New year, new me, new diet blah blah blah blah…this week I began my Elimination Diet in an attempt to discover the foods that make my psoriasis flare.
Can’t you just take an allergy test, Clair? Are you just doing this to lose weight? Why subject yourself to this struggle when your grandpa gave you perfectly good chocolate truffles as a Christmas present and they have been left untouched?
Shut up, brain. I had been reading for a while about psoriasis flares in relation to food for a couple of months and became fascinated by it. I mean, I’m an eater. This girl right here can EAT. Should I eat so much? No. Do I do it anyway? Yes.
My psoriasis is quite the doozy. I have plaque psoriasis on my scalp, elbows and knees, guttate psoriasis on my back, torso and legs, inverse psoriasis under my breasts and in my armpit, butt and groin areas. I also have sebopsoriasis on my face. Like I said, DOOZY.
You can see, now, why I might be interested in how I can change my diet to affect my breakouts.
So an elimination diet…what is it? Great question! Juls, from the It’s Just A Bad Day, Not Life blog, has this great infographic that explains more about WHY it is a good thing to do (plus tons of references in this article). If you have psoriatic arthritis, she also has other great tips and tricks for you, too. I recommend exploring!
John Barardi, Ph.D. wrote on Precise Nutrition about how to start your elimination diet. I am definitely more of a visual learner so the infographic below is also SUPER helpful.
I am in week 1 of the Elimination Phase and BOY HAS IT HIT ME. I have never been on a diet. On day 3, I teared up at an ice cream commercial. I had a 15-minute-long rant with my roommate about how I should just give up and cave. I started going through Christmas cookie withdrawal symptoms: headaches, extreme hunger, cravings and lots of yelling.
Can you tell I have never said no to food before? Apparently, these feelings are very normal for the first week of a diet. This was a little comforting, but not quite as comforting as a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream.
The first few days were very tough as my co-workers brought home-made dessert after home-made dessert to the office breakroom. My mouth watered as I passed each plate when I went to refill my water cup. It made me feel like a vampire about to pounce or something. I started experiencing some really weird Twilight movie scenarios and decided it was time to snack on some fruit (my equivalent of animal blood at this point).
I thought dairy was going to be the hardest thing to cut out (because um QUESO), but surprisingly it hasn’t been. The hardest foods to cut out have been 1) gluten and 2) processed sugars/chocolate. This explains why I gripped my grocery cart so hard while passing the chocolate croissants at Trader Joe’s.
After figuring out how to substitute the things I couldn’t eat and experimenting with foods, I’ve actually been okay! It is really helpful to incorporate things into your diet that make you happy that fit the rules of your diet. For me, that is fruit smoothies or fruit juices. I have a fruit smoothie and a banana for breakfast and it’s actually really great. I don’t feel groggy and I get my day started faster with a whole bunch of delicious fruit.
I am NOT a doctor, so I cannot officially recommend this diet because it is not for everyone. Consult your physician if you have any questions about this. If you’re like me and you only go to the doctor if you’ve lost a limb, then go for it! You can make it anything you want it to be. Just keep in mind, this is not for weight loss. This is for finding out if any of your everyday foods contribute to your psoriasis flares.
And with that, I’m gonna go make a salad aka rabbit food that humans sometimes eat. Tune in for Part 2!