Healing my Psoriasis
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a condition that consists of scaly red patches all over my body called psoriasis. Only in recent years did I find out psoriasis is a symptom of an autoimmune disease. So, with an auto-immune disease the immune system fights the body’s own tissues and triggers an inflammatory response. For years, I believed that psoriasis was simply just a skin disorder but it’s a lot more sinister than that. Other symptoms that I’ve experienced with the condition are severe joint pain that may be psoratic arthritis, a mild form of ulceral colitis, severe allergies and fatigue. That just may sound like I was tired but it’s literally feeling like you never have any kind of energy and feel hungover for no reason all the time. Brain fog and no ability to concentrate. I thought this feeling was normal for years and never linked all the symptoms together. I didn’t even think there was anything too much wrong as I just got on with my life and was quite content. I always said if bad skin is the most serious condition I’ll get in my life I’ll be doing well. Although psoriasis is unattractive and I shed skin like a snake everywhere I went, I don’t feel my self esteem was affected by skin condition. Any relationship I was ever in, it was never an issue and I still felt I could look good and be loved just the same. The thing that bothers me the most is the fatigue and lack of energy. You can’t live your life to your full potential when your drained of energy and can’t shake it no matter how much sleep you get.
The Consultant Dermatologist was completely dismissive and laughed at the possibility of a change in diet alleviating or curing the condition. I felt a bit powerless in that situation because I had heard of people curing auto-immune conditions through diet and lifestyle changes but I didn’t have any of my own experience or research to back my argument up. I was in no position to argue. Now I feel I’ve become empowered and that’s been one of the best things about this whole experience. I tried steroid creams, smelly coal tar, light therapy which worked during the treatment but came straight back and finally which I wouldn't recommend to anyone, Methotrexate. These treatments never worked. I refused to take the medication and put a plaster on the condition. I wanted to get to the root of the problem and heal from the inside out. I felt frustrated that I was only ever offered a specific medical treatment. Who knew there was a world of natural treatments that didn’t harm the body.
Treating the symptoms of the condition is not okay to me and it’s just not enough. With the help and guidance of an absolutely amazing nutritional therapist Karen Ward, after years of relentless itchy, scaly and sore skin I am finally relieved of the skin condition. There is still a couple of very small patches my legs but nothing compared to what it used to be. Through education and guidance, I discovered the problem is with my gut (leaky gut and gut dysbiosis). Healing the gut is a key to health. This can be triggered by number of factors including stress, environmental stress/exposure to toxins, poor diet and even how you were born (caesarean section).
There are a lot of complicated biochemical reactions that are constantly going on that are triggered by our diet and our environment so it’s important to make the right choices. Things like stress and not enough sleep can initiate disease and dysfunctions just as easy as consuming a poor diet and exposure to toxins can. I found meditation, yoga, Wim Hof breathing method along with cold showers were great tools for supporting my health through this protocol and I still practice these today.
I basically followed the AIP diet for about 2/3 months. The autoimmune protocol diet, or AIP diet, focuses on healing the gut by eliminating foods that cause inflammation to reduce symptoms. The diet eliminates all forms of legumes, dairy, soy and grains and focuses mainly on meat, fish, nuts and vegetables. No nightshade vegetables (white potato, tomatoes, peppers, egg plant). I also consumed a lot of lamb’s liver and heart, bone broth and collagen powder along with supportive supplements such as probiotics, GLA Body Bio Evening primrose oil, KappArest which contains a proprietary blend of curcuminoids (turmeric extract) and lots of other anti-inflammatory ingredients, Phytolens, and which contains pine bark. I know some people’s symptoms disappear on a vegan diet and that’s amazing. Pick a protocol that suits you because there’s more than one way of hacking autoimmune disorders.
I honestly didn’t find the diet too challenging as there are unlimited delicious recipes online. Pinterest is amazing for finding recipes for all types of diets. Eating healthy does NOT mean depriving yourself. I start eating potatoes the very odd time near the tail end of the 3 months and it didn’t seem to make much of a difference to the skin. Chips are my favourite food and there’s no way I could ever say I won’t have chips ever again because we know that this would be a lie.
My diet now includes more foods than stated above but still very healthy and I’ll go through that in another post. I still avoid gluten and as much as I can, dairy. I don’t eat refined carbohydrates but have included more complex carbs in my diet. I also practice regular intermittent fasting which really helps with energy.
You can see from the photos that there has been a vast improvement in my skin. I began taking photos of my skin when I had already seen vast improvements and by that time my skin was already much improved. There was a lot larger, thicker, scalier patches wrapped around most of my arms, legs and back. My whole scalp was also covered in patches.
I’m feeling a lot better and my skin has improved so much. I have more energy and have a lot less of those ‘hangover’ days. However, there’s still a lot of work and gut healing to do. I still have very bad allergies and my immune response constantly over reacts to my surrounding environment. I wish perfume and sprays and cleaning products were illegal. Dust mites and mould kill me. These allergic reactions just knock me out and drain all the energy and life out of me so I find it very challenging when this happens. I also seem to have maldigestion issues and possible SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). I’ll be carrying out a SIBO test soon.
I’m going to keep experimenting with diet and lifestyle changes until I feel I am at optimum health. It’s possible for everyone. Studying Nutritional Therapy has given me so much more of an understanding of what’s going on inside my body and it’s given me a deep understanding of how the body works to heal itself. I feel empowered and excited to be in a position to help myself and my clients.
Updates to follow.