I recently did a bit of research for a friend who's 3 year old has Eczema. She's had it for probably a year or so; She also has been plagued with chronic constipation since she was a year and a half old, maybe younger.
The reading that I've done points to a Dairy Allergy. This can explain both the constipation and the eczema.
Since we know that dairy doesn't really provide much nutrition. (See my "Real Milk Deal"post from last week) Pasteurized milk lacks enzymes to process Calcium it contains. It doesn't really break my heart to suggest a dairy free diet for 4 to 6 weeks. It will help to regulate digestion, even on the off chance that Dairy is not the culprit behind the eczema.
Eczema boils down to an elimination problem in one organ or another. When the bowels, liver and kidneys can't get rid of something, it shows in the skin (another elimination organ). A quarter of your bodies elimination is done through the skin so needless to say it's pretty important that it's functioning properly. Eczema is always a symptom of another problem as with any skin condition.
Dairy Free Alternatives Include:
- Almond Milk, Hemp Milk, Coconut Milk; All of them are fairly processed but used sparingly I think it's the lesser of 2 evils.
- Goats Milk! Yes, I said it- it's not ba-a-a-a-a-a-d! Oh wait, is that a sheep noise? Anyway Goats Milk is usually quite tolerable to those with a dairy allergy. For those of you in Michigan there are plenty of goat farms out there so Google it! You can get cheese, milk, yogert~ lots of choices out there.
- You may be able to handle Raw Cows Milk in moderation. I know it's technically not legal but it's really amazing stuff, you'll have to Google it for your area. It's milk in it's most wholesome form.
- You'll have to really start watching the labels; look for non-fat milk, whey (although some people can tolerate whey) milk, butter, & cream.
- Gelato instead of ice cream.
- Dairy free treats are awesome! Homemade cookies with Coconut oil instead of butter, Dairy free brownies exist if you look for them, go to the natural section of your local grocery store and if they don't have one, check online. You can get great deals on Amazon.com, dairy free cake mixes, brownie mixes, all kinds of stuff!
The other triggers for eczema I've discovered are refined sugars and fats. Let's start with sugar. Kids usually drink alot of juice, get the occasional treat, eat cereal in the morning, then if you add, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, and "if your good, you'll get a treat"; They are being inundated with sugar around the clock and for every holiday. Believe me, we love our treat in this house: I'm not suggesting that you torture your kids by eliminating sugar (at this point). It's something that should be on your radar though.
A few good ways to reduce a child's sugar intake:
- Cut the juice with H2O; start with just 1/8th of the sippy cup being H2O and the rest juice. Slowly work your way up to a Half/Half mixture. You may be able to even take it a little further than that!
- Up the fruit intake; Apples, Oranges, Pears, Bananas, Kiwi, Mango, Tangerines, Pineapple; This will satiate the sweet tooth & add water & bulk to the stools (both are a GOOD THING for problematic digestion)
- Instead of cereal in the morning do Organic Oatmeal. Easy & fast you can add fruit to it to sweeten & even a little bit of real maple syrup- Yummo!
- Quinoa served hot with fruit and maple syrup is also amazingly simple and tasty.
- Try to stick to homemade cookies & treats; Store bought cookie dough often has High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar which is proven to cause obesity in lab rats.
- Less refined sugars & brown sugars are best. You'll also avoid artificial colors & flavors with homemade treats. These contribute to hyperactivity in children. Yet another nasty childhood epidemic.
Fatty foods, like french fries, hamburgers, chips, anything fried at all- must be eliminated from the diet. This includes cooking with Canola. If you must heat oil for frying use Coconut Oil Only. This oil is made to withstand high heat and is easy to digest. Canola is terribly processed and devoid of all nutrition. Fried foods and highly processed oils (partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated Oils) block you from absorbing what healthy fats that you do get from your diet.
Healthy fats can greatly improve all skin conditions and eczema is no exception. Healthy fats like Hemp, Flax and Fish Oil, improve cognitive function, your digestive health and your skin.
So go for it! 1000-1500 mgs per day to start then you can reduce to 500-1000mgs after a month or two. Consistency is very important so take it everyday for that first 1 to 2 month period; Then taking it less frequently after the 2 month mark to save money. Your tissue becomes saturated with the fats and it's not necessary to take it as often unless your battling a degenerative disease.
So if you do decide to do low sugar/low poor quality fats/no dairy diet; What can your kids eat?
- All the fruits and veggies they want! No kidding- go wild!
- whole wheat pasta (should be dairy free but check the label)
- quinoa pasta is EXCELLENT! It's gluten free and you would never know it!
- marinara sauce (almost always dairy free - check the label)
- rice (high in b-vitamins and tasty with parsley and salt and pepper)
- beans! love em'!
- quinoa (pair it with fruit and maple syrup OR go the other direction with garlic and parsley)
- homemade treats from scratch
- waffles (make sure they are dairy free) with real syrup or real fruit jam.
- herbal tea like Nettle, Red Clover or Peppermint. Supports Healthy Digestion and astringency is good for digestive tract. - AND they taste delicious Hot or Cold!
- eggs and fresh salsa (you'll never miss cheese again!)
- peanut butter (try a low or no sugar natural option) pair it with carrots, celery, or apples:)
The more Raw Vegetables and Fruits that you can con your children into eating the healthier they will be for their entire life. Don't worry about meat, dairy, cheese and grains- Worry about fruits and veggies; as they consume more of these raw vegetables I will guarantee you will see improvement in their health. If for some reason they can't tolerate fruits and veggies then their enzyme potential is already lowered. Reach out to me for more info on how to approach that dilemma.
This might be the toughest thing you've done so far with your kids and I don't pretend to know, because I don't have children. But I do have a husband that fights me every healthy step of the way! And in alot of ways, he's worse because all those bad eating habits are so engrained. It's hard to make someone you love do something they don't want to do.
BUT, Your kids are just that- They are yours; And your responsibility to help them to be as healthy as possible. If childhood eczema OR constipation is a problem for you and your family reach out to me anytime. I'm happy to get in there and help you shop, cook, pick out dietary supplements, work with you on menu's, all of it!
Your not alone in this, so many kids are growing up with allergies these days, Lord only knows why. Personally I think it's all the Genetically Modified Foods, but that is my opinion. Unfortunately there's no stopping that freight train. What we can do is play the hand we're dealt.
Good luck and Good Health!