Synthetic Preservatives, Pesticides, and Asthma

Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical doctor. The things I talk about here are personal experiences. I do not claim to be an expert on this issue. I can only tell of my experiences to inform the parents and fellow sufferers of this illness. Some may be applicable. Others may not be.

Please, please, consult your doctor about what it is I have written if you have any questions. Your doctor may already have talked to you about what I am sharing here. Maybe the doctor hadn’t. Sometimes it is common for us to show up at the doctor’s office and suddenly get a case of temporary amnesia. Happens to me as well.

So. Please consult your doctor.

Ω     Ω     Ω

Asthma (pronounced as “az-ma”), as defined here, “is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.” For more information, do follow the link!

It has no cure.

As a follow up on my post, “Allergens – Bane of Our Lives,” I want to talk a little bit more about the health issue that I, along with millions of people in the world, suffer from.

The decades long transition away from artificial preservatives here in the United States, and in effect, Taiwan and numerous other countries, has made my life significantly easier when it comes to food choices. Organics was one of the greatest leaps into this, and I’m a staunch supporter of it whenever I can be realistically. I do not believe in having a “pure organic” living, but being able to use it to put at ease my own suspicions and question marks in a jiffy has made parenting much easier for me now than it might have been.

However.

This is a privilege. This kind of lifestyle is expensive, and I’m sure many of you, while not impoverished, aren’t swimming in money either. Neither am I and understand the burden of those medical bills all too well.

義美小泡芙 - IMEI - breadpuffsWhen I was growing up, there’s this snack – small bread puffs – made by I-MEI (pronounced “E-May”) that is very popular in Taiwan. It’s cheap, hard on the outside and squishy on the inside. It’s also cream filled with something flavored – strawberry, vanilla, or chocolate – most likely artificially as well. My cousins ate them all the time. Parents gave them to toddlers and children who are learning to chew solids or otherwise.

This stuff puts me in the hospital. Without fail.

It wasn’t until extensive trips to the doctor’s office, exact recounts of what it is my mother gave me, did we eventually figure out what was causing the problem.

The doctor, and this was dated back in the 80s, explained to my mother that I have a sensitivity to “artificial preservatives.” The I-Mei cream-fill bread puffs had some of the highest concentration. These things, back in the day, had a shelf life of 10 years. At least.

10 years! For a snack that’s basically bread.

I am still sensitive to artificial preservatives. In fact, I cannot accept gifts from most people, or end up donating most gifts if they happen to be snack things – cookies, pies, breads, and the like, unless I knew the items were made without artificial preservatives.

My children, unfortunately, seem to have the same sensitivity to artificial preservatives and one other thing – pesticides.

Especially the stuff banana farmers are using on their banana trees. Those beautiful bananas you find in grocery stores – long and curvy and come in abundance – are not heirloom bananas. Bananas actually have seeds. They are typically short and stubby, and they don’t grow as plentiful as the ones we’re used to seeing in American supermarkets.

Today’s bananas are like the yellow corn we know and love so much. And come with just as many problems.

From what I had gathered from glancing at the news and whatnot, there has been a fungi that is eradicating fields of banana trees. This fungi only targets the genetically engineered bananas we buy. Not the heirloom. As a result, farmers have to stay on top of their banana plantations.

For some of you, perhaps you have come to notice this, but some children suffering from asthma can’t eat corn without suffering heavy consequences – heavy congestion that eventually leads to wheezing. When I was little, corn was to be eaten with caution and bananas were to be completely avoided.

If I was sick or had any small level of congestion, I cannot have corn. This applies to my children. I had talked in the other article about high fructose corn syrup. Operative word here is corn. Even farmed, unprocessed corn will make that congestion worse. Add the sheer amount of pesticides they have to gunk on corn back in the day and you had a medical recipe of disaster.

Now, I do still give my children bananas because Wegmans offer an organic version of their more robust and bigger cousins. The selection is maybe 1/3 of what the non-organic version is, but you’ll find a lot of mothers shopping there and buying them for their children. If you ever run out of the organic version, my only advise here is to wash the non-organic ones. I had to do that for my son during the summer when he tired of all the other summer fruits and wanted bananas.

This kid loves bananas.

I found that if I wash the skin of the banana before touching it or giving it to him, the symptoms take a lot longer to show up than if I hadn’t done it. Organics doesn’t have him any symptoms, but like corn, he can’t have it when he has allergies or is down with the annual cold or flu.

I know. It’s a lot to take in.

I’m sure by now you’re probably racking your brain trying to figure out what it is you can do.

Well, I might have something for you here.

I have come across a few parents during those young years whose children suffered the same level of nasty asthma I did. I met one online through Excite Chat. One of the guards in my school had a son who is like me – and he, the father, died in an accidental falling one night into the school’s second empty pool. The pool has been filled in since and retired. In the last decade or so, one of my parents’ financial advisers at a bank in Taiwan is about my age and suffered from the same illness. When we found out we both had asthma, we traded stories of what our parents did and if it was effective or not.

At least four people across three countries without knowing each other have the same practices for people like me.

In short, our childhood was brutal.

So I’ll like to add one more thing to that list I had shared on that first article.

Fish soup.

That’s right. Fish soup. Before you curl your lips and wrinkle your nose at the notion, exposure is the best way of getting your growing child to eventually adopt that into their diet. My mother would use white-fleshed fish – as fresh as she could find it. Where we come from and lived, places like Malaysia and Taiwan, the fish sold in the market was just caught hours prior from small fishing boats. Back where I was living, the ocean pollution wasn’t quite that bad, and yes, I’ve had the privilege of growing up on ocean fish.

But white-flesh here is the operative word. I will ask my mother what it is she used to make me, or my father, translate it to English and share it with the rest of you. I’ll even include the Mandarin names if it will help some of you.

All my mother did was boil that fish in water and use ginger. Finely shredded ginger. Salt to taste.

Have your child eat the fish, but eating that fish will not be nearly as important as drinking that soup.

I repeat.

EATING THAT FISH IS NOT NEARLY AS IMPORTANT AS DRINKING THAT SOUP.

It is a known fact that anything cooked in soup will have its nutrients in that water. While it is still important to eat the fish for a lot of nutrients you just won’t find anywhere else – meats and vegetables – that soup will contain the highest concentration of everything.

My mother used to add white rice to the soup when I was young and make it a meal so it’s more like porridge, or like the can soup by Campbell’s you can buy from the store.

Only this is a lot healthier than whatever Campbell’s can give you.

We did this at least three times a week.

The rest of the week, my parents always had fish on the table. Also white for the most part, and steamed. Again, one can’t steam fish unless it was fresh. Otherwise that “gone bad” taste will be in your food.

And the health hazard of that is just not worth risking.

My mother would clean out the fish (and where I come from, only the guts are ever removed along with the scales. We steam our fish whole.) Make 2 slits diagonally on both sides of the fish for easier steaming, rub it down with some salt, put it in a plate, add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sprinkle finely shredded ginger over the top of it, and then steam the fish. Depending on the size, this is done for no more than 15 minutes. For some of the fish, doing it for 15 minutes is going to make the fish taste what we call “OLD.”

“Rubbery” would be the more accurate English translation.

The golden span of time is anywhere between 11 and 13 minutes. That’s right. Can’t have eaten fish for this many years of my life and not have it down perfect.

The broth that comes from the fish, added to the soy sauce, makes it ideal to spread over rice. My father did that for me growing up.

I cannot promise you that doing all this will reward you with an asthmatic symptom free child. Asthma has no cure, but it can’t hurt.

Fish is also widely known as brain food. That’s the best bonus, in my opinion.

I hope this has helped. If you have any questions, please, direct them to my inbox over here at lav.wynter@gmail.com

I wish all of you the very best in this long and hard endeavor to live a life that is as little spent in a hospital as possible.

❤ Much, much love. ❤

Wynter, out.

 

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