Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nickel Free Diet

So, I'm also thinking of starting a nickel free diet.

I have a type of eczema that is exacerbated by allergies, specifically a nickel one. And I have a severe nickel allergy. I've also, because I've been eating "healthier" added a number of different foods that in moderation (or less than moderation, since I would rarely eat them) would not normally harm me with their nickel content.

But my eczema is not abating and this is not normal. I get flare ups when I handle too many chemicals or when I'm stressed out. This time, the effects have been for weeks now and I finally read up more on the allergy/eczema and there is a link to diet. Of course, all the nickel high foods are foods that I have been eating a lot!

Beans/Legumes - because, of course, I wanted to be more vegetarian and eat less saturated fat, however, they are high in nickel.

Green Leafy Vegetables - again, because I wanted to eat lots of varieties of lettuces, spinach, and collard greens, to get their calcium and vitamins because I thought dairy was bad for me, with all those poor cows being fed antibiotics and other hormones.

Onions, green beans, and raspberries - And in order to cook those lovely legumes, I've been cooking them with onion, making soups with tons of onions in it. In order to get some variety from the green leafy vegetables like the collards, I've been eating green beans instead. Oh, and raspberries, because they have absolutely delicious in my fruit salads. Because, again, I wanted to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible to get my "5 a day".

Nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and dried fruit - again, because I wanted snacks that would fill me up all day, I went for the nuts. Not just mixed nuts, but also nut bars, like the Kind bars, which are full of nuts and only nuts. I thought that by avoiding wheat, I was doing myself a favor. Man, I think I am less allergic to gluten than I am to nickel.

Chocolate and Tea - Of course, because I had reduced my intake of any other "pleasure" food, I focused on just good dark chocolate, which of course, is high in nickel. Oh and my buckets of green tea that I was drinking also contained high levels of nickel.

What am I left with?

Protein, dairy, other vegetables (carrots, cruciferous vegetables, green peppers, and so on), other fruit, like blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and so on.

Man, I need to get the eczema to stop. It's really annoying and the medicine the dermatologist gave me is not working as neatly as it should be and this is my last resort.

I don't know the impact of the change in diet, but clearly, it'll have to be more animal protein heavy and with side vegetables and other grains that are not high in nickel (the alternative they recommend is refined carbs, but I can't go down that path because of the PCOS) like maybe quinoa.

This is the story of my life... I guess I just need to take it and turn it around and it to my advantage. I always said I wanted to try a low carb diet and going to the "dark" side (more meats, eggs, and dairy) is a way of doing it, I suppose. I will have to be scary vigilant about my fiber intake though. I'll get those bananas and apples and blueberries and strawberries in me!

Then, of course, I'll slow start adding these foods back in and see how much I can have without the flare ups.

I do know that I've overdone the nuts. I used to never eat as many as I am now, but those Kind bars are just so amazingly good. And well, I've stopped drinking the tea, which was also a new addition (since green tea is filled with antioxidants and of course, helps balance blood sugar). I also added the spinach thinking it was healthier than just plain lettuces and to add variety to the collard greens...


Update on the reader question/answer here: Ezcema Update

Update on my ezcema here: It's Confirmed!


  1. Hi Veronica!

    I found your website when I was searching for nickel-free foods. I have dyshidrotic eczema & I've had hives since I was 16. I've been a vegetarian/vegan for 12 years, and I believe that the nickel is what is causing all of these things! Thank you for sharing. I have found several conflicting websites about the foods - what's low, what's high. Please let me know how your eczema is doing now that you've implemented these things! I eat almond butter, peanut butter, almond milk, spinach, etc (basically everything I shouldn't be). It's going to be hard because I don't eat meat, but I am willing to try it because my symptoms are a nightmare! AND I am a nursing student - which means frequent hand washing and/or alcohol antibacterial (which is a no-no w/ D.E.)

    Sorry for the extremely long comment - I couldn't find a place to email you. Keep up the perseverance with PCOS & weight-loss! You can do it :)
    - Melanie

  2. Hi,

    I also have a nickel allergy and am now initiating a nickel free diet. My nickel allergy is so severe that if my food comes into contact with stainless steel containing nickel at any point in the preparation process (utensils, pots, pans, spatulas, colanders, etc) it will cause a reaction and my lips will begin to peel. I know it's difficult and frustrating to have to wrap your life around this condition, but take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. Hope the nickel free diet is going well!

    - Jay

  3. Thank you for a wonderful article. I feel like I could have written it myself.

    Just one thought, please be careful of apples also. They are considered a low nickel food, but have the effect of exacerbating nickel allergies and eczema. The link is

    Kindest regards,



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