Good Eats · Nesting

How We Cured Eczema with WHOLE FOODS

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, and I don’t pretend to be either.  This is just a post about what worked for us.  This is a post that is past due too.  I have several friends who are asking for help, especially at this time of year.  A couple years ago my son, age 3, developed a small patch of eczema behind one knee.  It developed out of nowhere, the day we returned from an annual vacation with my in laws.  When it first started it was the size of a dime, and I don’t think it got any bigger than a half dollar.  The problem was, in addition to this quarter sized, come and go again rash, he had a bloated come again go again belly.  While he didn’t really have potty issues, he tooted like a grown man (he is going to love me for this one when he grows up).  He had his first ear infection.  My mommy instinct knew this wasn’t right, especially since I have an older son with no issues like this to compare.  I knew what healthy looked like, and something wasn’t right.

Don’t get me wrong, he was still a very healthy kid.  He just wasn’t at the level of healthy I was used to.  Every time I think I have something figured out…I eat HUMBLE PIE.  How could my kid have eczema? I nursed him YEARS.  As in beyond 3.   We ALWAYS ate organic.  I mean, literally 98% of what we buy is organic.  I soaked and sprouted all my grains and beans, cooked from scratch, etc.  There weren’t any chemicals, dyes, none of that.  But 3 was far beyond the age when eczema normally develops.  Beyond the age of ear infections.  He was a ridiculously healthy baby and toddler.  Why all of a sudden?

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Notice that little bloated belly? This is right when it started.  Lots of great vacations with lots of not so great food.

Most children, 75% as per studies, develop eczema from cow’s milk around the age of one year.  The other 15% is from wheat. 10% is the “other”, but usually part of the nasty nine that make up food allergies.  But unlike most families, ours makes a conscious effort to not drink cow’s milk period.  I don’t buy any dairy whatsoever.  So clearly that wasn’t the cause.  We don’t eat much wheat either, although not religiously.  I took my son for bloodwork, to several doctors, nothing showed up.  I was told by a pediatric allergist in Princeton that eczema behind the knees, on the back of the arms, and/or face was a definite reaction to food.  However, after extensive testing, no allergies ever showed up.  His conclusion was he was a healthy boy and a small spot of eczema was not a big deal.  Thanks.

I had a major issue with this.  There is this “trifecta” that all in the medical field know about.  Eczema, allergies, and asthma.  I didn’t want my child to have anything to do with that trifecta.  Doctors prescribe steroid creams to shut down a child’s immune system to make the rash go away.  This totally disrupts a child’s hormones.  What happens when this child is older?  What are the effects?  Skin discoloration? Is that all?  How about, FIND OUT WHAT THE HELL IS MAKING A HEALTHY CHILD HAVE A RASH?

I am have the utmost respect for physicians.  They dedicate a huge portion of their lives towards education in making people better.  While most of us are out living our lives, having fun, spending time with family; they are working long and hard hours selflessly.  Doctors are good.  They see so many diseases, viruses, disorders, bacterias, etc…I can see how in the scope of things, a small patch of eczema is harmless.  They are seeing things FAR FAR worse.  Some children have eczema that is severe enough they need steroids.  If my child’s eczema was causing him severe discomfort, I probably would do anything to give him relief.  His really wasn’t awful, or consistent…it just drove me crazy.  This blog is not to shame anyone for doing what is best for their baby nor doctors for giving some kids much needed relief.  Some are perfectly fine with a cream or a pill.  Everyone does what is right in their own hearts for their child.  For me, steroid cream was not an option.  I can see how it would be for others and how it would be for doctors.  I GET IT.  I was NUTS, HYSTERICAL, OBSESSED for months over this tiny little rash.  I literally went off the deep end trying to figure out what was different.  I kept food diaries, journals, you name it.  The problem was, it was a tiny patch that came and went.  It wasn’t even always there.  I was literally scoffed at by doctors for making such a big deal over it.  My brother, in med school at the time, said he was going to sneak in while he was sleeping and put a little hydrocortisone creme on it to stop the madness.

So to make a long story short, a few years back…I totally WHOLE THIRTIED my kid.  Actually my whole family.  Mind you I was raised a vegetarian.  I still haven’t eaten any meat at all.  The rest of my family sure does.  I do my very best to be sure I buy the highest quality, ethically raised food I can for them, that makes a big difference in comparison to factory farmed meats.  We eat lots of WILD fish, never farm raised.  I DID NOT RESTRICT carbs or sugar what so ever.  I would not in anyway, shape or form recommend cutting carbohydrates from a child’s diet. I simply followed the Whole 30 rules, kind of loosely. We never really ate much plain sugar, but I sweetened things with maple syrup or honey.  I did the best I could to keep him grain, dairy, and legume free.  I wanted my boy healthy.

  1.  NO GRAINS.
  2.  NO BEANS.  This includes soy and peanuts.  Peanuts are legumes, not nuts.
  3. NO DAIRY

This sounds insane.  What is left, right?  My take on how to make this, and any other dietary change for that matter feasible is to ALWAYS FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN EAT, NOT WHAT YOU CANNOT.  After a few short days of doing this my son’s belly went from descended to flat.  No rash.  Gone.   Years later we still loosely follow this protocol.  Let me emphasize EXTREMELY loosely.  We do eat sprouted bread and whole sprouted grains a few times a week at this point.  It has been almost a full two years and he has not had any issues since.  Knock wood.

We eat whole foods.  My Jesseism on why this works is minimal exposure to genetically modified foods.  I cannot believe there is not a total UPROAR about what is going on with our food supply.  Kids are DYING from anaphylactic shock from mild allergies out of nowhere.  1 in 13 is thought to have a food allergy.  In a group of ten immediate friends, about half of the kids have food and/or seasonal allergies.  This is just my anecdotal observation.  My parents can’t even fathom this.  This was not the case with my generation, nor was it with theirs.

So this is for my friends out there and all the mommies and daddies who are not cool with steroid cremes and medications.  Those who have reached out to me and are on a mission.  I found this super easy after a month or so.  Here are 10 go to breakfast, lunches, dinners, and snacks.  Keep in mind, my kids literally will eat anything.  I rotate meals like crazy.  This ISN’T really necessary.

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As long as it is approached with a child as, “we are going to eat these healthy foods to make your skin feel better”, it doesn’t really matter if a child eats the same one or two meals for breakfast everyday.  Keep in mind if a child has a nut allergy, there are always alternatives. I listed some below, but feel free to ask questions in comments.  Make sure the child knows why they are eating certain foods.  If possible, take kids to an apple orchard, grocery store, farm, berry picking, grow veggies…it peeks their interest in the food itself.

BREAKFAST

  1.  Fried Eggs and Plaintains
  2. Grain Free Granola (all nuts and/or seeds) with Bananas and Coconut Milk– This is our “cereal”.  I buy Trader Joe’s Grain Free Granola, or I grind up pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.  Add a dairy free milk of choice, a fruit,  a little honey.  YUM.
  3. Sweet Potato Toast with Nut Butter-Loads of Pinterest ideas on this one.
  4. Chia Seed Pudding with Fruit
  5. Turkey Bacon and Roasted Potatoes
  6. Grain Free Pancakes-Eggs blended with banana, or squash, or plantains and fried. Again, a simple Pinterest search and there are lots of recipes.  I don’t even follow the recipes, I put everything in the blender, add milk until its the right consistency, and cook over low heat.  The low heat is KEY.
  7. Coconut  or Almond Yogurt with Nuts, Seeds, and or Fruit
  8. Whitefish Salad or Smoked Salmon with Tomato with Scallions and Capers and Grain Free Crackers
  9. Flax Seed Pudding with Berries
  10. Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup or Pumpkin Butter and Chicken Sausage

LUNCH

  1.  Hard Boiled Eggs with Carrots and Guacamole
  2. Organic Turkey Roll Ups with Grain Free Crackers and Coconut Cheese
  3. Salmon Salad with Diced Carrots, Scallions, and Celery
  4. Tuna Salad with Diced Celery, Scallions, and Dried Cranberries
  5. Chicken Soup-I use cauliflower rice in ours and potatoes in ours.
  6. Cauliflower Rice Sushi
  7. Apple and Sunbutter or Nutbutter Sandwiches
  8. Organic Hot Dogs and French Fries
  9. Chop Salad with Nuts and/or Protein of Choice
  10. Salmon Burgers, Fresh Veggies, Sweet Potato Fries

DINNER

This is easy.  This protein and veggies.  Every night. These are some of my family’s favorites.

  1.  Roasted Chicken and Vegetables 
  2. Sautéed Chicken Sausage, Peppers, Onions, Spaghetti Squash
  3. Sautéed Flounder in Lemon, Thyme, and Capers with Spinach and Mash Potatoes.
  4. Grilled Mahi Mahi Collard Wrap Tacos, cabbage lime cilantro slaw, cauliflower rice and sweet potato salad.
  5. Grass fed Burgers, French Fries, Roasted Veggies
  6. Seafood Cioppino over Zucchini Noodles
  7. Wild Shrimp, Onions, Garlic, Spinach, Zucchini Noodles
  8. Grilled Scallop Kabobs with Vegetables
  9. Zucchini, Onions, Tomatoes, Ground Turkey with Spaghetti Squash
  10. Coconut Milk Curried Vegetables and/or Protein of Choice

SNACKS

  1.  Plantain Chips or Banana Chips
  2. Grain Free Crackers
  3. Trader Joe’s Handful of Nut Packs
  4. Coconut/Almond Milk Yogurt or Rubie Rockets
  5. ANY FRUIT with Nut Butter
  6. Roasted Seaweed
  7. Fresh Fruit and Veggie Smoothies
  8. Larabars or Homemade “Fudge Babies”
  9. Apple Sauce and Veggie Pouches
  10. Potato Chips, Kale Chips, Broccolli Bites, etc.  Any chip that doesn’t have grains or beans.

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*If a nut allergy is an issue, the following substitutions can be made:

NUT BUTTER-Sunbutter (I love Trader Joe’s despite the added sugar, it is minimal and makes a HUGE difference in taste.)

MILK-Rice, Hemp, or Flax Milk

ANY NUT-Sub Hemp, Chia, Flax, or Sunflower Seeds

COCONUT OIL-Ghee

YOGURT-Rice Milk Yogurt

The good news is little man can pretty much eat anything at this point without that rash appearing.  So after following this strictly for about 10 months, we reached the point where he can occasionally eat whatever he wants with very little issues.  In simpler terms, I still loosely follow this protocol as mentioned above, but when we are out to eat, at a party, etc…he eats things like pizza without the cheese, grass-fed burgers with buns, etc. I do occasionally buy wheat from ITALY, because that does not bother my husband or son. Italy has banned genetically modified foods, this may be why.  We realized this after my husband noticing a local brick oven pizza place didn’t bother him at all.  The wheat was from Italy and fermented three days.  Non-GMO!!!

What I am UBER strict over is dairy.  His ear infections were on the holidays, literally Christmas and the day after Easter.  I let my kids eat whatever they want on the holidays, but after making this very easy correlation, we stay CLEAR of dairy.  Ear infections suck.  Totally not worth it.  He doesn’t even want anything to do with it himself.  Smart boy.

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I shared what I have done with adults, and adults with children.  Each I shared with who followed religiously have had successes.  In fact, some husbands who simply followed what their wives and children were eating figured out how allergic to some foods they actually were, without even actively trying!  This diet has worked for other autoimmune issues too for some.  A site that has a plethora of information regarding ECZEMA is solveeczema.org  This mama was on such a mission, she is actually being published in several medical journals.  There are two types of Eczema, and she addresses how to figure out which your child has.  Some children actually have BOTH types.

I really hope this information helps some loved ones, sorry it so overdue!

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