As part of our ongoing Paleo Success Series, this early success story was contributed by Sally Aquire, a blogger and health writer who has chosen to follow the Paleo Diet for Psoriasis.
Regular readers of this blog will know that a grain free diet has made a huge difference for Zach in overcoming Crohn’s Disease and about his belief that this type of eating plan can help to get relief from autoimmune conditions.
This is something I’m definitely agreeing with more and more as I’ve also had success in using the Paleo diet to treat a chronic autoimmune condition – in this case, an inflammatory skin condition called psoriasis.
Here’s my story of how the Paleo diet has helped me to fight back against psoriasis.
My Experiences With Psoriasis
A few years ago, I started noticing patches of red and very dry skin on my face. At first, it was just a small area but it gradually spread to other parts of my face.
Even a very intensive moisturizer didn’t make any difference and by this point, the condition was really obvious to anyone who saw me and had a big effect on my confidence.
After initially being diagnosed with a fungal infection and seborrheic dermatitis, I eventually found out it was psoriasis and that it was affecting both my face and scalp.
Why I Turned to the Paleo Diet for Psoriasis
Straight away, I was immediately prescribed a bundle of different treatments to use on my face and scalp. This included a shampoo and steroid gel to use on my scalp, and a short term steroid cream and longer term treatment for my face.
At first, I was happy enough to use these but as I read up more on psoriasis, I started to wonder if there was another option to these medications. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of using steroids (even on an intermittent basis if they did successfully treat the worst of the symptoms) and I had strong reservations about using one of the treatments as I’d read that it worked by suppressing the immune system.
I started researching how to reduce inflammation through your diet and decided to see if an “anti inflammatory” diet could have a positive effect on my symptoms and help me to “treat” the condition naturally rather than rely on medications.
My Anti Inflammatory Psoriasis Diet
To start with, I cut out or only ate very little of the foods that can trigger inflammation in the body such as processed foods and drinks, refined sugar, salt, red meat and grains. I also made sure to eat a lot more of the foods that are known to reduce inflammation such as fruits, vegetables and spices and started to drink more water and herbal teas.
About six months later, I took this up a notch and embarked on a Paleo eating plan. I wanted to get rid of as many potentially inflammatory foods as I could in the hope that this would stop “feeding” the inflammation that causes my psoriasis.
This meant also incorporating more seeds, “healthy” vegetable oils, oily fish and eggs into my diet.
How the Paleo Diet is Affecting My Psoriasis
So, what effects has the Paleo plan had on my psoriasis? Quite a lot, I’m pleased to say!
If I make sure that I follow my eating plan and don’t eat inflammatory triggers, my psoriasis symptoms are much improved.
With a good moisturizer and a dab of organic honey (which I’m using as an alternative to the topical treatments I was prescribed) every other day on the areas it typically flares up in, I can see a big difference in how obvious the symptoms are to other people. For the most part, I only need to leave the honey on for around an hour for it to keep things in check.
If I stray away from the Paleo plan, my skin quickly reverts back to being very red, dry, scaly and itchy and even the honey struggles to calm things down. I find I have to leave the honey on for hours at a time and do this for several days in a row before I start to get some relief, even once I’ve gone back to the Paleo diet as normal.
My experience is that sticking to the Paleo plan helps to keep my psoriasis symptoms under control and any variation from this takes things back to square one.
It’s not a cure as I still need to apply the honey every other day to help keep the situation under control but using honey makes very little difference if I don’t eat Paleo.
Based on my experiences, I definitely feel that the Paleo diet can have a really positive effect on psoriasis symptoms – probably because it’s intended to be anti inflammatory and doesn’t encourage the body to be inflamed.