The Health Benefits of Old-Fashioned Fresh Air

April 10, 2018

When we have a health problem, it’s natural to think about changing our diets or adding things like medications and supplements. Few people stop to consider the quality of the air they are breathing. My experience has taught me that breathing bad air can be far more damaging than eating gluten or not getting enough omega-3s in your diet.

You see, I was severely ill with Lyme Disease for five years and spent the majority of that time in bed. I tried everything from IV antibiotics to acupuncture to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to herbal supplements. It wasn’t until I developed Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and started having daily allergic reactions where my face and throat swelled up that my husband and I started thinking about how air quality might be playing a role in my illness. After ruling out almost everything else, we finally discovered that toxic mold was the culprit.

By that time I’d become so reactive that we ended up needing to camp in the wilderness and scrupulously avoid mold exposures for six months. We camped in Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, and South Dakota. It was the cleanest air I’d ever breathed and my body started to heal in surprising ways. Within three months, I had recovered so much health that I was able to run, bike, cook, and do laundry by hand. Perhaps more impressively, I was able get off all of my medications for pain, sleep, nausea and allergies. Who knew that clean air could be so healing?

We are now living in a mold-clear apartment in South Dakota and I really think I’m going to have a better and happier life because we live in this part of the country. I can already swing a 20 pound kettle-bell and hike for miles. I can think clearly and work hard. Mood issues that we never would have thought were environmental have fallen away for both of us. It turns out I’m not really an obsessive person who can’t let things go and Brett isn’t really a grouchy person who hates being interrupted. It’s amazing. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we both end up having better long-term health than we would have if I’d never gotten sick at all.  

I know so many people suffering from Lyme Disease and other serious chronic illnesses and often wish they would all move to a better location. I know mold avoidance doesn’t work this well for everyone, but I honestly think almost everyone’s lives would be better if they thought about location and air quality as much as they do about food. I know it’s a lot to ask. I had to be forced into this paradigm change, but I’m so glad I was!

I don’t know if all the theories about mold avoidance and why it works are 100% true but I am convinced that some locations and buildings are unhealthy and dangerous. I really believe that living in a place with clean air is one of the best decisions a person can make for their health. After all we are breathing every second of our lives.

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let’s be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.

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  • Nanette

    Great blog, Ana. Here is something I find quite interesting. When at home in Loomis and even in the first two Airbnb’s we stayed in, I was having stiff joints. I remembering waking in the night to use the bathroom and I was SO stiff, also in the morning. The stiffness was also achey. I blamed it on my age, but even more on the extra weight I had put on, thinking if I could just lose the weight it would go away. It was in Morongo, at some point, it dawned on me that my joints weren’t stiff anymore. I had made no other changes. I don’t like to make quick assumptions, so I kept this thought to myself. But now, I really believe that this desert location and this home as well as the last Airbnb in Morongo ( both of which Kim felt fine in ) absolutely must be the reason why! I think you’re right!!

    April 11, 2018 at 4:47 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Wow! Thanks for sharing this amazing story Nanette! I believe it. Even Brett who was pretty healthy could feel the benefits of clean air. Fewer headaches and neck pain etc. It really is amazing!

      April 11, 2018 at 5:12 pm Reply
  • Julieta

    Makes me want to move.
    I am curious … did you investigate Florida ?
    I think there might be a mold infestation here.

    April 11, 2018 at 7:16 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I think some parts of Florida can be okay but in general I’ve heard that it’s pretty problematic. I don’t know for sure though. 🙂

      April 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm Reply
  • James

    So true! If only everyone else felt the same way 🙁 I can totally relate to being a “grouchy person who hates being interrupted” and treatments not helping when I’m in a moldy place, which unfortunately I still am. Often going outside (if the air is good on that day) almost immediately improves my mood and energy.

    April 11, 2018 at 11:56 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m so sorry James! It’s so hard to be stuck in a moldy environment. I hope things improve for you soon.

      April 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm Reply
  • Bethany Rose

    Your story is so encouraging! My family is moving back into our camper today after living in 3 different friend’s homes all winter long. I really hope it helps us even half as much as it has helped you!

    April 12, 2018 at 7:10 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww! I really, really hope so too Bethany! Praying for you now! 💕

      April 12, 2018 at 12:24 pm Reply
  • Katherine Forster

    This is so good and so true! Do you think most of it is natural and environmental (e.g. mold and pollen… both of which we have in abundance in FL lol :P), or man-made? Or both?

    April 15, 2018 at 7:45 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      That’s a good question Katherine…

      For me personally, I haven’t found that natural molds and pollens are problem by themselves. It seems like the problem comes when man-made chemicals are negatively impacting the microbial balance of an area. Or when mold is eating drywall with anti-fungal paint on it. Maybe the chemicals cause the molds to produce more toxins or worse toxins.

      April 16, 2018 at 11:26 am Reply
  • Erin

    Aw…that’s awesome!

    May 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm Reply
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