Most of us take the ability to breathe in and breathe out for granted; it is so natural we don’t even think about it. Well, what happens when this ability is a struggle?
I will never forget the night when my daughter lay in her bed gasping, barely able to take in enough air into her little body. I was pregnant at the time with our third baby and our eldest daughter was sleeping soundly in her room. Panic started to creep in as we picked up the phone to call telehealth. After hanging up the phone, my husband rushed her to the hospital. Normally, the procedure is to wait in triage, but because her oxygen levels were dangerously low, she was admitted immediately. She is my feisty child, so as the nurses were working hard to put an oxygen mask on her and inserting tubes in her nose, she was quickly ripping them out. Tension, fear, worry, anxiety and tears were all on the invite list that night.
The next 48 hours were scary and exhausting. After being assessed by doctors, my daughter was diagnosed with asthma. After her oxygen levels returned to normal, we were sent home with two puffers, information on how to manage the triggers of asthma and how to take the medication. What they neglected to tell us was how to start to heal her body. I vowed that I would change things to help her heal through food.
Within a year, we drastically reduced the amount she needed her puffers to almost never, even though her physical activities increased.
So what did we do?
1. We Limited Sugar
In one fell swoop sugar can paralyze your immune system for up to 12 hours, increase inflammation anywhere in the body, reduce your amazing capabilities of your gut and leave you craving more and sweeter things. One might say sugar is a drug, but you can make your own call on that one. Children on average are consuming over a 100 grams per day! Sugar strips the body of nutrients and over time can create dis-eases in the body. We allowed our kids one treat day a week, in which they could choose anything they wanted.
2. We Eliminated Wheat
Unfortunately, our wheat today is not what our ancestors consumed. Our bodies cannot process this grain efficiently or effectively, creating excess mucus which inhibits nutrient absorption. Many processed and refined foods contain wheat and its derivatives, so we ditched them entirely.
3. We Reduced Dairy
The dairy industry is one of the biggest marketing campaigns I have ever seen. When dairy is pasteurized it loses enzymes needed to break down the dairy, bad and good bacteria is eliminated and the calcium becomes less bioavailable. Dairy is extremely mucus forming and can increase the acidity levels in our bodies, leading to inflammation.
4. We Introduced Chia Seeds
This seed is a staple in my pantry! Chia is mucilaginous, which makes it extremely healing for the digestive tract. It contains calcium, magnesium, fibre and omega 3 essential fatty acids. It’s definitely a heavy hitter when it comes to relieving the toxic load on the body by absorbing and flushing out the unnecessary toxins.
5. We Increased Healthy Fats
We have been programmed to be scared of fats. And yes, the hydrogenated, rancid and processed fats are definitely ones to be scared of! However, the good fats found in nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut oil and fish benefit every single cell of our bodies – and remember, our cells are surrounded by fat. Omega 3 essential fatty acids in particular can help reduce inflammation. When the cells in the lining of the respiratory tract become irritated, swollen and inflamed, this causes a decreased ability to breathe. Healthy fats can create a positive effect by helping to decrease the inflammation and support healing, as well as boost the immune system and support the nervous system.
It is hard to see beyond anything when you are in the face of uncertainty and struggle. However, remember that each moment is a gift and an opportunity to learn. Changing so much in my daughter’s diet (my pickiest eater I might add) was difficult, but worth every step!