This week we bring you the inspiring true story Julie - another amazing Warrior!
Like many of us, Julie has experienced the suffering and pain of living with chronic eczema and Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). However, we are so happy to report that through her commitment to being open to change, resilience and perseverance, Julie has healed herself. She very generously shares her life-experiences, learnings, advice, resources and wisdom to those struggling with eczema and those caring for people with eczema.
Here is Julie...
I always had eczema as a child but used steroid creams and nothing else. It was never a big issue, just some patches at my wrists. As a teenager I already had problems maintaining a healthy skin on my hands in the winter, as my hands were always cracking and extremely dry, I just used more steroid creams. When I was 24 I got red patches around my eyes, my lips, on my face and arms and it was more itchy and disturbing as ever before. I was feeling ugly and tried to hide it with steroid creams and makeup, long sleeves, etc. I didn't want to talk about it, I didn't know where to go for help, I just had this feeling that something was wrong with me.
The first time I found hope was when I found Karen Fischer's book. At this time I was eating a really clean, nice, wholesome plant based diet and didn't understand why I was itching. I bought the book straight away when I found it. In the first one-two months I just avoided all the itchy dozen foods, hoping this would solve my problems, but then I realized I needed more detoxing so I started the FID diet last November. In 4 weeks my skin cleared up really well, then we had Christmas and a lot of off-track of my diet and since January I'm back again. At this moment I follow a unique diet, based on the FID but expanded with all the foods I tolerate well. I'm not changing to the Eczema Detox diet because I still react to bananas, papayas, etc, so I give this diet now more time. In the beginning I really craved sweets, coffee and bread, but I kind of got used to not having these after a while. I was also afraid if I'm gonna have enough food or vitamins, but seriously I've never felt so healthy with my diet as now, so this feeling just faded away as I have a very strong gut feeling that I'm doing the right thing.
Julie was doing so well on the eczema diet but realised that it is not only what she eats that needs to change. Implementing stress reducing techniques also became significant in her healing.
I sometimes get itchy even when I eat the cleanest diet. If I was spiraling or having a fight or just worrying about my future, my life, etc. the ‘itch’ would re-appear. I started to speak regularly with a counselor who helped me a lot to feel better and work through my childhood traumas. I also started journaling and made a self-care journal specially for checking my reactions on my healing journey along with some mental exercises. And I do meditate a lot, every day, sometimes just deep breathing, other times guided meditations. I can honestly tell that these have a really nice effect on my mind and mindset.
At the moment my skin is doing much much better, but sometimes if I go off-track with my diet it can get itchy and red. Now I know it's not only eczema I need to deal with but also the withdrawal symptoms of steroids so I need to be patient... I managed to expand my diet though and I am so happy to eat carrots, beets, apples, cashews, etc, but the base of my diet is still the FID to keep things clean and simple. I still avoid coffee, sugar, gluten, etc that were not the best for me.
We are so thankful to Julie for sharing her healing journey with us. We eczema sufferers are not alone, and it is so helpful to listen to others stories of challenges and lessons learnt. Please check out Julie’s Instagram (@julie.heals.eczema). as she offers many great tips, will make you laugh with her very funny and relatable content and offers resources including food and mood journals.
We hope Julie’s story has assisted you on your healing journey. Thanks Julie sharing :)
Article by nutritionist Bonnie, Copyright © The Healthy Skin Kitchen. Recipes for the FID program feature in Karen's new book The Healthy Skin Kitchen.