I would love to share with you a healing testimony of this beautiful little girl named Arizona Star! I’m so glad that her mother Lindsey contacted me for advice on healing her eczema. I’m also so thankful that she didn’t have to experience the rough journey of an intense Topical Steroid Withdrawal. Her healing time happened pretty rapidly, by following the protocol that I recommend. Check out the interview I did with her mother Lindsey, as well as progress pictures below!
1.) How old is Arizona Star, when did she start using topical steroids & when did she stop?
19 months-old, born the end of 2014. I started using topical steroids when she was between 6-7 months old and used the over the counter topical steroids to “spot treat” the areas where she was getting patches. I was prescribed a stronger dose by her doctor when she was 1 year old to treat worsening eczema condition that had spread to her knees and legs. When I ran out of the stronger steroids I switched back to on and off method of treating her with the over the counter stuff. All in all I used steroids for her eczema for over 17 months of her short life. I stopped using steroid creams the beginning of May 2016 when I found out about TSW.
2.) Tell me a bit about her eczema symptoms she was dealing with and if she experienced topical steroid withdrawal.
Arizona’s body was experiencing small patches of eczema on her inner thighs. She experienced worsening eczema despite steroid creams and it spread and she had eczema on her hands, legs, slightly on her face by the time I stopped. What was most concerning to me was her extreme diaper rash whenever she ate certain foods. I tried eliminating certain allergenic foods like eggs and wheat and strawberries but it was really a guessing game. That helped treat some of the symptoms but it wasn’t helping the rash she had developed behind her knee that cracked and oozed if I didn’t put the cream on it. She continued to have diaper rash throughout the time prior to May 2016.
3.) What was her diet like before? (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
I tried a variety of diets before she went vegan/gluten free but a typical day prior to going gluten free was:
Breakfast– eggs and toast with fruit. Lunch– leftovers or PB&J. Dinner– meat and potatoes or pasta and meat. Snacks– cottage cheese, crackers, meats, cheese, yogurt, processed kid snacks (such as Gerber’s baby banana cookies)
After going Gluten Free and Eggless:
Breakfast-oatmeal with fruit. Lunch-meat and potatoes with diary products and/or veggies. Dinner– meat with diary or gluten free products (pasta, bread, etc.) Snacks – lots of dairy, more fruits & veggies with green smoothies added in and less processed but relied heavily on meats.
*This is a very acidic diet
4.) What is her diet like now & how long has she been eating this way? (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Totally Vegan with occasional GF snacks but only if they are vegan, dairy free and have minimal ingredients.
Breakfast– Green Smoothie or Fresh Fruit Brunch– Oatmeal with fruit or almond milk with rice (might sweeten with honey but usually banana) Lunch– Rice & Veggies or Beans & Veggies (occasionally I’ll make a bean dip or paste and use a corn tortilla to make little tacos) Dinner– Salad (finely minced) with fresh fruits, nuts or dried fruits. Snacks – depends on the day or access to certain foods but consists of green smoothies, raw food snacks, dried fruits, nuts, almond butter, veggies, beans, salsas. The foods I give her on very occasional basis but esp. when we are out to eat or at a bbq or family function: organic corn chips, organic baby food packets, organic meatless burger, boxed juice, rice chex (rarely but it happened when I visited family and I hadn’t gone shopping for groceries yet so mixed it with organic almond milk and offered her a tiny amount with fruit).
*This is a more alkaline diet. Just doing raw fruits and veggies would be even more alkaline and speed up healing.
5.) How was the transition in her diet & how rapidly did you notice healing?
I noticed almost complete healing on her hands and all the small patches on her legs including her terrible diaper rash within 2 weeks. The eczema on the back of her knee continues to flare up on and off but it doesn’t affect her life the same way. One thing I look back on and realize was the oozing from her knee was caused by the stronger TS and I would have dealt with much worse if I hadn’t stopped using it. She had TSW but not severe at all. I noticed she had a rash on her belly and almost rosacea on her cheeks two days after changing her diet but it was very faint and went away within the 2 weeks. By the time I talked to Jen, I had been off TS for a week already that’s why she was having worse symptoms but they too receded by the time I introduced the vegan diet and changed her diapers to a hypoallergenic non-bleached kind (Honest Brand).
6.) Any words of encouragement you’d like to share to parents with children suffering from eczema & the eczema warriors out there?
I was told by her doctor that she would deal with eczema and flare ups her whole life. He is right but what he didn’t tell me is that I could do something about it to help her through it. Eczema is a sign of something deeper going on with the body and for me, it was diet related and the fact I wasn’t giving her body an alkaline environment to deal with the eczema naturally, made her suffer. It was lack of knowledge about why she was having eczema and what to do about it. I read so many articles and sites about eczema treatments, but none of them addressed the diet factor. I encourage parents to use the internet as a resource to educate themselves about it, but understand that it’s only as good as the food you put in and the way the body’s ability to remove toxins efficiently. I myself have changed my diet to match hers and it helps because we can share meals and special times together plus it’s given me the energy to take care of her and work harder to better her life.
I also encourage parents to pack a bag of food every time they go out somewhere especially where other kids and people are eating. My daughter doesn’t mind the fact she can’t have macaroni and cheese, but she does mind if I don’t give her something good to eat instead. I think she gets hungry more because she’s grazing on healthy foods and getting less calorie dense foods so it’s no surprise that she’s hungry every 10 minutes now lol. No one wants to see their child suffer, so it’s a trade off but a rewarding one. Her moods have greatly improved, she doesn’t wake up screaming and clawing at me, she doesn’t have diaper rash and she doesn’t look like like she has patches and blotchiness on her body so all those things help me remember when she’s begging for regular food to get her a veggie instead. I look at it as a healthy start. She will eat and do whatever she wants as an adult, but I will always know what works for her and the best diet for her to be on so when she goes astray and feels badly or experiences symptoms again, I can remind her of what worked in the past.
Parents you will be empowered by giving your kid a diet that not only helps their brains develop but their bodies will feel good and that’s worth more than a trip to Mc Donalds or saying yes to food that isn’t compatible with their sensitive bodies. Lastly, use the internet to look up vegan (avoiding the crazy sweet stuff or processed stuff) or look up raw recipes because that’s what I use since I am new to this whole diet thing and need a lot of guidance. Oh and one more thing, I tell people as soon as they see her that she’s on a allergy diet so don’t give her anything without my permission. What’s nice about saying it this way is that people automatically say okay, understand the gravity of why it’s important and rarely question why. At first I struggled to tell them, “oh I’m working on eliminating eczema symptoms” and they didn’t understand why the diet I chose worked. So it’s a much easier to say it that way.
Here is an email sent from Lindsey as well as progress pictures of Arizona:
Things are going well I’ve gathered a few pictures of her progress although I wasn’t documenting her skin issues until recently but I wanted to point out several things. The first picture was August of last year. I was using steroid cream 1% for a few months already and it had been 2 months since I started introducing solid foods, I didn’t monitor or watch out for food because I was told not to worry about what she ate. In the second pic she was starting to get a runny nose, puffy eyes and scratching herself a lot. I noticed her knees starting to get cracks and redness when I was visiting my grandmother in Florida (you can kind of see her redness on her left knee) and was told by my family to see a Doctor when I got back so I was slathering more on her legs. She has diaper rash at the time but I didn’t document that since I thought it was a normal response to her plastic diapers. It cleared her skin for a while, but as you can see her bags under her eyes darkened and she was prescribed a stronger prescription in January. I stopped giving her bread and started giving her green drinks (you can tell which picture that is!) and noticed an improvement but not a huge one. A month after steady hydrocortisone 2.5% treatment I noticed her flaring up in new areas around her body like her face hands and in between her thighs. She really struggled after being prescribed antibiotics for a paper cut infection. Turns out it was herepetic whitlow on her hand which is a virus so those antibiotics didn’t do anything except hurt her more. By the next month her hand was okay but her skin on her face and body was steadily getting worse and looking back I can see she was puffy around the eyes and blotchy skin. By the time I contacted you her skin was at its worst point and I stopped using the stronger cream and had gone back to 1% that previous month and had eliminated eggs by that point. Realizing it was something diet related because anywhere her poop touched her skin she would have a rash. So she began her plant based vegan diet 2 weeks ago (with only one Incident where she was given toast which is why she flared up badly) and within 2 weeks I can see her rash getting better. I was really amazed at the speed of it but as you can see in her pictures her knees look great, her skin tone looks better and best of all her mood, the scratching (you can see a few old scratch marks from before) and her skin has cleared. I still have a hard time believing how fast it’s happened but it’s been great and I’m totally convinced that she’s FINALLY getting the medicine she needs (plants!) and I hope my story can help other mothers realize that they CAN do something about eczema you don’t have to be a slave to lotions and creams and doctors bad advice! So thanks because without you she would be progressively getting worse and instead she is on the path to complete healing!!!