This week my three-year old son had to take another dose of oral steroids to prevent a trip to the ER for reactive airway (asthma-like) problems. Each time he gets a cold, his breathing becomes so labored that he needs serious medications to get enough oxygen. This started in December 2013 just after his 3rd birthday. His doctors have tried a variety of medications. He’s seen specialists. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Each time he gets sick the inflammation in his bronchial tubes is so severe that only a heavy dose of oral steroids reduces the swelling enough for him to breathe. We’ve received tips from his school and other well-intentioned friends that he just needs to find the right doctor, the right medication. After several doctors, many medications, and my own research, I think there must be another way. I am not discounting the value of medication when it is appropriate and works. The problem for us is that the medications are not working as they should.
Our family is starting on a journey towards healthier eating. We aren’t following any particular plan but drawing from multiple sources such as Nourishing Traditions and 100 Days of Real Food. I’m sure I’ll find more along the way and will document them here. My goal is to reduce inflammation in our bodies and hopefully lessen the severity of my son’s asthma. We may never be medication-free but I would hope that the medication will, at the very least, work when he needs it.
I’m not hoping to get rich off this blog or change the way anyone thinks. I want to document our journey so that when I am sick of meal planning and making sacrifices to buy higher quality food, I remember why I am doing this and see any progress we may have made.
I don’t expect to be perfect immediately. This is absolutely a journey. The key rules I want to start out with are:
- Organic dairy products – as close to raw milk products as are available in a grocery store. I hope to eventually switched to raw milk but due to local laws it is much more difficult to get raw milk products. Moving to organic is a step I can take now.
- Higher quality meat with the highest Animal Welfare Rating I can afford. Like with milk products, I hope to eventually move to getting meat through a local farm where I can observe the conditions.
- No refined sugar. Raw local honey is something we’ve been using for a while because of wide availability in my area. Most of my cooking and baking uses honey. I don’t think I’ve used sugar since my Christmas cookies but I have to be better about looking for hidden sugars in food. I’ll be making more of my own sauces and my kids won’t get as many (someday ANY) prepackaged snacks.
Our family has been eating out much less than we have in the past. Based on a strong family history of the Celiac’s gene and the long list of ongoing health problems he had, my husband stopped eating gluten in January 2014. It resolved about 80% of his health issues within one month. We’re not sure if he has Celiac’s because his doctor would require him to eat gluten for 1-3 weeks before she will do a Celiac’s test. Based on his personal reaction to gluten, he chooses to never knowingly ingest it again. Maybe we’ll reevaluate his decision at some point but for now, he’ll just avoid gluten without a diagnosis. At this point, only my husband is gluten-free and my son, my daughter (2), and I will continue to eat whole wheat.
I’ll begin to lay out a plan for making changes in our lives. First, I’ll start with the meals I make at home. Currently my kids eat breakfast, snacks, and lunch at daycare. After I have those under control, I will begin packing lunches for my children to take to daycare. When I feel like I have the entire food issue under control, we’ll switch to other parts of our home including storage materials, cleaning products, and hygiene products. This is a long term process and I will not sabotage my progress or budget by requiring quick results.
Starting today, September 14, 2014, we begin to transition to a more traditional, less processed way of eating. We’ll start slow as we use up items in our pantry. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes as I continue to learn. And when I am frustrated and tired, I’ll look here and remember that I will make this work because I want my son to breathe freely and my whole family to live a long and healthy life.