If it weren’t for my own research and experiments with natural and processed foods, I would still be on inhaled steroids for asthma today. The inhaled steroids worked a treat, but destroyed my voice in the process. At the time I thought ‘how can I ever speak at a meeting, event, or sound normal again?’ I started researching inhaled steroids and quickly realised my rapidly disappearing voice wasn’t the only issue, and that there can also be nasty long term effects from taking inhaled steroids. However, given my difficulties being able to breath properly I had no choice but to continue with the steroid inhaler. I visited numerous doctors who all told me the same thing: “you will be on the inhaler for the rest of your life and there is no cure for asthma”. I asked them if what I ate had anything to do with it and the answer was that it made no difference. (These are the three doctors I visited and other doctors may have different view points and advice).
Something just didn’t add up to me, so I conducted research and some of the research backed up what doctors said (which is why they say it I guess). But there were other studies and personal accounts that indicated certain foods can cause asthma, such as dairy, preservatives, and artificial and processed foods. Some of this in particular would cause my asthma to be off the charts nasty.
I made the decision to try and see if changing what I ate could help get rid of my asthma – it felt like a last resort. I decided to cut out any food that could potentially cause asthma for a few months and see if I could get off these inhaled steroids and be able to breath properly and naturally again – not to mention get my voice back. I was very determined and reverted to totally natural unprocessed food, no dairy at all, no sulphites, no bacon, no deli meats, no flavour enhancers.. Basically, I ate freshly made vegetables, fruit, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, nuts, small quantities of quality meat etc. Everything was cooked in the home from scratch so I could control exactly what was in it. The results were dramatic. After a few months of these dietary changes, I was off my steroid inhaler, breathing perfectly normally, had my voice back and was and asthma-free. It was such a good feeling. I felt free and as though I could get on with my life with no limits again.
What this highlighted to me is that no one single doctor (or any person) knows everything. That is why specialists are so important in addition to general practitioners. When it comes to nutrition and health, there is no one single godly source of information and every person’s body is different. Just because something worked for my body doesn’t always mean it will work for yours, but then again, it may.
What I discovered after I started introducing back all other foods into my diet is that milk, sour cream and cream (especially on their own or in large quantities) along with most preservatives and many food additives cause asthma for me if I have them too often or if I have too much. I avoid preservatives numbered 220-228 as much as possible as they are among the worst. Eating junk food from many of the well known chain take away places also clearly causes asthma for me. There was a time where a thick shake from a very well known fast food chain caused me to have great difficulty breathing – this was terrifying. Needless to say, that was the last time I ever had a shake from that fast food chain or any fast food chain again.
What I have found interesting though, is that certain foods caused me to have instant asthma and others only caused noticeable asthma after I had them continually. It is as though a build up of substances caused my asthma. I can get away with a very small amount of cream or sour cream in a hot dish (such as within a lasagna or a teaspoon dolloped into a hot soup) as long as it is just one meal and the cream is mixed with other foods and heated and I don’t do it often.
When I have been out and about and eating a bit of junk food, processed foods, creams and preservatives for days and weeks, I find I get asthma and it gradually gets worse and worse, until my coughing and breathing becomes so bad that my quality of life has diminished and I know I will need the steroid inhaler if I don’t do something real soon. I then get a hold of myself, take control and banish all that crap, bring in natural foods (nothing artificial) and no dairy and the asthma eventually goes away completely. However, the time this process takes depends upon how long I have been continually indulging in off-limits foods. I have only learned this through trial and error. It is great to know I can control asthma through my dietary choices. But also terrible that I ever let myself get to that state in the first place just because I caved when sour cream and hot wedges found their way onto the table and fast food places beckoned.
These days I am careful to limit foods which cause me to get asthma, but I admit I do still eat some of them. But I have to be careful and do so in moderation. I also make really strict dietary changes for a few weeks if I find myself starting to wheeze and cough. If my asthma ever got bad enough that I needed a steroid inhaler again (and I don’t envisage ever allowing that to happen) I would be super strict with my diet again for as long as it took.
From what I have noticed, every person is unique, and what causes one person’s asthma may be different to what causes another person’s, therefore the treatment may also need to be different. It may be that some people need to be on inhalers for the rest of their life and lifestyle changes may not be able to change this. But I wonder how many others like myself who can make lifestyle changes and find their asthma goes away as a result. I would be most interested to hear other people’s personal experiences.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am not a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist and this is not medical or nutrition advice. The information contained in this blog is simply my personal opinion and/or my own personal experiences. You should seek professional medical advice in regard to all aspects of your health and medication.