Well, it’s been a while when I last shared a real life psoriasis healing story. So, I am here with a fantastic real life psoriasis healing story straight from London. Elaine Smith, 42, is a single parent. She is a member of our Facebook group- Psoriasis Self Management. In one of the discussion threads in our Facebook group, I had a one to one interaction with her and come to know about her healing experience. I immediately requested her to share her healing story in detail so that I can share it in our blog. She readily agreed to it. A number of times, people would tell me that the real life experiences section of this blog is the most fascinating thing. It is quite obvious too. Nothing can inspire a person more than a real life success story of another person having more or less the same sort of struggle.
Here goes her story in her own words:
I am suffering from psoriasis, on and off from a very young age. I was wrongly diagnosed with eczema when I was a baby and the Doctor prescribed steroid creams to treat it. Now, I think that it has been psoriasis all along.
In my adult life, my skin was clear for years with only a few minor patches on the elbows, scalp and hands. Around five years back, my psoriasis became really bad and flared up covering the whole of my body except my face. I went to a dermatologist and was given various steroid creams which kept it under control. Then, I started reading about psoriasis and its treatment over the internet. I joined few discussion forums also. There was a lot of buzz about the gluten free diet and how it helped a lot of people. Around four years ago, I decided to cut Gluten from my diet and it was a good decision. My psoriasis relived upto some extent. I got pregnant in 2012 and stopped all steroid creams. I gave birth to my lovely daughter. I continued with my resolution of gluten free diet.
My skin was way better by eliminating gluten from my diet, but still wasn’t clear. So, in 2014, I decided to take a food allergy test to check if I was intolerant to foods other than gluten also. The test results added dairy, carrot, soya (soy), red meat and almonds in this list (gluten was already there). I worked on taking these foods out of my diet. Luckily, I come to know about Dr Pagano’s book and started to incorporate some of his recommendations.
By the end of 2014, I had eliminated gluten, dairy, soya, red meat and nightshade vegetables from my diet. I replaced these foods with other healthy foods to make sure that I had a nutritious diet.
I included some green smoothies made with any green vegetable such as spinach, kale, cucumber, mixed with fruits like banana, apple, kiwi, papaya etc.
I ate only gluten free grains, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato and buckwheat. I ate fish and eggs for protein and loads of vegetables as long as they were not nightshades.
I also dressed my food with olive oil as the body absorbs more vitamins with some fats. I was not bothered about the excess consumption of olive oil, because my diet regimen was already quite restrictive and this extra amount of olive oil wasn’t going to harm me in any sense.
I replaced dairy with milk alternatives like hazelnut, almond and rice milk,
I still have porridge for breakfast with milk alternatives and I add some pumpkin, sesame seeds and walnuts with raisins.
I snack on nuts and peanut butter on gluten free crackers.
My lunch and dinner meals are based on fish, chicken or eggs and have them with quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat or sweet potato, again with lots of vegetables.
I make my own soups with lots of vegetables. I avoid eating processed foods as much as possible.
As far as topical creams are concerned, I didn’t use any specialized psoriasis creams. I just used basic moisturizing creams to treat dry skin. Whenever I needed extra moisture, I used Hemp oil or olive oil. You don’t smell great with these oils, but they moisturize your skin pretty well.
By early April 2015, my skin got cleared. From a state of full body coverage, now, I had few tiny spots at my legs, belly, back and arms. It took till the end of summer for all the marks and scars to calm down completely. I am still sticking to my diet regimen. I don’t cheat on my diet much except a few glasses of wine here and then. Sometimes, I have white potato chips while hanging out with friends. Do note that I avoided wine and alcohol completely during the process of clearing up.
My skin is good now, but, I do notice little flare ups during stressful days. Lack of sleep also hampers my skin. Therefore, I feel that stress management is also a vital factor in managing psoriasis. Alongside my healthy diet, I exercise for around 20 minutes daily, I don’t think strenuous (vigorous) exercise is good as it puts the body under stress. We should listen to our body and avoid overdoing. I go for brisk walking, yoga, cycling or rowing- whatever I can fit in.
Don’t hurry for Food Allergy Test
When Elaine told me about the culprit foods declared by her food allergy test- Gluten, dairy, carrot, soya (soy), red meat and almonds- I became a little sceptical. You know, most of the times, these food allergy tests can give you quite confusing results by declaring a whole lot of foods as intolerant for you. Eliminating all those foods from your diet can be too restrictive. Here also, in case of Elaine, this test declared carrots and almonds as intolerant, but, I believe that carrot is a healthy food and non allergic for most of the people. It is an important ingredient for your food recipes such as juices, green smoothies, salads on the path of psoriasis healing. Hence, I don’t consider avoiding carrots from your diet as an intelligent idea.
To confirm my understanding, I had some more one to one discussion with Elaine. This is Elaine’s reply over the importance of Food Allergy test:
It is hard to say if the allergy test is worthwhile as I have come across other people’s experiences where they haven’t found it helpful. I have been in forums and groups where some say the allergy testing didn’t help them at all. I can only speak from my experience and it did helped me up to some extent. But, obviously, I am not excluding all the foods recommended by this allergy test forever. I have now introduced carrot and almonds back in my diet without a problem.The tests are very expensive and people may find the common triggers above a good place to start without spending on the test. I would suggest cutting known triggers first before paying out for a test. The known triggers appear to be dairy, gluten, nightshade vegetable, excess sugars and processed foods.I would recommend a 8 to 12 week elimination plan (without cheating) first which excludes the food groups I mentioned above. If it didn’t show any results after sticking to this plan, then I would perhaps suggest taking the allergy test.
Are you taking a Nutritious diet
In our one to one discussion, I requested Elaine to throw some more light on her diet. As we all know, it is important to replace eliminated foods with safe alternatives in our diet, otherwise we will be lacking in vital nutrients. Also, a lot of times, people would only talk about tho foods to be eliminated. But, they seldom talk about foods to replace them. So, here goes Elaine’s reply on her food replacements to ensure a nutritious diet:
When I cut dairy, I replaced it with dairy free alternatives. There are many options to choose from- fortified with vitamins and calcium, such as -Oat milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk, almond milk and hemp milk.Taking gluten out was fairly easy as there are many gluten free grains available. I use brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, some gluten free pasta. I also used lots of sweet potato to replace white potato and sometimes include gluten free breads or crackers.I don’t think red meant is helpful in a psoriasis friendly diet and hence, I do not have any in my diet. I do have some chicken and lots of fish, especially omega 3 rich fish such as Salmon, trout, sardines and fresh tuna.I believe that cutting back on sugars is also important and I don’t eat foods too high in sugar or which are heavily processed. I think, in the initial stages, the cleaner the diet, the higher would be the rate of success.I did cut all alcohol and have recently started to add in wine, just the occasional glass of wine.
First of all, on behalf of the whole psoriasis community, I would like to thanks a lot to Elaine for letting me share her story. I really enjoyed all the one to one discussions with her. She replied to all my questions with a deep sense of compassion. You know, it needs courage to accept your problem and let the whole world know about it. And, Elaine has a lot of it. Acceptance is the first step towards healing and I can see that Elaine has completely accepted her skin (and her life) and she is on the right track to overcome it. Now, I am damn that psoriasis can’t rule her life anymore.
So, our takeaways from her experience are:
- Don’t rely too much on steroidal medicines or creams
- Diet is very important. Try an elimination diet for 8 to 12 weeks. Avoid- gluten, dairy, nightshade vegetables, excess of sugar and highly processed foods rich in salt, sugar and saturated fats
- Grab a book of Dr Pagano’s psoriasis healing cook book and try to implement his recommendations.
- If it doesn’t helps, then opt for a food allergy test to discover further intolerant foods
- Stress management is vital. Proper sleep and regular exercise helps
- We need to make sure to have a nutritious diet while following the diet elimination protocol. Include healthy foods in your diet.
Read more: Omega 3 benefits for Psoriasis
Join Our Facebook Community
Elaine is a member of our Facebook community- Psoriasis Self Management. Please come and join us. You can interact with Elaine and so many other members, which have similar struggles and more or less similar life experiences. Together, we can explore various ideas to make our lives better.
In case, you want to communicate with her directly, you can email her- e[email protected]