healingjournies

gluten-free healing ala GAPS, paleo and nourishing traditions


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The Conclusion: A Farewell Post

So… I decided I should bring this little blog to a close.

I learned a lot through this whole process and my life is much better for it and I have some answers which are amazingly helpful so I want to finish this off. One part specifically almost feels like GOSPEL to me, it is so huge and has made me so much better that I kind of want to tell the world.

Part 1:

Soo… these crazy red itchy painful lesions on my scalp and groin are actually NOT fungal infections, like I was told on two separate occasions in the doctors office! The story is that I had to have a preliminary appointment with a GP to be referred to see a dermatologist. I went the first time, she took one glance and was like “oh honey, that’s fungal.” and prescribed me an antifungal cream. I was kind of relieved and disappointed but thought at least I don’t need to see a dermatologist now and passed on that appointment. So I got the cream and used it until they would no longer refill it at the pharmacy. At that point I talked to the naturopath again. Once she realized the antifungal had not made any difference over several months she commented that it was probably a wrong diagnosis.

Soo… I tried to make another appointment with the dermatologist. BUT since I had not done it right after the first appointment with the GP, I had to go back again for another appointment just to get a new referral! Crazy! At that appointment, the next lady was like “Oh honey, that’s fungal. ….but if you want to see the dermatologist, you can…” Yes, I do.

Finally I see the dermatologist. I told him how the others were so SURE it was fungal but nothing was helping so I was confused. He asked if they did the super easy, final answer diagnosis in 10 minutes scrape test. Nope, they hadn’t. So he did it on every little patch of skin that has issues and…. not one bit was fungal!

Hooray! And also CRAZY. That I had been trying to treat that for over six months just based on some ladies who didn’t take the time to confirm anything or listen to me, for that matter.

 

So the actual diagnosis is: Psoriasis. I also get serious outbreaks of eczema and at that time I also had several of those. 

In the process of trying to treat the “fungus” naturally, I eliminated dairy. Within 3 days my eczema cleared up!! And I didn’t know if that was a fluke or how big a deal it was, so I went back to dairy. Then again I had some, and more eczema. Which I can remember having since my sophomore year of high school. (Which is to say 15 years.) Then I went off, and in 3-4 days, no eczema. Back and forth like this. Eczema isn’t a big deal…. it’s more annoying than anything. But I began to realize that if my immune system was so busy dealing with the dairy every day, it was too worn down to take care of the chronic staph infection, increasing allergies, and getting sick so often and severely in the last year and a half. On another note taking away dairy did not make the psoriasis go away.

So GOSPEL part 2:

Five years ago, I remember discovering I had seasonal allergies for the first time, kind of on accident. I just thought I had a terrible cold that I couldn’t get over for 2 months. I had always teased people in my head when they’d sneeze and then look warily at me and sigh “Allergies.” So I felt like I was getting the judgement I deserved in developing them myself.

Right from the first year they were pretty serious, but every year since, they have gotten worse and worse. The second year I developed a two week long severe sinus infection, not to mention the surrounding months of regular allergies. All this leading up to last spring where I spent days in bed, which meant Nathan had to take several days off from work to take care of the kids. And that was on allergy meds. I’d also use a neti-pot, do pressure points to drain sinuses, hot washcloths, humidifiers, etc… and I still couldn’t sleep at night and I’d be in such a miserable fog in the day.

So I was dreading this spring. But guess what?! Since the season began I only took meds ONE DAY!!! It is such a shock, such a night and day difference, such a feeling of HEALING I can’t believe it. I have been mostly off dairy now for several months. I also started taking a quercetin + bromelain supplement the last month which is supposed to help regulate allergic response in your body. And for real: heavy reactions only ONE day, at the very beginning of high pollen season. I still sneeze a bit and have minor congestion, but I am fine! I am not much of a salesman, but this is one thing where I feel like it helps so much I want to tell ALL THE PEOPLE in the world who deal with allergies to consider going off dairy, at least before and during allergy season. 

It’s so significant to me that every day this spring I have found myself reflecting on how different I feel and how thankful I am. Dairy is honestly easy to give up when I know how bad it makes me feel.

Meanwhile we’ve discovered it’s Ezra’s deal too. I keep hoping it’s not and a couple times these last couple weeks he’s had something and only confirmed that it is. Last week I let him have a yogurt at breakfast. He then spent the morning laying on the floor, complaining of his stomach hurting. Then he had some diarrhea, felt better, and got up and had a good rest of his day. But to see this energetic boy out for a couple hours, laying still on the floor, it’s easy to see it’s not worth it. He’s actually come to know it too. He knows macaroni and cheese and yogurt hurt his stomach. 

Soooo…. anyway. I would be cranky that we spent a month without gluten, but in the end I’m not. If I hadn’t tried it, I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to try taking out dairy for a bit. We have learned so much and are literally a healthier, happier family for this process.

Lastly… I also read that dairy can be auto-immune-response-inducing (which psoriasis is, in nature). But I haven’t seen that improve at all. The only thing that has helped is a coal-tar treatment which I just learned last night is a carcinogen?! So I don’t know where I’m at with any of that. 

But I’m thankful that I’m at least giving my body a fighting chance now vs before. 

Sooooooo…… anyway. That’s the end of this blog! Thanks for joining me along the way!

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1 Comment

Victory!!! Chocolate!!!!

Well I’m pretty sure my eczema is caused by dairy. The last dairy I had was the cheesecake on Saturday, when it was wild, irritated and taking over. Today it’s smooth and almost non-existant. For someone who already believed food is powerful, it’s still shocking to witness your own skin transform in days.

But this made me pretty sad. Because obviously: chocolate. Last week I was going to make something for the kids, and since Ezra seems to have issues with it too, I sadly picked up a bag of “dairy-free” mini chocolate chips. I made the granola bars, sprinkled these in and they surprised me by tasting great. “At last!,” I thought, “We can have “chocolate” in this house once again! We may in fact survive in this manner!” (Um yes it had been two days without chocolate.)

Then yesterday, I was at a grocery store with a great baking sale. Ghiradelli at rock-bottom prices. I heroically and with only the *tiniest* martyr complex, walked by. I don’t even really care about eczema in itself, but I think the problem might be my immune system is working so hard to deal with dairy that I get susceptible to other things? Like the staph and yeast… And Ezra’s tummy.

But then! The smallest glimmer of a thought alighted upon my mind …and it all came into focus in slow motion. Paleo in it’s truest form is completely anti-dairy. But they often hold up dark chocolate as an ideal treat. My mind struggled to grasp this information. I thought dairy-free = chocolate-free?! Is it possible to have chocolate made without dairy? Obviously not milk chocolate, but what about the others. I went straight to the dark chocolate chips and examined the ingredients. “Milk solids.” D’oh!! But then the semi-sweet: blissfully dairy-free. In fact it has almost the same ingredients as the dairy-free chips, it just is processed in a place that uses dairy.

Want to compare?

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Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips

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Ingredients: evaporated cane juice, natural chocolate liquor, non-dairy cocoa butter
“This facility also processes dairy and soy, however it’s on a dairy free line…”

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Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

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Ingredients: semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter soy lecithin, vanilla).

According to this article, that explains everything (!), the ingredients in the first and the second are essentially the same. It explains that chocolate by itself is naturally dairy-free- cocoa. Bottom line: the first one is produced on a dairy-free line, and the second is not. I think this is important if you have a severe dairy allergy, but if you’re like me you should be set! I do solemnly take it upon myself to test these out for all of you out there. :)

And sooooooo: glory hallelujah! Chocolate is ours!!


3 Comments

Day three and no eczema!

You guys this is so crazy I can hardly believe it. I first remember eczema my sophomore year of high school. Which was 15 years ago! I have had eczema for 15 years. And in just three days of clean eating it is gone! Sometimes the eczema has just been a minor annoyance, sometimes it has been terrible, cracked, awful, itchy. A few months ago I read that hydrocortisone cream, which I used daily for the last 15 years, is not good for long term use and suppresses the immune system. When I read that I switched to coconut oil. I was happy with the results: it had the same effect, relieving the itchiness and kept it from getting too irritated. Which is all I was really after and thought I could do.

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Last night, at the end of the third day of this anti-candida eating, I was getting ready for bed and grabbed the coconut oil to put behind my ears. But the skin behind them is totally smooth! For the first time in 15 years! This is crazy!

Just had to share this with you.

Although I suspect the main culprit is dairy I hope to see some healing and be able to reintegrate it back in eventually. I have heard a lot of people say it is no good and it should be cut out entirely. That it’s just food for baby cows and other mammals don’t drink milk past babyhood. I think yes, we might have a profit-driven system full of unhealthy cows given weird amounts of gmo-corn and antibiotics: not good. We might have people with an actual allergy: not good. We might have a tiny problem with pasteurization and homogenization, probably also not good. Buuutttt….. I think we’re just too far removed from the whole process. If you had a farm and a cow one hundred years ago, there is no way you would tell me: No, you shouldn’t take any of that milk for food. But sure, go ahead- kill that cow, pull it’s skin off, cut out it’s muscle and eat that. See? Milk seems a lot more reasonable and safe now, doesn’t it. :) You’d totally use the milk to maximize the nutrients your cow provides! And then you’d eat it after that. Or you’d just be vegan. Haha, okay end of rant.

So I’m clearly pro-dairy and now needing to reconcile that with the idea that it might be creating some problems for me. But one of the the things the N.D. explained when she was here is that our immune system is a little bit like a bucket. So even if you had a small problem with dairy, that might be fine in small amounts on it’s own. But if that’s in your bucket, plus another small problem with corn for instance, plus some stress, plus a cat walks by plus pollen in the air that day: soon your immune-system bucket is overflowing and you’re all symptomatic. So it’s really about identifying what works for you and what doesn’t and functioning in that.

Okay well now I’ve just been rambling a while. I just had to share about the eczema- even though I believe food has a real effect on us, this is shocking to experience!