Three days ago marks exactly one month* since I’ve been following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol to try to
get rid of put my psoriasis into remission (since I’ve learned that’s about the best you can do with autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis).
My mom has psoriasis vulgaris (which is the most common type) & I recently developed guttate psoriasis (the second most common type, characterized by small drop-like lesions) while abroad in Wales a few months ago. This type of psoriasis is normally triggered by an infection such as strep throat & while in many cases it goes away on its own with the help of treatments such as topical steroids or light exposure, there is also a chance of it developing into plaque psoriasis.
Baaasically, the psoriasis started as a few little spots on my stomach, no big deal. But then within a several days these few spots began to grow in size (uh oh) & then after a few weeks they had grown & spread throughout my entire body. I was covered in red spots – my stomach, back, arms, leg, scalp – every section of my body had spots. Luckily my chest/neck had no spots & there were only a couple less noticeable ones on my face so it being winter I was able to go day-to-day without anyone really noticing or questioning me about them. But I still knew they were there & while I was hoping that over break they would start to go away, it seemed like everyday I re-examined myself new spots would appear!
Since I was uncomfortable with the idea of using steroids (topical or not) I began to do quite a bit of online research on “healing” psoriasis through diet (specifically the paleo diet). I had been able to heal other gut issues in the past through a paleo-based diet and was convinced that this type of diet based on whole, unprocessed nutrient-dense foods could cure anything. I was also eager to heal the psoriasis my own way & wanted to prove others wrong who told me that treatments such as the steroid creams/ointments were the only answer. I was immediately intrigued after learning about the correlation with gut health/leaky gut & autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis. I discovered the Paleo Mom & through her website found stories of many people who had been able to get their conditions to go into remission through a paleo/ autoimmune protocol (AIP) approach & was inspired to try out the AIP version of the paleo diet for myself. While the paleo diet focuses on excluding all foods that can create inflammation in the body and can be harmful to gut lining, the AIP version of paleo goes further to remove the remaining possible gut irritants (eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, alcohol, NSAIDS, caffeine..) so that your gut can heal and your body can combat the autoimmune condition present.
So while yes, it is pretty strict and can seem overwhelming at first, I was finally moving into a house for the first time & since I would be purchasing & cooking my own food I knew that it would be manageable. I also decided to view it as a fun experiment & a way to get to know my body better. I think it’s incredibly cool when someone knows exactly which types of foods their body can & cannot tolerate. I wanted to be one of those people who knows which specific foods or types of food make me feel wonderful & which make me want to curl up on my bathroom floor & die. I wanted to be able to say things like: “Of course I’ll have a bite of your delicious looking almond-flour based cookie – unfortunately I can’t buy my own because I’ve found that I tend to break out after eating too many nuts but if you want to buy one I’m more than happy to have a little taste. Or two, maybe two really little tastes” (Cause two really little tastes equals one little taste right?) or “Yea, bring on the fish tacos, but I’ll have mine with extra guac instead of salsa. Too many tomatoes will send me running..” I could continue, but, I think you get the point.
Anyway, now that you’ve gotten a little bit of an introduction to why I’ve chosen to follow such a strict version of paleo, I’d like to share some pictures of the progress I’ve seen after only a little over a month following this type of diet.
First, the before…
This picture was taken sometime in mid-December. It got even worse afterwards (the spots grew in width & a few more popped up) but this is the only picture I’ve got of my stomach so I wanted to include it. My pants were apparently quite high that day..
This was taken sometime at the end of December. This is the arm that really freaked people out. But what can I say, I’m a big fan of rolling up my sleeves.
Both of these were taken just before leaving for Denver (Probably around the end of December/beginning of January)
And now, the after…
You can see the dates each picture was taken thanks to my handy dandy watch. I tried to take one every week or so since starting the paleo AIP & the progress from week to week is evident!
And lastly I just want to wrap up the post with some of things I’ve found to have helped the most in clearing up my psoriasis:
- Bone Broth – every week I use chicken bones (from roasting a whole chicken), miscellaneous bones from cooking meats throughout the week, and/or “beef soup bones” purchased from my local grocery store to make a batch of bone broth. Each morning I mix up about half a cup or so with some hot water & sea salt & sip it as I make my breakfast. I started this routine about two weeks into the paleo AIP. The progress was starting to delay & immediately after including bone broth into my routine I saw amazing results – almost overnight my psoriasis began to vanish.
- Gelatin – I purchased the Great Lakes brand (both the green and red containers) & add some of the non-gelling green kind to my water before bed or after workouts a couple times a week. Have also made paleo gummies with the red kind (recipe to come!) occasionally as well.
- Coconut Oil – I cook with coconut oil each day (pretty much just use that & bacon fat for cooking right now) & also use it as hand/full body lotion. I keep some in a jar up in my room & put it in the bottom of the shower during my shower so it melts then I mix it with a mild lotion (I think it’s Lubriderm) & put it all over my body before bed. I also constantly put it on my hands/arms throughout the day during/after cooking with it.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil – I purchased this brand while abroad in Wales after reading Diane Sanfilippo’s post about it on her blog. I’ve gone through an entire container of the tablets & have recently graduated to the liquid form (cinnamon tingle flavor) which I highly recommend. I take 2-3 mL every night before bed & swear by it.
So there are some other I’m sure but I’m very late for a Mindy Project date with my roommates & those are the things that stick out in my mind that I think have been most helpful (aside from avoiding all the gut irritants/inflammatory foods mentioned in the paleo AIP & eating lots of good quality meats/healthy fats/veggies with every meal) with my progress thus far. 🙂
* When I started writing this post, this had been true, however it took me awhile to actually finish it up & post it so now it’s been about a month + one week (or so) since I began my Paleo AIP