If you’ve been following me on social media, you know our family has dealt with our fair share of eczema and psoriasis. I’ve had some questions on why I’m following the autoimmune protocol diet, so I thought I would share a blog post from my previous blog and also update it a bit. I feel like there has to be some other mamas out there that have dealt or are dealing with their babies struggling with eczema. I wanted to share with you how we’ve been healing eczema naturally.
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells. (source)
What Is The Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP)?
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a diet that aims to reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms caused by autoimmune diseases. (source)
A Little About Our History with Eczema
Our journey with autoimmune issues began with our oldest when she was about 5 years old. So it all started as eczema and later was told it was psoriasis. At the time I didn’t know much about what to do besides taking her to see a dermatologist. We used multiple creams that worked for a short time, but then it would flare up again. On top of the short term relief, I wasn’t comfortable using these creams on her because most of them were steroid creams. After about 4 visits to the dermatologist and bottles of shampoos and tubes of creams, I finally took her to see a functional medicine doctor to get to the root cause. Even though there isn’t an actual cure for psoriasis we can have the knowledge of how to avoid and reduce flare ups.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. (source)
The functional medicine doctor helped us tremendously! We met with her for a full hour. We discussed all of our daughter’s history, from birth to her current age at the time. The doctor took her time explaining and answering all of our questions. And after meeting we had an action plan to start. The steps she instructed us to do were as follows:
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- Completely cut out all dairy and gluten, including butter
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Fish Oil
- L-Glutamine (there were a few other supplements she also recommended, but decided to start with this one because of the expense of all the supplements.
In just a few days we started seeing results! Where she had patches on her eyelids, they were disappearing and the patches on the inside of her elbows and the backs of her knees began to lighten. It was amazing to see her skin clearing up! This made a huge difference for her too. Not only was the itching going away, but the burden of everyone asking her what was wrong with her skin was also disappearing! Made my mama heart happy!
More of What We Learned from the Functional Medicine Doctor
It had been suggested to us several times to do food allergy testing, but the functional medicine doctor explained it’s likely that it won’t come up with anything because this was due to a sensitivity, not an actual allergy. The main piece of information I walked away with from our appointment was her explanation of “leaky gut”. The gut lining should be able to basically “hold in” things like gluten, etc. But if the gut lining isn’t healthy, then it allows things to “leak” through and your skin or joints have a reaction. So in order to properly heal the skin, the gut needs to be healed first. That’s why creams only work for a short time period, it’s like a band-aid. You apply the creams and it clears up, but after you stop the creams, it comes back, it’s just a vicious cycle…until you decide to get to the root of the problem. She even said if her skin is inflamed, the gut is inflamed, the brain is inflamed. My jaw dropped.
I’m so thankful for functional medicine! As of today, her arms, legs, even her face and eyelids that all had patches of psoriasis has healed! The only issue she still struggles with are some patches on her scalp. We’re continuing some other natural treatments for this. She has been able to incorporate some gluten and dairy back into her diet without flare ups. We do also notice some flares in the colder months as well, less sun and the colder weather. For this I use jojoba oil and also shea butter to lock in extra moisture for healing eczema naturally.
Fast Forward A Few Years
Since our daughter we’ve had 3 more children. The middle 2 haven’t had any skin issues. But our 4th developed eczema at about 5 months and at the time was strictly breastfed. From our previous dealings with eczema and psoriasis I felt this was another gut related issue. But since he was strictly breastfed that meant I was going to have to change my diet. So I began cutting out the top food allergens. I was already dairy free, so I went gluten free, then egg free, and so on, with no improvement. That’s when I decided to try the AIP diet. I started from scratch by checking out library books, researching online, and reaching out to friends. This wasn’t easy, but I knew it’s what I needed to do, because I wasn’t going to stop breastfeeding him.
AIP and Healing Eczema Naturally
Let’s just start with the basics of the AIP Diet because I know it can be overwhelming. It begins by cutting out a lot of different foods that cause inflammation, once those are cut out, you follow this for a month. After a month you begin phasing foods back into your diet a little at a time. There are 4 phases for reintroducing foods back in and watching for triggers. I think the easiest way to keep up with what you’re eating is to keep a memo on your phone. Just keep adding to it, start each new day by putting the date and listing what foods you’re eating, take photos and place with the details of the day. Having documentation not only helps you find triggers, but it’s also a great way to see your progress!
AIP and Breastfeeding
Since I wasn’t directly trying to heal my own gut there were a few things I didn’t cut out. Kept my usual decaf coffee. I also wasn’t super strict on seasonings, but for the most part kept it simple by using only salt, garlic, and onion powder. I did start him on probiotics and the fish oil as well. Within a couple of weeks his skin was changing dramatically! The redness became less and less and then you could hardly feel any rough patches! Occasionally, he does have somedays his skin will get a little red. I still haven’t found exact triggers, but by eating this way we’ve been able to keep his skin looking great! He’s now doing table food, baby food, and still nurses! So I just make sure to read ingredients and most of what he eats is cooked by me.
Favorite Resources to Healing Eczema Naturally
The most helpful website for me was The Paleo Mom. I highly recommend starting there. She breaks everything down into simple, easy to follow steps. A few of my other favorite resources are:
I’ve managed to get all the pantry staples for AIP from Thrive Market! I can’t say enough good things about Thrive Market!
- Shopping guides for specific diets, AIP is included
- Every membership also pays for someone in need! Isn’t that awesome?!
- Free shipping after $45
- Autoship options
- Membership is about $5/month (I pay a yearly membership)
- Fast shipping
- Delivered right to my door
- All packaging is recyclable
- So many options I couldn’t find locally
I give them a 10/10, you should try Thrive Market a try just use this link and you’ll receive 30% off your first order!
For all my other groceries I shop Aldi through Instacart! It’s been the most budget friendly! I can get all my produce and sometimes plants, which if you know me, you know I’m forever bringing home new plants. If you haven’t tried Instacart yet, use this link and get $10!
If you’re struggling with this yourself or if you have a child struggling with this, healing eczema can happen! It’s not an easy button, but it’s so worth healing the gut. Our guts are the core of everything. If you need support please don’t hesitate to message me. I couldn’t have done this without the support of a functional medicine doctor, the support of our pediatrician’s office, the support of my husband, and the support of a few close friends, and prayers! I truly hope and pray this information is helpful to you for healing eczema naturally!
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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. These statements have not be approved by the FDA. These statements/products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional.