We Welcome Our First
In 2015, my husband and I welcomed our first son. We had a natural hospital birth, and I delivered without requiring any medication except IV antibiotics, as I had tested positive for Strep B in the weeks before birth. It was important to me to have an unmedicated birth as I wanted to give our little boy the healthiest start to life. Our son was healthy, although he developed moderate eczema at six weeks. I was convinced that the IV antibiotics I took during birth were the culprit. To determine what was triggering his symptoms, I played around with our diets by eliminating dairy, eggs, nuts, and all other common allergens. By then, I had been eating an organic whole foods “paleo” type diet for years and had minimized toxins in personal care products and around the house. I also continued to work with the Functional Medicine Physician on the root cause. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to relieve our son’s symptoms, and thankfully his eczema went away by itself when he was two years and four months old and never returned.
We Welcome Our Second
In 2018, we welcomed our second son. The pregnancy was not particularly enjoyable, and I suffered from more intense nausea and food aversions than in my previous pregnancy, in addition to sinus issues. Determined to avoid any medication unless completely necessary, we gave birth to our son at home under the guidance of an experienced midwife. Everything went well, and our son was a healthy, happy baby. I felt I had done everything I could to give him a healthy start to life and was confident that he would not have to deal with itchy skin, and yet, at six weeks of age, eczema began to develop on his cheeks. My heart sank as I knew what was going to happen next. Then, as expected, eczema worsened over the coming weeks and spread all over his little body. It got worse and worse and was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I was in complete shock. How could this happen? I had spent years preparing my body for a healthy pregnancy and tried my best to do everything “right,” and now this? Once again, I got to work trying to figure out what was triggering his symptoms. I played around with our diets, looking for changes, and eventually went on the Auto Immune Protocol (AIP). I spent thousands of dollars doing allergy and sensitivity tests and working with Functional Medicine Physicians, Pediatricians, and Homeopaths. Nothing seemed to work, and in fact, things only continued to get worse. We already lived a low-toxin lifestyle, but to be sure, I went around our apartment with a box, packed up all personal care products and household cleaning products containing chemicals, and replaced them with safer alternatives. We also cleaned our apartment deeply to remove all traces of dust and mold and upgraded our water filters. I even bathed our son in reverse osmosis water! Nothing helped. When our son started eating solids, I could figure out some of his allergens and sensitivities, including salmon, avocado, kiwi fruit, liver, and fermented foods. I removed these foods from our AIP diet, hoping for a change, but nothing. I asked myself – what do I do differently from everyone else that could be triggering this? The only thing I could think of was that I ate very clean and healthily with lots of leafy green vegetables, herbs, and spices. I was sure that couldn’t be the reason, so I ignored it.
I Asked for Help
The next day, an article came across my e-mail. It was an interview between Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Paul Saladino on the Carnivore Diet. For whatever reason, I felt drawn to read the article and watch the 2-hour interview. They discussed phytoalexins, which are plant defense chemicals, and how Dr. Saladino was able to cure his persistent eczema by implementing a carnivore diet. Maybe our son was reacting to phytoalexins too? I did consume a lot of herbs, spices, and vegetables and was a regular juicer for years prior. I put him on a meat-only diet for a couple of days to see whether there was any change to his skin. Surely enough, his eczema started to improve. I introduced butternut squash, and the improvement continued. I then started to reintroduce the other fruits and vegetables in no particular order as I didn’t know what to do next, and by that stage, our son wasn’t enjoying the lack of variety very much. At least now, I knew something in the organic AIP-compliant foods we were consuming triggered his eczema.
We Supported His Healing
Within days, I came across a nutritionist in Australia who specializes in healing eczema using a diet low in salicylates (a phytochemical), amines, and glutamates, which are naturally occurring food chemicals. I started reading her blog and quickly identified the foods I knew our son was reacting to - salmon, avocado, kiwi fruit, liver, and fermented foods are high in these natural food chemicals and amongst the worst foods for a lot of people with eczema. I immediately made an appointment with her and used their food lists to create my version of meals to reduce his diet's salicylate, amine, and glutamate load, heal his gut and boost his immune system. The idea was to give his little body a break from these triggers and allow him a chance to heal. Our son's skin immediately started to improve, but the process was long and gradual. I then incorporated Energy Work and noticed an acceleration in his healing. Eventually, his itchy skin vanished completely. Finally, when our son was about 2 ½ years old, he could resume a regular diet (except for allergens), and a year later, he could enjoy all foods without experiencing any adverse symptoms.