Erin's Story: Healing Her Daughter's Eczema
Erin Greaney is a busy mom. Not that there is any other kind.
Mom to two, she's always been about convenience. Having grown up on staples like microwaved pepperoni and cheese sandwiches and vegetables that came from a can, Erin understood that food was supposed to be fast and easy. In her mind, being healthy simply meant limiting the number of cookies in a snack.
So when her first child was born with eczema, it never occurred to Erin to think about diet as a potential root cause.
She tried every cream and every prescription offered by the pediatrician. Sometimes there was success, but always fleeting.
Over time, the eczema got worse. After two years, and with a mother's determination, Erin started to research.
100 Days of Real Food turned on a light bulb for Erin.
"It was the first time I was introduced to the idea that processed food could be the root cause of many health issues. I wanted to see if cutting it out could heal my daughter's skin."
Despite resistance from a husband who saw no reason to change, Erin started by switching all white flour products to whole wheat.
"This was a pretty easy change since I was able to find so many good recipes online."
She started reading labels. Fresh or frozen vegetables replaced the canned versions. Eventually she cut out added sugars and food dyes.
"This was the hardest part. I didn't realize how many breads have added sugar."
Erin then took part in a detox challenge, where she also eliminated wheat and dairy (and coffee, because she only had it with cream). Two weeks in, she noticed a difference.
"My stubborn acne went away and I had more energy. To this day, I am still dairy and wheat free, and I limit how much my kids have."
Around that time, Erin was also introduced to nontoxic living. Another new concept, Erin was surprised to learn that dryer sheets, detergents, personal care products, and candles she was using might be having an effect on her family's health. Gradually, she began to change each item out for a safer alternative.
Has all this made a difference in her daughter's eczema?
"We started to see improvements in her skin within a month of making the initial changes. It took some time for it to completely clear, but once it was gone, it never came back."
And that's not all.
"At 1, my son was diagnosed with asthma. For two years we tried, but failed, to control his asthma with medication and spent many nights at Urgent Care. He also had chronic ear infections and we were told he would need tubes in his ears. Given that he was my healthier eater, I just figured it was out of my control, though I wanted to try anything other than steroid medication."
Erin's sister introduced her family to a supplement* that would provide extra nutrients.
That seemed to be the extra boost her son needed.
"There were no more ear infections and he's only had asthma twice in almost two years."
Erin's husband noticed similar improvement in his own asthma and is hardly ever sick these days. That, along with the improvements in his children's health, has been enough to convince him that lifestyle changes weren't such a bad idea after all.
She's also helped to convince many of her friends to make smoothies or carry salads in a jar when they travel.
But Erin is the first to admit her lifestyle is far from perfect, and she is okay with that.
She continues to learn new information and switch out for better alternatives as she is able. She strives to find balance in her children's diets as well, making no big deal over birthday cake, Halloween, or Girl Scout cookies.
"My kids ask for broccoli and peas at lunch, and I usually end up tossing out much of their Halloween candy. I want them to know that having a healthy lifestyle leaves room for the not-so-healthy stuff once in a while, too."
*Editor's Note: Part of the transition for Erin and her family included Juice Plus supplements. While I don't promote any particular supplement and believe a whole foods lifestyle is usually enough to improve many health issues, Erin is passionate about the product and believes it played an important role in her family's health. To learn more, you can contact Erin through firstname.lastname@example.org.