Over the weekend prior to this current one, I went on a chocolate bender. I ate a bit every day for a couple days straight. Bad, bad, bad. I [illogically] rationalized it to myself as, “Well, I am eliminating all temptations by eating them…then when I start the candida diet, they won’t be in the house mocking me with their chocolatey goodness.” Right. After not eating dairy in quite a while due to the elimination diet before that, I confirmed once again (as if I needed reminding) that dairy definitely seems to be one of my itchy triggers. I usually don’t have a problem resisting chocolate, but I always get a wild craving before ‘that time of the month’. Give me the chocolate and get out of my way! 😉
My forearm started itching almost IMMEDIATELY after eating a York pattie, and then by the time Monday rolled around, my legs were itched into even more of a mess and they were so dry and irritated that it literally hurt to walk. I could not stand the burning and itching and finally did something I’ve been trying to make myself do for WEEKS in order to help my skin – I took a COLD SHOWER. It was certainly uncomfortable while I was in there, but I was pleasantly surprised that as soon as I got out, I began to warm up and the itching was way down. I was also proud of myself for doing this because it was hella cold and unpleasant. I resolved that night to eat ZERO dairy onward. Zip, zilch, none. Now I already was avoiding dairy for the MOST part, but I admit that I got kind of sloppy about it. Getting my chocolate fix on every month, eating foods without reading the ingredients to know that they might have some whey or dairy by-product hidden in them, eating at restaurants without looking at the ingredients on their website beforehand, etc. Just because I was barely eating any APPARENT, VISIBLE dairy doesn’t mean that I wasn’t consuming it and that it wasn’t harming me.
I put steroid cream (mometasone) on the worst spots of my legs and back for a couple days and then weaned off of it, and so far it’s been a few days and the eczema hasn’t returned and everything is healing nicely. I really did not want to resort to the steroid cream but I figured why not give them a fresh start and let everything heal, since that stuff really works.
Rather than beat myself up about my lack of willpower in resisting chocolate, I thought about some other positive things. It occurred to me yesterday that I completely gave up caffeine when I first started the Elimination diet on Dec. 30 and I have barely thought about it or miss it at all. This coming from a girl that used to hide soda pop under the bed to get her morning fix and used to have to stumble bleary-eyed to the coffee maker first thing in the morning before I actually felt human. I’m proud of this because it gives me the feeling that I could easily go the rest of my days without caffeine, and also gives me the encouragement that if I need to give up other things for good, that the cravings eventually go away and it becomes a simple thing to resist.
My supplies for the candida diet arrived in the mail today (probiotics, antifungals, and whatnot), so I am really eager to start. Only delay is that I have caught a slight cold this weekend so I am going to wait a few days until I am 100% better. I found an interesting post on Jennifer’s blog that spoke right to me in regards to candida, specifically the sentence:
“Addressing food sensitivities involves a bit more than just removing the offending food items. Often, an underlying aspect of toxicity and/or leaky gut (permeable intestinal tract) or yeast (candida) accompanies allergies and food sensitivities. These problems need to be addressed before the allergies/sensitivities will go away. If you attempt to remove the food item only, you will likely find that you react to more and more foods without resolution of your symptoms.”
That last sentence right there really made me have an AHA!! moment. There are a bunch of foods that I feel I “react” to, that have piled up with mounting succession and this sentence really seemed to confirm for me that the candida diet is the right thing to do. Disclaimer: If you are reading this blog and considering trying the candida diet, please consult a medical professional. I am not doing this diet under the supervision of a physician, but I understand the inherent risks of any restrictive diet, and I also would break the diet if my health began to suffer. I’ve also consulted numerous physicians in the past re: my eczema (dermatologist, naturopath, holistic physician) and many things have been tried with no lasting effect, so all things considered plus the “risk factors” I had for candida (past illness/antibiotics, taking birth control) point to this being a positive step.
I was talking with my mother today and I realized not only how restrictive it is for me to go out to eat with all these ‘food fears’ and mounting concerns about foods that may or may not harm my system and skin (I am no fun at restaurants currently, let me tell you), but how closed off I am in regard to my own personal health challenges and the willingness to discuss them with others. Besides this blog world and my husband, no one else really knows about my ongoing battle with trying to target triggers for my eczema. They may have seen it on my face or limbs if it’s bad, but they don’t know how big a part of my life it has become in that it’s a constant “hobby” to search out more information about healing it, and I never talk about it with other people unless they bring up eczema first or if they were to ask. My parents know I have eczema, of course, but I never talk about it with them either. Today my mom and I spent some of the day together and we found a coupon for a local pizza place renowned for its tasty deep dish. She said, “Here, you can go out to eat, they have great pizza!” My face fell a little and I mumbled, “Well… you know, I don’t really eat dairy.” Ever chipper, she cheerily said, “Well, you can just tell them to not use cheese!!” Discouraged, I said, “Um, I don’t really eat tomatoes either, they bother me as well.” A look of heartfelt concern passed over her face and she looked at me and said in the most genuinely caring way, “Oh, you poor thing”. The love and care I felt from her in that moment was immense. I immediately opened up to her and began telling her about the candida diet and alluding to my multiple suspected food sensitivities. She was genuinely sympathetic, interested and eager for me to do it and see what happens. It really made me realize that my personality trait of being so introverted and closed off is not always a good thing – this is my own mother for goodness sake, who loves me unconditionally. Sharing these things with her really made me feel better and it’s something I’m going to try to do more often!