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An Exclusion Diet

An Exclusion Diet by Adam Shand

I've always known that psoriasis runs in my family, but until a few years ago I thought that I'd been fortunate enough to have dodged that gene. I'm lucky in that I have a very mild case, yet it's annoying, and it would be lovely if it went away.

Over the years, I've done a bit of reading, and I am hearing more and more stories from friends and in online forums about people who have managed to make dramatic changes in their health simply by changing their diet.

I didn't pay this much attention until I was reading Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Healing, he talks about how skin conditions are almost always a sign of something being wrong inside your body. He went on to say that any sort of topical treatment is at best treating a symptom and at worst pushing the problem back into your body. Say what you will about hippy doctors, this made too much sense for me to ignore.

As I started reading online, I wasn't surprised to discover the mass of conflicting information (and straight-up scam sites) about diet and psoriasis. The only thing which everybody (except western medicine) agrees about is that changing your diet can make things better, and in some cases "cure", psoriasis. In general, the four big baddies seem to be:

  • Alcohol (especially for men)
  • Sugar
  • Red meat
  • Caffeine

Which left me a little depressed, it doesn't leave many harmless vices! After much reading, discussion and support from friends, my sister has agreed to join me in an experiment with an exclusion diet. The idea is that you remove basically "everything" from your diet for up to three weeks. During that time, and often much faster, your symptoms should completely disappear. Once you are symptom free, you slowly add things back into your diet and figure out what was causing the problem.

In this case, removing "everything" means being left with brown rice and water. Fortunately, I quite like brown rice, I only hope I still like it when this is over!

Before I get lectured, I understand that exclusion diets are typically used for allergies, intolerances and skin conditions like eczema. I understand that psoriasis is actually an autoimmune disorder, but I figure I don't have a lot to lose. At the end of three weeks, I either discover that diet doesn't make a bit of difference, in which case I can stop wondering and get on with my life. Or it "cures" me and I can get down to the business of figuring out what the actual problem foods are. Either way, I win, so long as three weeks of brown rice doesn't break me!

journal posted on 13 Sept 2009 in #daring, #eating & #failing

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