Many people go years before they know that their bodies are incapable of digesting or are allergic to gluten. Gluten is a protein molecule found in grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats. Two types of gluten issues that people may have are celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Many people confuse a gluten intolerance for celiac disease when in fact they are different things. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease and gluten intolerance is when your body simply has difficulty digesting gluten. Typically a gluten allergy causes a reaction to wheat products. Symptoms usually range from swelling eyes, lips and face, sneezing and respiratory problems. If you suspect you are allergic to gluten grains I highly recommend taking an allergy test. If you test positive then it is crucial that you maintain a gluten-free diet at all times. Over time if you continue to eat grains that contain gluten you can damage your digestive system and cause nutrient deficiencies.

Many companies are now catering to people with gluten allergies and are manufacturing more and more gluten-free products. Cereal, crackers and even cakes are now being made gluten-free. Try shopping at local markets or going online for specific items. Be sure to stay away from pasta and bread and any other foods containing grain. Gluten allergies are fairly new to doctors and patients everywhere so researching it will be very helpful. Look up new products online and gluten-free recipes for your whole family to enjoy.


Seasonal allergies are probably the worst of all allergies and affect just about everyone. Whether the symptoms last all season or a few days, many of us get that congested itchy-eye feeling once a year due to the high amounts of pollen in the air ,and weeds sprouting up during the new season. As common as this allergy is, it is still a hassle to live with.

These allergies usually crop up during the spring and fall seasons. Symptoms range from itchy-eyes, runny nose, and congestion. In some cases, people may experience more severe symptoms and should speak with their doctor for ways to remedy them. I would suggest avoiding outdoor activities during the allergy season between the 5am and 10am. Studies have shown that these are the peak hours for high concentrations of pollen in the air. Try taking your daily walks later in the afternoon if you experience a lot of symptoms. Also, try to keep your windows closed at home and in the car to avoid excess pollen from entering your system. I recommend investing in a HEPA air system for your home to clear out any allergens from the air.

The only way to be sure if you have allergies is to check with your doctor. They can run a blood test or a skin test to check for any and all allergens. If you find these symptoms are affecting your everyday life and become a distraction, try taking some over the counter treatments like antihistamine nasal spray. As always, look for natural remedies first but if you need to, look for prescription medication from your doctor. Try not to fear the seasons because of allergies, just equip yourself with the right remedies so you can still enjoy each day!


Most people associate allergies with food, but sometimes allergens do not have to be ingested to cause a flare up or allergic reaction; sometimes all you have to do is come into contact with them. Skin allergies like these are called contact dermatitis and can be found among males and females of all ages.

 There are three types of dermatitis, irritant dermatitis (ID), allergic contact dermatitis, and over-treatment dermatitis. Irritant Dermatitis is the most common form and appears when skin comes into direct contact with an irritant such as acids, soaps, detergents,or other harsh chemicals. The irritated area will typically resemble a burn. Allergic contact dermatitis appears when you come into contact with something you know you are allergic to, and most symptoms will appear 24-48 hours after initial contact. The final form, over-treatment dermatitis, occurs when a topical cream used for one skin disorder causes another one, making the problem worse.

 The most common skin irritants are plants like poison oak or poison ivy, alkaline materials, latex, and perfume. Some products may not cause a reaction right away, but continued use of heavy products on your skin may lead to dermatitis. The only way to test for contact dermatitis is with a patch test, where a doctor sticks different allergens on your body and leaves them there for two days to see the result. As obvious as it may sound, it works for people who may use multiple products everyday and are working to figure out what their body is reacting to. Contact dermatitis usually lasts for 2-3 weeks, but if symptoms persist talk to you doctor about treatment. Lastly, be sure to use any prescribed topical treatments correctly to prevent further harm to your skin!


Keeping your baby healthy is number one on any parents list, so when mothers hear that their breast milk may be what is making their new born sick, they are torn. In some cases, babies may experience vomiting, fever, rash or gas. These are all symptoms of allergic reactions and must be addressed immediately.

 Luckily, there is no ‘real’ allergy to breast milk. The reactions in new borns is usually caused from what is in the mothers milk. Taking a closer look into your own diet may help to sort out what your new born is having difficulty digesting or is allergic to. Refrain from taking in milk, soy, fish or nuts. If the symptoms cease you may want to try to reintroduce one item at a time into your diet so that you can pin point exactly what your baby is allergic to. In some cases, babies may be lactose intolerant and are just not able to digest the enzymes in milk.

If you want to be safe, it is best to stay away from dairy, soy and nuts for the remainder of your breast feeding. Wait until your baby has moved onto formula, to be sure as to not pass anything on to them and keep them from any further harm, like potentially developing further allergies. If you have any further concerns or worry it may be something more serious contact your doctor immediately, take no chances and consult and expert.


Milk is said to be one of the top eight food allergies in America. Most people tend to believe they have a lactose intolerance, when in fact they may actually be allergic to dairy all together!

A lactose intolerance is not the same thing as being allergic to milk or other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is a result of not being able to digest the sugar LACTOSE found in milk. If this is happening to you, then you may still  be able to drink lactose free milk but may want to stray from heavy dairy products such as ice cream or yogurt.

A dairy allergy may affect you like any other allergy. Symptoms include nausea, headaches, diarrhea, swelling of lips, tongue and face, and abdominal pain. Having a milk allergy may be a genetic condition. Only recently modern times, have humans included dairy into their diets and our bodies are still trying to adjust to it. By the way, humans are the only mammals on earth that drinks another mammals milk after infancy.

 If you are unsure whether you have a milk allergy or think you are lactose intolerant, schedule an appointment with your physician. If you test positive for the allergen, it is important to exercise a good amount of caution with regard to the foods you consume. Milk can be found in unsuspecting foods like canned tuna or chewing gum. These items contain the proteins found in milk and will affect you just the same as consuming milk on its own!

Our blood sugar levels play a more important role than you think. Over the past few years, with more and more people becoming diagnosed with Type II diabetes, it has become clear how important it is to take control of our health. Fortunately, researchers have found a new and natural way to help balance out blood sugar levels. This new treatment has been around for centuries and can be found in your very own kitchen cabinet: cinnamon.

Cinnamon has been around since ancient Egyptian times, and is used today cooking, treating an upset stomach, and indigestion. Now, however, it can be used to treat imbalanced blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. It is recommended that you start off with a small dosage first, with 1g a day, and work your way up to taking up to 6g. You can start off by mixing it into your favorite foods or drinks like tea, coffee, cereal or yogurt. You can also purchase cinnamon tablets or capsules from your local vitamin store, and take a capsule a day.

As always, be sure to consult your physician before starting any type of healthcare regimen. Common side effects for cinnamon are skin rashes and inflammation in the mouth and stomach. However, if you do not have blood sugar imbalances please a cinnamon regimen may not be for you. Ingesting an abundance of cinnamon for people with normal blood sugar levels could possibly have adverse effects and even create a cinnamon allergy!



Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, mostly during the fall and early winter months. The key is to figure out what is causing the allergies, and deal with them accordingly, rather than avoiding the outdoors altogether.

The number one contributor to seasonal allergies is ragweed. It is the most commonly found weed across the southern, northern and Midwest parts of the United States. Ragweed is an airborne allergen that can travel as far as 400 miles from its original location. It is most often found in vacant lots or on the side of the road and produces billions of pollen particles each season.

 The Santa Ana winds move in from October to March, greatly increasing the distance that pollen and spores travel. As most allergens are transmitted through the wind it is important to be aware of its movements. Wind travels furthest during the early morning from around 5am to 10am. During these hours it is best to keep your outdoor activities to a minimum if you are allergy-prone.

To protect against these allergens, it is also not a bad idea to keep all doors and windows in your house shut. Among the most common ways of avoiding winds, however, try using an air purifier in your home. I recommend getting one with a High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) as they remove up to 99.97% of allergens from the air

In addition to pollen, a great contributor to seasonal allergies are mold spores. These little devils typically start up in the fall due to weather change, cropping up in damp piles of leaves and stuffy basements. Try keeping track of those leaves piling up in your front yard, and clear all yard debris as often as possible to keep from growing mold and collecting other allergens.

Fall is a beautiful time of year. Try researching new ways to keep your family clear of allergies this season so you can enjoy a brisk walk with your kids or travel to that great family destination. If you have any concerns, contact your physician, but most likely that tickle in your nose are those pesky little pollen particles!

References Used

Do you Jojoba? If you do not, now is a great time to start and here’s why. Jojoba oil is natural, safe, effective and pretty much has everyone in the skincare industry buzzing with excitement. What is this strange sounding oil exactly?

Jojoba oil is actually not an oil at all. It has the same consistency as oil but is actually not made from triglycerides, like most oils. In this case, Jojoba oil is extracted from the Jojoba plant grown in southern parts of the United States or northern parts of Mexico. It takes about three years for the plant to produce the seeds for harvesting.

When the oil is taken from the plant before processing, it has a bright yellow color to it. However, once it has been processed, it loses all its color and looks a bit like white vinegar.

Jojoba oil is rarely sold in its pure form but I always suggest taking a bit of extra time to seek out the places that carry it unprocessed. When things are processed they have a tendency to lose most of the nutrients and vitamins that are most beneficial to the body.

Perhaps the best thing about Jojoba oil is that:

  • It is chock full of minerals and vitamin E
  • It is a wonderful antioxidant, preventing free radicals from entering the body
  • Jojoba is an antibacterial, non-allergenic and non-toxic oil that can also be used as a natural cleaning solution for household horrors like bathroom mildew
  • It’s healing properties have been known to help with acne-ridden skin and keep moisture locked in the skin to prevent dryness
  • Men can even use as an aftershave!

How is that for versatility? For more tips on healthy living, including how to handle allergies, be sure to follow @drsusanne on Twitter. You can also join my community on Facebook


We all know whole grains are healthy, but which one is most beneficial to our body? Of all the popular grains out there like brown rice and oats, a high-protein, high-fiber grain called amaranth trumps all the rest. Packed with fiber, protein, and an essential amino acid called lysine, amaranth is a light brown grain about the size of a poppy seed that can be added to pancakes, bread, soups or salads to give a good boost to the nutritional content in your meals.

The story behind amaranth dates back 8,000 or so years when the Aztecs consumed the grain as a means of garnering great strength. The Aztecs believed the grain had “magical” qualities and was often used in rituals involving honey and human blood. Upon the arrival of the conquistadors however, the grain was banned and largely forgotten. Today, amaranth is grown in Mexico and the United States, its resurgence fueled by its unique nutritional properties. A quarter cup of amaranth alone provides sixty percent of the recommended allowance of iron, and as mentioned before, it contains an extraordinarily high amount of lysine, which many other grains lack.

A great brand of amaranth can be found at your local Whole Foods called Aires de Campo. I love it because it is tiny enough to mix with brown rice or quinoa and enhances the nutritional value of your meal. Also, for those of you with gluten allergies, you will be thrilled to know that amaranth has absolutely gluten-free!



If you have ever felt that subtle tingling on the outer lip area of your mouth indicating an oncoming cold sore, you know they are no picnic. Often called fever blisters, cold sores appear as tiny but painful red blisters that dot the edge of the mouth at unsuspecting times, and evolve over a few days to more prominent, liquid-filled blisters that eventually leak clear fluid and flake off without a scar.

Cold sores are the physical manifestation of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They are more commonly transmitted through saliva, usually through utensils, toothbrushes, drinks, or by kissing someone who is infected with the virus. However, cold sores can also be spread easily by merely touching the infected surface of another person. They also get worse by picking at them with dirty hands, so it is important not to agitate it and keep your hands clean.

Symptoms that you can expect when experiencing cold sores are fever, sore throat, swollen glands, or pain around the mouth, lips and neck. Usually aggravated by sun, stress, a weak immune system, cosmetic surgery, pregnancy, or food allergies, cold sores can also appear more frequently because of a high amount of an amino acid in the diet called arginine. Arginine naturally occurs in foods like nuts, chocolate, oats, whole or wheat flower, peanut butter and brown rice, and is essentially responsible for the replication of the HSV virus.

Though the HSV virus is incurable, to counter its recurrence it is important to consume foods rich in lysine, such as sprouts, papaya, beets, and most fruits and vegetables, as they prevent arginine from metabolizing in the body. Do your best to shy away from foods like beans, whole and wheat flour, gelatin, and lentils, as they contain a rich amount of arginine. Other than dietary changes, I would also suggest getting plenty of rest, staying out of the sun, and using a good home remedy on the lips, like apple cider. It is a mild acid that helps reduce pain, swelling, and itching—the most common and uncomfortable cold sore symptoms!