Leaky Gut and Flaky Eyes: How It Happened to Me and What I’m Doing About It.

My health has slowly been improving this year. I suddenly decided I didn’t want to sit on my hands and just accept that my health would never be great again. As you know from previous posts, I just coasted through life eating whatever I wanted and exercising sporadically until my late twenties. Not because I was naturally skinny and comfortable being that way, but because I was lazy. I swung between being chubby and downright fat and had terrible acne. When I had my kids, I focused a bit more on my health, but it took getting really sick to light that fire under me and get me to really do something good for my body.

If you have been reading for awhile, you know that I suffered from severe food poisoning a few years ago. It lasted about a week but the effects of it were felt vividly for a few months and stayed for a lifetime. When I wasn’t getting better, I went to my doctor and I was diagnosed with severe gluten intolerance and mild IBS. My doctor suspects that I have always had a gluten sensitivity and that it was the reason I always complained of low energy, bloating, and cramping. After my diagnosis, I just cut out gluten and for awhile it seemed to help. My skin was still really bad with cystic acne but I could eat without running to the bathroom or being in bed for two days with nausea, headaches and joint pain.

After eating that way for a couple of years, other food started to bug me. Bananas, sweet potatoes, quinoa and cucumber, for example, would leave me bloated and gassy and uncomfortable. Sometimes I would become flushed, my skin would tingle and become red, or I would have to run to the bathroom. Josh began to joke that soon I would have to live off of water and air. We were both concerned.

It was around that time that I came across a bunch of articles about “leaky gut syndrome” during some of my frantic please-have-the-answers-internet google searches. I read them and it made sense for me.

(If you would like to read the articles that gave me this a-ha moment, I will list them at the end of this post.)

One of the articles was by the author of the book, The Gut Makeover. I bought the book as soon as I finished the article by the author, Jeannette Hyde, and have been following Jeannette Hyde’s food guidelines ever since, which has done wonders. You can read more about that HERE.

I still slip out of the diet from time to time, but the book explains how to get back on track, which I always try to do. My life is organic vegetables and antibiotic-free meat. I used to drink 6 cups of coffee a day and now I have one small cup in the morning and drink water for the rest of the day. I also learned, through trial and error, that I have to be careful of what type of fibre I am eating. If I eat too much of a certain type or source, the large amount of fibre I’m consuming backfires and I become constipated. When this happens, I add more fruit and starch to my diet and it clears up. I have more energy and I am less moody; drastically changing my diet and how I view food has been a win for me. Grocery shopping went from being a chore to a pleasure and my cart is always a bright, happy rainbow of food.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I started to have trouble with my eyes! My eyelids, to be exact. Which made me feel a bit like Baymax from Big Hero 6 when he is trying to patch holes in his suit with tape. Have you seen that movie? I think I love it more than my kids and that part is one of my favourites.

via GIPHY

So here I was, patching one hole, my leaky gut, and finding a new hole, flaky eyes. By flaky eyes, I mean that the skin around my eyes became a dry, itchy mess that became red and flaked off onto my cheeks and into my eyes. It looked like eczema or psoriasis and was painful. I went to the doctor and she explained that I had gotten “eye dandruff” and then gave me a prescriptive cream to fix it. The cream worked for a bit but the flaky, itchy, inflamed skin came back as soon as I stopped using it. The doctor said that the next step would be antibiotics, which would be hard on my gut, so I chose to google the crap out of it and find some at-home solutions to try first. (I found some helpful articles and I will include them in the resource list at the bottom of the post!)

The internet, as usual, was full of suggestions. What worked for me was a combination of things. Here’s what I did…..

First, I threw away my Oil of Olay moisturizer. After two weeks of use, it was starting to cause an uncomfortable stinging when I applied it- definitely not a good sign. I stopped using my cleanser and switched to using baby shampoo. Instead of the Oil of Olay moisturizer, I have started to switch between coconut oil and SkinFix 98% natural moisturizer.

Second, I took 15 minutes out of every day to do an olive oil and warm cloth treatment. I would apply a thin layer of olive oil to the affected area, leaving it on as I lay down with a cloth over my eyes, as warm as I could stand. I would lay like that with my eyes closed for 15 minutes, then wash my face off with baby shampoo before patting it dry.

Also, I made two changes to my diet. I stopped drinking as much tea. I only drink herbal tea, but a lot of it had herbs that can be drying, so I cut out all but one cup a day. ( I was up to a pot a day!!) I also cut out any caffeine I had added back into my diet. At the same time, I noticed that I had begun to consume a lot of cinnamon…and not real, good quality cinnamon but the fake “cinnamon” that you buy at the grocery store. I had become addicted to the taste and was eating obscene quantities of it in my food and was even sprinkling it into every hot drink. Once I looked at how much was in my food, I also noticed that a lot of the cheap tea I drank had cinnamon (probably “cinnamon”) in it as well! I cut out all but 1 teaspoon a week.

All of this seemed to be the magic formula. I tried all of these gradually and it got a teensy bit better each time. When I cut out cinnamon and tea, boom!, it magically vanished after that. I think the whole process took 2 weeks, and only because it had gotten quite bad before I researched home remedies. I stubbornly thought it would fix itself after the cream didn’t really work. I wish I had taken photos to show you a before and after! It was dramatic. Perhaps these suggestions would work for eczema as well.

I am still exclusively using baby shampoo and SkinFix moisturizer on my face and my skin hasn’t rebelled yet. I am going to stick to the most natural cleansers and moisturizers from now on since the rest seem to cause adverse reactions. Do you have this problem? Please share what works for you! I find that I have to occasionally switch out natural solutions or they stop working and irritate my skin. Would be nice to have some suggestions of products to add to my rotation! Just comment below.

Here are the resources that helped me start getting my health back on track. I am still working on getting my health closer to 100%. As I keep going and find more, I will be sure to share in new posts.

Resource List:

  1. 7 Signs and Symptoms You Have Leaky Gut
  2. Why A Leaky Gut Will Ruin Your Health and What To Do About It 
  3. Why You Might Have a Leaky Gut and How To Fix It
  4. 10 Signs Your Gut Needs a Makeover: A Nutritional Therapist Explains
  5. 8 Home Remedies to Treat Eyelash and Eyebrow Dandruff
  6. 6 Simple Treatments for Dandruff on Eyelashes and Eyebrows
  7. The Gut Makeover

 

What to check out next:

Healthiest 5 Minute Cinnamon Baked Apple Recipe

Alcohol

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