A while back I was bragging about all the wonderful changes we have noticed since changing our diet and one of the most celebrated was the almost complete disappearance of our seasonal allergies. My smart charming friend, Andrea, sent me this email:
In no way am I qualified to give Andrea answers to those questions. But I can tell you that 10 years ago my husband and I did a sugar free diet in the fall and all of our allergies went completely away. Every spring and fall since when the sneezing, coughing, congestion, dripping, itching, and hives would begin I would remember the time I had an allergy free fall because I was sugar free (no white flour either).hmm... what about seasonal allergies? my kids suffer. SUFFER. do you really think if i change their diet, it will make a difference to their grass allergies?? i want to embrace all this, but i am a skeptic. i do believe it works for other people, but i don't think that
a) it's a realistic approach for a busy family with young children
b) it works for everyone. what if i'm part of the "everyone it doesn't work for" part of the equation??
Since we have started eating only nutritious plants and taken all refined foods (sugar) out of our diet our allergies are once again gone! I believe it is because sugar taxes my system so much that it cannot handle pollen too, so it shuts down and then I need antihistamines, drops, sprays, and inhalers. But when I quit the sugar my body is strong enough to handle pollen and most all the symptoms go away and I only need the occasional antihistamine. Here are 2 quick articles about sugar and allergies: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art36696.asp and http://www.karlloren.com/diet/p17.htm .
a) Is it a realistic approach for a busy family with young children?
Yes. You are in charge of what your children eat. They eat what you give them, especially when they are young, they don't procure their own food. The first week will be a hassle - just switching over - but then it gets easier. You will have to plan ahead and do prep the night before (cutting up veggies, preparing fruit, replacing sugary jams with honey) but after a week or two it will be second nature.
I think you should do it without a lot of fanfare. Don't make a big announcement: "Children! You are forbidden to consume sugar! It is bad! Horrible! From now on we will eat "healthy" food only! And dammit, you're gonna like it!"
No, just do it. Make no edicts or announcements, just quietly do it and rave about those amazingly sweet cherry tomatoes, and that deliciously exotic hummus dip. Or perhaps your family would be willing to try an experiment for 3 weeks - you could make it a game with a special calendar/chart - they could help with the food prep and choose recipes they can help make for the family. I suggest either doing it quietly or making it an adventure.
b) Does it work for everyone? What if I'm the "everyone it doesn't work for" part of the equation??
I don't know if it works for everyone. It worked for us and it's worked for others. So try it for 3 weeks. See how you feel and then if it doesn't work for you, you never have to worry about it again. But if it does work (and I think it will!), your sweet children will be healthier, stronger, and able to roll in the grass without getting hives! And no more pills, sprays, drops, inhalers! How awesome would that be!?
Isn't it worth a try?
Note: Roland and I and our 17 year old son have been pretty strict about eating this way and we have all gone off of our seasonal allergy medication, excepting the occasional (2x a week?) antihistamine. However, my 13 years old son still eats lots of refined food at school and friend's homes and social events and he still suffers. I won't force or manipulate to get him to comply - this has to be his decision.
How desperately I wish I had fed my kids this way when they were young. It may be my biggest parental regret.