The first thing I should say here is that I was on a low carbohydrate, high protein, paleo-style diet for approximately 4 years before I found the truth about creating true health in the body. I did not start it for my skin, despite me having eczema at the time – I started it because I was interested in the gym scene and thought it would help me build muscle. I was pretty strict on the diet, but I did binge out on carbohydrates from time to time, because it was just so hard to feel satiated without them. For the duration of my time eating this way, my skin got steadily worse, but I stuck with it because of all the bro-science being thrown around about it on the internet and at the gym.
Why People get Results on Paleo
The fundamental reason why eczema sufferers get short term relief on paleo is that they are not feeding candida. Candida feeds on sugar, a derivative of all carbohydrates, and if it’s not in the blood stream, the candida is not being fed. However, the body itself is also not being adequately fed, and this is where the problems lie. I do understand where the overall idea comes from of removing carbohydrates from the diet in an attempt to stop feeding candida, but the problem comes from deciding what to eat instead.
Unless we become breatharian, we are going to need to eat food, and the paleo answer to this is meat. They call it ‘protein’, but forget to tell you about the fat content. They tell you how our ancient ancestors ate mainly meat, but don’t tell you that the healthiest communities on earth in 2017 eat a largely plant-based diet. They’ll tell you that sugar is the fuel of candida, but fail to tell you that excess intracellular fat is the reason the candida got out of hand in the first place. What’s more, animal-derived protein has been linked with a variety of diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. So even if it works to get some relief from eczema, why risk the chance of one of these more life-threatening diseases?
Many people get results on paleo because it has encouraged them to cut out processed foods, and they are at least eating a largely whole-foods diet. This is good, and if it’s been your first step towards a healthier lifestyle, that’s excellent. But here’s the thing, if you go on deriving the majority of your calories from animal products, the chances are you will have a serious disease on your hands a few more years down the line. If your eczema is severe, I mean, life-changingly so, you will need to look beyond paleo, and address things at the root cause. You will need to get animal fat and protein out of your diet, and start adjusting onto foods that truly combine detoxification, nutrition and sustainability to invite long term health into your life.
Focus on the Bigger Picture
Vitality is measured by the amount of energy left over once all your daily bodily tasks are taken care of. Trying to derive sufficient energy from animal products is so costly to the body, that your rate of detoxification will be low. Digestive stress will be high, and whilst your body may stop detoxing through the skin, this must not be perceived as a good thing. If there are toxins in the body, you need these to be released in order for true health to exist.
Let go of this thought that you are feeding your candida with anything carbohydrate, and understand that carbohydrate is the optimum fuel source for your body overall. To build a healthy body, you need to be eating low-impact foods. Fruits and vegetables are healthy. They always have been, and always will be. We were designed to eat them in abundance. If you want to do everything you can for your gut health, take probiotics if you want to. You can also take digestive enzymes to help out if you’re not eating much organic produce. But eat your fruits, greens, rice, potatoes and veggies to your hearts content, and know that you’re eating the best foods for humans.
If you want to understand more about sugar metabolism, the best things you can read are Dr. Barnard’s book on reversing diabetes, or John McDougall’s book, The Starch Solution, or my eBook, The Complete Guide to Healing Eczema, where I have summarized the eczema-relevant information from the others.