Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Healing Food Allergies

When we first began my experimental diet changes after suspecting food allergies, Bee was not doing well.



She was one miserable, itchy, rashy, red, sleep deprived, underweight, little girl.  After eliminating gluten, we could tell a difference in her demeanor and her skin was less inflamed.  Our next step was a RAST test which helped us uncover more allergies.  We eliminated those foods as well and watched more progress.



Though she was doing better, she still had rashes and she still had bouts of crankiness.  Sometimes the inflammation led us to discover another allergen and other times the inflammation was impossible to explain.  For one year we fought the eczema and the rashes and the hives and the staph infections and the fungal infections.  Much of the time I wasn't sure if we were winning or if her allergies were.



Today, Bee has more days of clear, beautiful skin than the rashy, inflamed skin of her babyhood.  What we've learned is that healing takes time.  Dietary changes were an essential step in Bee's healing as were the cool tub soaks and keeping her skin hydrated-inside (through drinking water) and out (through lotions to seal in moisture).  But the changes did not cause her condition to improve over night or in a week or even in a month.  We slowly saw improvements and our journey was two steps forward and one step back.  We gradually moved in the right direction but experienced many setbacks as well.  At times, we were frustrated and other times elated with small steps of progress.



After about a year, we were having more positive moments and more breakthroughs than setbacks.  I am so thankful we did not give up before we reached the point of forward progress.  Many times we were tempted to quit, to put her on long-term daily medications, to use steroids, to forego dietary restrictions.  All of the hard work, the time consuming bath and lotion rituals, and the painstaking label reading and careful cooking has paid off huge dividends.



Closely monitoring Bee's diet was the key to our success, but that success was not achieved over night.  It took weeks for her system to cleanse itself of the allergens.  Then it took months for her body to begin to heal itself.  And it took a year to discover how to stay one step ahead of the inflammation to keep it from becoming out of control.  Through the process, I have been given so much respect for the way our bodies function and how they were created.  Healing from the damage of undetected food allergies takes time, but healing is possible.

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