Saturday, November 15, 2014

Natural Psoriasis Remedies

I can't believe that a year has passed since I last posted on my psoriasis blog. It was 13th November 2013 that I last posted and today is 15th November 2014. My apologies to my regular readers, life got in the way. This past year has been incredibly busy for me and at times very exciting. How many people do you know who have been capsized in a large sailboat in a big open ocean storm? That was the exciting part and it resulted in multiple speaking engagements and much time spent writing articles for magazines and for my own boat design blog. To read the exciting part, go to the archived posts from January 2014.

My psoriasis has not been forgotten in the past year. Psoriasis is not a condition that can be forgotten; it needs ongoing attention or it will creep up and up to levels that become progressively more difficult to treat by simple methods. If neglected it will end up requiring aggressive treatments and some of those can be dangerous to your health. I prefer to keep it under control and at a level that needs nothing that I can't buy in the food aisles or over the counter at my local supermarket.

Those who have read much of my blog know that I hold a low opinion of the drug-happy approach of the USA medical profession. The drug industry encourages and preys on the tendency of many people to take they path of least resistance, i.e. the easy way out. It is much easier to pop a pill or have an injection than to follow healthy eating principles. Why would anyone want to hassle with eating wholesome food to sort out their health issues, staying away from fast food outlets, prepackaged TV meals and restaurants that load their fare with sugars, salts and deep-fried goodies, when the alternative is the convenience of quick-fix medications and meals that are quick, easy and really tickle the taste buds? And the answer is? Those who really care to take back control of their own health, who want to take responsibility for their own bodies instead of handing over to the medical autopilot that is steered more by the profit line of the drug suppliers than the welfare of the patient.

That may sound harsh and extreme if this is a foreign principle to you. But think about it in more depth. Isn't eating food for which your body was designed less extreme than forcing it to process all sorts of stuff that it is not equipped to process efficiently? Force ingredients into it that it doesn't know how to process properly and you will have a bunch of harmful by-products cruising around your body with no useful function to fulfill. They have to be expelled from your body in some way or may be absorbed into cells where they get up to no good. They show up as psoriasis, arthritis and a bunch of other auto-immune conditions that involve inflammation of skin, mucous linings, muscles, joints etc all over the body.

Some of the damage done long-term by those by-products is permanent but much of it can be undone over weeks, months or years. Eating healthy and supplementing sensibly can make the difference between a long fruitful life and one of discomfort and pain that can eventually turn you into a cripple.

OK, so what is the point of this rant from me? Today I read a great post on Bottom Line Health, written by April Abernethy, ND,naturopathic physician and interim chief scientific and medical officer at the National Psoriasis Foundation in Portland, Oregon. What she wrote aligns exactly with my own thinking and what I have been saying for years. Sometimes I felt like a voice in the wilderness, with few people accepting my point of view and what I proved to myself many years ago.

I ask you, if you suffer from psoriasis, arthritis or any other auto-immune condition, to please read what she says. There is so much in it to help you if you will just accept that you have much greater vested interest in the health of your body than anyone in the medical profession or pharmaceutical industry. You have to live with the results of decisions taken about anything that goes into your body, whether food or medication. I prefer to stick with healthy food instead of chemicals.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Choose your Doctors Wisely

First off, I must apologise for posting as infrequently as I am at present. I will be sailing across the South Atlantic Ocean in January, competing in the Cape to Rio yacht race from Cape Town, South Africa, to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Ahead of my departure for the start of that race I am very busy completing as much work as I can and working very long hours. That leaves little time for writing on my Psoriasis Spot blog.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone who had called me to talk about psoriasis. He is very seriously afflicted and is on one of the biologic drugs. I don't use any prescription drugs of any kind because I don't want to intentionally put anything into my body that will weaken my immune system in any way. I believe that weakening my immune system is going to open the doors to all manner of possible infections and one of those infections will be serious enough that it may be the cause of my demise.

I am a very active person and hardly a month goes by that I don't open up a big hole in my skin through some activity or other. Last month it was a collision with my surfboard that left my head bleeding and my left ear ringing for 4 weeks. This month it has been a big gash in my hand when a socket spanner exploded under load while doing a brake job on my wife's car. Both were in situations that can definitely not be described as clean conditions, so infection is a very real possibility. Anyway, you get the message. I am not going to undermine the sterling job that my immune system is doing in protecting me from my own stupidity.

While chatting to this man I asked him about his diet and he told me that his doctor had told him that diet has no effect at all on psoriasis. The doctor put him onto various prescribed medications and eventually onto the biologic drug as a last resort. I agree with this in only one respect. The biologic drug should have been the last resort. But, the last resort option means that you have already tried everything else and none of it worked. The fact that this doctor said that diet does not affect psoriasis means that there was an option that he did not try before choosing the "last resort" drug option. It also means that he is uneducated in the research that has been going on for decades into diet and psoriasis and it means that he has a closed mind to alternatives outside of his drug solutions.

I have a major problem with this. It may come from the fact that I spent most of my life in South Africa, where the doctors are not trained in schools that are heavily sponsored by the drug companies. The result is that in SA the doctors that I was able to choose had an open mind about options outside of the influence of the big drug companies. Here in USA the drug companies hold too much financial influence over the training of the medical profession, so there is a strong leaning toward popping pills and jabbing flesh with hypodermic syringes instead of encouraging healthy eating habits.

I have also noticed that many of the doctors and nurses here really aren't as healthy as they should be. They are health-care professionals and should know what is good and what is bad for people. It is very apparent that many of them don't know, or they really don't care. Whichever it is, I don't want any doctor or nurse who is in self-inflicted bad health to give me any advice about how to treat my body.

If your doctor is unfit, obese, drinks heavily or smokes, why would you want them to look after your health? They obviously don't know how to treat their own bodies and will do no better on yours. I say, walk out the door and find a doctor and nurse who are in prime health to take over your care.

I know that I am not the "average person" when it comes to my health-care habits. I very seldom visit doctors of any description but when I do I want it to be a doctor in whom I have confidence that the advice will be balanced and well considered by someone who knows good health options from bad ones.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sensible Lifestyle Decisions

I have written before on this blog about the need for people to take responsibility for their own health and to make sensible lifestyle decisions. Most of this comes down to educating ourselves about the likely outcome of stuffing all sorts of junk food, sweet drinks, chemicals etc into our bodies and of becoming rolly-poly couch potatoes instead of getting outside into fresh air and sunshine to do some kind of physical activity that will keep our muscles and joints working. It also means having some interests in life outside of the home and away from the TV or computer games.

Beyond that, it also needs this information to be passed on to our children, so that they can live long and healthy lives. This information is passed on by setting a good example and by enforcing standards that are healthy within the home. What kind of parenting is it if a child is allowed to consume whatever tasty snacks they want from the almost infinite variety that the $-hungry food and drink industries have been able to concoct? The child doesn't know what is good or bad, other than what their taste buds are advising them. Don't blame an over-weight 10-year old when their health starts to break down, blame whoever was in charge of them and allowed that to happen.

The manufacturers of those products are somewhat to blame for bringing them to market but don't rely on those factories to have your health at heart, their financial bottom line is all-important to them. They will not change the formulation of their products until their bottom line starts to hurt. The best way to help that happen is to just stop consuming those junk products.

How often don't we hear people say that their excess weight is "in my genes". They are taking the easy way out and blaming their heritage for the bad state of their health. "I come from a long line of chubby people." Another one is "My family is big-boned." No, you come from a long line of people who have passed on unhealthy eating habits and family recipes that have done harm to all of them before you and will continue to do the same to your children and grandchildren and those who will follow them. It will not stop until someone breaks the chain and accepts that it does not need to be that way.

Bad health can come from inherited conditions for those unlucky to inherit those genes but most who use that excuse are simply too uninformed to know better or too stuck in their ways to do do anything about it. A rut is a terrible thing to break out of, in all walks of life. It is easier to continue along the same comfortable route, no matter how much we realise that we should do different, than to make the effort to climb out of that rut onto ground that allows us to travel in whatever direction we want.

I recently met up with a friend while walking my dogs around the neighbourhood. He is my age and does way more exercise than I do. I am more active than than most men of my age but I work very long hours, which cuts deeply into available time for exercise. He is retired and spends much of his day riding his bicycle, walking or in the gym. Despite all that exercise he has a big gut. He said to me "You are so lucky you are so slim, it must be your genes". I told him that I eat healthy and that makes the difference. His response was that he also eats healthy but it doesn't help. I listed my meals for the day, which were oats for breakfast, fruit and salad for lunch and grilled fish with salad and vegetables for dinner. He said "Oh, I don't eat like that" and walked away.

My friend and his wife eat out very often, mostly at all-you-can-eat restaurants, which is likely to be a big part of his problem. My family eats at those same restaurants but we do so as a treat rather than on a regular basis. The danger  is not only a risk of over-eating at the restaurant, to get the best value for money, it is also that you have no control over what is going into your food. Most restaurants in USA use way too much salt and/or sugar in their recipes, both of which are very bad for health if not used in moderation and both contribute to obesity and risks of cancer, diabetes and other serious health issues, if taken in excess.

Eating at home is not going to solve the problem either, if you are in the habit of taking the easy way out by opening cans or TV dinners. Those easy meals are possibly even worse culprits for over-stuffing with salt and sugar. Last night my wife opened a packet of rice/pasta mix to go with salads and the chicken that I had on the grill. The rice dish was OK but it was so salty that I would never buy it. I prefer to cook brown rice with herbs, for a more flavourful dish that is also much more healthy. Salt is not a flavour. A small amount of salt will accentuate flavours but more salt does not add flavour, it only adds bad health and a dry mouth.

This morning my email copy of Bottom Line's Daily Health News arrived in my computer, with two excellent articles related to what I am writing about today. One is Dangerous Food Additives that Sound Safe and the other is The Prescription that's More Important than Some Pill . One deals with all the things that are in pre-prepared food that should or shouldn't be there and the other covers changing your lifestyle for the better instead of popping pills.

My advise is that, no-matter what rut you are in, climb out of it and you will see many more options in front of you. Don't just continue along the way that you are just because that is the way that it has always been. Every day brings new things and opportunities into your world, many of which are out of sight when you have the limited field of vision that results from being in your rut. If your personal rut is the root of ill-health, that is the best reason of all to climb out of it and improve your life.