Although I personally don't have to deal with allergies, more than half of my inner circle does. Almost like clockwork, once spring and fall (especially) roll around, I can bet on them complaining about sore throats, sinus headaches, mucus draining, inflammation and having trouble falling asleep. They absolutely hate it. In fact, the only thing they seem to hate more is loading up on all of the meds that their doctor prescribes them.
If, like 40-60 million other people, you can totally relate to where they are coming from, there are a couple of things to consider. One, don't just assume that with the change of seasons, you're allergic to your outside environment. It's a good idea to take an allergy test because it can reveal what your true triggers are. While it could be dander or pollen, it could also be how your body is reacting to a particular kind of food or the dust that's in your home.
Second, if you do indeed suffer from some form of allergic rhinitis, there are some all-natural remedies that are just as potent and effective as prescribed medication. As a bonus, they are less expensive and have less side effects than certain types of drugs do.
Remedies For Seasonal Allergies
I'd be hard-pressed to find something that honey isn't good for. Despite how delicious it tastes, honey is an awesome hair conditioner, blemish-treater, weight loss manager, sleep agent, energy booster, wound healer and diabetes aid. If you have a cold and take a teaspoon of it at night, it can even suppress your cough so that you can sleep soundly.
Honey is also a natural antibiotic when it comes to treating allergies. Part of the reason is because of all of the antioxidants that are in it. But even more than that, honey contains bee pollen. If you make sure to consume local honey, your body will partake in something called immunotherapy. Long story short, when you eat the same kind of pollen that the bees in your area leave in flowers, it desensitizes you to the pollen itself. The result is bye-bye to allergy-related drugs.
In a nutshell, probiotics are living microorganisms that you can consume through fermented foods (like pickles or sauerkraut) or supplements. The reason why they are so good for us is because when the balance of bacteria in our system is off, it can cause all sorts of diseases and infections. It's believed that probiotics can do everything from strengthen our heart and boost our immune system to reduce body fat and heal yeast infections.
When you feel allergy symptoms coming on, it's smart to load up on probiotics. The reason why is because many of the symptoms are the direct result of your system being imbalanced. Probiotics can give your body the good bacteria that it needs in order to get your system back on track.
Nettle leaf is an herb that contains vitamins A, B, C and K. It also has calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, amino acids and antioxidants in it. If you take nettle leaf on a regular basis, it can control your blood sugar, detoxify your liver and lower your blood pressure (just make sure to run it by your doctor first if you are currently taking blood pressure or diabetes medication).
If hay fever is your biggest seasonal allergy-related Achilles heel, nettle leaf is great at reducing the inflammation in the lining of your nose. Research reveals that it's the kind of herb that can even inhibit seasonal allergy inflammation before your stuffy nose starts.
4.Apple Cider Vinegar
A few days ago, I read an article that literally listed 100 ways to use apple cider vinegar. On the list, there was everything from using it to clarify hair and clean tubs to clean jewelry and kill weeds. However, it's what it does health and beauty-wise that causes it to reign supreme in my book. Some of apple cider vinegar's benefits in those categories include it helps to clear up acne, remove skin tags, tone skin, lower blood sugar levels and decrease PMS symptoms.
As far as allergies go, if it's the amount of mucous that's driving your body crazy, apple cider vinegar has a remarkable way of removing mucus while cleansing your lymphatic system in the process. The best way to get immediate relief is to swallow a teaspoon of the vinegar and immediately chase it down with a full glass of water.
By the way, not all apple cider vinegars are created equal. Get the kind that has "the mother" in it if you can. Brand-wise, Bragg is best.
If you're looking for a new bottle of essential oil to add to your collection, basil oil is a great one. It's an herb that contains the kind of medicinal properties that can relieve indigestion and constipation. It also helps to increase blood circulation, relieve pain, heal bruises and insect bites as well as reduce stress.
Due to the powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that this particular oil contains, basil oil is also able to effectively treat asthma, bronchitis and, yes, sinus infections. One reason is because it has the ability to detoxify the bacteria and viruses that may be causing the infection. The other reason is because it fights inflammation, yeast and mold.
Get the most out of basil oil by putting a drop into your juice or salad dressing once a day until your symptoms clear up. Or, you can add 2-4 drops of it into two tablespoons of organic oil and rub it directly onto your chest before turning in at night.
Remember how I mentioned at the beginning that it's best to not self-diagnose your allergies? That you should get tested by a professional so that you can know exactly what you are allergic too? If money or time is tight and you'd prefer to take the process of elimination route, you might want to start with the following foods: pineapples, cucumbers, melons, shellfish, soy, sugar and wheat; they are all known to trigger allergens.
At the same time, foods that help to combat allergies are ones that are super high in beta carotene; specifically carotenoids. Because our bodies naturally convert beta carotene into Vitamin A and that's a vitamin that builds our immune system and keeps our mucus membranes healthy, it makes total sense that eating carotenoids is a natural allergy relief solution. Foods that are orange in color tend to contain quite a bit of them. Some that top the list are carrots, apricots, butternut squash, orange bell peppers and sweet potatoes.
Butterbur is the kind of herb that you may have never heard of before, but if you suffer from seasonal allergies, I'm pretty sure you'll keep a supply of it from here on out. The backstory on butterbur is it's a flowering plant with strong medicinal properties. Although it's known to combat obesity and lower blood pressure while helping to prevent blood clots, butterbur has got the best reputation for how it treats sinus issues.
Thanks to all of the antioxidants that are found in butterbur, it can decrease migraines, relieve hay fever, treat asthma and reduce allergy-related symptoms. So much so, that one study revealed that when almost 600 people took it for two weeks straight, 90 percent stated that their allergy symptoms were significantly reduced.
Over half of your body is made up of water and a part of water's job is to flush toxins out of your system. So yep, water is one of the best remedies for seasonal allergies. The best kind of water to drink? Distilled. Distilled water is the state water is in once all of the impurities and minerals are removed from it. Since in its purest form, it's one of the best ways to detox your system while improving digestion.
Just keep in mind that, even with water, you can get too much of a good thing. Since distilled water is void of minerals, drink it when your allergy symptoms are at their peak and then resort to sparkling, mineral, etc. once they have subsided.
Hopefully this keeps you both allergy and pharmacy free, y'all. Good luck!
Featured image by Getty Images.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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Nothing beats the “Sunday Scaries” quite like a Sunday reset tailored to your needs. While the weekend never quite feels long enough to recoup from all of life's demands and responsibilities, making the most of the 48 hours we have to gear up for the week ahead is a self-care practice that every woman can benefit from.
How To Do a Sunday Reset Routine
The beauty of a Sunday reset is that it’s something you can define for yourself. On a personal level, only we know the tasks, projects, workload, and duties that demanded our attention during the week prior, so how we choose to recharge may look different for everyone. Some may feel the need to tackle weekend chores or run a few errands, while others could find that an hours-long binging spree of their favorite TV show or simply doing nothing, can do the heart some good.
Resetting your time, space, and mind over the weekend is all about listening to your body and honoring your needs. When you pause and reflect on what will make you feel the most productive, you gradually discover what a successful Sunday reset looks and feels like for you. By taking some time to plan and reflect, you allow yourself to approach the new week from a place of ease.
How To Build the Best Sunday Reset Routine
But what kind of reset could be right for you? Let’s consider the following: are there things you could scratch off your to-do list to put your mind at ease? Did this week drain you and now you need to catch up on rest? Are you looking to get ahead of a demanding week? If you’ve found yourself agreeing with at least one of these scenarios, we’ve put together a couple of tips to inspire your next Sunday reset routine needs.
The Sunday reset routine for the woman who thrives on productivity:
Hey goal-getter! For you, a typical Sunday reset looks like planning and execution. The weekend is a chance for you to catch up on all the chores and tasks that your hectic weekday schedule didn’t allow for. When planning your Sunday reset, to-do lists are your best friend. Lean on your list to stay organized and keep track of the stores you need to visit, meals to prep, and house chores to tidy up in order for you to feel like your most accomplished and productive self.
Be sure to give yourself some grace if you don’t hit everything on your list, and be sure to reward yourself for what you were able to carry out — because either way, you deserve it.
The Sunday reset routine for the woman who needs some TLC:
David Espejo/Getty Images
Self-care queens, we see you. And we know that your Sundays are sacred. You are intentional about your Sunday resets because you know that you can’t pour from an empty cup. In your case, resets are all about taking time to reflect and set your intentions for the week ahead — which can show up in many forms. From journaling and reading a new book to taking a long walk and ordering in your favorite meal, you don’t play when it comes to the power of self-nourishment.
Take a few minutes to look back on the previous week and reflect on what went well and what didn't. Think about what you accomplished, what you could have done better, and what you learned so you can approach the week with a clear mind and heart.
The Sunday reset routine for the woman who desires to do absolutely nothing:
I know you’re used to high-achieving and tackling your goals, but let me tell you something: rest is productive. You’ve spent the last five days hustling, killing your projects, and showing up for the people in your life, but now it’s time to take a moment to simply be. No to-do lists, no errands to run, no socializing — you deserve time to zone out and reconnect with yourself in solitude.
Sleep in. Watch scandalous reality TV. Get lost in your thoughts. You’re not lazy for spending time alone and letting the laundry pile up; we know you’ll get to that later. This Sunday reset is about taking time to center yourself in the present moment, you’ll be back on the grind on Monday, but Sunday is all about you.
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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images
Originally published on March 4, 2023