Categories
Health Preemie

Our NICU Journey – 26 Week Micro Preemie

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A new year is upon us, which means new resolutions, new opportunities, and new beginnings.

I know that I’ve been quiet on here for a long time, but not without good reason. For me, 2019 was one hell of a year, becoming one of the most stressful, frightening, exciting, happiest, and wonderful year of my life all at the same time. Let me explain.

As everyone was kicking off the New Year, I lay in hospital bed, catching small glimpses of the fireworks and celebration happening far away. I had already been there for two days. January 1st went by quietly with family coming and visiting me in the hospital, playing games, and keeping me company. They spent a majority of the day with me, and as the night crept in – I smiled and waved everyone goodbye, hopefully counting down the hours and minutes.

Every minute was precious, and every one that passed meant a higher chance of survival… but now it was time.

Within minutes the room was a blur of activity. I blinked back my tears, and tried to swallow the lump in my throat as my body shook uncontrollably. My fiancé held my hand tight and met my gaze. I could see the fear in his eyes too, but he put on a brave face as be told me it would all be okay before they wheeled me into the operating room.

They told us that he might not cry, that he might not survive, but to our surprise the room erupted with the sweetest sound we have ever heard as our baby boy took his very first breath on his own.

Our baby boy, our little 950g wonder -born prematurely at just 26 weeks and 2 days gestation was here, making his grand entrance on January 2nd, 2019 at 1:06am.

And so began 2019, our NICU journey, our first taste of parenthood.26 week preemie

He was so impossibly small -nothing but skin and bones, hooked up to endlessly beeping machines. His eyes were still fused shut and his skin was so delicate that we were unable to hold him for a week. I cried every single day. The goodbyes were the hardest, and I dreaded when I had to leave his side to try and catch a moment of sleep.

We spent 113 long days in the hospital, and during that time we rode the NICU rollercoaster. From the highest of highs, cheering him on for every small step – every gram of weight gained, him opening his eyes, first cuddle, his first bath, moving out of his incubator to a big boy bed, drinking his first drops of milk, then his first bottle, getting off oxygen, and finally coming home. To the lowest of lows. The tears, the hard times, and the ‘close your eyes and pray that the devil doesn’t know you’re there’ moments. From reintubation, a ripped off and re-sewn on ear, chemical burns, brain scans, brain bleeds, weight loss, multiple blood transfusions, a broken arm, and the heartbreaking waiting game to finally bring him home.

I don’t remember a lot of the days in between. The days just seemed to repeat, like a cruel version of Groundhogs Day. A blur of feedings, updates, and cuddles -with nights that ended in tears as I made the journey home.

The second best day of our life finally came on April 25th, 17 days after his predicted due date.

Our son finally got to come home.

We were happy, yes, but a different emotion dominated the day. The moment we stepped through the door it was like a weight had been lifted off our chest, relief flooded over us, and it was as if we could finally breathe again. Serenity.

Of course, our journey didn’t stop after the NICU, and for a while our days and weeks were filled with endless doctors appointments, physio sessions, eye exams, and follow ups. But each day he grows stronger, and the appointments move further and further apart. He is now one year old, and nearly 20lbs. Our days are filled with reading, playing, talking, trying new foods, visiting the cows, chickens, and horses, cuddling on the floor with his best friend -a big husky shepherd who adores him, and his most favourite thing of all… holding mamas hand as we walk all around the house!

Here’s to a new year full of exciting adventures, precious memories, and many more ‘firsts’. I’m glad you’re here on this wild ride with me. If you are currently going through your own NICU journey, please know that my heart goes out to you and your little ones. Our family is rooting for you.

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
Health

Diet Changes For Health | Why I’m No Longer Dairy Free

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It’s been a busy couple weeks on my end, so I dearly apologize for being missing in action this past little bit. From creating The Humble Kitchen’s Gourmet Sea Salts, to going to markets, and trying to have a life outside of work – things got a little bit crazy.

But I’m back now!

So sit on down ladies and gents’ and get ready to hold onto your seats because I’m about to tell you through a rather shocking  turn of events that took me from severe food sensitivites to healed skin and no longer avoiding or reacting to dairy at all!

(I always knew I’d be back for you, icecream)

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While I was on the elimination diet, my skin was better than it had been in a long time. You can read the whole story here, but to save you some time I eventually discovered dairy was my skins #1 enemy (or so I thought). I avoided dairy like the plague and went on with my life. For several weeks I was doing alright, but all too quickly I noticed the familiar redness creeping up -accompanied by tiny bubbles under my skin. My eczema had come back (albeit much more manageable than before) no matter how diligent I was with my dairy-free diet.

With my increasingly bubbling skin arose a crippling fear of what I once loved dearly – food. I was afraid of any food I didn’t make. Every restaurant dish felt like a game of roulette, and every meal my family members made was accompanied by 1000 questions before I was assured enough to eat.

This went on for several weeks, but eventually this summer at a family gathering (surrounded by food I was once again afraid to eat) -enough was finally enough. I was sick of being sick, and sick of being afraid of food. Armed with my emergency steroid cream – I binged, and indulged in everything from creamy pasta, to brownies and of course ice cream.

Needless to say: My sweet tooth was happy, but my hands were not.

Days later, still armed with my emergency steroid cream and even more resentful towards my restricting diet, I decided to make a radical switch in my diet and dive head first into the world of Keto.

I had heard that a ketogenic diet can help reduce and manage inflammation –exactly the culprit  I suspected behind this deceiving disease. I figured that this could be the key to healing myself once and for all or at the very least I would enjoy food and dairy once again, even for a little bit.

A Ketogenic Diet is high in fat, moderate protein and very low in carbohydrates.  An entire blog dedicated to this diet is coming soon, but for now, let’s continue. 

Terrified, but determined I jumped into a diet filled with my suspected eczema causing culprit and I emerged… better than ever before.

Not only did my eczema disappear but my acne cleared up, my nails grew stronger, my energy levels increased, my tummy has settled and even handles the inevitable (occasional) binges that occur with ease -which means minimal if any flaring, bubbling, itchy skin!

The best part?

I no longer live in fear about whats in my food, and can once again go back to enjoying meals and cooking the way I once did before! So don on your apron, try your hand at some culinary sea salts, and meet me in the kitchen for even more fantastic, tummy happy recipes coming your way!

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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While the Elimination Diet didn’t yeild lasting results for me, doesn’t mean the diet is no good. Nor does it mean that Keto is the only diet to be on for eczema. On the contrary – everybody and every body is different. Our needs, stories, and journey to good health is ours alone. So take this life and explore, experiment, and never settle in both life and health. 

Lastly, remember I am not an expert in these fields.  I have based my writings upon my own experiences, opinions, beliefs and extensive research. See my full disclaimer, and always consult a health care professional for medical and health advice.

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Categories
DIY Health

DIY Lavender Eczema Sugar Scrub

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While anyone can use this lovely DIY sugar scrub to exfoliate, moisturize, and get silky soft skin; a sugar scrub can be the perfect asset to help itchy eczema (especially the flaky, crusty, ‘my skin is constantly peeling off’, body dandruff -dry type of eczema we all know and despise…).

When it comes to my fellow eczema sufferers, a sugar scrub can do more than just exfoliate and moisturize. The sweet relief of a gentle scratch the sugar scrub brings along is not often talked about in the eczema community.

We aren’t supposed to scratch after all.

However, sometimes on particularly bad days it feels like the only thing you can do to achieve a fleeting sense of relief (even though you know deep down you’ll be worse off because of it). 

When I was suffering with dyshidrotic eczema my hands would itch, crack, and bleed constantly. They begged for moisture, and it felt like nothing did kept them hydrated. After one particularly sleepless night, (irritated and sleep deprived) I grabbed a sugar scrub that was shoved to the farthest corner of my bathroom cupboard. I had made it long ago as a gift for a friend and (as this itchy sleepless night drug on) it was lucky that I had some left over. The sugar scrub provided a sweet relief that I desperately needed and from then on was used whenever I got a particularly nasty flare.  

Again, everyone and their dog knows to not scratch eczema… but it can be tough to resist. If you do use a sugar scrub to help with the itching please, please remember to rub the sugar scrub in circular motions and push very gently. You can easily damage your already irritated and sore hands by scratching too hard!

I learned that lesson the hard way…

In this sugar scrub, lavender and raw honey team up to provide even more relief with their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to those superhero ingredients you can trust that your sensitive skin is in good hands and will be left delightfully smooth, refreshed, and itch free (even if it’s just for a little while)!

Enough with the chit chat, let’s get started!

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  • 1 water-tight jar or container
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil or olive oil
  • 10 – 12 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2 tsp of raw or manuka honey* (See below)
  • 2 drops of red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 drops of blue food coloring (optional)

 

* Using either raw or manuka honey will yield the best results for your skin (and health!) It’s been found that the honey industry is very poorly regulated, and as a result some generic or ‘table’ honey actually contain very little honey and are instead filled with corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Even if a generic brand of honey contains only honey (really, is that so much to ask?) the processes table honey undergoes destroys most of the honey’s bio-active components (the very stuff we want!) and leaves us with essentially a liquid sugar.

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Start by melting your raw honey to make it easier to stir. Then, in your water tight container combine together all ingredients, stirring until everything is evenly mixed.

Screw the lid on tight and place either in the fridge or in a bathroom cabinet until you’re ready to use it. This mixture can last up to two months.

Note: It’s not essential to refrigerate your sugar scrub, but some people may feel more comfortable doing so. It’s entirely up to you!

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Dampen your hands or a bath sponge and place your desired amount of sugar scrub onto it.

Exfoliate (and get a nice scratch!) by rubbing gently in circular motions to remove dead skin cells. Use all over or just on particularly persistent eczema ridden itchy spots. Again, remember to rub gently!

When you’re done, rinse off with lukewarm or cool water and pat yourself dry with a towel. If desired, put on your favorite moisturizer to top it all off!

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There we have it! A gentle, exfoliating, and moisturizing sugar scrub perfect for sensitive (and itchy) skin!

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

P.S  You guy’s I ‘ve been eczema free for 2 weeks now! Healthy fingers crossed it stays that way! Check out A Simple Elimination Diet and What To Expect On An Elimination Diet for a no b.s. guide on how you can take the steps to curing this itchy rash once and for all!

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Categories
Health

What To Expect On An Elimination Diet

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I don’t just talk the talk -I walk the walk too.

For the past month and a half I’ve been going through the motions of both keeping a food diary and being on an elimination diet. It was tough at times, and tears were shed, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks to a little bit of perseverance (and a whole lot of daydreaming about ice cream!) I’ve discovered all of my food triggers and (as of now, fingers crossed) my skin is just as clear as it was before that first little patch of itchy red skin appeared over a year ago!

If  that’s not enough incentive to start an elimination diet then I’m not sure what is.

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There is a few things that nobody mentions when it comes to elimination diets. From the tears, flares, cravings, healing, (and even losing weight!) I’m here to highlight the highs and the lows of this diet that has changed my life for the better… despite the hardships!

 

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At first, the elimination diet can seem a bit daunting. At least 23 days without fast food, alcohol, dairy, eggs, and gluten (just to name a few!) can make anybody shake in their boots. 

What am I supposed to eat? Am I stuck drinking water and eating ice for a month? I’d rather die.

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I thought the same thing, but eventually, everyone finds their breaking point.

Where enough is finally enough, and you refuse to let eczema destroy your life any longer. After this breaking point, it’s easy to push past the fear of starting this (daunting) diet. For me, this breaking point was a day or two after My Terrible Mistake. With my skin (which took weeks to partially heal from the last flare) becoming absolutely destroyed in mere hours, enough was finally enough. I decided I was no longer going to live in fear, clueless about what would absolutely destroy my skin, cause itchy sleepless nights, and what wouldn’t.

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Where you take the plunge and vow that for at least 23 days you will keep a food diary and remove the top 8 eczema triggers (plus fast food and alcohol).

Good for you! This step alone deserves a huge pat on the back!

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While daunting at first, this seemingly restrictive diet quickly becomes less of a menacing grizzly bear and more like a teddy bear right before your eyes. It is at this stage where you discover that there really is a whole lot of food you can still eat and enjoy!

Push a little further and you’ll see that there is not much food you’ll be lacking -even when it comes to desserts! In fact, I enjoyed many desserts such as ‘Dad’s Goodie Squares(which taste so good you think they must be bad for you!), ‘Choco-la-ti-da‘ (for fondue) and ‘Peanut Butta’ Cookies‘ with no fear of a nasty flare up. Some of these did include nuts (read the ‘Cheater’ section down below for an explanation!) however, there are still plenty of desserts you can enjoy without nuts such as ‘Nice Cream‘ or ‘Gluten and Dairy Free Cookies‘ -so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Besides my killer sweet tooth insisting I eat dessert, common staples for me included fruit, vegetables,salads, chicken, salmon, rice, and smoothies. I ate whenever I wanted, as much as I wanted and never felt like I was lacking. Not once did I ever count calories or portion servings. I listened to my body and ate real  food -mostly plants.

Side note: Words cannot even describe just how much fruit and veggies I ate. It was  A LOT  as they were perfect to grab when you’re feeling hungry right now, when you’re on the go, or when you needed a quick snack!

Of course, at this stage you are also still discovering any hidden sensitivities that don’t consist of the top eight triggers (thanks to your trusty food diary!). For many people this can be anything from nightshades to even herbal tea! So again, keep writing in your food diary.

Note: At this stage, some people’s symptoms actually get worse. Keep at it, and allow your body to get it out of it’s system and it will get better in no time. If there are strong links between what you ate and your flare, remove the suspected food culprit from your diet and  re-introduce it at the end of your  diet once again.

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Despite all the yummy and healthy foods you’re eating (and the fact you’re eating as much as you want!) sometimes cravings sneak up. If you’re anything like me, wanting sweets happens at least every other day!

To get through those 23 days (I actually did 30) and the tough cravings I had several tactics:

  1. I made sure to go through my diet one day at a time. “One day.” I would say, “I just have to get through today without eating ___________ (insert: pizza, ice cream, chocolate, bread -you name it) “. Then the next day I would tell myself it again, and again, and again. Focusing on one day rather than 23+ of no naughty (but delicious foods) kept me feeling motivated rather than distraught at how many days I had left.
  2. If my killer sweet tooth really started acting up, I would quiet it down with a serving (or two!) of a tummy safe desserts. Again, I ate what I wanted, as much as I wanted (as long as it was tummy safe of course).
  3. I carried tummy safe food with me at all times. If I got hungry, I wouldn’t be tempted to eat something bad simply because it was there.

Over time as your skin begins to improve, the desire for naughty foods disappears. Choosing between healthy, itch free skin and 20 minutes of naughty foods becomes a no brainer. Eventually I could watch people eat ice cream, cake, pizza, chocolate -you name it and not be fazed.

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At some point within your 23 days, one of the biggest obstacles comes to surface: Eating at other people’s homes or perhaps worse, restaurants.

At this stage, eating food you didn’t prepare can feel like a game of Russian Roulette. You don’t know exactly what’s in this food and whether or not it will affect you. On top of it all, having to be the one people have to accommodate for can be awkward and embarrassing. Refusing food a host has made for you or sending food back to the kitchen can make you feel even worse.

Only once during my 30 days did I accidently eat food at a friends house that once again, ruined my hands and destroyed my courage. I wept for hours, and hours, and hours. To this day, I’m not sure what was in it that made me flare but I suspect it was some sort of dairy.

 Even now that I’m off the super restricitive diet -eating at friends homes or restaurants is an intimidating event. Check out this guide on How to Eat At Friends and Loved Ones Homes With Dietary Restrictions for some tips that saved me along the way!

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”0px|0px|17.9688px|0px” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://thehumblekitchen.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/coconut4.jpg” url=”http://thehumblekitchen.ca/how-to-eat-at-friends-and-loved-ones-homes-with-dietary-restrictons/” animation=”off” admin_label=”Image”] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_blurb title=”Stage 7: The Healing” admin_label=”Blurb”] Over the weeks, you’ll notice your skin getting better and better! There really is no better feeling than waking up from a peaceful, itch free sleep, with healthy and happy skin. [/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_blurb title=”Stage 8: The Unexpected Fear” admin_label=”Blurb”]

As the end of the diet draws near, butterflies of  both delight and fear dance in your stomach.

This stage is Re-introduction, where you learn what foods you can tolerate, and what you must go without. This stage was the scariest, even more so than the Russian Roulette feeling of eating at restaurants.  When you’ve worked so hard getting your skin so clear and itch-free, it becomes very difficult to expose yourself to foods that might make you flare. Alas, to finish the diet and know once and for all the foods we can and can’t tolerate, it must be done. This can be a bit heart breaking, but in the end you’ll be better for it.

For me, fear danced in my stomach more than delight did. So much that I actually put off introducing certain foods like gluten and eggs for a lot longer than I needed to. When I finally did try gluten, I went straight to my favorite bagel that I’ve been missing. That was a BIG mistake, especially because when I finally was ready to try gluten I didn’t even bother reading the ingredients which included my food devil -dairy.

So I ate this bagel I’ve been dearly missing and the very next day bubbles surfaced under my skin. Once again, I cried for hours, and hours, and hours mourning gluten’s part in my life. When I told my mother what happened, she just shook her head and jokingly scolded my choice for re-introduction. She insisted that I try again, this time with a simple bread.

I was scared, but I did. For days I anxiously awaited another flare….but nothing happened. Anxious I tried once more, and nothing surfaced. To my delight, wheat and gluten could once again be added to my diet! That was a hard lesson that reminded me to pay attention to the ingredients.

Dairy was a whole other obstacle and the very last one to be introduced. No surprise, I was terrified. I didn’t want to. I’d seen the damage this devil caused in the past and I wasn’t ready to invite it back to wreak havoc on my body again. So I put it off for days, and days, and days. My mother suggested that if I was gonna go down, might as well eat something I really missed -like icecream.

A plan was born to get a Dairy Queen Cake with the words ‘Doomsday’ written on it and… I almost did it. Again, I got scared. I already knew I was lactose intolerant, and even if I didn’t react eczema wise (like I was 98% sure I would) I didn’t want to suffer the other bodily consequences of eating dairy when you’re lactose intolerant! If you don’t know what I mean… first of all lucky you and second of all… to paint a pretty picture it’s a lot of bloating and poop. Yay…

I didn’t wind up eating dairy, and I don’t regret it at all. My terrible mistake, my lactose intolerance, and my food diary all alluded to the fact that dairy was my culprit.

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A couple weeks have gone by and with my skin completely healed (again, fingers crossed it stays this way!) I am one happy girl! I bake and cook with coconut milk, use a coconut butter, and even found a coconut ice cream that is to die for! As for calcium, my sources include dark leafy greens, nuts, chia seeds, and salmon just to name a few. To my delight, a couple of unexpected surprises came out of this whole thing.

First and probably the most important, this habit I developed for eating healthy foods and mostly plants has stuck with me even after the diet. On very, very, very, rare occasions, I reach for something pre-packaged. For the most part though, my diet still consists of fruits, veggies, salmon, chicken, salads, rice, and smoothies… with the welcome addition of eggs, nuts, and wheat!

Second, while eating whatever I wanted -even when indulging in tummy safe desserts I had lost some weight! While I didn’t go on this diet for that purpose, it was a pretty great bonus!

I trust that with my new found habit in place, I’ll keep the pounds off  and keep my skin clear!

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You get what you put into this diet. If you cut corners and cheat, this diet isn’t likely to pay off in the way that you hope. In the end, the only person you’re cheating and hurting is yourself.

That being said, I’ll be the first to admit that I cheated too.

I’m only human after all.

However, it’s important to note what I did cheat on. I never decided to have eggs, bread, or milk the one day and then swear off them for the next little while. That is inconsistency and provides inconsistent results. The exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here.

On the contrary, I cheated by including an entire group early on. Swearing that as soon as I noticed any flares linked to this food group, I would remove it entirely. The group I included three days after starting my elimination diet was peanuts and nuts. I had never noticed an adverse reaction to them before and I desperately needed some snack fuel that would keep me full for hours when I was busy working or out and about exploring (like going to Ing’s Mine -which was AMAZING!).

So yes, I cheated too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re going to cheat on this diet, pick an entire food group early on and stick with it. No caving into bread cravings one day and then swearing off of it the next few. But remember, you get what you put into this diet -the more you remove (and the less you cheat) the better!

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If this diet didn’t work for you, you need to take a reflect inwards and be 100% honest with yourself. As above, the only person you’re cheating (and hurting!) is yourself.

  • Did you fully commit to staying on the elimination diet?
  • Did you keep up with your food diary and monitor your symptoms? This is particularly important for people who are reacting to foods that are not in the top 8 triggers.
  • Did you refuse cravings to eat off limit foods?

If you answered ‘Yes’ honestly to all of the above, don’t despair. As you are well aware, not everyone with eczema reacts to the same triggers. Perhaps over this diet you found some food sensitivities. Perhaps you didn’t. Perhaps you found some sensitivities and despite avoiding those foods your skin is still worse than ever.

All three scenarios are entirely possible.

Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. I know it’s frustrating, but you just completed some major detective work when it comes down to curing your own eczema. Whether you found triggers or not, you are one step closer -even if it doesn’t feel like it.

If your skin is still bad after this whole diet, wipe away those tears and stand up tall. It’s now time to tackle the next eczema monster:

Contact Dermatitis.

An allergist will be able to help immensely with this monster, but in the meantime check out 120 Ingredients Known To Cause Contact Dermatitis and get to throwing out all those irritating soaps, shampoos, and lotions.

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In summary, no matter what you choose to do, diet or not. I hope you find health and the end of the road. Just know I’ll be right beside you trying to find the answers too.

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
Health

Simple Elimination Diet for Eczema, IBS, and Food Sensitivities

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An elimination diet is a short term diet used to determine foods that trigger inflammation within the body. Inflammation in the body contributes to many health problems such as autoimmune arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and eczema -just to name a few!

Our gut houses 70% of our immune system, so the first step to a healthy body is a healthy gut. Worsening symptoms, flare-ups or developing sudden food sensitivities is a loud and clear indicator that something’s not quite right and should be taken seriously. Going on an elimination diet gives your gut a much needed break; giving your body time to heal and providing sweet relief from all the inflammation induced symptoms.

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First thing first, it’s extremely important to note that food allergies and sensitivities are different. Many people are unaware of this, which likely plays a large part in the confusion that arises from the diet-inflammation link.

If a food allergy test comes back negative, people presume that food isn’t connected to their symptoms. In reality, you don’t have to be allergic to react to trigger foods.

Say that again. You don’t have to be allergic to react to trigger foods.

No allergy test in the world will pick up on a food sensitivity, so by far the most effective way to manage symptoms and take health back into your own hands is by completing an elimination diet to figure out your trigger foods. The best part? You can do it all in roughly 30 days!

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There are literally thousands of elimination diets that can be found all over the web, each with their own set of rules and guidelines. The more restrictive the diet -the better as you are more likely to discover hidden food sensitivities.

Unfortunately, I like food too much to go on an even more restrictive diet than the basic one outlined below. Instead, we combat an even more restrictive diet by keeping a food diary to monitor any adverse reactions to food not on our ‘no-no’ list.

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Take notice of everything going on within your body, particularily anything that indicates a poor state of health. This includes skin issues like rashes, digestive issues like bloating or constipation, and any moodiness or lethargy.

Write it all down, no matter how minor. This way, 30 days later you can reflect and notice any changes that happened in your health.

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Once again, this is only a BASIC elimination diet. Here we will eliminate the top triggers, as well as refined sugar and alcohol. These are:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Tree nuts & Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat & Gluten
  • Fast Food & Refined Sugars
  • Alcohol

Scary, I know.

It’s important to note that while these are the top triggers, everyone is different. There are reports of people reacting to anything from nightshades to herbal tea, thus it is important to keep up a food diary even when doing an elimination diet and proceed to remove any foods that you suspect are still triggering reactions.

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Your gut contains both good and bad bacteria. Maintaining a good balance between the two is essential for gut health. Alcohol and sugar can promote the growth of bad bacteria and yeast which in turn leads to inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and the very symptoms we wish to avoid.

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Why 23 days? Hold on, it’s about to get sciency in here:

Antibodies are protein molecules made by the immune system. They are produced to counteract antigens which are toxins, foreign or harmless substances that induce an immune response. The lifespan of these antibodies is roughly 23 days, hence the 23-day guideline.

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Once at least 23 days are over (I go for 30), you can gradually re-introduce the troublesome foods one at a time and see if you react. This process is not to be rushed, (no matter how much you miss bread…I know, I’ve been there too.). This step is done over several days and is vital for accurately determining any food sensitivities.

So how do you do it?

On the 24th day (or the 31st day, if you’re gung-ho) you would introduce one food group.

We’ll start with dairy.

Maybe on the 24th day, we’ll drink a glass of milk and eat some slices of cheese throughout the day. This is not the time to dig into pizza or anything else that has multiple triggers, or that could get confusing! Eat a serving or two of dairy throughout the day (along with your healthy, safe foods -of course) but keep avoiding the other triggers.

Monitor your reactions -if any, for 2 days. During those two days, you’ll go back to avoiding all trigger foods.

If you had no adverse reaction over those two days,  you could safely add dairy back into your diet. Then you would move onto the next food group, repeating the same process, testing one trigger group for one day and gauging the reaction over the next two until you’ve went through all your eliminated food groups.

If you do react, then you’ve likely located a food sensitivity.  Measures should be taken avoid the troublesome food and seek out alternative options for that food group to ensure you continue getting all your essential vitamins and nutrients.

 

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While the list may seem scary, the basic elimination diet still provides a wide variety of foods that can be enjoyed.

You are free to enjoy all types of meat, vegetables, fruits, and gluten-free grains like quinoa and rice. That still leaves a whole lot of dishes to be made! Here’s just a few ideas, let me know in the comments if you’ve got a good one to share!

 Breakfast

Lunch

  • Any kind of salad your heart desires! Try it with grilled chicken and dairy-free dressing.
  • Cowboy Up Salad
  • Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Dinner

Dessert & Sweeteners

Snacks

Remember, if you find yourself reacting to any foods that are not on the elimination list start avoiding them too. This is a diet tailored to you, and you will do best with it once you start giving yourself the attention and love you deserve.

While the elimination diet may be restrictive, you don’t need to count calories, micronutrients or whatever else the fad is nowadays when it comes to dieting. On the elimination diet, you’ll heal your tummy, see a significant improvement in your symptoms, and even drop a few pounds (but that last part is just a bonus!).

No matter what you choose to eat, you will be successful if you follow these three simple principles. Eat real food -mostly plants, avoid all your trigger foods, and (my favorite) always eat when you’re hungry!

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
DIY Health

DIY Eczema Safe Bubble Bath Recipe

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When it comes to bath time it doesn’t get any better than lighting some candles, turning up some of your favorite tunes, pouring a tall glass, and washing away the day’s stress. Throw some bubbles in the mix and you’ve just created paradise! Of course, as luck and life would have it, long baths are a no go for eczema sufferers.

Great.

I’m much too stubborn to abide by such a (in my humble opinion, ridiculous) rule, despite the truths that may lie behind it. So if you’re anything like me and are starting to miss those long, relaxing bubble baths then you’ll adore this bath recipe free of all those sketchy ingredients that irritate the skin. Plus it’s got some added oil to lock the moisture in for some extra bath (and skin) love!

Of course, this DIY bubble bath for eczema sufferers is not without its drawbacks. These bubbles are nowhere near as big as the store bought (dermatitis causing) bubble baths, but hey – a bubble’s a bubble. If you can enjoy bubbles all while protecting your skin then I figure this makes for a pretty good bubble bath!

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Olive Oil: Contains three major antioxidants which are vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. These antioxidants play a role in preventing premature skin aging and free radical damage.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is roughly 50%  lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that has shown antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits. A study done on young rats also revealed that coconut oil may help heal wounds faster heal by increasing collagen cross-linking. (Click here to see the full study)

Honey: Is naturally antibacterial and full of varying concentrations of polyphenols, (powerful antioxidants) which preventing premature skin aging and free radical damage.

Castille Soap: True castille soap is made strictly with olive oil, however nowadays castille soap is often made with a combination of olive oil and coconut or palm oil. This creates a very mild, gentle soap with a creamy lather, perfect for people with sensitive skin. 

Egg White: Is a mild astringent, in that egg white constricts the skin and shrinks pores. Plus, it also helps create stronger, longer lasting bubbles and that’s all we really want don’t we?

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Makes: 2 Baths     Time: 5 minutes

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  • 1/4 cup of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup of raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of liquid castille soap
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 5 drops of your favorite essential oil. Vanilla, rose, geranium -or whatever you like!
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin

*Vegetable glycerin can be difficult to find and tends to be found in the beauty/pharmacy aisle of most department stores (or there’s always good ol‘ Amazon). While you don’t need vegetable glycerin for this recipe, the bubbles are bigger and stick around longer with it!  

 

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Combine everything in a small bowl and whisk until the honey is thoroughly mixed in. Add to your bath water as it’s running.

This makes enough for 2 baths and is perishable, so pour in half and store the rest in a sealed (preferably labeled) container in the fridge and use within a week. Personally, I think there’s no such thing as too many bubbles, so if you’re anything like me dump the entire mixture into the running bath and enjoy in all your bubbly glory!

Then go on -sink bubbles deep and pamper yourself! You’ve earned it!

Don’t forget to finish up with a thick cream or your DIY Eczema Body Butter to lock moisture in and ensure your skin remains soft for hours.

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There we have it, a bubble bath that’s safe for us with sensitive, itchy skin! Need some extra bath lovin’? Check out these 3 Itch Busting Bath Recipes.

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
Health

In Defense Of Food | Movie Review

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EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS

Michael Pollan takes on a no BS, cut and dry approach to a problem that plagues us -the obesity epidemic. I was hooked from the very beginning and must say that it’s brilliantly refreshing. What is the simple solution to eating healthy?

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

In this documentary, Michael calls out the big food corporations who not only confuse us with misleading labels but actively villainize things like fat, gluten, and sugar (all while they make a buck, Cha-ching!).  No wonder so much confusion exists about what we should and shouldn’t eat when boxes are literally screaming “FAT-FREE”, “GLUTE- FREE”, “LOW FAT”, “SUGAR FREE” just begging to be picked.

Not only does he cut through all the corporation nonsense, throughout the whole movie Michael gives us several tips to guide us on this journey to healthy food and healthy eating, and believe it or not this is just a few of them! P.S The last one is definitely my personal favorite!

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So if you’re a foodie like me and ready to curl up with a good, BS free documentary then look no further! Climb into your fuzzy pajamas, pop some gourmet popcorn or grab some No Bake. No Fuss. Energy Bites, and snuggle up to your favorite blanket.

Here’s a little teaser, and the best part? It’s on Netflix right now!

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I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did, and remember: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
Health

120 Cosmetic Ingredients Known To Cause Contact Dermatitis

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Here is a cut and dry list of over 100 ingredients known to cause contact dermatitis. This list is in alphabetical order only – rather than severity as not everyone reacts or is sensitive to these chemicals. What may irritate me, may do nothing to you and vise versa.

Of course, it’s important to note that…I’m only human and not even a specialized human like doctors or nurses. I’m just a small town girl with a passion to get rid of eczema once and for all, so I urge you to read my disclaimer before we get started. 

I’ll warn you now, this is a daunting list. It’s best to print it off and carry it with you to refer to later. While I can’t talk about the effects of EVERY ingredient on this list (cause let’s face it, that would take forever), here’s just a few things our villains are capable of.

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Parfum/Fragrance: One of the top villains, fragrances are not only one of the major allergens but they are also wickedly deceptive. There are over 3000 chemicals used in fragrances, with most being protected by the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act as they are considered ‘trade secrets’. This means the chemicals within that fragrance don’t have to be listed on the label. Talk about sketchy.

On top of that, products labeled ‘unscented’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ DO in fact contain masking fragrances. Only products labeled ‘fragrance-free’ truly have no fragrances.

Sulfates: Are both foaming agents and cleansers found in thousands of products from toothpastes to body washes. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is one of the harshest sulfates, it’s so good at cleaning that it is commonly found in engine degreasers and industrial cleaning products! As people grew more wary of this, manufactures began a new marketing scheme ‘SLS Free’ and began using SLS under names like Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, Sulfuric Acid, Monododecyl Ester, and Sodium Salt (Talk about ca-ching $$$. Wicked.)

Cocamidopropyl Betaine: Deemed ‘Allergen of the Year’ according to The American Contact Dermatitis Society back in 2004, it is a cleansing and lathering ingredient. Approximately 3-7% of the population show sensitivity to this villain, and perhaps even more shocking? It’s often in products labelled as ‘hypoallergenic’.

A close pal to Cocamidopropyl Betaine is Cocamide DEA. Both are derived from coconuts, and while that seems harmless it is another severe source of contact allergens. Back in June 2012, California listed Cocamide DEA as a known chemical to cause cancer. At this time, DEA compounds are unrestricted in Canada. Now that’s scary.

Phthalates: Commonly listed as DBP or di-n-butyl phthalate, phthalates are considered a potential carcinogen with the possibility to contribute to birth defects, allergic reactions and eczema.

Formaldehyde: A chemical that is also used in mixtures to EMBALM DEAD BODIES, you could say we’ve really found the wicked witch of the west with this one. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogenic that the European Union has deemed ‘may not be safe’ for use. Outrageously, it is still found in soaps and baby shampoos! What’s even more wicked? You won’t see it listed under the name Formaldehyde, rather it will be listed under the name of preservatives that release formaldehyde such as Qauternium-15, Dimethyl-Dimethyl (DMDM) Hydantion, Imidazolidiyl Urea,  Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Hydroxmethylglycinate and 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol (bronopol). Cue the ominous music.

Parabens: Last but not least we have parabens, which are anti-bacterial agents added to products to prevent the growth of mold. While parabens are not strictly contact allergens, they have been found to disrupt hormones and are also found in cancerous tissues. Scary.

Did I scare you enough? Now onto the list:

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  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol (bronopol)
  • 3-Cyclohexane Carboaldehyde
  • Alcohol Denat
  • Alpha Amyl Cinnamic Alcohol
  • Amidoamine
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Amodimethicone
  • Amyl Cinnamal
  • Anisyl Alcohol
  • Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile)
  • Balsam of Peru (Myroxylon Pereirae)
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Benzyl Benzoate
  • Benzyl Cinnamate
  • Benzyl Salicylate
  • Butylated Hydroxytolune (BHT)
  • Butylphenyl Methylpropional
  • Cassia Oil
  • Cetearyl Methicone
  • Cetyl Dimethicone
  • Chlorphenesin
  • Cinnamal
  • Cinnamic Alcohol
  • Cinnamic Aldehyde
  • Cinnamon
  • Cinnamyl Alcohol
  • Citral
  • Citronella
  • Citronellol
  • Cloves
  • Cocamide DEA
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Coumarin
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  • Dimethicone
  • Dimethicone Copolyol
  • Dimethiconol
  • Dimethyl-Dimethyl (DMDM) Hydantoin
  • Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Ethanol
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Ethylene Bassylate
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Ethylparaben
  • Eugenol
  • Evernia Furfuracea
  • Evernia Prunastri
  • Farnesol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrance Mix 1
  • Geraniol
  • Glyceryl thioglycolate
  • Hexylcinnamal
  • Hydroxycitronellal
  • Hydroxyisohexyl
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea (Imidurea)
  • Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isoeugenol
  • Isomethyl Ionone
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Isopropyl Palminate
  • Kathon CG
  • Lanolin
  • Lanolin Alcohol
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Limonene
  • Linalool (Lavender)
  • Lyral
  • Methicone
  • Methyl-2-Octynoate
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone
  • Methyldibromoglutaronitrile/ phenoxyethanol
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Methylparaben
  • Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum)
  • Monododecyl Ester
  • Monoethanolamine (MEA)
  • Oak Moss Absolute
  • Parabens
  • Paraphenylene Diamine (PPD)
  • Parfum
  • Petrolatum Liquidum
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Phenyl Trimethicone
  • Phthalates
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • p-Phenylenediamine
  • Propanol
  • Propyl Alcohol
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Propylparaben
  • Quaternium-15
  • Retinoids
  • SD Alcohol 40
  • SD Alcohol
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate
  • Sodium Myreth Sulfate
  • Sodium Salt
  • Stearyl Dimethicone
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Tocopherl Acetate
  • Tosylamide Formaldehyde Resin
  • Triclosan
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Triethanolamine Lauryl Sulfate (often labeled as TEA Lauryl Sulfate)
  • Trimethylsilylamodimethicone
  • Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)

 

NOTE: Both Yarrow and Linalool (a compound naturally found in over 200 plants, including lovely lavender) are on the bad list, despite both lavender and yarrow being healing plants. Unfortunately, I did have to include them as there were several reports of irritation with these two lovely herbs. This is likely due to the individual’s sensitivity to the herb itself, rather than how it was processed in cosmetics. In summary, please  don’t shy away from yarrow and lavender if you have no known sensitivities to them as ultimately they can be very beneficial.

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This is a daunting list, I know. Print it off, and carry this list with you -you’ll be okay. As I said above, not everyone will react to these ingredients. Unfortunately for us with contact dermatitis, identifying which ingredient is irritating us within the mess of all the other chemicals in our soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics can be near impossible.

At this time, I don’t know of any store bought products free of all these chemicals but if you do, don’t be afraid to leave a comment and let us all know! My mother and I had a look through her favorite salon quality shampoos ingredients and there was A TON of the above listed on it. Yikes.

Eventually I’d love to start building my own soaps and shampoos, but in the meantime here is a DIY Eczema Cream for all your lotion needs (free of all that junk above).

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
Health

10 Facts About Eczema

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Here are 10 facts you may not know about eczema that you can use to impress your friends! …Or more likely will be used when you have already said every cuss in the book and you need something else to mutter to yourself while dealing with that annoying rash that itches.

Enjoy!

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”1. %22Ekzein%22″] Eczema comes from the Greek word “ekzein” meaning “to boil over”. [/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”2. Worldwide Disease”]

It is estimated that eczema affects roughly 20% of children and 1-3% of adults worldwide.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”3. Eczema Is on the rise”] Since 1970, the prevalence of eczema has almost tripled. From 2000 – 2010 alone, the prevalence of eczema in children (younger than eighteen) living in the United States rose roughly 5%. See a break down here. [/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”4. Eczema is not contagious”]

Contrary to overwhelming fear and misconception, if someone touches you with eczema you will not acquire this itchy, red, rash too. Of course in turn, if you have eczema you won’t pass it on to anyone else. This isn’t the plague, guys.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”5. It’s Genetic”] Eczema is seen in families with a history of asthma and hay fever. Asthma, hay fever and eczema are all atopic diseases (the three of them are known as the Atopic Triad). Atopy refers to an inherited tendency to produces an antibody (known as immuglobulin E) in response to common enviromental protiens such as dust mites, pollen, and food allergens. It is estimated that half of all children with eczema will develop asthma or hay fever as well.  [/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://thehumblekitchen.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/baby.jpg” animation=”off” sticky=”on”] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”6. A Children’s Disease”] Eczema is most prevalent in children, with 1 in 5 children being affected. Over half of all sufferers display symptoms before their first birthday, with roughly 74% of children ‘growing out of’ the disease by their sixteenth birthday. [/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”7. There are Several Kinds”]

There are several different types of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis: The most common kind of eczema, frequently associated with allergic disorders. Characterized by chronic red, itchy inflammation of the skin.
  • Contact dermatitis: Red itchy rash, a reaction caused by a substance that comes in contact with the skin.
  • Dyshidrotic or Pompholyx eczema: A condition where very small, (sometimes deep-seated) fluid-filled blisters form on the palm of the hands, in between fingers, or on the soles of the feet.
  • Neurodermatitis: Starting as a patch of itchy skin, itching causes skin to become thick and leathery due to chronic itching.
  • Nummular dermatitis: A chronic condition where coin shaped spots develop on the skin. Itchy and well defined, these spots may ooze and weep.
  • Stasis dermatitis: An inflammatory disease occuring in the lower extremeties, where blood pools in either one or both legs. Pressure makes fluid leak out of the veins, into the skin.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”8. There Is No Medical Cure”] While steroid creams and treatments help manage eczema and control symptoms, at this point in time there is no medical cure. [/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”9. Immunodeficiency Indicator”]

While not everyone who has eczema has an autoimmune disease, skin disease such as eczema and psoriasis are often one of the earliest symptoms to primary immunodeficiency diseases. Primary immunodeficiency diseases are a group of chronic disorders where the body’s immune system does not function properly.

NOTE: Once again, eczema can be found in people with normal immune systems too!

See an entire breakdown here.

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There are many triggers when it comes to eczema, with food being a large one. While the diet and eczema link is often overlooked, food sensitivities can play a large role in flare ups and worsening symptoms. NOTE: Food allergies and sensitivites are different. This may play a large part in the misconception about the diet/eczema link. If food allergy tests come back negative, people presume the food isn’t connected to the itchy rash. In reality, you don’t have to be allergic to react to trigger foods.

Top triggers for eczema include:

  •  Dairy
  • Gluten & Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Peanuts & Tree nuts
  • Shellfish

While those are the top triggers, everyone is different. What may affect me, will do nothing to you and vice versa. This is why it’s essential to keep a food diary to figure out your triggers as there have been reports of people reacting to anything from night shades to herbal tea!

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There we have it! 10 eczema facts that, lets face it – probably won’t impress your friends…but hey! At least you know more about eczema, right?

Health & Happiness,

Savannah

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Categories
DIY Health

How To Keep A Food Diary for Food Sensitivities

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Over two thousand years ago Hippocrates, the father of medicine said “All disease begins in the gut”. While claiming that all disease begins in the gut is a bit of a stretch, we can certainly appreciate the gut-heath connection. After all, 70% of our immune system is located in our gastrointestinal tract.

Though often used for weight loss, food diaries can be an extremely beneficial and often overlooked tool for eczema (as well as IBS, and leaky gut syndrome -just to name a few). A food diary is often accompianed by an elimination diet, however it’s up to you whether you decide to cut out the main culprits for a basic elimination diet or whether you push through and start avoiding food based on your reactions.

That being said, most food sensitivities are a result of an unhealthy gut. Giving your tummy a break (for 23-30 days) from refined sugary foods and major triggers can go a long way to helping repair your gut!

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  • Keep you accountable – Especially when on an elimination diet. Bye bye sneaking delicous off limit foods and devouring chocolate. See: I’ve Made A Terrible Mistake.
  • Give you a hard copy of your symptoms – So you can do some detective work and figure out your food culprit(s).
  • Moniter heath – Stress, mood, and good ol’ #2.

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Pick up any old notebook and a pen. Ideally, the notebook will be on the small side and will fit comfortably in a coat pocket or purse – You want to bring this thing everywhere. As with anything in life, the more thorough you are -the better.

Start by taking note of everything going on with your body: Rashes, nausea, bloating, itchy-ness, energy level, fogginess -you name it. Write it down. This will give you something to refer back to.

Write down everything you eat and drink: Every bite, every sip, ingredients, even condiments. Don’t disregard a food or drink just because you thought it was a small amount, even a little bit could cause a reaction.

Write down what time you ate and what time symptoms appear: Food intolerances and sensitivities can be tricky;  in most cases symptoms don’t appear until several hours later. When they do show up, rate the severity of your symptoms from 1-10. One being slight irritation and ten being unbearable.

Your food diary will remember everything, so you don’t have to. This will make it far easier to make connections between symptoms and culprit foods versus depending on memory alone.

Write down #2: Yup, good ol number two. Although an awkward subject to talk about, there’s no better way to track how your body is handling food on the inside than by noticing what comes out on …the outside. Rate the bowel movement from 1 to 10. One being normal and ten being severe constipation or diarrhea. Check out Wellness Mama’s Guide to Poop and Digestive Health.

To keep snoops from reading about my bodily functions (since I carry it everywhere), I simply write 2 __ and whatever the rating was. Sneaky, sneaky.

For an extra measure: Make a note whenever you are particularly stressed and how you felt throughout the day.

Overtime, you’ll start to notice patterns emerging. You’ll learn what foods make you feel good, and what food makes you feel bad.

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While you can continue on your merry way with the food diary, I strongly believe that this entire process is incomplete without an elimination diet.

Here is a very basic elimination diet process: 

Ideally, you would begin by eliminating the top triggers, as well as refined sugar and alcohol. These are:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Tree nuts & Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat & Gluten
  • Fast Food & Refined Sugars
  • Alcohol

Scary, I know.

It’s important to note that while these are the top triggers, everyone is different. There are reports of people reacting to anything from nightshades to herbal tea, thus it is important to keep up a food diary even when doing an elimination diet.

If that list terrifies you: Keep a detailed food diary for a couple weeks, then use your mad detective skills to figure out what foods make you feel good and which ones worsen your symptoms. Avoid all the feel bad foods. Note: Efforts should still be made to avoid alcohol and refined sugars even if you don’t react to them as sugar helps yeast and bad bacteria in your gut thrive.

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Why 23 days? Hold on, it’s about to get sciency in here:

Antibodies are protein molecules made by the immune system. They are produced to counteract antigens which are toxins, foreign or harmless substances that induce an immune response. The lifespan for these antibodies is roughly 23 days, hence the 23 day guideline.

Once at least 23 days are over (I go for 30), you can gradually re-introduce the troublesome foods one at a time and see if you react.

For example: If you were avoiding dairy, gluten, and nuts then on the 24th day you would introduce one food group.

We’ll start with dairy.

Maybe on the 24th day we’ll drink a glass of milk and eat some slices of cheese throughout the day. This is not the time to dig into pizza or anything else that has multiple triggers, or that could get confusing! Eat a serving or two of dairy throughout the day (along with your healthy, safe foods -of course) but keep avoiding the other triggers.

Moniter your reactions -if any, for 2 days.

During those two days, you’ll go back to avoiding all trigger foods. If you had no adverse reaction over those two days,  you could safely add dairy back into your diet. Then you would move onto the next food group, repeating the same process, testing one trigger group for one day and gauging the reaction over the next two.

If you do react, then you’ve likely located a food intolerance or allergy and measures should be taken to seek out alterantive options or sources for that food group to ensure you continue getting all your essential vitamins and nutrients. A nutritionist will be able to help.

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Keeping a food diary may seem like a lot of work, but it quickly becomes a powerful tool for proactively managing your eczema (IBS, leaky gut, or whatever else it may be), and preventing nasty flare-ups or symptoms. When combined with an elimination diet, many people go back to eating the foods they once loved without any adverse reactions after healing their gut (ice cream, I’m coming for you!).

Whether you choose to create a food diary or not, I hope you find health at the end of the road.

Health & Happiness,

Savannah 

P.S I just want to let you know that I am not a medical doctor, nurse, and so on. I have based my writings upon my own experiences, opinions, and extensive research regarding the topics in my blog. Therefore, read my disclaimer and use the information within my blog appropriately and at your own risk 

 

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