I've had allergies for as long as I can remember. I don't remember my first anaphylactic episode with tree nuts, or my first asthma attack. I've always been able to head serious events off at the pass if tended to immediately. For the anaphylaxis, if I had Benadryl within the first five minutes of exposure, I was usually fine. If not, to the hospital I went and unfortunately for me, my allergies worsened with age. While they were on top of my food allergies, I don't think my parents realized the depth of my seasonal allergies. They honestly really weren't severe, more inconvenient and my mom wasn't crazy about the idea of allergy shots. I think she thought those were for kids who couldn't breathe and at death's door as soon as they hit pollen. There really wasn't a conscious effort to avoid medicine outside of basic needs. But, I think we are now redefining what basic needs are. It wasn't until my twenties, and too much tissue hanging out of my pockets, that my boyfriend, now husband, said something that stuck with me.
"You don't have to live like this."
It took someone else's so simple comment for me to truly start to advocate for my health. Now, don't get it twisted. My parents always advocated for my health. We've had every vaccination, always kept regular doctor's and dental appointments but the medicine cabinet had Benadryl, Tylenol and Rock Candy which was basically just crystallized sugar. They sell that in candy stores now!
When I became a parent, I wasn't prepared for the amount of worry that came along with wanting to advocate for your child's health. A lot of what my parents did was just because that's what every parent they knew did. It's a fact that because of science we learn more with each generation. With more knowledge, can come a whole lot of misinformation. And with Google and WebMD, its easy to FEEL like you've done extensive research. We joke about Google University but it only takes a few clicks to end up in an internet worm hole. I worried about not only vaccinations, but hitting milestones and colic. Surely any advice my mom had would be some outdated home remedy. For reflux, she told me to put rice cereal in the formula and I said absolutely not. My Pediatrician advised me to put rice cereal in the formula and I happily obliged. She'll never let me forget this story.
I'm so grateful that my children's first Pediatrician was such a gentle soul. He listened to every worry and advised me on the latest studies and reputable places for me to do online research. He worked with me on a vaccine timeline that made me feel comfortable. There were so many things he assisted me with and he was truly the perfect pediatrician for a first time mom who had no idea what she was doing. Unfortunately, that is not everyone's experience.
"When you know better, you do better." - Maya Angelou
When I began my Yoga practice, I became more in tune with my body and I started to think about ways to clean it up and take better care. I'll always have my asthma medication, but I also visited an allergist for testing and found I'm crazy allergic to mold. On high mold count days, it's so helpful to know what's causing my wheezing. My sinus congestion issues were no longer seasonal and were accompanied with mild headaches, so I saw an E.N.T. and had a minor nasal procedure. Things got better. I use a diffuser now with essential oils and stopped using plug in air fresheners and cheap paraffin candles. The headaches disappeared and seasonal allergy medicine now works.
I think a lot of people get caught up in picking a side when it comes to wellness choices, as if we are only two dimensional creatures. Sadly, we can't trust everything we read when we call ourselves doing research. I've had too many multi-level marketing dms touting benefits of "natural" products and the sellers can't even tell me where the ingredients are formulated.
We all want to be and keep our loved ones safe. That's the side we should all be on. How we go about doing that is up to us. But let's not be scared, or bullied, or convinced to believe in something we aren't sure about. Let's consult people who know what they are doing, have the education to back it up, and aren't afraid to share their credentials or offer alternative suggestions when asked. I will happily tell someone I'm not qualified to help them if their requests are beyond my scope. That builds trust.
When I visited my grandparents in Alabama, we'd take trips to Pensacola, Florida. My Eczema would clear right up in the salt water. They began treating me with Epsom Salt water baths. Today, I use a steroid when flare ups are really bad, but I always start with my Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt bath, light a soy candle and drink a glass of non-organic wine.
Where I Try to Keep It Clean
Whole Foods Meats: They have SALES and if you are an Amazon Prime Member, you save even more. I try to get Grass Fed beef, but I'm not married to it.
Beautycounter Cosmetics: This brand is amazing for it's clean products. Because of my nut allergies, I'm all about researching ingredients. My rep, Gina Schade, really knows her stuff and I feel very comfortable talking to her about any product in the line without pressure to sign up or buy.
doTerra Essential Oils: We all know someone who sells oils and while I don't ingest them, I do use them for aromatherapy or topically. My kids also swear the Lavender roller ball helps them sleep. I do have a few off-brand oils for my diffuser, but whatever is going directly on my skin, doTerra really is a better quality.
Target Goodies: OpalHouse Soy Candles, Method Plant Based Soaps, Seventh Generation Plant Based detergents, Holmes Air Purifier (in various rooms in my home)
Amazon: LEVOIT Air Purifier (in my bedroom)