TSW’s Bonus? Shedding Food Fears!

Before I found out about TSW and started the process, I was going crazy trying to chase down the trigger for this ever-worsening, spreading rashy “eczema” that I had.  Before focusing on food, I tried a lot of other things.  Some of them were good ideas; some of them were pretty ridiculous:

  • Changing or eliminating most of my facial and body products
  • Changing my laundry detergent
  • Drinking only bottled, distilled water (as I thought maybe something from the city tap water was to blame)
  • Selling my car (because it was old and had an A/C leak and I thought maybe toxic emissions were leaking into the cabin and giving me a rash)
  • Filing an anonymous OSHA claim with my workplace, thinking that I worked in one of those “sick” office buildings
  • I thought about getting a water filter for the shower but I never got around to it
  • Wearing zero jewelry as I thought maybe I had suddenly developed a severe nickel allergy that oddly would have spread all over my body
  • I drank diluted vinegar 2x daily since I read this could help (it was gross)
  • I went to a homeopath and took a remedy that seemed to make things worse
  • I went to a holistic doctor and spent a bunch of money on multiple appointments and special supplements that seemed to really do nothing

Looking back, these are clearly the frantic scramblings of someone that had NO idea what was going on with her suddenly-haywire skin….but someone that was absolutely desperate to find out.  Then we get into the list of all the food-type things I tried:

  • I went on the elimination diet and then, when that didn’t seem to do anything, the Candida diet.
  •  I considered trying the Paleo diet and the GAPS diet but thankfully I discovered TSW before I had to do any more diet stuff.
  • I was even considering going on this crazy “few foods” diet where you only eat chicken, rice, pears, and a few other foods.  How miserable would THAT be?!?
  • I gave up so many things in succession, or simultaneously, feeling that they were somehow linked to my skin’s condition – coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, meat, nightshade vegetables, bananas, foods that are moderately related to latex, nuts, corn, soy, citrus, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and there’s probably some things I missed.

Needless to say, being on these diets or avoiding all these foods was HARD.  Even though I didn’t give up ALL those foods at once, there were times when I was avoiding MANY, MANY foods.  The constant reading of ingredients, the not being able to eat in restaurants, the sheer planning that had to be involved in making and packing food, and so on.  It truly made me empathize with anyone who has to be on a restricted diet or give up foods for life.  I lost weight and I didn’t need to lose weight.  I was constantly crabby and deprived.  I felt like food ruled my life and I was afraid of eating anything, even though I did still eat.  My husband got frustrated and fed up with what seemed like a never-ending chase.  I wasn’t fun anymore because I was so obsessed with food.  I never went out with friends because I didn’t want to have to explain why I couldn’t eat anything.  I felt hopeless and futile and like I had developed weird food allergies that I would never be able to figure out.  (You can click on the “Food and Diet” subject link on my blog and read about all the past things there!)

Then TSW entered my life, and I finally had a name and a description for this wackiness that my skin appeared to be possessed with.  And as I entered and moved through it, along with moving through divorce proceedings, I was too weary to obsess about food any longer.  I had been on the Candida diet, but finally – I no longer cared, and I gave up.  There’s only so much one can take.  I went back to comfort foods with gluten and sugar and corn.  I ate food that my mom had made that was full of nightshade vegetables.  I sat alone in my bed and munched chips with garlic and onion.  I drank diet pop and tea and coffee here and there.  I got really daring one day and stuffed myself with pizza and cheese bread to see if anything would happen, since I thought dairy and tomato sauce were my nemesis.

And you know what?  Ever since I started going through TSW, I haven’t been able to truly link a single food to the condition of my skin.  All those theories I had about dairy and citrus and chocolate and bananas making things worse – I really don’t know if that’s the case, because I’ve eaten all of these foods without noticeable incident since TSW began.  And this makes sense, because a few years ago, before my skin started acting up, I could eat anything at all with no apparent reaction.  So it just didn’t make sense that suddenly, in adulthood, I would have developed all these food sensitivities, and it’s an absolute relief to know that in all likelihood, I probably have NO food sensitivities.  This also supports the mindset that it really doesn’t matter what you eat in TSW – sure, many people feel better about themselves when they eat “clean”, and I’m all for doing that, but if I’m itchy and restless and I want some pizza or chips on occasion, I’m going to indulge that, since – in the grand scheme of things – it isn’t going to affect how long my healing takes.

This past week when I was out of town in another state, I ate pretty crappy, as I am wont to do when I am “on vacation” and not near my beloved raw kale and carrots.  But I reveled in being able to eat whatever I wanted, because 4 months ago, entering a restaurant would have struck me with trepidation and self-consciousness.  I had greasy foods like fish and chips, a dish at an Asian restaurant that probably contained just about every big food allergen known to man (shrimp, gluten, nuts, eggs, and soy), and there was even one night that a friend kept buying me rum and Diet Cokes.  Alcohol used to ruin my skin – I would wake up with my face all red and dry, so I really hadn’t had any amount of alcohol in YEARS.  I was afraid to!  So this was another test.  And guess what?  I woke up the next day no worse for wear.  Yes, I did flare on my week away – namely on my limbs and groin area – but I attribute this more to just being away from home and not in my usual environment.  If these things were truly making me react, I feel that I would have more of a “whole body” reaction, and the parts of me that are mostly “healed” – my stomach, hands, neck, and face – did not really have any sort of flare.  Since I’ve been back at home, my skin has been going through the normal process of recovering from a flare – clearing up, redness fading, cuts and scabs healing, the whole deal, so this really was just another flare in the whole grand cycle of things, and not base d on what I put in my mouth.

So I really have to thank TSW for setting me free from the apprehension of food and drink.  Another positive to focus on with this burden we TSW’ers have been given!

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21 thoughts on “TSW’s Bonus? Shedding Food Fears!

  1. I’ve really been enjoying eating things without fear. Lots of things. I’m getting a little podgy now in fact!! : )

    Good on you!! xxx

    • YEAH! Isn’t it great!? No more fear of raspberries, eh? 😉 Better to have a bit of weight gain and beautiful skin and no worries about food! A bit of podge can always be lost when we’re done with this journey!

  2. Yes this really is the best part of TSW!

  3. Andie says:

    Hi there, I posted a little while back but haven’t commented since. I just want to let you know that I have finally made the decision to give up TS. I’m only 5 days in, my skin is getting worse by the day and I am totaly petrified!! Your blog has helped me build up the courage to give up once and for all, thank you (I think 😉 )

    • Hi Andie! I know it is scary but just know you are making the right decision. There are tons of people here in the blog world and on the ITSAN forum that will be incredibly helpful and supportive. It can be so alarming to watch your skin go haywire, but it’s also really neat to see how it goes through cycles of healing. If you ever need to vent or want to share more of your progress, feel free to email me! (nubtorious@yahoo.com).

  4. I agree! I didn’t actually go through with trying so many diets, but I was always worried that my skin was bad or worse because of something I did (though I couldn’t even begin to pinpoint what that exactly was…). It is such a relief to know that this is NOT my doing; my flares are occurring on their schedule, doing what they need to do to heal.

    • Yes!! And I was SO glad to have it confirmed on ITSAN and from Dr. Rap that diet really has nothing to do with healing. Going through the “chase” of trying to pinpoint things took soooo much time and energy!

  5. joey says:

    This does not surprise me one bit.

    • It makes total sense. I wonder if many other TSW’ers have experienced the same thing. Though they might not have tried as many dietary things as I did.

      • joey says:

        I was doing all sorts of things trying to figure out what was causing my eczema.

        I did the elimiation diet & others. I tried junk food only for a week to see if that had any effect. I did the one where you can only eat mushy pears, chicken, white rice & white bread, celery, salt, plain yoghurt….. I tried a whole bunch of those diets I got from an allergy clinic at a big uni & hospital where i was near.

        I was trying to correlate pollution levels, anything u can think of I tried.

  6. Jennifer says:

    This is great! I’m so happy that you don’t have to worry about foods. Yes, sensitivities can develop later in life, like in my case, but at least you don’t have to deal with that on top of dealing with TSW. I know first hand that food can affect some people’s eczema, but it’s certainly not the case for everyone. So happy you discovered this. Enjoy the bliss of all the food you’ve been avoiding 🙂

    • Thank you Jennifer! Your comment is especially meaningful since you were so helpful and supportive when I was trying all the diets like elimination and candida. So the fact that you saw me come this far and NOT have to do the diets is just a great relief.

      I DO still think I’m a bit sensitive to dairy because I get kind of bloated when I eat it sometimes, so I don’t eat much of it, but I’ll take one slight food sensitivity over worrying I have a bunch of them, any day!

  7. YAAAAAAAAY!!!! That rocks 🙂 Incredibly happy for you!

  8. brittany says:

    I’m right there with you, I tried almost all the same things you did before finding out about TSW. It really is a HUGE relief to know that there is no mysterious thing causing my skin rashes — there is one thing (topical steroids) and it can be easily eliminated. Yay!

    • Yes! Okay, good to know that I wasn’t the only crazy person trying everything under the sun. It almost makes TSW not seem so bad. No crazy diets, no special creams – just giving up steroids, which is totally free of cost. (Of course, I DID spend a bit of money on special things like soft shirts, scarves, bath salts, skin oils, and the like, just to make things more comfortable, but I take that over steroids any day)!

  9. Mie Ululani says:

    this is so exciting to hear! what a great feeling of freedom; i’m so happy for you! gives me hope I won’t have to be so down with anxiety and guilt over food. like what is “good” and “bad.”…i could relate so much about the frustration with keeping all the diets and lists of allergens straight. with all the healing crap we put up with, of course we’re getting stronger to handle whatever damn food we want. awesome. i’m going out to eat tonight. MEXICAN yay.

    • WOOT! Yes I hope you are free from feeling anxious over food in the future – I know there are so many crappy chemicals and ingredients in food these days, but at the same time I believe in balance and not having to be “perfect” all the time. Life is short and food should be enjoyed… just in moderation. I LOVE Mexican food – I hope you enjoy every bite tonight! 🙂

  10. Maria S says:

    Found your website and your posts are so helpful. I am just a newbie to this and at the “research stage”. I have been having all the usual symptoms but my eyes are giving me the most problem, always tearing and blurring and when I saw an Opthamologist he prescribed — you guessed it — steroid-based drops. I discovered the ITSAN website and Dr. R and that has also been a godsend. I need to make a decision on whether I will stop using this summer as I have two months off in the summer. I am a little scared because even before I knew about TSW, I tried going off of it for three days and I was a mess! Any suggestions or advice would be helpful. Thanks!

    • Hi Maria! Welcome and I’m glad you are finding my blog helpful! You must be a teacher or something to have 2 months off in the summer? Sorry to hear you are having such problems with your eyes. That has to be so frustrating, hopefully you’ve found a few of the threads on the ITSAN forums about people with eye issues. I think there are types of eyedrops you can use that are free of steroids, but I’m not 100% sure. Honestly I think the sooner one stops using steroids, the better. The skin is going to be a mess for a while regardless of if you stop now, or stop later… there really isn’t a way around that or a “best time” to stop. May as well get the healing underway so that in a year or two (hopefully much sooner!) you’re enjoying clear, smooth, eczema and rash-free skin. The first 2-3 months were the worst for me and then it got markedly better from there, so if you have 2 months off coming up, I would just stop now if I were you. If you ever want to chat more or have more questions you can feel free to email me! (nubtorious@yahoo.com).

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