Saturday, November 16, 2013

37 days into Topical Steroid Withdraw and 7 days on Elimination Diet

I stopped using all steroid creams on September 30, 2013 (37 days ago) to treat my nummular dermatitis (eczema). Nummular eczema occurs in localized, rounded (though not uniform) patches rather than distributed over large areas of skin.

Before then, this was me:

"I take 3 hot yoga classes a week, and 2 spinning classes (which include a massively awesome disco ball). I travel 3 days a week for work. I make all my husband's meals (breakfast, lunch, supper). I tidy the house, do the dishes (occasionally- bless that man's heart). I have a richness in friendship and a super fun social life. I'm independent, driven and really really happy!"

And now...I can't do a lot of that. Because I'm healing from Topical Steroid Withdraw and I'm on an elimination diet.

I no longer go to yoga. I no longer dance in spin class. I don't see my friends because getting dressed hurts. And I can't eat much because of my allergies. So yeah, I feel a little less like me. But I'm still driven, and happy!

Topical Steroid Withdraw:

Topical Steroid Withdraw is really well documented. And for any of you who have children on topical or other steroids for skin reasons, like eczema or rosacea...or who are using it yourselves - take a look at this: and

The skin gets addicted to steroids, and then the steroids start causing the skin condition. And then when I stopped using Steroids, my skin started kicking my ass. Hives, spreading of the eczema, worsening and enlarged areas of skin affected. Oh, and yeah I feel pretty unattractive with weeping, oozing red sores all over me.

Exercise, or anything that creates heat in my body creates swelling and pain - worse than I've ever had before.

Elimination Diet:

I went to my doctor to help cure my eczema after stopping steroid creams. She did allergy testing- I'm allergic to:

Casein (Dairy)
Cow's milk
Whey (Dairy)
Sugar Cane (wha?)

I've stopped eating all of this in the last week. The premise is that since my body reacts to these like they are toxins, when I stop eating them, my body can start healing rather than fighting toxins. My body has to clear out the steroid toxins in addition to any created by exposure to allergens like these.

More about the detoxification process: (Find out why symptoms get worse during an elimination diet, and why that's a GOOD thing).

All of the forums and blogs I've read recently have helped keep my spirits up. Here are a few:

They all mention how encouraging a picture journal can be. So fearlessly, here are a few photos of my skin today (about a month into Topical Steroid Withdraw (TSW) and 1 week into the elimination diet.) It's progressively worse since stopping steroids, and even worse since the elimination diet started.

Right elbow

Left elbow

Right leg

Right hip - the orange is an iodine cream I use to keep infection at bay

Other affected areas: Neck, back, armpits

Since stopping steroid creams entirely on September 31, 2013 (currently on day 37 or about 1 month) my quality of life has gone down considerably- exercise used to be my #1 stress relief and social outlet. Self-esteem drops when you feel like you look like Frankenstein's monster (oh I know that's not fair, the poor monster was so misunderstood and lonely).

So what? It's temporary!

I have amazing support at home, I am strong in spirit- and am relentlessly optimistic. Positivity will always create a better environment - at work or at home to heal in.  I am healing. I am going to be a better, healthier, stronger person after all this. And in the meantime, put on some comfy cotton clothes, get the rest my body is telling me it needs and look on the sunny side of life.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekly Training

The spreadsheet in the New Tracking Spreadsheet post outlines calories burned in each activity, for each day of the week. When I made that spreadsheet, this is what I envisioned for those activities:

MondayOff (recovery from Sunday workout!)
Tuesday45min Treadmill, including 15min upper body weights
Wednesday20min 30 Day Shred (maybe Level 3?)
Thursday45min Treadmill
Friday75min Vinyasa Flow (Hot!) with my fave teacher, Tracy Mann at Hot Yoga on 17th!
Saturday45 Treadmill (recovery from bday party I'm throwing for husband Friday night)
Sunday40min hard workout video, maybe Amy Dixon's (she's tough!)

Focus on Salad

Salads are a gift from the planet- there's no denying that the bounty of the earth is best displayed in a big color-filled bowl of veggies, lean protein and quality carbohydrates. So how do we do them right? Especially since we can't subsist on iceberg lettuce (not the best nutritional variety) alone, and restaurant salads are now so packed with junk it is better to have a hamburger!
So here's the perfect formula for a healthy salad that will propel you towards better health, without the crap.
1. Start with the darkest greens you can find to maximize the nutrient value of your salad- most of the time that's spinach. But don't get hung up on it- pick whatever green base you like. You won't eat it if you start with a foundation you don't like. Greens are important for volume-and reduce the chance that you'll fill your salad bowl with junk.
2. Add some moisture- in the form of vegetables, or non-sweet fruits like peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. Want that glowy skin? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. These make your salad more colorful, and therefore nutritious and interesting- and help create that glow you can show off. Go crazy- add as much as you want to. Waterous (is that a word) vegetables also help keep you full.
3. Pitch in some protein using lean options like a combination of rice & beans (my fave!), your favorite chicken recipe (try my diet coke chicken recipe), tenderloin, tofu, tempeh or fish. Keep it to a half (1/2) a cup, or 3 oz if you are weighing the protein. Is it redundant if I mention this should not be breaded, nor fried, nor fatty options? You all know that.
4. Get fat in there too. And I'm not kidding. I love adding 1/2 an avocado to my salads either cubed, or on the side to spoon out. Other options can be the dressing you use.
5. Dress it with only the highest quality olive oil (best taste) with lemon juice and best-quality balsamic vinaigrette. It's the simplest, and best choice for bringing out the natural greatness already in your bowl. Just for kicks, try reading the label of most grocery-store dressings- I bet you can't pronounce or spell in a bee most of the ingredients. That means- don't you put it in your mouth.
6. Lastly, add your pizazz, your flair, your style in a tasteful way. Keep additions like dried fruit and nuts to very small proportions and never candied options. They are there to add crunch and interest- so don't forget them. Just don't blow your bowl of goodness with over-using complimentary additions. I use 1 Tbsp of sesame seeds or hemp hearts, or 2 Tbsp of pumpkin or sunflower seeds, raw and un-salted and un-sweetened. Try fresh fruit options instead of dried ones to add to the moisture content instead of dried options.