How Eczema Led Our Family Down a More Natural & Organic Path
It all started when we had to slather our baby with moisturizer multiple times each day in order to help his severe eczema. I began to think about his weakened skin barrier and how it was possible some of these creams could pass through his skin layers and into his body. So I started looking at the ingredients. Yikes! Since cortisone had made our son’s skin worse and I was less than thrilled with the concept of steroids, it was the first to go. Next were most of the drugstore creams, most of which had stung our son’s skin when applied. Needless to say, my son was doing the happy dance when those were moved to the back of the closet. We tried to move to products with more natural ingredients that I could pronounce and understand. Realizing that these simple, alcohol-free, non-toxic, natural skincare products were hard to come by was why we started The Eczema Company.
Natural skincare – Check.
Then I realized – eek! Think about what we’re putting into our bodies…especially my poor little eczema baby. The one covered in head-to-toe eczema. I began to understand the food allergy – eczema connection. Allergy testing was inconclusive, but an elimination diet led us to his food allergies. So, we said goodbye to our son’s food triggers.
Food allergies – Check.
Now, what about the quality of our food? Organic vs. conventional? GM foods, what’s that? Really, I should be buying local? Oh.
I made the conscious decision to buy organic when possible by starting with a few things and adding to the list when we could. But man, organic foods can give you a bad case of sticker shock. I would love to buy everything organic, but we just couldn’t financially afford it.
Conventional (non-organic) pesticides are toxic chemicals that I did not want in my food supply. Since cutting them out completely at first wasn’t an option, I started with the Dirty Dozen per the Environmental Working Group. Their list is updated each year I believe, and this list is up-to-date as of today’s post.
Per EWG, the top 12 most pesticide-laden produce is as follows:
- Nectarines (imported from outside US/Canada)
- Grapes (imported from outside US/Canada)
- Sweet Bell Peppers (I’m guess this means red, yellow, orange)
- Blueberries (domestic!!!)
- Kale/Collard Greens
And we can’t forget about GMs. Genetically modified foods (GM) are still controversial, but I’ve decided it’s not worth the unknown risk to my family. Splicing the genes and DNA of our produce and farm animals is just a little too scientific and I really don’t want it anywhere near my food. Thankfully there are only certain foods that are genetically modified today. Since organic foods are not allowed to be genetically modified, I decided to play it safe and ONLY buy the following products organic. For more great info on GM foods, check out this page from WikiHow.
GM Food – adding these to the organic shopping list:
- Sugar Beets (check your sugar products)
- Dairy (Cow only)
- Aspartame/Amino Sweet (moving to natural sweeteners instead – maple syrup and honey to be exact)
- Farm Raised Salmon
And did you know?
- Pesticides can’t necessarily be washed off. Many times they are in the soil and therefore absorbed into the produce. So peeling may not help.
- A 5-digit produce number beginning with an 8 is GM.
- A 5-digit produce number beginning with a 9 is organic.
- These numbers are not required, so don’t trust produce without a numbered label.
- Make sure the label on your organic product reads “100% organic.” Products just labeled as “organic,” could still contain up to 30% GMs!
- Just because you don’t eat anything in the GM food list above doesn’t mean you’re not getting trace amounts of GM food in your diet. Farm animals could be eating GM grain or feed. A good reason to buy organic meats.
So, in summary, we eat lots of fruits and veggies, buying organic when we can and often from the Dirty Dozen and GM lists above.
How do you determine what’s safe for your family to eat? Do you buy organic? Are you concerned with genetically modified foods?