No, it’s not a cheesy hyped-up pseudo-promise – it’s true. Our bodies are in a constant state of flux, one way or the other. I won’t quote the science (it’s complicated and way over my head) but, in a nutshell, every one of us is changing, all the time.
Taking Charge of Change
In July 2014, I suffered a severe outbreak of eczema that and is only now healing. Corticosteroids helped soothe the broken skin but this condition is a symptom of dis-ease within.
I know that spiritual healing is needed to deal with the emotional roots of physical problems, but at this point, I am focusing on the physical component and looking at the relationship between nutrition and my health.
What was it that set off this drastic flare-up of eczema on my soles and palms? I wondered. Like most things in life, it was not one event or even several. It was cumulative layers of frustration, discouragement, feeling out of control, worries about family and friends, job stress, financial challenges and life in general.
What was I going to do about it? It began with pruning some activities and pursuits, prayerfully releasing burdens that were not mine to carry, and being gentler with myself and others. And it continues now…
I have started seeing a Naturopath (I Googled Christian naturopaths in my city and found one not far from home!) I wanted someone I could trust, to help me and guide me in my quest for physical wellness.
She did a thorough intake analysis with me, reviewing my health, lifestyle, supplements I take, concerns I have, and we talked about the process through which we would work. To begin, she put me on the Hypoallergenic Diet – to test for food sensitivities. This diet eliminates foods which are common well-known allergens, including: wheat (gluten), corn, dairy, eggs, soy, shellfish, sugar, peanuts, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus (except lemon), alcohol and coffee/tea (caffeine).
The good news, for me, is that I’m allowed to eat lots of yummy foods like these:
And meals that I already enjoyed, like these:
Potatoes, yams, rice pasta, oatmeal, quinoa – so I don’t really miss the wheat/breads. Legumes, nuts and seeds are allowed, so is olive oil and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. (I recently discovered baby yams, which you toss in olive oil, salt, garlic powder and paprika and roast in the oven – even the skin is edible!)
What I miss the most is yogurt (Liberte organic 2.5% plain) and eggs, as well as my almost daily glass of red wine (a beloved treat at the end of a long workday). I am compromising on coffee, drinking half-caf, but no black tea.
Results So Far
I feel better overall – maybe just the idea that I’m eating cleaner and healthier, but specifically:
- less bloating and gas at mealtimes
- no afternoon energy slump
- easier movement in my joints, especially knees
- some weight/fat loss
Dr. Soo suggested I increase my Ester C intake to bowel tolerance (I am taking 6,000 mg daily) and Omega 3 gel caps thrice daily. Recent blood work showed healthy red and white cell levels, no cholesterol problems, but low B12 and folic acid levels. A Vitamin D test should be done at my next physical check-up, and there is a concern that I might not be absorbing nutrients from foods as efficiently as I should.
Next Step – Cleanse
Detoxifying my liver will be the next step. I’m starting next Monday (still getting over a bout of bronchitis, and attending a family dinner on Sunday, so Monday will be my fresh start 🙂
The Ultra Clear Program involves eating clean for 5 days (the hypoallergenic diet foods), then for 3 days, eating those foods and adding varied doses of Ultra Clear Cleanse (a rice protein powder base that you mix with water). For the next 5 days, there will be additional doses of powder while eating only fruits and vegetables only. This will be followed by 3 days with reduced powder and ending with 2 days eating from the full range of hypoallergenic diet foods.
I will share the results of my cleanse and my follow-up visit in March…
Well, Vera, I am sorry to hear about your battle with these body issues. We all have them from time to time.
I think you were brilliant to find a Naturopath. A very wise diet. I am a lifelong nutrition student and so I have a few thoughts. As you may know, I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years and a vegan for about 10. I find it very easy and eat so well, I have to pinch myself some times. I feel fortunate.
However, I developed rosacea in my twenties. To get it under control I was given Prednisone, something so drastic, I now shudder when I think of it. On my own I found out that Evening Primrose oil controls inflammation and rosacea. My symptoms flare if I eat nuts and that seems to be the only culprit now. Which is unfortunate since I love them. But instead I eat sunflower butter and other seeds. Still, some products contain traces of nuts, so I get a flare, and knock it right out with the EPO (which I get at Trader Joes).
One other thought. The newest information on gluten allergies is that gluten is not the culprit. The problem is our bread products are no longer being given enough time to rise — mass manufactured bread has to be cost efficient and is processed too quickly. If you made your own bread or went to a truly old fashioned bakery, you would find a whole different response to wheat. Just a thought.
I do like coffee, never did nor do alcohol nor tobacco of course. The rest of your diet looks wise — for me, tomatoes are a staple so I would find them hard to give up. But, it is amazing how one can find a set of foods that, with the right seasoning and cooking practices, are delicious and healthy, keep mind and body in great shape, and weight under control. I totally got rid of joint pain that I started to experience when I hit 40 by taking MSM and Omegas. There is something natural to control just about everything we suffer, if we catch it early. Sorry for the long post but this is one of my fave topics, LOL.
Thanks for sharing this, Beth. I love to hear from people who ‘walk it’ and don’t just ‘talk it’. I like how you put it – you’re a lifelong nutrition student – I am, too. But there’s so much information and I grew tired of hit-and-miss attempts to eat myself well. Dr. Soo is a lovely young Chinese woman and glows with health herself (good advertising 🙂
I have found over the years that food combining is a factor for me. I feel better when I don’t combine starches and animal proteins. Obviously not an issue for you as a vegan.
Your comments on gluten and wheat are interesting, and make sense. I’ve also heard that today’s wheat is different than what our grandparents ate, and harder for us to digest. Add in genetic modifications and the tired if not toxic soil in which crops are grown, it’s not wonder people have issues.
So far, I’m doing well on the foods I’m allowed to eat and enjoying enough variety that I don’t feel deprived (too much). But I’m committed to seeing this through. I know I will learn things, and gain benefits now that will make a healthier me from now on. (I miss tomatoes too! Maybe I’ll find I’m able to eat them later on…)
As you probably already know Vera, I’m a firm believer in Naturopathic and the holistic approach to health and wellness. There is too much emphasis (WAYYYY too much) on disease management, when it comes to mainstream allopathic medicine. Sounds like you are definitely on the right track, keep it up! 🙂
I actually wrote quite a bit about my wellness beliefs and practices in my newest ebook:
Laughing AT the Grim Reaper! Gems of Wisdom for Aging Well.
since the book/ebook was first published, I’ve been told by a number of people that I helped them reconsider some of their own health options. For that, I’m very glad.
Have a great weekend and thanks for this interesting post. 🙂
Some great reviews of your book on Amazon. I’ll check it out on my Kindle. Thanks Geraldine!
Good for you, Vera! I recently made a lifestyle change myself and became a vegan. I used to work with someone whose daughter has eczema, so seeing and hearing what she was going through, i can somewhat relate to what you’re dealing with. I believe our eating habits definitely impact what’s going on on the outside. I will be praying that your health continues to get better
Thank you Ariffa! I’m working on my followup post. I’m a semi-vegetarian but I’m also anemic, so it will take me awhile to figure out the best way to eat for optimal health. I commend you on your decision. Keep in touch with Beth Byrnes as she is a vegan too – perhaps she can suggest some recipes? Best of luck with your healthy eating and living. May we all be good stewards of everything good thing the good Lord has provided!
Thank you for the recommendation! I will definitely be reaching out to her