Pollen is Not The Problem

by Sarah Natural RemediesComments: 186

Spring has sprung in full force in my neck of the woods, and wow, is the pollen ever thick!

Sounds of people sneezing and blowing their nose fill the pollen laden air with boxes of tissue flying off the shelves fast and furious in pharmacies all across town.

While pollen does indeed make you sneeze if you get a noseful of it, is it really necessary to dread spring every single year knowing that Visine and allergy meds will be your constant companion to deal with watery eyes and congestion for at least a month or two?  Is this something you just have to resign yourself to and live with?

The truth is that seasonal allergies are much more than a nuisance. They are one of the mildest forms of autoimmune disease and a gentle warning by the body that more autoimmunity problems are on the way if the gut imbalance that is causing them is not dealt with effectively.

Hippocrates noted that “all disease begins in the gut”. This includes seasonal allergies like allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

Dealing with seasonal allergies using over the counter or prescription meds is like cutting the wire to the flashing oil light on the dashboard of your car and pretending that the car is no longer low on oil.  Such an approach guarantees that the problem will get worse over time and most likely lead to more serious autoimmune problems in the future such as asthma, eczema, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, lupus, celiac, migraines, MS, diabetes, arthritis and the list goes on.

For example, it was recently reported that babies with eczema even if mild are much more likely to develop asthma. In fact, 40% of babies with eczema go on to develop this much more serious autoimmune disease later in childhood.

A healthy balance of beneficial gut flora in our colon is the ultimate gatekeeper of our health. Gut flora is the major regulator of the immune system for better or for worse and when the gut environment is out of balance, a malfunctioning and overreactive immune system is the result.

How Seasonal Allergies Originate in the Gut

When the gut is out of balance, opportunistic and pathogenic microbes overgrow and take over dominance. These pathogens produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. Some of these toxins actually play an important role in the body when the pathogens in the gut are controlled and kept in check by good flora. But, when the good flora is absent or not playing a dominant role, these pathogens can overproduce these toxins.

One such toxin produced by several types of gut pathogens (Proteus, E. coli, Staphylococci and others) is histamine which is actually an important neurotransmitter in the body.

When these microbes grow unchecked in the gut due to a lack of beneficial flora, they overproduce histamine causing many functions in the body that react to histamine to go haywire as excessive amounts pour into the blood.

Is Benadryl your best friend?   If so, you know you potentially suffer from an overgrowth of pathogens in your gut that are overproducing histamine!

Parents Bequeath Gut Flora to Their Children

While conventional medicine likes to point to genetics as the cause of allergies, the fact is that parents pass on their gut imbalance problems to their children and gut dysbiosis tends to worsen with each successive generation.

According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, children with autoimmunity issues almost without exception have a mother and most likely also a father who invariably show sign of chronic gut dysbiosis. Most women have been on the Pill for years before having children and have had many courses of antibiotics. Almost every single one has a health problem that is associated with chronic gut imbalance the most frequent being digestive disorders, hay fever and other seasonal allergies, migraines, PMS, chronic cystitis (UTIs) and vaginal yeast infections.

Therefore, if you wish to have children free of allergies, it is imperative as a mother to be to get your gut health in order before birthing them.

Gut Imbalance Can Develop Later in Life

Have you ever noticed that a lot of adults say that they developed seasonal allergies all of a sudden one year where they never had them before?

Well, the pollen hasn’t changed has it?  The excuse that “the pollen is really bad this year” is not the reason either.

Development of seasonal allergies all of a sudden or those that get worse each year is a sign that gut health is deteriorating with age and that steps should be taken with the diet to rectify the situation.

The good news is that even if you or your children have seasonal allergies now, you can deal with it effectively with a change in diet!

Steps For Eliminating Seasonal Allergies From Your Life

Here are a few simple steps for combatting seasonal allergies with diet:

  • Eliminate pasteurized dairy from your life in all forms.  Pasteurization of dairy denatures fragile milk proteins and renders then allergenic among other problems.  Raw grassfed dairy would be an excellent alternative here.
  • Look to significantly reduce or eliminate grains and sugars in all forms from your diet.   Many people with seasonal allergies report nothing short of miraculous improvement when gluten containing grains or even complete avoidance of grains and sugar is followed particularly during allergy season.
  • Look at the GAPS Diet as a long term solution for rectifying gut imbalance.   Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MDs book Gut and Psychology Syndrome is a primer on this subject.  She not only describes in detail how gut dysbiosis develops in the first place but outlines a comprehensive plan for rebalancing gut flora and putting autoimmunity into remission for good.
  • While you are healing from the inside out, use herbs to find natural, nontoxic allergy relief instead of meds. This article details which herbs are most potent for this purpose and how to use them.

Seasonal allergies need not continue to annoy you year after year during what should be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable times of the year.   Spend some time and energy fixing your gut environment and reap the rewards by breathing freely again no matter how thick the pollen may be!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit 

Comments (186)

  • Kelly D

    It states that we as parents can pass on gut issues to our children. Is this why when my daughter was born she had a UTI?

    February 22nd, 2016 9:37 am Reply
  • Clara

    Very interesting. Can you post some scientific publications regarding the link between pollen allergy and gut health? Thanks!

    July 9th, 2015 2:59 pm Reply
    • Katie

      Yes – I have the same question.
      I’m also wondering why the allergies would only be seasonal in this case. I would like to know more about allergies as autoimmune disease and would love to know what research is being done.

      February 3rd, 2016 7:55 am Reply
  • Sage

    I was strict GAPS 3 years, modified GAPS for 2 more, and then gradually slipped back into having foods that aren’t good for me. Pollens started bothering me more the further I drifted from the foundation protocol. The moral of that story is that for me, GAPS helps maintain my health. There’s another issue that may be complicating the whole “seasonal allergies” issue, though: GMO pollen. How do you think that’s affecting us? In the past year, I’ve had two major allergy “attacks;” one in the midst of GMO plantings, another far out in the desert after a spring rain when the wildflowers leapt into beauty. Any thoughts on this?

    June 10th, 2015 7:14 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Good point about the GMO pollen. I’m not sure we really have the answers on the effects of that yet. I would imagine some folks who have no issues with real pollen would react to GMO pollen. I know the animals avoid it. GMO fields are scarily silent .. no buzzing of insects or birds chirping etc. Dead, dead, dead space.

      June 10th, 2015 8:55 am Reply
    • velovan

      pollen allergies could also be caused by plants absorbing all the toxins and what not that us humans create which in turn makes the plants pollen bad for us think about it we where able to drink water straight from its source and have no problems, we used to be out all day without any problems from pollen and what not so on and so forth meaning we are weakening our own immune systems which in turn makes it so that our body can’t deal with things like pollen anymore.
      i hope i make sense if not oh well.

      June 11th, 2015 9:35 am Reply
  • Sierra

    Fascinating read, I love your site!! I have noticed as I improved my health my allergies have gotten less severe. The last few weeks the pollen has been nuts here and in years past I was literally a danger on the road because I was sneezing so hard and frequently while driving. This year not a single sneeze, just a bit of itchiness. I take coconut oil everyday and restrict (not perfectly!) grains and sugar.

    June 9th, 2015 9:06 am Reply
  • Ashley Alliston via Facebook

    So what about those already GFDF and on a GAPS/paleo diet who suffer immensely from seasonal allergies? Just playing devil’s advocate. My son falls into that category but regular local, raw honey has helped a lot.

    August 24th, 2014 9:08 pm Reply
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  • David Fyhrie

    You can now try Immunoglobulin Y which is the antibodies from egg yolk to eliminate many pathogens from the gut. We have a new product out called Vector450 which is Immunoglobulin Y extracted and purified from egg yolk. It is affordable at $30 per month. We have seen remarkable improvements in many people with gut health issues and calming down of many peoples autoimmune issues such at allergies, eczema, Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Our research is showing a significant impact on key immune markers IFN-gamma and GM-CSF.

    Give it try it might help you a lot. It comes from egg yolk with a component (ovotransferin) from the egg white so consult a health professional if you have egg allergies, it might be a factor but not necessarily so.

    May 12th, 2014 7:18 pm Reply
    • Kate

      My son has had a lot of issues with allergies and Excema since he’s been a baby. He is now 17,and I’ve literally tried everything under the sun to help him. Gluten free and dairy free diet. Nothing has helped until a product called plexus. It has been a miracle how that has transformed his life.allergies gone. Excema nearly gone. No more acne. Great mood cause he’s no longer suffering. As a mother I finally have hope for my son’s future because those issues can be so debilitating.

      February 20th, 2016 12:56 pm Reply
      • Nan

        What is Plexus? I googled it and it looked like a diet product of sorts.

        April 18th, 2016 5:10 am Reply
        • Sarah

          I’m pretty sure it’s a MLM.

          April 18th, 2016 9:35 am Reply
        • Tara

          Plexus is a health and wellness company which has vitamins, probiotics, omegas, biocleanse and a product that helps control blood sugar, specifically formulated to help diabetics. All products are plant based supplements. It most definitely is not a diet company. I hope that helps.

          April 21st, 2016 8:34 am Reply
          • Sarah

            Plexus is an MLM, correct?

            April 21st, 2016 9:31 am
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  • Doug Gordon via Facebook

    If I eat pastries or ice cream or other sugary foods, I start sneezing / “seasonal allergies” the next day for a day or two. If I avoid those then I don’t sneeze :)

    April 17th, 2014 7:29 pm Reply
  • Michael

    I got rid of my allergies using a product called ProBio5 and BioCleanse made my Plexus Worldwide. If you are interested in an easy inexpensive solution to gut health go to http://www.mikesplexus.com.

    April 17th, 2014 4:26 pm Reply
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  • Melanie O’Neill Dragone via Facebook

    Christina~ per our conversation yesterday~ interesting article & suggestions…

    April 17th, 2014 12:49 pm Reply
  • Melanie O’Neill Dragone via Facebook

    Kristen~ interesting read!

    April 17th, 2014 12:48 pm Reply
  • Sabrina Leonardo via Facebook

    Is it believed pollen allergy issues is or could be autoimmune disease?

    April 17th, 2014 12:32 pm Reply
  • Caitlynd Roy via Facebook

    Donna Agrey

    April 17th, 2014 12:23 pm Reply
  • Erin Johnson Woodard via Facebook

    Made me think of you Lisa Lisa Oberle Milner

    April 17th, 2014 12:17 pm Reply
  • Sherry Grana via Facebook

    Thank you Patty

    April 17th, 2014 12:15 pm Reply
  • fergie

    I’m not sure about gluten but my kid after a month of trying sushi he is eventually liked it and is he’s allergy went away.

    April 17th, 2014 11:39 am Reply
  • Jessica Taylor

    My story is almost exact. Matt’s work has set us free in terms of our diet. I did GAPS for 18 months with a then 3.5, 1.5 and being pregnant with my third. It was brutal and unnecessary. We didn’t heal. My oldest sons eczema is nearly gone, he is eating everything, and so am I. They have gained weight, have a glow in their eyes and dark circles are gone. Bloating is gone too. It was a major paradigm shift and anxiety producing, really, but I knew we had to do onto emetine different. Every time we eliminated food, we only got more sensitive. Raising metabolic rate should be the first step BEFORE eliminating large swaths of food from our diet.

    April 16th, 2014 4:31 pm Reply
  • Stephanie Hamilton via Facebook

    Caleb Hamilton I need to try it

    April 16th, 2014 2:19 pm Reply
  • Paula A.

    I’ve been on Gaps for two years. I have seen huge improvements in my digestive issues (bloating, reflux etc) and some small improvements in my inflammation issues, but I have to say that I din’t use to have hay fever and they are getting worse and worse each year, even with constitutional homeopathic care. I was reading that Dr. Cowan relates allergies to adrenal problems. I’ve read from several people who had some adrenal issues with Gaps, so maybe that’s what’s happening with me. I love the Gaps diet, and, no, Dr. Natasha does NOT advocate low carb, but it can get hard to get the necessary carbs in, especially when there are yeast issues as well. My main source of carbs is winter squashes. I bake them whole and mash them with butter and eat them a lot. But maybe it’s not enough. Not sure. Great discussion, though.

    April 16th, 2014 7:56 am Reply
    • Linda

      Paula, I’d love to hear what you’ve found out in the year since you wrote this. I can relate. I’ve gone beyond GAPS with an elimination diet that has me on very few vegetables and no fruits, thanks to yeast. I’m surprised that the ragweed has hit me so hard this year since I’m on such a clean diet but I’m working on getting rid of the candida so that may help a lot. Yes, it’s hard to get enough carbs on this diet. I eat a lot of winter squash also.

      September 11th, 2015 8:31 am Reply
  • Val Uria via Facebook

    @kathleen Williams, actually my experience is opposite and from a few ppl I know it was not due to diet improvement for sure. Many children “outgrow” their allergies later on. (Talking environmental allergies specifically)

    April 16th, 2014 7:35 am Reply
  • Val Uria via Facebook

    We noticed a difference getting my son of gluten so I did it too! Never thought I could or that it bothered me….now when I ingest it (often an accident) I know it! That tells me something!

    April 16th, 2014 7:32 am Reply
  • Rosemary McNaughton via Facebook

    I am mildly sensitive to gluten, and had mild seasonal allergies…until I went GF one year ago! I cheated with true sourdough bread one night and had an allergic reaction to wool fibers the next day which had never happened to me before!

    April 15th, 2014 11:07 pm Reply
  • Tami Smith via Facebook

    Rachel Wey Stimits this is the article I was talking about.

    April 15th, 2014 9:48 pm Reply
  • Hilary Reynolds via Facebook


    April 15th, 2014 9:34 pm Reply
  • Amanda McConaghy via Facebook

    Agreed ! When we removed all grains last summer, within 2 weeks my son no longer reacted to his allergy triggers.

    April 15th, 2014 9:17 pm Reply
  • sheri

    Not sure about this. I was a junk food addict for 50 years. Started eating clean when I started having so many health problems. One problem I never had was allergies. When everyone else is popping pills and watery allergy eyes I remain fine. I have major stomach issues.I do have a daughter that has bad allergies and one who doesn’t. Hubby doesn’t suffer from allergies either. I don’t know how I got lucky to have no problem with allergies.

    April 15th, 2014 7:40 pm Reply
  • Jodie How via Facebook

    Ryan How

    April 15th, 2014 6:21 pm Reply
  • Sean Hatch via Facebook

    You had me until you said eliminate gluten. I think everything I love contains gluten.

    April 15th, 2014 5:49 pm Reply
  • Meredith Mullaly via Facebook

    Melissa Kost

    April 15th, 2014 3:57 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Krueger via Facebook

    Tariq Khan

    April 15th, 2014 2:21 pm Reply
  • Sara

    I am no expert on this issue and can claim little experience with raw dairy. However, this year is the first year in many years, as many as I can remember in fact, when I have not had pollen allergies. I attribute it to an improvement in my gut health which I was able to achieve with less drastic interventions than GAPS necessitates or even cutting way back on grains and sugars. Since my diet is generally whole-foods based and nutritious, however, I can’t claim that diet has played no role in my symptoms’ improvement.

    I did two things: I took a therapeutic strength probiotic, and ate raw local honey for months prior to the start of spring. That’s it. I am thrilled with the results. For me, this has worked, and maybe it will work for others as well, perhaps in tandem with the suggestions offered on this blog.

    April 15th, 2014 1:59 pm Reply
  • Sherry Barker via Facebook

    Michael Blatney

    April 15th, 2014 1:51 pm Reply
  • Nicole Powers Duffin via Facebook

    Rhonda , something to read about allergies. A clean gut means good, clean eating and adding things like fermented foods. When I eat cleaner I realize that my allergies aren’t as bad.

    April 15th, 2014 1:11 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    This is absolutely true according to my experience. I took allergy meds almost daily to keep from having major attacks, and still, I had constant, annoying post-nasal drainage. As soon as I cleaned up my diet, I have had zero allergy issues and no longer need to take allergy meds. It is most definitely a gut issue, not a pollen issue.

    April 15th, 2014 12:21 pm Reply
  • Denise Garcia Jacob via Facebook

    Karen S B Cangelosi what essential oils do u use?

    April 15th, 2014 12:20 pm Reply
  • Regina Wachtel via Facebook

    fixed rosasea too!

    April 15th, 2014 12:16 pm Reply
  • Kathleen Williams via Facebook

    This makes total sense…if you ask pretty much anybody, myself included, they’ll tell you that their allergies get worse as they get older…which actually means as we get older, the gut gets leakier.

    April 15th, 2014 12:10 pm Reply
  • Laura Ehlis via Facebook

    Noelle Bethel Lynn Thurlow, I remember you saying H has problems with seasonal allergies. Anyhow, I thought I’d share:)

    April 15th, 2014 11:53 am Reply
  • Phill Mullins via Facebook

    Shane Chittenden

    April 15th, 2014 11:50 am Reply
  • Mariah Baseman via Facebook

    Deirdre Remmers

    April 15th, 2014 11:23 am Reply
  • Josh N’ Courtney Smiley via Facebook

    Pamela Smiley – haven’t read the article but made me think about your allergies.

    April 15th, 2014 11:20 am Reply
  • Stephanie Hellweg via Facebook

    Jule, most single parents I know don’t have “luxury” items like cable or a home phone. Just saying, I don’t think that response makes much sense.

    April 15th, 2014 11:17 am Reply
  • Michelle Karwatt Anstadt via Facebook

    To you Julie Drell Cooke… I say Touché, very well said!

    April 15th, 2014 11:05 am Reply
  • Kris Weimer via Facebook

    You make time for what you truly want to do. If your health is important, then you make the sacrifices needed to do what you need to do. Fermented foods are inexpensive to make. A head of sauerkraut costs about a dollar or less on sale and you can make a half gallon to a gallon of sauerkraut from it. Kombucha is made from tea and sugar, also inexpensive to make and you can make 2-3 gallons for about 3-5 dollars. Thrift stores and swap meets are great places to get jars and other fermenting vessels at – Our local discount grocery store sells 6 half gallon mason jars for 12 dollars. Money and time are only excuses if you truly aren’t ready to be healthy.

    April 15th, 2014 11:00 am Reply
  • Jule Drell Cooke via Facebook

    There are actually some fermented foods you can buy at the Asian store (kimchi) , pickles that are fermented in a brine are also a good option! And being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford real food and supplements! Buying veggies at the farmers market or growing your own can really work fir a low budget! In addition look at “luxury” items you have, subscriptions to magazines, do we really need 800 tv channels? Just a couple of ideas to make real food work!

    April 15th, 2014 10:56 am Reply
  • Lauren Christina-Marie Marcial via Facebook

    Niki Hernandez a must read

    April 15th, 2014 10:54 am Reply
  • Brian Stretch via Facebook

    Worked for me. Until you’re healed Nasalcrom aka Cromolyn Sodium is relatively cheap and OTC. Safer than steroid sprays too.

    April 15th, 2014 10:52 am Reply
  • Sarah Byrd via Facebook

    The Healthy Home Economist – while I agree…. with the price of supplements, and the length of time needed to create the great fermented foods and such that help with that…as a single mom with a TIGHT budget, it can be hard to overcome.

    April 15th, 2014 10:44 am Reply
  • Amy Pestorius Jordan via Facebook

    Do you also recommend taking a probiotic?

    April 15th, 2014 10:43 am Reply
  • Karen S B Cangelosi via Facebook

    I love using my essential oils to keep me safe from this pollen season :)

    April 15th, 2014 10:42 am Reply
  • Hannah Madden via Facebook

    Sera Aimee

    April 15th, 2014 10:41 am Reply
  • Brenna Iverson via Facebook

    Laurie thot u might like this :)

    April 15th, 2014 10:39 am Reply
  • Jamie

    Hi Sarah, thank you for this post. My 14 month old son has food intolerances especially to egg whites and yolks. He had pretty bad eczema that got infected with mrsa. He was prescribed sulpha to which he immediately became itchy and irritated and started to swell. He was air lifted to Chicago. We stopped the antibiotic once we noticed the swelling in his legs so by the grace of God he’s okay. We got him tested for allergies and eggs are the highest so we cut those out of his diet and mine and his skin is so much better but he still has some eczema on his hips. I’m still nursing so I’m trying not to eat anything that could cause his skin to break out. I just don’t know what to do. His diet is pretty restrictive as is mine because I don’t know for sure what is triggering the eczema on his hips. I take biokult and he takes ther-biotic! I’m scared to try new foods but at the same time I’m scared that this limited diet is going to cause him harm. He basically eats Ezekiel toast with kerrygold butter, avocados, apples, bananas, soaked quinoa, broccoli and cauliflower. Does anyone have any advice? I’m just so confused as to how this happened??? We don’t eat processed food at all….grassed meats, veggies, fruit, soaked quinoa and take fermented cod liver oil. Is it something I did or didn’t do???? Thank you in advance

    March 25th, 2014 11:06 pm Reply
    • Michelle

      Ezekiel bread contains both soy and added (unsoaked) gluten, both extremely common allergens linked to eczema.

      April 30th, 2014 11:29 pm Reply
      • Liz

        I had the same problem with one of my children, until Sarah mentioned the Ezekiel bread issue to me in a comment. Thanks Healthy Home Economist! Sure enough it was that darn bread.

        May 18th, 2014 2:54 pm Reply
  • Martin

    Over the last 2 years I was on a autoimmunne paleo diet successfully healing my leaky gut (plus some other positive side effects like loosing psoriasis I had for 30 years). Consequently I would expect my GI tract to be in the best shape ever to deal with the seasonal allergies. Yet they hit this year harder than in any other year before. Is there some additional piece of puzzle that I am missing?

    June 27th, 2013 11:58 pm Reply
  • Kenny F

    I haven’t had allergies too badly in the past few years since I started following the Traditional Diet…then came this year.

    They’re back with a vengeance. Apparently, here in the Northeast (esp. lower NY), the after-effects of hurricane Sandy, combined with a very late onset of Spring, has put the pollen count up at a point that even people without a history of allergies are suffering. WIfe and I are both getting clobbered.

    I broke down and took a Sudafed this morning, but I’d like to know what some of you do to help yourselves naturally. I can’t possibly eat MORE probiotic food, less wheat or less sugar, and 90% of the dairy I eat is raw.

    I was reading about nettles (tea or capsules) — has anyone tried this? What do you do that works?

    May 28th, 2013 12:27 pm Reply
  • Jaime

    I have to say, I’m gluten free, drink milk kefir, eat raw honey with cinnamon, and juice and I still have allergies so bad, I have to not only take OTC meds, I have to double the daily dose. Good article though!

    May 14th, 2013 1:05 am Reply
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  • Melissa Sutton-Navarro

    Would you mind sharing your references? I do a lot of personal research on the subject and would like to read the studies this post is based on!

    March 23rd, 2013 9:00 pm Reply
  • Hanna McCown via Facebook

    I am disappointed in this article. I was captured by it until it was over and no real help in it. Basically what I learned was that seasonal allergies are caused by unhealthy bacteria in the gut. You can only fix this if you get a cow or a goat or move to a state that allows raw milk sales and don’t eat grains. Buy a book. Not very helpful. Next time can you not be so allusive. I agree pollen isn’t the problem. I buy raw honey local bee pollen make yogurt and ferment vegies etc. I don’t have room for a cow I eat no processed food. I sourdough everything.

    March 23rd, 2013 9:54 am Reply
  • Martin

    I love the analogy about “cutting the wire to the flashing oil light on the dashboard of your car and pretending that the car is no longer low on oil” So true.

    Are there some scientific references supporting the link between pollen alergies and gut flora?

    March 23rd, 2013 1:46 am Reply
  • Leaky Gut Research via Facebook

    So much resembles my story: pollen allergies as a child, autoimmune disease in adulthood

    March 23rd, 2013 1:26 am Reply
  • Terry De Priest via Facebook

    It’s amazing what balancing the gut flora can do! It is truly the corner stone for good health. We no longer suffer with those seasonal allergies and it’s great!

    March 22nd, 2013 11:58 pm Reply
  • Paul Hardiman via Facebook

    I like bee pollen sprinkled on the live dairy kefir.

    March 22nd, 2013 11:15 pm Reply
  • Joanna Katherine

    Has anyone tried or has success with homeopathy for gut healing? I had a consult with a well-known homeopath who says it’s possible to heal the gut without GAPS.

    March 22nd, 2013 10:37 pm Reply
  • Melissa Wilson via Facebook

    I’ve started taking bee pollen not only for health benefits but to aide my allergies and so far so good!

    March 22nd, 2013 9:58 pm Reply
  • SteveandPaula Runyan via Facebook

    I know that when my gut is working well, I never have a spring sniffle. On top of that, I just started eating bee pollen as my multi vitamin. Its tastes amazing!

    March 22nd, 2013 8:55 pm Reply
  • SteveandPaula Runyan via Facebook

    Spring? Whats that? I got several feet of snow out my door!
    But yes, pollen is not the problem. Gut health is and always will be.

    March 22nd, 2013 8:51 pm Reply
  • Jeanette Lopatka via Facebook

    Just in the same way that our wheat crops are so overly mutated, I wouldn’t be surprised if all our other plants are as well. I don’t think it is necessarily ok to think that it is JUST a run down immune system that is causing “seasonal allergies”. If wheat fields are genetically modified to create gluten that is 5 times larger, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the amount of pollen and dust would go up exponentially as well? I think the “problem” is two fold. Don’t even get me started on how we have abused our environment to get strange rainy and dry seasons thus creating weird pollen/dust storms. I don’t think the super storm in New York is any random occurrence. We are doing a fine job of screwing everything up, from nature, to our bodies… We need to attack on all fronts to get things working well again!

    March 22nd, 2013 8:50 pm Reply
  • Celia Zimmerman via Facebook

    My hubby’s seasonal allergies went away after cutting out all gluten too.

    March 22nd, 2013 8:44 pm Reply
  • Bonny Busch Reckner via Facebook

    Wish Spring would get to us! Still cold and windy here.

    March 22nd, 2013 8:40 pm Reply
  • JoDee Vale via Facebook

    Sarah, I have been gluten-free for nearly 20 years (celiac). Last year I dropped all grains and started fermenting vegetables. Recently, I started making kefir from whole raw milk. Oddly, this is the worst year ever for allergies for me. Not that it has ever been a piece of cake. Your article gives me hope that some day I’ll have these allergies under control! For years, I have felt that these allergies had an autoimmune component. It is good to know that my thinking was on the mark. I just wish that someone could give me a timeline as to when I can expect to get better! Thanks for the awesome post!

    March 22nd, 2013 8:23 pm Reply
  • Matt N Tina Southerland via Facebook

    you so smart :)

    March 22nd, 2013 8:18 pm Reply
  • Barbara Kelly Geatches via Facebook

    it is? I haven’t seen it! We are still dealing with snow! :)

    March 22nd, 2013 8:16 pm Reply
  • Scarlett

    My daughter (5 yr old)and I did GAPS for a year and also didn’t notice any improvement. We followed it religiously, unfortunately it didn’t work for us. I was so optimistic about it and it was a huge let down. We have celiac and food allergies and also I’m asthmatic and have seasonal allergies too.

    March 22nd, 2013 7:58 pm Reply
    • Melissa

      I haven’t done GAPS but have read about it…my understanding is that it usually takes at LEAST 18 months and often longer for adults. Especially for people with significant gut damage. Don’t stop now! After all that work keep going! Good luck.

      April 21st, 2014 6:01 pm Reply
  • Deb Garnett via Facebook

    all of my seasonal allergies went away when I went gluten-free… food for thought!!

    March 22nd, 2013 7:54 pm Reply
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  • christmasdecoration.webnode.com

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road. Cheers

    November 10th, 2012 11:05 am Reply
  • Cayce H. Cronk

    Was wandering as far as probiotics go has anyone tried Dr. Ohirras probiotics? I have used then with great success and wandered why I don’t hear of others talking about them or using them. I will have to check out biokult and the others but wandering what you all thought about Dr.Ohirras probiotics!

    October 10th, 2012 10:55 am Reply
  • Colleen B

    Have you done any research on the liver and how a “clean” liver helps with this? My chiro talks about this and after being on Zyrtec for like 10 years I went off it on Jan 1. Also went off all asthma meds after many years. We have been using whole foods, raw grass-fed milk, coconut oil, raw honey, kombucha, and other things to turn around some health problems (mostly asthma an allergies, but have experiences some other wonderful side effects like some weight loss and clearer skin!). But, this fall, when the mold spiked, so did my allergies. I was MISERABLE from the moment my eyes opened in the morning. I tried my traditional “liver cleansing” things like drinking lemon water or kombucha (which seemed to work all summer) and nothing helped. The chiro suggested a liver cleanse, but I was/am not in a good enough emotional place after my father died a few months ago, to attempt something where I can’t eat regular food for a couple weeks. She suggested adding beets to my diet. So, I roasted some up and, since I don’t love the taste, started making fruit smoothies with them in the AM. My runny nose would stop before I was finished with the smoothie! I still had a couple hard days but it seems to be done now. Some of the foods we eat for liver cleansing are the same foods you would eat for gut health, but I really don’t see much about this topic (of liver health) and wonder if you knew anything about it. THanks for all your wonderful information Sarah!

    October 10th, 2012 12:10 am Reply
    • Gait

      It’s true that Liver Support helps great for sinus problems and seasonal allergies!

      I see it this way: when the liver can’t work like it should be, the blood needs to be clean, so the garbage is going through to the others cleansers, and often to the one who are not the best.

      When your liver can clean up things well, a lot other things are going well too!

      April 15th, 2014 2:01 pm Reply
      • Ania

        Not to mention that the liver is a major digestive organ. It is the organ that secretes bile to help properly digest fats.

        May 16th, 2014 12:12 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    Oh my gosh! You just described me EXACTLY. I suddenly developed allergies one day when I was about 24 years old. I am now 46 and each year they get worse and worse and worse. In fact, I am not infamous with a government inspector at my hospital because my allergies were so bad. She insisted I must be sick and refused to let me sit by her during my interview! I actually sneeze so many times in a row that I have blacked out. I have no idea what my voice sounds like since I have been nasally for years AND I have hardly any sense of taste left. It is depressing. Yes, Benedryl is my best friend.

    August 22nd, 2012 8:09 pm Reply
  • Peter

    Do not forget that the way in which you are breathing plays an important role!

    See this specific page, but the entire website is amazingly interesting:

    After a stressfull period in my life I apparently ended up with a slight from of chronic hyperventilation. After training (under the watchiful eye of an instructor in this so-called Buteyko method) to breath through my nose 24/7 reducing my breathing frequency from 24 times/minute to about 6-9 times/minute at rest…(which prevents your nose from being stuffed!) I also reduced my hayfever symtoms, which I had for 16 years (!), with about 95%.

    (Next to that I have less headaches, warm hands & feet, feel less stressed, less brain fog, etc. etc.)

    It’s really a website which contains an amazing amount of information that is vital to your health and quality of life!



    July 21st, 2012 11:57 am Reply
  • Anonymous

    I realize this is an old thread, but wanted to ask whether dust allergies are a special case or in any way different?

    July 21st, 2012 10:27 am Reply
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  • Kimmi

    I love your analogy to the car. Hey honey the engine light has been on for a week, I don’t think it’s going to shut off on it’s own. “OK, I’ll head out there now and cut the wire so you don’t see it anymore”.
    Sounds ridiculous but we do it every time we take allergy meds!
    Nice article, thanks for sharing.

    April 3rd, 2012 7:45 pm Reply
  • Manda

    This post seems to come with perfect timing for me. I hate spring because of my allergies. In fact, I’m writing this post while taking allegra, benedryl & some nasal spray while struggling to stay indoors during such perfect weather. But I’m also about to sign up for a cowshare/raw milk program. I’m not sure if I’m at a place to fully take on the GAPS diet, but I think I’ll keep a record of how my allergies hold up with raw milk. Thanks for writing this!

    It’s also interesting you noted gut dysbiosis. Does that include Crones & Ulcerated Colitis? Both run in my family. While I’m not showing either symptoms yet, my spring time allergies are frankly horrendous.

    March 24th, 2012 5:49 pm Reply
  • Esther

    What’s been a huge help for me this year ( and I know it’ll help anybody who’s willing to do it) is what’s called a Buteyko Breathing Method. I have hay fever and asthma and this breathing technique has been a life saver!

    March 23rd, 2012 11:58 pm Reply
  • Aimee

    Thank you for another great post Sarah! When I first read about this connection – gut health and autoimmune problems (from your earlier posts) it was very foreign to me. I did purchase the GAPS books and this makes so much sense. I was always amazed a few years back when my son started school the amount of peanut allergies and asthma in children. When I was in elementary school (over 30 years ago) I was not aware of any of my classmates having any of these problems. I was not sure if mainstream doctors had better ways to detect these issues, were being told by drug companies that more and more kids had these symptoms to push more drugs or was it true that so many more children were truely ill?

    March 23rd, 2012 9:28 pm Reply
  • Karin

    Wow! What a great article!!

    Thank you for such an informative article, and thank you to everyone participating in the great conversation this article sparked!!! Yay!!!

    March 23rd, 2012 11:14 am Reply
  • Nickole@savvyteasandherbs.com

    Very interesting article! I figured there was a general connection between toxins in the body and seasonal allergy symptoms. We have had very bad pollen here in NC lately living in the pine woods, and we have even had our windows open yet no allergy symptoms at all and yet we have had them in the past. We use the neti pot and several herbs for relief but so far we have not had to use any. I have been healing my gut the last year and my family by default have been eating the same way (low grains and sugar, etc) so after reading your article I see that connection with the gut and seasonal allergies now. Very interesting!


    March 23rd, 2012 8:05 am Reply
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  • Diane

    Oh, I forgot to ask if anyone knows whether bee pollen or honey is bad or good for dogs.

    March 23rd, 2012 2:57 am Reply
    • Debra

      Bee pollen, raw (local) honey, and royal jelly are excellent sources of healthy sugars for dog and a teaspoon a day (or up to a tablespoon a day for large dogs) can help alleviate allergy symptoms tremendously. Honey applied topically to a wound can also speed healing as it is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal. However, there seems to be discrepancy among experts as to whether or not honey is appropriate to give puppies, as some believe the botulism spores contained within can adversely affect the young pups (similarly to the way pediatricians warn not to give honey to children under 1).

      Pure, virgin coconut oil is another way to calm allergies in dogs too. Start by giving 1/4 tsp of coconut oil (1 tsp for large dogs) a day to your dog and gradually increasing the amount every few days. You can liquify it and mix it into the food; dogs seem to go crazy for the stuff! In addition to helping relieve allergies, consumption of the oil also is a wonderful way to improve skin and coat health. Furthermore, coconut oil can be applied topically on hot spots, wounds, or even mouth sores to speed healing.

      Hope this helps, and good luck!

      March 23rd, 2012 8:54 am Reply
  • Diane

    Is there anyone here who can help me with my dog who has terrible allergies? We’ve been to vets; all they want to give her is steroid shots. I took her to a “holistic vet” and we still didn’t fix or find any remedy to help her. She’s a 100% black lab, and her allergies seem to get worse each year. I have changed her diet; for awhile it was all raw food (that didn’t seem to help, so she’s back on the Halo Purely for Pets foods, both dry and canned, only because raw is so much more expensive I can’t afford to give her all raw.) I gave her more baths, took her for more walks. I don’t know what else to do. The new season is already here and we don’t want to watch her suffer with so much scratching again, like in past years. Help. Anyone?

    March 23rd, 2012 2:55 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      He needs to get on a more natural diet which would include mostly raw meat from what I know from friends who do this (I don’t have a dog at the moment .. though this may change very soon). I would suggest researching alternative diet for dogs. Anyone have some good links for Diane?

      March 23rd, 2012 8:04 am Reply
    • Monica

      I came across this recently and filed it away in case my dog starts itching this season. The author used MSM to cure her dog’s allergies: http://grainfreediet.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-i-cured-my-dogs-allergies-naturally.html.

      March 23rd, 2012 11:25 am Reply
  • Diane

    Does anybody know or have a solution for how to treat a dog with what appears to be seasonal allergies? My poor dog has been having allergies that seem to get worse each year. Last winter (2010 – 20

    March 23rd, 2012 2:25 am Reply
  • Paula

    Outstanding article Sarah!

    March 22nd, 2012 6:48 pm Reply
  • Joel

    I found a recently published book that discusses all of the exact topics mentioned in this article, but in much more detail. The book is called “The Proven, Natural Treatments to Stop Allergies, Cure Hay Fever and Heal Sinusitis Forever!” and it is the most complete collection of both helpful tips and natural supplement solutions for allergies and sinus problems that I have ever seen. I’ll try to make it so you can click on my name and view the book online. The book was written by a nutritionist, not a western drug pusher.

    March 22nd, 2012 6:15 pm Reply
  • Teresa

    I have a question about soaking grains. If you make bucket bread where you mix everything up together – sit out for 2 hrs -then refrigerate over night before you use it – does this help if you add some whey or does the yeast interfere with the when process? I’m trying to make easy bread but healthy.

    March 22nd, 2012 3:40 pm Reply
    • Karin

      Personally I soak the flour in the liquid overnight, then add the dissolved yeast & sugar the next day and proceed. I follow a conventional bread recipe, just adapting it to include the soaking. I do have to add some unsoaked flour, but it’s negligible.

      March 23rd, 2012 11:08 am Reply
  • Prima Sarkis Demirdjian via Facebook


    March 22nd, 2012 2:54 pm Reply
  • Darcy

    When you say eliminate all sugars, do you mean fruit as well?

    March 22nd, 2012 2:49 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Fruit is ok in moderation … always eat with some fat though like cream to lower the blood sugar spike.

      March 22nd, 2012 3:59 pm Reply
  • Raquel

    Hi just came off the GAPS diet. I was on for 2 1/2 months and had enough! I was on it for my food allergies and was up to 4 biokults per day and eating lots of fermented foods. With my food allergies I get weird itchy red bumps on my face and neck but nowhere else and dairy gives me acne. I couldn’t figure out why my face was getting worse! Then I found out I have a histamine intolerance! Soo anything fermented is a no no! Lots of the foods on GAPS are high in histamine, once your food isn’t fresh (as in leftovers) it goes up in histamine and forget about FCLO its fermented plus fish is very high histamine once its not fresh. I’m so frustrated! I just want to eat without my face breaking out in weird itchy bumps!!

    March 22nd, 2012 2:46 pm Reply
    • Raquel

      Does anyone have experience with histamine intolerance?

      March 23rd, 2012 10:57 am Reply
    • Jennifer

      I am on GAPS and developed a histamine too! I found a Neurolink Dr who found my brain was having trouble communicating and hleaing this. He “re-set” this…and I have been fine since! Amazing.

      March 27th, 2012 11:47 am Reply
      • Raquel

        Thanks for responding. I had a histamine intolerance before I started GAPS. What is a neurolink Dr.?? Are you still on GAPS??

        March 29th, 2012 12:09 pm Reply
  • dani

    I only eat raw dairy, but what do you think about melting raw cheese, or using raw cream to make soup? Do you think it destroys the benefits and enzymes?

    March 22nd, 2012 2:18 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Melting cheese makes it quite ama producing, which in Ayurveda means mucous forming. Not good for those with seasonal allergies.

      March 22nd, 2012 4:00 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        I would add cream after the soup is made .. at the table for example. Cooked cream can be mucous forming as well which you want to avoid during the spring when pollen is everywhere.

        March 22nd, 2012 4:02 pm Reply
  • Beth

    We’ve followed a mostly WAPF diet for almost 2 years and our dd is having allergies this year. Usually no problem or very little with pollen. She has been gluten free for over 2 years and rarely has sugar, but we do use maple syrup, honey. Only raw milk, cream and butter for 2 years. I think this IS a particularly bad year for pollen. We’ve been giving her nettle leaves capsules and seeing some improvement but not much/enough yet. It’s frustrating as we are trying to do everything right.

    March 22nd, 2012 2:07 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I would suggest lots of bone broths. A small cup with every meal would be highly beneficial.

      March 22nd, 2012 4:01 pm Reply
  • Stacy

    ::sigh:: I have had allergies (seasonal and cats) since I was about 8 years old. I also have keratitis polaris on my arms (relative of excema) which started when I was about 10. I have looked into GAPs but doesn’t it take YEARS?? I have a young family with a very picky husband and many small children and it just does not look doable.

    March 22nd, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Stacy, many folks on GAPS find immediate relief after a period of days or weeks of detoxing. There was a post last week about a gal who healed from lifelong ulcerative colitis using GAPS for only 1 year.

      March 22nd, 2012 2:01 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Stacy, you definitely have a challenge if your husband is not on board. Determination would definitely be required. Maybe now is not a good time … sometime later might be better for you. You will have to be the judge of that.

        March 22nd, 2012 2:02 pm Reply
  • Maeghan Fredriksson via Facebook

    My allergies wer so bad as a child, I “had to have my adenoids removed”. I tried countless pills and still had an unbearable stuffy nose. 95% of the summer I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Now, after changing my diet to one modeled after the nourishing traditions book, I’m allergy free. I can actually enjoy summer now. Thinking back on it makes me want to cry. Not one doctor told my parents to change my diet.

    March 22nd, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
  • JulieG

    Here in Fayetteville, NC is one of the heaviest pollen areas. My bright red truck is yellow during this time. The drs recommend eating a tsp of honey every day that is made here in Fayetteville with the pollen here and we have much less symptoms.

    March 22nd, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
  • Megan

    I’ve been unable to find a source of raw milk as it is prohibited in Canada. Can you suggest an alternative?

    March 22nd, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Go to this blog and click on the graphic for Cowshare Canada.


      March 22nd, 2012 2:03 pm Reply
      • Megan

        Thanks – unfortunately cow shares are also prohibited. Do you suggest avoiding milk altogether over drinking pasteurized milk?

        March 22nd, 2012 2:49 pm Reply
        • Raquel

          I’m in Canada, what province are you in?

          March 22nd, 2012 2:53 pm Reply
          • Megan

            I’m in Calgary, you?

            March 22nd, 2012 3:18 pm
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Cowshares are ok … I know several folks in Canada who get raw milk this way. Click on the Cowshare Canada and send in the application.

          If I could not get raw milk, I would not drink milk. Just me. Pasteurized milk is just another processed food that should be avoided.

          March 22nd, 2012 4:04 pm Reply
          • Raquel

            Saskatchewan :)

            March 22nd, 2012 4:14 pm
          • Megan

            Different provinces have different rules, as do the states. I have discovered that it is not legal in my province for a farmer to keep a cow for the purposes of a cow share. The link that you sent to me is focused in Ontario which is 1800 miles from where I live, a long drive for a cow share 😉 However I do appreciate the effort and the answers. :)

            Thanks for the advice on the pasteurized milk.

            March 22nd, 2012 4:25 pm
  • Susie Johns Foster via Facebook

    I believe as I get older I don’t have as many allergies as I did when I was younger.

    March 22nd, 2012 1:42 pm Reply
  • Jessica K

    I’m grateful for posts like these! I have suffered allergy issues for as long as I can remember. It startedin childhood with food allergies. For me, this has been a very debilitating disease. I am severely allergic to Live Oak pollen and like Sarah live in the Tampa area. Spring is not merely unpleasant but debilitating. My entire life doctors never seamed to offer anything useful. Now I have two young daughters with allergy and asthma issues. I would have done anything to gave prevented this disease from progressing as far as it has for me. Now, with the knowledge I now posses, I have the opportunity to make a difference for my girls. Thank you again, Sarah, for posts like these.

    March 22nd, 2012 12:57 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Jessica, you go girl. A Mom armed with information can rock the world. We can’t change what we didn’t know in the past, but we most certainly can change what we do in the future based on information and wisdom we have gained.

      March 22nd, 2012 1:57 pm Reply
  • mari

    I don’t think Sarah called grains the root of all evil. She has said repeatedly in many blogs how important they are in the diet when prepared properly. In this case she’s talking about avoiding grains for healing, and that healing wouldn’t be needed if our guts weren’t off balance. Even grains prepared traditionally can feed the bad stuff in the gut, so avoiding them for a period of time will make healing easier and faster. This is an excellent post, Sarah, and I’m so glad you’ve put all this information in one place. I’m going to pass this one on. Most people still don’t believe me about pasteurized milk and highly refined grains and copious amounts of sugar…yet they don’t understand how my doesn’t get sick or allergies. Thank you.

    March 22nd, 2012 12:45 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thank you Mari. I am not an extremist about grains at all. Grains play an important role in the diet and I for one am soaking a huge bowl of waffle batter as I type this for a waffle fest with my family this weekend. There is nothing wrong with grains but sometimes a temporary respite for gut healing is necessary. Balance and wisdom in our approach and evaluation of our personal circumstances is always key to successful healing.

      March 22nd, 2012 1:59 pm Reply
  • Tasha L.

    What product would you recommend as a “therapeutic strength probiotic”? We are starting this month as a family to work on our gut flora (we eat a very healthful diet already, but we want to take it up a notch). Are there different products you recommend for children and adults?

    March 22nd, 2012 12:35 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      BioKult is the best one I have tried. Second best would be Garden of Life’s Primal Defense. BioKult is way better than GOL though in my personal experience. BioKult can be used for both children and adults. The dosage is different though so be sure to check for that. On my resources page under supplements is a company that sells BioKult and their website is quite good at providing dosage info and other useful info for using probiotics when traveling to ward off any intestinal illness etc.

      March 22nd, 2012 12:43 pm Reply
      • Tasha L.

        I can’t find this on your resources page…maybe I’m overlooking it somehow?

        March 22nd, 2012 1:28 pm Reply
  • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

    This is very interesting.

    I will say that I had a horrible gut condition and suffered terribly from allergies to the point that I was debilitated.

    I have improved my diet, but I do think hormones are involved too. I had NO symptoms whatsoever when I was pregnant.

    Also, allergy shots or drops are a great solution for those in dire need. I checked the adjuvants and found nothing problematic.

    March 22nd, 2012 12:30 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Pregnancy hormones suppress the immune system and while may provide temporary relief, it also gives pathogens in the gut an ideal opportunity to take over which is one reason why women tend to get more severe gut dysbiosis problems the more children they have. I know my Mom has an iron gut but after her 7th child was born, came down with severe IBS.

      March 22nd, 2012 12:45 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Kenny that is great to hear. I notice that in the spring, I have to be careful about eating out or eating any treats much more than other times of the year or I will start sneezing etc from it. If I stay on the wagon with traditional diet, I’m good to go. Much less wiggle room in the spring with the constant pollen irritant which really sets off an immune system that might be imbalanced for whatever reason.

    March 22nd, 2012 12:26 pm Reply
  • Kenny Friedman via Facebook

    I have definitely seen an improvement in my seasonal allergies since changing my diet to a traditional diet and paying more attention to gut flora. I noticed it last year when friends were suffering thru what they called “the worst allergy season ever” and I was okay, for the most part.

    March 22nd, 2012 12:19 pm Reply
  • Jesse

    Hi Sarah,
    I do understand what you wrote and agree. I am just really wondering why is it that allergies flare up mainly when the pollen is abundant, when pollen is not the culprit? I may have missed that in the article?

    March 22nd, 2012 11:39 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The pollen triggers an immune system overreaction. When there is no pollen, the immune system is still just as whacked … the pollen just makes it more evident is all.

      So, moving to a place where your allergies don’t bother you won’t fix the problem either. The problem is still there … the pollen is just not triggering it.

      March 22nd, 2012 11:58 am Reply
  • Charlene

    I have also been reading Matt Stone’s ideas about problems with both GAPS and Paleo diets – especially when carried on for extended periods of time. Avoidance of all grains and carbs may give an initial feeling of wellness – Matt believes due to a surge of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands – overtime the thyroid gets stressed from lack of carbs and metabolism slows lowering body temperature which can lead to more infections and hormonal dysregulation. The adrenal glands may become fatigued from overuse and the our receptors for adrenal hormones may become desensitized. I think Allison’s right about staying safer with a WAPF diet of properly prepared grains rather than avoiding all grains.

    March 22nd, 2012 11:31 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      GAPS is not supposed to be for an extended period of time. 3 years is the max for the majority of people. My husband and I only needed 6 months on it and that was all we needed.

      Grains and sugars (all disaccharrides) need to be avoided temporarily to heal the gut. Period. This is not a life sentence however which is the great news.

      March 22nd, 2012 11:34 am Reply
    • Ariel

      The GAPS diet is NOT a low carb diet. It is an elimination of disaccharides. Please READ her book.

      March 22nd, 2012 12:33 pm Reply
      • Emily @ Butter Believer


        Neither is GAPS anywhere near in the same school of thought as the Paleo diet. Both are whole-food-based and eschew grains. That’s about where the similarities end.

        As Sarah has reiterated, GAPS is intended to be a temporary healing protocol, not a “lifestyle” like the Paleo/Primal movement.

        I believe Matt Stone is spot-on in his evidence-based thoughts regarding low-carb dieting. There is absolutely no reason to eat low-carb while on GAPS. It’s not recommended, it’s not necessary, and it’s not healthy. I’m on GAPS, and I actually am working on implementing RRARF with GAPS-legal foods to improve my body temps and hormones. But while my gut is healing, I’ll be staying away from grains. Again, like Sarah said, you cannot heal from gut dysbiosis while eating grains and disaccharides.

        March 22nd, 2012 5:28 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Yes yes yes!!!! It’s a healing diet, not Paleo.

        March 22nd, 2012 9:32 pm Reply
    • Dan

      Also, Paleo/Primal is NOT low carb. I do it and currently get about 30% of calories form carbs, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, white rice and fruit.

      March 23rd, 2012 9:41 am Reply
      • A.B.

        I have a question here for you Gapsters referring with the comment above about food allergies being hard to diagnose. My daughter went on GAPS at the age of 9 months for a little over a year to heal multiple food allergies. The last food that gave her eczema/hives was milk (raw of course, pasteurized made her throw up). Around 20 months, I began adding kefir and yogurt into her diet and joyfully noticed that she had no reaction. I tried raw milk and she took it just fine. We went off GAPS a few weeks after as her weight was good and she had no more eczema. However, a few days ago, I gave her a yogurt smoothie, and, being a messy two year old, she began rubbing it on her belly. A bunch or hives appeared. Does this mean she still has an allergy although there is no visible signs when she ingests it? Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks!

        March 23rd, 2012 9:59 am Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I don’t have an issue with grains at all. I eat them myself carefully prepared.

    Avoidance of grains and starches is helpful and nothing short of miraculous for many as a short term dietary approach for healing the gut wall and repairing our best little microscopic friends .. the enterocytes that guard any baddies in the gut from making it through that gut wall into our blood.

    March 22nd, 2012 11:21 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Also, am I understanding you that on GAPS you didn’t take any supplements and ate buckwheat? You absolutely must take a therapeutic strength probiotic while on GAPS for it to work. The diet alone will not be sufficient. Also, buckwheat is best avoided also from what I learned from Nora Gedgaudas who says if I am remembering correctly there is a compound in there that is similar to gluten that causes problems in many people. Buckwheat is on the avoid list for GAPS.

      March 22nd, 2012 11:32 am Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        I’m glad you’re feeling better. One month is not a long time though. I would also be careful as I hear that Matt Stone recommends soda and candy bars too. I would be very cautious about accepting dietary advice from someone who has these sorts of ideas.

        March 22nd, 2012 9:31 pm Reply
      • Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse

        I agree that GAPS in no way suggests low-carb eating. If it had made that suggestion there is no way I would have put my 2-year-old child on it. If the individual intentionally or unintentionally eats low-carb while on GAPS, then perhaps that is where all of the low-carb issues Matt Stone describes would come in. I have not read enough of Matt Stone’s work to know for sure (although I plan to read it). What I do know is that there is a reason the GAPS Diet excludes grains and gluten. It is a reason based in bio-chemical fact and having to do with the pathophysiology of intestinal hyperpermeability and the size of the sugar molecules, as Sarah has stated Dr. Campbell-McBride has written. The pathophysiology that Dr. Campbell-McBride states is also there for anyone to read in the immunology, neurology, and gastroenterological peer-reviewed literature. My child would not have been placed on the GAPS Diet unless what I read in the peer-reviewed literature corroborated with Dr. Campbell-McBride’s claims.

        I also agree that Dr. Campbell-McBride never suggested staying on GAPS for more than 2-3 years. She actually states otherwise.

        If a child can eat foods to which they were previously allergic within a month of starting any plan (GAPS included), then I would suspect an error in the allergy testing process, rather than a healing from the new diet. I have a child with food allergies and have read a few immunology textbooks. The pathophysiology of true food allergies is such that one month is simply not long enough for a true food allergy to resolve (nor does it seem long enough for even a true non-immune mediated food intolerance to subside). Blood food allergy testing is notoriously inaccurate–ask any immunologist. That is why food challenges (a.k.a., in vivo challenge) are the gold standard in allergy testing. Similarly, food reactions detected with blood allergy tests that measure immunoglobulin G (IgG) are notoriously inaccurate. Unless there is an IgE-mediated reaction, it is not a true immune-mediated food allergy, and is instead an intolerance. Again, it seems unlikely that any diet could cure even a food intolerance in a month’s time. I would expect testing error.

        A child whose allergies are getting worse at first on GAPS would actually be a sign of healing according to Dr. McBride. She notes that as the gut begins to heal, the body tends to communicate better regarding what it does and does not want during the healing process. I have experienced this myself on GAPS. Perhaps if a child stops showing food allergy symptoms within a month’s time off of GAPS it would be a sign that the body is once again picking its battles carefully, and only choosing to react to those foods to which it is severely allergic out of a sense of being overwhelmed by a background/baseline level of inflammation that is again heightened. It is also possible that die-off reactions (a major part of the healing process during GAPS) were mistaken for allergic reactions to foods. My daughter and I have rashes anytime we increase our doses of probiotics. The rash looks just like a food allergy rash. How do I know it is not a food allergy? It happens every time we increase the probiotics, regardless of what we have eaten that day.

        I have done strict GAPS for the past 5 months. My seasonal allergies have been less severe this year than ever before. Is the fact that I am not yet cured of my allergies a sign that GAPS is not working? I don’t think so. I think it is a sign that I need to stay on it longer. Years of damage cannot be undone quickly.

        As for GAPS (as it is written by Dr. Campbell-McBride) causing hormonal dysfunction, I do not agree with that line of thinking. Also suggesting that increasing ones carbs, to the levels I have read about Matt Stone’s followers doing on other blogs, will fix one’s hormones does not make good sense when one considers the pathophysiology of insulin resistance and the effects of excess insulin on hormone production. Whether or not these folks are accurately following Matt Stone’s advice, I do not know. As an anecdote, my PCOS symptoms have never been more in check than they are on GAPS. As most women with PCOS can claim, I have laboratory results showing precisely how messed up my hormones were off of GAPS when I was having symptoms. As for adrenal stress and increased cortisol potentially giving me a false feeling of healing, I can say that my adrenals were so fatigued prior to going on GAPS (thanks to two years of unrelenting stress) that there is absolutely no way they had the functional capacity to crank out enough cortisol to make me feel a false sense of healing (and that is assuming that cortisol could actually produce such a feeling, which is debatable). It is, however, a medical fact that excess insulin (produced when one eats too many carbs) can cause a false sense of well-being–especially, if the person is already insulin resistant (as many folks with imbalanced hormones are). This is why carbs are so addictive. Dr. Campbell-McBride touches on this.

        There are many reasons hair can fall out besides thyroid down-regulation. Consult any endocrinology textbook, the literature on heavy metal toxicity, and the literature on vitamin and mineral deficiency (remember vitamin deficiency can be caused by gut dysbiosis). Additionally, if you were breastfeeding as you mentioned, then you could have just been having the normal post-partum shed that would have resolved on its own anyway. Similarly, it is normal for you to feel hormonally imbalanced while breastfeeding. You are supposed to be progesterone dominant (which is far from a woman’s normal hormonal state) while breastfeeding. If you weren’t progesterone dominant, you would not be making milk. This is why breastfeeding women lose their milk supplies when they take birth control pills containing estrogen.

        In a gluten-intolerant individual, resumption of eating gluten would further disturb the absorption of nutrients and possibly lead to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. So if your daughter was truly gluten intolerant, per antibody testing or intestinal biopsy, I would think twice (actually I would think 100 times) before resuming gluten consumption, even if they she seems to be tolerating it all of a sudden.

        Lack of libido while breastfeeding is in fact normal. It serves an evolutionary function. It is mother nature’s way of preventing you from getting pregnant while your body is recovering from the nutritional depletion it experiences during pregnancy. If you were to become pregnant immediately after a pregnancy, then the fetus would be at a nutritional disadvantage due to your body’s nutrient stores being depleted. It is also mother nature’s way of ensuring that the child you are nursing gets nurse longer, without competition from another child. If you have stumbled upon a way to increase your libido while nursing, then that is great if that is what you want . . . just don’t forget that you evolved to have no libido during pregnancy to protect your health, the health of the child you are nursing, and the health of your next child.

        I do not find Dr. Campbell-McBride’s recommended supplements expensive. They are far cheaper than prescription drugs or surgery. As a bonus they actually treat root causes rather than symptoms.

        Why can I not find any information regarding Matt Stone’s educational preparation? Has he been to medical school of any sort, or does he have a degree in orthomolecular science? Does someone who has been to medical school or to school for orthomolecular science review the advice he is giving? I am becoming more and more interested in reading what Matt Stone has written. So far, the interpretations of his work being given by his followers do not seem to align with physiological, endocrinological, gastroenterological, and immunological realities.

        March 22nd, 2012 10:56 pm Reply
      • Karin

        Thank you for such detailed information! Going to your site now to have a look around!!!

        March 23rd, 2012 11:12 am Reply
  • Janelle

    Taking raw local honey helps with seasonal allergies. The thing that cured me was TBM done by someone who was trained in it kinda like a chiropractor. Even though my allergies had been less than they were I was starting to get the itchy inner ears and the same day she worked on me it was gone. She cleared me for the basic allergies of mold and bee pollen. I wish more people knew about this amazing technique. It can help people with every sort of ailment out there. My son got a an ear infection and within 5 minutes of being adjusted and cleared of the bacteria he was back to normal and hasn’t had another since. Sometimes using food as thy medicine isn’t enough in our messed up world! Though I do agree with what is said in the article about working on the gut for allergies.

    March 22nd, 2012 11:08 am Reply
    • Bonnie

      Hi, Janelle:
      What does TBM stand for? Thanks.

      March 22nd, 2012 11:47 am Reply
      • Janelle

        It is called Total Body Modification, it uses the energy of your body through muscle testing and pressing points on your body to basically and very simply put- tell your body what to do or eliminate. Its kind of like tapping into your body’s electrical ‘computer’ system, but without using any machine or medicine. I have no connection with this website, it might help to explain what it is, but even I don’t fully understand how it works. http://www.tbmseminars.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=4

        March 22nd, 2012 12:27 pm Reply
        • Nickole@savvyteasandherbs.com

          We go to a local practitioner/friend who does this out of her home. It has been amazing and is always spot on, nothing short of miraculous, really! She will find every single thing amiss in your body, even before symptoms appear, at the cellular level. Then you can take care of issues before they get too bad. Nearly all of our friends go to her, here.


          March 23rd, 2012 7:59 am Reply
    • Jerilea

      I use raw local honey too. My allergies have much improved since starting that. I think it’s also that we’ve started to eat healthier around the same time as the intro of honey. I’ve got a long ways to go to improve our eating habits but we’ve made great strides.

      March 22nd, 2012 2:34 pm Reply
      • Ann

        I’ve had inner ear itching for many years now along with tinitis. This started right when I quit taking Zyrtec (long story) This was the beginning of my journey in health, but so irritated by this problem and I can’t seem to find what is causing it.

        If anyone has any ideas on this, I would love to hear it!

        March 23rd, 2012 8:12 am Reply
        • Brook

          That is so interesting, Ann–I have the same problems after coming off taking Zyrtec sometime last year. Particularly the ear itching. The tinitis is not regular, but I noticed it earlier this afternoon. I use ear candles and a garlic oil in my ears to help with with itching. Tinitis, not so sure what to do about that.

          April 24th, 2012 12:06 am Reply
          • Betsy

            And Brook – just a thought, but look into the power of helichrysum at doterra.com for your tinnitis.

            October 10th, 2012 12:47 am
          • Sarah D.

            I’ve had itching in my ears for years. Recently, I started rubbing a little coconut oil in my ears. Also, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear when it hurts/ feels like it might be infected from itching too much. I’m sure it’s a yeast thing, though. The ear itching didn’t start until after I had whooping cough and antibiotics for it at 13 years old.
            Sarah, this article was really helpful. I’d never thought about seasonal allergies being a harbinger of other autoimmune diseases. I’ve always had some kind of allergies, seasonal and otherwise. Now, I have some sort of skin issue, either psoriasis or eczema, on my hands. Of course, it doesn’t help my hands that I have small children who need diaper changes and help wiping and then wash my hands multiple times a day. =) I’ve been trying to better my gut health, before reading this; here’s hoping that my allergies back off! Thanks!

            April 15th, 2014 11:48 pm
        • Betsy

          Ann, have you looked into the possibility of yeast (candida) in your body?

          October 10th, 2012 12:45 am Reply
  • Tina

    I suffered from horrible seasonal allergies for years and years. Changing to a traditional diet that is also grain-free has made a huge difference. Another hint is bee pollen. I get bee pollen from my local bee keeper and take 1 Tblsp a day. It desensitizes you (much like allergy shots but in a more natural way). The key is to get bee pollen from your local area as that would have the pollens that you need your body to “get used to” and to start small. Bee pollen can actually trigger an allergic reaction if too much is taken too soon, so start off at 1 or 2 grains the first few days and build up from there. I take it year round to keep my resistance strong. It’s full of protein and digestive enzymes and very good for you even if you don’t have allergies!

    March 22nd, 2012 10:54 am Reply
    • Carolyn

      Bee pollen is great stuff, my husband loves taking it. Unfortunately I am severly allergic to honeybees and get hives when I take pee pollen. Maybe that is a gut issue, not sure.

      March 22nd, 2012 11:13 am Reply

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