Jonathan: Hey, everybody. Jonathan Bailor back. I am very excited about today’s show because we are going to bring something to the surface here that we haven’t covered at all and affects millions of you lovely listeners out there, and I’m very, very excited to bring you some new information about it. And that is allergies. And we’ve all had this experience. We’re sitting there in the office or with our kids, and it’s like Mommy, why are you crying. I’m not crying. It’s my allergies. So I’m very excited today’s guest, Dr. Susanne Bennett, who is just a delight and has a new book coming out called The 7-Day Allergy Makeover. Again, that’s The 7-Day Allergy Makeover, and Dr. Susanne Bennet, welcome to the show!
Susanne: Hey, thanks so much, Jonathan. I’m so excited to be here and share with you what I know about allergies and how I can help you in any way.
Jonathan: Dr. Susanne, before we jump into allergies 101, can yo give us a little bit of Dr. Susanne 101. What got you involved in allergies to begin with?
Dr. Susanne Bennett & Allergies
Susanne: I’m going to make it a short story. What happened was, I got into allergies many, many years ago. My first original type of practice I had was a sports medicine practice. Doing a lot of rehab, PT, a lot physical because I’m a chiropractor. And then when my son was born, seven years into my practice, it ended up being that in the beginning, he was amazing. My little babe, Cody. And then three months into his life, he started having allergies. Not little stuff. I found him really to start having severe allergies, even one where he wouldn’t be able to breathe very well, had wheezing, and head to toe rashes and hives. It was horrific. And what ended up being, basically, is that I had to start learning how to help my son. Because all the drugs, all the hospitalizations… We even have to carry an EpiPen, which is a medical injection that we have to use to save his life. And it was horrific. Jonathan, you talk a lot about sleep and sleep is so important. I’m going to tell you for four years, I never slept. It was a really, really scary time for us.
So what ended up happening is that basically in desperation of a mother, I basically figured out a way to son the all-natural way, using things that I learned from hundreds of books. I went to post-graduate work in allergies and environmental medicine, and basically changed my practice completely from sports medicine into allergies because I knew there was so much more out there. Allergies, there are 50 million people in America, and it’s growing. There are so many people that have allergies, and that’s about a fifth of our population here in America.
Jonathan: What I love about this story, Dr. Susanne, is that it really drives home a focus on results. And I know that seems a little bit obvious, but this being motivated by healing your child. So often in the medical community, for lack of better terms, the focus isn’t on results, it’s on providing, for example, standard of care, and not getting in trouble, and not upsetting insurance companies.
But not getting in trouble and not upsetting insurance companies is not a focus on results. It’s a focus on something much, much different. So, with such a laser focus on results, healing your child, what did you find in terms of divergence mainly from the mainstream approach to dealing with allergy?
Susanne: Right. You know, mainstream approach, well know that we always say allergies. When we talk about allergy onset, we think of itchy eyes, runny nose, hay fever. Right? And those seasonal allergies. And then they go to the counter and they get those allergy antihistamine, nasal decongestant, all of those drugs.
But what I found was that there are so much more than those allergies that are so obvious. I deal with also the not so obvious because my son had those severe allergies, but he also has not so obvious symptoms. He complained of anxiety and nervousness.
He complained of not being able to sleep very well. There were so many other aspects. And then I found out as I was working more and more into allergies is that there are people in this world that have joint pain, that have bloating, that can’t concentrate, that have foggy brain.
All of those to me are actually considered allergies. So I actually look allergies in a much broader definition. It’s any form of physiological, biochemical, hormonal changes that you’re going through, and even emotional. That to me is a sensitivity. I interchange sensitivity and allergy in the same way. It’s totally different than what medical.
Mainstream medical, they talk about allergy as an IGE reaction. It’s an immunoglobulin IGE hypersensitive reaction. There is also IGG reactions which are more latent. But I go beyond that. I’m not only talking about the immune response.
I’m really talking about the physiological responses and the symptoms that you get every day, these chronic symptoms that we all have. And so many Americans go to the drug store to get those over-the-counter drugs. I believe that you can change all of that by looking at your lifestyle and what you’re eating.
Jonathan: Dr. Susanne, I want to unpack that because I think that’s very powerful for a lot of people. And that’s the distinction you made between this, let’s call it conventional allergy, which is I have a runny nose and my eyes are watering. And then there is this new emerging field of let’s say a gluten allergy.
Someone who is allergic to gluten, if they eat gluten, it’s not that their eyes start to water and they get a runny nose. It’s something different. So are there these two buckets? Are there more than two buckets? How are we redefining allergies?
Susanne: Well, the way I redefine it is the fact that if you’ve got gluten. There’s three types of gluten sensitivities. Number one, you definitely have an allergic reaction. And what I mean by that is you have the whole immune sequelae of the inflammation, hives, the mass cells, the degranulation of these cells, and you have all these symptoms as what you would call an allergic response.
Then you’ve got a gluten intolerance. And people kind of interchange those two. Gluten intolerance is that you actually don’t have the enzymes to break it down. And then, number three, the more severe is the celiac. And that’s when you actually have an autoimmune condition, genetically issued. And so there are three different ways of looking at a gluten sensitivity, and it varies between how your body responds to it and if you’ve got the right enzymes or not.
Now, for me, when it comes to allergies, when I look at sensitivities, I look at the way the body is responding. If the body is responding, let’s say, with a headache. You wouldn’t consider a headache an allergy. For me, though, I look at it as sensitivity. So I interchange the word allergy, and I use the word allergy only because that’s a word people can understand. It’s something that my body doesn’t like.
Right? So to me, let’s go to the root cause of that headache. Instead of grabbing that drug, the root cause of that headache could actually be the perfume stand that you’re going through when you go to the next mall that you’re going in. It could be when you’re eating MSG foods or foods that have high colors, food coloring, food additives. That can cause a headache. So when you’ve got these sensitivity reactions or allergic reactions, to me, that is what I’m addressing.
Jonathan: So allergies, then, are just a negative… It has nothing to do with necessarily negative in the sense that this is fattening or not fattening, it’s not a calorie-based thing. It’s like there is another whole level of stuff going on here that your body can react to, and some people’s bodies will react or not react, remain neutral. Some people may reactive positively, and some people may react negatively, and if it’s that negative response, is that then what you are calling an allergy?
Susanne: Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it. In my book, that’s how I redefine it. When I work with my patients, that’s how I educate them so that they understand that we’re not looking at the mainstream, IGE, hyperimmune reaction. That’s not what I want you to really look at. Let’s look at much bigger, broader ways so that when you look at… I’ve got something going because I’m feeling a tickle in my throat. I’m feeling something going on when I’m having a little bloating, or gosh, why am I having so much gas. That is a sensitivity. So sensitivity, allergy, that’s how I look at it. I’ll share with you. If you want to talk about calories. If you eat a food that your body is not loving and that you’re reacting to, so let’s say for instance dairy. Dairy’s a very common food that a lot of people react to. There are several reasons why. Dairy we’ve got a sugar that’s undigestible. There’s a fermentable sugar called lactose, that’s a monosaccharide. Number two, there are nutrients that you can be sensitive to in dairy including the proteins. We’ve got the whey, the lepto albumin, we’ve got the casein. Then number three, it’s actually that our body really does not have the enzyme to digest. We’ve got that problem of not having enough lactase because after five years, our small intestine brush borders do not produce that enzyme. There are so many reasons why you are having that reaction to the dairy, and I show people how to discover that. And that’s what I share I my book is that why is it that we want to get away from these foods that are causing all these forms of reactions.
For instance, if you’ve got a casein issue, you might actually have… A casein can cause a symptom of over-activation of the brain. It’s like a neuro excitotoxin. Casein is considered an excitotoxin, so it activates and irritates our brain. So if you want to go to sleep, having a big lasagna meal with tons of cheese on it may actually prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep that night because it excites our brain. But if you were to look at lactose. You’re taking it in and you’re sensitive to lactose. Well, guess what, you’re going to be running to the bathroom or you’re going to have a lot of gas that night. Bloated, reflux, and that’s what I want you to recognize. There are various reasons why you’re reacting to this, and that’s what I help you identify. Let’s get to the root cause of your allergies. Let’s get to the root cause of your sensitivities. And once you eliminate them and then, of course, take a look at how can I replace it with healthier foods, healthier environment and all that, then your sensitivities will start to subside. Headaches, insomnia, anxiety, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, joint pain. All of this starts to subside, including your obvious allergy symptoms.
Jonathan: Dr. Susanne, do you find that this… This might be kind of a dumb question here. But if someone is not having those symptoms. For example, it sounds like you’re leading us down a path to evaluate if we’re having symptoms. For example, if casein is acting like an excitotoxin for you, then clearly, it would probably not be the best protein source for you. But if it was not, you at it and you felt fine or felt good, would your approach still be there are basically these foods you should not be eating, and there are these foods that you should be, or is it more of like a self-test?
Susanne: That’s a great question. In my book, I have a self-assessment of an allergy checklist. So it’s like a symptom checklist. So if you have a lot of these symptoms, then let’s go away and take away all the foods that I have found in my practice of 24 years, and we figured it out from the number of patients I’ve seen. I’ve figured out that these are the most common foods that people react to, and if I eliminate these common foods, you’re going to see less of these types of reactions. So all of those obvious allergy symptoms. Nasal congestion. Life for instance, we get rid of dairy. The nasal congestion, although you would think, you know dairy and nose, how does that mix. But it does. You will see those symptoms subside. So by looking at how many symptoms you’ve got and doing the allergy symptom checklist, and then you go ahead and remove these foods. And in my day one, I call it seven days because day one that’s what we’re addressing by removing these foods that you might be having. Then, where are you? Are you finding after three to four weeks you’re going to start seeing the changes in your life. Are you feeling better? Less anxiety? Have more energy? You’ll also start to notice that your little muffin top is starting to shrink. That little bloat you’ve got in your belly. You’re starting to have better bowel functionality. Your regularity is healthier. You’re feeling happier. I mean there are so many different ways of looking at this. And what I find is that you’ve got to really look at all the things that you would like to change in your life. And I believe that we have the ability to change every part, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically. All of those things that you really are not happy with, if you make a shift in your lifestyle and your nutrition, take a look how you look at it before and after. You will start to see changes. And that’s what I find with all my patients. Over the 24 years, Jonathan, I’ve seen so many patients, over 100,000 office visits. It’s a lot. So from that, that’s how I basically used all the data from clinical experience and put it into this book.
Jonathan: I love that message, and I love that we’re talking about allergies and we talk about how it’s the quality of your life and quality of food you’re eating. Because I often use the more traditional definition of allergies. But in my work, I often tell folks that any time you hear guidance that just eating less of your existing diet will be a good choice for you, is a bit like telling someone who’s suffering from the traditional sense of allergies, just breathe less. That’s the problem, you’re just breathing in too much pollen, so just breathe less and it will address your allergy. But what you and I are both saying is it sounds like it’s really a focus on quality and finding the right inputs. Not even just food. We’re talking about psychological inputs, and optimizing the quality of what you put in your body so that you can optimize the quality of what your body gives you. Is that fair?
Susanne: Oh absolutely. Jonathan, we are continuously living in a toxic world. It’s sad to say the toxicity level, if you live especially in Los Angeles, which is where I live, the smog and toxins that are our air, our air quality is terrible. Including air quality inside the house and even in our cars. We’ve got to look at the water we’re drinking. I mean the quality of our water we have, in America, is considered really clean. But if you look at your water guidelines of what goes on in your water. LA Water Company actually gives us a booklet on what’s going on, what’s in our water. And our LA water, we’ve got uranium, very high levels, as well as arsenic. And then all the other chemicals including fluoride and chloramines all that. And people don’t even read that little booklet. Take a look. You can go online in your city and find this information out. Because what we drink and we put into our bodies is what’s causing this overload and toxicity inside our body.
So what look at is the toxicity load in your body. We want to relieve that. We don’t want to keep on forcing all these toxins in. So every part of your lifestyle, you want to clean up. Inside your home. Inside your office. Your car. I talk about the car because in LA, we travel a lot, and when we commute, it can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to two hours for some people. And when you’re driving in that car, and most of the time we have our windows up because whether it’s the weather outside or even the smog, but did you know that if you don’t push that little button in your car that recirculates your air, you’re sucking down all the exhaust from that car in front of you. So these are the things I share. Really easy to implement. Tips that you can do every day so that you can clean up everything around your life so that you can have much less of an overload, much less of that inflammation, much less of the allergy reactions. And when you have much less allergy reactions, that’s when you start seeing change in your life.
Jonathan: Well, Dr. Susanne, I know you’ve got the new book, The 7-Day Allergy Makeover, coming out, but where else can folks go to learn more about you?
Susanne: Oh gosh. I’ve got my website, drsusanne.com. And that’s Dr. Susanne with an S, not a Z, Susanne, drsusanne. And then you can also go to my book. It’s coming out March 4th. So that’s going to be at the the7dayallergymakeoverbook.com. Again, it’s called the7dayallergymakeoverbook.com. That’s where you can get my book. By the way, if you go to that site, I’m going to give you four bonuses. Just to let you know, anyone who orders, they get four bonuses from me.
Jonathan: I love it. We’re all about bonuses. Dr. Susanne, thank you so much for joining us today and for helping us redefine what we see allergies as and for, again, helping us stay focused on the quality of inputs into our body. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you, Dr. Susanne.
Susanne: Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you everyone. I really am excited for you to be able to share more about allergies, I’m so happy. Really appreciate it. Thank you for letting me serve your audience.
Jonathan: Brilliant. And listeners, I hope you enjoyed our wonderful conversation today. Again, our guest today was Dr. Susanne Bennett. You can learn more about her at drsusanne, with an S not a Z, .com, and her new book is called The 7-Day Allergy Makeover. And while you’re doing that, please remember, this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. Chat with you soon.