LUNG STUFF, PART 4: Building the Ultimate Phlegm Free Diet

I talk too much and share too much. Recently I’ve been talking about an “anti-phlegm” diet (I’m quite the conversationalist) but it must be interesting enough people always ask me lots of questions. Either that or they just ask questions and are thinking, “how long will this idiot talk about his phlegm?” . . . and then they go home and laugh about me and that I talked about phlegm production and reduction for an entire hour.

Anyway, as is well documented on this blog where I talk about myself, I have a condition called Bronchiectasis. Among the more annoying things about it, it prevents my lungs from clearing mucus and phlegm like regular folk.

So for the curious phlegm cats out there, here’s my research. I’m not a doctor (I’m too handsome to be a doctor), but I present it to those who care. In fact there’s an entire book called “The North American Diet” that talks about how we eat in the U.S. and how it affects us – we’re fat, we all have diabetes and asthma, and those of us who live in the midwest always sound like we’re talking through our noses because our diet staples inflame our sinuses.

From Sebastian Pole, an herbal lovin’ dude, he provides the best list of rules and guidelines. Like …

  • Avoid yeast, salt, cheese, yoghurt, chocolate, and refined sugars and flours as these increase mucus.
  • Avoid overeating, especially at night.
  • Do not eat when you are not hungry. Do not eat between meals.
  • Do not eat cold foods
  • A primarily vegetarian diet is highly recommended.
  • Include ginger in your daily diet: take a pinch of fresh ginger root with a few drops of lemon juice before each meal.
  • Favour foods that are light, dry, and warm as these reduce mucus.
  • Reduce foods that are heavy, oily, and cold as these increase weight and mucus.
  • Favour foods that are spicy, bitter, and astringent (eg ginger, asparagus, tea) as these help to dry excess fluids in the body.
  • Reduce foods that are sweet, salty, and sour (eg, cakes, crisps, vinegar) as these increase fluids in the body.
  • Dairy: Low-fat milk is better. Always boil milk before you drink it (making it easier to digest) and take it warm. Do not take milk with a full meal, or with sour or salty food. Add some cardamom or ginger to whole milk before boiling it to help reduce any mucus generating properties. Use goat’s milk or water milk down 50/50. A little ghee (clarified butter) is fine. Avoid eggs, cheese, yoghurt and buffalo milk.
  • Fruits: Lighter fruits, such as apples and pears, are better. Reduce sweet, heavy or sour fruits such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconuts, and melons, as these fruits increase mucus.
  • Sweeteners: Use a little honey (2 tsp/day) as it helps to reduce mucus. Reduce all other sugar products.
  • Beans: All beans are fine, except tofu as it is very cold.
  • Nuts: Reduce all nuts as they are too oily.
  • Oils: Reduce all oils but flax, corn and sunflower is ok.
  • Grains: Increase barley, corn, buckwheat, quinoa and millet as these are slightly drying or warming. Avoid or do not take too much wheat, rice, or oats, as they increase heaviness and mucus.
  • Spices: Include all spices except for salt. Salt increases water retention and mucus whereas spices increase warmth in the body.
  • Vegetables: Increase asparagus, aubergine, beetroots, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, garlic, ginger, green leaves, kale, onion, potato, pumpkin, radish, sprouts. Reduce okra, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and summer squash as these increase fluids.
  • Meat and Fish: White meat from chicken or turkey is fine, as is seafood. Avoid or reduce red meat and pork.

He also suggests I follow some better eating habits, like . . .

  • Eat only when hungry.
  • Follow the body and not the mind- listen to your body and what it needs.
  • Treat your digestion like a fire; stoke it with easy to assimilate light meals.
  • Eat to less than full capacity. It is recommended to eat until the stomach is 1/2 full with food, 1/4 full with liquid and to leave 1/4 empty for the digestive process to have some space.
  • Eat simple meals.
  • Eat fruit, including juice away from other foods; ie leave a 2-4 hour gap.
  • Eat in a peaceful environment; not driving, hurrying or standing.
  • Eat warm and cooked food as this is easier to digest. Cold food, raw food, ice, cold water can weaken the digestive process.
  • Leave 4 hours between breakfast and lunch and 6 hours between lunch and supper. Eating in between meals slows down digestion and must be avoided in intestinal imbalance.
  • Eat the last meal of the day early in the evening. Late eating can cause constipation and indigestion.

Pretty easy, right? I’m being sarcastic. But the alternative is allergic reactions and bodily reactions that create more mucus and I go to bed everynight feeling like I’m half drowning.

Then there’s this article about foods that actually reduce mucus and another article about an anti-mucus diet. Two more articles I’ve Pinned to Pinterest are about mucus cleansing foods and another focused on Greek Medicine and a more ancient approach to mucus and phlegm reduction (I’ll admit, I didn’t read that whole Greek article, yet …it’s long). And don’t get me started on how mucus and phlegm are different . . . yes, they are . . . but not different enough that I’m going to focus only on one or the other.

Whether you have lung issues or just think, “hey, it’s allergies” . . . think about these tips and diet ideas. I’m totally gonna miss cookies and milk and I’ll cheat from time to time, but I don’t have as much ice cream and cookies and milk as I used to. In only the past 12 days, I’ve noticed an immediate and drastic difference.

When I think of most people I know, I think everyone would actually benefit from following a few of the bullet points above. Just sayin’.

What kinda blog is this, anyway? Is it about writing? Or lung function? Or family vacations and passions? It’s all of the above. Here’s to good lung health.

9 Comments on “LUNG STUFF, PART 4: Building the Ultimate Phlegm Free Diet

  1. Well you seeem to be all wound up about all the pointers. You should be working through these and eliminating useless tips. I am an asthmatic and for a very long time suffered from excessive mucous in my lungs to the point that I would be waking up vomiting and was in danger of aspirating and choking. I stepped back and really thought about my problem and came up with what I thought was a very possible solution. I changed to goats milk and for the next three weeks peed excessively and frequently. now I no longer have a mucous problem. Don’t grab at all the points just find what works for you. Remember everything in moderation, get lots of fresh air and love yourself. thank you Norma Jensen sydney australia. and yes I do have medical training!!!!

  2. Norma …good advice. Yes, I’m a bit overzealous, I admit, but as I sat and coughed up blood last night, I’m just looking for SOMETHING. I’ll do some more trial and error. I ran 6 miles in two days (very slooooooow) pace and that might’ve been it. And it was only a small amount …12 drops, maybe, from 12 coughs and spits, and then I calmed myself and the chest gurgling stopped and …nothing. Phew. But I get sad at a reality where I can’t eat anything or exercise. I also understand my case isn’t as bad as other’s have it. I’m just looking for advice, tips, ideas and support. I appreciate your comment and advice.

    p.s. I’m having ice cream tonight. it’s my birthday. I’m crazy.

  3. What do you eat for breakfast? I’m interested in transitioning to this kind of diet — anything that will help get my mucus under control. Mine isn’t terrible now, but I find myself with frequent colds and have had allergies forever (and I’m a classical singer so mucus/allergies are NOT my friend) and I’m wondering if it’s diet-related.

  4. When I’m behaving and being strict, I have scrambled eggs … 1 egg, 1/2 cup egg whites. I sometimes throw in a bunch of veggies to make it like an omelette and I can notice a very big difference than on mornings when i start my day with a bowl of Peanut Butter Cheerios and milk.

    • Update for Andrew …eggs for breakfast with oils is NOT great. I’ve switched to toast, almond butter, and fruit preserves. MUCH BETTER.

  5. Thank You so much. My malady fell on me after an elongated recovery from one or two simultaneous bouts with pluresy and viral pnuemonia. After finding no dedication among semiprofessinal (tic) lay persons, I somewhat erroneously took the responsibility of recovery upon myself. Took me longer than designing areospace, missiles, computer algorythms an assundry other complexities. I will adapt to follow the goodwill of the information you have so generously offered… …Melvin

  6. Pingback: Bronchiectasis, Part 12 – Don Kowalewski

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  8. Pingback: I Guess I No Longer Have Bronchiectasis – Don Kowalewski

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