Nourishing your body with high quality whole foods
Food is the best medicine that we have! When healing from eczema it’s important to consume foods that will aid your body to complete healing. It’s amazing how just a healthy diet with whole, unadulterated foods can give us all of the minerals and nutrients that we need to restore and thrive. When you think about it, ancient civilizations didn’t rely on synthetic medicines to “heal”… they used what mother nature provided, wholesome food! You always want to eat food in it’s most natural state, as close to it coming right out of the ground, unadulterated with as minimal processing as possible. That is how you ensure maximum nutrient benefit.
Since I’ve started my withdrawal process I’ve stayed away from all forms of medications. I feel that my body had its full of toxic meds, and if I have an ailment, then there is a natural remedy to it. Take a headache for example or menstrual cramps… instead of popping pills, I just make some fresh ginger tea! There’s a natural solution to every ailment, there’s no need to take toxic medication.
Here’s some of the things that I have used in my healing process and continue to use. These foods are powerful and very healing.
Apple Cider Vinegar – I like to use this tangy healthy vinegar in my salad dressings as well as take a spoonful of it in a glass of water about 15-20 minutes before my “linner” (my biggest meal of the day… before 6pm) because this helps to stimulate and improve digestion due to its live enzymes. This vinegar is awesome for the skin because it balances the PH in the body, it helps to fight off candida (yeast overgrowth) and also helps with detoxification and strengthening the immune system. Make sure to purchase an apple cider vinegar brand that is organic and contains the “mother” in it, this means that it is unpasteurized and contains live healthy enzymes. It’s best to have it organic because conventional apples are unfortunately the most pesticide laden fruit.
Avocado – This fruit is great because it is a whole food fat, which is much better than taking in the processed oil version. This way you get all of the nutrients that would be extracted in taking avocado oil. I like to consume a 1/2 or a full avocado in everyday… mainly because they are so delicious, but most importantly they are wonderful for skin health! I like to keep my fats low, sticking to a high carb low fat vegan diet… 80/10/10 (80% of my calories from carbs, 10% from protein and 10% from fat). Avocados are full of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein which help provide great protection for your skin from free radicals and improves the skin’s density, thickness, tone and general appearance. This fruit is also packed with vitamin E as well as vitamin C which creates elastin and collagen (this helps bind your skins cells together to maintain firmness and structure). Last but not least avocados have moisturizing monounsaturated fatty acids which softens and hydrates the skin. These fatty acids also help regenerate damaged skin cells and reduce facial redness and irritation.
Bee pollen – This super high-energy food supplies us with every single nutrient that the body needs to survive! It’s super high in protein, contains all 22 amino acids and is packed with enzymes which help our bodies break down & digest food. It’s also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. What’s really awesome for any allergy sufferer, is that bee pollen is packed with quercitin which is known to minimize or neutralize the histamine response, giving you relief! Kind of ironic that consuming bee pollen will lessen allergy symptoms, but this stuff works! I’ve seen so much relief from seasonal allergies ever since I introduced this into my diet. So you want to consume it slowly, like a few granules a day and work your way up to a teaspoon or tablespoon. I love to just throw it in my morning smoothie. *Since becoming vegan I have stopped consuming bee pollen.
Black cumin seeds – These little seeds are definitely a powerhouse! They are used to reduce inflammation, aid in digestive issues, fight worms in the digestive tract, improve kidney function, detoxify and strengthen the liver and are used as an antihistamine! Histamine causes allergic reactions and increases itching in sufferers with eczema. I will crush up the seeds very fine and take a spoonful of it with honey before I go to bed to help reduce the itching.
Chia seeds – Come from the Aztec word for ‘oily’ which makes sense because of its high omega-3 acid content (higher than fish oils, flax seeds and kiwi seeds)! When added to liquid, chia seeds become gelatinous. This action of forming a gel solution moves through the body and cleans it up as it goes! It also prevents the fast breaking down of carbohydrates in the body, by slowing down the action of the enzymes on the carbs. This seed is super high in fiber and antioxidants, contains 20% protein, has 5x more calcium than milk, vitamin C, potassium, iron and is very hydrating for your skin, hair and nails! I add chia seeds to my salads, sometimes in my green drinks, to fresh nut and seed butters, and even bake with them. Again, taking chia in it’s whole food form is much better than taking chia seed oil, so you continue to get all of the nutrients that would other wise be extracted in an oil.
- oil – I love me some coconut oil! I put it on my skin and hair, and I will occasionally cook with it (in very small amounts) and I use it for oil pulling. It is medium chain triglyceride, meaning that the fatty acid content is different from most long chain fatty acids found in most of the foods we eat. MCT’s are easily digested, absorbed, and put to use nourishing the body. Unlike other fats, they put little strain on the digestive system and provide a quick source of energy necessary to promote healing! The lauric acid (50%) in coconut oil converts into monolaurin, a monoglyceride compound which exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties that help stave off infection, and fight off yeasts, fungus and candida. Breast milk is the only other natural source that contains such a high concentration of lauric acid. ***As I’ve learned more of what are the best foods for my body I’ve found that keeping my fats low to be best (high carb low fat vegan), and only getting it sourced from whole food fats (healthy whole fats straights from the source not in oil form which has been processed i.e. coconut meat, avocados, nuts and seeds etc). So I don’t ingest the oil as I used to when I first started off TSW, I only use it for my skin and hair and oil pulling (occasionally to cook with).
- water – Coconut water is super hydrating and is packed with electrolytes! It can also help aid in the prevention of indigestion and the occurrence of acid reflux because it is so high in fiber. This amazing water contains five essential electrolytes that are present in the human body; calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. My all time favourite brand is Harmless Harvest. You literally feel like you’ve just cracked open a coconut when you drink their products! I drink coconut water straight, or use it as the liquid base in my morning fruit smoothies.
- meat – The coconut itself is packed with fiber, with one cup containing 7.2 g, which is more than 20% of the recommended daily amount for most adults. Fiber assists in the digestion process by adding bulk to the stool, which helps to move food through the digestive tract. Coconuts are high in trace minerals, potassium, copper and manganese. Manganese helps your body use other nutrients such as iron, thiamine and vitamin E.
Fermented foods – Fermented vegetables, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi (although its a bit spicy for my tastes sometimes), tamari (instead of soy sauce) are all great fermented foods that should be consumed because they have great healthy bacteria that is wonderful for gut health! I chop up tempeh in my salads, sometimes throw some sauerkraut on my salads and make a salad dressing with the tamari as a substitution for salt and I also cook with the tamari. Miso soup is my fave, especially when it’s full of delicious veggies and lots of seaweed like wakame.
Tips when buying fermented foods:
- KEEP COOL: Fermented foods are full of live organisms that must be kept cool to survive, so buy only fermented items in the refrigerated section of the store
- IT IS WHAT IT IS: Fermented foods will, not surprisingly, have the phrase “fermented” printed somewhere on the label, so make sure it says so.
- PUT IT OUT TO PASTURE: Be sure the label does not say “pasteurized” – because the pasteurization process wipes out the cultures you need to help fortify your gut.
- FERMENTED AND PICKLED ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS: So don’t confuse the two – they’re not interchangeable. Pickled foods are exactly that – they’re pickled in liquids like vinegar or brine, but not fermented (unless it says otherwise on the label).
- BUY ORGANIC: Look for fermented foods that are made from the best raw materials possible, namely those made from organic, non-GMO or locally farmed produce.
Great article from Food Matters about fermented foods! *also where I got the “tips” from.
Flax seeds – Packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and lignans, (which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant properties) these little seeds are a powerhouse of goodness! Flax seeds are also high in mucilage content, which refers to the water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can help provide support to the intestinal tract. Make sure when consuming to use the ground up version because you won’t fully be able to digest the seeds; your body absorbs them better when ground. I like to sprinkle the ground seeds in my smoothies and even bake with them!
Fruit Fruit Fruit! – All kinds, any variety, the juicier the better as they are even more hydrating! Check out this post on why you need to #gofruityourself today!
Dark leafy greens offer plenty of the antioxidants beta carotene and Vitamin C, which can help protect you from cancer and slow the aging process a.k.a. give you great skin health! The darker the leaves, the more nutrient-rich the leafy green! Some also deliver folate, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber. Greens supply lutein, a carotenoid, which acts as an antioxidant and contributes to good vision and may help protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. It’s best to eat a variety of greens, don’t get in a rut, switch it up! I like to mix all kinds of different greens in my daily salads to keep it interesting. I mainly eat my greens raw or juice them but if I do cook these greens, I try to cook them quickly to still maintain some of the integrity of the veggie.
- Bok Choy – This mild, slightly sweet cousin of cabbage is a super source of calcium because it’s low in oxalate. Bok choy is rich in antioxidant content, especially beta carotene and is packed with vitamins A, C and K. Baby bok choy is my favourite!
- Cabbage – This cruciferous vegetable is a great source of cancer-fighting compounds and vitamin C. It’s high sulfur content helps to resist bacteria and protects against toxic substances. In addition, sulfur is necessary for proper development of connective tissue and helps skin maintain structural integrity.
- Collard Greens – This green performs as an anti-oxidant to purify the body, and this detoxification is done well if an individual eats collard greens on regular basis. These vegetables contain vitamin K and other minerals, ensuring better bone development and the formation of healthy cells.
- Kale – This earthy, bitter green is sweeter in winter but packed with nutrients year-round. It is high in the anti-inflammatory antioxidant quercetin and just one cup of raw kale supplies a day’s worth of vitamins A and C and six times the RDA for bone-boosting vitamin K.
- Mustard Greens – The high amount of fiber, folate and antioxidants in these greens help to remove free radicals from the body. Mustard greens and cruciferous vegetables boost the detoxification activities and flush out the toxins from the body. They even contain a small amount of glucoraphanin which provides important anti-inflammatory benefits and reduce the unwanted inflammation.
- Spinach – These leafy greens are one of the most nutritious foods available, as it is low in calories and high in vitamins. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence! It’s packed with vitamins A and C, as well as folate. It also It contains high amounts of potassium and vitamin K and the most iron of any vegetable.
- Swiss Chard – Swiss chard can come in a rainbow of colours and is great for skin maintenance and skin health! The presence of vitamin A along with vitamin C in these greens play a great role in the production of collagen, providing optimal skin health.
- Turnip Greens – More tender than other greens and needing less cooking, this sharp-flavored leaf is low in calories yet loaded with vitamins A,C, and K as well as calcium. Another important nutrient present is iron because it is responsible for the formation and development of healthy red blood cells, which ensure that enough oxygen is circulated throughout your body.
- Watercress – These greens contains many phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that offer disease prevention. Glucosinolates are best absorbed from raw vegetables, and since watercress is rarely cooked, it’s an excellent source. The antioxidants and carotenoids in watercress can reduce cellular damage related to the development of cancer, and like the other veggies on this list, one cup of these greens has more than your daily value of vitamin K!
Hemp seeds – These wonderful healing seeds are packed with all 20 amino acids, are high in protein (which is great for vegans and vegetarians) and are full of vitamin E and fatty acids which are great for skin health! Hemp also has phytonutrients, which are the disease-protective element of plants with benefits that protect your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin and organs. I love to sprinkle hemp seeds in my smoothies and green drinks as well as on my salads.
Kiwi fruit – This cute lil fruit is full of Vitamin C… actually more than an orange gram for gram! It is also an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, and it also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions like hay fever during allergy season. Sometimes I throw them in a green smoothie but I prefer to eat them just by themselves!
Papaya & seeds – This fruit has awesome digestive enzymes called papain, is chock full of vitamins and is also an antioxidant. I love to eat the fruit and also freeze it and throw it in my morning fruit smoothies. The seeds are very medicinal when crushed up and swallowed. When I would go through a really rough break out, I would swallow about a spoonful of the crushed up seeds every night (holding my nose of course) with water. I would do this for two weeks and take a week long break, then (if needed) do another two weeks (it’s so powerful you can’t do it all the time). The seeds help stave off infection because of its intense anti-germ and antibiotic properties!
Pineapple – Just like papaya has the digestive enzyme papain, pineapple has the digestive enzyme called bromelian. These enzymes are great at breaking down the proteins in our food! I love to eat fresh pineapple by itself, or I would also freeze it and throw it in a fruit smoothie. Make sure it’s super ripe before you cut it, with a nice golden colour over all with a high sweet smell and a good indicator is if the leaves are getting dry and are easy to remove.
Raw garlic – This natural antibiotic is also very powerful at fighting off infections. Like the papaya seeds, I would use this during times of a really bad break out to help give my body the “natural medicine” it needed to heal faster. I would start off with just one clove chopped finely and also swallow this at night with water. I would work my way up to a two cloves, then three cloves a day. This remedy should also only be only done no more than two weeks in a row.
Turmeric – I use this daily and love it’s unique flavour. Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, is a great antioxidant and has cancer fighting properties! You can make a paste out of it with coconut oil and put it on a burn or dry area on your skin. I wouldn’t recommend putting it on open sore, oozy spots, those spots need no moisturizer, and need to be left dry to heal up. I put fresh turmeric in my smoothies and dried turmeric powder in my salad dressings. I also cook with turmeric (although it’s best to be consumed raw), I love curry, and turmeric is one of the main ingredients!
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