ELIMINATION DIET

Bye bye eggs?

Well, my itchy rash still hasn’t totally gone away, and a couple of weeks ago the itching flared up and started to drive me nuts again.  I had both my midwife and my family doctor look at it, just to make sure it’s nothing serious (it’s not), and as expected, the doctor prescribed hydrocortisone cream.  Although immediate relief to the intense itching would be very welcome, I’m not really a fan of hydrocortisone in most cases, because it only addresses the symptom (itching and inflammation) and not the cause.  Inflammatory rashes are commonly a manifestation of an immune response, and I think it’s important to find out exactly what it is that the body is rebelling against.

 

I have narrowed the probable causes down to two things: excessive dryness (xerosis) and/or some sort of food allergy/sensitivity.

 

To address dryness, I have switched to an unscented oatmeal and shea butter lotion (Aveeno), which I apply liberally several times a day.  For whatever reason, this stuff seems to do a much better job of moisturizing than petroleum jelly — and is probably much safer for frequent and potentially long-term use.  Vancouver generally has a very humid climate, so if dryness is either the cause of, or is exacerbating the itch, incoming spring weather should start to bring some relief.

 

In terms of allergies or sensitivities, I don’t generally consume many of the common allergens: wheat, yeast, legumes, food dye, artificial flavour enhancers.  The itching is pervasive enough for me to believe that if it is in fact food-related, it would have to be caused my something that features very regularly in my diet.  The most obvious potential culprits, then, are eggs, dairy and/or nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes).

 

For the past week and a half I have eliminated eggs, and the itching has subsided somewhat, but of course this could also be a result of increased moisturization and atmospheric humidity.  I will continue to avoid eggs for another week or so, and then reintroduce them to see if there is any obvious relapse.  After, I will eliminate dairy for two weeks, followed by nightshades.  If elimination of any of these foods proves to be beneficial, I will have to make the appropriate changes to my diet, at least for the duration of the pregnancy.

 

For my sake, I’m really hoping eggs aren’t the problem, since they are such a tasty, nutritious and convenient part of my diet; but then again, it sure would be nice to find the cause of the itching!

12 responses to “ELIMINATION DIET

  1. Hmm, have you tried aloe vera? Growing up there was a plant outside we would just cut and rub on any cuts, rashes, or burns and it always seemed to help with pain or itch as well as help heal faster. But, the shea butter seems to be working for you … Garlic is also a great immune system booster (but you may already know that).

    Hoping you and your child are happy and healthy,
    Allie

  2. Hi I found you via MDA. I’m pregnant too and sometimes get itchy. I lather myself with coconut oil. It seems to help. But I’ll have to keep reading to see if you found a solution.
    Are you in Washington?

  3. You should try coconut oil as a moisturizer! Since changing my diet, I don’t have eczema any more, but I used to ONLY get relief with coconut oil. Now, I use it all over body/face and even as a conditioner for my hair :).
    Good luck with the elimination diet!

  4. I have to second the coconut oil comments. Or you could give almond oil a try (Mark over at MDA talked about it in this post – http://www.marksdailyapple.com/almond-oil/). I’ve been using almond oil immediately post-shower and love it! The issue with vaseline and any other petroleum-based oils (mineral oil, etc), is that they don’t allow your skin to do its job. They basically just seal moisture in and don’t allow your skin to breathe. Anyway, good luck with moisturizing and thank you for sharing your experiences with paleo, crossfit and pregnancy!

  5. Thanks for the suggestions! 🙂 I did try coconut oil early on, as it used to be my go-to moisturizer for after showers (love the smell of it!), but it only seemed to provide very temporary relief, and because of how greasy it is, it wasn’t the most practical thing to have to apply several times a day.

    I have been meaning to source out some pure food-grade aloe vera to try (the stuff I’ve seen in the pharmacy is all green-dyed, alcohol-based garbage that seems to have very little actual aloe in it), and while I’m at it, I’ll have to see if I can find almond oil.

    The Aveeno lotion and/or the elimination of eggs seems to have yielded some substantial improvements this week in particular. Both the frequency and the intensity of the itching has decreased significantly, and I’m not waking up in the middle of the night to scratch anymore. I’m really hoping it’s the now lotion, though, and not the eggs, because eating meatballs for breakfast is just getting weird 😉

  6. So interesting to hear you say that about the itching. I;m pregnant too… 25 weeks, and have been itching since about 2 months in. It was worse and has gotten better a little. Like you, I don’t eat the grains, beans, etc, so I’ve been hoping it isn’t allergy related. I’ve heard of other women who get this as a reaction to hormones while pregnant, and hoping that is what this is. I’ve had three healthy pregnancies before (no itching) but this is my first totally primal one. Love to hear what happens when you reintroduce the eggs! Hope it isn’t those… I don’t know if I could even give eggs up. We eat them every day and just got chickens!

  7. Hmm, the chemical aloe vera goo never seemed too natural to me … if you can’t find the plant then I’d go with the other suggestions. I grew up in a pretty sunny environment and the aloe vera plant is a succulent so it could handle the heat, but some of my family farther north have it as well and it does just fine. Nonetheless, if you ever see it somewhere it is a natural and handy thing to have around (especially with children XD).

  8. Hello, I was reading your post and you are using Aveeno. Are you at all concerned about the Parabens, which among other problems may cause genital abnormalities in male babies and early onset puberty in girls?

  9. I hopped over here from MDA. What a wonderful blog you have here!

    I just thought I’d comment because I used the Aveeno to combat an itchy rash in my children when they were younger…only to realize it was the oatmeal they were eating (we don’t eat oatmeal anymore) that was causing the problem! They were reacting to the oat content of the Aveeno as well, which explains why it quit working after about a week. I know that oatmeal is often used as a skin tonic, historically speaking, but we grow so much wheat that most oatmeal has a lot of gluten in it, and it was the gluten that was the irritant.

    We now use aloe vera gel, coconut oil, and I’m checking into getting a MadeOne hard lotion bar. I have heard wonderful things about them!

  10. Itchiness expert here, sort of. A few years ago I got dermatographia, which has been with me in itchiness ever since. The doc mentioned that it can be tied to quick weight changes or hormonal changes. (Or a short, bad illness, which I had just had. The flu, spiking up to a really bad fever for a few days.)

    Once I mentioned the hormonal bit to my mom, she said, “Oh! I think you might get that from me. That could explain why I always saidI was allergic to having babies!”

    For her it kicked in after each baby – one week of agonizing itchies that they eventually gave her a topical analgesic for.

    In any case, it might be a little more information for your anti-itch crusade. Good luck!

  11. Another one popping over from MDA. I’ve fought eczema for years and have recently discovered a wonderful solution. I oil my skin daily with grapeseed oil. Its nice and light, and works AMAZINGLY well. I also apply it before a bath – which feels GREAT! Good luck, itchy and dry skin is not fun!! Great blog!

  12. Try jojoba oil! I use it straight to moisturize my face and hands. Just put a few drops on your hands and pat them over your skin – you don’t need much. I’ve heard jojoba is the oil that is most like the natural oils produced by our skin.

    I like it because it’s just a simple oil with no creepy ingredients.

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