Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Asthma Super Foods: Ginger Lemondae

In battling a cold this past weekend, I discovered the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of ginger up close and personal. Ginger is a super food, no question about it.

Studies have shown that it can markedly reduce pain and inflammation as well as reduce nausea. Because its effects are systemic, it is a potent asthma super food.

Having tried it over the last few days, I would compare its strength and effect to that of Benadryl. It definitely opens up my airways. I can actually feel the inflammation shrinking away.

Now, keep in mind, I'm talking about the ginger root here, not the ground spice we use in baking. The ground ginger spice is too dilute. You need the raw ginger to reap its benefits.

It's easy to find in grocery stores and I strongly encourage you to try this. Especially for those asthma flares where you're caught between doses, but still need something, or if nothing you take is working.

Ginger is safe with no known contraindications. If you try it and it works well for you (or even does nothing at all), please let me know in the comments. I'd like to catalog the effects it has on asthma.

So you want to try ginger, but aren't interested in a stir-fry. I know the feeling! Since it's summer, try making the cool, refreshing ginger lemonade recipe below and sipping it throughout the day. I've noticed that ginger's effects last about two to four hours, so this lemonade makes re-dosing easy.

As for the flavor, it tastes like ginger ale mixed with lemonade. In fact, if you wanted to go crazy, you could add seltzer to make home-made pop.

Makes: 1 pitcher, 6 servings.

Preparation: 5 minutes to make plus 20 minutes of steeping. I often mix this up in the morning with room temperature water, let it steep on the counter for however long I have and then put it in the fridge to cool.


-3" of ginger, skin peeled and flesh diced into small pieces.
-3 lemons, sliced
-1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw (or other sweetener)
-Water to fill the pitcher (remember to use filtered water)


Simply put all the ingredients in the pitcher. Add water and let steep at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before putting in the fridge.

Be sure to drink the ginger lemonade the day it's made so its active ingredients don't oxidize and weaken.

If you are having a significant asthma flare, this lemonade may not be strong enough. I would recommend steeping a 1/2" piece of ginger (finely diced) in plain, hot water and drinking it straight.  It's kind of spicy this way, and not as delicious but much more medicinal.

Want to learn more about ginger? Read here and here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eat to Breathe Manifesto: #5 Progress Not Perfection

Eating to breathe is a transition, it doesn’t have to be perfect. There just has to be consistent forward motion.
In the beginning, mistakes happen because you’re still learning. I remember when I first eliminated sugar from my diet I went on to accidentally eat a mint. It was just one of those habitual things I did without thinking. Even though I was scouring labels for hidden sugar, it didn’t even occur to me that my after-dinner mint was a no-no. What did I do? I learned from it and moved on, which is what you need to do.
Stuff happens, try not to worry about the past so much as focusing on planning your future to ensure your success. When you make mistakes, identify their root cause and decide how you will avoid the same mistake down the road.
As your life becomes more integrated with the principles here, you’ll do better, but there will always be those times where you end up eating something less than desirable. Maybe you had a bad day, or you’re on vacation, or traveling and there’s nothing but fast food, or you attend a wedding---all these events have happened to me and presented opportunities to eat less-than-ideal food. Sometimes you can anticipate and bring your own food or will find something on the menu that will work for you. Other times, you just eat what’s there because there’s nothing else to eat.
In the near future, I’ll share strategies on how to mitigate the effects of consuming the wrong foods, but know that , in the grand scheme of things, they will not hurt you so long as you plan the work and work the plan.
Read the rest of the Eat to Breathe Manifesto here.

Eat to Breath Manifesto: # 4 Feed Hunger Functional Foods.

If you are hungry, eat, but, instead of interpreting hunger as a signal to order a pizza, take it as a request for more nutrition in the form of fresh vegetables and raw fruits. Over time, your hunger will fade if you consistently respond by consuming vegetables and fruits that build the body up instead of tearing it down like most snacks do. 

Before you snack, ask three questions:

1.What can I eat to improve my health?

2. How can I eat something that cares for my body?

3. Will it help or hurt my breathing?

           I use these questions to keep me oriented on what I need to do to be successful. In fact, they are taped on my fridge.

Read the rest of the Eat to Breathe Manifesto here.

Eat to Breathe Manifesto: # 3 Understand the Intention of Your Food and its Value to Your Health

One of the things I’ve done with the recipes on this website is explain the health benefits of each ingredient. You'll see an ingredient list after every recipe and a brief outline of how a particular food lowers cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. I also include links to references for anyone who wants even more information on how a particular food functions in their body. With my recipes, you will always know the function of the food you are consuming.
When you know that your food is preventing cancer, protecting your heart and lowering your risk of disease with every bite, you can’t help but be a little more excited about eating it. Food has powerful medicinal effects, but we’ve discounted those as a culture. I’ve added that information back in, making it an integral part of each recipe.
Read the rest of the Eat to Breathe Manifesto here.

Eat to Breathe Manifesto: #2 Address Food Allergies

Half of all asthmatics have food allergies and allergies can worsen asthma, which makes it important to determine which foods might be a trigger. Did you know food related asthma attacks are considered the most dangerous? 
This is important, don't neglect it. Even subtle food allergies may be harmful to your health.

-Test yourself for wheat sensitivity or intolerance by eliminating all wheat from your diet.

-Evaluate other common allergens; eggs, dairy, peanuts, soy, shellfish, milk and other food proteins. 

Here are some good links on food elimination diets to isolate allergies:

Wheat Makes Asthma Worse

Read the rest of the Eat to Breathe Manifesto here.

Eat to Breath Manifesto: # 1 Eat Functional Foods

Functional foods restore health and inhibit disease and few people in the First World eats enough of them. In the future, I believe most of our modern health problems will not only be traced back to the industrialization of our diet, but also the failure of medical science to recognize and utilize the medicinal power of food.
Today, we eat industrial, mechanized foods that have had their healing properties stripped, fried and boiled out of them. Not only does the food no longer decay, dead bodies take longer to decompose due to all the food chemicals stored in our fat.
Further, asthmatics really get the short end of the stick. We take steroids, which saves our lives in the short run, only to ruin our health in the long run. The toxic effects of today’s mass produced, chemically flavored foods are magnified and compounded by steroids. If asthmatics aren’t aggressive about off-setting the damage of steroid use, their health will suffer. I know because it happened to me and I’m turning it around with the steps outlined in this website.
How will you incorporate functional foods into your life? Below I’ve listed the specifics, that serve as guiding principles for this blog. Count how many you’ve already heard before.
-Eat low glycemic fruits
-Eat green vegetables
-Buy organic, including meat
-Switch to glass food storage and avoid plastic
-Filter your water
-Use qunioa pasta in place of regular pasta
-Bake with almond and flax flours
-Eliminate pro-inflammatory fast food, sugar and flour (both white and whole wheat)
-Swap treats with nutritional counterparts (for example, see the recipe for chocolate cake or pancakes)
-Drink tea and water instead of coffee, juice and pop--not even diet pop.
Most of these are things everyone has heard at one time or another, so maybe we eat an apple and try a glass of iced tea...once. This is not enough. You must hit critical mass in the phytonutrient density of your diet in order to tip your body on the path to good health. That’s what this whole blog is about, creating a nutritional tipping point within your body that counteracts the asthma.
Read the rest of the Eat to Breathe Manifesto here.