Our Healthy Eating Journey, Part 6

healthyeatingjourney

If you missed them, please catch up on
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

Malachi was about two months old when he suddenly became covered from head to toe with chronic eczema.  Ironically all but his diaper area was affected.  We immediately took him to our regular doctor, who gave him some sort of cortisone cream and an oral steroid.

The eczema cleared right up.  We were so thankful, and we thought his “little rash thing” was all taken care of.

Then about a week later, when the effects of the steroid wore off, the rash came right back, only worse. 

Our baby became miserable.  He was extremely itchy all the time, yet way too little to understand anything that was going on.  He could hardly be still in his crib, in his car seat, and sadly, even in our arms.  I can’t put into words the helplessness we felt watching our tiny boy feel such misery and not know what we could do to comfort him. 

His jammies and his sheets would have blood spots where he’d rubbed himself raw trying to relieve the itching.  His neck became an open wound.  His face looked like he’d rolled around in a patch of poison ivy.  His arms and legs were a mix of scabs and inflamed red sores.

And he stayed this way for months and months. 

People stared.  People asked, “What in the world is all over your baby?”  People offered suggestions of help.  It seemed to become all people talked to me about and I grew extremely weary.

I remember trying to comfort him in the middle of the night, and just weeping and praying over him, begging God to please give us answers and healing for our baby. 

And I remember that even though it was so painful to watch our baby suffer so much, I was thankful.  Thankful that it was “only eczema”.  It made me more aware of what a parent might go through as they watch their child suffer from cancer or another major illness.

During the time we were trying to find answers for Malachi, one of my very dear friends was struggling severely and sinking into a deep depression.  I had never experienced this kind of depression, nor had I watched a friend feel so much hopelessness.  I was amazed by her absolute determination to fight it and find peace.  She was desperately seeking answers.

We had yet another friend who had been doing a lot of research on whole body health and nutrition.  This concept was foreign to me.  But between the eczema and the depression we were all so determined to find answers for, we all began working together to learn and figure out how the food we ate effected our overall health and well-being.

I remember this being both a painful time, and a time of new hope.  Could changing the food we ate make that big of a difference in our health?  I truly had never though about food in that way.  Crazy isn’t it?  I never really equated food with nutrition.  Food was just…food.

Not only that, but I was learning about the long term effect of drugs generally prescribed for ezcema.  Filling Malachi with steroids and covering his body with cortisone might help in the short term, but his condition was chronic.  He only found relief from the eczema when he was on steroids.  Did we want to place our baby permanently on steroids?

And so our search continued.  It was at this time we discovered the book Nourishing Traditions.

It was also at this time that I landed myself in the hospital for five days because of complications from asthma.

To be continued…

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Comments

  1. says

    I have the book Nourishing tradtions!! It is so chock full of information!!

    But, I have to tell you, that your blog truly has helped me along in making healthy food for the kids, because you make it so simple!(and everything I make from your blog the kids like!!)

    I just wanted to say thank you.:)

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  2. Missy says

    Wow, what a poignant post Laura, I got teary eyed reading it.

    Having heard about Nourishing Traditions here I am beginning to slowly (well not all that slow, the book REALLY clicked with me and I’ve sort of jumped into the methods)change our lifestyle to that of traditionally prepared, whole, foods.

    I’m really excited to see what you say about your beginnings with it. NT is A LOT to take in and process. You are a huge source of inspiration and guidance for me!

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  3. Laura says

    Eczema began our journey into healthier eating as well. I’m really enjoying reading about your journey, thanks for sharing!

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  4. Deanna in Florida says

    I too know what an important part food plays in overall health. My youngest daughter has seizures and as along as we are eating what I cook (whole foods) she seems to have less seizures, but when she is given soda or processed foods her seizures seems to increase. I also know what you mean by not wanting to give medicine to a child, my daughter has been on seizure meds for about 15yrs now and we have to get her blood checked just to make sure her liver is not failing. What is sad is I can not find anyone or any information about any other kind of treatment for seizures that did not include some sort of bad side effect. Great huh! Love your blog, my husband says I am addicted to it, maybe he’s right.

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  5. Katherine says

    Thanks for sharing……..I’m looking forward to the continuation. We’re going through the baby eczema thing right now and I can totally identify with your emotions. Could be food or detergent or both.

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    Kathleen Reply:

    Katherine-I have found a completely chemical free laundry soap, it’s actually the nuts of a tree! They are called soap nuts and are for sale from several vendors. You can google it. I get mine online from http://www.laundrytree.com. You literally get a bag of these seed pods! You put a few in a muslin bag and toss them in with your clothes. They release the soap when wet. If you prefer a liquid soap, you can follow the directions on laundry tree’s website for soaking the nuts overnight and you’ll have several cups of liquid soap (store in the refrigerator in a lidded glass jar) and use ¼ cup per load. I love that I’m no longer using any chemicals in my laundry, which will help with skin sensitivities. My favorite cream to treat my baby’s eczema is California Baby Calendula Cream. You can read about it at the California Baby website, but I buy mine cheapest at diapers.com. It has worked wonders for my baby.

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  6. Kristy says

    My son has ecezma, and like you I am so glad its only ecezma. I always heard horrifying stories, from other mothers. Thankful his isn’t that bad, but he does scratch, we still have to go to the doctor and we still use special things like you from his bath water to what I wash his clothes in. He is now 16 months and it still flares up, he had it since he was 6 months. It is heridtary in our family.

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  7. Hope says

    Your post is right up my alley. I have three beautiful daughters and they each have eczema. My oldest daughter came upon it when she was around 4 or 5. At that time is was horrible and like you said, the only thing that really helped her was the steroids. It has gone away for the most part but sometimes comes back. My second daughter just got it about 6 months ago. It is not as bad as my oldest daughter’s but it definitely isn’t comfortable for her. And my youngest has had it about 2 years now. I do what I can for them and it seems to help when I have them. The problem is their dad and I are divorced and aren’t on the same page with how to treat it. He doesn’t see it as something he needs to address and I feel the complete opposite. Lord willing, my girls will come back to me on a full time basis and we can hopefully get rid of all the eczema with diet.

    Thank you Laura for thoughtfulness to share this with us. It gives me hope that one day my girls will never have to deal with it again!

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  8. Rachel says

    Wow, what a awsome journey so far. I can’t WAIT to hear the rest. And I’m so happy your going to post from-scratch recipes! Yay! I am very new to this whole healthy thing ;). I grew up on canned food and frozen pizza. Now that I have 2 little ones and a husband with HBP, I am determined to be the healthy homemaker I’ve always dreamed to be. My parents and other family members think I’m crazy( You know, the ones who fed us canned food and frozen pizza lol) and that I’m to young to worry about health(seriously, they said that). I’m only 20, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a family to look after. Thank you so much, LOVE your posts!

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  9. Ariana says

    You certainly are leaving me hanging! I am so eager to learn whether anything helped your son. My 3 year old came down with the same eczema (all over except diaper area) at 2 months and just about every doctor we’ve seen simply prescribed steriods. The steriods worked wonders, but I just wouldn’t put my son on the drugs long-term. Two dermatologiests, one allergist and one holistic doctor later we finally found Nourishing Traditions and have also changed the way we eat. (That’s also when we discovered your site – thank you!!) Unfortunately, my son still suffers from head to toe eczema and I feel so hopeless watching him suffer. I can’t wait to find out what worked for Malachi!

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    Sherrill Reply:

    My daughter had minor bouts with excema over the years(she is 14 now) and we had success using a chickweed salve that we found at a health food store.

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    Ariana Reply:

    Thank you Sherrill, lately I’ve been wanting to try a salve (since thinner lotions don’t work) so I’ll check this out.

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  10. Sara says

    Wow, I could’ve written word for word the first part of your post. The only thing is we didn’t know any better and kept our son on steroids as told by the doctor for 6 months. Until we found out, it had stunted his growth, and he started losing weight, he started having trouble going to the bathroom, and was admitted to the hospital because he wasn’t having wet diapers. We finally opened our eyes and took him off the steroids only to find that his skin was 10x worse than before. We started implementing things like flax seed oil into his diet. Then we had him tested for allergies, and found a few more things to change. One thing we’ve noticed is that he can drink goat’s milk, but not cow’s milk. Even more, it has to be raw, because I believe he is allergic to the hormones in commercially produced milk. We are still figuring things out, but I’m praying for answers, and your sharings here have been an answer to my prayers.

    Thanks and God Bless,
    sara

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    Ariana Reply:

    Our physicians sold us on the use of steroids for the first year of my son’s life. I didn’t like it, but they insisted they were safe so long as I followed their protocols (e.g. 7 days on, 7 days off, etc.) But it still didn’t sit well with me. But like your child, each time we took our son off the steroids the eczema came back much, much worse. Then my husband reached his non-professional opinion that the steroids were weakening my son’s own ability to fight off the eczema. So we took him off the drugs, went through a horribly itchy cycle where we constantly second guessed our decision, but we arrived at a spot where he does not need steroids. He still has head to toe eczema and he’s terribly itchy and it still pains me to watch him sit on the floor for 30 minutes to itch; however, his skin is much, much better than it was when we were incorporating steroids into the routine. Basically, we have eliminated the extremes and are currently working with something that is much more predictable…good luck with your quest for answers!!

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  11. Janeen says

    Wow… Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m thankful we’ve never experienced anything like you did, but it’s good info to pass on to someone who may be in the same situation.

    I’m thankful a good friend of mine introduced me to NT a few years ago. I think – know this us why my girls are so sturdy and healthy.

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  12. amy says

    I have four children and my 2 year old has by far the worst problems with his skin. Like your son having a raw nexk, it was his foot. We had to wear shoes or footed PJs at all times or he’d scratch it raw and it even got infected once.

    Anyway thanks for your posts, we also are eating lots more basic whole foods and he is getting much better. We recently found this: http://www.shikai.com/products/borage.htm at the health food store and it has worked wonders on him.

    God bless you and yours!
    amy

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  13. Andrea says

    I love being on here where there are like-minded people about nutrition. I have the book you mentioned and love to use it as a cookbook and a reference.
    I help people with nutrition and what helps with eczema is putting that “good” bacteria back in the gut where it’s missing due to our diet, antibiotics, etc…
    I use GNLD’s Acidophilus, it works wonders. One capsule is equivalent to 10 servings of yogurt! I prayerfully searched for about 2 years on how to feed my family and a supplement to use and these are where I was led! e-mail me if you’d like to know more; jamesfamily_3@hotmail.com. My distributor ID is 32-808813. Andrea

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  14. Deja says

    Your Malachi sounds just like my son (who is now 11). Weepy, oozing sores all. over. his. body. He screamed when he was awake. And hardly slept. We found that he had multiple life-threatening food allergies. So now, by avoiding the allergic foods and eating whole foods, you would never know about his infancy and toddler years. It is amazing how God created all we need to eat…and we as a society we’ve tried to improve on God’s handiwork…and how our health suffers because of it!

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  15. Melinda says

    I have been on a health journey for about 6 years now for myself. It all started with a kidney infection which led me to find out I have poli-cystic liver disease and an enlarged liver due to this. While it is genetic, I seem to be affected more than anyone in my family. I also suffer from dry-scalp (not sure if it is eczema or psoriasis). I keep hearing about that book “Nourishing Trditions” and cannot wait to read more of your findings. I am beginning to think I need to get that book!

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  16. Laura says

    I’m so happy that you are writing on this subject. I want to eat healtlier and I want my family too as well but I have no idea where to start. I’m looking forward to taking baby steps as you continue this subject. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight to others. :-)

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  17. says

    I’ve been on pins and needles waiting and wanting so much to hear the whole story.
    My three kids all have the triad of excema/allergies/asthma. I’ve long been reading/researching about the link between overall health/well being and what we eat. It can be difficult to feel supported in this journey especially as my family is well entrenched within the convential medical community given my oldest son has a rare, chronic syndrome that has us in and out of dr’s offices often.
    I am grateful to have come upon your blog a couple months ago and am eager to hear the rest of the story. The way you purchase & prepare food for your family is the place I want to get to; it just feels really overwhelming to think about all of it coming together overnight. I’m taking serious baby steps, the first of them being eliminating hydrogenated oils, switching to whole wheat/grain from any white flour products and more recently buying free range eggs and switching to agave nectar/honey in place of white sugar. I’m currently on the hunt for grass fed beef. I feel like it’s going to take years until I get to the place I want to be, but I’m trusting GOd in the journey, knowing that it is HIM ultimately who provides for our health and well being. He is our Creator and Sustainer and I know He’ll look out for the health of my family as I go about making the changes I feel He is directing me to make.Thanks for your posts on this topic.

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  18. Michele M. says

    Laura,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been trying to change our eating habits for a few years now, but soaking grains is new to me. When you soak with buttermilk, do you use regular buttermilk from a store, or is there a healthier variety? I’m having trouble finding an answer to this.

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    Laura Reply:

    I make my own buttermilk, which is very easy. You can read about it here:
    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/making-cultured-buttermilk-kefir-and-sour-cream

    But, you can also use buttermilk from the store as long as it is “cultured”.

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  19. Ali says

    Of my four children my youngest, now 2, has eczema. Our doctor prescribed topical steriod cream but we never used it. I have noticed since we changed to raw milk it appears to be clearing up. Not sure if this is coincidental with the recent warm weather or the raw milk???? Looking forward to future installments on this series! Thanks so much for sharing all of your knowledge! It has truly changed the way our family lives!

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  20. Tami says

    Laura – I am also anxiously waiting for “the rest of the story”. My oldest is almost 19 now. When he was born, I planned on doing everything right- his birth was attended by a midwife, I nursed him, we ate only healthy, whole foods, etc. But when he was born his lymph nodes were very swollen – it was one of the first things the midwife commented on. A neonatologist was called in (due to the very long delivery) and he also commented on the swollen lymph nodes. Within a couple of days, his entire body began to peel (fairly normal) but it didn’t stop there. It was oozy and wet and it would crust up and then peel again. His dr called it “cradle cap” and told us to use dandruff shampoo – remember, this was his whole body, not just his head, except, like you said, his diaper area, which was always perfect – the only good skin he had. Needless to say, he was a perfectly miserable baby. He was calm only when nursing, so that’s what we did. We began a trek to every dermatologist and allergist in town, and quite a few quacks too. The dermatologists all believed it to be caused by contact sensitivities, the allergists all blamed foods. When he was about 20 months old, he (and I – still nursing) was placed on an elimination diet, where we ate essentially nothing and then gradually added foods back. He did improve slightly on it, but as soon as we added anything back he would flare up worse than ever. It was determined that he was allergic to milk (cow and goat), soy, wheat, eggs, and peanuts. (We already knew about the peanut allergy because of a strong reaction he had at 10 months, the first time he tasted peanut butter.) But even eliminating all those foods didn’t clear up his skin. He still had constant infections, at one point seven of his fingernails were abscessed, from scratching all his infected skin. He was on one antibiotic after another for probably six months straight. At this point he was being treated by an infectious disease dr at our state med school. He was also covered daily in every imaginable rx steroid ointment. During this time period he never slept without us holding him. If we put him down, he scratched himself bloody in his sleep, and woke himself up.Finally, when he was 2 and a half, one of the drs prescribled a flouridated steroid ointment for him, and amazingly, it began to help. It was not a cure-all by any means, and after about two years it quit working for him, but it at least allowed the infections to finally clear up. He was about 8 before he could drink milk, and before patches of normal smooth skin began to appear. Now he is in college, and still has dry skin, but looks normal. He is still allergic to peanuts and tree nuts,but no other foods.

    Our other three had very similar stories, but much more experienced parents. We knew what foods, drugs, and doctors to avoid. None of them had any dairy foods at all until after they were two. They all nursed past two also, and I avoided dairy. Still, they all had severe eczema as small kids, and two have asthma. We still had many skin infections. All have nut allergies.

    These kids made us crazy. Eczema was all I thought about and all I talked about. Everytime I went out in public, someone was sure to ask me if they had chicken pox, or poison ivy. But eventually, it became just a thing we dealt with. The amazing thing is that my son doesn’t really remember much of this, except that kids made fun of him on the bus! It’s only me who is crazy!

    One of our first dermatologists did tell me that eczema was associated with very high IQs! I don’t know if that’s really true (nothing much else he told me was) but my son did grow up to be a National Merit Scholar and is, in my opinion, a brilliant young man.

    All that to say, I will keep your son, and you too, in my prayers. I really do feel for you, and I hope to read soon that you have found a way to relieve his itching.

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  21. says

    The roads that God has us walk while parenting! You and your husband have done great, rising up to the challenge placed on your path. My daughter has had Psoriasis since birth, even though we didn’t know it then. Cradle cap, skin infections, eczema, etc. I’ve had many health issues also. Most of our triggers have been found in our foods. We’ve been eating differently for 10 yrs now, knowing what to avoid, and why. Nourishing Traditions has been a great help, as well as many friends that also believe in raw foods, fermented ingredients and avoiding processed foods. My asthma and sinus problems are almost gone and I do have more energy now than when in my 20′s! God bless!

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  22. Jennifer says

    I have a question about the book Nourishing Traditions. I recently bought it and have been flipping through it and found the section that mentions the natural sweeteners and it says that Sucanat is refined. But I know you use Sucanat and rave about it and how healthy it is. I was just wondering what your thoughts on that were or why you choose to use it.

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    Laura Reply:

    I had been completely opposed to sucanat after reading the information in NT too. Then, I did a little more research and it seems that since NT was written, sucanat has gone BACK to the original way it was processed, which is JUST LIKE Rapadura. So sucanat is dehydrated cane sugar juice just like Rapadura…only Rapadura is a name brand, making it more expensive. Hope that helps a little

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    Jennifer Reply:

    Ok great. Thanks!

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  23. Rachel says

    This post has me in tears. I remember never wanting to even go to church anymore because I was SO TIRED of people asking “What’s wrong with him?” “Is there anything that can help?” etc, etc, etc. I knew they were well meaning but STILL- it was ALL we talked about.

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