the SKINny girl

living with eczema, allergies and other skin issues

10 Foods to Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a pretty trendy word in the health world right now. Yes, it’s a little overused, but I believe a lot of people suffer from a variety of health issues because of their diets, which results in inflammation in various forms, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bursitis
  • Dermatitis aka eczema

What anti-inflammatory foods do I recommend?

  1. Broccoli
  2. Olive oil
  3. Flax seed
  4. Green leafy vegetables
  5. Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, which are packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants
  6. Whole grains
  7. Nuts
  8. Seafood
  9. Tofu
  10. Water

I eat these foods on a regular basis. Sometimes I buy them from the farmers market, sometimes from the grocery store, but I always buy organic. Meat needs to be grass fed and free range.

I know that when I slip up and eat a lot of red meat and processed foods, my rashes flare up. Not only that, but I feel miserable after eating a bunch of fried or processed foods. I feel like an itchy blob.

When I know what foods I’m eating and where they’re from, I feel healthier. My mind feels less groggy. My rashes disappear.

I no longer buy boxed cake mixes, pie crusts or cookies. Fruits replace pastries. Nuts, beans and seafood replace red meat.

It’s hard for me to have any desire to eat anything with a crazy amount of preservatives in it. There are so many ingredients that I can’t pronounce. It’s actually quite a turn-off. Not knowing the full list of ingredients in my food scares me. It scares me because I’m afraid there’s something in there that will make me break out in a bad case of eczema. I probably look like a food snob to anyone who watches me eat, but there’s a good reason behind the reason for me being so picky with my food — MY HEALTH.

I found a very helpful food pyramid (courtesy DrWeil.com) to illustrate which foods to avoid and which foods to eat in order to reduce inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory food pyramid

Have you tried an anti-inflammatory diet? Has it worked for you?

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Filed under: diet, treatment, , , , , ,

Four Ways to Totally Eliminate Eczema

I recently wrote an article on the four main things that have helped me to eliminate eczema. My problem is that I don’t always follow my suggestions, so my eczema always returns.

Eczema Article

What should you do to get rid of your rashes?

  1. Identify your allergens
  2. Get a full night’s rest
  3. Drink a lot of water
  4. Consider acupuncture

I’m not trying to make this sound easy, because it’s not. If it was, my fingers would not be bandaged up right now.

I’m also not contradicting myself — yes, I believe these tips work, but yes, I still have eczema. I just haven’t been as careful the past couple of weeks.

You know that feeling you get when you know you’re recovering from the flu or a cold? You feel better. You’re happy. You’re on your way back to normalcy — maybe a cough here and there, but no more miserable fever. You definitely know you’re on your way to a full recovery.

That’s how I felt this past month. The hand eczema of July ’09 made me desperate — I would do anything to eliminate the pain, itchiness and embarrassment of my rashes. I never realized how conspicuous hands were. It’s obvious, but we never really pay attention to people’s hands. I started to notice how normal everyone’s hands looked compared to mine.

Everything involves the use of hands. I couldn’t open a water bottle. It was difficult to turn doorknobs. Pumping gas was hard. I drove using only my fingertips rather than my entire hand. I held my toothbrush with only my fingertips.  I was embarrassed to pay at stores because it involved using my hands to either pass the cash to the clerk or me signing my name on the credit card swipe machine. My hands were so ugly.

I cried many times.

So back to being desperate. I took the advice of my boyfriend and decided to start sleeping early, which is difficult because I know that I am a night owl. I have a lot of energy up until the late hours of the night. But I noticed that when I slept earlier, not only did my hands started getting better, my mind and body felt better. I was more alert. I felt better altogether. I was getting eight hours of sleep each night.

He also advised me to drink a lot of water. I started drinking several bottles of water each day, plus a couple glasses of green tea.

I had also made an appointment with a dermatologist who then identified the preservative I was allergic to. I spend a lot of time reading labels at stores. I already knew the foods I was allergic to. I avoid my allergens.

Acupuncture released the “toxic heat” from my body.

I think my eczema came back because 1) I became a little lazy when it came to avoiding my food allergens; 2) I hadn’t had acupuncture in a couple of weeks; and 3) I started sleeping late again. Blame it on watching too many episodes of Lost. I’m almost caught up.

Drinking a lot of water has become a habit. I didn’t stop that. I still drink a lot during the day. It has made a big impact on the general appearance and health of my skin. In fact, the skin not affected by my allergies is extremely soft. Why can’t my hands be like that?!

I have another acupuncture appointment on Friday. I had a massage yesterday. I need to sleep early tonight. I’ve been avoiding corn and tomatoes. Let’s hope this works.

Filed under: allergens, dealing with eczema, diet, foods, treatment, treatments that don't work, , ,

Hot & Cold Foods — Learning About Chinese Medicine

Not counting temperature and spiciness, I had no idea there was such a thing as hot and cold food.

After I showed my acupuncturist my red hands, she asked to see my tongue. I stuck my tongue out as far as I could and looked off to the side (it’s very awkward to look at someone directly in the eye while she’s looking at the tongue sticking out of your mouth).

“You need to clear some heat,” she said. “It looks like you have a lot of toxic heat in you.” It sounded like this toxic heat was trying to escape through my hands.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: diet, , , , ,

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