asthma & allergies naturally part 2 :: cleanse the body

{cleanse the body :: part 1 in this series can be found here}

In the first post, we’ve already discussed a working definition of allergies and asthma, along with a first step of identifying triggers.

Is the elimination diet really an important step?  Consider this: If our children’s immune and respiratory systems are working overtime due to certain foods eaten…

…we need to offer them a ‘clean slate’.  Their little bodies and lungs need rest in order to grow stronger for the long-haul.

So, I can relate to changes in diet being a challenge.  Along with the tips I offered, there is an abundance of support available online or in print.

In fact, much of the information in this series has come from numerous articles I’ve read (and notes I’ve kept) and also two books:  Naturally Healthy Babies and Children and Healing the New Childhood Epidemics.

This series is divided into three parts:  CLEANSE.  STRENGTHEN.  NOURISH.

  • I’ve created a landing page for all posts, and will also add several resources, books, links to products that worked for us, and extra additional information in the coming week or two.

Continue Cleansing the Body

Begin with the elimination diet — you could cut out all foods at once…or over a period of several weeks.  Dairy and wheat are often targeted as the biggest problem causers, so maybe begin with those.  Remember the suggestion of avoiding all possible trigger foods at least 2 weeks (often 3-4 is better) before reintroducing any of them.

So for example, if you take 6 weeks to eliminate foods, wait 2-4 weeks after the last food is removed from the diet before trying anything again.

I’ll share about cutting back sugar when we focus on strengthening the immune system.  But today I’d like to wrap up ‘cleansing the body’ by sharing one adjustment which significantly improved our children’s health in dealing with asthma & allergies:

We got an oil change.

The Impact of Hydrogenated & Trans Fats on Asthma

There’s a lot of talk about good fats & bad fats, but I think it’s accepted certain fats may cause inflammation in the body.

I won’t get into all the science {here’s a great explanation of the various ‘bad’ fats}, but a basic understanding is that these fats promote inflammation, and may also hinder the body’s natural response to reducing this concern…therefore creating a crazy cycle of increased inflammation and decreased response — which leads to more inflammation!

So?  With asthma being based upon inflammation in airways to begin with, wouldn’t this be a problem?

After reading numerous articles and references in books, I thought so too.  In typical me-style, we changed our oils and fats overnight.

Increasing Omega-3 Fats in Our Diet

While I still keep vegetable oil on hand for things like making play-doh, our consumption of fats/oils has come down primarily to two:  extra-virgin olive oil and unrefined virgin coconut oil.

There needs to be a balanced ratio of omega-3s (great fats) and omega-6 (bad fats) in the body, and overwhelmingly, the typical American diet offers way too many inflammation-causing omega-6 fats.  I realized placing the children (and eventually the family) on an anti-inflammatory path could offer some relief.

It worked.  It worked incredibly well.

For my kiddos, within 2-4 weeks, I distinctly remember how much calmer and at ease their bodies, their breathing seemed.  After months of struggle, this was a welcome relief.

Which OILS & FATS We Eat

So far, I haven’t been too choosy with purchasing extra-virgin olive oil.

With coconut oil for cooking food or baking, we have a local natural foods store which carries Mountain Rose Herbs brand of unrefined oil by the gallon and purchase there.

Other coconut oils we’ve used:  Spectrum Organic Unrefined Oil and Nutiva Unrefined Oil

Considering an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Our family changed oils and fats overnight, but other steps in reducing possible inflammation causing foods were made in baby steps.  If you were to make one change, make it the oil cooked with.

I know, I know — first an elimination diet, now anti-inflammatory?   Use a different word if you don’t like ‘diet’…but Google will love if you search it this way! 🙂

To save you some time, here are some resources and helps:

How to Balance Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats:  super reference with printables!  I do disagree with eating lower-fat versions of foods, but the other info I found helpful.

Top 10 Inflammatory Foods To Avoid:  another great checklist to consider

Good Fats, Bad Fats:  we do avoid dairy/butter, but this post explains much about fats and offers boatloads of links.  Also, Stephanie explains which fats and oils to use when.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil – we love, love this oil and I use it for most cooking and baking needs (except making salad dressings and some stir-fry or sautéing).  Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but a fabulously healthy one — it’s antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and very soothing to the body.

There are sooo many benefits to using this oil, I could go on and on!

Which Coconut Oil is Best? – not all are created equal and unrefined organic versions are best for health benefits inside the body (coconut oil can also be used on the skin, in the hair, etc).  This post explains the various labeling & what each means.

I know it’s a lot of info to swallow at once, especially if it’s new.  Start with baby steps, but start.  Your children’s lungs might just exhale a big ‘thank you!’

{I invite you to continue this journey.  Feel free to bookmark and share the landing page of all posts and info!  Here’s Part III – Cleanse the Home}

 

{photo credit}

disclaimer: the information presented in this post is for informational and educational purposes alone.  It is not intended to diagnose or treat, and all readers are encouraged to seek professional medical assistance before implementing any suggestions and to discern if such changes or suggestions should be pursued.  thank you.

 

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11 comments

Michelle

Great article but I have to admit I am very surprised that you aren’t picky about your olive oil and buying what’s on sale especially when there is so much fraud in olive oils being sold in stores, since you seem to be kinda picky on what Coconut Oil you are using. I have also recently switched to Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil for my family too. Glad to hear it’s working well for your family though!

Hi Michelle – yes, I’ve heard this too and haven’t done as much research on olive oil. Do you have a specific brand you use or would suggest? I’m all ears!

Amy

What (specifically) do you use coconut oil for when cooking? I was told it had no flavor when cooked so I used it to saute mushrooms for spaghetti sauce. Sadly, the sauce tasted AWFUL, and I realized it was the ‘coconut’ flavor that was the culprit. This has turned me off to using it in recipes. Any advice you have is welcome!

[…] with an elimination diet and then pursuing an anti-inflammatory diet has done wonders for the asthmatics in our family.  Cleansing the body of trigger foods brought a […]

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[…] oils or trans fats.  Oh my, I can’t say enough about how switching from bad fats to good ones made such a difference in helping our son with asthma symptoms!  We now use coconut oil and […]

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