“Back in late 2015/early 2016, my eczema broke out in a way I have not experienced since I was in elementary school. It was all over my neck, back, arms and hands. It wasn’t just a visually irritating presence, but it made other life aspects more difficult because I was ridiculously itchy all the time. I couldn’t sleep through the night without waking up frantically scratching. This also woke up my husben meaning he wasn’t sleeping well either. I would scratch so hard I would bleed onto the bed sheets and my clothes. And it also hurt. When it was summer and hot, sweat would get into the cracks which stung. When it was winter and cold, the dry air made the cracks worse.
After months of many dermatology appointments, lots of steroid creams, getting rid of all my wool sweaters (it was a sad sad day), changing all my skin products (lotion, shampoo, conditioner, etc.), changing our detergents and soaps, and taking prescribed Benadryl (extra strong to sleep at night), I still saw zero change.
During a routine visit with my primary care practitioner suggested changing my diet. In her words, diet and the foods we eat are something we do and need every day for our bodies to function, so it would make sense that if we are struggling physically, it might have something to do with the food we’re eating. So she suggested trying the Whole30.
The Whole30 is an elimination diet aimed at resetting the body and determining how our bodies respond to different foods. It is 30 days of eliminating all foods that are known to be inflammatory in some way to the body. This does not mean that eating these foods are bad nor are they inherently “bad” foods, but they have been found to be inflammatory to the body in some way or another.
After the 30 days, there is a period of reintroduction in which the eliminated foods are slowly reintroduced into the diet. Because the body has been devoid of these foods, it’s more clear how the body responds and feels to these different foods, thereby helping us figure out what foods help our bodies feel great and which ones don’t.
My one goal with the Whole30 was to figure out if there was anything in my diet that was causing my eczema breakout. I was maybe a little skeptical, but also super hopeful as nothing else was working.
And it worked. My eczema cleared up completely by the end of the 30 days and my body also felt great internally. As I began to reintroduce foods into my diet, I learned what my body did not enjoy eating and which ones were generally okay to eat. Eating lots of popcorn did not do wonders for my stomach (which was sad because popcorn is my favorite snack) and gluten or large amounts of grains were the eczema culprits. I felt such freedom to finally know.
Since then I have done a few other Whole30 cycles as a way to reset my body after a season of particular poor eating and lots of gluten cheating. Each time has had it’s challenges and joys, but the benefits have always been there.
I’m no nutritional or dietary expert and I’m not a paid Whole30 ambassador, but I do think it’s been a great tool and resource for myself and other friends I know. Bonus, I also learned some great new cooking skills, tried lots of new foods, and now feel so much more at home in the kitchen, when I was slightly terrified of it before.”
-Valerie Pierce, Founder
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