Saturday, July 9, 2011

Could it be? All this time? Breakthrough in paleo-induced eczema

If you know me, you may know that since going paleo a little over five months ago, I've developed a real good, ever-growing patch of eczema on my right hand/arm. You can imagine my annoyance since this is the OPPOSITE effect of what's usually observed in someone gone paleo. I've stuck with paleo despite this unpleasant development thanks to the many other benefits, but was determined to figure it out.
During a rough patch.
Redness, puffiness, and patchiness in the face were other common symptoms, often in the mornings/after the shower.

Over the past months I've tried cutting out eggs (probably the longest exclusion), nuts, and dairy. No luck. Sometimes it would seem better at first, but invariably get right back to the dry, cracked, itchy, red yuckiness. I'll admit upfront that I may well have discounted how long it would take to see the kind of results I was expecting.

At one point I caved and went to my doctor. I launched into my explanation of how I'd changed my diet a few months back and experimented with excluding certain foods, etc. It wasn't long before (as expected) she was simply reaching for the ol' prescription pad to hook me up with cortisone. [Note: I really like my doctor on an interpersonal level. The trouble is, she's a medical doctor. They don't seem interested enough in the WHY??? as opposed to the WHICH DRUG?] So I've used cortisone a few times over the last couple of months when I've been really enflamed/oozing/miserable. That stuff is crazy effective, but not all together natural.

A few weeks back I had my first visit with a Naturopathic doctor. She was lovely. We talked about everything--how I'd been eating (they're big paleo supporters!), stress in my life, symptoms, etc., etc., etc. We had a great talk. She was a bit perplexed by my skin since she'd usually have someone in my case revert to a paleo diet as a first step (see annoyance referenced above). She eventually took some blood for an allergy test, the results of which I received just yesterday. The culprit? ALMONDS. Well, that's what it looks like. The true test, of course, is how my skin manages without almonds during the six weeks until my next appointment.

Could it be? After all this time? Almonds. When I eliminated nuts early on, I probably didn't give it enough time, and maybe a few snuck past me somehow. I'll readily admit that lately I've been going wild on almonds... almond milk (I love milk, so was delighted with this alternative), almond butter, almond flour. Lots of it.

Bottom line--this is promising. It makes sense. Let's regroup in six weeks and I'll let you know how it goes.

If you're paleo, have you ever experienced a negative effect from the switch?

[NOTE: Turns out, it wasn't almonds. For more, see here.]


  1. I've read a few other posts on your blog, and it seems maybe almonds weren't the problem after all? I hope this is the case, as I went off almonds over a year ago, and my eczema isn't much better. I've only been attempting to go paleo-diet for a couple months...

  2. Hey Mark - I've just recently re-introduced almonds into my diet and it seems to be okay so far. If your eczema is anything like mine, you should be cautious with a paleo diet in case you have issues with histamine. I have a more recent update on my skin issues here: