Aaron Smith

Nashville, TN

What convinced me to consider doing a Whole30? Eczema.

For the last 12 years, I’ve experienced dry, itchy, red and inflamed skin, primarily on my hands. It felt like my hands were on fire. Playing music, writing and washing dishes were all painful. Squeezing lime wedges into margaritas was EXTREMELY painful—I’m talking the kind of pain that makes you want to shout profanities and throw things.

The symptoms were so frequent and intense that it became difficult to be present in conversations and focus on work during bouts of inflammation.

My doctor diagnosed me with atopic dermatitis, or eczema. He prescribed a two-week cycle of steroid cream and a regimen to use it along with the help of eczema-grade hand lotion and Aquaphor.

After two weeks, my hands were brand new. No swelling, itching, redness. Just one issue: when I stopped using the steroid cream, the symptoms came right back. I started to wonder if I’d live the rest of my life with two weeks of normal functioning and two weeks of hell.

A friend mentioned he knew of someone who manages their eczema through diet. My inner child threw a class-A tantrum: “Now I have to go gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, alcohol free, fun free, happiness free. There goes my food freedom.”

Then I came across “It Starts with Food” on Audible. This book changed my life. Within the first week of my Whole30, I saw a dramatic decrease in my eczema symptoms. I stopped using medication. The symptoms have not completely gone away, but the relief I have experienced from it in the past month is unprecedented.

My baseline levels of energy and focus increased. I didn’t feel the urge to snack as much, & there were only a handful of times where I ate between meals. ⠀

I felt focused and sharp. I had less stomach pain, less bloating and gas. Mental clarity helped me reach a new level of performance at my bartending job.⠀

I feel free. 
I was afraid of losing my “food freedom.” I didn’t realize I was actually in food slavery. The foods I thought I needed were keeping me in captivity. I recognize all this as a huge win in my journey of learning to take care of myself. This thought brings me to tears. I’m free & I’m so happy about it. – Aaron