November marks the one year anniversary of my making some pretty drastic changes to my diet. One year! I really can hardly believe that this way of eating has lasted and for the most part, I have not stressed that much about it.
Why I Decided To Change My Diet
In 1991, I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma. I was eight years old. For the most part, my “control plan” was simply making sure that I took my medication only when I was having serious respiratory symptoms. Remember, this was the early days of asthma management and treatment was just for the symptoms, not actually treating the root of the problem. Over the course of the 20 years, my asthma progressively, but slowly got worse. Spring and summer were bad with my allergies flaring up causing more asthma symptoms. In 2007, I discovered an all-natural supplement for allergies that I began to take. Immediately I experienced relief from my allergies but also the unexpected side effect of improving asthma. I continued to take the supplement on and off for the next six years with my symptoms coming and going depending on how consistent I was with taking the supplement.
Then, last year while browsing the internet, I came across the book, The Allergy and Asthma Cure: A Complete 8-Step Nutritional Program
by Fred Pescatore. I read through it, did some research about his success (and failure), and decided that I would follow the program for three months. I was hoping that this time period would jump start my health, heal my gut and hopefully improve my asthma. The program is pretty rigid and I certainly struggled trying to make food that I could eat while cooking normally for my family. It was even more of a struggle since it was right around the holidays and all the “no-no” foods were everywhere!
While “cheating” only a handful of times, I survived the three month time period. Shortly there after, our family suffered the extremely sad loss of my grandma; a devastating blow to me. My diet was no longer concerning to me and my only goal was to make it through each day. Shortly after her death, I had my first serious upper respiratory infection causing me to go on a very high, short term dose of Prednisone. I realized that although Dr. Pesatore’s diet was fairly well balanced, there were certain dietary elements that were missing. Still struggling with depression, my immune system took a huge blow and the next seasonal cold that came around, I contracted it and landed on Prednisone for a 2nd time!!! This time, because of the high dose, my mild depression turned into full fledged anxiety and panic attacks. I did LOTS of reading online about Prednisone, the side affects and what it actually does to your body. I didn’t realize it until the damage was already done, but I had shut down my adrenal glands, causing all of these horrible side effect.
I continued to do lots of reading and discovered that proper nutrition with nutritional supplements would help heal my adrenal glands, but it could takes months, maybe even years. I decided that the low carb, low sugar, high fat diet was the way to go in healing my body. It was very similar to Dr. Pescatore’s plan. I loosened up on my restrictions, cutting out most processed foods, restricting the amount of white and wheat flour that I ate and focused on lots of fresh vegetables and good fats. The one thing that I noticed is that I felt better when I ate well and the days that I didn’t eat well, I suffered “air hunger”, a sign of anxiety. This was not a sprint but a marathon. I was in this for the long haul.
Little did I know that by switching to low carb, low sugar, and high fat, my body was healing, running better and becoming extremely fertile. Less than two months after switching over, I found out I was pregnant. What a surprise! I was determined to continue eating low carb during my pregnancy, despite pregnancy cravings and morning sickness. To my delight, the nausea was much less than my last three pregnancies and my overall energy was better too. Some people say that it’s just because this is a different pregnancy, but I know that it has everything to do with my diet.
So, here it is, my one year anniversary, 22 weeks pregnant and feeling the best I have felt in a long time. I still follow a mostly low carb, low sugar, high fat diet, but I’m more relaxed about it. On Sunday’s I do indulge in Sunday dessert. I’m in the for the long haul and I’m not into total deprivation but am enjoying the food that God has given me.
Another positive side affect of switching over my diet is that my immune system seems much more resistant to colds. I’ve been around a lot of sick people and have only had two colds for the entire year. Compare that to the year before when I had at least six, maybe even more. My husband and I decided that we wanted to cut out a lot of the sugar for the entire family after seeing the positive affects when me. None of the kids act any different or say they feel better or worse but I do know that they have had far fewer colds this year and it seems that their immune systems are stronger, too!
Lest you think that I don’t allow my kids any candy or sweets, they certainly have some sweets at special occasions, buts its not a daily habit any more. The kids have learned to eat lots of different vegetables like beets and swish chard and celery root.
I don’t think that we will ever go back to the old way of eating, the life of processed and sugary foods.
What happened to my asthma?
After meeting up with a pulmonologist this summer and discussing my asthma, he told me that what happened was probably just a rare occurrence and that from the diagnostic test that he ran, I had the lungs of a healthy, non-asthmatic. That was great news! I am on a long-acting preventive inhaler to control my rather minor symptoms, but feel really well. I’m still nervous about getting any type of respiratory infection, knowing that if I have severe asthma symptoms, Prednisone will wreak havoc on my body and it really isn’t a good option. But I am hopeful that by eating well, healing my body and keep my asthma well controlled, I can enjoy my life and hopefully better health.