No More Asthma Medications

Healed From Asthma and Seasonal Allergies on the GAPS Diet

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No More Asthma MedicationsI've never told about my experience with asthma and seasonal allergies and how my body has healed from these ailments on the GAPS Diet. I mentioned it briefly on Day 275 but have never really told the whole story. The good news is that I have never had to go back on the asthma medication. I'm going to share my personal thoughts and experience here. I am not a doctor and we are all individuals and our bodies react differently. By doing GAPS I was able to get off asthma medication and no longer suffer from seasonal or dust allergies and I'm pretty darned happy about it.

This recent story from USA Today is saying that climate change is connected to the rise in allergies and asthma. It's being  postulated that there is more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air which is causing more plants to grow, which are releasing more pollens.

Whether or not you believe in climate change, I postulate there is no mystery why allergies and asthma are on the rise – rather I believe it's directly related to poor diet and gut health.

Cold or Allergies?

I first became aware of seasonal allergies in the 8th grade. I had another “cold” and one of my teachers asked me if I had allergies or a cold. I told him I thought it was a cold and he told me he thought it was allergies.

Sneezing Bouts

In my twenties I can remember having long sneezing bouts in the mornings. I tried taking over the counter allergy medications but as soon as the medication wore off the sneezing bout would resume. That's when I decided maybe my mother was right and doctors don't know everything. I learned if I just hung in there the sneezing fit eventually it would end. I'd be left for the remainder of the day with a stuffy nose and sinus pressure but at least I wasn't on medication.

Why I Avoided Dairy in the Last Month of my Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my second son in 1988, I was seeing a midwife who agreed to be my doula at the hospital. She recommended that I stop having all dairy products for the month before my delivery as she said this would decrease or completely remove the need for my baby's mouth and nose to be suctioned at birth. As I felt this was a very invasive procedure for a newborn baby to endure I agreed to her suggestion.

I noticed a difference in how I felt when I stopped having dairy products. Of course these were conventional pasteurized dairy products – I didn't even know raw milk existed back then. After my son was born I resumed my love affair with dairy products and soon the thick phlegm in my throat that came back after I started on dairy products was once again easily ignored. I was not about to give up cheese and ice cream, phlegm or no phlegm.

Month Long Bout with Bronchitis and Pneumonia

In 2002 I came down with a very bad cold. I was bedridden and grew worse over the course of several days. When the constant coughing kept me awake for several days and nights I finally, reluctantly went to Urgent Care. At that time I was diagnosed with pneumonia bronchitis induced asthma. I was very sick, sicker than I had been any time in my life. I was so sick that I spent an entire month in bed, so sick that I couldn't even sit at my computer! In looking back I suspect this was my first adrenal crisis. It took months to regain my energy. When I returned to work after that 30 days we had recently moved to the rural area where we live now and in order for me to make the hour long drive home I had to go to my friend's home after working just four hours and take a nap. I had to ride in those shopping buggies at Walmart because I did not have enough energy to walk through the store, I was in an extremely weakened condition. It really changed the way I viewed people riding those carts from that time on. Prior to then I would see someone who “looked” perfectly healthy and wonder why they were using the electric cart. Even worse I learned that those carts often don't work very well. More than once the battery ran down completely while I was in the store and I had to walk back up to the front of the store on my own two feet. By that time I was so exhausted it was all I could do to get out to my car and drive home.

Asthma Diagnosis

About six months later I had recovered most of my energy and felt much better but I was having a lot of trouble breathing. My primary care physician wanted me to start using asthma medication. I couldn't catch my breath and I was wheezing at times. I was extremely reluctant, and refusing the medication. So my doctor asked me if I would agree to see an allergy/asthma specialist. After a breathing test I was diagnosed with mild asthma and the allergy test came back showing I was allergic to almost everything I'd been tested.

I remember crying at that appointment because I felt like my body had failed me. My AAS (asthma/allergy specialist) said to me, “Ma'am, why are you crying? Asthma can be treated with medication. Of all the illnesses to choose from, asthma is one of the simplest ones to manage.

I reluctantly agreed to start medication. Initially I was prescribed Serevent and Flovent to be used at the same time, plus Nasonex and Albuterol. My AAS told me it was okay to use the Nasonex on a “as needed” basis and I used it only when I absolutely needed it. Usually after an exposure to dust, for example, cleaning my closet or cleaning the milking parlor (back when we had goats). After a time the AAS asked me if I had considered tapering off the Serevent or Flovent. To be honest I had never considered such a thing. I thought once a person was put on a medication it was for life. He told me how to taper off the Serevent and eventually I was only on Flovent. Over time we decreased the strength until I was on the lowest strength Flovent and used it only once daily.

My son Matthew also contracted pneumonia a couple of weeks after me – he actually had to be hospitalized for ten days because he was not getting enough oxygen and his lower legs and lips had turned blue. That was incredibly frightening. He was diagnosed with asthma and placed on medication.

If either of us got a cold it was really scary because there was a high chance we would end up with a terrible cough and wheezing, and who knew what all would happen? Of course the doctor insisted that we had to take antibiotics and prednisone for several days. One time I ended up in the emergency room I was wheezing so bad. After spending the night wheezing I was finally seen, given a shot of prednisone and a prescription of prednisone to take home. I hated the feeling I got on prednisone. I was super wired, couldn't sleep and felt extremely hungry. “Watch what you eat because you could gain weight,” admonished the doctor. Right. No fun managing such voracious hunger.

I hated it. I hated being on medication, I hated the risks, I hated being fearful of catching a cold, I hated having to pick up prescriptions, I hated calling them in, I hated having to budget money for them.

Seasonal Allergies

I also had seasonal allergies. Only I could never figure out what was causing them as there seemed to be no rhyme or reason, I just seemed to have them most of the year.

I tried a few things to help my allergies. I tried eating honey [affiliate link] from bees in the area, that didn't work. After we got our dairy goats I started to drink their milk raw and I was able to get off the Flovent but only for a few months. The theory was that drinking their milk since they were exposed to the allergens where we lived would heal my allergies since their bodies would produce antibodies which would be in their milk. It worked for a while and I went off the Flovent but after a couple of weeks I was using my rescue inhaler so much that I had to admit I needed the Flovent to breathe easily. 🙁

Starting on GAPS

Then I started on GAPS. Since I already knew that my body was sensitive (allergic?) to dairy products I decided to start with full GAPS with no dairy products (except butter which has almost none of the substances that cause dairy reactions).

After being on GAPS for mere weeks I decided to try and get off the Flovent. Flovent is a corticosteroid. I was not aware at the time that one of the serious side effects of Flovent was decreased adrenal function. I tried to go off too quickly. I do not recall feeling tiredness or weakness which is a sign that adrenal function is decreased but I did feel like I could not catch my breath and had to use my rescue inhaler regularly in order to breath properly.

From the Flovent site:

FLOVENT can cause serious side effects, including:

  • decreased adrenal function (adrenal insufficiency). Symptoms of decreased adrenal function include tiredness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and low blood pressure. Decreased adrenal function can lead to death.

With great disappointment I went back on the Flovent.

Success – No More Asthma Meds

However, a few months later, having done Introduction and having been on GAPS for almost ten months I started to super slowly decrease my doses. I started skipping a dose every few days. It took me several weeks to slowly, slowly, slowly decrease my doses and finally I stopped. It felt so liberating to be released from having to take medication.

I have had no problems breathing and have been off asthma medication since September 2010. I had one cold a few months later with some slight wheezing and used my rescue inhaler and the next cold I had no breathing problems whatsoever. I have not had a cold since.

As for my allergies, they are also gone. I can tell when it's “that time of the year” because most of my coworkers suffer from allergies. They are sneezing, wheezing, clearing their throats, coughing and taking medications both prescription and over the counter while I am breathing clearly. No clogged sinuses, no sneezing, no scratchy throat, no symptoms whatsoever. And Matthew no longer has to do breathing treatments since he has been on GAPS. It is so nice not having to be stressed out and afraid that Matthew is having trouble breathing and “Oh no, Matt has to go to to the doct-oh!”

Heal Your Gut – Heal Your Allergies

When we heal our gut our body no longer reacts to these outer influences. I can even get in my closet which is terribly dusty and move things around and I have no reaction to the dust. This is good because I live in a dusty rural area and it's very hard to keep things dust-free.

My friend Cara from Health Home and Happiness was able to heal her dairy allergies in just six weeks on GAPS Introduction, unfortunately when I have tried to reintroduce fermented dairy (the only kind allowed on GAPS) I was plagued with sinus congestion to the point where I can't breathe through my nose. I have grown fond of sleeping comfortably at night with my mouth closed and bonus: no more drool on my pillow! And here is something else that I just realized – I just checked and my tonsils appear to be of a normal size. I have had enlarged tonsils for my entire life. I thought due to the repeated infections for so many years that my tonsils were scarred and would always be huge.

I'm very thankful that I was willing to give GAPS a chance to help my body heal. I was so resistant to give up any foods for so many years… I guess it just became time.

Have you found healing on GAPS or are you just starting out? I would love to hear from you in the comments. Even if you just say Hi or Thanks, I would love to know you stopped by.

Helpful links:

How to Address Allergies and Asthma Symptoms as “Worst Allergy Season Ever” Begins from Dr. Mercola

Wardeh from GNOWFGLINS interviews Lydia Joy Shatney In Know Your Food Episode #036 about Heal Your Gut Course


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20 thoughts on “Healed From Asthma and Seasonal Allergies on the GAPS Diet

  1. I did GAPS Intro for 6 weeks at the end of last year. During that time, I noticed a marked change in my monthly cycle (which has always been irregular because of my PCOS). Just after New Years I was able to get pregnant and stay pregnant. I give all credit to doing GAPS, since nothing else in my life changed. We’d been trying for years to get pregnant, but nothing had happened since my last miscarriage 6 years ago, and we didn’t think we’d be able to get pregnant again. To say we’re excited and ecstatic is an understatement 🙂

    We’re not currently doing GAPS because of the pregnancy. We tried, but the first trimester nausea made it impossible to be near any food smells. With hubby’s travel schedule that meant we had to settle for non-GAPS, gluten free foods that our 7 year old daughter could prepare. Not ideal, but it worked for us. I’m past the food smell aversion, but haven’t been able to get back on full GAPS yet. Several of the foods allowed on full GAPS don’t agree with me still and I’ve struggled to get enough carbs and other nutrients. This has led to another compromise in our eating, but it’s a work in progress.

    I look forward to the time when we can get back on GAPS continue the healing process that we started. What we eat is so important. I find it truly amazing that just 6 weeks of dietary changes was enough to make it possible for me to finally get pregnant.

  2. Starlene,

    I can really relate to your health symptoms. I struggle with allergies, upper respiratory issues, asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis my whole life starting in middle school up until about 2009. After a radical life shift and managing my blood sugar, healing my adrenals and repairing my digestion I found my allergies disappeared as did my asthma. I no longer get sinus infections or have to endlessly blow my nose. ‘All Disease truly does begin in the gut’

    Thanks for sharing about my course too!

  3. Congratulations! Awesome, that is a wonderful testimony Jenifer! How exciting! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Hi Lydia, I’m glad to hear you were able to get rid of your respiratory problems as well! They are such a problem for many people I know and they don’t realize that there is something that can be done to get complete and total relief. It is no fun blowing one’s nose endlessly! I remember I used to use an old t-shirt because even if I could afford to keep myself stocked with tissue paper the constant wiping would cause my nose to turn red and raw. Then my skin would peel from my nose. Not fun! LOL! So glad I don’t have to go through that. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. I believe so too. The food we eat is digested in our gut and those process materials would then distributed to our body and then the allergies comes in. Our diet plays a vital role in improving our health, thus, it is best to make sure that our families are eating well. Family Allergy Clinic

  6. Hi, I read the above article but didn’t see anywhere where it tells what GAPS is or how to do it. I am 65, have huge sinus polyps (for years), asthma (every day), bronchiectasis. My Dad died at 36 with respiratory illness and went thru the 2nd World War as a soldier–I don’t know how he survived–he died 10 years later. I practically live on Prednisone. I get better when I fast but only fast 2-3 days at a time and seldom. I feel like I am dying. I was 105-115 lbs all my life but the past year my breasts and abdomen have swelled and I’m 125-130 lbs–feel terrible. If you can tell me what GAPS is, I’d appreciate it–I have no quality of life.

  7. Hi Anne, in a nutshell, GAPS is the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet and you’ll be changing your diet to heal and seal your gut. My best recommendation is to get a copy of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book and it will tell you all about GAPS. I’m so sorry that you are in ill health. 🙁 ~Starlene

  8. Ive been on the gaps for over a year. Did intro in 6 weeks and did full gaps for the rest of the time. I felt amazing coming off of intro, but unfortunately went too hard back to coffee, fruits etc and asthma came back. Its encouraging reading this as I have suffered from extreme asthma for over 30 years (since I was 2) and have been on heavy medication for that entire time. Thanks for posting! I’m getting back into full gaps to regain and continue the healing process, however long that may be for me.

  9. May I ask if you took your peak flow reading. I work out and have a level of fitness that means that I don’t feel symptomatic of asthma even when I am experiencing it unless it gets really bad. I had this proved to me in a test that showed more inflammation when I felt ok (one of my triggers is esercise as well).

    So I am wondering whether we feel better but aren’t really better? I feel like I don’t need to take preventer medication but in reality my feelings aren’t in line with what is going on in my lungs. There is real fear of later problems because I have no kept inflammation in control because I havem’t “felt” it when it is mild.

    Do you have any insight to this? It is very confusing! Thank you.

  10. Hi Kelly, thank you for your comment. I’m sorry for my long delay on replying. I have use a peak flow meter, but not for a long time. I did use one regularly back when I first started with asthma medication (many years ago after I had pneumonia).

    I’m not completely sure I’m understanding what you are asking. Are you saying if we don’t treat “mild” asthma that shows no symptoms, it could cause problems for us down the road?

    I personally feel if I am not having symptoms, then there is no need to medicate. I do see an asthma-allergy specialist once a year and he is still amazed that I don’t use medication. He told me at my last visit that when he sees this in his practice that sometimes the patient is not telling the truth about symptoms. He looks at my allergy panel, which showed I was allergic to about 90% of what I was tested for, and it seems to him that I surely must need to use medication. But he said in my case, he believes that I am being honest about my lack of symptoms. He has also told me that I should feel free to use my medications as needed, rather than all the time.

    I went off dairy (except butter) for several years. I think taking that break allowed my body to heal because now I can eat cheese without my sinuses being affected. I can breathe freely through my nose even when eating cheese every day.

    Let me know if I answered your question, okay? Warm regards, Starlene

  11. My high functioning autistic 5 year old has been on GAPS for 8 months with huge improvements, so much so the psychologist thought he would loose his diagnosis in 2 years. But seasonal allergies have seen no improvements from GAPS, in fact with this fall weather in Colorado he’s regressing behaviorally. I have no idea what to do except wait the month out. I wish I knew of some GAPS approves remedies

  12. Hi Kristine, I am just curious if you cut out all dairy? I feel that was a very important part of my recovery. I was able to have butter and that didn’t seem to affect me. If you haven’t removed dairy, I would try that. It seemed to take me almost a year to heal. I now have dairy products and I don’t have problems with allergies. I do notice if I eat too much dairy for too many days in a row, I will start to have a stuffy nose. The company Earthley has some good herbal remedies you might check them out. Hope this helps! ~Starlene

  13. I had only cut out dairy for 2 months on the intro for my son. I hadn’t really noticed any differences introducing dairy. I’ll be honest with what seems to be a coconut intolerance it’s hard to know what to feed him instead. There wouldn’t be nearly enough fat without coconut or dairy. I haven’t done coconut in 4 months and stomach pain and anger caused by it stopped. I was hopeful, very hopeful that GAPS would send him into full recovery but sadly we are at a standstill now; but at least he’s a lot more improved.

  14. Hi Kristine, I’m glad to hear you have had some good improvement! I know it’s hard cutting out so many foods, GAPS is a challenging protocol.

    When I was off dairy, I was able to continue having butter, it doesn’t affect me like other dairy products do.

    You know sometimes people will do a second round of introduction for more healing, maybe you could try that and see if you get more healing. I would try removing dairy again, except for butter. And remember there are other fats like bacon grease, olive oil, avocado oil. Any kind of grease from cooking meat works, too. I will use the chicken grease from the top of broth and use that for cooking. HTH, Starlene

  15. How are you doing now post pandemic? I’m hoping to start GAPS soon, I’m going to cut out processed foods and sugar and then start it so that I have the sugar addiction managed. I’m trying to heal asthma that happened after getting really sick 3 years ago (my asthma used to be mild!) I’m unsure if the sickness was c19, I was pregnant and too scared to be put in the hospital with c19 patients. But the asthma stayed with me after that scary attack and I use albuterol every single day since and nebulize cromolyn 3x a day because the inhaled steroid had too many negative effects. Hope you’re doing well.

  16. Hi Linds, thanks for your comment! I have been able to stay off of asthma medications now since 2010! I did continue to see my asthma / allergy specialist up until last year just so that I would be able to renew my prescriptions because my asthma can become a problem if I get sick. The good news is I don’t get sick very often, maybe once every couple years. I did get c19 in July 2022 and was so sick but I guess we had the variant that doesn’t affect breathing because I never used my inhaler. I had severe fatigue and lost my smell and taste for several days. I remember that I tried to stop cold turkey off my asthma meds but that didn’t work out so I kept up with them for a few months and then tapered off slowly and that worked better. OH! And I did go off dairy for almost a year – except for butter. I feel like that helped a great deal. I did transition back to using dairy and I don’t get seasonal allergies and my other allergies don’t affect me. I used to have a horrible reaction to dust but doesn’t seem to bother me anymore. Good luck with doing GAPS. I recommend trying full GAPS first because that’s a pretty big transition but don’t forget to do a round of Intro. Here’s is a link:

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