Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Define Your Asthma

It always began with a cough. Only it wasn't just your typical cough, it was different. Teachers told me "He's fine", my parents said "Maybe he's just congested" and even the school nurse at the time added her two cents of "You know that whooping cough is going around"..... A mother knows. A mother knows that the cough isn't just a cold or a behavioral thing or even something that is typical of a younger child at school. A mother knows that when your child is coughing until they are almost vomiting and they are exhausted because they haven't slept well that there is something behind it.

It took us 6 years to get a correct diagnosis of asthma for my son. He went through cough medicines, menthol on whatever body part I thought would ease the cough, baths and showers, a nebulizer and finally a trip to the Emergency Room that resulted in 30+ albuterol inhales.  All because we were not told the correct information and all because our doctors didn't listen as closely as they could have.

My son has multiple food allergies but he also has pollen-induced asthma. I am extremely grateful that we finally got the medical attention that he needed. Looking back, there were many times that his breathing was labored and his chest was heaving in and out at a horrific rate and I could have lost him all because the term asthma was not introduced. Earlier diagnosis would have saved my son additional sickness, reactions to medications, loss of his time as a toddle and the simple act of breathing well.

Do You Need Help? I am happy to share that recently the GAAPP (Global Allergy and Asthma Patient Platform) began the campaign Define Your Asthma in partnership with member organizations. The mission of this campaign is to make sure that those with allergies and asthma have a forum where they can share and learn. By educating more people at an earlier stage, Define Your Asthma aims to reduce the time it takes to diagnose a patient and introduce optimal management for each patient. As shared on their website "By defining your asthma you don't need to suffer in silence- if your treatment for asthma isn't working for you, it might be because you have a different form of the condition." When it comes to being able to breathe, there is no option than to find out what type of medical assistance your condition needs to keep you as healthy as possible.

Join the group today at https://www.facebook.com/DefineYourAsthma/
YOUR experiences may help someone! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Does Nature Boost the Immune System & Beat Common Seasonal Allergies?

Today's blog post is a guest post written by Harper Reid- a freelance writer based in New Zealand. Harper approached me, asking if she could share her thoughts on seasonal allergies and what some may be able to do to improve them. Since I am all about sharing, feel free to leave a comment about what has or has not worked for you.

Photo Credit: Alexandru Tudorache via Unsplash under License

There's no worse springtime experience than  being excited to see flowers bloom and dusting off swimsuits for the summer ahead, only to start sniffling every time you so much as glance outside. If you suffer from seasonal allergies every year, you may be interested in knowing how nature can help you cope with these pesky occurrences.

If you have allergies that are more serious than the occasional bout of hay fever, you should see a doctor for medical advice. But if your allergies aren't significant, you may want to try the following natural tips to boost your immune system.

Make a change in your diet & lifestyle- eat more natural foods As the old saying goes, you are what you eat. This is especially true for people who struggle with recurring allergies. Eating unhealthy food means that your body isn't getting the nourishment that it needs, which means it cannot protect you properly.

Try to eat natural, organic foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. The same goes for exercise: if you don't look after your body by way of exercise, it won't be as strong as it could be or function as well as necessary to resist allergens. Try an hour of exercise at least three or four times a week. You may notice a difference in the severity of your allergy symptoms as you grow stronger and healthier.

Photo Credit: silviarita via Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons License
Improve your gut health If you need more reasons to change your diet to something more natural, there is a popular theory that gut health (by way of immune system) is inextricably linked to seasonal allergies. While this idea requires more research, many allergy sufferers have reported a decrease in allergy symptoms after making changes, so it may be worth looking into gut-friendly diet options if you find your seasonal allergies especially difficult.

The theory states that to improve your gut health, you must reduce inflammation in your gut. Limit your dairy intake if it causes you problems and avoid eating foods with too many preservatives or sugar. When your gut is healthier, your immune system will function more smoothly. Natural foods win again!

Build up your immune system by spending time outdoors  The best defense against pesky pollen is to boost your immune system. Spending time in nature is good for everyone in the family for a multitude of reasons- including that it may be able to help reduce allergy symptoms.

If you're having trouble getting the kids off the couch and into the great outdoors, why not choose a fun family bonding activity to motivate them? You might like to try going for hikes together or spending a day picnicking and playing outdoor sports.

Photo Credit: Micah Hallahan via Unsplash under License

There are plenty of benefits to reconnecting with nature too: decreased anxiety levels and a better chance at getting your daily dose of Vitamin D to name just a few. If you're outside, try walking or running barefoot to strengthen your immune system and to connect with your beautiful natural surroundings. If you can improve your immune system's functionality, you will likely have reduced allergy symptoms when spring next rolls around- and having quality time with the family is a great bonus!

Nature is really a miracle. If you listen to your body and make productive changes, you will be a step closer to banishing those irritating allergies for good. Remember, these tips are for people suffering minor seasonal allergies- if you are suffering from more serious allergies, always consult with a doctor.

Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who enjoys relaxing out in nature. On sunny days, she can often be found meditating in her backyard or going on hiking trips with friends. Check out more of Harper's work on Tumblr

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Gluten Free In Winston

I have been a long time event geek; I love going to them, I love meeting people and talking to them, I love finding out about new products and seeing products that I have known about as well. Although I don't mind traveling to events, I was so excited to hear that this year the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event was hosting an event in my area of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Even better, I was asked to be an event speaker and a vendor in addition to being a blogger team member. A lot of hats to wear but I was more than willing to wear them all with pride and to do the best that I could do for the attendees. More importantly, one of my favorite things to do is to share while I am at the event because just as I am stoked about being able to sample items and bring home a bag o'swag, I feel that it is just as nice to reciprocate and have something to give back. Call it an extra smile on someones face or that look of yum while they are tasting a new item- whatever it is, I am all about sharing.

Sharing is another form of support and even comfort within the food allergy community.I know that we tend to say "Why is everything always about food?!" but this is just life. Food is involved in so many areas of our lives, why should having food allergies limit what we can eat? Yes, stay away from the foods that are allergen triggers but do not stay away from foods just for the sake of staying away from food. Embrace food. Just embrace the right foods and embrace the expanding circle of how you find those safe foods. The Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event offers just that (Really I'm just an added bonus, lol).

First, There Was Food The blogger team always meets the night before the event to eat, be merry and get a chance to meet the other bloggers. I enjoy this ritual because once you are at the event and it's go time, I find it's difficult to find the bloggers let alone have enough time to speak with them while also speaking with the event vendors. And I am always up for a nice dinner out. This year's was hosted at Midtown Cafe & Dessertery. I am happy to report that Midtown Cafe offers a gluten free menu and our waitress went above and beyond in making sure to check, double check and repeat everyones allergens and menu options. I got to catch up with Tarah aka Allergic Traveler and a newbie Chelsea Jones - Gluten Free Chelsea.  Chelsea had a bunch of questions and braved my sense of humor so you know she is a good egg. (....egg! Is she also allergic to eggs?!)

Then There Were Samples The Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event gives each attendee a bag upon registration for their samples and the entire event is a type of "I'm going to just wander through and eat this, and this, and maybe this...but oh, look at what they have!" My table was filled with giveaways from wonderful companies that also wanted to partake in the sharing so anyone who stopped to say hello had multiple samples to eat as well as take home items. More thank you's going out to SunButter, The Greater Knead, TummyDrops, Gluten Free & More Magazine, MadeGood FoodsSeabuckWonders and Free2b Foods. Attendees were truly so excited to be able to enjoy samples as well as having so many items to bring home with them. NutriDaughter manned the sample area and at one point told me that she "Feels so adult, like I work for The Greater Knead." I enjoyed watching the smiles appear on everyone's face when so many of them said "I can eat all of this!" Again- food, it's what life is all about. Enjoy it.

There Were Slides I was thrilled to share my presentation on "Food Allergies Going Beyond the Box". My discussion covered how I have found different ways to use allergy-friendly products other than as directed on the package. This included how to reuse the box itself, budgeting tips and how to turn food flops into delicious recipes that your family will eat while you are not wasting the food that you thought was damaged. With so many other presenters at the event, I was honored to share my knowledge of how to use your foods.

There Were Smiles I know that so many people tend to say Come find me, say hello. I love to meet all of you! but honestly- I truly mean it. I understand that I would not be who and where I am without those who have become a part of my journey. I know that each and every person that takes the time to read my blog or check out my social media pages is a part of why I am able to journey onward. So when someone who has been a page follower for many years shows up at the Winston Salem Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event, you know that I am going to be the person who is giving out hugs. I had the honor of finally getting to meet Darlene after knowing her virtually for years. She has been an amazing page member, has taken the time to share her personal stories and tips with others and I am truly blessed to have been able to speak with her in person. These people are my stepping stones, these people are my reasons to get up every day and continue to help in any way that I can and these are people that I am proud to call my extended family.

I want to thank Nikki Everett for adding Winston Salem, NC to her already jam-packed event schedule this year. She is an amazing woman with a bunch of energy that I wish I had half of! In case nobody else has said it, thank you for sharing with our local community! I took a bunch of event pictures- so many that I thought it would be easier to share them as a photo album (here) as opposed to a never-ending blog post that most of you may just get bored of. Be sure and check the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness website for all of their event locations as well as the other event vendors and sponsors that included Simply Gluten Free Magazine, Arbonne, Beaches Resorts, Brasstown Chocolate, Dolci Di Maria, Elizabeth King Humphrey, Enjoy Life Foods, F4L Diva Bars, Garden Lites, Garnet Rose Soap Company, Gigi's Cupcakes, Good Health Greensboro, Greensboro Gluten Free Support Group, Health 1st of the Triad, Henna & Airbrush Body Work, Henry's Kettle Corn, Honky Tonk Smokehouse, JP's Pastry, Justin Case Bee Products, King Arthur Flour, Lundberg Family Farms, Made Good Foods, Maleleuca, Norm's Farms, Norwex, Passanante Foods, Pure Haven, Scented Balance Inc, Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted Wine, Swerve Sweetener, The Breathing Room, Therapeutiks, Tito's Vodka, Vegan Value Card, WOWButter, Young Living Essential Oils and Zilis.