This is a transitional time of year in which we emerge from the winter’s gloom into the gentle sunshine, surrounded by beautifully blooming flowers and the green that tells us that warmer days are on the horizon. Although it is a wonderful time of renewal, it bears weight for many as it also means the return of the dreaded seasonal allergy season. With itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, headaches, and sneezes we head out on the first hikes of the season, antihistamines in hand, to explore the world.
Although some see allergic symptoms as just another cycle of life, there are ways to mitigate these symptoms so that you can take advantage of all of the joys that spring has to offer. This is where our nutrition experts come into play. Shayla Kilgannon is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with additional education in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, meaning she works to identify root causes of issues to provide her clients with knowledge and skills to feed the body and mind to support physical resilience.
This week, we asked Shayla to share a case study about a client suffering from seasonal allergies. Here is an example of her collaborative process with a client:
“I met with a 37-year-old male client with chronic seasonal allergies and a very active lifestyle. The activities he loves to do such as playing volleyball, going for hikes and runs, traveling for work and pleasure, and spending time in nature were being interrupted by headaches, itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose, and occasional hives with exertion. Although he didn’t think of these symptoms as life-threatening, they were a barrier to enjoyment of his time after spending so many dark winter days inside and he was fed up with having to choose between enjoyment or allergic symptoms every spring.”
This is the plan that we worked on together to alleviate his symptoms and get him back to his favorite activities:
Food and Nutrition Supplementation:
- The client follows a mostly plant-based diet with many fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, some dairy products, and occasional animal-based protein when traveling.
- We optimized fat intake to include a balance of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce systemic inflammatory responses in the body
- We added fermented foods to support the microbiome and promote a healthy immune system
- We worked together to find simple recipes for non-processed, healthy snacks for traveling to stay well-fed while avoiding inflammatory foods often available in airports and while away from home
- We looked into seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other products such as local bee pollen and honey to add to the diet to promote adaptation to his local flora and possible allergens
- I recommended continuing taking his antihistamine once daily during allergy season in addition to taking a nutrition supplement daily that is a blend of vitamins, herbs, and other nutrients that work together with conventional medications to reduce histamine, the cause of those nasty allergy symptoms
- To reduce environmental allergens in the home, we made a plan to clean the home deeply with natural cleaning products and wash bed sheets more often than in other seasons.
- Due to his complaint of itchy eyes, I recommended he start wearing sunglasses when riding his bicycle and playing volleyball to prevent direct exposure to allergens in his eyes.
- We focused on deep breathwork and cold water exposure to reduce inflammation and provide mental clarity to be able to recognize allergic symptoms. Breathwork also served as a time to check in about allergy symptoms and make compassionate decisions about what activity to choose based on how his body was feeling, not how he wished it was feeling.
With a combination of these lifestyle and nutrition changes, my client is back to his active lifestyle with only the occasional sniffle and is enjoying the springtime without having to pay for it with the misery that comes with seasonal allergy symptoms.
Shayla is accepting new clients at this time and would love to lend a helping hand to you as you journey down your nutrition path. She is available for telehealth appointments Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Please give our administrative team a call at 206-853-0534 or schedule yourself online.
Interested in learning more? Schedule an appointment with Shayla to get support on your journey to holistic and kind health.
|Written by Starkel Nutrition provider, Shayla Kilgannon, RDN, IFNCP
Edited by Starkel Nutrition Marketing Assistant, Mairin McCurdy