I was adamant out of all the things I’d ever become in my life one of them would never be vegetarian, and definitely not vegan. But for my daughter I’d do almost anything. I went vegan for her health.
It all started when my daughter was 2 months old, she was born perfectly healthy, a healthy 6oz 3 with no complications or health problems. She was like a perfect doll. When she was 2 months old she developed a rash on the sides of her face - I immediately took her to the doctor's (new mum syndrome) they told me it was most likely heat rash from where she breastfeeds in the crook of my arm, so I made an effort to place material between us. The rash just got worse and her whole body began to feel dry and scabby, across her tummy and around the creases of her hands.
Another doctor’s trip, diagnosed her with eczema and prescribed a bunch of paraffin liquidum filled creams and bath lotions for her, I wasn’t worried the diagnosis because eczema was common and would clear up and I had suffered briefly when I was younger. We tried all the creams and bath lotions and it didn't help, instead it got worse. Her skin became scabby, red and often bled when she scratched it till the scabs opened. Her mittens would be left bloody and her white cot sheets stained with blood by the morning. I was so distressed, we were at the doctors on average 3 times a week often with her skin becoming infected and oozing yellow liquid. The doctor couldn’t suggest anything we hadn’t tried and eventually prescribed steroid cream - this helped initially but it came back with avengence. I was heartbroken.
I began to do my own research, I googled most of my waking hours for a proven ‘cure for eczema’ I found nothing apart from ads for expensive creams or stories of people simply ‘growing out of it’. Thats when I stumbled on healing-eczema.com a website all about how a woman, Donia cured severe eczema through a mainly plant based diet(avoiding dairy and meat) with all the science behind it and other peoples’ testimonies! I couldn’t believe it and immediately emailed her for advice, she replied the next day with a series of questions about my diet - I didn’t see the relevance to begin with, but she explained the acid to alkaline effect, the effect of foods you eat affecting your skin and introduced me to plant based eating. By the way, my diet before was shocking before my pregnancy I ate one proper meal a day snacking on sugar all day and starting off my day with an energy drink. Pregnancy healed my relationship with food, I learnt to eat 3 meals a day but I would still crave sugar; donuts, ice cream and Nutella. After pregnancy, nursing a newborn I could barely manage baked beans and cheese on toast! So this was a real eye opener for me.
At this point I would try anything so through myself into this way of eating and eliminated dairy and red meat. I also saw a list of common allergens that cause eczema as a reaction, these included; gluten, dairy, shellfish, nuts and eggs etc. So one by one I eliminated these from my diet and noted any differences in her skin. I saw a pattern with the dairy and this was a turning point! I found more stories on veganism healing ailments and found raw till 4 veganism. Veganism shocked me it was so much fruit and veg! I thought 10 servings of fruit and vegetables was almost ‘unhealthy’. My family were not supportive, they often discouraged me calling it ‘extreme’ cutting out ‘essential food groups’ but I could see Alina’s patches of eczema getting smaller and drier and some days it looked so promising. Not only this, but my acne cleared up, I had energy in abundance and lost a ton of my ‘baby weight’.
When she was around 8 months old, I had been fully committed vegan for a few months and as loving it. Her eczema was reduced to a small patch like a bite mark on both sides, her skin was soft and her poo was no longer diarrhea. I returned the doctors with all my findings and he booked her in for an allergy test - the most helpful thing he’d done so far. The blood test was tough as we wanted to test for dairy, all nuts and cocoa (nuts and cocoa are two of her dad’s allergies) so they needed 4 tubes of blood! When we got the results back I cried with relief! She was severely allergic to cow’s milk and was mildly allergic to all tree nuts. In that moment I knew everything I’d faced and had done had been 100% worth it. By the time Alina was 10 months old she was eczema free and nobody would have ever have guessed she had suffered with eczema - her scarring luckily healed and she is thriving on a vegan diet. We both are. I turned our health around for the better. Veganism is fully accessible to everyone, I believe it is the diet for humans and allows us to reach our optimum health. Follow my Instagram to see more! @hopeveganmama
I also post about my vegan lifestyle and super easy, delicious, nutritious oil free vegan recipes on my blog! hopeveganmama.wordpress.com