One Patient's Story: Battling Asthma, Allergies, Psoriasis, and Headaches
One of Dr. Fuhrman's patients sent in the following story a few years ago. It appeared previously in his Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times newsletter.:
As a graduate student in the mid-1980s, I suffered from asthma, headaches, and allergies. I took the oral medication theophylline, plus two inhaled medications for my asthma, Tylenol for my headaches, and Sudafed for my allergies. I developed bronchitis at least once each year, for which I took antibiotics and sometimes codeine. After a while, I developed recurring migraine headaches, for which I tried the standard medication.
My diet had always been fairly mainstream. I had experienced many food allergies throughout my life, and found that raw fruits and vegetables made my tongue, throat, and the inside of my mouth itchy and uncomfortable. As a result, I ate all of my vegetables cooked, except for lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I avoided fruit altogether, hoping to prevent allergic reactions. As years went by, I became more aware of the importance of healthful eating and improved my diet somewhat. But it wasn't until after my first child was born that I found out about a truly healthful approach to eating.
My son was born in 1994. By the time he was 18 months old, he was on antibiotics and suffering with his fourth ear infection. Fortunately, I was referred to Joel Fuhrman, M.D. After one consultation with Dr. Fuhrman, I changed my son's diet. He has never suffered another ear infection.
After reading a few articles and information sheets about nutrition by Dr. Fuhrman, and attending one of his lectures, I began to make small changes in my diet. For one thing, I began to eat a large salad with my lunch every day, without fail. I felt a little bit healthier, but I still wasn't committed to following all of Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional advice. The real turning point for me came when Dr. Fuhrman helped me through a severe sinus infection. Only then did I realize I had found an expert on whom I could confidently rely for tangible benefits.
I often got a cold early in the winter. My sinuses would clog up, and I would feel uncomfortable for months. Dr Fuhrman gave me a menu plan of nothing but raw fruits and vegetables, and stated that my sinuses likely would clear in three days. I pointed out that this condition had already lasted almost two months, to which he replied it might take as long as ten days. I followed his instructions exactly, and one week later my sinuses were clear. I was hooked; I use this method whenever I catch a cold and have not had bronchitis or sinusitis since. No more antibiotics for me!
There were more benefits to come. I had my second child in 1999, and during the pregnancy I developed psoriasis. I consulted with a dermatologist who put me on a strong steroidal ointment. When I told Dr. Fuhrman about it, he increased my intake of omega-3 by adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and a handful of walnuts each day, increased the amount of vegetables, and had me totally eliminate milk products. The outbreaks came less frequently, which was good, but they didn't go away completely. By the time 2002 rolled around, I was totally fed up with the psoriasis (and using steroid creams). So I went back to Dr. Fuhrman again and asked how I could really fix it. He put me on what I call my "green diet," which is essentially the same as the diet he recommends in his book Eat To Live.
These days, I eat a pound of raw veggies (mostly leafy greens) and a pound of cooked green veggies each day, with unlimited fruits and beans, and eat only a small amount of starchy vegetables and grains. I consume no extracted oils, about one half an avocado, and only a small amount of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds in addition to my flaxseed and walnuts. I include eggs and fish in my diet about once each week.
On this plan, my psoriasis has mostly disappeared, reoccurring only when I deviate from my diet and include too many starches. Even then, it is much milder. I can use the ointment for a few days and the psoriasis won't reappear for months. I feel good. Headaches, asthma, bronchitis, and severe allergies are in the past. I take no medications and breathe easily. Although I did not switch all at once to Dr. Fuhrman's recommended diet, each step I took was permanent. I have made steady improvements in my health over the course of sixteen years. This step-by-step approach has worked wonders for me.