Welcome to my new blog! I created this space for sharing natural remedies and solutions that have helped me along the way. Some remedies I’ve tried and they were okay. Some tips I’ve been meaning to try because I’ve heard wonderful things about them. But as I travel on this journey, it is important that I try to use home remedies and natural products that are plant-based. That means no honey, no goat’s milk, no bone broth, or whatever else in the animal kingdom. I do follow a plant-based lifestyle. But I live with my husband and ten-year-old son who do not follow that lifestyle, so I leave the honey and what-nots to them. Anyway, let’s get started!
All my life I’ve had an abundance of allergies and severe dry skin. I’ve suffered from eczema from the age of nine. After school, I remember taking off my turtleneck and seeing blood stains from scratching the back of my neck all day. As I got older, I experienced random bouts of flare-ups but it never occurred to me to change my diet or lifestyle. As a teenager, I hated that dermatologist visits were a regular part of my existence. But no one, including my doctor, suggested that the oily pepperoni slices or the milk chocolate bar I enjoyed might be the culprit in my skin issues.
Later, as a 20-something working adult, I befriended a vegetarian. She was a lacto-ovo/pescatarian-type vegetarian but she ate no meat whatsoever. I was fascinated! She always had bounds of energy and could go clubbing and hop on that NYC transit iron horse at 4:00 a.m. with the best of them. It sparked something in me. But it wasn’t until three years later that I finally made the leap. I still ate eggs, cheese, and fish occasionally, but I considered myself a full-fledged vegetarian.
I was doing fine for a while—until I got pregnant with my son in my thirties. After giving birth, my hormonal changes were never the same. I would experience vicious and painful eczema flare-ups that were just indescribable. I had long since stopped using corticosteroids to alleviate the rashes because I didn’t know how they would affect my son during my pregnancy. I discovered that unrefined shea butter was a godsend for scars. Flare-ups would come and go over the next few years.
Finally, I had my worst flare-up about two years ago. Why? I had been a vegetarian/pescatarian for thirteen years. Wasn’t I healthy? I was under a tremendous amount of stress but I thought my diet was okay. But I was in pain yet again. So I really started questioning what I was doing with my body. I had toyed with the idea of veganism but I always thought it was too restrictive. But it was either continue the way I was or look at a new way of eating that might actually help my behind. Then, I did some research and found out that veganism wasn’t restrictive. It is kind. It is compassionate. And hallelujah, it is HEALTHY! But not restrictive. Now I’ve been following a plant-based diet for two years and it has helped my skin immensely. I will get a rare mild rash on areas where I sweat like my back during the winter because of the dry heat and low humidity but I am pretty much eczema-free now.
There are some remedies that have really helped throughout the years. I’ve found that dry skin is really dehydrated skin. It is best to start from the inside out. With that in mind, here are some things that have helped me along the way
Moisturize from the Inside
I love to eat fleshy, pulpy fruit that is full of water. Oranges, pineapples, and mangoes fit that bill. These fruits are great sources of vitamin C, which helps prevent free radical damage to your skin and aids in wound healing. But be careful because fruit does contain sugar, which can wreak havoc on your skin. So limit your servings. Also, nothing beats plain ole’ water in terms of hydrating your skin. Green tea is also great because it contains antioxidant that bind to those free radicals to prevent damage to your skin. Dark leafy greens like kale and mustard have chlorophyll, which boosts your immune system and beta-carotene for skin tissue renewal. In addition, I like to put at least a teaspoon of coconut oil, another immune-system supporter, on my avocado toast in the mornings.
Oil and Butter are Your Friends
I love any oil or butter that is antibacterial or antimicrobial. These properties promote faster wound healing. Shea butter is all those things. I mix my shea butter with coconut oil (see above plus antiviral), sweet almond oil, jojoba oil (also antibacterial) and vitamin E oil for a moisturizer.
Life is stressful sometimes, we all know that. Won’t stop, can’t stop. But we all have to develop ways to alleviate that. I’ve found that meditating for at least 8 to 10 minutes during the mornings before everyone else gets up really helps with that. There are many, many websites that can help you learn meditation. I learned meditation several years ago but I’ve probably been doing it seriously for the last two years. Here’s a short primer*:
- Sit in a sturdy chair or in lotus position with your hands resting comfortably in your lap
- Fixate on a spot about two feet in front of you
- Soften your gaze
- Bring a sense of awareness to the area below your belly button
- Use a mantra as you inhale and exhale
- Observe as you breathe in and out
These are just some of the methods that have helped me. What are some things that have helped you?
*Please note I am not a recognized expert of any kind on meditation. After attending a few meditation centers in New York, this is just what I do for my own practice.