Archive for the ‘Eczema’ Category

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2014 has been a good year so far for me! My new years resolution was to get seriously committed to healing my body and to follow the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet with absolutely no cheating. I’m happy to say that I am on day 54 of the full GAPS diet. I’ve lost the Christmas weight, my acne has cleared up, my digestion has improved and I generally feel so much happier. Before Christmas I was doing a bit of an 80/20 split between paleo and just gluten free and was still experiencing acne, eczema, digestion issues, candida, leaky gut, hormonal imbalances, depression and anxiety. I knew I had to kick it up a notch if I really wanted to heal fully.

The GAPS diet is really focused around the connection between a healthy gut and a healthy mind. If the state of your gut health is bad, then you will almost definitely be experiencing some type of mental illness whether it be depression, anxiety, OCD, autism, to name a few. Your gut health can be affected by the Standard American Diet (SAD), pharmaceutical medications (particularly antibiotics and birth control pills), stress, candida, bacteria overgrowth and the list goes on.

For me, I know I have done a lot of damage to my body over the years that paved the way to being so sensitive, mentally and physically. When I was a kid I got severe eczema and was lathered up in steroid cream and petroleum jelly every night.

I developed PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) after puberty and was prescribed birth control pills (Diane 35) for acne and hormone imbalance. Birth control pills can alter gut bacteria, and not in a good way. I was experiencing emotional side effects from the birth control pills so my doctor at the time decided to put me on a low dose antibiotic for acne. I then took this antibiotic (Tetracycline) for up to a year, and the entire time I had a rash on my face. I didn’t make the connection until years later, but what happened was the antibiotics destroyed and wiped out all the good bacteria in my body/gut and without the good bacteria to fight off the bad, the bad stuff got out of control. The rash on my face was systemic candida showing itself.

After that, my body went into a vicious cycle of recurring infections which were then treated by antibiotics. This went on and on for years and at this point I had also developed pretty severe anxiety and depression.

I was managing the symptoms with pharmaceutical medications and was doing alright (or so I thought) until I moved to Vancouver and our house had mold in it. Within a month my immune system and digestion was thrown into overdrive. I was experiencing all my previous symptoms tenfold, plus more. Not only was I covered in eczema, but I developed severe allergies, food intolerances, systemic candida, leaky gut, and the list goes on. Lets just say I was a serious mess. More on that here >>

Anyways, back to the point of my ramblings. MY GUT WAS AND STILL IS in some serious need of TLC. You often hear about people who cannot heal with just the paleo or GAPS diet alone, well I am one of those people. Despite them being legal on the paleo and full GAPS diet, I still cannot tolerate too many nuts, eggs, and FODMAPs. So for me, these muffins I will be sharing are a once in a while treat!

This sucks right. But here is the good news, on this modified GAPS/paleo diet alone, I can treat and heal all these things I’ve been dealing with nearly half my life.

  • PCOS – acne, hormone imbalances
  • Eczema and skin rashes
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Allergies
  • Leaky gut
  • Digestion issues
  • Candida
  • Chronic recurring infections

And to me, living my life symptom free sounds way better than being able to eat whatever the fuck I want!

Get this too. As of Friday, this is the first time I have been pharmaceutical medication free since I was around 12. If anything positive has come out of all this (and a lot has) its that I have developed a deep passion for natural health and alternative medicine.

Boom. Now here is some delicious food fo yo taste buds! Despite these being refined sugar free, it is still good to eat these puppies in moderation. Because lets face it, sugar is sugar is sugar. Sadly ūüė¶

Ingredients:

4 organic free range eggs
2 frozen bananas, thawed
4 tbsp coconut milk OR homemade yogurt (incubated at least 24 hours)
3 tbsp organic cold pressed coconut oil
1/8 cup unpasteurized honey (or for sugar free, ditch honey and add an extra banana)
1 tbsp pure good quality vanilla extract or powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
Frozen organic blueberries & cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 360F. Prepare a muffin tin with baking cups or coconut oil.

I used my bad ass food processor to whip these up but a blender would work too. Blend everything together until smooth, and then carefully fold in however many frozen blueberries and cranberries you like and pour evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for roughly 30-40 minutes¬†(depending how much dough I eat before hand. Ugh I am so bad for that!) until starting to brown on top and toothpick comes out clean.Serves well with some melted butter on top ūüôā

It all started almost two years ago when my boyfriend Matt and I moved to Vancouver, BC so I could go back to school.

Within 1 month of moving into an apartment in Burnaby, I had developed a really bad rash around my eyes and on my cheeks, forehead, lip and arms. I also got small scabs all over my scalp that were really itchy. I started getting really bad allergic reactions to everything, or so it seemed like. My eyes would water and itch and my eyes and face would swell up sometimes.

face rash 4    face rash 5    arm rash

I started seeing a doctor in Vancouver but it was at a walk in clinic so I pretty well saw someone new every time. I started experimenting with cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet, as I suspected food allergies. Eventually I had an allergy test and was allergic to mold, dust, smoke, and some grasses and trees. I was also allergic to rice which I was coincidentally eating a lot more of because of going gluten free. That is when I started to suspect leaky gut because it appeared that I was becoming allergic to whatever I ate a lot of.

So of course I cut rice out of my diet and within 24 hours my rash cleared up almost completely. I started to feel relieved because I thought the problem was solved.

2 days no rice

Sadly, within a few days the rash came rushing back. At this point I started reading about the paleo diet. I read Wheat Belly and The Paleo Solution and started experimenting even more with my diet.

I was starting to feel quite sick despite my dietary efforts and was often tired and out of it from taking so much benedryl for the allergic reactions. My school was suffering and I was getting stressed out.

I forget exactly how it happened but one day we were looking around in the kitchen and we moved a couple paint cans that were stacked up underneath the sink (which we had never moved before since moving in). They were literally sinking into the floor from water damage. Apparently the water had been leaking through the counter underneath for a long time, probably long before we moved in. We moved all the paint cans out and it became clear that there was a serious mold problem.

mold     mold

We immediately notified the landlord of the mold infestation. They had someone fix the leak and offered to have him come back to rip everything out from under the sink and fix it. We didn’t think that was a good idea while we were still living there so requested that we be let out of the lease.

Meanwhile, I got a doctors note to take 6 months off school and started seeing a naturopath in Vancouver. I had some tests done which determined I had multiple food and chemical intolerances/sensitivities including food colors/additives, MSG, Aspartame, yeast, beer and wine, all dairy products and most grains (particularly wheat), red meat, some nuts and a few random fruits and vegetables.

Other tests also suggested my body was experiencing systemic candida and fungal infection, gut disbiosis (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth – SIBO), leaky gut, blood sugar issues, digestive difficulties with breaking down food, compromised routes of elimination (which was why everything was coming out through my skin).

The naturopath immediately gave me anti candida supplements as well as detox support and suggested I follow the candida diet and look into alternative diets such as SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) or paleo.

We moved out within a month and came back to the Yukon. I continued doing more and more reading and research on the candida/SCD/paleo diets and tried out a lot of recipes. I was still experiencing the rash and allergic reactions even with being out of the mold.

swollen face and rash     swollen eye

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I knew my body was in seriously rough shape and I needed to make some major changes. I had to stop taking benedryl even when I needed it as it rendered me useless and actually made me feel really agitated.

I saw another naturopath in the Yukon and started another candida cleanse. It definitely helped a bit but even after the month I still had the rash! Throughout the last year and some I have continued to educate myself and experiment with variations and combinations of the paleo, Whole 30, SCD, GAPS, FODMAPs, Autoimmune paleo and candida diets. On most days I am essentially 100% gluten free and 80% paleo or some variation of it.

Since we got back to the Yukon almost two years ago, my health has come a long way and my rash and allergies have cleared up a lot but I still have to maintain a strict diet or my rash will come back within a day or two. Although now when I get it, it is usually only on my cheeks.

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I am still very sensitive to chemicals and scents, I have a lot of digestive issues, allergies, and food sensitivities. I absolutely know it was because of the mold because I had none of these problems before I went there.

I believe I may have been susceptible to feel such great effect from the mold because of eating so much processed, packaged and refined foods for most of my life before this. I may have paved the way to it happening, but the mold exposure sent my body and particularly my immune system off the deep end. Here I am almost 2 years later still dealing with it.

One good thing that has come out of all this is that I have become really passionate about eating and living naturally healthy. If it weren’t for everything that happened, I probably would never have started this blog in hopes that I might be able to help others out there going through the same thing as me…

paleo chicken bacon soup

It feels like I haven’t posted for so long! Oh right, that is because I haven’t.

I actually came up with this recipe a long time ago, and had posted it on my facebook page before I had a blog. I went back and tried it and figured, why not post it now? It’s delicious!

One thing I tried differently this time was I added parsnips. This seemed strange to me at first, but I had seen it done online in a few other paleo chicken soup recipes. Why the hell not.

I would highly recommend using Chicken Bone Broth for the stock. It has all kinds of health benefits! Plus… its the bomb!

Ingredients:

7 cups chicken bone broth
6 chicken breasts
6-8 pieces of bacon
2 tbsp bacon fat
1 large white onion
4 garlic cloves
4 parsnips
6 large carrots
6 stocks celery
2 cups spinach
1 stock green onions
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

Directions:

If you are using chicken bone broth, you will want to start it 1-2 days before so you can slow cook it until you get all the good healthy stuff out of the bones!

Bake the chicken ahead of time, and cook until done. Also fry the bacon while the chicken is cooking and set aside. Save 2 tbsp of bacon fat. Yep, you heard right.

Put your bone broth in a large pot on the stove at medium-high heat. Peel and chop up your onion, garlic, parsnips, and carrots and add to the pot. Let boil for a bit until everything starts getting soft. Chop your celery and add it in along with the spinach, green onions, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper and let cook a bit longer until everything is soft. I find herbs can get intense pretty fast so I don’t use too much but feel free to add more basil and oregano.

Cut up your cooked chicken, crumble the bacon (if you haven’t eaten it all already. Ugh, I do that all the time) and add to the pot along with the bacon fat. Trust me, its delicious.

Serve right away or let cool and store in glass containers in the fridge for lunches!

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This recipe is similar to another one on my site (paleo beef stew), but this one I made with moose meat, and switched up some of the ingredients/flavourings. You could also use beef or other wild game like caribou, deer or bison.

Ingredients:

1 moose roast (roughly 3 lbs)
4 cups beef or moose stock
2-3 small or 1 huge sweet potato
4 large carrots
1 large white onion
6 garlic cloves
3-4 tbsp butter (ghee or coconut oil would work too!)
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp thyme
1-2 tsp parsley

Directions:

The first thing you should do is thaw a moose roast (about 3 lbs) and roast it in 3 cups of water (to make the stock) at 325 F for roughly 1.5 hours. Set your roast drippings aside (should make about 4 cups).

Then peel, chop and mince your sweet potato, carrots, onion and garlic.

In a large pot on low, add butter, onions and garlic. Fry for a couple minutes until they start to brown. Add stock from roast.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add sweet potato and carrots. You can also add all remaining ingredients now.

Simmer until everything starts to soften up. Remove from heat and serve.

This dish is great for lunches, and freezes well.

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Christmas is always good for lots of leftover turkey, so of course I had to make something out of it!

First, I pulled all the leftover meat off the bones and stored it in glass containers in the fridge. I made bone broth in the slow cooker with all the turkey bones. You can find my recipe for bone broth here.

Then after 24 hours when the bone broth was done, I strained the broth out and poured it into a large pot. I made 12 cups of broth in this batch.

Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

12 cups turkey bone broth
5 cups chopped turkey
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
10 large carrots (roughly 4 cups)
2 small celery bunches, chopped (roughly 4 cups)
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 large white onion, chopped
3 cups spinach or kale (or mix of both)
1/2 cup diced green onion
3 tbsp diced chives
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pour turkey broth into pot and add sweet potato, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer until everything starts getting soft. Add remaining ingredients including turkey and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

Let cool and store in fridge or freezer. This is great for lunches, I’ve been eating it all week!

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I used to love eating chicken noodle soup and couldn’t imagine it without noodles, but I came up with this simple and easy to make recipe that really hits the spot! And it has bone broth so there are endless health benefits! Check out my post on bone broth for more info, but I would suggest googling ‘health benefits of bone broth’ or something similar to learn more. There is tons of info out there!

Ingredients:

6-8 cups bone broth (or gluten/sugar/yeast free packaged broth)
1 sweet or white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1-2 cups baby spinach
1/8 cup green onions, diced
1/8 cup chives, diced
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked chicken breast or thighs, roughly 2 cups diced

Directions:

Bring bone broth, onion and carrots to a boil. Add all remaining ingredients and reduce to simmer until all ingredients are soft. Let cool and store in the fridge or freezer. Or eat it right away!

My eczema actually cleared up a bit after eating this soup two days in a row at lunch!