Whole New Mom Answers Your Questions ~ May 11, 2012

Question Mark

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Q&A post, but finally here’s another one.

This week, we’re tacking questions on Eczema, Sunscreens, Natural Sweeteners, and more.

I’ve so wanted to be able to be a resource to others and just love how the health posts have turned into a help for so many (and how I’ve been helped by so many of your comments as well!

My family has been through so much from:

It’s hard to deal with all of these things, but it makes it easier when you know that your struggles have been used to bless others.

We’ve also been through a lot financially–mainly trying to “make it” on a single income (that is well below six figures :-)), with a special needs child, with medical expenses and well . . . things aren’t getting cheaper now, are they?

Anyway, I’ve always had a passion to share, but it’s a lot more efficient to share on the internet than just be word of mouth.

So Whole New Mom was born.

My desire with this kind of post is to field questions on any topic (within reason :-)) that you might like to ask:

  • whole foods
  • special diets
  • food allergies
  • substitutions (like for egg [see my egg replacer recipe], sweeteners, etc.)
  • budgeting (saving money, inflation…)
  • health topics (autism, adrenal health, heavy metals,….)
  • anything else (within reason, right?)  By the way, my hubby is not a fixit man (but he’s working on it) but he is kind of an expert on some things so feel free to ask away.  If it has to do with whole health in some way and I can’t answer it, maybe he can chime in :-).)

I can’t promise that I’ll know the answer, but I’ll try my best ;-).

And then all of you can just chime in the comments section and we can all help each other out.

So–ready?  Set?  Let’s go!

(Oh–and you can e-mail your questions to me at wholenewmom {at} gmail {dot} com.   Just put “Whole New Mom Answers Your Questions” or “WNM Answers” in the Subject area so it catches my eye more quickly!)

Today’s questions from readers like you are….

Natural Sunscreens:

Question from Lynda:

Hi,
Just wondering if anyone is aware of any natural or close to, sunscreens avail for purchase anywhere?
Thank you,

Lynda

Adrienne’s Answer:

Linda, I actually looked into this a lot this past year.  Generally I try not to spend too much time in the sun but sometimes we can’t help it (and I spent waaaaay too much time in the sun in my younger years so I really want to be careful not to get any additional exposure.)

Anyway, this list from Environmental Working Group is just fabulous.  It takes awhile to poke through, but you can for sure find some really good options.

I ended up purchasing my sunscreen at Iherb. They have really competitive pricing and a wealth of other great products to choose from.

Alternatively, you could check Vitacost.  If you’re new to them you get $10 off your first order!  (they have sunscreens starting at $1.66 right now!)

Question about Coconut Oil uses, Sugar Substitutes, Bloating and Gas:

From Natasha:  

So, I am also tired often but right now my main concern is the bloating and gas that I get.  I have (not very well) tried gluten free, dairy free but I get mixed messages and confused and am just plain not good at it.  So, do you have any pointers on how to gradually do these things?  I guess I just don’t really know where to start!  I don’t drink milk (I have almond milk to use when I need milk).  Can I still have yogurt?  What about cheese?

By the way…when I want to do baking for my family (and myself), what should I use as a sugar substitute?  ….and do you recommend using coconut oil in baking and frying???  Thanks!

Thanks for much for taking the time to help me out!

Adrienne’s Answer:

Well, of course, I am not a doctor, but I will tell you my experience and what I have heard from others.  If I were that tired (and I have had a lot of fatigue in my life) I would get my thyroid checked and consider that adrenal fatigue might be an issue.  It was for me.  You can see one of my posts on adrenal fatigue here where you can take an adrenal fatigue test.

Bloating and gas, are typically regarded in alternative care as being digestive issues (well, that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?) and a lot of people in alternative medicine think that candida is the issue.  In order to deal w/ candida, the recommended dietary changes would mainly be no sugar or sweeteners that affect blood sugar.

For sweeteners, since we are all extremely sensitive to carbohydrates, we currently only use:

stevia extract
(it’s super sweet – 1/32 tsp = 1 T sugar!)

xylitol

erythritol

vegetable glycerine

 

 

hoping to try coconut sugar and palm sugar soon

Also limiting starches, especially simple ones.

That is what I have done for our family.

I take a really great digestive enzyme and probiotic and have found that to be a big help, but the changes in my diet have helped the most.

I personally think that going sugar free has helped me much more than going gluten free.  But I am gluten free and dairy free also.

If you are dairy free you cannot have cheese or yogurt.  But you could have something like almond milk (that you are already having). Did you see my post on The Easiest Almond Milk Ever?

Also, I hope to post on how to make your own Coconut Yogurt soon.

You also might wish to try my Almond Feta.

My son, who has a life threatening allergy to dairy, loves it.  I’m hoping to work on other alternatives as well.

I hope that helps.

Regarding coconut oil, the smoke point for coconut oil is typically indicated as being 350 degrees so you would want to heat it below that temperature.

I do use coconut oil but don’t do a whole lot of frying. Palm oil’s smoke point is indicated as being 450 degrees so that would be a much better choice for high temp cooking.

You can find both oils at Tropical Traditions (you get a nice informational cookbook when you purchase your first order with them.) I use their coconut oil but am looking at other options for palm.

Eczema

Questions from Lydia:

First can I say thank you so much for sharing all of your learnings! There’s just so much to learn, it really helps to have someone who’s been there :)

My current focus is my partner’s eczema. He’s had it since an infant, and of course the only thing conventional (and thus funded!) medicine says is to slather it in steroids. I’ve heard a lot that the source of eczema is the gut, and I’m trying to think of ways to fix it. This is made harder by the fact he’s pretty sceptical of my ‘hippy stuff’, but he’s come around to a few things and one by one I can introduce new stuff. I’m particularly interested in anything that is guaranteed to work, and quickly! – though I’ve long since learned that’s a fantasy :) Also: we’re students, so as much as I’d love to have him take fermented cod liver oil every day the budget just doesn’t allow for that.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about starting water kefir, milk kefir or kombucha, to get his bacterial balance right. I was wondering what your thoughts are about which one to start with. (I only have the mental energy to start one at a time!). Milk kefir has the advantage of being able to be described as ‘a new type of yoghurt’, so that’ll be easily accepted, but I’m also thinking that since lots of people say their eczema gets worse when they eat dairy it might be better to stick with water kefir for now. But I hear raw milk is said to improve eczema – so maybe I should use that? So far I’ve had indications both ways about dairy being a problem.. as yet unsure.

THEN I was thinking about kombucha. The sight of it might not go down well, so getting him to drink it could be difficult (or even allow it in the house!), and I hear it has fewer strains of bacteria, but then candida is meant to be a problem with eczema isn’t it, and kombucha is the only one that kills that? He does eat what I consider to be too much sugar, though for a 23yo guy I guess it’s probably below average, but phasing out soft drinks is another one of those slow missions I work on! (energy drinks are all but gone now at least!). At 23yo I doubt he’d have mercury fillings, and I don’t think he has many fillings anyway. He probably did get all his vaccines though..

Anyway, sorry for the rant, please let me know if you have any thoughts/ideas

PS interestingly the only time in his life he didn’t have eczema was when he was in Japan for a year on student exchange. Unfortunately the complete change in diet and environment he had there means that narrowing down the factors that contribute to his eczema is impossible! E.g.
- not living in NZ, where we have huge allergy problems, presumably due to something in our environment
- eating wild salmon every day
- drinking green tea all day
- eating seaweed every day
- very little dairy, wheat or processed sugar all year
- very little processed food at all! (he lived out in a tiny village)

As much as I would love to change all of those things for him it would be very expensive (salmon on special here is $25/kg!), and he’s also kinda resistant to eating differently to the NZ norm (and loves his takeaways, though at least Subway is the main one).

Thanks again

Adrienne’s Answer:

Lots to think about, but mainly, I think the most interesting info is in your “P.S”.  Clearly there are a lot of differences going on b/t his life without eczema and with it.

My own experience in our family is that eczema was from food allergies and candida.  My son had HORRIBLE eczema due to what I was eating when he was nursing and later had outbreaks when he was struggling w/ candida, whether it was from eating sugar, too much dried fruit, or too many starches even.

The literature that I have read talks about eczema being an allergic issue, but my experience says it might be different.

There are a lot of alternative practitioners who say that eczema is an external manifestation of an internal issue and that if you just use creams, the internal issue will still be there and will cause problems.

So the point that they are making is–deal with the cause and not just the effect.

I am not sure what you are referring to with kombucha having fewer strains of bacteria as it relates to eczema.  However, there are lots of candida regiments and things that are supposed to kill / treat candida on the internet.

Standard things that I have had recommended to me as natural candida treatments are:

          • good probiotics
          • good diet (no sugar / low starch)
          • supplements or herbs
          • reduction of heavy metals (I am doing this now too).
During my time struggling with candida, some of what I have used are:

 Phellostatin by Health Concerns (I have found this to be very powerful).
This what I am currently taking.

Grapefruit Seed Extract 

Olive Leaf  Extract

For metals, I am doing adrenal work including Nutritional Balancing and using liquid zeolite ( you can see it on my Store Page).

I hope that helps.  It’s not easy to deal with eczema, or candida, but you are asking good questions.

Oh -one more thing.  My current practitioner said that when you have sugar sensitivities (which candida is), taking kombucha would not necessarily be the right choice.  You do need to make sure that the sugar is all gone.  A friend just recommended a hydrometer for testing kombucha to see how much sugar is in it.   Might be a good idea!!  Here’s one I found on Amazon that seems to have good reviews:

Hydrometer for testing sugar content

 

Well that’s a lot for this week!  If you have a question(s) that you’d like me to tackle, please email me at wholenewmom at gmail dot com.

Remember:  please write “Whole New Mom Answers” or “WNMA” in the subject line so I catch it easily.

Thanks!

What do you think?  Got any advice or thoughts on the above questions?  

I and our readers would LOVE to hear them!

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Shared at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Comments

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  1. leslie borody says:

    hi lydia… in response to your eczema question: i had it BAD for at least a year.. i couldn’t bend my fingers very well, i kept dropping things.. i feared giving my son a bath, or changing his diaper (anything involving water)… i tried all these creams and prescriptures.. i tried to keep open to all possible options for healing and i hated spending money on something only to make my hands break out worse.. olive oil and gel straight from the aloe vera plant caused my hands to react.. that made me sooo upset.. and then i realized (like most of these above posts are about) that my hands were reacting to some foods.. i couldn’t totally elminate stuff at first.. changing my diet i felt would be the hardest route to go and after about a year, i had no other choice.. and i love my coffee so i didn’t give that up just cut down on the caffeine a bit.. but i started with dairy cause there is lots of info out there about cutting it out. i switched it for almond milk.. which i can’t stand on its own.. but in smoothies or on my cereal it wasn’t so bad. and i ate goat cheese instead of cheddar. YOGURT was totally fine for me but i did switch to plain yogurt and blend my fruit into it. i also noticed when i ate spaghetti sauce that my hands got real itchy.. and broke out so bad.. so i held off a few weeks and then tested it again. and i was convinced. then i came across night shade vegetables.. its worth googling . white potatoes are in the same family as tomatoes and i also reacted to white potatoes. so some dairy and nightshade vegetables are what i eliminated and my hands stopped having breakouts, but they were still dry and cracked and by this time my smoothies consisted of banana, yogurt, strawberries, almond milk and ground flax seed. THEN i read about probiotics and how healing they are for those who suffer with eczema, but i didn’t want to spend the money… then i read about KEFIR MILK and how its loaded with probiotics… and i found a LIBERTE brand.. its from quebec. they make yogurt and kefir milk. so i figured i can afford this one.. so i started adding it to my smoothies and i switched my almond milk for coconut milk and my hands actually didn’t even need moisturizer any more.. so yeah.. i went through a lot but found something that works amazing.. not just something to help my hands so i can tolerate using them.. i feel like i can do so much now.. and i am not afraid of water anymore.. lol.. good luck! i hope this helps. :) ps- i know what its like having a stubborn husband who is used to what he likes and not want to change his diet no matter how sick he is. i think its been gradual but he is starting to come around now especially after he saw how my hands have been healed and how i tried all sorts of things and only by changing my diet did i receive full healing.

  2. This is from a reader who asked me to share this:

    Hi,

    Regarding Lydia’s husband’s eczema, our daughter has had it since she was a toddler. A few years ago, she went to a homeopath who told her to eliminate potatoes and come back in a week. The eczema was completely gone and has never come back.
    I thought it was interesting that he didn’t have any problems when he was in Japan and would not have eaten potatoes while there.
    just had to share her success story.

    Sara

  3. Sounds like there are some folks here with potential oxalate issues. Do a Google on oxalates and Susan J. Owens.

    Best,
    Tara

  4. Look forward to reading the post on coconut yogurt! I LOVE yogurt and have yet to try coconut yogurt because it is so expensive! I also want to learn to make Kefir.

  5. I make my own kefir from raw milk I get from a local Amish farmer. It’s not great to drink straight, but I use it in my smoothies, and plan to start making cheese from it too. It’s incredibly easy. I got cultures from a friend that I keep in a glass mason jar. I pour 1-2 cups raw milk over it and let it ferment on the counter with the lid resting on top (not secured tightly). Within 24 hours it’s ready. If I can’t consume it all, I store it in the fridge. Also, if I need to go out of town, I store the kefir grains in the fridge tightly covered.

  6. I have has eczema all my life as well and it has recently gotten worse even though I have cleaned up my diet drastically. Gave up dairy, gluten and sugar (well mostly sugar). So a lot of people who gave up some foods I have already done and still getting it. Frustrating as it could be so many things! Not sure what else to do.

    • Hmmm… my practitioner says that eczema can be related to copper toxicity as well. Have you looked into other foods that you may be allergic to perhaps?