In the months and years that followed, each cold was shorter and a little less traumatic. I felt so motivated by the progress that I saw a naturopathic doctor, who put me on some immune-system-boosting supplements—with echinacea, green tea, elderberry, and mushrooms—and I also did my first detox program.
These days, my colds still last longer than a non-asthmatic. I get a little extra wheezing and coughing, and sometimes it hangs on longer than I'd like, but I'm happy to report that I haven't taken an antibiotic or a steroid since 2012.
Now for the burning question: Did I ever go back to eating dairy? After a few dairy-free months I found that my body really didn't tolerate it anymore. It's almost like it was used to constantly being abused by dairy, but now that it knows better it reacts way more aggressively when I do indulge. Every now and then I'll treat myself to cheese and crackers at a friend's house or real cream in my coffee, but I will always wake up with an uneasy stomach and some congestion in my nose... which is a great reminder of why I eliminated it years ago.
So what does the research say about diary and asthma? According to Dr. Amy Shah, a physician and functional medicine expert, "Medical studies have not panned out on proving that dairy increases mucus asthma or sinus issues. However, in my practice I would say about 40 percent of people that have sinus issues will improve once they cut out dairy and sugar! This is an area of medicine that is quite new and there is more to come on the subject of food sensitivity and sinuses, allergy, and asthma issues."
I would never tell you that cutting diary was the miracle that cured my asthma. It was, however, a huge piece of the puzzle that needed to fall into place before any other healing could occur. We all have our own unique health journeys, but we all have an aha moment along the way when it really registers that what we eat really, truly affects the way we feel. And this was mine. Cutting out dairy changed my life because it made me realize that my whole body was intricately connected and that gut health is everything—it saved me from the vicious cycle of Western medicine and started me on my path to optimal health.
Feeling inspired but need more motivation? Here's what happened when our wellness and beauty editor gave up dairy for a month.