Now then, in the grand scheme of parenting I’m a fairly new kid on the block with only 5 years under my belt. However, since the day my eldest was born I’ve been on a sharp chest and lung issues learning curve. He was born with congenital pneumonia and spent the first week of his life in neo-natal. Since then we’ve had a number of trips to hospital varying from checks through to admittance, multiple boughts of bronchiolitis and two further instances of pneumonia; the most recent of which was in January after a skiing trip to Canada where it was at times -19 degrees. On returning to our home in the Middle East he became more and more unwell. All told he was sick for 7 weeks. During this time he was also diagnosed with virally induced asthma. Something we had suspected throughout but not confirmed until slightly older.
Fast forward a few months and following terrible sandstorms he’s caught a cold. Without fail every time it goes to his chest and it’s been potluck as to how bad it will be. And so once again we braced ourselves for the worse. After 5 days and in the middle of the night I heard the dreaded coughing fits, “Here we go” I said to myself. The next morning he was fine, the day after a slight dry cough and the same the third day. The difference has been remarkable – for the very first time absolutely no chest or asthmatic symptoms. Perhaps a one off, so then the third cold of the year came, he was under the weather for a few days so I checked his oxygen levels they were low, down at 86 and then again at 91. I was devastated, it hasn’t worked. The first time cold must have been a fluke. I start the inhaler and repeated it 4 hours later but then 4 hours after that his oxygen was back up to 99, all symptoms gone within 2 days – yippeee!!! This has never happened. Once we have to start the inhaler it’s only ever gone one way, I couldn’t believe it. Even as I’m writing this I’ve got a huge smile on my face.
And when did the children transition to a plant based diet? Just three months ago. Coincidence? Maybe, so I did a little more digging.
Firstly, the words of my father began whirring round my head. My Dad is from Malaysia and of Chinese and Indian origin. Whenever my son got sick like the wise old sage he would advise me not to give him dairy. Of course I ignored it. However, dairy is not common to much of south-eat Asia and many of the populations there are lactose intolerant. The problem I faced especially as a (worried) new parent was that when my son was a sick baby and then a young toddler, milk and yogurt seemed to be the only things I could get him to eat during the rough periods. So next I put some questions online to vegan asthma suffers, they all told me their symptoms improved on transitioning and some even no longer require their Ventolin. I dug further, article after article ‘How I Cured my Asthma’ ‘How a Plant-Based Diet Reversed my Asthma’ ‘The Healing Power of a Plant Based Diet’ And on it went. What? Where has this secret been hiding???? Why aren’t medical professionals looking at food first and medication second? It’s just crazy diet isn’t a first port of call – the worry and stress we could have avoided from some basic suggestions or advice.
Obviously with children things can change but I truly believe this has been the right decision for my son, especially as the region we live in is prone to dust and sandstorms therefore exasperating symptoms. However, if you have a child with similar problems I would urge you to look into trialing a plant based diet with them to see if things improve. (Note I’m neither a doctor or a nutritionist so please carry out your own investigations).
No words can do justice to the relief we now feel, my only regret is not doing it sooner, oh and not listening to the wise old sage. Sorry Dad, you were right all along x