Confusing Dietary Advice Exists…
Starting your psoriasis diet may be confusing to begin with. One word of caution before we go any further, you will find some confusion in the sometimes wildly and differing opinions of those who advocate various kinds of psoriasis diets. Some books and websites I have studied over the years advocate a very simplistic psoriasis diet, one well-known psoriasis book even recommends that all fruit, grains and meats are OK, and that you must avoid alcohol primarily. Other books on psoriasis I’ve seen are way too strict and recommend a vegan approach to eating. One well-known American psoriasis website claims that nuts should never consumed by those with psoriasis, as they are among the foods which can cause psoriasis flare-ups. This is a myth, I can understand that peanuts may be problematic for some, as they are potentially highly allergenic and are moldy at times, but to take almonds and Brazil nuts for example out of the diet of a person with psoriasis just doesn’t make any sense! After having worked with patients with psoriasis for over two decades, I can state with absolute confidence that most all psoriasis sufferers can tolerate nuts, but common sense prevails, it is not wise to allow a person to eat for example 7 ounces (200 grams of nuts) every day! You need to obviously exercise caution, and some will be more sensitive than others to one or several of the foods I may recommend. Others with psoriasis may even be OK with a limited range of the “do not eat” foods as they begin their treatment, you will find that throughout my Psoriasis Diet recommendations that I advocate trial and error. One thing is for certain, one size does not fit all and you will need to tweak the Psoriasis Program to suit your self.
Fad Psoriasis Diets Exist – Watch Out!
I sometimes see patients who follow weird, extreme or fad diets in a bid to eradicate their psoriasis. This is one of the worst things you can do, because extreme diets sometimes in themselves can cause extreme problems. The best diet for psoriasis is a healthy one, it has to be balanced and offer plenty of fresh and healthy food choices. Sometimes a person will read on the internet about some extreme dietary approach and try it out, only to find themselves in a lot of trouble. There is always some new weird thing that supposedly “cures” your psoriasis really quickly, and one blog post I read recently claimed that it was possible to cure psoriasis in only 12 hours. How ridiculous is that, and any person who seriously believes that a radical diet change can “cure” their psoriasis is kidding themselves. You will find that it takes time to notice a real improvement in your skin, and I recommend a four to six month program, that is what the Psoriasis Program is all about. The right diet approach will heal your digestive system, calm your immune system and consequently heal your skin. Do you really think all this can happen – in 12 hours?
21 Best Guidelines For Following The Psoriasis Diet
Here are twenty of the best dietary guidelines for counteracting psoriasis. Food lists are given later in this chapter as well, to assist you in your efforts to stay with these guidelines and achieve the best effect with your diet.
- Eat real food, fresh foods with every meal. Never skip meals, and it really pays to snack on fresh foods like vegetables, between meals. Avoid snacking on fresh fruit, too much sugar. Keep away from bread as a snack for a long time if you have a yeast infection.
- Be sure to eat each day at least one, but preferably two of the following groups: the green leafy group: (spinach, broccoli, salad greens, asparagus, celery, etc.), the anti-inflammatory diet group (berries, ginger and tumeric, seaweeds, oily fish, etc.) and the anti-candida specifics (coconut, garlic, oregano, fresh yoghurt, etc.). A portion could be from one to several tablespoons or a cup.
- You can eat vegetables in six different ways – raw, steamed, stir fried, grilled, baked or boiled. Raw is best and boiled is worst. Start with eating small amounts of raw vegetables and plenty of steamed vegetables and start eating less baked and boiled. In time, forget boiling and eat only raw, steamed (lightly) and stir-fried. This way you will destroy considerably less enzymes contained in these foods, and eat foods higher in phyto-nutrients with less chance of depletion.
- If you want to consume vegetable juices then I would recommend that you don’t juice your vegetables with a conventional juicer. They extract the juice only, and you end up throwing away the bulk, or the fiber. The fiber content is important for several reasons, particularly for reducing the chances of constipation and giving the bowel food to grow ample beneficial and friendly bacteria. Both of these reasons are important for those with candida because candida yeast sufferers often get constipated and lack sufficient beneficial bacteria in their bowel. Get a vegetable juicer that pulverizes the whole vegetable, that way you get sufficient fiber. You will be reading a lot more about juicing and the best juicer to buy in this section soon.
- Your bowel motions will give you a good indication if you consume adequate fiber in your diet. If you consume sufficient vegetable fiber, you bowel motions will improve and be easier to pass. They will be of good size and float more than they would sink. I learned this saying from Dr. Alan Gaby, one of America’s leading natural medicine doctors: “small stools = big hospitals, big stools = small hospitals”.
- Eat ten to fifteen serves a week of first class protein, which includes poultry and eggs, seafood including fish and shellfish, and the pink & red meats including venison (deer meat), pork and lamb. Eat less or avoid beef if you can. Choose fish, eggs and chicken instead of the pink and red meats. Eat no more than 500 grams (1 pound) of read meats a week, you will read a lot about why you will want to reduce red meats soon in this section of the book.
- If you crave sweet foods then you are best to eat small amounts of protein foods several times a day. Your blood sugar will be better balanced and you will crave less sweet foods as a consequence.
- Be mindful that too much protein can constipate, therefore eat plenty of (especially green or highly colored) vegetable fiber in addition. Remember, you bowel motions will be your guide to a large extent. Do the “eyeball test”, i.e.; look at your motions daily to see how your digestion is. If you start seeing food particles then you will need to chew your food more thoroughly, and consider staying with the digestive enzyme supplement for some time as well.
- Eat meats stir-fried, steamed or baked – not microwaved, grilled, deep-fried and preferably not fried. Meats cooked medium rare or medium will be better digested than meat cooked well done. Trim off the fat (but not all, you need saturated fat in your diet) but do avoid meat that is marbled with far too much fat.
- Drink a glass of water on rising, and another before breakfast and before each meal. It is also best to have a glass of water before bedtime, unless you have to get up out of bed early in the morning. Try to drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Your digestive system will improve tremendously, and this is the most important system to improve when you have psoriasis, and not your skin. So, drink up!
- A very clever idea is to add one to two drops of liquid grapefruit seed extract to each liter of water you consume throughout the day. I got this tip several years ago from a doctor in America who specializes in psoriasis. It works very well and is most efficient if done for 3 months; if two drops is too much, just add one. This may well be the turning point for you if you have a chronic psoriasis, just this one tip daily (when continued for 3 – 6 months) could mean you are well on the way to a full recovery, especially if you keep your diet clean and healthy. While you are at it, add a drop or two of pure oregano oil to salad dressings.
- Add lime or lemon juice to your water, it will aid digestion and has an antibacterial and anti-fungal action. Herbal tea is acceptable, but try to reduce or eliminate coffee and tea. Use a water purifier to filter tap water before you drink it.
- Use a good quality sea salt and avoid the supermarket white salt. Useful seasonings to add flavor to your meals are black pepper, caraway, chives, cloves, curry, paprika, sage, and parsley. Particularly good choices are oregano, thyme, rosemary and marjoram because they are antimicrobial by nature. It is a good idea to grow these herbs and add them to your dishes all spring and summer long. Garlic and ginger should be used daily in your cooking, fresh is best.
- The best oils to use are extra-virgin olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, and organic sunflower oil. Avoid canola and mixed vegetable oils. Keep your oils (except olive oil) in the refrigerator and preferably in dark glass bottles. Nice oils to use on your salad as a dressing include avocado, or nut oils such as macadamia or walnut oil. These are more expensive, but you only need to use them sparingly. Coconut oil and coconut milk are particularly good choices as they are anti-fungal by nature.
- Remember to eat natural foods, and to completely avoid soda drinks, as well as snacks and sweets like candy, biscuits, cookies, donuts, muesli bars (sugars) and other hidden sources of sugars. After you have avoided sweet foods for two to three weeks your cravings will diminish remarkably, take 500mg chromium picolinate with meals if you still crave sugars, you soon will not. Avoiding sugars and hidden forms of sugar is very important in successfully overcoming psoriasis. It is critical that you identify early on the key sweet foods and/or drinks you regularly enjoy.
- When you go to the supermarket, shop around the outside perimeter, there you will find the fresh produce such as meat, fish, vegetables, and other real foods. The foods in the aisles with be processed and packaged and is best avoided by you, especially in the first month or so. The reason why the perishable foods are situated on the perimeter is to give the shop assistants better access to foods that have a much shorter shelf life; the stuff in the center aisles can last for years due to the inclusion of preservatives, colors, additives and various other chemicals.
- Eat less with your main meals; it is a good idea to leave the last spoonful or two of food on your plate. A good tip is to buy smaller dinner plates, you can pile a small plate up and think you have a lot of food on your plate, if you pile up food on a large plate – you are eating too much. I’ve said it before; one of the best forms of exercise is to push your plate away from your stomach, to the middle of the table before you have eaten all the food on your plate. You will be surprised how much better you feel and how easier it will be to maintain your weight. Avoid deserts, and if you get hungry later on, you can always have a little healthy snack.
- Eat only those foods that you know are healthy for you. We are all human and like to indulge in the not so healthy at times. It is all about balance, but why eat foods repetitively, with which you have a bad relationship? If you know what food is bad for you or brings you down in some way, then simply avoid it.
- You dietary requirements depend on several different factors such as your age, occupation, your health habits (such as smoking) or taking pharmaceutical drugs for a health condition. It is best that you work with a naturopath or a nutritionally orientated doctor to establish your needs, and it is likewise important that you regularly visit him or her for your follow-up visits.
- Be sure to take the correct dietary supplements with meals or away from meals that you require to help eradicate candida, restore balance and suit your individual needs. You can read all about dietary supplements in section 4 of this chapter. Again, it is best to work in conjunction with your practitioner in this regard. This article will give you good guidelines, but for any fine-tuning, be sure to ask your physician, and be sure that your physician gets a copy of my psoriasis book. I can be contacted too for Skype or telephone consultations for distance patients.
- Last but not least, please don’t get discouraged with the Psoriasis Diet; it is only temporary and a means to an end. Tell yourself that a strict adherence is best, particularly in the beginning phases. That way you will overcome your yeast infection along with any accompanying symptoms quicker, and you will soon be on the road to full recovery. I have helped many patients recover from psoriasis and have noticed that one of the most important prerequisites is persistence, the person who sticks with the recommendations and stays on track.