Ever since I moved down to South Carolina in the early 90’s I have had horrible seasonal allergies. Of course, most of the spring here includes fighting a growing layer of yellow pine pollen, not to mention all of the other beautiful blooming flowers, trees and grasses. And each year it has been a horrible sneezy, itchy and watery eye, congestion fest for me.
I always countered it by faithfully using my neti pot (usually twice a day) to help with the symptoms. But as I am learning, any symptoms that you experience are your body’s cry that something else is out of balance. So treating symptoms alone has not been enough for me.
Fast forward to this spring….when we are experiencing one of the nastiest pollen years that we’ve had for awhile here in the South. People who don’t normally deal with seasonal allergies are having problems with symptoms this year. But for me things have been very different. This year I am not having any seasonal allergy symptoms, and I haven’t had to use my neti pot at all.
So what has been different for me? Well, late last year I made the switch to a real food, gluten free diet. I wanted to see if there was a difference in my health by moving away from wheat, and there was. In the few times I’ve eaten gluten in the past six months, it has left me bloated, gassy and with severe reflux. So it was definitely having an affect on my digestive system. And this has been my body’s response to grains prepared properly…both soaked and sprouted. Gluten makes me downright miserable!
So imagine my surprise this spring when I realized that I wasn’t experiencing any allergy symptoms. It has been sheer bliss! I thought that this was a fluke, but my Mother was diagnosed with cancer in January and we are working with her to completely redesign her diet, removing all packaged and processed foods, sugar and of course…..gluten in order to help her body heal naturally. She struggles with really bad seasonal allergies as well, and has also been allergy symptom free this year.
What we forget is that the wheat that is commonly used today is not how wheat was designed in nature. Man has taken it and has created hybrid versions that are significantly higher in gluten than what traditional varieties of wheat contain. It is that ancient wheat that our ancestors took and soaked and sprouted to make it more easy to digest. And 100 years ago, people did not eat as much gluten based foods because they were not nearly as accessible as they are today. Remember, our grandmothers and great grandmothers were baking bread and other wheat based baked goods at home, not running to the grocery store to pick up a cake or a loaf of bread.
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance has been around for hundreds of years. But since the extreme inclusion of gluten in the Standard American diet as a result of the overabundance of wheat based packaged and processed foods, more people than ever are dealing with gluten intolerance….and many are completely unaware that gluten is contributing to their health issues.
So what happens to many people when they eat gluten? Here is a great video from Dr. Mark Hyman who really explains what gluten does to the body and how that can create disease!
Most auto-immune diseases can now be linked to gluten consumption and many doctors are now beginning to look at seasonal allergies as a mild auto-immune disease. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may want to consider giving up all gluten for a couple of weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If they do, then you know that gluten is affecting you.
If you do find that you need to make the switch to a gluten free diet, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Check out our custom Google search bar which links to almost 500 real food blogs….many of which provide great gluten and grain free recipes to help you on the path to healing!
Photo credit: © Jan Sommer | Dreamstime.com