OK - this article is mostly about hayfever and even if you don't suffer from hay-fever, PLEASE...pass this on to someone who does.)
The girl in the picture could be me as a teenager - I couldn't have spent more than 15 minutes in a field like this in June before getting wrecked with sneezing, and streaming eyes.
I was diagnosed with hayfever at the age of seven. In the Sixties, I was a bit of a rarity; not many people had it then, but of course since then the number of people suffering has grown enormously. As a child and teenager, my life from late April to early July was blighted by it. It got me in the country, by the sea, and in the middle of cities. Outdoor games at school were misery, and it was a big problem at exams, and the vital revision period leading up to them. I tried every anti-histamine under the sun (little effect) and lost a boyfriend through mixing anti-histamines and alcohol and spending most of our relationship half-asleep. I had allergy tests, courses of injections, annual booster injections...and in my twenties remember one particularly bad summer where whenever I could I'd stay in my flat with all windows closed.
Then, I discovered Beconase, a steroid spray. This seemed to be the answer;It reduced symptoms significantly and I was able to enjoy days outside in June again, as long as I remembered to puff this drug into my body three times a day, every day...It also seemed to me that my hayfever was improving slightly with age. But - I still never managed to get through a whole June without Beconase.
I've now had three summers on raw food, and...NOT ONE symptom of hayfever!
OK, so we know that all sorts of illnesses disappear on raw food, and with many there's an obvious connection. Instead of chucking into our bodies damaged toxic food we're running on good fuel instead.
But why should the raw food diet cure hayfever, which is said to be an 'allergy' to pollen, and which indeed always affected me most badly on windy, warm, 'high-pollen-count' days? What would food have to do with it?
When I first wrote this article in the summer of 08, I said 'I'm not sure why.' And went on to present a few theories.
Editing the article in summer 09, I'll run briefly through a couple, finishing with the one that does make total sense, and explains the true cause of hayfever.
In short, I am sure now what food, or, more accurately, an unhealthy lifestyle in general, has to do with hayfever.
This I'd got from something I'd read pre-raw. It's that little bits of pollution in the air attach themselves to the pollen flying around, and that the bodies of healthy, vibrant, sensitive individuals will do their best to expel them.
Obviously, that somewhat flattering theory had always attracted me. Problem with that: I really wasn't that particularly 'healthy and vibrant' through my teens, when I had hayfever worst, and, anyway, after adopting a raw foods diet, one would think that the body, being 'ultra clean', would be more sensitive than previously, ie that I'd be sneezing even more rather than not at all.
So that theory doesn't really wash.
Pasteurised milk milk is linked with all sorts of illnesses, particularly asthma, which is part of the eczema/asthma/hayfever 'atopic' trio.
I never liked the taste of milk as a child and was allowed not to have it at school (we had free school milk in those days). But - I was OK with having it 'disguised', ie in tea, or in 'Nesquik' (milkshake) and did have cheese. So, it's possible that by the age of seven I'd ingested a lot of a substance that my body really didn't want.
Possible problem with that one: in my first summer without hayfever, I was probably 80-90% raw. What did the 10-20% include? Mozzarella and feta! However, it's true to say that I'd reduced my dairy significantly, so...could be a factor. (The second summer I was 100% raw vegan).
So 'milk theory' - a possible...
A general diet connection
The symptoms were at their worst in my childhood and teens. As a child, and teenager when at home, my diet was standard cooked, including meat, dairy, and desserts. I didn't eat a lot of salad or fresh fruit - I expect it was around, but I wouldn't have eaten it as back then I found fruit and salads boring! At school we used to sneak out at lunchtimes and a typical lunch was a plate of chips (French Fries) followed by two or three bars of chocolate.
As an adult, my diet was better. For most of my adult life it was vegetarian, or fish-and-vegetarian, and I loved salads (and remember eating a ton of fruit and salad each day when pregnant).And, from late 20s onwards, my hayfever wasn't as bad as it was as a child and teenager.
So - better diet = reduced hayfever symptoms. Seems plausible. But what's missing here is the WHY the better diet might lead to reduced symptoms.
THEORY FOUR - THE NATURAL HYGIENE EXPLANATION
This is the only complete explanation.
The true cause of hayfever is a build-up of toxins that cause inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes. As to what these toxins might be, there could be thousands of suspects in the unhealthy lifestyle of 99% of those in the developed world. In the diet, cows' milk is a likely contender. In the lifestyle, exposure to smoke is one.
The lining of the membranes becomes inflamed and very sensitive to irritation. The inflammation is there constantly, and means that the nose in particular is particularly sensitive to any irritants in the environment.
Pollen is not the cause of hay-fever. The cause is what led to the permanently-inflamed membranes - the toxemia in the diet. The pollen is simply an irritant.
Natural Hygienist Dr Herbert M Shelton: 'The systemic condition of sensitised membranes is present before the plants shed their pollens. With most hayfever sufferers, these conditions are present all the year round. They do not become conscious of the sensitivitiy of their membranes until these are brought into contact with outside irritants. Pollens irritate sensitive membranes; they do not make the membranes sensitive. The real cause of the hayfever is the cause that sensitises the membranes.'
The reason some people get hayfever and others do not, is that it is simply that inflammation of the membranes is the particular way in which the bodies of those people have reacted to toxins in their lifestyles. Others may express their toxemia via other ailments. Shelton et al do say that those with 'neurotic tendencies' tend to express via inflammation of membranes (we-ell...OK, I'll go with that :-)).
So, how to cure hay-fever? Remove the causes of the inflammation.
Why I do know this explanation to be correct?
I wasn't born with hay-fever. As a toddler, I didn't spend half the summer sneezing. This is because it would have taken a while for toxins to build up to the level at which my mucous membranes became permanently inflamed.
As I mentioned earlier, the only thing that had ever 'worked' for me was Beconase. Beconase desentises the membranes of the inside of the nose! The fact that Beconase worked obviously said something about the state of the inside of my nose. However, as I don't want anyone rushing out to buy this as a 'short-cut', it did not remove the causes of the inflammation. It simply suppressed symptoms. The true causes remained, and were no doubt wreaking havoc on my body in other ways. And the drug itself would have had a negative effect on my body, depressing its self-healing ability.
So, those who would like to wave goodbye to hayfever, for it never to return, need to make a radical change in diet, and that is to a raw, vegan diet, or at least raw vegetarian free of cow's milk and ideally very low in dairy. In the first summer that I had no symptoms, I was only 80-90% raw, but worth noting that I'd also stopped drinking tea and coffee, and had reduced dairy significantly. Note that dairy is a 'likely suspect', but there are vegans who suffer from hayfever as well! There could be all sorts of elements in the diet and lifestyle that cause inflamed membranes. All I can say for definite is that, before raw, I'd had hay-fever every single summer from the age of 7 to 48. In the three summers since raw - no hay-fever.
I went raw in the winter - six months before the hay-fever season, and it would appear that by that time the toxins had been sufficiently eradicated from my system for my hayfever to be cured in the first season.
However, those going raw just before the hayfever season may find that symptoms in the first summer may be worse. This is actually a good sign. Your body, being freed of the onslaught of the usual toxic burden, will be taking advantage of that to have a good 'clean out'. Bear with it. Next year, and every year of your life after, symptoms should be gone.
Here's me (really me this time), two summers after going raw.
So please pass this to a hayfever sufferer you know. Because it is WONDERFUL being able to roll around in the grass in the summer, spend all day outdoors (without drugs!) and not have to seal the hatches when the lawn's being mowed!