These last few years I’ve been absolutely obsessed with my health. I’ve probably spent more time thinking about how to regain it than any other subject. And yet nothing seemed to improve. Not really.
I learned plenty of new things, loads about nutrition and exercise and lifestyle. I researched (and tried) all kinds of different diets, like keto, vegan, gluten-free, low fat, low protein, raw, and many more. Meditated. Cut out all sugar, all processed foods, I started exercising regularly, stopped drinking caffeine, stopped eating chocolate (*sniff*). I did so much, but still my eczema was worse than it had ever been.
It’s frustrating to spend so much time and energy on trying to fix something with no results. Well, that’s not really true, because I saw improvements in many areas of my life, like my mood, my energy levels, my anxiety. So I was seeing results, just not the results I was seeking.
I believe I’ve recently finally stumbled upon the culprit. As many of you may know from reading my other posts, I’ve been going through topical steroid withdrawal for the last three years or so. They have been the worst years of my life, and yet I believe I’ve never grown so much, matured so much as a human being as I have these last few years.
Anyway, I recently started to suspect that I was actually reacting to something I was eating. I had sort of given up on changing my diet, as nothing had seemed to help up until this point. However, I felt a desire to try something new, so for the first time in my life, I decided to try out a no-fat diet.
I decided to try it as a sort of fast. I would only eat fruit and brown rice and a green juice in the evenings. I had always been opposed to limiting fats, and I still am, but I thought it was worth a shot. And it actually made a difference! However, within a few weeks of this diet I started to feel stupid, lethargic, and weak, so I started eating other stuff again, and I instantly became worse.
Chewing the fat
So I was getting to be pretty sure my diet had more to do with my broken skin than I had previously allowed for. It couldn’t really be fat in itself, as I’m pretty sure we need that shit to survive, but maybe some fats more than others? I already stayed away from all processed vegetable oils, so couldn’t really be that.
After some deep research I stumbled upon something I’d never heard of, called salicylate sensitivity. Salicylates, found in aspirin, as well as various vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and many other foods, apparently cause a negative reaction in a majority of eczema sufferers, and seem to be one of the major causes of hives and rashes in these populations. This chemical is found in all kinds of stuff, like lemons, oranges, olive oil (!) coconut (!), almonds, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and on and on.
I had found the reason why I had gotten some results from the no-fat phase: it meant not using olive oil and coconut oil, both of which are high in salicylates, and I used to use copious amounts of these oils with almost every meal.
It’s now been a few days and I’m seeing some drastic results from cutting out these foodstuffs. I’m still figuring out exactly what foods contain salicylates, so it hasn’t been perfect, like I just found out onions and pomegranates are on the list, even though I was sure they weren’t. I’ve also been making experiments with reintroducing organic cultured dairy products into my diet recently, but I’m going to put that on hold while I figure this out.
Basically, I’ve found hope where there was none to be found. There’s a light at the end of the eczema tunnel, and I’m very excited to come out on the other side. I’m cautious, though, not to be too hopeful, since even if this is the culprit and my skin will finally start getting better, it probably won’t happen over night. The best I can do is to stay the course, eat healthy, and stay sane.
A rocky road
I’m thrilled to finally see some progress on a path that’s been a bit to rocky and muddy for my taste. I’ve basically devoted all my energy the last few months (and to some extent, for the last few years) to finding my health again, and it’s finally paying off. To be honest, the reason I haven’t been writing on here recently has been because I’ve just been feeling so down and out over my health. I’m 26, yet I’ve been feeling like a 80 year old for three years. It’s taken a toll. I’m ready to get a life outside of obsessing over my health.
On a side note, I’m going to write about the effects of mental health on the body soon. The reason I mention this is that one of my new years resolutions this year, along with finally overcoming my eczema, was to fully overcome my pornography addiction, and the results of that endeavor have been very interesting as well. But I’ll go into that in depth in a later post.
I’ll certainly keep you updated in the coming weeks on my progress. I’m just so excited about this turn of events that I had to write about it!
As always, stay tuned.