How Minimalism Helped My Allergies and Asthma

March 21, 2023

I’m an accidental minimalist. In 2001, I was medically discharged from the military because I had asthma induced allergies and was allergic to, well, just about everything. Apparently, traveling to so many new places had jarred my immune system and tipped me over the edge–or that was how a doctor explained to me how a perfectly healthy person could be a disabled vet by 22.

Since my biggest allergies included grass, dust, mold, and fragrances, I had a huge battle trying to figure out how to live. I was on so many medications that my immune system was non-existent and the side effects were awful.

I watched decorating shows all the time and even went to EPCOT’s HGTV guest host talks to do the meet and greets with the stars to pick their brains. Nada. Still awaiting a call back from Genevieve Gorder when she has some ideas…about 10 years ago.

On a boredom Google sesh for how to decorate a home when allergic to the world, I stumbled across minimalism. The Konmari method was a hot trend and grabbed my attention. Sparking joy for me was breathing without reaction. I jumped in full swing to decluttering our overly stuffed home–who knew you didn’t have to keep everything? (My family connected across multi-generations and still lived with many practices learned during the depression–foil and ziplocks, as well as butter and cool whip containers were cleaned for future use).

Turns out the Konmari method wasn’t a success for me in the long run. While those leggings or long johns didn’t spark joy, wearing them in the cold did–and I didn’t have them. And I found I was just storing too much stuff better, but not downsizing enough. But, I started reading other books and following other bloggers and vloggers, and developed my own sense of minimalism that worked for my health and lifestyle, and blended with my family’s pack rat/always prepared nature. (Some of my favorites are Becoming Minimalist, Pick Up Limes, Dawn the Minimal Mom, Natalie Bennett, and Clean My Space).

While there was great resistance at first, eventually, everyone came around. Even my parents purged a lot and loved the freedom they found in it. The deep cleaning needed to keep me from getting sick didn’t take as long and could be done in a very short period of time without having to play tetris moving everything around as we cleaned each area.

Our success with it helped me get off many medications, improve my health, and even find our way into the RV life, affording us even more options for traveling and avoiding allergy triggers, but we are still working on figuring it all out.

While you may not have the health issues I do, minimalism can still be for you–and look totally different based on your needs and your life. So take the first step and start making room for life.

If you are already a minimalist (because, even if you are on the journey, you are one!), I’d love to hear what launched you on your journey!

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Tiktok @sonya.BOMSquadleader or our adventures at, Facebook & TikTok at @BarnesOnMove

My Experience with Intermittent Fasting

September 9, 2022

When you have a lot of food allergies, eating can be an annoyance, or even life threatening. Add in the stress of modern life and it is very easy to overeat or eat poorly. Diets are not my thing either–most of them have things I can’t or don’t eat or are way to exact and can’t be easily substituted. I’ve tried so many different tips and suggestions from doctors, articles, videos and friendly advise, but only one of them seems to work well.

Intermittent fasting.

Here’s the other thing–I see the impacts pretty quickly.

I’ve used this off and on several times. I’d start and then stop since it wasn’t convenient. I’ve recently started back again with the start of the school year and saw the benefits within a couple of days, and after a few weeks, notice a big difference in how I feel.

I’m not a health expert, by any means, so let me share what I have adapted and adopted after talking with my doctors and nutritionists, then you can talk to your doctors and find a plan that works for you.

I start my day with a walk or run six days a week, so I will drink a large glass of water first thing, complete my activity and then start my food window. I usually start eating/drinking other than water between 7AM and 9AM, and that opens my 4 hour window. During that time I will usually eat twice and consume my caffeine. I may have a protein shake, some fruit, cereal, or eggs and bacon or cornbeef hash. Usually I have a combo of two of these during that window, as well as my daily caffeine. If I started closer to 9AM or after, I may opt for a sandwich or something instead of breakfast items.

Four hours after I first ate, I switch to only water for the next four hours, so usually between 10AM and 12 Noon.

At the next 4 hour window, I eat again, usually around 4Pm or 5PM. I may have a light snack or a sweet treat since I try to stay away from sugar late in the day (insomnia!) and then we have our family dinner. If I am still hungry I will work in a snack of popcorn, chips, ice cream, or maybe a hot cocoa or glass of wine. By 8PM or 9PM, I stop eating for the day, switch again to only water until morning.

For the first day or two, I did feel hungry and had to make sure I didn’t overeat. But by the 3rd day, it leveled off and I got used to it. I did find that meal planning was still helpful so I didn’t rage eat from hunger or stress and overconsume, but this wasn’t too much of an issue. I also noticed that, if I happened to consume something that triggered my food allergies or sensitivities, it wouldn’t be as severe or require medicine, like it usually did.

Occasionally, a family or social event will fall during my fasting times and I don’t worry about it. I try to still eat lighter, but then I just fast for 4 hours after.

Why is this a good thing? Well, by constantly eating, our sugar levels stay constantly high and never get a chance to level off. This can result in all sorts of issues as well as struggles with losing weight.

While I tend to focus more on how I feel than on the scale, I noticed that, even if the scale only shifted slightly, my body composition shifted noticeably–a pleasant surprise. I also noticed that heartburn, insomnia, active dreams, restlessness, and focus issues also seemed to level out for me with this consistency.

As a teacher and busy mom, this technique also helped me avoid the short or non-existent lunches that tend to happen and I was able to get through most of my day without issue.

Again, I am not a health expert, so don’t just jump into a change like this without talking to a health professional. What works for one person may not for another, but I do hope you find what works for you.

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Tiktok @sonya.BOMSquadleader or our adventures at, Facebook & TikTok at @BarnesOnMove

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