For The Healing Of My Son’s Asthma
Food Heals | Plant Powered Recipes | Alternative Medicine | Robyn’s Story- Healing her children’s asthma naturally
I am the oldest of eight children, raised in a one-income family, so money was scarce. My mother was raised by the owners of a large produce dealership, the Romney Produce Company. My grandparents were always trying to use up anything about to rot in the warehouses. So, produce is what we ate.
Dinner for me growing up was simple: a bowl of black-eyed peas with a little vinegar, and some cantaloupe. Or a bowl of chili beans (no meat) and a green salad. Or a baked potato, corn on the cob, and a cucumber.
I was raised on whole plant foods, because they are the most inexpensive way to eat!
As a teen, I baked my family’s weekly whole-wheat bread supply (eight loaves).
I married a guy who is the oldest of seven raised on meat at all three meals. That was our first fight after we got married: “I eat meat every day!” he said. “I don’t know how to make that,” I said.
During most of our 20-year marriage, our compromise was that I didn’t fix it–he could eat meat and junk food at work or when we went to a restaurant.
He was happier than he thought he would be, with what I fixed–and he d the health benefits. After our split, he gained 50 lbs.In my 20’s, I had a long period of deviating from how I’d been raised. I’d just graduated from college and had a desk job. Sitting all day, eating a lot of white bread, sugar, and meat, paying little attention to my diet, I gained 15 lbs. and was sick all winter.
Our four children came along in less than seven years. All four had asthma from the time they were babies, and two of them were in and doctors’ offices and even the hospital. I gained even more weight, once over 200 lbs.
I was often up all night with my oldest son, watching him turn blue and struggling for breath. I began to have panic attacks and insomnia and didn’t dare leave him alone sleeping.
I felt we couldn’t go on this way and went to my little boy’s doctor, having done the tiniest bit of advance research into asthma recommendations by non-allopathic practitioners.
My son’s pediatrician had always quickly prescribed bronchodilators and steroids— the room and on to the next patient within five minutes.
This time I had a list of questions—for instance: “What role does diet play, and should I take him off dairy products?” I explained that I’d learned that cow’s milk triggers mucus production, and since the lungs fill with mucus in an asthma attack, it seemed logical to me that taking him off dairy would be a good start.
As I talked, the doctor’s face became red and tense. He began pacing the room. I thought for a moment he was going to throw his pen at me. This doctor claimed to be the best for what ailed my son—“Asthma is my hobby!” he’d once said. Yet he never educated me about the disease, just quickly scribbled drug prescriptions.
One day he mentioned offhandedly that liquid steroids were “guaranteed” to stunt growth if given five times per year or more. As he sent me out the door with my fifth prescription for Prednisone in seven months!
“Diet and exercise, diet and exercise! They’re nice, but they DON’T CURE ASTHMA!” he bellowed at my milk question. I meekly put my list away, and became well aware in that instant that what he had to offer was simply this: drugs.The doctor visits ended, cold turkey, when I immediately eliminated dairy and sugar. We would from that time forward virtually eliminate refined and processed foods and eat a 60% raw, whole-foods diet.
I have never fed another spoonful of liquid steroids to any of my children. We would never again need antibiotics. Or cough medicine. We would soon say goodbye to inhaled bronchodilators forever. I studied extensively, and continue to do so, learning so much more along the way than I ever anticipated.
In effect, diet DID cure asthma. It’s still there as an inherent weakness, but we are symptom free. No more children turning blue, no more sleepless nights, no more panic attacks and racing to the hospital. I’ve shared my experience with a number of others who have seen equally miraculous results from simple changes.
This made a believer me, that M.D.s do not have all the answers, that I could find out good information by following my intuition and answers to prayers, and that much good information was available outside of the drug pamphlets in my pediatrician’s office.
When I need drugs or surgery, I’m glad the M.D.s are there. I want that to be a once or twice in a lifetime thing, though.
I had a good foundation to turn to natural remedies for health problems. When I was a teenager, I watched the events following my grandmother’s and uncle’s diagnosis of cancer—in their 50’s and early 30’s, respectively.
My uncle chose chemo/radiation for his Hodgkin’s Disease, caught in a very early stage, and we were all devastated when he died a very horrible and tragic death of the complications of those therapies, 18 months later, leaving behind his adoring wife and three little children.
My grandmother, on the other hand, created a tremendous amount of controversy in the family when she decided to treat her very deadly Stage 3 melanoma with an all-raw diet, foregoing the “burning and poisoning” approach approved by medical doctors today.She drank so much carrot juice that she turned orange! But she lived another 25 years, and my grandfather was later told by an M.D. that his own cancer was dramatically slowed for three decades because of their excellent diet.
I was heavily shaped by watching these family members’ experiences.
At first, the “road less traveled” for my children’s asthma was terrifying. I felt that if I left behind my faith in doctors, I’d be all alone! Surely thousands of doctors can’t be wrong! Over time, I have come to feel the very opposite of that initial fear: the sense of peace and control and faith that a self-directed education provides.
Very valuable is the resourcefulness of having a “box of tools” and network of help, to achieve health without helpless dependence on “modern medicine,” huge expense, frightening side effects, and powerlessness.
At first, my quest was to save my children from being sidelined in sports by their asthma, or their growth being stunted by steroids, or worse. That was accomplished.
Additionally, I lost tons of weight and have remained at my ideal weight of 135 lbs. for many years now, and enjoy optimal energy that I need, for life as a competitive athlete.
But, I have come to feel strongly that I was led down this path for purposes even greater than that.
About the Author – Robyn Openshaw
Author of the bestseller, The Green Smoothies Diet, and the course, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, Robyn Openshaw is passionate about showing people how to ditch the Standard American Diet and rediscover the body’s inherent desire for whole, natural plant foods. For more info, visit her web site at greensmoothiegirl.com.
10 Steps to Heal Asthma with Natural Strategies
Asthma is one of the most common inflammatory conditions of the lung. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, bronchial spasm and reversible airflow obstructions. Reverse asthma with natural lifestyle interventions modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body.
Asthma is more of an immune imbalance than it is a lung disease (1, 2). When the immune system gets triggered it causes an inflammatory reaction to occur within the lung epithelial tissue. The bronchial tubes swell with fluid and mucous in order to isolate the insulting allergen. This swelling irritates the airways even further which results in an increased level of sensitivity.
Common environmental allergens that trigger the inflammatory immune response include mold, mites, dust, dander, chemicals & pollutants. It is critical to keep the home clean by using natural cleaning products with grape seed extract which is a potent anti-fungal that keeps mold down. Dust and vacuum the house regularly and use high quality air filters.
The most common food allergens include processed and refined foods of all kinds. Food additives and preservatives sodium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sulfur dioxide have caused severe attacks in asthmatics (3, 4). Pasteurized dairy products, gluten containing grains, soy products, & peanuts are also highly inflammatory and mucous forming foods.
The MicroBiome and Asthma:
The gut microflora is responsible for 70% of our bodies innate immune response (5, 6, 7). The natural makeup should help the body recognize between safe environmental particles (pollen, dust, weeds, etc) and unsafe environmental particles (bad bacteria, bad yeast and viruses).
When the gut microflora is altered early in life it can create an immune malcoordiation where the immune system is oversensitive to safe environmental particles. This may lead to seasonal allergies in some and auto-immunity and/or chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma in others (8, 9, 10).
Asthmatics also have an altered lung microbiota. Asthmatic patients are found to have a much higher level of proteobacteria and streptococci bacteria. They had reduced levels of both bacteroidetes and firmicutes (11, 12).
Improve the MicroBiome:
Asthmatic individuals need to really focus on improving their microbiome. This begins by reducing intake of anti-biotics and NSAID’s. These have a negative effect on the microbiome (13). An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is key for improving the microbiome and reducing inflammatory activity.
Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated.
To effectively de-inflame it is key to completely avoiding man-made foods, sugars and food allergens as listed above.The long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA powerfully de-inflame the body by restoring natural balance to the lipid wall of the cell membrane (14).
Stabilizing the gut with high quality fermented foods such as red cabbage sauerkraut, kimchee, coconut water kefir, coconut milk kefir, coconut yogurt, raw milk kefir and amasai is very important.
Apple Cider vinegar is very useful for providing useful enzymes and reducing mucous formation.
Drink a glass of clean water with 1-2 Tsp of ACV throughout the day to reduce mucous and provide beneficial enzymes to help reduce inflammation.
Some individuals with asthma have a histamine intolerance and may not do well with fermented foods. Be careful to notice if you have challenges with fermented foods and they flare up your asthma symptoms or give you hives and allergy symptoms.
Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan:
Other great anti-inflammatory foods include coconut products, berries and bone broth protein poweder. This protein source is also loaded with L-glutamine and enhances cellular glutathione stores which are both necessary for rebuilding the gut and de-inflaming the body. If the individual has a food sensitivity to whey they can use a high quality bone broth protein.
Red onions and garlic contain sulfur compounds and the anti-oxidant flavonoid quercetin. These components have been shown to inhibit an inflammatory enzyme associated with asthma and other inflammatory disorders. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, boswellia, cinnamon, rosemary & oregano among others should be used as much as possible.
Good fibers called arbinogalactans from carrots, onions, radishes & jicama help to feed the gut microbiome and improve the diversity of beneficial species. Other good fibers include those found in seeds pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Asthma:
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased rates of asthma. In over 60 years of research, scientists have found vitamin D deficiency linked to lower lung functions, increased airway reactivity and worse asthmatic control (15, 16).
Vitamin D plays a strong role in modulating the inflammatory immune response by blocking pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 10. Asthma typically worsens in the winter and early spring when vitamin D is at its lowest.
5 Key Supplements for Asthma:
1. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is crucial for immune coordination in the body. Low levels of vitamin D3 are associated with chronic inflammation, asthma & allergies (17). I recommend getting high quality sun exposure on a regular basis or supplementing with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 with 4.5 mcg of K2 per 25 lbs of body weight daily.
2. Probiotics: Probiotics play an important role in the gut microbiome and immune coordination. Studies have shown that supplemental probiotics are very effective at reducing allergy and asthma symptoms (18).
3. Quercetin & BioFlavonoids: Quercetin, dihydroquercetin (DHQ) and rutin are active bioflavonoids that modulate an exaggerated immune response. Bioflavonoids work synergistically with other antioxidants to protect tissues from the negative effects of oxidation and inflammation often observed during hyperimmune reactions (19).
4. Bromelein: Bromelain is an enzyme complex extracted from the stem and fruit of the pineapple.
Its modulation of the inflammatory response is thought to exert a beneficial effect in combating hypersensitive immune reactions (20) Studies identified its positive effects on controlling edema, tissue permeability and vasodilation (21). Bromelain is also found to enhance the absorption of quercetin (22).
5. Stinging Nettle: Stinging nettle leaf has been found to regulate a variety of inflammatory activities associated with hyperimmune response, including mast-cell degranulation, prostaglandin formation, and histamine action (23, 24)
Chiropractic Care and Asthma:
Physical trauma to the upper cervical spine can impact the developing immune system of an infant or child. This form of trauma could include a slip or fall, a car accident, bad sleeping habits, or poor posture. This leads to an upper cervical (neck) subluxation that puts pressure on the brain stem.
Upper cervical subluxations lead to malcoordinated immunity which can lead to asthmatic reactions in many individuals (25, 26, 27). Chiropractic adjustments help to restore normal motion to the spine and optimal function to the neurological system. This modulates the immune system and reduces inflammation throughout the body.
10 Action Steps For Improving Asthma:
Here is a list of action steps to take to begin the process of improving and eliminating asthma naturally. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is the first 10 steps to take and most people will see a significant improvement and quite possibly eliminate all their symptoms after following this for a month or more.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan: Follow an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan here
2. Boost Your Vitamin D3 Levels: You can do this by getting more whole body sun exposure and/or using a high quality supplement. I recommend a D3 with vitamin K2.
3. Heal Your Gut: Restore harmony to your gut through diet and proper supplementation.
4. Identify Food Sensitivities: You can discover any major food sensitivities through either a lab test here or biofeedback test here and come off of these for 90 days.
5. Practice Deep Breathing: Take time to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing on a regular basis.
6. Regular Exercise: Get quality exercise on a regular basis.
7. Sleep Well: Prioritize sleeping and aim to get 8 hours with ideal hours being something along the lines of 10-6 or 11-7.
8. Chiropractic Care: Find a great chiropractor in your area for a complete spine and nervous system evaluation and follow the recommended treatment protocols.
9. Mental Imagery: Visualize yourself healthy and well – full of life, breathing deep and easy. What you picture and hold to strong enough in your mind, you will begin to manifest in your life. This is simple to do, empowering and FREE!!
10. Specific Supplementation: Use a high quality, anti-allergy supplement with quercetin, vitamin C, rutin, N-Acetyl Cysteine, stinging nettle and bromlein. After much research, I helped to formulate Allergy Defense here
27. Nielsen NH, Bronfort G, Bendix T, Madsen F, Weeke B. Chronic asthma and chiropractic spinal manipulation: a randomized clinical trial. Clin Exp Allergy. 1995 Jan;25(1):80-8. PMID: 7728627
HEALED OF ASTHMA!~ How we put our daughter’s severe asthma into remission
I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.
Asthma: it is the problem that fueled our entire GAPS journey. The purpose behind healing all of our ailments was propelled mostly by this danger that plagued us, starting five years (now almost 7 years) back. Our medical pediatrician, who is an expert on asthma, told us our daughter would be on steroids her whole life, that she would always have asthma.
Something in my mama’s breast wouldn’t lie down, wouldn’t accept this as truth. I knew we could heal her; but I didn’t know how or how long it would take.
HOW DIET PLAYS A PART
Reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome, introduced to us by a friend who knew of our situation, was the first scientific assurance we received that we could achieve our goal of healing her. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (neurology and nutrition), made a revolutionary leap forward in healing many conditions when she understood,
Rather than trying to fit a child with autistic tendencies, asthma, eczema and hyperactivity or a child with dyspraxia, dyslexia and allergies into a particular diagnostic box we need to have a name for the underlying disorder, which originates in the gut and manifests itself as any combination of the above conditions. (emphasis mine)
So we spent 3 1/2 years on the GAPS Diet (a grain-free, sugar-free regimen that allows the gut to heal and restores proper flora balance) making strides, working with an herbalist naturopath, making strides, sealing up our guts and killing our pathogen overgrowth, making strides, all in an effort to heal the underlying problem so that eventually we could heal our daughter’s asthma, as well as our additional health problems.
(Prior to finding the herbalist, using steroids and her inhaler medication, albuterol, we repeatedly found ourselves in Urgent Care.This was a frightening way to live! When we found the ND herbal practitioner her care kept us Urgent Care for years, due to her amazing skill. She had our daughter on two tinctures, one for daily care and one for acute attacks.
We could use albuterol or steroids on her “action plan” if we needed them. But her herbs were more powerful and effective; so we rarely went that route.)
But then one day, we heard about a new doctor who had healed a girl of asthma…
When we met and worked with him, he made drama happen. Within a two hour appointment he had our daughter’s peak flow meter reading within 30 points of normal.
To give you some frame of reference, if you are not familiar with peak flow meters, they are a flattened plastic cylinder, etched with numbers that line up with colors, forming a meter of wellness.When a patient blows into the meter, their lung capacity is measured.
When our daughter was fully well, during non-allergy seasons, her peak flow meter registered at 400. When we first went into this doctor’s office, hers registered at 250. When we left his office two hours later, in the height of June allergens in the Willamette Valley, the meter read 370.
HOW DID HE DO THIS?? (What medical doctors say is impossible to obtain in a lifetime, what their best drugs cannot accomplish…)
He achieved all this by using homeopathy diagnostically. We have worked with MANY naturopaths since our daughter was born with colic, eczema and food allergies. All of them have used homeopathy. But none of them have used it so skillfully, effectively and with an immediate visible outcome. (Thank you, Dr. Zeff!)
What did this process look ? Our doctor put only one, sometimes more, homeopathic pellet under our daughter’s tongue and waited for a response from her. He asked, “How does that make you feel?”, (much Count Rugen, but with an entirely different outcome in mind). If the outcome was negative, such as a headache, or neutral, he would try another.
If it was positive, he would have her blow into the peak flow meter to see if her lung capacity had improved. He did this over and over again, trying different homeopathic remedies he suspected would help, over the course of 30 minutes or so. Finally, he created sprays made from the homeopathic remedies that he had found to be effective.
These he sent home with us, for our daughter to spray into her mouth three times a day.
METHOD #2- (Important lasting drama continues to heal her from home.)
In addition to homeopathy, our doctor uses an old-fashioned naturopathic evaluation that gauges the dietary reactivity and digestibility of certain foods. It does not gauge food allergies. It is a unique test that I hadn’t seen used before, one that picks up on genetically predisposed food intolerances, ones that won’t go away with time, ones that can sabotage health and healing.
The evaluation confirmed that there was a food our daughter was still eating, even on our ultra-restricted GAPS diet, that was holding her back from complete healing. In her case the answer was dairy, even though her only dairy consumption was fully cultured.
Our doctor expects foods that cause reactivity to be inherently problematic for people. Patients will most ly, therefore, need to eliminate the food culprit for their entire lives. This was a big disappointment for our daughter, as dairy is her greatest craving. But the trade-off is well worth it, in her eyes even.
So much pain, discomfort, and fear are behind us now. And this food group is directly linked to her condition.
*Update~ Our daughter has now been asthma-free for years. However, dairy is still a trigger. Auto-immune diseases are not so much healed as they are put into remission by choices we make or treatments we follow.
If she has the smallest amount of dairy she will have an asthmatic reaction. Our doctor has given us a tincture that stops the asthma attack quickly, that we keep on hand, in case she eats dairy accidentally.
KEY #3- (A three-week jump start.)
Our homework, 5 nights a week for three weeks after our appointment, included hydrotherapy. Unfamiliar with this practice until recently, we were both amazed by this simple process and its powerful effect.
The form of hydrotherapy that our doctor uses is simply putting hot and cold towels on the front and back of one’s torso.
The contrasting temperatures each have their own role; and especially the longer contact the cold towel has with one’s body stimulates certain systems to work better, increasing internal organ functions, (including healing chronic constipation problems).The cold towel is comically uncomfortable; but we set ourselves up on a cozy bed with a good book or movie and use the time to be by ourselves and relax.
The initial placement of the cold towel is definitely an unwelcome shock; but the discomfort goes away almost immediately, and, oh, the results! The results make that cold moment even welcome.
(By the way, I, too, saw this doctor for extreme adrenal fatigue and various other issues, thus my own personal experience with hydrotherapy.)
In conclusion, our doctor told us during our one appointment with him that our daughter’s case was a serious case of asthma and that it might take him as long as 2-4 months to put it into remission.
Can you believe that prognosis compared with what we all experience with other practitioners?, (who, by the way, I don’t blame; they just don’t know what he knows). He offered to us what we’d been searching for.
At the heart of his practice, and the basic understanding of homeopathy, is the belief that the body will heal itself if given the right information.
After only one visit with this doctor, and being introduced to healing information through homeopathy and hydrotherapy, as well as eliminating foods that were interfering with the basis for all health and healing, namely digestion, our daughter was symptom-free. Her digestion wasn’t perfect immediately. He told me that would fall into line with her body continuing to heal itself over the next few months. The GAPS diet continues to be an asset in our healing. (*Update~ Our daughter is now 14 years old and she is gradually coming off of the GAPS diet. She is symptom-free and has had no problems introducing new foods into her diet.)
From a sentimental standpoint, she has been able to resume all the activities that she had to give up: ballet, art, piano, biking. And she’s taken up archery. Being outside has new joy. We will walk every day (outside in June) with thankfulness.