When eczema shows up in my family I know it’s time to clean up a few things. The body is trying to tell us we need get rid of some internal toxins and problematic residue of poor digestion. If eczema is showing up for you, get ready to clean house, so to speak.

Eczema is a skin condition characterized by red, often itchy, rashes appearing on the hands, feet, arms, legs, face, neck and/or upper chest. It often begins in childhood and can continue into adulthood. But with the right diet, supplementation program, and by reducing chemical usage, you could be well on your way to healthy skin!

We can’t expect ourselves or our children to eat healthy 100 per cent of the time. But once in a while, we may need to button things up and clean our systems out for three to four weeks. In doing so, you might find you’ll have increased energy, better immune capacity, clearer thinking, decreased allergy symptoms, a boost in mood, or all of the above.

Below is a plan to alleviate eczema that uses diet and supplements to combat bacteria, fungus, poor digestion and food sensitivities – all of which eczema sufferers typically have. And, it works in our household and can be fun to include everyone in the planning.

Food

Most eczema sufferers unknowingly have allergies or intolerances to milk, eggs and peanuts, and possibly pork and wheat. Sugar and yeast can also exacerbate the problem because they feed Candida, so they too must be eliminated. Other foods to avoid include highly processed foods, trans fats, processed meats, margarines and other processed oils.

This may sound like a radical change in diet, but don’t fear. Here are some of our household favourite, healthy suggestions for foods that kids will enjoy:

-Whole grain spaghetti and wild meat sauce;

-Sweet potato fries with burger patties;

-Tortilla chips with fresh salsa and guacamole;

-Sliced apples, cinnamon and butter (yes, it’s a dairy product but it’s typically okay with this program) on wholegrain pancakes;

-Fresh berries, seeds, and coconut on top of slow-cooked oats;

-Curry squash soup made with coconut milk; and

-Almond butter and sliced banana on rice crackers.

There are also recipes and meal plans available online, including http://www.candidaplan.com/new/mealplanning/the_planner.php.

Basically, eating vegetables, whole grains, good quality protein and some fresh fruit is best. Stay away from breads because of the yeast, but wraps and yeast-free are okay.

Supplements

Probiotic supplements should be taken on an empty stomach and can be purchased in capsule form or in chewable tablets.

Enzymes should be taken with each meal to aid digestion, and can be purchases as capsules or in chewable form. If fresh produce, fermented foods, or sprouts are available, they can be used in place of supplements as they provide a natural source of enzymes.

Omega-3 fats such as cod liver oil or organic flaxseed oil are highly beneficial for skin health and are usually deficient in people with eczema.

Yeast killers are also necessary and can be administered with a small amount of pure juice. I like using Oil of Oregano, but you can also use grapefruit seed extract in liquid or capsules.

Herbal applications

An increase in skin rashes may appear initially when doing a program like this, because the body is circulating and removing toxins. Rashes can be treated with a tea tree, calendula, or chamomile salve. I also found in Bev Gray`s book Boreal Herbal, that local red clover can be used, as well as birch, bed straw and dandelion root.

Being Gentle to the Skin

It’s important to be chemical-free. Ditch the fragrant hand soaps, dish soaps, shampoos, body fragrances and laundry detergents for a while. They can definitely irritate sensitive skin.

While prescribed lotions and creams can be helpful during an eczema outbreak, it will not cure the underlying problem. If your child or someone you know suffers from eczema, try this program out. It can be a fun challenge if you approach it the right way.

Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon countryside with her family and has just completed her diploma in holistic nutrition.

Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon countryside with her family and has just completed her diploma in holistic nutrition.