go along with meal prepping, have a meal plan ready. I usually try to figure something out a month in advance. It will move and change throughout the month, but I try to be ahead of the game. The first month was hard so I just planned easy dinners and lunch preps to see how it went. Things like tomato soup and sandwiches, veggie burgers and salad, etc. Nothing too complicated. Here are some tips and benefits I’ve found.
Save the Headache
Once you figure out what you are going to be making, and if you are like me, figure it out a month in advance, the headache of: What are we cooking? Do we have it? What are we ordering this week for groceries? It’s already taken care of. You do it once and month, and everything is already decided. Instead of thinking about it every night, you think about it maybe a few times a month.
Keep on Track
Meal plans help to keep you on track with healthy goals. For me, instead of thinking you’ll just pick something up for dinner, I already knew that morning what I was going to be cooking, I already have the ingredients, I just have to get home and make it. That way you can keep on board with whatever you might be watching and it won’t be as easy to get off track.
Grocery Shopping Becomes Easier
I used to go to the store every day or every other day. When I lived right down the street from my favorite grocery stores, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but now living and working about 20-30 minutes away is a big deal. So having my grocery list set for the week, although I might not be able to get everything that one time, has helped a lot. Knowing what I’ll be cooking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner makes creating my grocery list simple and quick.
Plus using a recipe database like Pepperplate makes it that much easier too. Getting all your recipes in one place, and then being able to click on it to add to your grocery list, it already populates the list. It also has a calendar you can create your meal plan on along with having a usable app on your phone. I’ve only ever used Pepperplate, but there are many others out there.
Soon I will be able to offer some meal plans for your family or help you individually with meal plans to meet your goals you might have, but until then!
3 | Order Your Groceries
I was hesitant too. I knew the grocery stores I liked getting my produce and that was the main thing I was concerned about. After the first time I drove up and picked up my groceries, I’ve never looked back. There is nothing like a crowded grocery store to stress me out and get me in a bad mood almost instantly. And that’s not even dealing with the parking lot getting in and out. I can not tell you how many times I came home after grocery shopping and was exhausted, fussy, and just didn’t want any interaction with my family for about 10 minutes after the groceries were put away. Serious. So this option has many upsides to it for me. But there are some things to know before you order it if you have not before.
Things You Need To Know
Different stores have their different ways of doing it
Some deliver, some you pick up at the store and call them that you have arrived. Some charge an extra fee, some do not. So figure out the logistics of your favorite store if they offer it
Most still honor online coupons so make sure to look to see what’s available to use
Most will substitute.
If there is an item you don’t want substituted, you can always let them know in your notes or comments when getting your order ready. Whenever there was a substitution to be made it was always equal or better to what I had selected and they honored the original price or it was lower.
Speaking of comments – if you want to make sure you have 4 tomatoes, and not just 1 lb. of tomatoes, you can also add those details in the comments when ordering usually.
Some places can process the order within a hour or two. Some it takes longer.
For me – I make sure to do my order the night before I want to pick it up. That way the time slots to pick it up are at my disposal and I’ll know when will be the best time for me to pick it up.
Why I Love It
Produce has been consistently fresh.
I order from the grocery store I already knew had fresh produce and ordering it online was no different.
Never upset with any substitutions.
If there was something they did not have in stock, they substituted it with something comparable or equal to what I had ordered. For example: I needed dried thyme, they had an organic one on sale. They were sold out of it, so they made sure to replace it with another organic one – for the sale price of the other one that was out of stock. Something you would not get going to the store yourself.
Frozen products are always still frozen when they deliver.
Never overspend on what I need for the month.
I don’t get distracted by other things in the store
Like chips or that chocolate bar that stares at you while you’re waiting in line – you know what I’m talking about!
Because of not getting more than what I need for the week, and them honoring things that are on sale, I always spend less when picking up my groceries (even with the small service fee) than if I were to go to the store myself.
Saves my mental and emotional well-being.
I’m serious. Life is already stressful. If there is any way to lessen stress and lessen time spent doing things that you could be relaxing and spending time with family – why not?
I truly haven’t had a bad experience and have yet to see a down-side to this. It’s been awesome. There are still things I need to run into a store for here and there, and somethings that are only at one store that I still need to go and get, so I do still actually grocery shop. And the days I have time to walk around to see what’s new, I enjoy. But for the bulk of my shopping that can take an hour or more in a crowded store while I’m trying not to get run over by a cart in the store or a car outside the store (for real), I now order and pick up. I feel fancy, and too be honest feels too good to be true.
Test it out! It saves me at least 2-3 hours of my weekend, which as you know, goes by way too fast.
Being healthy is a mixture of things – your eating habits, time to exercise, and time spent relaxing and being with the people you love. All of those things take time, effort, and some preparation. Keeping my meals planned and organized has really helped to eliminate wasted time and stress. And then ordering groceries online, I cannot tell you how much that relieves me mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Whatever it is that might stress you out or sucks the time out of your day that could be better spent, see how you can adjust it. The more you make an adjustment the more it becomes permanent and the easier it gets. Time is precious, make what you are doing count.
We’ve all made mistakes and we’ve all had wrong thinking from time to time especially when it comes to our health, diet, and mindset. By accepting your mistakes you are able to move past them and change. So first and foremost, I want to talk about my thinking and what I needed to accept so I could change for the healthier.
Thinking short term was something that I thought was a reality.
If I can loose the weight then I’ll be able to eat the foods I love later.
I just need to stay focused for 1 week and I’ll loose 5 lbs.
How can I loose the weight I need so I can feel comfortable in my swimsuit next month?
How wrong I was. I didn’t start to reach the goals I needed to meet until I started looking at my whole lifestyle. My everyday decisions. So why did I, and most people, think this way?
Why We Think Short Term
We all see the “Loose 10 Pounds in 10 Days!” taglines on magazines at the store, on internet adds, in our emails, and so on. Or we see the “Loose Weight Fast By…”, or “Get Healthy Skin by Doing This One Thing!” You get the picture. We see these things because that’s what we want to see and believe. So they are put in front of our face. Why?
People usually don’t like change
We are used to getting quick results with other things
We want to be able to eat and do whatever we want and when we want it
We don’t live in that world. I wish we did! Truthfully, if we want to see results we have to change what we do. If we want to keep those results, that change has to be something that we adopt into our everyday life. If we want lasting results, we have to put in the time to truly change. It takes time and effort – something that we don’t really want to do at first.
Realize It’s Never Just One Change to Reach a Goal
There was a lot I needed to change and do, but one thing I had to realize is there is never just one change. Whatever the goal might be I guarantee you, it’s not going to be just one thing you need to add or do. There are little changes along the way that help make your goal not so daunting, which in turn makes it realistic and can fit into your life more easily. For example, for me to adopt a new way of eating and get my body to start shedding the excess weight, I had to change my habits. Your habits involve your lifestyle.
I had to change the places I would eat.
I started doing meal prep to stay on track and not be tempted.
I cut out part of my recreation/lazy time so I had time to exercise.
What Can You Do To Start Thinking Long Term?
One of the best things you can do now is to look at smaller healthier choices you can start to make one day at a time. Drink an extra glass of water each day. Add a salad as part of your dinners. Start going for a walk a few days a week after dinner. Go to bed earlier so you feel better about the day. Start testing out healthier places to eat. Whatever small step you want to start with to make your overall goal easier, start doing that today.
Sometimes hearing so much about other foods and drinks that are healthy, we forget the basics. We know that drinking water is healthy, but why?
We are made of 60% water
Helps to maintain the balance of bodily fluids
Aids Digestion, Absorption of Nutrients, and Eliminating Waste
Maintains Body Temperature
Detoxes the Body
Balances our pH in our Bodies
Vital for Blood, Saliva, and Digestive Fluids
Helps Lubricate Your Eyes & Joints
And the List Goes On…
Hard Health Habit
Pretty much any function in your body uses water. So it’s definitely vital to our health. Drinking water regularly can be a healthy habit that is hard to start. Juice, tea, carbonated water, etc. makes you think you’ve had enough and the “water” contained in them is enough. But it doesn’t do the same as just drinking plain water. Having infused waters can be a great way to get your started. It adds just enough flavor to break up the “blandness” of water that most people have a problem with when trying to drink more water throughout the day. Or you might be like me and need to break up the flavors here and there and get a different flavor in the afternoon. Throughout this post I’ll have pictures of 7 different infused waters that I’ve made, plus at the end I’ll give you a few tips for making your own.
How much water is enough?
There has been some controversy about this. We know the average “8 Glasses a Day” motto. But what do they mean? Since the average drinking glass has increased from being an 8-12 ounce glass to it being 16-24 ounces, what do they mean? And then you have different climates, different seasons, and people who do different jobs.
Are you on your feet all day?
Are you doing physical work or sitting at a desk?
Are you outside or are you inside with climate control?
Do you have dry skin?
Do you have other health factors or medications that play into how much water you should be drinking?
Do you work out regularly?
How much water is enough? Here are the averages to have as a starting goal.
Women Average: 2.7 liters
Male Average: 3.7 liters
Or you can do what I do and follow a few guidelines. Once you get use to drinking a few liters a day, it becomes second nature.
My Water Guidelines
NOTE: Raw food does count to some degree. You do get water from the foods you eat, especially raw fruits and vegetables. So if you have a good amount of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you might not have to drink as much water by itself.
Start your day with an average glass of water or two while getting ready for the day before eating.
If you drink coffee, make sure to drink the same amount if not double the amount of coffee you’ve had.
Drink water with Lunch
If you are in a hot climate or going to be working outside, always have water on hand ready to go and sip constantly.
Drink at least a few glasses of water after working out.
If you have wine or an alcoholic drink with dinner or at night, drink at least 8 ounces of water an hour before going to bed.
And the best guide – always make sure your urine stays a light yellow. It doesn’t have to be clear all the time, but it shouldn’t be dark unless it’s because of medication or a multi vitamin. Even then, because of those factors you might be required to drink more than the average amount.
If you want a goal amount, check out this hydration calculator by ReHydratePro. The results tab will break down how many glasses or ounces for morning, afternoon, evening and night.
If you are wondering how much water to drink for ultimate performance during or after your workout, check out this calculator from Camelbak.
An Experience: From Soda to Water
There are a lot of reasons why people have a hard time getting enough water throughout the day, but one of them is because they are soda drinkers and water is bland and flat. That was James’ (my husband’s) problem. He grew up drinking soda after soda. Only drinking water if he had to or it was after doing something in the heat or physical like mowing the lawn. But even then, it was most likely iced sweet tea he would have. Other than that – soda. Once he started working out he learned about why water is so important especially with trying to loose weight and build muscle. James never gained much weight but the weight he was gaining was all around his mid-section which is very unhealthy. He learned that a lot of that can be due to processed sugar. So he cut out processed sugars which meant he went to only drinking water cold turkey.
An Experience: From Soda to Water
James did okay at first. He started to think about soda all day, every day, and by the end of the day would start to get a headache. He had to “choke” down the water and sometimes only had 20 oz. of water throughout the day, but still resisted drinking sodas. This went on for about 2 weeks.
This was something I never fully understood, but now see the addiction behind sugar, especially processed sugar, foods and drinks. Sugar was one of those things that triggered my IBS symptoms so I associated it with pain and cramping. But for someone that doesn’t get any adverse effects right away from it, I can understand how and why it’s hard to break the habit and start having something “bland”.
An Experience: From Soda to Water
Once the headaches went away and James kept with his routine, by the 3rd week he started to want water in the morning. Things started tasting different to him. He noticed that with drinking sugary drinks he wasn’t able to taste properly. Now fruits, vegetables, and some savory things now have a better and sweeter taste to him. After workouts he has no problem drinking 20+ ounces of water. He sweats a lot more now that his body has the water to do so. Soda still comes into his mind and there are some days that are worse than others. I have to hand it to him, I thought he was going to crack at least once in the first few weeks, but he never did. Even going out to eat when he would have 3-4 glasses of soda, he ordered water and continues to do so. Along with healthier foods tasting better, his headaches he would get randomly or when it would get cold are now almost completely gone, and his workouts have improved. Definitely worth the switch!
As a Recap
Water is vital for all functions of the body and can help with healthy goals like – a healthy digestive system, weight loss, etc.
Follow the water guidelines and try to drink a few liters throughout the day
Drinking water can be a hard habit to start, but worth the benefits
When grabbing your glass of water, add the herbs or fruit to it that you’d like. Wait for about 10 minutes and enjoy!
For citrus fruits – lemon, lime, oranges – you can squeeze a little into the glass before putting the slices inside.
For other fruits – if they are sliced, some of the juice is able to get into the water
Herbs – I like to rub the leaves a little before putting them inside the water. It releases the essential oils in them so that you get more flavor in the water.
If you are like me, it’s much easier to see the negative before the positive. Especially when it comes to change. Any change can be difficult when we are focused on what we won’t be able to have or do. When it comes to food and a new way of eating, there was a few things I needed to learn.
Things I Learned Early On
If you read my first blog post or My Story page, I was a kid with some severe allergies. I was not able to have the “normal” kid snacks. Instead of milk and cookies, I had apple juice and flavored rice cakes. Instead of popular cereals, I had oatmeal. Instead of ice cream, I had frozen blueberries with rice milk. You get the picture! I wanted to be able to eat the foods that were advertised between my favorite cartoons and to eat the same foods as my friends. It was frustrating especially being a kid and only seeing the “kid foods” being something I couldn’t eat. However, I realized on an every day basis, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
My life wasn’t all about eating
I liked the foods I could eat
I still enjoyed eating
I enjoyed being with my friends more than eating the same foods they were
I was able to learn things that others had not
It’s all in how you look at it. I’ve thought of these things whenever I’ve had to make changes to my diet since then. Whether trying to loose weight, or becoming plant-based, and so on. Whatever change you are doing now, focus on the new benefits you’ll be experiencing. You’ll realize that what you are giving up, isn’t really of any value compared to the benefits.
New foods you’ll be trying
New places that will become your old places
How much energy you’re able to maintain
How your mental and emotional health will benefit
And I’m sure much more…
Life isn’t all about what you get to eat. After counting the pros, the cons don’t seem that tempting. Who am I kidding? It’s difficult to build good habits but focusing on the healthy, positive aspects of a new routine or diet instead of the negative “missing out” thinking, will help you and get you just that extra step further you might need to break the cycle. Realize what has value and will benefit your life.
It’s that time of year! Summer has now ended and fall is in full swing. For some people their worst allergies are in the spring. Others, like me, it’s in the fall. Ragweed is awful! I’m exhausted all the time, my mood changes, my stress level is higher, and there are some days I can’t even walk from the house to my car before I start sneezing and my eyes start watering.
If you’ve read My Story, you know that as a kid I had severe food, environmental, and seasonal allergies. I’ve been able to grow out of some, and manage the rest. Today, I’d like to talk about what I use that helps my seasonal allergies that is natural, along with the foods that are good to have during this time of year for allergies. It might not take away all of it, and yes there are still times I need allergy medication, (like this time of year) but doing these natural remedies have helped to reduce my reactions and reduce the amount of medications I take during this time.
If you are researching how to help your seasonal allergies naturally, look into these things. Some things won’t work for everyone. And not everything is suited for all people when it comes to allergies and health. Please do your research before trying anything.
Take Showers Often
When you are out and about all day, pollen gets attached to everything. In your car, your clothes, your hair, your skin, and of course your sinuses when you breath them in. To help reduce the overall exposure to the allergens, try to stay in the air conditioning, and when at home and are going to stay home, take a shower and wash (or at least rinse) your hair immediately. Throw your clothes in the hamper and rinse off.
By doing this you can keep the allergens low in your home so that your home can be as safe and clear from the seasonal allergies you are dealing with. On the same note, your sheets when going to bed will have minimal allergens on them and you can sleep without your sinuses clogging up over night.
Apple Cider Vinegar First Thing In The Morning
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been know to help a lot of things. Some have proven true, and others have not. However, ACV being an anti-inflammatory is hard to argue against. There is also talk about it being an anti-histamine. Taking this in the morning will help to clear your head and open up your nasal passages.
Taking 1 teaspoon as a shot or with 8 ounces of water in the morning definitely has its benefits. When I first tried this, I was surprised at how much it cleared everything. I could breath better and I could feel my sinuses opening up and the drainage that resulted afterward. I feel so much more equipped to step outside into the ragweed infested air once I’ve had my dose of ACV.
Quercetin & Bromelain
Quercetin is an anti-oxidant meaning that it fights against natural oxidation damage in cells that occurs as we age. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and is a natural anti-histamine. Quercetin stabilizes the release of histamines which results in lowering the symptoms of allergies like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, etc. Studies have shown it can be just as effective as medications with little to no side effects.
Can Be Just As Effective As Some Medications
Little To No Side Effects
Some of the foods highest in quercetin is apples and onions. However, to get the amount needed in your diet to help with major allergy seasons, it can take a lot. Getting it in a supplement form is suggested.
Bromelain is a digestive enzyme found in pineapple, including the stem and leaves. It helps to break down proteins that can be hard for us to digest and aids the liver in breaking it down. It’s used in a lot of meat tenderizers because of this. So next time you want to tenderize meat before cooking it, just let it soak up some fresh pineapple juice. With that in mind, bromelain helps to soothe and relax tense, inflamed muscles and connective tissues. It’s long been used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agents. If you have not looked up bromelain before, please do. There is so much that it can do and help with.
For allergies, like I said it is known for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agents. Think of how swollen your sinuses can get and how inflamed it can be and then cause you to be at risk for an infection. Bromelain can help reduce the chances of a sinus infection. There have been studies that show how bromelain has helped to stop inflammatory responses affecting airways, which makes it something helpful for asthma sufferers. The enzyme helps by addressing the root of the issue – an oversensitive immune system. So instead of it blocking histamine like quercetin, it helps the immune system to have a normal response.
Digestive Enzyme found in pineapple
Helps Stop Inflammatory Responses, including airways
Gets To The Root – Oversensitive Immune System
Quercetin & Bromelain
Quercetin and bromelain are my favorite when it comes to defending myself against seasonal allergies. These are two different components you can find readily in foods which I’ll be listing later in this post. You can find these two together as one pill. Both have shown little to no side effects. The only thing is, is that the longer you take it, the better the results. It’s best to test how well it works after taking it for 2 weeks or more. For my fall allergies I start taking this combo at the end of June, 2 months ahead for early ragweed signs just to make sure. I even have a reminder on my calendar. With the other benefits of bromelain helping with inflammation and quercetin being a powerful antioxidant, it’s not going to hurt however early you start taking it and will be benefiting you before allergy season starts.
My Natural Allergy Routine
Take Showers Often
Clean Clothes and Sheets More Often Than Usual
A Shot of Apple Cider Vinegar in the Morning
Start Taking Quercetin & Bromelain as Preventative Defense at Least 2 Weeks or More Prior
There are many other natural remedies out there, but these are the ones I choose and do regularly. I’d love to hear from you what you use!
Foods That Help with Allergies
Along with taking natural things as remedies and supplements, you can also be preventative by the foods you eat. Food rich in quercetin and bromelain (pineapple), and then also foods that support a healthy immune system that are high in things like vitamin C, zinc, and having a daily dose of probiotics can be very helpful. Foods rich in Omega-3 for it’s anti-inflammatory properties will help too. Here are some foods to make sure you’re having in your diet.
Other than bromelain, which is only found in pineapple, there are more to add to the list of foods, but this gives you a rough idea. Eat for the nutrients your body needs, not just for energy. Like I said before, for some this might work, for others it might not at all. For me I still need to take allergy medication along with doing all of what I’ve listed to help. I don’t have to take as much, but to make sure it doesn’t cause an infection later on in the season and be down for a week or so, I still take allergy medication along with eating the foods I know will help and other things I can change in my lifestyle to aid my allergy reactions naturally.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you use or change in your routine during your allergy season?