I’ve had a few doubts about writing this up because I feel there is a lot out there now about allergies and eczema and whilst I understand ‘”nothing is original thought”, is another story about eczema really necessary?
Have decided yes.
For the mere point of stumbling.
You just may have stumbled, and what I share just may help.
Our nearly 2 year old has eczema (such a goodie to spell don’t you think).
It probably started about a year ago, but became an obvious problem as Summer faded and the Autumn damp settled in.
Her hands were the first to get it, then her upper arms and elbows, then the top of her shoulders across her back, then finally her wee precious young forehead.
Our eldest had it too, in patches, and I remember deciding not to do anything beyond the probiotic for her, because I felt it was just ‘superficial’ ‘cosmetic’ and wasn’t really bothering her.
Our EB is a different story. It wakes her at night. The scratching. Her skin looks tight, dry, raised and is scratched raw in places – it’s quite horrifying when I stop to think on it.
We’ve done all the recommended things such as avoiding soap, not putting wool directly on her skin, giving her fish oil, sprinkling probiotic on her food, oiling her skin, using an allergy sensitive pillow and mattress protector…
The GP has said she has severe eczema and to use steroid cream to ‘get it under control’, and then moisturise multiple times a day to ‘keep’ it under control.
In Tauranga (they do it sooner in Auckland) when she’s 2 she can have the patch test done at pathlab, where they will test for food allergies such as dairy and gluten, with a series of ‘little pricks’on her skin. I have been told they need to use an area of skin which doesn’t have eczema and hasn’t had steroid cream on it for a number (I forget which number now) of days.
I could pay $120 through John’s Photo Pharmacy on Cameron Road and get a hair test done, which tests for a greater number of allergies.
NB: I love John’s. I can get everything ‘natural’ there. I have made the most of Scott ( a herbalist’s) wisdom and skills and received a personalised herbal tonic to boost fertility and other times a calming tonic to help me manage a very stressful house relocation. They have dairy free probiotics, discounted vitamin C powder, my treasured rose scented Weleda spray deodorant, the Weleda children’s toothpaste and even the french no tears shampoo. It is my one-stop shop. Their photo developing is good too. Try the mini prints and get cute pocket sized prints instead of the usual 6 x 4. AND if you haven’t found your homeopathic remedy you’re only a staircase away from Selene Homeopathics.
Back to the point: When I described EB’s eczema to one of John’s helpful Naturopaths she felt EB could be allergic to sugar and eggs, this was interesting as she asks for bananas and dates- from a place of naturopathy often what we crave is what we should be avoiding.
When I mentioned cutting out gluten and dairy to the GP, she replied it’s not common for people to be truly allergic to foods and sometimes eliminating them completely from the diet causes more problems, as what starts as an intolerance then becomes a full blown allergic reaction if one tries to reintroduce these foods ‘down the track’.
It’s interesting that our very warm GP has said this, as the more I talk with people the more I hear of children having skin and digestive issues which they find ease or eliminate (excuse the pun) with eradicating food groups.
When I used to hear about people having allergies I’d assume, sneezes and incorrect poos. And as an aside I think I could have stopped blaming teething for our EB’s loose stool sooner.
I’m starting to garner the understanding that digestive problems due to intolerance and allergies to food exhibit through the biggest organ of our body, the skin.
Little EB’s body is calling, her karanga – somebody change something here.
So, 3 weeks ago I stopped buying dairy and gluten.
My husband who generally follows a Weston A. Price/Paleo menu abound with cheese, cream, yogurt, sour cream…went into some sort of arrest, so I snuck a 500 ml of cream into door, not succeeding to hide it behind the aloe vera.
I had tried to go gluten free a fortnight earlier for just EB but I found it an added unwanted drama to have her wanting something her Vogel’s-eating-sister had.
So all of us had to quit.
We sucked at being gluten and dairy free.
I sucked the most.
As a breastfeeding-on-demand-stay-in-the-home-mother-of-3-under-5 food is my friend, an ally, something that gets me from 3pm till 7pm sleeptime. The new rules rattled and shook me all the way to Love Rosie Bakery for there ‘this is no ordinary ginger loaf’.
Clara sucked the second.
The gluten free bread in the kindy lunch box had one jaw shape cut out the first day and then lay dormant for the 2 days that followed.
But we did discover one convenient snack thanks to Janette Clearwater. Rice cakes (the thin kind) with peanut butter (pity nuts are banned from institutions for kids).
We did discover another golden treat. Ghee. Our go-to-friend-for-all-things-great like nutrition, recipes, general coolness, natural and cheap homemade cleaning products…made us some ghee. This (should be blogging friend) Kellie Thompson is doing the whole 30 (30 day food challenge) and gave us some of her golden elixir. The casein is removed from the butter when it is made into ghee which takes away the most common allergy forming component of dairy.
The third gorgeous discovery, ghee and vegemite on rice cakes. No sugar and kindy-garten compatible.
How is the eczema you ask?
It was looking better but it never disappeared. After 2 weeks of no dairy no gluten I saw no change and in fact the tops of her arms became more irritated. Because of this I decided to change from using the Eczema Ease cream (at approx $30 per bottle) to coconut oil (as it has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties also).
I reckon using the coconut oil (and applying it 3-4 times a day) has seen the most improvement. She’s also had 3 mornings of being naked in the spring sunshine – which is a positive contributor.
I started to reintroduce dairy 4 days ago.
I started with butter, parmesan and some yogurt.
I’m going down the raw milk road. Click here for a raw milk directory for Tauranga. “Raw milk contains enzymes and encourages beneficial bacteria that contribute to easy digestion and ensure that all the vitamins and minerals are absorbed. Pasteurization warps and distorts the enzymes and other proteins in milk so that the body thinks they are foreign, and has to mount an immune response. This makes pasteurized milk very difficult to digest. (http://www.realmilk.com/) “. Our store bought milk is generally pasteurised and homogenised in Aotearoa. The organic milk (found in most supermarkets) is not homogenised but is pasteurised.
Next step for me and EBs skin?
Continue gluten free and limited dairy free.
Cut out cooked eggs (only eat them in baking’, after sustained heat they become less allergenic apparently).
Get a yogurt starter from Jane and Kevin Powell in Papamoa.
Find a raw milk source.
Get a diary free probiotic from John’s (tick)
Visit Christine O’Reilly a recommended Naturopath or the like.
The patch test – pathlab.
Maybe the hair test?
Depending on the results of above, possibly cutting out all sugar for a spell.
Looking at adding a ph balancing agent (other than pinetarsol) to the bathwater as EB’s skin is at its worst after bathtime and sleeptime.
Continue discovering gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free recipes from
Sites such as:
Recipe books such as:
Cafes during Auckland visits such as:
I’ll leave you with an easy recipe to use up all those 1/2 eaten bananas you find in random places throughout your toddler encrusted home:
Banana cupcakes (adapted by Kellie Thompson from PaleoMom’s Coconut Macadamia Banana Muffin recipe)
You do know (don’t you) that you should use bananas that are nearly leaking with ripeness when baking. The older the banana the sweeter the banana.
You do know too (don’t you) that you can freeze your black/brown bananas. I pop them into the freezer whole skin and all.
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
¼ cup coconut flour
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup honey
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Melt coconut oil and leave to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, coconut flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, mashed banana, honey, coconut oil, lemon juice and vanilla.
Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir to combine.
Spoon batter into cupcake cases (they do rise but if you’re not convinced the batter makes 12 large ones, do 8 large and use mini cases for the leftover mixture).
Bake for 30 minutes.
Leave cupcakes to cool ENTIRELY before trying to eat them – as they tend to stick to the colourful cases.
NB: Our 4 year old insisted on using two cases per cupcake. My first instinct was to explain why we don’t do that. I later got to eat my words as the red case with the yellow inside it, made the parcel look like a beautiful double bloom.
Note to self: Slow down Mummy. Say ”yes” as much as possible. Or at least don’t say anything and just watch – it’s interesting what YOU may DISCOVER and what your CHILD already KNOWS.
Next time, I’m going to try adding chopped green and blacks 70% or 85% dark chocolate.
The time after, I’ll try adding frozen raspberries.
Chopped brazil nuts or walnuts could be yum too.
Lastly, go try Petite Kitchen’s Lemon and Coconut Truffles. They make a refreshing change to the popular bliss ball as a plate to take to children’s parties.
I’d love to hear of any ‘natural’ remedies you’ve found helpful for eczema. Or any you felt didn’t work too.
Here’s to wellbeing and being energetic enough to inquire and to change habits.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. (Albert Einstein)”