By Nancy Chuda founder and Editor-in-Chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World

Get outdoors and enjoy the breeze it’s good for you


I recently moved to the country. I love the beautiful and scenic Santa Ynez Valley but sadly it doesn’t love me.

I have suffered from allergies most of my life however, for the past ten years they didn’t seem to bother me. Living in a toxic soup helped. Los Angeles with its radar bent days of smog alerts somehow suppressed my symptoms.

But here in the valley we are surrounded by beautiful oak trees, lavender and pastures once green  now golden and ready to be baled as hay.

Spring rains have brought a multitude of blossoms, flowering mustard seed plants stand tall and sway with the wind. Excuse me! Please pass the Kleenex. No! A box won’t do so I carry my  calico handkerchief,  like the one I used as a kid at my summer camp  when my symptoms  were much worse.

Sure I have tried all the over the counter pills with not much luck. Either I fall asleep or my heart races like a thoroughbred on a track. I can’t seem to find a happy balance.

I read an article about a new study that found  Amish children living on farms have one of the lowest incidences of allergies and asthma. Farm children experience less allergies and asthma.

Other studies have  found that those who grow up on farms tend to be healthier.

They spend more time outdoors absorbing different microbes and bacteria. For children living on farms the study reveals that they are more resistant to exposure to allergens,  the kind that usually result in symptoms, runny noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing.

But for most who suffer and I mean really can’t enjoy the day, hiding in an air conditioned car or office seems to help. But is that a healthy alternative?

I went to my local herbalist and asked what she recommended. She told me to go for a hike. I thought she was being sarcastic but no, she was serious. She said spending more time outdoors helps  our bodies process seasonal allergens. I thought, the heck with my body, what about my head? It seems that when I start sneezing I can’t stop. To combat this, she often suggests her allergy sufferers eat more pollen rich flowers and wild greens and get out and enjoy nature even on days when there is a higher pollen count.

I met a woman on one of my hikes who told me that the best thing to do is confront those weeds. Spend time amongst them and nibble on flowers like dandelions. She said that by doing this regularly my symptoms will decrease.

By avoiding allergens our systems of defense get weaker.

A little more research revealed that the Farm Effect is believed to be a result of not only spending more time outdoors, but also being in contact with farm animals. Another study published in the Journal of Paediatric Child Health found that children who consumed raw cow’s milk, which is generally believed to be unsafe due to potential bacterial and microbial contamination, were found to have lower rates of asthma and allergies than farm children who didn’t drink farm milk, or drank fresh milk that had been boiled or pasteurized. Allergies put the immune system into overdrive over a non-threatening substance (environmental allergens). Exposing the immune system to those allergens seems to help the body adjust to them, rather than fighting it with increased mast cell (histamine) response, as if the allergen were a dangerous infection.
So I decided to give the farm effect my undivided attention even though I am living on a ranch. I set my mind in a “go for it” mode and wore my handkerchief around my neck and headed for the barn. Hay was freshly stacked and some bales were very green. Horses were whinnying. Dust whipped up from the concrete floor and pollen from the nearby oaks scented the air. Wait a minute. I could actually smell the air. That was a first!
I raced over to the weeds in the field and found some dandelion flowers, held them up to my nose and even dropped into their faces. Not a trace, not even a feeling to sneeze.
I realized the best medicine is having knowledge and the ability to learn from others.
I bought some bee pollen from the health food store, some wild crafted, organic, locally grown honey and made a nice cup of hot tea with organic meyer lemons.
From my desk I could see  bees darting around  the tops of the lavender bushes. They were gathering pollen for a summer harvest of honey making.
The farm effect was working which proves mother nature knows best. Although I am not completely symptom free, I found that I can tolerate a few bad days knowing that doing something I really love, hiking in the beautiful Santa Ynez hills, is just a few yards away.





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