[special post] TSW & diet

i think this topic deserves a post on its own,
maybe the little section under my FAQ isn’t eye catching enough to entice you to read it,
because i’ve received several emails enquiring about my diet.

some seem to be very surprised that my skin healed despite not following a certain diet.
i think they probably got it wrong.
what i had was TSW, not just the atopic dermatitis/eczema that the doctor diagnosed me with.
meaning, my eczema was brought about by overuse of steroids, not the common environmental allergens such as food, dust or chemicals.

anyway i’ll just do some elaboration on the diet i was on that helped me recover (sarcasm).
you wanna know my secret?

i’m going to do a full disclosure here so you don’t miss out on a single thing.

===================

MONTH 1-2

the anti-candida diet

a show of hands who started to wean themselves off steroids not knowing about TSW, but because you suspect your ever worsening eczematic rashes was due to your diet and the health of your digestive system (because you’ve tried all other alternative methods that you can think of, and tried almost all of the moisturizer that claims to repair the skin barrier that will theoretically stop the spreading and worsening of rashes but they have all failed you)?

i assume most of us have tried the anti-candida diet (or some other form of diets that claims to help with skin inflammation) because we’re desperate for a solution. if you haven’t, here’s what you need to know about candida, and the anti-candida diet.

candida: a relative of the yeast fungus that grows within our gut. just like lactobacillus, it is actually a friendly fungus that helps in the breaking down of our food.
it even helps to produce some important vitamins that our body are not able to synthesize!

but just like the wonderful chocolate, it’s bad for you in excess quantity no matter how much healthy antioxidants it contains.

if the candida population surges it is said to put a load on your body. more specifically, it’ll weaken the stomach lining and cause a series of problems (such as eczema). i’ll not go into the technical details of how candida end up causing skin irritations since you can read that up on your own, it’s all over the internet and i don’t see a point in paraphrasing what others have already paraphrased over and over again. (sometimes i feel that if the same phrase is paraphrased enough times, it’ll end up exactly the same as the original phrase. the circle of plagiarism!)

being educated as a science student all my life, i’m open to experimentation. i’m always trying to find out what exactly went wrong with my skin, so there’s no harm in trying one more thing. if it works for me, good bye eczema! if it doesn’t, at least i know candida is not the reason that causes my worsening skin.

anti-candida diet: since fungus feed on sugar (not just talking about table sugar here, sugar as in glucose, sucrose, fructose, the entire family of saccharides), therefore the anti-candida diet = NO CARB DIET, as carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. good bye starch, bread, cakes, and anything laced with flour and sugar.

—————————————————

so that’s the introduction that you need to know.

what i ate during that first 2 months are as follows:
– brown rice.
(waiiiit, didn’t i say NO CARBS? but rice is a carb! i ate it because its low glycemic load is supposed to mean the rice is being convert to sugar slower than white rice [debatable], so that i use the sugar up before it can be fermented by the fungus [according to information i found from the internet 3 years ago]. makes sense? either way, it doesn’t matter anymore, because i don’t have candida overgrowth! )
– unprocessed meat. if they don’t resemble their relatives who’re still alive, i won’t eat it. (e.g. bye bye sausages, luncheon meat, fake crab stick, fish balls, and so on.)
– vegetables.
– probiotic supplements

i cut out ALL sugar, including:
– sugar
– sugary drinks
– fruits
– products made with flour (e.g. noodles, bread, pastries)

i only drank:
– water

the first 2 months was also the time i tried a shit load of supplements (in the name of experimentation, trying to find out the cause of my bad skin), it ranges from:
– apple cider vinegar
– himalayan salt
– milk thistle
– quercetin,
– virgin coconut oil
– i even tried to do a colon detox with some bentonite clay and psyllium husk shake (good lord.. i must be really desperate)
– multi vitamins
– vitamin C
– magnesium citrate (????? i don’t know why i bought it)
– cod liver oil for the anti inflammation effects of omega 3 and omega 6 oils (along with DHA and EPA, vitamin A and D).
– i think there’re more but i can’t recall

bye bye money.

—————————————————-

results:
my skin did not improve over the 2 months.
it actually got worse.
in fact, i stopped the diet after 1.5 months because it really didn’t do anything good to my skin.

if you’ve already seen my photos in the photos page, my skin only worsened.
yea yea yea i read all about the “cleansing” action of the diet, about how the death of the fungus will make situations worse at the start, and how our body will recover after it detox-ed.
sadly my skin worsened not because of any die offs, but because it’s the natural course of TSW.

perhaps you may say that it’s not a good experiment at all because i didn’t cut out rice, which is a source of sugar for the hypothetical candida overgrowth in my gut.
also, i did not carry out scientific methods to measure the amount of candida i have in my gut, how can i be so sure that i don’t have an overgrowth? (at the same time i also can’t be sure if i have an overgrowth in the first place or not)

i’m going to show you why i don’t have candida overgrowth later on. be patient!

=====================================

MONTH 3 – 28

the “healing” diet (sarcasm alert, in case you didn’t pick it up)

if i were to merely state what diet i followed during my TSW, this entry might possibly be the shortest entry here ever. because i didn’t follow any particular diets.

if you think my diet healed my TSW, then go ahead and call it the healing diet.

i’m being a little sarcastic here. it’s not that i’m not a believer of the importance of diet. i know how it all plays a part in the overall health of our body, and i’m actually very conscious about what i put into my body. but calling my diet the healing diet is akin to making stupid logical assumptions.

i inhaled oxygen in the air for the past 2.5 years. i healed in 2.5 years. oxygen in the air healed my skin.
i watched dramas when i was stuck at home for the past year. my skin healed a lot in the past year. watching dramas healed my skin.
i was depressed during the duration of my TSW. my skin healed a lot during this time. being depressed healed my skin.

SERIOUSLY!?

this reminds me of an episode of house. dr house was refuting claims of a new medication that claims to cure migraine. he proved the doctor’s research to be a fraud and raised a similar example.

a girl with cancer drinks orange juice. she recovered from cancer. orange juice can cure cancer!

what i know about TSW is that the body will do all the healing. whether you supplement it with good food or not, it will heal. does it heal it faster? i don’t know, since i didn’t cut myself into half to experiment on this. if i can, i would have fed one side of my body with pure organic produce, NO processed food at all, plus all the supplements and detox stuff that i can get my hands one. the other half will get the normal diet.

also, i feel that it’s unfair to compare two different person’s diet and their speed of recovery (even if they have the same steroid usage history), because our body is simply too complex for you to draw useful and reliable conclusions from just observing 1 variable when in reality there are so many unknown variables that will affect the rate of healing.

———————————————————

my diet for the rest of my TSW journey follows these guidelines:

– no fast food, processed meat, junk food, soda, sugary drinks, alcohol
– excessive quantity of carbs (bread, cakes, biscuits, crackers, rice, noodles, everything)
– meat
– fruits
– vegetables
– nuts, beans, blablablah.
– probiotic drinks

is this diet different from a normal healthy diet? i’ve never been one to binge on junk food since the beginning of time anyway. it’s almost like the diet that i always had, just that i am now making conscious effort to avoid them instead of simply eating limited quantities of them. i didn’t supplement myself with extra vitamins, minerals etc though. i think the food i ingest contains sufficient stuff i need.

i cut out all processed meat, but i continued with my baked goods.
here’s the reason why i know for sure i don’t have candida overgrowth. if i do have it in the first place, my skin wouldn’t have healed up at all because the candida population will flourish with my high carb diet! what will happen instead is an ever worsening skin.

this is the healthy diet that all nutritionist have been promoting, isn’t it? (ok, i’m sure they don’t advice SO much carbs).

the reason why i never thought of talking about my diet is because i don’t attribute my healing to my diet.

hahaha maybe that’s why it took me 2.5 years to get better? i’ll never know. i don’t think i want to know anyway, since what’s done is already done!

anyway, as time goes by, i started to eat some processed food again. i’ll have pizza (OMG HEAVENLY) once in a while. i also ate one filet o fish in the past 2.5 years. just one burger, without the fries though. i’m going all out on the full disclosure! hahaha!

———————————————————

results:

skin got better in july (month 4) briefly, and then it got worse, then worst, then better, then good.

what’s the correlation then?
from the years of being a science student, i really can’t draw any good correlation between my diet and my healing.
the most i can say about TSW is that the healing is not linear.

———————————————————

IN CONCLUSION:

i’m not advocating you to eat unhealthy food (excessive amounts of baked products) like i did. what i’m merely trying to say is this, even if you’re on a normal diet like me, you’ll still recover. whether or not a cleaner diet loaded with supplements will help you heal faster, that’s up to your personal beliefs and preferences. you choose what you want to believe, since there’re no hard facts out there that states a clear link between clean/crap diet and TSW recovery speed.

i don’t attribute my healing to my diet. ok, to make a scientifically right statement, i mean that if i take my diet out of the equation, i’ll still heal nonetheless. whether i ate crap or real food, i’ll still heal. the question then is, will i heal faster or slower? i think that’s what a lot of you are trying to find out because c’mon, who doesn’t want to get out of this hell hole faster?

as for me, i choose the route that cost me the least money. i think i’ve wasted enough money in the first 2 months to know that they don’t work for me.

who knows, perhaps they’ll work for you? but then again, we really can’t compare ourselves to each other because there’re simply too many unknown variables across the entire population.

i know there’re lots of unanswered questions and lack of factual data to support my statements.

for example, you can always argue that my skin got better in month 4 (july) because my body has gotten rid of the excess candida and is now back in balance, but i reintroduced myself to carbs after that so my skin worsen again because the candida rises to power once more. but my skin eventually healed because of the probiotics that i’ve been consuming, hence putting the candida nation under control once and for all.

i’ve put my experience out there, it’s up to you to see what you want to see. take away all my personal comments and you can deduce for yourself.😉

i hope i didn’t enrage the health conscious skin warriors who’re firm believers of how the diet can help our TSW heal faster. if i did, can i redeem myself by telling you that i’m currently on a low (low is different from no) carb diet because i really do believe in the power of food and its effect on our health?

please don’t flame me. juliana likes peace.

p.s. rolling this entry out earlier than i planned because my laptop is going haywire. i’m currently editing this entry using my tv as my monitor and i’m breaking my neck looking up for extensive period of time.

25 thoughts on “[special post] TSW & diet

  1. We found the same thing with my daughter. The candida diet did nothing but make her lose weight, We tried a lot of crazy diets and nothing ever helped her skin. So we feed her a healthy diet and no junk food binging. Thank you so much.

  2. Hi juliana, in regards to your TSW and Diet post, I’m curious as to your thoughts on using a similar diet to support the adrenal glands, since it is adrenal gland damage that seems to be the main cause of a long recovery period. It takes up to 1-2 years for the adrenals to regain their normal function so I wouldn’t expect a diet supportive of the adrenal glands to show much improvement in the first couple months when tsw symptoms are at their worst in the beginning stages of withdrawal. After researching adrenal gland problems and disorders, the information I have seen regarding their critical function, makes me believe that if one were to eat a diet and have a lifestyle that is more supportive of the adrenal glands that the tsw process would be faster than it would be with a diet that is less supportive of the glands. There is a video by a Dr. Lawrence on Leizel Lizard’s blog site called “Adrenal Glands, What Are Ye?” that explains the adrenal gland functions and how and why it is so vital supporting the adrenal glands to our healing process. It is a very interesting video. After seeing that video and reading other sites on how to strengthen the adrenal glands, I personally have to conclude that diet likely plays a major role in how fast one recovers from tsw. I’m very interested in your thoughts on this. Thanks, Dan

    • Hi juliana, please disregard my comments. I found info on Dr. Fukaya’s blog about how the skin tissue plays a big part in the regulation of cortisol level in the skin tissue itself, and some other info on adrenal insufficiency. From what I understand so far, the adrenal glands don’t play much of a role in tsw since in most tsw cases the the adrenal glands are fine. However, I am not sure and am looking for clarification. I have written to Dr. Fukaya for clarification as to which plays the bigger role in cortisol levels during tsw, and whether the adrenals can help with tsw if better supported. If you know the answer to this please let me know. Thanks again, Dan

      • hello Dan!

        to answer your question, I really don’t know, neither do I have the answer.

        all I can say for sure is that healthy food will lead to a healthier body, it may or may not heal your TSW faster. if you think you will feel more comfortable going on a diet that supports your adrenals, then why not? after all, all these diets are supposed to lead to a better overall health, I don’t see harm in trying them out.

        don’t be so harsh on yourself! I was once like you, analyzing what will or what may make my skin heal faster. after a while I got so sick of it because there are too many questions that don’t have a definite answer.

        sorry for such a bad answer, I wish I can tell you definitely that “yes, supporting your adrenals will make our TSW heal faster”, but I also know for a fact that our body acts as an entire system and that TSW is a multi factor problem.

        I appreciate you letting me know that I might need a longer experimentation period to know if my diet works or not, I can’t turn back time to experiment right now! you can always try it out and share your experience with us😉

        good luck Dan!

  3. What a strong young woman you are! Thank you for the great post, I am reading your blog all the time for the encouragement, my 14 years old daughter is finishing her 11 month off ts, her life is still a HELL., she is off school for almost a year(in January), and we are not sure if she will be able to go back in January and not sure if the dr. will agree again to give the note to school.I was jut thinking to put her on candida diet, but I think I have my answer now. We did all sort of diet before going in tsw and now she is just eating a lot, I am trying to keep it healthy but she is having a lot carbs and sugar, I am trying to limit it but she is teenager and I think the only thing that comfort her is her food..So keep posting and also I like this one big post everything together, you summarize it so good.Good luck to you in everything you are doing!

    • thank you oksana! I honestly wasn’t expecting such sweet comments after writing a rather controversial post (even though I tried my best to make it objective and logical). you’re such a sweet heart.

      I’m sorry to hear about your daughter! it must be hard on her.. but she already made it through 11 months, what a fighter!

      I really suggest taking a break off school during TSW. it would be nice if your doctor can approve her of another year of absence. if not, there are other doctors out there! don’t lose hope😉

      as for the candida diet, I don’t see a harm in trying that out. after all, I did read that excessive carbohydrates isn’t that good for the body (well, anything in excessive quantity can’t be too good). hahaha I guess your daughter is like me during my TSW days, I will be hungry all the time, and you are right, eating makes us feel happier. if you are concerned, perhaps you can change them to healthier carbs such as food made with whole meal instead of bleached white flour. instead of dousing food with sugar, try the natural sweetener such as honey or stevia.

      I’m envious at your daughter, I kind of miss the times when I can eat like a monster but not gain any weight or fats. let her eat like she has never eaten before, TSW is her guilt free ticket to eating! (hahaha ok I’m just exaggerating. i suggest everything in moderation!)

      I wish your daughter good luck and hope she stays strong.😉

    • hello Sean! oh god I love pizza. share some with me?😀

      well, I’m sure there are other delivery options other than pizza, right? it’s tough to deal with TSW alone.😦 poor thing.

      • After exchanging a few emails with Dr. Fukaya just last night I agree diet will not help speed up TSW much. I’m sure it must help a little but likely not by a discernible amount. His comments on diet, moisturizer withdrawal, the adrenal glands, etc are also very interesting. He says the adrenal glands function normally in most TSA cases, and diet has little effect. He also says he agrees with Dr. Sato in that moisturizer withdrawal speeds up TSW in certain cases. He is careful to point out that some people who try moisturizer withdrawal can’t handle it and go back to using TS, I assume due to the increased pain and suffering going moisturizer free causes in the early stages. He recommends moisturizer withdrawal if one feels strong enough to do it to shorten the TSW period.

        http://mototsugufukaya.blogspot.jp/2013/07/a-report-about-biological-product-for.html#comment-form

      • thanks for the information dan, i’ve read what dr fukaya has written.

        i think one of the ways the diet can help in speed of recovery is the effect it has on our mood and overall well being. if we’re feeling happier and more positive, i think the body is likely to heal faster. of course this is an unfounded statement, it’s just the way i choose to see things.😉

  4. I’m in your camp on diet Juliana. If focussing on eating a clean, strict, healthy diet keeps one’s mind off one’s skin then that is good. If eating three packets of jaffa cakes in one sitting makes one feel comfort then that is also good. Diet won’t affect one’s withdrawal time but it is good to take care of one’s mind. Thanks for this post 🙂

    xxx

    • hello miss fantastic kitty (can i call you that? haha!), thanks for letting me know your thoughts! i really can’t say for sure on whether diet will affect one’s withdrawal time or not, but the diet does affect our moods and our overall feeling!😉 i just did what made me feel good.. HEHE!

      you’re most welcome, i’m glad you liked this post.

      xoxo

  5. I did a strict anti-candida diet when everything first started happening, and there would be some days that I would have so much anxiety about whether I was allowed to have a carrot, or a yam, as some candida diets differ from others.

    I have been helped in this journey by an amazing naturopath, that tested me for foods that I should be avoiding. There were a ton of items on that list, most of which I had already cut out when I had started the candida diet. The one thing I hadn’t cut out, that I was eating an abundance of, was corn. I cut it out…and the flares on my arms went away in a couple of weeks. (The rest of me was still flaring)
    Then, I went to Mexico for vacation, where corn is a huge staple, ate a lot of it…and all the spots and wounds on the arms came back.

    I started seeing a huge improvement when I really did avoid wheat, dairy, corn, etc. He gently reminded me, though, that being strict with food is almost as bad as being not vigilant enough–both produces stress.

    The main point is that your body has to do extra work when digesting acidic foods (meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, etc.), and diverts energy away from healing. I felt my best during TSW when I ate as alkaline as possible, and whether that directly or indirectly helped with TSW, I don’t know– all I know is that it did help me. It helped with keeping me calm, energetic and dialed down my itchiness so much…all of which contributed to me being more resilient and rested (because I actually started to sleep), which I noticed did great things for my skin.

    Food is just one part of it though– the mental, emotional part was much huger. When I learned how to accept myself as I was, to love me even though I looked like a monster, to be still and meditate..that was when I noticed the biggest shift in my healing.

    /end essay

    • hahahahha can’t help but giggle when i read “/end essay”.

      /start essay

      looks like corn do you no good! could it be because corn is hard to digest? i don’t think you’re allergic to it, just intolerant maybe, and that the digestion of it is too much for your sensitive skin back then.

      good for you to find out what you should avoid! i don’t know if i want to know what food i should be avoiding honestly. if i was told not to eat bread or biscuits back then, i think i’ll be even sadder than i already am because those were my comfort food.

      are you still avoid corn right now?

      i agree with you on the benefits of an alkaline diet. i’m sure you’ve read about how the acidic diet promotes inflammation (the slow and chronic kind that increases risk of cancer) in our body. hehe, i think it doesn’t matter whether the diet helped directly or indirectly. what matters is that it helped you.

      i guess i have to learn from you on the mental part though. looking back i never accepted myself back then. i just couldn’t. all i did was to look forward to healing. and to sit still and meditate? you’d have to cut my nerves for me to sit still, because i’ll be itching all the time! hahaha!

      i hope your latest little cycle (flare seems too harsh a word, let’s just call it a mini cycle of recovery) will cease soon.🙂 the less you care about it the easier time passes by!

      /end essay

  6. Pingback: [special post] TSW and magic treatments | juliana's topical steroid withdrawal journey

  7. wow. it’s like i could have written this myself. thank you for the encouragement and sharing so many details of your journey. i was delighted to read about your mattress!! i had to throw my mattress out this year because when i turned it over i discovered a huge wet stain under it. i was wondering for months “what the hell is that wet wood smell??” when i turned it over, there it was. the wet dampness swelling up the wood slats my mattress sits on. crazy! i’m a lot older than you..53, but our stories are so similar. i’ve been tortured for 18 months now and this condition certainly takes its toll on our mental health. thank you again for blogging this journey of yours. it’s fun to read.🙂

    • hey susan! thanks for your comments! glad you can resonate with my words.

      hahaha the mattress was something i didn’t expect. my entire room smell damp too.. poor mattress.

      please try your best to stay sane. TSW is very tough on the body and mind. stay strong.

      xoxo

  8. Hi Juli, I’m in month 4, and i really easy to got sick ( i think steroid déstroy my immune system) when flare start, very little, its lôok like yeast infection. I put ketoderm right away and its seem better and fade in 2 weeks. I dont know am i allow to do that. Is ketoderm slow the healing process ò my skin ? Are you used ketoderm during TSW?

  9. Hey everyone. I’m jc and this is my second attempt going thru tsw. I’m on my third day. This is extremely difficult because I’m in real estate and have to be in front of people a lot. I’m 33 yrs old and had eczema all of my life but for the past 5 yrs it’s been at its worst. I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t upped the dosage or whatever but I can’t do this anymore. I would love more than anything for my skin to heal and live my life the way I want to. Also for my son. I feel I hold plenty of things back because I always have to consider my skin. Before my time is up , I want to have done things I’ve always wanted to do and not let my skin be an issue. I wanted to know if there was a way to come off of it by lessening the dosage to the point you are completely off of it in the distant future? Or is cold turkey the only way? I know I have to put in the time. The furthest I’ve gone the first attempt was 1 week.

    • hi jc, sorry about what you’re dealing with. i totally understand the dilemma of holding back and wanting the freedom to do everything within our limited time on earth. i believe you already realize how topical steroids are already not working as efficiently for you.

      dr rapaport suggests cold turkey, and i support his idea because the sooner you stop using topical steroids, the sooner you give your body the chance to rebalance itself. the topical steroids have knocked things out of balance all this while.

      of course, you can try to slowly reduce your dosage until you are completely off it. but my personal experience tells me it makes no difference. my skin deteriorate once i wasn’t using enough steroids anyway. so i just stopped using it altogether.

      another alternative is the new drug that has been tested, called dupilumab or something. you can research on it and decide for yourself.

      but the key to putting an end to topical steroid addiction (i assume you have it, since you mentioned your skin has been getting worse for the past 5 years despite topical steroid usage) is to quit steroids, so that should be your top priority.

      • Hi. It really means a lot that you replied. I caved and used it yesterday. I want to cold turkey. Trust me I really do but with an open house scheduled this weekend and with everything else it’s so difficult. I’m frustrated once again for being so weak. I did loom up the drug you suggested. Sounds great but I’m not sure if it helps with tsw and the side effects weren’t too pleasant from the testimonials I read. Once I stop being a realtor and become a full time investor which is in the near future I can’t start this difficult journey again. That way I really wouldn’t have to be working in front of people so much. Just show up at home sites and go about my way. Well I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to reach out to me. As of this moment I’m sucked in because of desperation, weakness, and other things but I’ll get there. It’s worse when the people around you don’t understand even when you attempt to explain it.

      • hey jc, please don’t see yourself as weak. you’re anything but weak, trust me. and if a little steroid use can help you tide through a nerve wrecking open house, so be it. you needed to function as your normal self. and if you go deeper, you slathered on the steroids despite knowing it’s side effects because you have to work, because you have to stay strong to provide for yourself and your family. if that’s not strength, what is?

        it’s great you’re planning ahead so that you can do this withdrawal in a more suitable environment for yourself!

        don’t beat yourself up over the small little issue okay? like you said, you were desperate. you had no other choice! hope you feel better soon.

  10. Hi Juliana,

    My story with food, steroid usage and symptoms is a little more clearer, i had problems like stye, heartburn, runny nose, high blood pressure, fast heart beating, bloodshot eyes, the list goes on and on, you get the ideia. I eliminated or dimineshed many of these problems by changing diet (though applying steroids would help to solve some problems too, sometimes), what i feel like is that steroids usage made me more prone to having health problems, but diet was the real cause, otherwise, why would i use steroids in the first place? Something was out of balance when i started using, and i attacked the symptoms with the steroids.

    Now there is mainly skin problems with me that never left with diet change nor seems to have diminished, but i will try to keep improving my diet (working on eliminating nightshades) while i’m at this crazy TSW ride.

    I do miss the tasty food, and understand why anyone would want to eat it, but while i can stay clear i will do it, because i do not even understand how i managed to get this clear, this just happend over time (sounds crazy i know).

    Thanks for sharing your story/view.

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