Christmas is a time for celebration, and if you’re like me and my family it involves eating a lot of food. However many typical Christmas dishes, such as ham, gravy and mum’s amazing trifle dessert (sorry Mum), can trigger eczema flare-ups if you are susceptible to eczema. Luckily there are tasty eczema-friendly alternatives ...
Eczema Diet foods for your Christmas table:
Refer to The Eczema Diet for the Roast Chicken recipe, or simply roast chicken using low salicylate ingredients to flavour the skin, including rice bran oil (or an oil to suit your allergies), garlic powder, quality sea salt, parsley and chives. Note chicken SKIN contains high salicylates, but skinless chicken is low in salicylates, and low in amines if cooked fresh (not leftovers). See instructions, below.
What about turkey?
Note that turkey is now shown to contain HIGH salicylates but if you are not intolerant to salicylates, you can have turkey if you like. Personal I think chicken tastes much better as it's not dry like turkey.
Eczema-safe sweets: white marshmallows, home-made/plain toffee, traditional honeycomb, and Red Velvet Cupcakes (note beetroot contains salicylates).
Good old filtered water, mineral water, clear lemonade (ensure it has no additives, no colour, not “diet”, not “sugar-free”), decaffeinated coffee with organic soy milk or rice milk (or milk to suit your allergies), “carob milk drink” (made with warm soy milk or rice milk, carob powder and rice malt syrup), or make The Eczema Diet juices 'Tarzan Juice' and 'Healthy Skin Juice' as they are fantastic for reducing the itch of eczema.
Low salicylate alcohol choices
While alcohol is ultimately problematic for eczema (as alcohol is highly acid-forming), there are some exceptions for special occasions, including vodka, gin and whiskey, which are classed as 'low salicylate', glutamate-free and 'low amine' making them suitable for people with chemical intolerances. In some people, all alcohol can trigger a histamine response (I hope it's not you!).
On saying this, of course avoid alcohol if you find it gives you crazy flareups.
- Lemonade iceblocks (no colours, no preservatives etc.)
- Baked Pear Crumble
- Dairy free Custard Tarts (see image below)... you can use this yummy base for any type of sweet tart. It would also be lovely filled with stewed pear.
How to make Christmas chicken eczema-friendly (it's easy) Cook the chicken as per instructions (I'm not going to insert cooking instructions here but you can google how to cook a whole chicken or check the recipe in The Eczema Diet), then use the following ingredients which are eczema-friendly:
Oil: use only rice bran oil or pure refined safflower oil (no additives, no antioxidant)
Sea salt, to taste (anything quality such as Himalayan or sea salt
Garlic powder and chives to season (of course if you are salicylate and amine intolerant you might want to avoid eating the skin, but you can dig in to the stuffing...)
Stuffing can contain high salicylates but you can make eczema-friendly stuffing using low salicylate ingredients such as gluten-free breadcrumbs, chives, sea salt, rice bran oil, raw cashews, garlic powder, maple syrup sauteed leeks and/or green shallots/scallions/spring onions (and maybe Pink Pear Jam from The Eczema Detox book).
Serve the chicken with eczema-safe vegetables from the shopping lists in the book. Gravy: try this new Eczema Diet Gravy recipe – all other gravies are (unfortunately) terrible for eczema so if you love your skin don’t use normal gravy mix or other home-made ones, or simply eat your chicken without gravy. If you are highly sensitive to amines skip the gravy as it can accumulate amines during cooking. Caramelized Leek Sauce is also another great topping.
My take on the festive season
Of course you can just go nuts and eat whatever you like (within reason), then take some Skin Friend AM and PM for support during the festive season. That's what I will be doing!
Author: K. Fischer, 2017, updated in 2019, 'Eczema Diet Christmas Menu', originally published for www.eczemalife.com.au