Stories

STORIES

My Asthma History

My asthma first came on with a bout of bronchitis when I was 10, back in 1978. It ran on both sides of my family including both of my Grandfathers and my father had it particularly badly requiring hospitalisation on a regular basis. My father is still around and has reduced his symptoms in a similar fashion to myself. My own symptoms were mainly frequent heavy wheezing which became heavier when I engaged in strenuous physical activity, what they liked to call ‘exercise induced asthma’. So being a teenager, that was quite often. I was required to inhale a ghastly preventative called ‘Intal’ twice a day and had Ventolin on hand for regular use as well. My little sister became asthmatic a few years after me with a similar level of wheezing and the same medication.
Right through to middle age my symptoms remained fairly constant though the preventative medication changed several times and the latest I had used was the more easily inhaled product ‘Seritide’. In my forties I began loosely following the Raw Food diet and then an approximation of the Paleo diet. I reduced my processed carbohydrate consumption dramatically. Particularly by mostly cutting out bread, pasta and traditional potatoes. The other main outcome of this phase was that my consumption of processed foods was greatly reduced and my overall nutrient profile was steadily improving. Through these years I increased my intake of leafy greens and quality starchy vegetables like sweet potato in particular. Having always been interested in nutrition I commenced a degree in Nutrition Bioscience at my local university.
Finding the Paleo style eating plan very much to my liking, I took an interest in the low carb high fat(LCHF) way of eating and veered more in that direction. I was very surprised to find that during these years my asthma symptoms steadily reduced and by the time I had gone very low carb the symptoms had all but disappeared. I now base my diet on quality meat(I eat mostly Kangaroo), eggs, plenty of seafood(for me this means canned sardines and pink salmon every second day), nuts(brazil nuts, pistachios, walnuts and almonds)a generous array of green and some starchy vegetables, fats like coconut oil, butter, olive oil and the tallow that comes with my homemade bone broth and a small amount of fruit. I regularly limit my carb intake to 50g per day which is the level proposed by the Ketogenic diet.
At age 47, my asthma has all but disappeared and my old medication sits in a draw unused for almost a year. I didn’t embark on the dietary improvements I’ve made specifically to alleviate my asthma symptoms. Their decline has come as a very welcome ‘bonus’ effect of the changes that has accompanied other improvements such as reduced joint pain and other complaints I frequently suffered from like tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and occasional headaches.
As I investigate asthma and it’s probable causes I find myself convinced that the low carb diet warrants extensive research as a therapy/ lifestyle change aimed at alleviating the symptoms of this disabling, dangerous and ultimately unnecessary condition. It is my firm belief that the inflammatory nature of carbohydrates(particularly the more processed form) are the main cause of asthma. I will continue to live a low carb lifestyle, enjoy this absence of asthma symptoms, freedom from expensive and possibly harmful medication and look forward to continued benefit from these foods I have found I really enjoy. My younger sister continues to consume a lot more refined carbohydrates and therefore does not have the freedom from asthma I do. I’m working on changing that.