Causes and Treatments of Allergies

Posted on by Denny Waxman

We hear about allergies often:  casual conversation, the media, and conversation with our doctors.  Although many people are aware of the wide variety of allergies, we still have a misunderstanding as to why they occur.

What is our body trying to tell us?

While allergies are often thought of as something we can not change about ourselves, they are really the body’s attempt to move in the direction of health. Allergies signify a chronic imbalance in our diet and activity level. When our bodies become too overloaded, we can not detoxify or eliminate the excess waste.

In macrobiotics, allergies are considered a blood related issue. What this means is that if our blood chemistry is compromised, we then become more susceptible to experiencing allergies. From my time as a counselor, people with exaggerated emotional sensitivities tend to become more prone to allergies as well. This concept can be linked to the Chinese association that water represents emotion. As blood is mostly aqueous, blood is ruled by water and in turn, affected by our emotional behaviors(and consequently our eating habits as our emotions affect them). A problem with our flow of emotion could in turn cause a a compromise in our blood chemistry.  In order to promote health and prevent allergies, we need an ongoing way to monitor our body’s responses and inputs to somehow create more helathful responses to our food and environment.

 

Allergies are results of imbalances, but what is it about our environment and food that have made our bodies so vulnerable? A major contributing factor is our modern diets. The underlying cause of almost all allergies is an influx of dairy product and fructose. Since the 1980’s nearly all manufactured food has switched from containing natural sugars to the cheaper alternative of high fructose corn syrup. Other leading causes include a diet high in animal-based foods and also the increase of GMO’s, or genetically modified organisms. Other common food allergies include yeast, gluten and soy.  A person that suffers from allergies knows that when we lose the ability to connect with the environment, we lose the ability to properly nourish ourselves.  Our life becomes limited.

 

If you develop a systematic approach, you can overcome allergies. To start, practice a macrobiotic diet that reintroduces natural food so that you can keep track of the irritants.  Begin on a strictly grain and plant-based diet, and as other foods are added one at a time, monitor your body’s reaction.  This requires writing it down.  If you have a strong symptom, chances are you should eliminate the food and try again after a month of eating as a macrobiotic.

 

In order to strengthen the lymph system and digestive organs, replace unhealthy food with these choices:

Millet

Miso soup (every day!)

Saute vegetables with sesame or olive oil

Quick steamed greens (every day!)

Unpasteurized sauerkraut and other naturally fermented foods

 

Another helpful strategy for allergy relief is through the skin and importantly, through the feet.  These parts of us help to flush toxins if you do the right things:

Make a habit of using hot water with a handful of table salt mixed in to soak the feet for 5 to 10 minutes before you go to bed

Rub your body with a wet wash cloth every day, outside of the shower or bath

 

Allergies are warning signs. The same substances and behaviors causing allergies can lead to the development of a more serious degenerative disease.

Please, monitor your allergies and practice these suggestions to improve your relationship with the body’s natural response mechanisms.

2 Comments | Tags: Allergies

My Most Important Discovery of 2012

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I find it interesting that everything that I thought was healthy for more than forty years is now reported to be harmful or at least not beneficial to our health. These are the same things I have been consuming personally and recommending to my family, friends and clients during this time. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but this seems to be too much of a coincidence for my natural skepticism.

Grain is the most important food on the planet for so many reasons. I will not explore all the reasons at this time. All of the world’s long-standing civilizations developed around grain cultivation and are also synonymous with the grains that they ate. You cannot separate rice from Asia, corn from the Americas or bread from Europe, for example.

The gluten grains, wheat and barley, are two of two world’s principal grains and have been cultivated and consumed for more than 10,000 years. Now, an increasing number of people have gluten sensitivity or gluten allergies. More recently modern wheat has come under attack because it has been overly hybridized.

I cannot argue that many people have various types of reactions from eating these grains in many forms and feel better by avoiding them. It may be that these grains alone are not the problem. It is more likely that our food combinations and methods of preparation are the real causes of the reactions.

I have used these grains in my macrobiotic healing practice for many years with positive results. I have also witnessed many people loose their food sensitivities over time. It has been my long-time observation that the combination of dairy foods and fructose is behind most allergies. Any type of dairy from cheese to yogurt together with fructose in the form of concentrated fruit sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar or honey are the basis of these allergic reactions. Tropical fruits and animal foods, especially poultry, tuna and shell fish compound these problems. Cold dairy such as cold milk, yogurt and ice cream together with cold drinks also seem to worsen the harmful effects.

I have also found out that when these grains are refined, baked or toasted they cause stronger reactions than when they are consumed in their whole or cracked form. When grains, including whole grain products, are exposed to dry heat through baking or toasting they react more like simple sugars in our body and worsen the reaction from these grains. Many people with gluten sensitivity can eat whole wheat or barley without an allergic or inflammatory response if they are cooked together with brown rice.

It now turns out that brown rice, another of the worlds principal grains is not safe because of arsenic contamination. I have already published my thoughts on this in three previous blogs and I hope that you will continue to enjoy organic brown rice as part of your healthy way of eating.

Soy has been under attack for quite some time now and I will write more fully on this subject in a future blog. I have also regularly used the traditional soy products, miso, shoyu, tofu, tempeh and natto in my macrobiotic counseling practice with excellent results. These products actually have a balancing and protective effect on our hormonal systems. They protect against harmful estrogens. On the other hand, texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and other non-traditional soy products do not have these same benefits.

Finally, the Stanford study that claimed organic foods are not more beneficial than commercial foods has been discredited. Common sense tells us that foods grown naturally in healthy soil are beneficial to those not yet born, babies, children, adults, animals, plants and the environment.

It is my hope that common sense and collective human experience will guide science in the coming years and that respect for local and sustainable practices will continue to grow and prosper.

No Comments | Tags: Allergies, Immune System, Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Diet

Allergies and Strengthening Health Macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Allergies have now replaced the infectious diseases that claimed so many lives in the last century as one of our most pressing health problems. The once common infectious diseases including TB, diphtheria and scarlet fever have largely been eradicated through better hygiene and antibiotics. Yet, not much attention has been paid to the dietary and lifestyle causes of these problems.
Although not often fatal, allergies represent a weakened blood quality and immune system that leave us vulnerable to a host of dangerous and potentially fatal infectious illnesses. The treatment of allergies can also be very costly in terms of doctors visits, medications, lost productivity and time from school or work. Their symptoms can make our lives and the lives of those around us miserable.
Allergies are related to a weakened blood quality, which is caused by an overly rich or nutritionally imbalanced diet. A diet high in animal fats especially from cold dairy products and cheese raises blood fat and cholesterol levels. These foods include cold milk, ice cream, yogurt, various types of cheese and butter, as well as sweets and fruits, which help make the blood more fatty. The modern American diet depletes our supply of minerals. A lack of minerals allows our blood to be more acidic and open to infections.
By practicing Strengthening Health Macrobiotics, we naturally choose food and lifestyles which strengthen our blood quality. In this way the causes of such problems as allergies, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and cancer are changed. We can strengthen the health of ourselves, families, communities and world.

1 Comment | Tags: 7 Steps, Allergies, Macrobiotics

The Importance of the Origin of Food

Posted on by Denny Waxman

When we live in a temperate climatic zone, it is best to choose daily foods that originate in the same or a similar climatic zone. For example, although potatoes and tomatoes are grown in North America, they originated in the Andes Mountains, in a tropical environment. Tropical foods are used more selectively than temperate foods.

Most perishable foods, those with a high water content that lose their freshness quickly, such as fruits and vegetables, are best grown or gathered as close to home as possible. Foods that can be stored for longer periods of time, such as sea salt, sea vegetables, well-aged pickles and fermented foods, grains and beans, can be chosen from further away. When we require foods that originate further from home, we choose those from east or west of where we are living, not from north or south where climatic differences are more dramatic. If we live in the Northern Hemisphere, it is important not to choose foods from the Southern Hemisphere. The magnetic charge which creates the basic structure of food is opposite in both hemispheres.

When we eat food from where we live or from places with similar climates, our lives come more into order. We feel more aligned and connected to our local environment. Many common diseases ranging from allergies and skin problems to heart disease and cancer can be improved by this and other simple practices. Strengthening Health Macrobiotics also brings more order to our lives. In these ways we can improve our health and the health of our world.

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Allergies

Allergies

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Allergies have now replaced the infectious diseases that claimed so many lives in the last century as one of our most pressing health problems. The once common infectious diseases including TB, diphtheria and scarlet fever have largely been eradicated through better hygiene and antibiotics. Yet, not much attention has been paid to the dietary and lifestyle causes of these problems.

Although, not often fatal, allergies represent a weakened blood quality and immune system that leave us vulnerable to a host of dangerous and potentially fatal infectious illnesses. The treatment of allergies can also be very costly in terms of doctors visits, medications, lost productivity and time from school or work. Their symptoms can also  make our lives and the lives of those around us miserable.

It is estimated that around 23 million Europeans suffer some kind of allergic, respiratory disorder. Asthma now affects as many as one in seven school children, according to the Dublin-based European Federation of Allergy.

Why have allergies increased so rapidly, especially since the end of W.W.II? Why do they respond so poorly to medical treatments? We have to look at the recent changes in diet and lifestyle to answer these questions.
Allergies are related to a weakened blood quality, which is caused by an overly rich diet or nutritionally imbalanced diet. A diet high in animal fats especially from cold dairy products and cheese raises blood fat and cholesterol levels. These foods include cold milk, ice cream, yogurt, various types of cheese and butter.
Sweets and fruits help to make the blood more fatty. Fructose found in fruits and honeys are worse for allergy sufferers’ in many ways than sucrose, white sugar. Fructose rapidly increases blood sugar in those who eat a high fat diet.

In my previous article, “A Brief History of Food,” I explained how the modern diet depletes our supply of minerals. A lack of minerals allows our blood to be more acidic and open to infections.

Over many years I have seen hundreds and even thousands of children and adults with various types of allergies. My observation is that the increased consumption of the combination of dairy products, fruits and honey has weakened and compromised our immune systems and make allergies possible.

Other animal foods especially chicken and eggs, tuna fish and shell fish, while sweets including chocolate and fruit sweetened pastries add to the problem.

A more sedentary lifestyle further contributes to the problem. Our circulatory system has its own pump. The heart constantly works to move blood around the body. The immune system does not have its own pump, it depends on daily activity rather than periodic intensive exercise to activate its circulation. Without a variety of activity such as walking, cleaning, gardening and carrying things, the immune system cannot function efficiently.

The immune system has the job of filtering our blood. When it is exposed to a chronic high-fat diet, it becomes overloaded and unable to clean our blood properly. It becomes tired and sluggish. At this point we need a stronger method to clean our immune system. This is an allergy.

An allergy is our body’s attempt to clean itself regularly. The common cold is prime evidence of an overworked and sluggish immune system. It is our body’s attempt to tell us to simplify our diet and to take a rest. In this way our lymph system can empty, filter our blood more effectively and return us to good health. Other allergic reactions tell us the same thing.

We must differentiate between the primary and secondary causes of allergies. Allergens, the substances that set off allergic reactions, have different effects on different people.

Common allergens include dusts, pollen, mold, smoke, perfumes, odors of plastics; various foods; chemicals, synthetics, heat, cold, light, pressure, animals and animal products, hair, wool, fur and feathers.
Increased sensitivity to allergens is the secondary cause. Imbalances in diet and activity, which cause the increased sensitivities are the primary causes.

A high fat diet makes our mucus membranes and skin weak, fatty and too sensitive. It is easy to irritate them and cause a reaction. However, it is important not to mistake the irritant for the cause.

Allergens can affect us in various ways and produce many different reactions. The most common are running nose, watery and sensitive eyes, sinus infections, migraines; various types of skin eruptions, rashes and itching; bronchial asthma; digestive disturbances; and extreme fatigue and weakness.

Recent progress in the study of psychoneuroimmunology has shown the connection between mind, emotions, immunity and health. These systems parallel each other.

When the immune system functions well it efficiently and effectively neutralizes toxins and antigens. It then excretes them from the body before they can cause damage.

It is the same in our daily life when we are in good shape and can easily handle the various problems and tasks that come our way each day. We can handle our work or problems quickly and efficiently before things can pile up.

If the immune system becomes tired and sluggish it becomes insensitive or indifferent to these antigens and they accumulate in the body. They are just waiting to cause problems in the future. This is the transitional stage to an unhealthy immune system.

When we feel run down or overloaded in our daily life with too much work or responsibility it is easy to not notice or ignore things. We let things pile up and many projects or responsibilities do not get taken care of. Sometimes we miss important signals or possibilities. This is the transitional stage to problems in life, work or relationships.

In the third stage the immune system starts to overreact or react inappropriately. It produces reactions that are often too extreme, things that others do not react to cause a reaction in us. Exposure to dust, smoke, pollen or the cold or sun may set off an extreme asthma attack or a migraine.

These are allergies. Our weakened immune system tries too hard to help us return to a normal healthy condition.

In life it is again the same. When we really feel overloaded and stressed it is easy to overreact. It is easy to work hard and not produce much or to react in a way that creates even more problems. Sometimes we misinterpret our boss or even friends and loved one’s intentions.

Allergies are the disease of modern society. They have physical, emotional and mental symptoms, yet they are not really a disease. Allergies are a sign to make some basic changes in our life.

The first changes are dietary. Add whole cereal grains and a variety of cooked vegetables into your diet. Please see “What’s Cooking” for some ideas in this area. Be careful of potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and mushrooms. These often contribute to allergies due to their acidifying affect on our blood.
Try to rely more on white meat fish, unless you are allergic to it, than other forms of animal or dairy foods. If you are adventurous you can try adding some sea vegetables to your diet. These foods used in small quantities help to strengthen immunity.

After you have added more healthy foods into your diet think about reducing the foods that are the primary causes of allergies. If any healthy foods cause an allergic reaction leave them out for a month and try adding them again.

Try to take a half hour walk every day and walk up stairs when you can. Scrubbing your skin with a hot damp towel daily for about 15 minutes also strengthens immunity.

Keeping your home well cleaned, orderly and well ventilated will also help. Natural materials especially cotton and untreated woods are a good idea.

You can make a drink from simmering equal parts of finely chopped onions, carrots, cabbage and pumpkin in four parts water for about 20 minutes in a covered pot. There is no seasoning in this mildly sweet drink. Strain the vegetables and drink it hot. You can drink one or two cups daily for a month and then occasionally after that. This natural sweetness helps to strengthen immunity.

Sweetness in life also helps. Work on developing nourishing and supportive relationships. Spend time with children and friends. Sing happy songs and see funny movies. And of course laugh more, the happy times chase the allergies away.

No Comments | Tags: Allergies, Immune System, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Uncategorized