Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Eczema & Food Intolerance part 2

We began our food elimination diet around the 17th Nov 2014.  This meant cutting out many foods with additives and preservatives, artificial colours and flavours - as per the Fed Up app.

JOLI - eczema flare up (about 2 months in)
Two weeks into we had moments of it looking like the elimination diet was making a difference then moments of flare ups.  Some flare ups coincided with an accidental intake of the wrong foods (i.e. strawberries and mangos which are high in salicylates and a chocolate he ate without asking). Other flares ups happened when he'd been eating clean for a week or two. One flare up (pictured) occurred when we had a stinking hot day, he got sweaty and boom! Major flare up.

JOLI - eczema flare up (about 2 months in)
It has always been the case that most flare ups happen after our son has gotten hot and sweaty, which is many days at school and all that running around.  His rash is confined to only where his clothes are and does not occur in the crooks of his arms or knees. Since school holidays began he's spent most of his time running around shirtless which is certainly helping soothe his eczema.  I found that applying aloe vera gel really helps too.

JOLI - eczema appearing to ease after liberal application
of aloe vera gel
We took him to the skin care specialist for his allergy testing, only she took one look at him and decided he didn't need allergy testing because eczema is pure genetics, he needed an action plan. He was prescribed two creams, one low steroidal that he's to use for 3 days then we stop, the other non steroidal that we're to continue using on him daily.  He was given a (non natural - though surprisingly not laden with bad chems) body wash, moisturiser and QV lotions (paraffinum based) and told to take antihistamine medicine daily.  She also suggested adding a dash of bleach to his bath as this kills off the bacteria around the eczema thus helping it heal (same as what aloe does).  This is the third time I've heard the bleach suggestion and I personally know of others who have tried it much to the improvement of their children's skin.  Still, I am reluctant to try it because bleach triggers asthma.
She at least told hubby I'm doing well trying to eliminate chemicals from my son's skin care products.

As soon as hubby heard the 'good' news (i.e. the doctor agreeing with him), our son doesn't need to eliminate additives and preservatives from his diet, he was wrapped.  When shopping he wanted to load the trolley with a number of additive filled foods.  I was at least able to talk him into holding off on adding bad foods to our son's diet.

JOLI - eczema appearing to ease after liberal application
of aloe vera gel
Now we're trying the plan the dermatologist has implemented for two weeks (aside from the bleach) and we're going to see what effect that has on our son's eczema.  Mean while he'll return to school where most of his flare ups occur, and he'll be eating the occasional 'bad' food because the doctor told hubby he can.

It feels like a game of chess where we make certain moves to try and improve the flare ups and wait to make the next move, waiting for that elusive check-mate.

[Part 1 and Part 3]

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lemon Cordial Recipe

Aside from my passion for natural skin care with out the chemicals / nasties, and my passion for cleaning products that don't harm my family or the environment, I also enjoy making foods from scratch.

There is something wonderful that comes from the creation of food and even better when I know what's in it, no preservatives and additives, because I made it myself.

Children love cordial yet standard cordials are so choc full of preservatives and additives I don't dare give it to my children for fear of what I'm putting in to their precious bodies.

JOLI - lemon cordial in empty wine bottles
So I make my own lemon cordial for us to enjoy. It is super delicious!!

You need:
3 letres of boiling warter
30g tartaric acid
30g citric acid
30g epsom salts
1 1/2kg caster sugar
12 lemons

Zest and juice the lemons.  In a large saucepan combine water, lemon juice, lemon zest, acids, epsom salts and sugar.  Stir over medium heat until sugar is fully dissolved.  Strain into sterilised glass bottles while hot.  [I use empty wine bottles - though be careful not to mistake them for actual bottles of wine.]  When cool store in refrigerator until ready to use.  You can also freeze the bottles.  To serve mix a splash of cordial with ice-water.  Perfect for hot Australian days.

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Friday, 9 January 2015

Eczema & Food Intolerance part 1

Eczema and asthma run in my family, kindly handed down through genetics.  My brother has asthma and I had eczema as a little girl.  I've since outgrown eczema however it is something I've passed on to my children, unfortunately.  All my children have had eczema at some point during their lives.  With the first it was nothing severe, just a little bit of eczema here or there, after using mainstream bath products or hives and heat related flare ups.

With my youngest child, however, it's been plaguing him on and off since he was born and his eczema has been far more severe than the others, plus he gets asthma as well; when he's sick.  While I've been able to reduce his flair ups by using natural skin care and Soothing Salve, these products don't cure it.  I feel frustrated and silly because as a skin care specialist I should be able to fix him, although eczema and dermatitis (plus acne) are best dealt with by a specialist who deals with specifically with these conditions.

Over the years I've tried to implemented a number of different things such as washing new clothes before he wears them, using non-fragrance washing powder, purchasing natural fiber clothing, cutting down his diary intake to practically nothing.  Mostly he uses steroid based creams (much to my disapproval) to reduce major flair ups and Salve to relive his itchiness and stop him from scratching.  Nothing is really working as well as I want it to and it doesn't help that hubby hasn't really been backing my choices.  He's been using chemical filled washing powders because he insists they work better and he gives our son lots of additive filled foods.  We've talked about it at length, yet it's one of those situations where one person saying it (me) doesn't make it fact.

Enter stage left: my friend who is a food-intolerance-expert.  She had a conversation with me in front of hubby about how food could be playing a major part in our son's flair ups and how the two of us need to work together to try and eliminate as much chemicals as possible.  Hubby heard her and listened and now we're trying to work together to see if we can get better results.
  • We've visited the Fedup website and learned as much information as possible about the types of additives we should be avoiding and which foods contain those additives.
  • We've been changing and washing his sheets more often because he could be allergic to dust-mites.
  • We've stopped using certain laundry liquids and powders.  Soap nuts are a good alternative.
  • Bathing him regularly, at least every 2 days, with only natural products in the water. Nothing too rich as his skin is too sensitive.
  • Applying soothing salve more regularly to stop the itch and aloe vera gel to heal the wounds.
  • Stopped using steroid based creams as this thins and damages his skin.
  • Booked him in for allergy testing to see what things he's allergic to. 
JOLI - eczema and hive flare ups (about 2 weeks in)
We've been at it for over a month so far and the results are up and down.  Early on into the new plan my son came out with what looked like hives, some kind of skin reaction. This could be his body reacting to having the preservatives and additives taken away.  It could be a reaction to no longer using steroid based creams. It could also be what happens as his body flushes out the toxins already built up in his system.

JOLI - eczema and hive flare ups (about 2 weeks in)
There are moments when his skin begins to clear up then something will make it flare up again, like getting hot and sweaty.  I have moments when I think it's working then moments when I think avoiding the food additives isn't making much of a difference.  Of course it's hard to avoid them all together in the beginning because we're still learning what affects him and what doesn't.

I shall keep you posted as we progress. See Part 2 and Part 3 here.

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