Should humans eat dairy? What are the downsides to eating it?

Should humans eat dairy? What are the downsides to eating it?

For many years, dairy products have been celebrated as essential for maintaining strong bones and overall health. However, recent research challenges this idea and suggests that dairy may not be as indispensable as once believed. Let's explore several reasons why dairy might not be necessary for optimal health, supported by relevant facts and scientific findings.

Lactose Intolerance:
About 68%* of the world's population experiences difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramping, and stomach pain. The prevalence of lactose intolerance underscores the idea that dairy may not be suitable for everyone's digestive systems.  

Calcium Absorption:
Contrary to popular belief, studies suggest that dairy might not be the top source of calcium for maintaining robust bones. In fact, not everyone can effectively absorb the calcium present in dairy products. Fortunately, alternative sources like leafy greens or fortified plant-based milks provide adequate calcium intake, ensuring proper bone health without relying solely on dairy.  Also, calcium bioavailability is different across different sources. "For example, dairy foods have a bioavailablity of about 30% absorption so if a food label on milk lists 300 mg of calcium per cup, about 100 mg will be absorbed and used by the body. Plant foods like leafy greens contain less calcium overall but have a higher bioavailability than dairy. For example, bok choy contains about 160 mg of calcium per 1 cup cooked but has a higher bioavailability of 50%, so about 80 mg is absorbed. Therefore, eating 1 cup of cooked bok choy has almost as much bioavailable calcium as 1 cup of milk."**

Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases:
Mounting research indicates a potential connection between high dairy consumption and an elevated risk of chronic diseases. Excessive dairy intake has been associated with conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and cancer. These findings raise concerns about the long-term impact of dairy on our overall health.   Check out the China Study!

Potential Allergies and Sensitivities:
Dairy products contain proteins like casein and whey, which can trigger allergies or sensitivities in certain individuals. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort, such as digestive issues or skin reactions, to severe allergic reactions. Recognizing and addressing these allergies or sensitivities is vital, allowing individuals to avoid potential risks and explore suitable dairy alternatives for their dietary needs.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol:
Full-fat dairy products often contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. FYI - most cheese is full fat, meaning it comes from whole milk with the most saturated fat and cholesterol.  Overconsumption of these components has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. It's prudent to be mindful of saturated fat and cholesterol in our dairy choices to safeguard heart health.

When it comes to dairy, it's time to reconsider its role in our diet. Lactose intolerance,  potential links to chronic diseases, allergies, the presence of saturated fat and cholesterol, and the easy access to alternative calcium sources, all demand our attention. Let's listen to our bodies, stay up-to-date with research, and make informed choices about what we eat. Prioritize your well-being and strive for a balanced approach that suits you. Remember, everyone's nutritional needs are unique, so embrace a diverse and varied diet to boost your health.

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Pollen Allergies: What Happens in Your Body?

Pollen Allergies: What Happens in Your Body?

For moms, having allergies yourself, or having a child with allergies can be a real challenge. When it comes to seasonal allergies caused by pollen, it's not just about sneezing and itchy eyes—it's about understanding what happens in the body and how to provide natural relief. Let's dive into the science behind pollen allergies and explore some holistic remedies for treating them.

Let's start with the basics: what happens in the body when you have a pollen allergy? Essentially, your immune system overreacts to the presence of pollen and acts like it's a harmful invader. This triggers the production of IgE antibodies, which attach to mast cells in the nose, eyes, and lungs. When pollen enters the body again, it binds to these antibodies and triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals. This leads to inflammation, which causes the familiar symptoms of allergies.  Eyes: Itchy, watery, swollen, red. Nose: post-nasal drip, itchy, swollen, runny, sneezy. Ears, itchy, wet. Lungs, coughing, itching, tightening  or asthma. Skin: rashes/hives, swelling, itching. Overall:  irritability, fatigue, brain fog, and more.

If you or your child have pollen allergies, you've probably experienced some of these symptoms firsthand. But did you know that the severity of your reaction can depend on a few factors? For example, the type and amount of pollen you're exposed to can make a difference, as can your overall health, and levels of inflammation and stress. It's important to keep track of your symptoms and triggers so you can better manage your allergies.

So, what can you do to relieve pollen allergy symptoms naturally? As a holistic mom, your first instinct might be to turn to herbs and supplements. And while these can be helpful, there are some even simpler steps you can take. For example, washing your hair and clothes after spending time outdoors can help remove pollen from your body. You can also use a neti pot or squeeze bottle to rinse your nasal passages, which can reduce congestion and inflammation. Find more hacks here.

Of course, there are plenty of herbs and supplements that can support immune function and reduce inflammation. Some popular options for pollen allergies include quercetin, stinging nettle, and butterbur. These can be taken in supplement form or brewed into teas or tinctures.  Find more natural remedies here.

Pollen allergies may be a common problem, but that doesn't mean they're something you have to live with. By understanding what happens in your body when you're exposed to pollen, you can better manage your symptoms and find natural relief. By combining herbs, supplements, or simple lifestyle changes, there are plenty of options for holistic moms looking to support their families' health. So, take a deep breath and know that there are solutions out there for you.

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The Inflammatory Factor: How Pre-Existing Inflammation Impacts Allergies

You might have heard about the relationship between inflammation and allergies before, or maybe you’re reading about it now for the first time. Whatever the case, it’s essential to know how underlying inflammation in the body can make you more susceptible to allergic reactions. Inflammation is like a double-edged sword in some ways: it is necessary to fight off infections and heal wounds, but when it persists for too long, it can become problematic. Let's explore how inflammation and allergies are connected and how managing pre-existing inflammation can help you avoid complications.

First, let’s understand the basics of allergies. An allergy occurs when the immune system mistakes a harmless substance, such as pollen or pet dander, as a threat and overreacts to it. In response, the body releases histamines and other chemicals that cause various symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, and coughing. Inflammation is also a part of this immune response – it’s the body’s attempt to get rid of the allergen.

Now, let’s talk about inflammation. Pre-existing inflammation occurs when the body is already dealing with inflammation in other areas due to conditions such as arthritis, asthma, or autoimmune diseases. When the body is in this state, it’s easier for allergens to trigger a more significant inflammatory response. Inflammation is a complex physiological response involving several signaling molecules and immune cells that interact with each other. Therefore, if an individual has pre-existing inflammation in the body, their immune system is already in a heightened state of alertness.

That’s why people with pre-existing inflammation are more prone to developing allergies and related diseases such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, and eczema. If you’re a holistic mom, you might already know that the best way to prevent allergies is to avoid allergens as much as possible.  (But when allergens are unavoidable, here are some simple hacks  and  natural remedies to help.) But, how do you manage pre-existing inflammation? There are just a few basic ways:

1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet – Certain foods, such as processed foods, sugar, and trans fats, can trigger inflammation in the body. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation.

2. Exercise regularly – Exercise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

3. Get enough sleep – Lack of sleep can increase inflammation in the body. Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

4. Use natural remedies – Certain herbs, such as ginger and turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties. These can be very effective.

Pre-existing inflammation can impact your body's response to allergens, making you more prone to developing allergic reactions and related diseases. It is essential to manage your pre-existing inflammation through diet, natural remedies, and enough rest and exercise  to reduce the severity of allergies. As a holistic mom, it’s essential to take a whole-body approach to your family's health and wellness, and managing pre-existing inflammation is a crucial component of that.
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My favorite natural remedies for support during allergy season

My favorite natural remedies for support during allergy season
When allergy season rolls around, it can certainly put a damper on things. Sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose are no fun. But did you know that there are plenty of natural ways to find relief without resorting to medication? From eating local honey to drinking herbal tea, there are lots of tried-and-true methods that people swear by. The key is to find what works for you. So go ahead and experiment – you might just find that your new favorite allergy hack is something you never would have thought of before.

1. Acupuncture
You may have heard of acupuncture being used for pain relief or relaxation, but did you know it can also help with allergies? Allergies can be a real nuisance - constant sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose can make it hard to focus on anything else. Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body to promote healing and balance. When it comes to allergies, acupuncture can help by reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system. It's a safe and natural alternative to traditional allergy medications, and many people find it to be effective. So if you're tired of relying on antihistamines, give acupuncture a try and see if it makes a difference for you.

2. Local honey helps build tolerance (immunotherapy) and is great when your throat is sore. 
We all know how much allergies can suck the life out of us. Sneezing, coughing, congestion - you name it! However, did you know that local honey can actually help build your tolerance to allergies? Yes, you read that right. According to various studies, consuming local honey strengthens your immune system and helps alleviate allergy symptoms. Plus, it's a delicious and natural remedy for that sore throat you might get from allergies or a cold. So the next time you're feeling like a walking pharmacy with all your allergy meds, grab a jar of local honey and indulge in its sweet goodness. 

3. Drink teas to lower histamine levels and support the immune system.
Did you know that drinking herbal teas can actually help lower your histamine levels and support your immune system? It's true! You see, histamines are the chemicals in our bodies that cause allergic reactions. So if you suffer from allergies or have an overactive immune system, drinking certain natural herbal teas can help alleviate your symptoms. Plus, herbal teas are just so delicious and relaxing to sip on, making it a win-win situation. So go ahead, brew yourself a cup of chamomile, nettle, or ginger tea and let your body reap the benefits. 

4.  Eat anti-inflammatory foods.  
Did you know that what you eat could be impacting your allergies? It turns out that when there is inflammation already in your body, those pesky allergies can become even worse. So, if you find yourself constantly blowing your nose and rubbing your eyes, it might be time to evaluate your diet. Unfortunately, some of our favorite foods might be worsening our symptoms. Fried foods, meats, and anything high in saturated or trans fats should be avoided. Instead, try incorporating more garlic (high in quercitin), pineapple and papaya (containing bromelain), and spirulina into your meals. And of course, don't forget about the power of fruits and veggies. Studies have shown that people who eat more of these anti-inflammatory foods tend to have fewer allergy symptoms overall. So, go ahead and load up on the good stuff!

5. Take supportive supplements.
Quercitin, is a plant pigment found in many fruits and vegetables that has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation, while vitamin D can help regulate the immune system. Probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome, which can help reduce allergy symptoms. Finally, golden turmeric has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. So if you're looking for a natural way to get some relief from your allergies, try incorporating one or more of these supplements into your daily routine. 

6. Support digestion specifically.
Did you know that taking care of your digestion can actually help reduce allergies? It's true! Investing in supplements like Parafree, Digest & Cleanse, Sulfurzyme, Enzymes, probiotics & pre-biotics and consuming Ningxia Red can help keep your gut healthy and ward off any pesky parasites. Let's not forget the importance of, uh, pooping. Regular bowel movements are crucial for removing toxins and keeping your body functioning properly. So, if you're looking for a natural way to reduce your allergy symptoms, start by supporting your gut health. 

7. Use herbal remedies.
There are a handful of herbs out there that are known to reduce allergy symptoms. Horehound, goldenrod, butterbur, horseradish, mullein leaf, stinging nettle leaf, rosemary, and turmeric are all great options. These herbs work by reducing inflammation in the body and can even help to prevent allergic reactions from occurring in the first place. So, instead of relying on over-the-counter medications, why not try incorporating some of these herbs into your routine?

8. Breathe in essential oils.
You know how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be to constantly deal with symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. Luckily, there may be a natural solution to your seasonal woes: essential oils. With options like peppermint, eucalyptus, frankincense, sandalwood, ravensara, rosemary, lavender, roman chamomile, tea tree, lemon, basil, copaiba, thieves, deep relief, breathe again, RC, Raven, goldenrod, and Season Essentials, essential oils offer a natural and potentially effective way to feel comfortable. Whether you prefer applying them topically or diffusing them in your home, incorporating essential oils into your routine could be a game-changer.  This has been huge for us. Several of these are available together in a discounted bundle, too! 

9. Try homeopathy.
 While there are plenty of treatments out there to help alleviate your symptoms, have you ever considered homeopathy? Homeopathy is an all natural approach to healing that uses highly dilute substances to stimulate the body's natural self healing process. Specific remedies like allium cepa, arsenicum album, gelsemium, kali carb, ipecac, and natrum muriaticum have been found to be helpful for reducing allergy symptoms. And if you're looking for a combo option, there are plenty of all-natural allergy relief combinations out there that can help. Give homeopathy a try and you may be surprised at just how effective it can be.

By taking small steps like using natural remedies, drinking herbal teas, and consuming anti-inflammatory foods, you can avoid those dreaded allergies that come around every spring. Not only are these natural solutions for allergies easy and effective, but they can also make us enjoy the peace and beauty of nature rather than dread it! It's so hard not to be excited by blossom-filled trees and vibrant green grass; give yourself the gift of barreling headfirst into spring with all your allergies under control this year!

Find my seasonal hacks, here.
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My favorite hacks for support during allergy season

My favorite hacks for support during allergy season
Ah, allergy season. It's that time of year again! No matter how prepared I am with my pollen counts and air filters, it can sometimes be difficult to keep allergies at bay or find the proper support for a healthy immune system. But luckily, there are a few things I like to turn to when suffering from an unwanted case of sniffles and sneezes - simple solutions that help me feel in control over this frustrating annual event. In this post, I'll share some of my favorite hacks to take care of myself during allergy season. So grab a cup of tea (lemon helps open up your airways!), settle in near your air filter if needed, and let's get started on finding restorative relief!

Helpful Hacks
1.  Get tested.  Simple blood allergy test at your doctor.  Also, food sensitivity test.
Have you ever thought about getting tested to find out what you're allergic to? It's actually super simple and can save you a ton of trouble in the long run. Your doctor can easily administer a basic blood allergy test that checks for a wide array of common allergens. Plus, you can also get a food sensitivity test if you suspect that certain foods are causing you discomfort. Trust me, taking this step can give you peace of mind and help you make informed choices about what you eat and how you live your life.  When you can lower your inflammation by avoiding your allergens and sensitivities, you will feel so much better!

2. Know your triggers and avoid them. Check pollen count and avoid being outside when pollen is high or it is windy. 
If you are someone who suffers from seasonal allergies, then you know too well the feeling of a stuffy nose or itchy eyes. Fortunately, knowing your triggers is half the battle. A little bit of planning can go a long way toward avoiding those nasty allergy symptoms. Check the pollen count in your area before you step outside, and if it's high, make like a bear and hibernate indoors until it passes. And if there's a particularly blustery day that's sending tree debris flying through the air, perhaps a cozy day curled up with a good book is in order. Remember, a little bit of avoidance goes a long way in keeping those allergies at bay.

3. Get a HEPA air filter for your house.
Are you tired of sneezing your way through your own home? Maybe it's time to invest in a HEPA air filter. These powerful filters trap tiny particles like pollen, pet dander, and even bacteria, making your air cleaner and healthier to breathe. Plus, with a sleek design and easy-to-use features, you won't even mind having it on display in your home. Say goodbye to allergies and hello to fresh air with a HEPA air filter. Your nose (and lungs) will thank you.

4.  Keep your home clean - free of dust and dirt.
If you suffer from allergies, you know how important it is to keep your home clean and dust-free. But let's be honest, cleaning is not a glamorous task. However, with a little bit of effort, you can create an allergy-friendly oasis in your home. Regularly vacuuming and dusting surfaces can make a significant difference in reducing the amount of allergens in the air. And don't forget about washing bedding and curtains in hot water to rid them of any unwanted particles. So, put on your cleaning gloves and embrace the task at hand. Your nose will thank you later.

5.  Stay hydrated.  Dehydration aggravates allergies.
Water, water, everywhere, but are you drinking enough? Staying hydrated is important for so many reasons, from keeping your skin clear to ensuring that your organs are functioning properly. However, did you know that dehydration can actually worsen your allergies? That's right, not drinking enough water can lead to dried out mucus membranes, making it even harder for your body to fend off pollen and other allergens. I have a large durable water bottle that I take everywhere with me so I can be sure to stay hydrated.  So, the next time you're tempted by that second cup of coffee, reach for a refreshing glass of water instead. Your allergies (and your body) will thank you.

6.  Remove clothes worn outside when you get home.
We all know the vibrant colors and sweet fragrances of flowers are one of the most attractive features of spring. Unfortunately, pollen can be quite a nemesis when it comes to wreaking havoc with our allergies! But fear not, as there's a simple solution to this problem, and it starts with your wardrobe habits. Removing clothes worn outside as soon as you get home is an effective way to rid them of pesky pollen. Not only does this prevent pollen from spreading to other parts of your living space, but it will also save you the hassle of sneezing and coughing fits that can be a result of contact with pollen. So, next time you step out, remember to undress and breathe easy!

7.  Take a shower when you get home.
As the weather warms up, so does the pollen count outside. We all know that pesky pollen can cause allergy symptoms we don't want to deal with. But did you know that pollen can also cling to our skin and hair?  The solution to this problem? A simple shower! Not only will it help rinse away any pollen stuck to your skin and hair, but it also feels pretty refreshing after a long day. So, next time you come inside after spending time outdoors, make sure to lather up and rinse away that pollen. Your body (and your sinuses) will thank you.

8. Rinse your sinuses.  Neti pot or squeeze bottle.
As allergy season hits full swing, many of us find ourselves reaching for tissues and antihistamines at every turn. However, there's another tool in the allergy-fighting toolbox that doesn't get as much attention: rinsing your sinuses. Whether you opt for a trusty neti pot or a more modern squeeze bottle, the simple act of flushing out your nasal passages can provide some much-needed relief. Plus, it's a satisfying feeling knowing you're taking matters into your own hands (or rather, your own nasal cavities). So give it a try – your allergies (and your sinuses) will thank you.

9. Remove toxic cleaners and other products from the home, as they can contribute to allergies themselves, and can add to inflammation in general.  Many conventional cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can trigger allergies and respiratory problems. Some of the most common allergy-inducing ingredients in cleaning products include ammonia, chlorine, and synthetic fragrances. These chemicals can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, causing symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives available, such as Young Living Thieves cleaners. Made with natural ingredients like lemon, clove, and cinnamon, these cleaners are free from harmful chemicals and provide a powerful, effective clean. By swapping out toxic cleaners for Young Living Thieves cleaners, you can create a healthier home environment and reduce your risk of allergy symptoms.

 These hacks are simple, but most everyone can use them!  For many of us, alone, these are not enough.  In the next blog, my favorite natural remedies for support during allergy season, you will find more that will support your body, not just with prevention, but to help calm your immune system down and help you be comfortable.  

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Any purchase made is a blessing to my family at no extra cost to you!  
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