As many of you may have read, fermented foods and improving my gut health were key to me healing from TSW and discovering how to manage my eczema - medication free - in a more natural and holistic way. It would be lovely to pretend that they acted as a magic wand and made my eczema disappear, but it doesn't work like that. What they did do was get me to a place where I felt healthy enough to make improvements in other areas of my life. For example, improving my gut health improved my state of mind, so that I could find the motivation to exercise. A healthy gut supported my body in healing my skin, meaning I was able to move and sweat without my skin hurting or burning.
Dealing with the root cause of a health issue can be a complex task that needs to be approached from a few different angles. I've been asked a few times about how I manage my eczema outside of the fermented food/gut health arena, so I thought I'd create a blog post to consolidate it all.
Firstly, since eczema has been termed an auto-immune disease, my attitude towards it has shifted slightly. For me and for many, it's a genetic pre-disposition. A chink in the armour, if you will. It will always be somewhere in the background but as long as I maintain balance within my diet and lifestyle - and use the tools I've compiled over the years - I'll be able to successfully manage it, medication free. That does mean that I experience the occasional flare, but when I do, I know how to settle it.
Diet wise, I do tend to avoid cow's dairy and gluten as they tend not to sit well with me (although I've recently been experimenting with sourdough), and am mindful of my consumption of goat's dairy as it can make my skin feel 'damp/clammy' (you'll know what I mean if you're a fellow eczema sufferer!) I've found what works for me and do experiment from time to time. The wellness world can be so black and white about what's 'good' and 'bad' for you. It doesn't allow for exceptions to rules and that can cloud judgement. For example; I've found that I'm absolutely fine with ghee but not with butter. In essence, they're kind of the same thing but the way in which ghee is made makes it tolerable. My point here is: don't be too strict when it comes to food and food groups. Experiment, test and keep an open mind.
Of course, fermented food and drink play a huge role in my life and since I've been eating/drinking them, it's not just my skin that's improved. The multitude of benefits have been eye-opening, to say the least! This may bee far too much information, but following all the steroid use, I started to get recurring yeast infections. Since drinking water kefir daily, I no longer get them!
Over the past couple of years, I've been taking more interest in Ayurveda. It's something I've only recently started incorporating into my daily life but find it really helps. I've found it a really gentle and sympathetic way to approach my health, making tweaks here and there when I need to. I would really recommend looking into it.
My other non-negotiables are;
- Yoga as much as I can. To get my blood flowing, system moving and mind calm.
- Daily 10 minute meditation. Stress has such a huge impact on my health and my skin. I find the Calm App to be best suited to me.
- A water softener as I live in such a hard water area.
- A little fermented food and drink most, if not every, day.
- Sleep for 8-9 hours every night, although this is a constant work in progress!
- Natural skin products and no make-up (natural make up for when I have to!)
- Limited/no alcohol. I've tried natural wines but find I wake the next morning more inflamed than I'd like.
- Plenty of water throughout the day and herbal teas depending on my mood.
- Limited sugar. I tried totally sugar free for a while but am only human and missed treats! Saying that, I stick to the more unrefined sugars and try to keep my consumption below the RDA.
I really hope the helps some of you on your quest to optimum health. As always, please feel free to ask any questions either in the comments below or by emailing me.