Archiv der Kategorie: HEALTH

HOW I HEALED MY HAY FEVER

My hay fever started in puberty. It was so bad that I had to wipe my nose constantly using up about 10 tissues per hour! So I literally didn’t have my hands free to do anything other than wiping my nose. I used a ton of medication that helped a little but made me feel dizzy and unable to do anything but sleeping and laying around. As a consequence I started hating spring and summer and viewed pollen and nature as my enemies. It was when I changed this perception of nature when I healed my hay fever naturally. You can imagine that healing my hay fever changed my life in such a great way. Now I can go outside and enjoy myself in nature. I even started outdoor activities such as hiking and climbing. So here is how I came to this point:

1. DIET. I think diet is the most important aspect. I changed my diet from conventional meat eating to whole foods plant-based. This means I not only stopped eating animal products but I also stopped eating processed food. However, last year, when I got rid of my hay fever, I sometimes still consumed sugar and oils. So it wasn’t completely whole foods at the time. I usually had a (wild*) green smoothie for breakfast, a huge salad for lunch, vegan cookies as snacks and potatoes or grains with veggies and lots of herbs for dinner. Now I have a (wild*) green smoothie for breakfast, oats with fruit for lunch, fruit and rice crackers as snacks and potatoes or grains along with a salad for dinner. Very simple though.

2. WATER. I started drinking more water. Now I drink 3 to 5 liters of still water every day.

3. STINGING NETTLE. In spring I drink about a cup of stinging nettle tea every other morning or at least twice a week.

4. EXERCISE. This is not something I changed in order to heal my hay fever since I was quite active also before. However, I can not conceal the importance of exercise for a healthy lifestyle. Now I do about 5 hours of exercise per week. I arrange them in an intuitive matter throughout the week. So I let my body decide wether it wants to lift weights, go biking, dance or do yoga. See INTUITIVE EXERCISE.

5. CONTRACEPTIVE PILL. I went off the pill. Many women report positive changes when it comes to allergies and their overall health when getting off the pill. However it can take some time until the body reaches it’s natural hormonal balance again. For me this is still ongoing. It took one year for my period to come back. See HOW I GOT MY PERIOD BACK.

6. SUN and FRESH AIR. Even when I still had hay fever I tried to enjoy sun and fresh air as often as I could.

7. ATTITUDE. I have changed my perception of civilization, mankind and it’s relationship to nature. I started seeing health as something holistic and I started questioning many of my habits and routines, if not all of them. I realized that most of what we do everyday is not healthy for us nor does it make us happy. We are made to live outside, eat natural food and move our bodies. I stopped seeing pollen as the enemy and instead started helping my body to heal. I have to admit that at the time I was not very relaxed. Questioning so many things was a rollercoaster of emotions.

8. NO ALCOHOL. I stopped drinking alcohol. This was one of the best decisions in my life. There really isn’t any reason for me to drink alcohol. I realized that I was only drinking either because everyone was or to make myself relax more. Now I have much more effective methods for relaxation such as self love practices and making time for sleep, resting and meditation.

9.BLACK CUMIN. I only took black cumin last year which was the last year I had hay fever (only at the very beginning of the season). However, this year I do not have hay fever at all and do not take black cumin. But it may have helped me in the beginning. Make sure it is a good quality when you buy it.

10. COSMETICS. I started using less beauty products and changed the ones I still used to vegan and organic. Now I make 90% of my cosmetics myself with only ingredients that I would also eat. Our skin takes up a large portion of what we apply on it.

11. SELF LOVE. You can not expect your body to heal if you have the feeling that you are working against it. For the longest time I had the feeling that my body is weak and I just had bad luck with all my diseases. But here is the truth: Our bodies always work with us, our bodies want to be healthy if you only let them. So listen to your intuition, eat natural plant-based food and treat yourself like a friend. If you want to change your diet for example and not everything works right from the beginning, that’s fine. Just do your best and learn from your experiences. There is no such thing as failure, there is only learning and growing.

12. SLEEP. I make sure I sleep around 8 hours every night. At some nights, depending on my activity level, I need even more – up to 10 hours. I strongly recommend going to bed early and getting up early. This way you can use the morning for being productive. And isn’t the early morning the most beautiful time of the day?

13. MINIMALISM. I started letting go of everything in my my life that wasn’t serving me. This could be items as well as activities or people. However, this is an ongoing and never ending journey. It requires being honest with yourself and the strength of letting go. I realized  that I am not defined by my belongings or by who I am hanging out with. It’s sounds so cliché but happiness really only comes from within.

14. ORGANIC. I started buying only organic food (and cleaning agents). Also I try to grow as much food as possible on my own or in a community garden. This way I avoid taking up synthetic chemicals that are not good for health such as pesticides.

15. NO MEDICTION. And last but not lead I stopped taking the hay fever medication. I do not take any medication at all. Of course if you have serious health issues you should seek medical advice before you stop taking your medication.

*Wild smoothies are smoothies that contain wild herbs. Most of them can be found in spring and sommer. They are super healthy and free! Also it is such fun to collect them. Before you go wildcrafting I advice you to take a course on it and go through some literature. I also give courses in Zurich, email me if you are interested.

POPULAR VEGAN DIETS

JUNK FOOD VEGAN

WHATEVER AS LONG AS ITS VEGAN

INTUITIVE EATING

WHOLE FOODS

HIGH CARB LOW FAT

STARCH SOLUTION

RAWTILL4

80/10/10

RAW VEGAN

ECO-ATKINS

ALKALINE DIET

FRUTARIAN

Not a diet but worth mentioning: JUICE OR WATER FASTING

MICRONUTRIENTS

 

Vitamin B12
Vitamin D
Iron
Zinc
Calcium
Omega-3-Fatty Acids
Iodine

Vitamin B12 is probably the most controversial one. It is only made by bacteria most of which live in the soil. The only foods that contain B12 are animal products and soil residues on plant-food (and a little in some fungi). Since we have a high degree of hygiene and wash our food extensively there is no significant amount of B12 on the surface of plant-food. The other important information about B12 ist that it is not only about the intake but more about the uptake of it in the gut. Some vegans develop severe deficiencies while others live healthily for decades without supplementing. The origin of these differences being the individual differences in the ability of taking up B12. The uptake efficiency largely depends on your gut health. See GUT HEALTH. Since most people don’t know anything about the state of their guts it is advisable to consider supplementing B12 and find the right dose by checking your blood values if possible.

Vitamin D is not contained in plant-food but it can be made by our skin upon exposure to sunlight. It is important to expose your skin without any protection for as long as it is healthy for your skin type and you don’t get sunburned. Many people, including myself, claim that by eating a plant-based whole foods diet with a significant amount of raw fresh produce they could reduce their skin’s sensitivity towards sunlight and can now stay in the sun longer whithout getting sunburned.

Great sources of omega-3-fatty acids are flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Flax and chia have to be either soaked or grounded for good uptake. Nuts, seeds and almonds contain omega-3-fatty acids as well. Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, whole grains and nuts and seeds contain great amounts of minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc. Iodine is contained in sea lettuce.

 

HOW TO ADOPT A HEALTHY VEGAN DIET

Adopting a vegan diet can be very easy but it can also be very painful given the overwhelming amount of different vegan diets that are promoted on social media and given the pressure many vegans put on them to look their healthiest version in order to successfully promote veganism. Here I would like to clear at least some of the confusions.

I don’t think vegans are generally more likely to develop nutrient deficiencies than meat-eaters or vegetarians. It is just that the focus is more shifted towards deficiencies and more importantly we as a society have less experience with the vegan diet. So we have to learn. See my series on diet:

GETTING STARTED WITH VEGANISM
MICRONUTRIENTS
MY HEALTHY VEGAN BASICS
POPULAR VEGAN DIETS
FOOD GROUPS
BREAKING THE RULES
WHAT IS A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
FOOD COMBINATION
HOW TO LOOSE WEIGHT
GUT HEALTH
THE PROTEIN MYTH

A vegan diet dosen’t necessarily equal a healthy diet. In principle you have to make the same considerations as with any other diet, which are: Macronutrients, micronutrients, overall calorie intake, whole foods vs refined foods, raw vs cooked food, food combination and personal preferences. This does not mean you have to become a nutritional scientist. I will go through all of these points separately.

Macronutrients: Macronutrients are the ones that provide us with energy and are required in larger quantities than micronutrients. There are three types of macronutrients: Carbohydrates, proteins and fats (=lipids). Besides being energy sources macronutrients serve a lot of other functions in our bodies such as tissue structure building blocks, metabolic reactions and signaling. The dietary recommendations by institutions in many cases differ a lot from what is promoted in social media. However, social media in a way represents experience and therefore has its value. I think the most important thing to know is that carbohydrates are our main fuel and we should focus on them as staples while not excessively trying to avoid the other two. See FOOD GROUPS to see which foods provides which macronutrients. Also the THE PROTEIN MYTH.

Micronutrients: Micronutrients are required in smaller quantities and include vitamins and minerals. I will not name all of them because there are so many and they might not all be known to scientists yet. Here are the ones you should keep track of on a vegan diet by checking your blood levels. Check out MICRONUTRIENTS for details.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin D
Iron
Zinc
Calcium
Omega-3-Fatty Acids
Iodine

Calorie intake: The amount of calories that a person needs mainly depends on their age and activity level. There are tables to calculate your needs here. There are three possible scenarios: You want to loose weight, sustain your weight or gain weight. All of this is possible on a vegan diet and often times easier than on animal-based diets. It is up to you if you want to count calories or just eat intuitively when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Most people notice that they loose weight when adopting a vegan diet since usually plant-food is less calorie dense and richer in fibers. Also see: HOW TO LOOSE WEIGHT.

Whole foods vs refined food: It generally is a good idea to preferably eat whole foods over refined foods. The following foods are not whole foods: Sugar, white flour and oil. Also processed food should be avoided as much as possible. This means preparing your own meals from scratch everyday. It might seem like a heavy task but it is just a matter of routine.

Food combination: Food combination is a much underestimated aspect of nutrition. It was found that in our stomaches the food isn’t actually mixed but it ends up layered in the stomach in the order of how we ate it. Some foods digest quicker than others. The order is as follows: Fruit digest fastest, then vegetables, starchy food such as grains and potatoes and then fat-rich food such as nuts, seeds, olives and avocado. Animal products reside in the stomach for the longest period of time. So when you eat fruit after a meal rich in fats or animal products the fruit will lay on top, start fermenting and can cause stomach issues. So it is advisable to eat the majority of fruit in the first part of the day for example for breakfast. See FOOD COMBINATION.

Raw vs cooked: The food that can be eaten raw is mainly fruit, most vegetables, some fungi and sprouts. In general during spring and summer we crave for more refreshing raw food and in autumn and winter we want more warming cooked food such as grains and starchy vegetables. Also see POPULAR VEGAN DIETS for raw vegan diets.

Personal preferences: And last but not least your diet should meet your needs when living your everyday life. It should be tasty, readily available, affordable and practical within your routines and social life. See MY HEALTHY VEGAN BASICS and GETTING STARTED ON VEGANISM.

Of course a healthy diet also includes drinking plenty of fluid ideally still water. Dietary recommendations by governments all over the world recommend drinking 1 to 2 liters of water. In my opinion this is insufficient and drinking 3 to 6 liters of water depending on your activity level and climate is more advisable. Since a vegan diet is richer in fibers than the western diet you should aim at drinking more water than you have before in order to avoid constipation.