Daylio is a free app (with a premium option) available for download on both apple and android. It's effortless to set-up and tremendously useful when creating new goals or trying to stick to old ones. Self-proclaimed a journaling app, Daylio tracks your moods and activities easily and with a simple to use layout. Most importantly, it helps monitor progress in any area of your life, and what you monitor nearly always improves.
I discovered Daylio after wanting to know how many good days vs. bad days I was experiencing with my chronic illnesses. I felt like I only had 4-5 good days before I got sick again, and I began wondering if there was a pattern somewhere. All I had to do was log it. But how? Tracking my activities and moods was what I needed to do, I just had to find a simple way to do it.
Using Daylio's tracking, I could finally answer the burning question, "How many days in a row have I had a headache?" (the answer is three, by the way.)
Imagine the kinds of patterns you'll discover.
Daylio is so simple my grandmother could use it, but it can also back up your data to Google Drive or export a CSV doc to Excel. You can even add a security pin so only you can see what you're feeling, what you're doing, or what you're tracking.
For getting back to the basics, I highly recommend this app over another that requires more time and effort- that inevitably you won't follow through with anyway.
Give Daylio a try. It's easy to set up, takes next to no time every day, and gives you amazing results and statistics for anything you want to monitor and improve.
All images from Daylio.com
What I liked most about Dr. Bassett's book was how he organized the layout: it's broken down into three parts with a total of ten chapters.
Chapter 1 covers the mechanics of allergies and chapter 2 begins to define and describe diagnosing allergies. Chapter 3 discusses prevention, and chapters 4-9 cover specific types of allergies.
You can start the book from the beginning and read all the way through, or simply go to the section that's right for you. It's perfect for researching just a few topics and isn't too difficult (or boring) to read.
Plus, a neat fact to know: Dr. Bassett is also a practicing physician in New York (click here), so if you're ever in the area, stop by and say hi! Even though they'll look at you like you're crazy, I bet it would still be fun to get a reaction out of 'em. (Get it, a "reaction"?)
Where To Buy the Book
Dr. Leo Galland and his son published this book together in 2016. It has a wealth of information in it for understanding your allergies and managing them.
By sharing his own patient experiences, Dr. Galland is able to bring medical terms to life, but be prepared- it's not an easy read.
This book will make you feel like you're in medical school, but it'll also undoubtedly help you feel better!
Where To Buy
If you're trying to work hand in hand with your allergist to control your symptoms, give Dr. Galland's book a read to help make more educated choices in your treatment.
If you have allergies that don't seem to get better with medication or standard treatment, you need to read The Allergy Solution by Dr. Leo Galland.
To get a feel for his writing style, you can get a sample of his book on both Amazon and B&N for free. Dr. Galland covers everything you could possibly need to know about allergies, and by the time you're done with his book, you'll have a better understanding of allergies an the tools to finally conquer them.
For the last five years, I had sinus infections about once a month, which, to the inexperienced means I was sick for 3-5 days, recuperating for 3-5 days, well for a week or two, and then slowly getting ill again to complete the cycle. Needless to say, (or write) it was no fun.
Then again, as someone with an impaired immune system, I seem to be a magnet for all bacteria everywhere. A papercut can turn into a staph infection (seriously, that's happened), an ob/gyn visit can turn into a UTI, and don't even get me started on skin fungus, bacterial infections, or the inability to leave the house without catching something. To put it simply, I've come to an understanding that I'm prone to get sick.
But the sinus infections were driving me mad, and as I was studying for The Allergy Series, I read a lot about a Chinese tea named Oolong. I learned that it helped with congestion, sinus problems, allergies, and even helped people lose weight.
Oolong comes from the same plant that green tea and black tea come from, but each is processed differently creating three distinctly unique teas. Being the guinea pig that I am, I ordered 100 bags and began drinking it daily.
Oolong is the middle tea between the (light) green tea and (dark) black tea. Everywhere I read, it was described as having a fruity flavor, but as a connoisseur of fruit tea, I can promise you that it most certainly does not taste like fruit.
Since I'm your friend, and we're here together in this space, I'll tell you it tastes like nothing; like a hot cup of weak, flavorless black tea. It's about as memorable as a Steven Seagull movie. It's nearly as rich and flavorful as a bowl of buttered noodles. It's about as exciting as listening to NPR. The point being, oolong tea is forgettable and boring, so why am I telling you about it?
Because it cured my sinus infections.
Oolong is semi-fermented and loaded with flavanoids and phytochemicals. It has an anti-allergic effect, promotes weight loss, and has antioxidants like Polyphenol that help lower blood glucose levels in diabetics.
Oolong has 49.5 mg of catechins and 52 mg of total flavonoids, but it also has Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, and L-theanine. And because it's made from the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to make green and black tea, oolong also has between 30-60 mg of caffeine (about half as much as a cup of coffee).
Based on the studies I read from Japan and China, I choose to drink four cups a day in small doses. Usually, I had a hot cup on my desk next to me when writing, taking small sips between sentences. It's known that flavonoids work best when consumed in small batches, so I spaced my four cups out throughout the day- and I did this for 2 months.
Even though Oolong tea has been used for over 3,000 years, only 2% of tea drinkers consume it. It's used primarily in China and Taiwan, but more and more people are seeing oolong's health benefits, including this girl right here. But let's read what the experts have to say first:
"In a clinical trial done in Japan, people with allergic eczema that had not improved with medication were given oolong tea to drink for six months. While drinking the oolong tea, the majority of the people in the study experienced a moderate to marked improvement in eczema within one month, with benefits being first noticeable after one to two weeks." writes Dr. Leo Galland in his book "The Allergy Solution."
After about three days of drinking oolong tea, I noticed I woke up in the mornings without the usual congestion and stuffiness. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but with each waking morning, I felt better and better. Two weeks later I chose to stop drinking it and test if my symptoms would come back, and if so, how long it would take.
Just as it had taken three days to start feeling better, it took about three days for me to start feeling snotty again. I repeated this set-up over and over for a total of 3 months and came to the same conclusion each time: oolong tea was making a big difference in my sinus health, and just by making the small change of adding a few cups of it to my diet.
I had no nausea, no migraine (due to sinuses), and no sinus infection when I had 2-4 cups of oolong tea a day along with my regular healthy diet. But it wasn't just my nose that felt better, my jeans did too. Somehow, in God's mercy, I also lost some belly fat and fit better into my jeans. It could have been that I had more energy from the caffeine and that's what caused the weight loss, but I don't think it was. Oolong tea is known for helping to burn more fat even if you change nothing else in your diet.
Plus, based on a Chinese study, just 10oz a week of oolong tea lowers total cholesterol, and based on Japanese research, men who drank one or more cups of oolong a day had a lower risk of heart disease. Being that heart disease is a major cause of death here in the U.S., oolong is undoubtedly worth a try for cardiovascular health.
It's also been studied on cancer patients, but the National Cancer Institute doesn't recognize oolong as preventing or decreasing the risk of cancer. But studies say otherwise: Women in China who drank oolong had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. What is proven is that oolong tea boosts the immune system by preventing cellular damage.
In my own story, I can say oolong tea has made a difference. After five years of taking Claritin and Excedrin, I haven't had to touch either thanks to oolong tea. Whether that will be forever I'm not sure, but I made a small change that made a big difference in my life.
Oolong tea isn't just beneficial for allergies or sinus problems, but for weight loss, heart health, and lowering blood sugar levels.... even if it tastes like a hot cup of nothing... it sure does something amazing.
Since I have your rapt attention and see you're snuggling your pillow in your arms, I got just the thing to get you warmed up (if ya know what I mean). What if I told you that your pillow weighs more now than it did when you bought it? That'd be pretty weird right? But I'm about to blow your socks off.
After about three years, pillows weigh up to 10% more from (here's where it gets sexy) living dust mites, dead dust mites, and their excrement.
You're literally laying your face in poop and dead bodies night after night. Now some of you may be thinking that dust mites are teeny tiny bugs and doubt they could weigh that much. Sure, I dig that my little love bug, but about 100,000 dust mites are living in just 3 inches of space. How big is your pillow? Each dust mite produces about 20 fecal pellets a day. In case you're not a quick study, that's 20 million pieces of poop in just a space of 3 inches.
Because you've sat up and thrown your pillow across the room in horror, let's take it to second base and talk dirty.
Your mattress could have up 2 million dust mites in it, and I'm not going to do the math to tell you how many fecal pellets that is because I don't want you to get overexcited. But I will tantalize you with this fact: Dust mites live for about ten weeks. If half the population is female, that means 1 million dust mites are laying 1-3 eggs a day.
Third base in bed with a dust mite means something entirely different for him than it does to you. It's way more than Netflix and chill. Dust mites love to eat human skin. There's nothing tastier than soft, warm skin to a dust mite. They don't even need to come up for water, they pull it right outta the air and keep on chowing down on your skin flakes. It's one of the reasons they need humidity to survive, they literally drink from the air and eat from your epidermis.
Dust mites live everywhere (in 8 out of 10 homes) but prefer soft places like bedding, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. But they also resemble spiders. Spiders. Remember that the next time you wanna have a sexy pillow fight; you're just slamming your partner in the face with itsy, bitsy spider-like dust mites...
But they also live in carpeting, on fabric sofas, and even your clothes, so that pile of clothes you just threw on the floor probably has dust mites in them just waiting for your delicious skin sheddings.
After all that stimulating talk about your skin flakes and mite excrement, you may fall asleep right where you lay and when you wake up, have unexpected symptoms. You know what I'm talking about: congestion, stuffy nose, and the general sense of not being able to breathe. Although you may have had a fun time, you never feel as good the next day after sleeping with dust mites. Most people think they're allergic to dust, but they're really allergic to the mites.
If you find yourself swearing off beds and pillows, you're going about it all wrong; just because 2 million dust mites want to feast on your fresh skin doesn't mean you have to swear off all bedding- especially if I'm in it. Want a sip of my green tea?
2. Buy Dust-Mite Proof Pillow Covers
3. Buy Dust Mite Proof Mattress Covers
Wash all your bedding in hot water (130 degrees) to kill every last little skin eater, and do so weekly to keep them away.
Lastly, vacuum the floors with a vacuum that has a HEPA air filter to catch all the allergens in your carpet and air. Doing all that cleaning may not feel very sexy, but in three hours when the dust (literally) settles, and your nose is free to pull air in and out, you'll think it's the hottest thing ever.
If you want to keep living a life of dust mite celibacy, decluttering your house, dusting, and washing your bedding are the best first steps, then purchase new pillows and cover them (and your mattress) with Dust-Mite proof covers. It may not sound very sensual, but these small changes make a big difference to your overall enjoyment. A little to the left, a little to the right, and before you know it, you've hit a home run in the dust mite game.