It is 12.20 am now but I am still quite not sleepy so finally have the motivation to pen my second article, no more procrastination, hopefully. Plus my book about Food Intolerances has been lying around for about a week now, but I have been skimming over it on and off. I find this book very, very full of eye-opening facts about my condition: eczema.
If ever you want to get a copy of this as it is quite full of facts plus there are actual places or clinics based in the UK where you can have the recommended tests. This is the first book I have come across that really gives you real facts and recommendations and case studies or findings about the conditions. It is also worth mentioning that the tests and recipes are very comprehensive.
Thank you to Antony Haynes, top level nutritionist from Britain, and Antoinette Savill is an award-winning cookery writer and author especially about gluten-free cookbooks. But I will talk more about some information fragments I have managed to digest from the book in the latter part of this writing as I have not really read it from start to finish.
As I have detailed in my first article, my diet was really bad.
The tipping point came as a shock to me on June 2011 when we were living in Pound Hill, Crawley. I was working in central London for almost a year that time as a dental receptionist for a very busy dental practice. The nature of my job was very demanding, patients would constantly be in and out in the practice, and the phone was nonstop, plus the dentists and dental nurses – it was very mentally stressful.
This situation was obviously compounded by my daily journey on the train where I was up at 530 am for breakfast and by 630 am I was running on the road to catch my 6.56 train to London. And I would be home by 8 pm, sometimes 830 pm. So there is the picture of that daily grind.
To cope with the pressure, I was always eating yum yums pastry during lunch times. There were also times, around twice a week I would have lunch at the local Indian vegetarian restaurant for a buffet. Although it was mostly veggies, the dishes were really oily and spicy.. Then come rush hour after 6 pm I would be so tired by the time I arrive in London Victoria station, and the easy fix – was Mcdonalds. You see, my diet was really bad. In this situation, I had no discipline whatsoever about my food intake. I really did not care. But in June of that year, I reached the ‘tipping point’.
Related Article: My Leaky Gut
Sugar Overload and pastries
I have mentioned before that I love eating cakes, and I love baking too. That makes it double the trouble. Maybe one of the reasons is that baking tends to give me that comfort that I am looking for when the weather is really bad and it is a rainy or cold night or it could be that I am just plain bored and homesick or my partner was away working and my being not able to drive does not help really, so food is my saviour and my distraction. But who does not love food?
On that one unfortunate Friday, I bought a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. On that Friday night, I had 3 donuts. By Saturday, I had 3 donuts. By Sunday, I had more. By Monday, I had full skin breakout, itching, and reddish inflamed arms. Then the ‘oozing’ of overly scratched skin started to flare up. This was the point of no return.
I would like to share as much of my knowledge on here especially about what I have read about sugar as to how bad this element is. Why is it bad? Sugar is a ‘killer’ as labelled by media, the healthy side of media experts. The reason for this is that it promotes inflammation because your body’s blood sugar spikes up if you have too much of this in your food. When your blood sugar is high, your insulin production is also high, which then can have negatives health effects. Sugar is a high glycemic index kind of food, what this means is the rate at which it increases or decreases your blood sugar level. Needless to say, high sugar intake also leads to risk of developing Diabetes, as we all know.
What sugar does to your intestinal tract is damaging, what we call inflammation. According to an article on the Huffington Post, too much sugar sends the body to activate its immunity guards called cytokines, which are basically loose proteins (as defined by Wikipedia) that is very important on sending signals to the cells, and in this case, the body is under attack for inflammation, at least in my own interpretation. Then obviously when your body is under threat to inflammation, your adrenals get affected by the heavy stress it is subjected to. And this was pointed by my homeopath practitioner because she said I was under a lot of stress, my adrenals were in bad shape, so was my liver. In fact she gave me homeopathic pills to address my adrenal glands. (If you want to know more about homeopathy and finding a practitioner, you can go to this site and explore it, British Homeopathic Association)
But this topic is worth talking about in my future writing assignments as it is worth expounding for and quite relevant to talk about as what really is related or precursor to eczema.
Relate Article: How I Healed My Eczema
Fried Foods and Soy Sauce
We all know too well that eating fried foods is a big no no according to the health authorities so this is nothing new if I talk about it here but I just really want to show how devastating my affair with fried foods and especially soy sauce.
For me, anything not ‘fried’ is totally bland – and not worth my time. During shopping time I would pick the most attractive piece of belly of pork I can find – one with not too much lean part – otherwise it would be too dry for me when I cook it, there has to be a great deal of juiciness, so to speak. And what is the price to pay for this? Bad Health, that means high cholesterol and increases my body’s risk of inflammation from within be it high blood pressure or really endangering my arteries being clogged with fatty components. This also gets exaggerated by the fact that I am a visual person in reference to my appetite. And it does not take long for me to get interested in overeating especially if I see something golden, crispy, and juicy. So much trouble for things that are forbidden.
I also would like to share how bad soy sauce is. Soy sauce is very typical of Oriental diet. We use it to marinate chicken, pork or beef, before frying our main dishes that we eat at home, or at birthday parties and events. Plus my fondness for Chinese buffet deals during my time off from work is not helping at all as we all know that this sauce is a big part of the cuisine. Do you notice that after eating a lot of Chinese dishes in the restaurant, you get slight headaches or dizziness? For me it always happens, I get all a bit warm and with a slight headache. Why? According to Web MD, this is because of the high MSG content of the dishes. What is MSG? MSG is defined as monosodium glutamate, it is a food additive that gives so much flavour to the dishes in Chinese foods and it is also a big part of soy sauce. (For more information about MSG you can click this link)
Related Article: My Skin Allergies
For a few days I tried to research online and tried to cure myself. I did buy some Epsom salts and ran warm baths. I also tried once or twice doing oatmeal baths, but no success. I can still remember I also put some herbs in the warm bath sessions, but it wasn’t working, I even put some olive oil in the water. There were times I tried putting some apple cider vinegar on my skin, but no luck. I also bought an alove vera cooling gel, but again, no luck with it.
Do I think having salt baths can help? I am not entirely sure about this as I had not given it enough time really in a sense that I can really say or feel and explore if it was of any help or not. It might be worth doing if you have a good week to give it a try but for me it made my skin even more dry when in fact I should be preserving more body oil in my skin as eczema is literally drying out my skin of its natural oil supply.
I also bought Flaxseed oil as when I was reading online it was mentioned as good for eczema in order to replenish your body’s lost oils. Well, I did use it for a few days, on and off. But then I abandoned it as, again, when I was rummaging the online world for eczema information I stumbled on an article that said Omega 6 promotes inflammation especially to your cardiovascular system, the heart. This was enough to turn me off. Oh yes, flaxseed oil is rich in Omega 3s but it also has Omega 6, which is a big turn off for me. What works for others might not work for me, simple. But my choice? I don’t want anything that has Omega 6 in it, just my personal health choice. In short, I binned my big bottle of Flaxseed oil.
What is weird too is that I tried exploring taking fish oil capsules but every time I do it, I get funny with my breathing – I get all chesty and uncomfortable. I do not know the reason but it gives me panic so up to now I have not really gone back to give it another chance. It sounds similar to what happens to me if I eat a can of tune with sunflower oil in it. According to my knowledge, this kind of oil is bad as it promotes inflammation to your cardiovascular system, as per me online reading.
This was the time when I asked for the help of a homeopath practitioner as my two arms were now full of ‘scabs’, crusty and dried fluid from the broken skin. According to NHS UK, homeopathy is a an alternative way of treating by the use of highly diluted substances, as claimed by the homeopath therapists.
I never really expected that homeopathy was the way forward for me, but I gave it a try. When you are desperate to be cured , or as I was crying out for my natural remedies my eczema given the fact that I have tried almost a lot of things – I was really desperate.
What the sessions were like with homeopathy was after the first meeting I would see the therapist after one week then after that session would be two weeks, and then a month after, then a month, as needed. The sessions were mostly incorporated with one-on-one talk about my personal life, relationship, emotions, my childhood, my job, among other things, of course the skin condition itself. She would give me some tiny pills or white seedlike remedies, maybe lozenges but they were so tiny as a dot, that I took about 3x a day. I was told the aim of the remedies was curing from the inside, your emotions. This really I was very open to as I believed my disturbed emotions was the big root of my stress which showed on my skin and were triggered by my need to feel comforted through eating – binge eating, to be honest. Apart from these tiny pills, I was also given a tincture to support my liver, I think it was Milk Thistle. But I guess the biggest catalyst that healed me exponentially was, Probiotic Capsules (vegetarian variety). I was given the vegetarian variety, maybe it was a better option to the other variety which some contains lactose. More importantly, two therapists from the past really endorsed the brand Higher Nature for its reputation in terms of the ingredients in their products compared to big commercial brands that I would rather not mention on here. I myself can personally vouch for my belief in this brand, just my personal experience and opinion.
As a big part of my ongoing homeopathic treatment that time, I was on a very strict diet overhaul. I was not allowed to eat meat for 3 months except fish about twice a week. I was not eating any fruit at all due to sugar content. I was not allowed bread or anything with flour and wheat, nor any fizzy drinks or cakes or desserts. My diet was basically more on chopped cucumber, celery, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Himalayan Pink Salt. Then some days I would boil Quinoa grains mixed with kale, or pak choi leaves with loads of extra virgin olive oil (I drizzle it on the food before I eat it) and use extra virgin coconut oil for cooking although there are times I had to use ordinary vegetable oil when I do not have access to virgin coconut oil. I also would like to point out that my diet was loaded with chopped ginger especially into the Quinoa cooking. If you alien to Quinoa , it is a very popular and quite pricey superfood loaded with proteins. And you can find this now at health shops like Grape Tree (cheapest retailer and my favourite) or Holland and Barrett or even at the local supermarkets now.
As a meat lover person, it was really painful for me to let go of eating pork ribs or my favourite oxtail slow cooked in soy sauce or the fatty belly of pork that I used to rub salt into then blast with oven cooking to get that crackling effect that I like. But my main motivation was I wanted to let go of the ‘agony’ when I just lay in bed and keep my whole body still and calm so I would not be tempted to scratch my arms. It is not a joke to watch myself with all the ‘scabs’ oozing as a result of my abusive diet all throughout the years with ‘me’ thinking that I can eat anything and I am super cool like a typical teenager who can just grab anything they want like a quarterpounder burger with a coke in can on the other hand. To be honest, this kind of thinking gives me that confidence that hey “Look at me, I am eating junk and I am not worried about it, what about you?” It sounds weird but that was the way how I felt about it, and sometimes, up to now, I still get those deluded moments, but it is time I should wake up to the reality that I am already 37 years old and things are not quite the same as when I was a teenager.