Eczema, OH MY!

Julia woke up this morning looking like she had been hit by a train. Purple-ringed-puffy-eyes, sneezing constantly, and constant scratching at her skin.

Me: “Jules! Are you feeling okay this morning?”

Julia: “Yeah mom, it’s just…..my legs….I’M ALL ITCHY!”

One look at her and I knew the last week or so of “bad food choices” was catching up with her. Since we changed our diet last September, she hasn’t looked this bad. Thankfully, the food changes have never been a battle with her. Once she realized that her “itchy skin” was clear when she ate good things, she had not been tempted to go back to a diet of goldfish and pizza. Of course, that’s not to say that she hasn’t had those things in the last 11 months, but it’s been limited.

This past week, those things have not been limited, and it is showing all over her.

Julia is on the team at her gymnastics place. She practices with her team 16 hours a week, which is 4 hours per day. Working out that much, in the middle of the summer, she burns so many calories that I would be tempted to challenge her appetite with a teenage boy! She eats more at one meal than the rest of her 3 siblings, combined! She is a hungry girl on gymnastics days!

She has snack time half way through her practice. They don’t have much time to eat, so it’s a small snack. By the time she gets done with practice at 4:00 p.m. she’s STARVING! The past week, she told us that she’s been taking the left-overs from her friends snacks…..Chex Mix, Goldfish, crackers…..and eating them after practice was over.

Me: “Julia, why are you taking their snacks?”

Julia: “Mom, I’m starving!”

This apparently had been going on for sometime, but she never had said anything to me. Then it hit me. Julia is really no different than me (and a lot of other people…) when your starving you crave simple carbs and sugar. But when your starving, a diet coke, goldfish, cookies, or chips that you crave are not really what your body needs. It needs nourishment: an apple, almonds, fruit, greens….

I asked Julia what would help her so she’s not tempted to eat her friends’ snacks. She maturely said “Mom, please pack me a snack for after practice, so I won’t be so hungry.” And so I will. :)

This past week of poor food choices for Julia was a confirmation of why our family changed our diet in the first place. The diet changes for her are doing something, and I’m not just a crazy mom packing her homemade granola bars and baby carrots! It was a good reminder to Julia too.

Kelly

Eating the Nutrient Dense Way

Shawn and I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” for the second time last night. We watched it about a year ago, and it made sense, but we were not ready to make THAT huge of a change.

In short, the documentary documents the journey to wellness for two men. They are both fat, sick, and taking slew prescription drugs just to make it through the day. Sound familiar? The first man, in the documentary, pledges 60 days to bettering his health. With the help of Dr. Joel Fuhrman (a family medical doctor and author of several books), and his juicer, he lives 60 days on fresh vegetable and fruit juice. The super juices that he drinks not only helps him lose an insane about of weight, but by the end of the 60 days his need for prescriptions is pretty much zero, his cholesterol and other blood work levels are completely normal, and his blood pressure is also in the normal range.

Anyways, a VERY good look into eating to live and NOT living to eat! You can watch the documentary for free on his website or it is also on Netflix.

Dr. Fuhrman has a unique way of looking at food. Basically, eating things that are very nutrient rich food. Eating unlimited Kale, broccoli, spinach, and really anything green, along with fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and seeds. Eating this way (eating NUTRIENT RICH FOODS) promotes excellent health. Below is his chart:

Dr. Fuhrman’s list of Nutrient Dense Foods

(Reference: http://www.drfuhrman.com/)

We just came across this chart and Dr. Fuhrmans work with reversing diseases through micro-nutrient foods, and I will be keeping it around as a quick reminder and reference. Shawn has already been exploring this as a healing option for him, and has been living proof that foods can heal. Today is 3 weeks FREE from predinsone.

Kelly

1.5 weeks post-op!

One and a half weeks out from Shawn’s cataract surgery to repair one eye. (Read my post from July 11th to find out all the crazy details and WHY he needed this surgery at 33 years old!) That means that there is one and a half weeks out until the surgery to correct the other eye. YIPPY!

Right now, Shawn is seeing great! It’s a new world for him! His vision is great and everything is very clear. Thankfully, he is able to drive again.

Another BIG celebration is that Shawn has been off of prednisone since June 30th! He is able to 100% control his eczema with food. He is also off the endless popping of Benedryl for allergies. Another YIPPY! Shawn has realized that food is his friend, as long as it is the RIGHT food. He is taking in huge doses of vitamins through whole foods (fruits and veggies) and also taking supplements.

Here is a sample of what Shawn eats during the day:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie (vegan protein powder, spinach, blueberries, chia seeds, and almond milk, 1/2 cucumber, pineapple)
  • Morning Snack: Lentils with rice (leftovers from last nights dinner), with carrots and hummus
  • Lunch: Smoothie (Juice Plus Protein powder, spinach or arugala, raspberries, pineapple, flaxseed, celery, and almond milk)
  • Dinner: Potato and Kale Bubble and Squeak (a British dish of kale and potatoes), sliced apples, and a carrot cake cupcake
  • Snack: 2 whole eggs/2 egg whites, spinach salad with natural honey mustard dressing

Very simple man-meals full of TONS of veggies and fruit! It’s simple enough that he can just throw his smoothies together in the blender and drink them while he works.

His supplements and vitamins that he takes are: Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Fish oil, and Juice Plus vitamins

Shawn’s Surgery Day

Yesterday was Shawn’s BIG eye surgery day. He is having surgery to replace his lens, due to a cataract in each of his eyes (right in the line of sight!), due to the continued daily prednisone he takes to keep his eczema under control….which we NOW know is caused by the food he eats. WHEW! You get all that!

33 years old with ruined eyes due to cataracts. Sad!

Shawn after surgery

While he was waiting in the surgery center, he realized that he was the youngest person by a good 50 years. He did not belong in that waiting room. There is no reason it had to get to this point either. I am kicking myself that four years ago when he started daily prednisone, we didn’t look into more natural remedies for his skin. Prednisone was the easy answer, and it did wonders for his skin. He had perfectly uncracked, uninflamed skin while on the prednisone. Pop a pill and *POOF* all skin problems, gone!

Those of you who know him personally, know his battle he has had with his skin. He began his battle at 10, and I met him at 23. I know his Mom did everything she could for him, take him to doctors, buy special lotions, use special laundry detergents. After Shawn and I got married, I picked up that “take care of him role.” I started encouraging him to see specialists, dermatologists, allergists, natural doctors, a pope, a priest…..no, just kidding on the last two! ;)….ANYTHING just to help him feel better!

The doctor visits got to the point of just plain ridiculous. The allergist would say “go see a dermatologist.” He’d make the appointment with the dermatologist just to hear “it’s an allergy.” Back to the allergist, who would suggest a “more comprehensive allergy test,” and to “go back to the dermatologist.” The dermatologist was the person who finally suggested a daily does of prednisone, and looking back on it, I wonder if it was her last ditch effort to help Shawn because she really had no idea what to do.

Regardless, there is no blame to any doctor. Doctors are trained and educated to study MEDICINE, not necessarily diet or wellness. We were asking the wrong people about Shawn’s condition, but I think that’s the common thing to do. “Ah, I have this problem” you go straight to the doctor. We know now that his problem would never be solved by a doctor. It took a nutritionist and hours of research and book/blog reading to find out the information we know today about his skin condition and how to better it.

The American diet was to blame for Shawn’s condition….as it is to blame for many conditions Americans have. One thing I have learned from the past year back to wellness is to research, research, research!! There is so much information out there on diseases, wellness, diet, etc. It’s hard to sort through sometimes, but it’s worth it if you find the answer you are looking for.

I am sharing Shawn’s story, because I know he is not alone. There are many others out there that have a battle, whether it be ezcema, or something else. Shawn has aged his eyes 50 years, treating a condition that would otherwise not hurt him directly.

Shawn sporting his new sunglasses after surgery

Day #5 of NO prednisone!

So as of last post, Shawn was at every other day prednisone. WELL, since the last post, he decided to go cold turkey, quit, and see what happens.

As a result, an experiment has been going on in our kitchen.

Shawn is determined to “cure” his skin without using prednisone. So he has started dosing up on fresh fruits and veggies and the results have been….amazing!

Hippocrates: “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.”

Pictured here is Shawn’s typical NEW breakfast smoothie. He has been experimenting with different flavors and veggies, to make sure he gets enough of the right stuff throughout the day. It’s sometimes difficult to get all the veggies we ACTUALLY NEED in a day! Blending them into a smoothie makes it convenient and tasty too.

So what’s all in one of Shawn’s breakfast smoothies…….all that is pictured! WHEW!

Shawn’s Breakfast Smoothie:

  • 12oz. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 T. Chia Seed (an EXCELLENT source of fat, omega 3, and fiber)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 t. Spirulina Powder (a green superfood, also a source of protein)
  • 1 scoop of Raw Protein (a vegan protein source, mostly made from beans and peas)

Sound disgusting? Well, surprisingly, it’s not and it’s actually quite tasty!

Two cups of spinach is really hard to get and not a typical breakfast food. If you don’t like spinach, I HIGHLY suggest blending it in with blueberries or pineapple or another favorite fruit. There is no flavor and it’s easy to drink. Great way to get some green and hide it too! (I do this a bunch with the kids and they have yet to catch me sneaking “greens” into their smoothies!)

He been drinking a super smoothie 2-3 times a day, in addition to his ultra clean eating diet. (Fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken, grain-free breads, etc.) FIVE DAYS with NO PREDNISONE and he isn’t ripping his skin off. Honestly, it’s been amazing for him to be able to keep it under control for so many days. In the past he would be off of prednisone for 1 day and be dieing from the itching and inflammation. Shawn’s cure: Eating! :)