Changes (part two)

I went to a naturopath because I’ve had a nasty ongoing bout of eczema. I was tired with visits to my GP that always ended up with me getting medication that neither necessarily works well nor is without long-term side effects (like, say, cancer). Say what you will about Canadian health care – and the fact that we *have* health care is something to say – I just don’t see how a GP can give anyone any sort of personalized care when they “see” you for all of 10 minutes, sometimes with as many as 30 other patients booked after you. So, with the retirement of my long-term doctor and her replacement with a replicant from Blade Runner, I took the opportunity to check out just what exactly naturopathy could do.

There were two sessions: the first, a consultation, with the second being a post-diagnostic set of recommendations. It went very well, going over my medical history etc., and resulted in her suggesting I start with a detox/reduction diet under the suspicion that my eczema was part of an allergic reaction.

So, a few weeks ago I cut out caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten (bread, white rice, etc.), milk, eggs, red meat…and anything else on the list she provided. Most vegans don’t even have a diet this strict. I was to do it for a week (at least) and then slowly add things back to see if my skin flared up.

The process was pretty incredible – in the sense that you don’t realise how many of these things are part and parcel of our everyday (and sometimes every meal) diet. Try going into a restaurant – try a vegetarian restaurant even – and count how many dishes don’t have gluten. You cannot believe how frustrating it is to go out on a lunch break only to find that there’s nothing out there outside of a salad that isn’t going to have bread attached.

The first couple of days were tough, but surprisingly I didn’t miss coffee that much. It was days three and four. No energy, no concentration. I could only focus on a couple of tasks at any given time without being totally useless.

Things are better now. As it turns out, gluten seems to be the bad guy, however I have yet to find out if beer can be ruled out (I pray), since it has yeast. But the process itself was the valuable thing – you pay attention to your body when you detox. You pay attention to what goes in your body and the pace of your metabolism. Particularly when you rule out gluten, you realise how much of a filler it truly is. You value fruits and vegetables, and my water consumption has certainly skyrocketed.

I think a detox/reduction diet is something everyone should try, if just once. However, I do also strongly believe that it should be partially supervised by a health professional.

[if you’re on Facebook, you can check out my Detox Diaries – at least the first five days]

[UPDATE]: I found the solution (for me, at least). It was cutting out (or at least down) processed sugars. I drink a fair amount of coffee and since I always have a teaspoon of sugar, I found this to be the main culprit. After searching long and hard (stevia, maple syrup, etc.) I found agave nectar – yes, the very same plant that produces tequila also produces a sugar-like nectar. In short, not only does it taste like sugar, but it has eliminated my need for sugar or other substitutes. For your reference here is one brand, and another. I recommend either.

I’m extremely pleased to have found a way to combat eczema that doesn’t involve medication, tinctures, or cremes. It may not work for some (or many), but the ideal way to solve the issue to deal with it through your diet, and not through a supplemental ointment.


4 Replies to “Changes (part two)”

  1. Found this:

    Is there Gluten in beer?

    Traditional Beers
    All beers are produced using varying quantities of barley malt, ie dried, germinated barley. In the brewing process the malt starch is solubilised in hot water as fermentable sugars. Only part of the malt protein is solubilised, and in the subsequent boiling of the extract much is degraded. Later steps in the brewing process also reduce the amount of malt protein found in beer. However some protein is essential for beer quality, particularly for beer presentation, since the beer foam (head) would be extremely poor without the protein.
    It should also be noted that some beers are produced using a proportion of sugar syrups made from wheat starch, ie wheat flour from which most of the gluten has been removed. The processing of this starch to produce the syrups used in brewing would result in minimal contribution of gluten to beer.
    Tests conducted in accordance with the procedure specified by the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA), suggest that traditional beers contain a level of gluten which is less than the level specified in the ANZFA Food Standards Code as “Low Gluten”.
    However, there are concerns that the ANZFA test is unreliable in cases where malt is present (such as beer) and therefore the test may not detect gluten-like materials contributed by malt. Furthermore, it is also unclear whether these gluten-like materials have a similar effect to gluten, and therefore whether they also affect people with coeliac disease in a negative way.

  2. I had a hard time with eczema patches showing up now and then. My doctor prescribed DERMA-SMOOTHE/FS®
    fluocinolone acetonide 0.01% Topical Oil(Body Oil)
    you can check out the company’s website
    it has been the most soothing skin oil I have ever experienced.
    Have you also thought about environmental allergies?

  3. Thanks for the info!

    Pamela: that’s very interesting, re:Derma Smoothe. Does it “treat” the eczema or is it just a moisturizer? As regards environmental allergies, I don’t think that’s the case, if only because during the time I’ve had this I’ve moved a couple of times and as regards work I’m constantly in different places – thus, in terms of live/work environment there’s no consistency. Still, I’ll keep it in mind.

  4. I’ve never known a cure for eczema. I’ve tried all sorts of lotions that only made it worse. I found some anti-depressants seem to make it go away, only to pop up in a different spot when I stop taking the meds. The drema smoothie is mainly for comfort and the one I use has a steroid in it, but you can order from them the ‘Hill Moisture Riser’ as long as you don’t have a peanut allergy.

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