Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Diet from Hell

I don't think I've blogged about this before, but my baby has eczema. He's had it since he was 4 months old. He's now 9 months old and it hasn't gotten any better. It's all over his back, but no where else. It looks like a chemical burn or something. It's bright red, and alternately either really flaky or really raised and rough. Oh, and it's REALLY itchy. I feel so bad. We have taken him to the doctor many times and they really don't have much to offer that has helped. The advice we've been given is to remove fragranced detergents, synthetic clothing, moisturize often, bathe less often and with mild non-soap "soaps" like Dove. And then when it gets really bad, they prescribe steroid creams and put him on antibiotics when it gets infected.

They console me by saying that most kids will grow out of it by the time they are three or four. But three or four is years away and my baby is suffering now.

So I decided to see the advice of a naturopathic doctor. Because medical insurance typically doesn't cover NDs, we are paying out of pocket and let me tell you, it is frickin expensive.

I've had two visits with her so far. She says that eczema is linked to food allergies and that once the food allergy is identified, eliminating that food will clear up the eczema. She says that we will be tackling the root cause of the eczema and that Western medical treatments just treat the symptoms.

Because the baby was exclusively breastfed when he developed eczema for the first time, she thinks that it is my own food allergies that are causing his eczema. I found that surprising for two reasons: 1) I never had reason to think I have food allergies and 2) I didn't know that my own allergies could cause the baby's eczema.

But I am putting my trust in her and I'm willing to try anything. So, on Friday she gave me an allergy test using an electro acupuncture machine. Unfortunately for me, she found out that I am allergic to like EVERYTHING. OK, not everything, but might as well be everything - tomatoes, wheat, dairy (not eggs), and potatoes. I was shocked because I've never noticed allergies to these foods but she explained that many people have allergic symptoms but they just don't realize that's what they are (e.g., constipation, headaches, mood swings, etc.)

So now, I have to eliminate this stuff from my diet to see if his eczema clears up. I am only two days in and it is so hard! There is wheat and dairy in SO much. I'm pretty much stuck eating rice, beans, fruits and vegetables. And I can eat meat, fish and soy - though I really don't like to eat meat and with all the contaminated fish out there, there really aren't that many options for eating fish anymore.

However, I'm going for it. My task is to eliminate all of my allergenic foods from my diet and see if there is any change in 2 weeks.

Today we went to a b-day barbecue today and there was SO much great food. There were hamburgers, potato salad, couscous salad, pasta salad, watermelon, cake, chips and dip, etc. Of all the food there was to eat, the only things I could eat on my diet were a plain hamburger patti and a slice of watermelon (oh and some raw carrots, mushrooms and celery sticks they had out). When I saw the couscous salad, I was jumping for joy because I thought it was something I could eat, but then I found out there was some yogurt in it. Crap.

I think this diet is going to kill me! But I am willing to do it for the baby to see if it works.

Cross your fingers for me.

p.s. I need a "screen name" for the baby. On this blog, my toddler is known as "Little Guy". Littler guy just doesn't sound right. I will keep thinking.


Blogger Feener said...

i do believe that all the food stuff is true, i know that when i am eating better, i feel better.

little guy #2 ?
little man
little dude
little brother

8:12 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

True, I typically feel better when I eat better too.

I like little dude. That's cute!

ps. I forgot corn. Can't eat that either.

9:21 PM  
OpenID mommypie said...

Poor little guy. My daughter just turned 4 -- she's had eczema forever. According to her pediatrician, hers is linked to asthma, which makes sense -- her dad was severely asthmatic and also had eczema. We've just started using Elidel -- have see how it goes ...

I hope things clear up!

9:53 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

You are so smart to approach this holistically and find someone who will help with the problem not just the symptoms.

Lucky baby with such a dedicated mommy!

Oh yeah---your naturopath is so right. Food allergy reactions manifest in different ways: IBS-like symptoms, irregularity, sinuses, drippy nose, etc.

A lot of people don't realize.

A lot of people also don't realize that you can react to protein in food that your body reads as allergens, even though it's not, exactly.

For example, because I have bad hayfever, my allergist had me stop eating melons. It's called cross-reactive.

When I had the allergy prick test (sucks rocks) I came back allergic to everything, severely allergic, even to peanuts, which got me to the allergist in the first place due to a severe reaction that affected my breathing badly and landed me in the hospital. I carried an epi pen for two years and worried.

But then I met another doctor who talked to me about adrenal health and how that system affects so much. it turned out I had thyroid problems and environmental sensitivity that were overstressing my body and causing it to overreact.

I got on a good program for that and most of the "allergies" cleared right up, even the deadly peanut one.

I believe what your naturopath says about eczema. I also believe that sometimes allergies are the symptom.

GL and many hopes that this clears it up.

P.S. Not to be cheekier but please be careful with the elimination diet. I lost too much weight and ended up anemic.

P.P.S. I have fingers crossed.

P.P.P.S. Do you have a nickname for your baby? Little bear or Sweet Pea or some such? Could that be his blog name?

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your baby's excema. Both my boys had it too and we discovered they both have lots of food allergies (and asthma --- the big 3 that go togehter a lot). My blog talks about some things to eat and there are links to other food allergy blogs. Good luck!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...


oh, and I hate to burst your bubble, but cous cous is wheat.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Ree said...

How about baby guy?

I'll be interested to see how your change in diet goes. I have psoriasis (on my scalp only), but it's autoimmune. I always wondered if there was an allergic portion to it though.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Angi said...

Oy. Am dealing with the same thing currently! I have an exclusively breastfed 7m old (youngest of four so you'd think I'd know a thing or two by now, right?) whose little chest is covered in scaly red patches of eczema. I too get in between my fingers or where my wedding ring rubs but have no clue how to get rid of it! Nor do I know what I'm allergic to as I've never really even considered myself allergic! I must be though. Worried sick it may be God, can not give up my morning coffee (blonded with milk and creamer and a healthy dose of did read that I said FOUR kids, right? :)) Good luck with your Little. Interested to see if your diet changes work. I may have to bite the bullet and be grouchy and ass-draggy for awhile.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

I would never have even thought to consider the food allergies being your own.

I have a friend who is allergic to wheat, and that's not a fun diet. I am so sorry to hear you're having such a hard time.

I may be able to help, though. The book I'm basing my vegan diet from has a multitude of recipes that have no flour, no dairy, and no meat in them. Sure, the meat thing isn't off your list, but hopefully some of the recipes will help.

Some of my favorite things are bean burritos in tortillas made from different items, like sun dried tomato basil tortillas. I know you can't have tomatoes, but I also saw avocado tortillas that looked good at the store. I can look up some of those recipes and email them to you if you'd like.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Mommypie: sorry to hear about your daughter's eczema! I have heard that children with eczema are more likely to have asthma so we may end up dealing with that at some point also. My husband suffers from allergies and asthma as well. Not fun!

Anonymous: thank you for the link to your blog. i will check that out.

Sarah: Grrr. You're right! No couscous either I guess :(

Ree: yeah, who knows maybe your skin issues are linked to allergies. I am learning that a lot of our health issues can be linked to allergies.

Angie: Four kids! Wow! I had a really hard time eliminating dairy as well. I have been doing that for about 3 months and no help yet. Now I also have to eliminate caffeine though I forgot to mention it in the post. So no coffee for me either!

Andrea: thank you for offering to share your vegan recipes! That would be great.

2:38 PM  
Blogger insane mama said...

how about short man
I always feel better when I eat right

5:56 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Dude. That's rough. I don't know that I could do it! Good luck!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Oh, and maybe you should call him Peanut? As a homage to allergy issues? LOL.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous fidget said...

it's so hard in the begining but when you start feeling better you will be AMAZED at the difference in your life. I eat gluten free but a lot of the recipes I post can easily be modified to be dairy free (use almond milk or rice milk instead) and anything that has potato starch you can use corn or tapioca starch instead.

here's how to get to my GF recipes

feel free to email me if you need advice or guidance or even someone to cry at. After I had to go gluten free i was bawling in the grocery store completely overwhelmed by it all.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Mommy of Wonder Twins said...

I can't help you with the allergy part, but have you tried California Baby's Calendula cream? It may help relieve some of the redness and itchyness in the meantime. It has cleared up most skin issues with both my twins (including my delicate, fair-skinned princess).

I like Peanut =-) .

8:21 PM  
Blogger lildb said...

C, I love you, when are you visiting me pls say soon pls say soon pls say soon?

because I'm convinced that if you came to portland for a visit this would all go away. all of it. poof. 'course you would need to bring little peanut dood with you for it to work.


7:23 PM  
Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

My toddler couldn't have wheat until she was 15 months old because it broke out her eczema. My baby gets a huge spot on his face if I eat any kind of nuts. Other triggers that are common are citrus, and shell fish.

7:58 PM  
Blogger kgirl said...

I have eczema and it totally flares when I eat a combo of dairy/sugar. that's ice cream, so I am pretty sad about that. Luckily, except for one episode at 6 months with Bee, neither of my kids seem to have inherited it.

It may not be ALL of those foods causing the reactions - why not try an elimination diet? (cut them all out, but add them back one at a time to see what the culprit is.)

12:15 PM  
Anonymous J-Ko said...

you could have your son get a RAST test- it's an allergy test and they can draw blood (which is brutal) but it can determine if they are in fact allergic to dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, and nuts. I had a similar situation with my baby (he's 8 months old) when i was breastfeeding. Eczema (when severe) is said to be linked to a wheat intolerance.... as your ped about the test...

11:20 PM  
Blogger said...

Wow - that's awesome that you're doing that.

11:20 PM  

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