Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Allergies

There are many ways and forms in which allergies present themselves to us. Being that it’s spring, I am going to focus on spring allergies and how you can mitigate their impact on you and prevent them next year. Depending on how deep the root cause(s), it might be too late to completely knock them out this time around but you will be ability to notice some improvement in well-being right away with this information. 

In the majority of the cases, spring allergies are nothing more than aggravated and vitiated kapha dosha coming out of the body from not following the proper ritucharya (seasonal protocol). Vata (air & space) and pitta (fire & water) may or may not be involved depending on what symptoms are manifesting but what I see is that most people who are bothered by spring allergies could be benefitted by primarily reducing kapha dosha. What is kapha? It’s composed of aap (water) and prithvi (earth) and when the sun of spring starts to shine it will start melting the excess kapha the same way it melts the snow. Now our bodies all need kapha for stability, support and structure. What we don’t need is to have so much that we manifest it into sluggish digestion, lethargy, a runny nose or watery eyes. 

What seperates Ayurveda from almost ever other health system is it’s view on the seasonal changes and how we humans need to adapt our diet and lifestyle as the year goes on. Basically, you can’t expect to do the same things and eat the same food all year with the same results. To some degree, everyone knows this but what everyone doesn’t seem to have is the knowledge to take this to where it needs to in order to prevent allergies. This is where Ayurveda comes in. 

What Ayurveda says about late winter and the transition to spring (Late February to mid-May) is that you need to add in more warming foods and spices and less cold, overly oily and heavy foods.  Don’t overdo the sweet, sour or salty tastes either. A few examples of foods to cut down or eliminate are yogurt, wheat breads, ice cream, rice, fish, beef, cheese, coconut, pizza, baked potato [with or without the works] and bananas.

Just by avoiding these kind of things in the transition to spring and in spring itself, you will have less mucus and less allergy symptoms. You must work to increase the digestive capacity or there will be imbalance in doshas and also improperly digested nutrients known as aama creating trouble in the body. Allergies are just one thing which occur from not follow the seasons appropriately. It’s your bodies way of alerting you that things need to change. 

Increasing the digestive fire and reducing the increased dosha is the aim here. The qualities of food you want to eat to do this are light, warm, pungent, bitter or astringent. It’s all on you to do this for yourself. The pollen count is irrelevant to what is going on inside your body.

Examples include:
Grains -  millet, quinoa, barley, sorghum or amaranth 
Legumes - chickpea, mung beans, masoor  / red lentil, kulattha / horse gram, kidney bean
Spices - black pepper, ginger, hing, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, mustard seeds, fenugreek, caraway, ajwain and black cardamom, basil, marjoram
Vegetables - dandelion greens, carrots, watercress, onion, kale, nettles, chives, garlic, fenugreek leaves, bitter melon, radishes or aspragus
Meat - goat 
Snack - raw honey (aged at least 1 year)
Beverages - warm water, green tea, tulsi tea, ginger tea

Being active in the day is also very important. You can not sleep late or nap in the day time. Not at all. Wake up before the sun if you can to get the body moving. Get bundled up in the morning and go outside and run, start up a yoga practice, sign up for a boot camp, join cross fit or even dance excessively in your living room. Whatever it is, you must do something active in your day. 

Start by making these changes now and see what happens. If you follow these dietary and lifestyle priciples in the next late winter and you don’t notice that your allergies are less troublesome then you should go see an Ayurvedic practitioner to advise you on more specific recommendations. 

Recipe :

Garden Millet

1 C Millet
2 carrots (chopped)
1 shallot (chopped)
2 pieces green garlic (chopped)
1 bunch of aspragus (chopped) 
Small bunch of chives (chopped finely)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
rock salt (to taste)
1 TBS ghee 
2 Cups of water

  1. Heat ghee in pot
  2. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes
  3. Add green garlic cook for 3 minutes
  4. Add mustard seeds
  5. Add carrots
  6. Add millet
  7. Add water, salt and pepper to pot
  8. Bring to a boil over medium heat then lower heat
  9. Cook for 15 minutes
  10. Add asparagus & stir gently
  11. Cook 5 more minutes
  12. Serve with chives on top

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