I will share the story, but first I would like to say that some of what I write here is my opinion. I don't know, and I don't claim to know, the extent to which food, genetics, and/or the environment can cause or heal diseases. I will share some of our speculations and also some of our conclusions. Please realize that I'm not offering rules or hard facts. Instead, I offer our story for your consideration in the hope that it will inspire your own family's journey toward better health.
The story of our diet changes began with our third child, our son C., on the day he was born — October 19, 2000. He immediately developed itchy rashes all over his body, but especially behind his knees and elbows, and on his face, torso, wrists and the back of his hands. He suffered from eczema for two and a half years.
During those first years of C.'s life, we visited our pediatrician, an allergist, and even a naturopath. The treatments ran the gamut from applying cortisone creams, to a one-time application of the prescription cream Elidel, to using homeopathic remedies. Some of these treatments eased his symptoms, but none of them provided long-term healing of C.’s ailment.
Being unhappy with those options, we focused our attention on trying to identify external sources of irritation to his skin, like chemicals, fragrances and toxins. We changed all our personal care products and cleaning products to be non-toxic and fragrance-free. All these changes helped somewhat, but once again, he wasn’t eczema-free. We still maintain our toxin-free environment to this day because we believe it is better for us and the earth, but it was clear to us that C. needed more than just an environment change to heal his eczema.
The next step we took was to focus internally at what C. could be consuming that would cause his eczema. We read books. We settled on an author who maintained that a plant-based, vegan diet was best for the good health of the general population. We jumped right in, cold turkey and… became vegan.
Five weeks into our new diet, C.’s eczema totally disappeared and his baby soft skin appeared for the first time! He was two and a half years old. Amazingly, B. also stopped wetting the bed at the exact same time. Since then, the children haven’t gotten even one ear infection, or any other infection. We do catch viruses now and then, but not very often and without much severity. Because of these improvements, we felt we were on the right track.
However, we felt that something wasn’t quite right. We loved eating vegan. But some members of the family were fatigued and struggled with low muscle strength. We wondered if maybe we were experiencing a deficiency of Vitamin B12, which is found only in animal foods. We also worried that we were not consuming enough protein.
Now I'll back up a bit and share something else that pertains in our journey. Prior to becoming vegan, our diet was full of highly processed foods — bleached and stripped grain products; packaged foods with fillers, preservatives, chemicals, colorants, and additives; produce that had been grown with the use of pesticides and herbicides; and the meat from unnaturally raised farm animals which had been injected with hormones and/or antibiotics. Contrast that with our vegan diet, which was plant-based, yes, but also entirely comprised of natural, whole foods.
Perhaps you are realizing what we came to realize. All of a sudden, we weren't really sure what had been helpful for healing C.'s eczema — was it really the lack of animal foods or was it the absence of processed foods? Or to confuse you more, was it something else entirely?
We changed our diet again, in an attempt to find out two things — 1) what was the real culprit behind C.'s eczema? and 2) what is the best diet for good health? The change we made was to re-introduce meat into our diet. But this time the meats were whole, natural meats — like free-range, organic chicken; 100% grass-fed beef; and wild Atlantic salmon. We continued to eat much fresh, organic produce, organic whole grains, and organic beans. Incorporating the natural meats did not result in any eczema flare-ups for C.. However, eggs did cause him to have a rash, and this we found out through eliminating only eggs after he experienced a breakout.
And then in 2009, we made another change. Since 2007, we had been eating gluten-free, thinking that our daughter A. was allergic to gluten. In 2009, I sprouted gluten-containing grains and found that my daughter A. could eat them without any adverse symptoms! This convinced us that it was important to focus on traditional food preparation methods, which would ensure ease of digestion and maximum nutrition. Many of those methods are laid out in the book Nourishing Traditions.
Hopefully, you can see from my account that we've been all over the board. From the standard American diet, to vegan, to all whole foods, to using traditional food preparation methods with whole foods. Have we come to any conclusions? Well, some!
The most important thing we learned is that the healthiest foods are natural, organic, whole, locally grown, and in season – and properly prepared. Read more about GNOWFGLINS — God's Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, IN Season.
To this consideration we also add these desires: to eat enough protein so that each member of our family feels strong; to consume many fresh foods; to avoid foods that cause an allergic reaction in a member of our family; to seek out foods that are extremely nutritious and incorporate more of them; to prepare foods in traditional methods so as to ensure maximum nutrition; to eat a diverse, varied diet for overall good health.
We give thanks to the Lord for what He has taught us so far on our journey of good health and we look forward to learning more!
© Copyright 2006-2008 by Wardee Harmon.
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