I love fall—from the cool nights to the gradual change in the color palette in the northeast. I used to love the start of school! New shows would premiere, and the good movies came out. Halloween nears...
I gain a spring in my step, until I find myself chased by grass, pollen, dust, and dander trying to kill me! There were many other reasons I love the season, but the itching, sneezing, coughing, sniffling, tearing up did interfere with some of that enjoyment. Allergies are total joy killers.
If you are affected by seasonal allergies, you know that antihistamines help (when they don’t make you sleepy). If you prefer to take a more holistic approach and lay off the chemicals, there are some foods that help you ease some of those annoying allergy symptoms. You can start by adding more whole foods and decreasing the processed foods in your diet.
Go through the list below and pick food items to add to your daily/weekly routine. These help lower the amount of antibodies that trigger allergy symptoms and some have anti-inflammatory properties that block the release of histamines in the body.
The easiest change you can make is creating snacks – from nuts to seeds to fruit salads to chocolate (which incidentally would go equally well as yogurt toppers). Add an afternoon tea break to your day.
At least once a week: Create your personal curry, the type that will literally clear your sinuses! Make a quick veggie stir-fry. Broil or grill a piece of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Have dessert—make it fruit every time. And, if you dare, make the Spanish Garlic Soup, a special treat even if you don’t suffer from allergies.
Herring, mackerel, trout, tuna, salmon and sardines
Walnuts and flaxseed
Apples, onions, berries, cabbage, cauliflower, tea
Oranges, red peppers, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple
Yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kombucha
Cashews, wheat bran, kelp, pumpkin seeds, almond, sunflower seeds, broccoli, leafy greens, and chocolate
There are suggestions that local honey might help you develop a tolerance for pollen from local trees. The jury is still out on this one, but then, you get to sample honey!
Spanish Garlic Soup
(Sopa de Ajo)
2 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices stale French bread, crusts removed, cut into ½” cubes
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon paprika (see notes)
Salt, to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1. Pour olive oil into a pot and heat to medium-high. Add bread to pot and sauté bread for 4-5 minutes. Stir constantly.
2. Add garlic, paprika, and salt, stir well and cook for another 3-4 minutes, but do not brown the garlic.
3. Add stock, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve with soup with poached egg (see notes).
- You may use sweet, hot, or smoked paprika. Each will give you a slightly different taste. Sweet paprika will give it a little grittiness and color, the hot spiciness. The smoked paprika gives it depth.
- You may substitute chicken stock for vegetable stock, and you can use reduced sodium stock too (it’ll still be tasty). You can also use meat stock for a different, stronger taste.
- You can poach your egg ahead of time and keep refrigerated until you are ready to use. To poach an egg, bring a small pot of water to a boil the lower temperature to a simmer (around 140-150°F), add 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Crack an egg and gently slide in water. Cook 5 minutes.
- You can add a bay leaf in the stock and reserve when you are ready to serve.
- If you need something a little more substantial, you can add a cooked and sliced link of sausage, andouille or chorizo—and add an element of heat, if you like.
- Some folks like the silkiness of the egg but do not like runny poached eggs. You can beat an egg and cook in the liquid for about 2 minutes. You may even add to the bowl, ladle soup over it and stir with fork until opaque strands appear.