Friday, April 6, 2012

Diet and Psoriasis

As I said in an earlier post, the dermatologist who diagnosed my psoriasis told me that diet does not affect psoriasis but alcohol does. That told me not to believe the first part of what he had said because alcohol consumption is a component of diet. So, strong-willed as I am,  I decided to test it for myself.

Many people have told me that their psoriasis is unaffected by their diet but I believe that generally they have not taken the trouble to really test it for themselves properly. Almost without exception they have told me that they have tried the avocado diet, the fish diet or some other kind of diet and nothing worked. The problem is that they were all looking for foods that would improve their psoriasis symptoms while continuing to eat everything else as before.

That is not the way that it works. You will not find a miracle food that will cure psoriasis, allowing you to continue with your unhealthy food habits and dosing up on whatever will cure your psoriasis. What you can find, is a whole bunch of foods that will aggravate psoriasis but may vary to some extent from one person to another. Identify those and you are well on your way to reducing or even eliminating your symptoms.

The way that I went about it was to buy a medium size page-a-day diary. It needs to be a reasonable size to fit in all of the information that you need to record, otherwise you may leave out something of value due to lack of space.

In that book I wrote down everything that I ate or drank every day for a few months. I also wrote down how my skin felt and what it looked like. If that changed during the day I wrote down the change as well, including what time I noticed the change. This was generally a change in discomfort level, with increased or decreased itching or pain.

When I had been doing that for a week or two I had enough info to start looking for patterns. I began looking at the notes about my skin condition, where it was improving and where it was deteriorating. Then I would look at what I had consumed the previous day or two. Within another week I was seeing patterns that linked to what I had put into my body.

Those patterns allowed me to identify foods or drinks that might be adversely affecting my skin. Once identified I was all set to start my own form of testing, which was possibly not very scientific but was very effective.

Once I had identified a possible culprit food or drink, I stopped having that item for a week or so, then I would have it again and observe the results over the next few days. If my skin improved then deteriorated again in cycle with the change of diet then I had identified that item as a bad component of my diet. I then dropped that item completely.

I continued on that basis until I had identified a range of foods and drinks that were apparently aggravating my psoriasis. I dropped all of those items from my diet and within a few months my psoriasis had almost completely disappeared.

Some foods caused a pretty aggressive reaction in my skin, showing up as increased itching or inflammation within just a few hours. They were the easy ones to identify. As my testing progressed and those "big baddies" had disappeared from my diet, the changes became more subtle and would take a bit longer to show. Even then, I could generally see the effect within a day.

It was at this stage that I dumped the dermatologist. He was not happy that I had stopped using the cortisone creams without consulting him first. He listened to me when I told him that I had cleared my psoriasis with diet but he was not interested in hearing the details of what I had found. My research had found that there was research going on about the effect of diet on psoriasis and it was seeing some positive results, yet he did not know about it and said that he could not believe that changes to my diet had cleared my skin. A closed mind does not benefit anybody, so we parted ways.

Some of the bad foods are things that I love, so I had to choose between abstinence with a totally clear skin or occasionally having those things with possible mild consequences. The important thing was to know what was bad for me then to set a level of psoriasis that was acceptable to me. I set that level where very few people were aware that I had the condition but I could still occasionally reward myself with something that I really liked.

Next post I will go into some detail about the foods that I found to irritate my skin. If you are serious about clearing your psoriasis you will do your own testing. Or you may prefer to take the easy route and just take note of my findings then limiting the bad ones in your diet. It may help you.

I recommend that you do the testing for yourself. It is part of taking ownership of your own body. Take note of what others say but don't believe it until you have proven it to yourself using your own body. Too many people take the easy route with everything in life then hold others to blame for a situation over which they should hold control themselves.