I have been on a constant quest to clear up the itchy, rashy skin on my face, neck and hands which has been a recurring problem over the last year or so. I’ve tried many things including seeing my doctor, using hydrocortisone steroid creams, antihistamine pills, seeing a Chinese doctor, Chinese herbal soups and remedies, consulting an allergist, Bioenergetic treatments, a candida cleanse, supplements, trying out every single skincare product at Sephora, natural skincare/body products, making my own natural skincare products, and most recently, seeing a Naturopathic doctor and getting some bloodwork done.
Some things worked for me in the short term but ultimately, what I’m really after is a long term solution. Seeing the naturopathic doctor was by far the most expensive but very useful in terms of providing me with information on what was going on inside my body. I learned that my hormones were all out of balance, that my digestive and immune system wasn’t functioning well, adrenal glands were burnt out, cortisol levels are way out of whack, I have a Vitamin D deficiency, and among all other things, my neck was apparently cramped. So many problems, but I guess that’s what I get for slacking off, not taking proper care of myself and not sleeping enough. So it’s time to get back to a healthier lifestyle. I was prescribed a few supplements to take, to change the way I eat, and sleep more.
With the knowledge gained from various professionals and hours of personal research I’ve been doing – because as you know you can’t blindly trust everything you hear and read without doing your own investigating. From each experience and research, I did notice there were certain common elements to the advice given. Most of which has lead me to conclude that I need to heal myself from the inside out and for this, I will use good, natural, whole foods as my medicine. My plan would be to cut out all the potential allergy and inflammation inducing foods like dairy, wheat, gluten, processed foods, and sugar to see how my body reacts and feels. And of course for skincare I have been going more natural and minimalist to reduce the toxic ingredients I’ve probably been putting on my skin. Coconut oil and shea butter have been my skin’s best friends.
The real tipping point for me was an incident that happened back at the end of March. I was all set to fly out to Vancouver to support and lift at my friend Tricia Dong’s OKC Vancouver Kettlebell Competition for the weekend, like literally at the airport and waiting for the plane. Lucky for me the flight was delayed as I was flying standby. During that time I was at the airport, I had some extreme allergic reaction/inflammation in my face that just kept getting worse which made me ultimately have to decide not to fly out.
Back in mid March I had signed up for my friend Jennifer Hintenberger’s April 28 Day Challenge. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, plus it was a good way to keep myself accountable and not slip back into bad habits. Now that the challenge is completed, I just wanted to recap my experience.
My main goals going into this were to:
• figure out my food allergies/triggers
• clear up my skin rashes
• improve digestion
• boost immune system
• build healthier eating habits
• feel healthier
• lose weight
I was so excited to start that over the weekend, I read over all the information provided and went food shopping to stock up on some essentials for the week:
On April 4, 2016 I began my 28 day challenge. I did see some gradual but very positive changes along the way. Throughout the challenge I noticed decreased inflammation, less bloating, reduced cravings, and an increase in energy.
Week 1 thoughts:
I am down 5.8lbs so far and loving the 28 day challenge. My skin is slowly clearing up but some days have been better than others and I still get a bit of redness and dryness. I have been learning lots about which foods that my body does not respond well to. My face would usually break out and feel itchy if something doesn’t agree. So, for now I know my trigger foods are cherries, mango, cantaloupe, kiwis, raw onions and garlic. Overall, i am feeling good and look forward to healing myself more in the following weeks. For skincare I have just been using coconut oil and shea butter, which has been working well for me.
Week 2 thoughts:
This week was a bit of a rough one, my face was really red and dry for most of it. I continued with my nutrition goals and cooked a healthy dinner every night.
I lost another 2.6lbs this week, making it a total of 8.4lbs lost so far.
Week 3 thoughts:
Skin improved a lot since last week and still is a bit red and dry. Weight is steady and I am down a total of 9lbs since week 1.
I have been discovering that there are still so many great food options despite cutting out the wheat, gluten and dairy.
Been craving dessert so I attempted a raw vegan key lime tart recipe, which became lemon tarts
On the weekend I participated in the Mercedes Oakville 10k run.
Also went to see my doctor this week but was told to just use the steroid creams and Claritin and Benedryl pills to control my allergies, AND that there’s no medical evidence showing that nutrition plays a role in causing my skin flare ups. I also wanted to get a referral to see a dermatologist but he denied my request and told me that I would not gain any further insight from seeing one. *sigh* It was overall a pretty useless appointment.
Week 4 thoughts:
It has been a good week. Aside from a bit of dryness on my face, my skin is definitely not red or inflamed. Maybe a bit pink at times, but overall I feel great! My weight stayed pretty steady.
I am really happy with my results during this 28 day challenge. It has been life changing! I was literally healing my skin and body with food which is AMAZING!! In total I lost 10 pounds but most importantly I feel great! My body responded really well to the nutrition, it has helped me get back on track with my healthy eating, and I have had a significant reduction in itch and inflammation attacks that would usually occur on my face, neck, and hands. Also, by being in a private Facebook group with Jennifer and fellow challengers, this added a level of interaction as well as a motivational and inspirational aspect to this challenge which I thought was great. All of us were taking photos of our food and sharing our ideas. This definitely appealed to the foodie in me. I got to inspire other and vice versa.
I will definitely continue another month on this to keep myself accountable and heal myself further. I didn’t do as many workouts as I would’ve liked to during this challenge so will aim to do more in the next.
If you’re interested in signing up, go to: http://www.jenniferhintenberger.com/nutrition.html
July Update: I am still on the challenge. Who knew I’d end up signing up for another 2 months! I am doing great! My skin has cleared up, I lost a bit more weight, clothes are fitting better, I’m feeling leaner, cortisol and adrenal levels are improving, and digestion and immune system are continuing to heal.