Category: Psoriasis

Day 12 | Psoriasis Diet – Challenges and Successes

Good but not great hot cereal with bananas

Today is the 12th day of the diet, and so far things have been going more right than wrong.  This weekend I finally committed to ending coffee intake, and I’m on day 3 of zero coffee.  I replaced it with a cup of darjeeling tea, which I also really love, but eventually, probably later this week I’m going to replace that with something with no caffeine.  I don’t think caffeine is the problem with those drinks, and to be honest, I don’t think the drinks are as big a problem as what I eat.

Speaking of eating things, last night I experimented with tofu.  Yup, that bland hunk of white stuff.  I needed a way to cook it without using any oils, since I need to have *some* protein in my diet.  I found this youtube video which was great.  I wanted to try out a bunch of different dry seasoning mixes and was trying to think of a good way to get the stuff to stick to the tofu without using any oil.  Well, this guy had a great idea:

Mustard!  I love mustard!  And I can even eat it.  So I tried 5 different spice mixes: Sate, Arizona Dreaming, Turkish seasoning, Northwoods Fire, and to round it out I had some McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple seasoning, which I used, but didn’t want to like as much as the other spice mixes.  Why?  Because 1) I’m a Penzey’s fan boy, and 2) it has Mysterious Ingredients, and that always makes me suspicious that there will be something in there that doesn’t play well with my psoriasis.

So I slabbed up the tofu, covered it in mustard (and a bit of worcestershire) and then each slice I covered in a different spice rub.  I let them sit for a couple hours, and then into a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, then I turned off the oven and let them sit in there for another 15 minutes.  When they came out the texture was great, quite meaty.  Which was the best one?  Of course it was the Smokehouse Maple one 😡 But next up (for me) it was the Sate seasoning, with the Turkish a not too distant third.  The others just didn’t do it for me, but I know they are good on other things: the Northwoods fire on chicken is great, and the Arizona Dreaming in eggs is really good.  Now, in order for me to TRY all these different things, I was forced (FORCED I TELL YOU) to eat… most of it.  Almost the whole block.

Let me tell you a little story about how my psoriasis feels about eating a great deal of protein: it doesn’t like it.  The next day (today) the psoriasis plaques were quite red and irritated.  I want to blame the delicious and mysterious Smokehouse Maple seasoning, but I know deep down in my black heart that in the past I’ve seen the same thing: Everytime I eat a lot of protein I get a poor reaction.  So it looks like I might be able to eat a *small* amount of tofu, but I can’t chow down a whole block.  Who knew.  (it actually IS quite possible the Smokehouse seasoning, or some other thing was to blame, worcestershire?)  But I’ll be eating smaller amounts of protein in the future.  I have found that I can eat a hardboiled egg just fine.  As long as I eat *mostly* whole grains, leafy greens, carrots etc.

For lunch I’ve been eating this hot cereal I got: Bob’s Red Mill Five Grain which seems good.  I added an apple and cinnamon while cooking, and then topped it with a banana. It was good, although… I mean oatmeal works fine too.  I probably will just buy steel cut oats in the future, YMMV.

Good but not great hot cereal with bananas
Five Grain Hot Cereal

Anyway, this was new to the diet as well, so: SUSPICION.  Nothing is safe.  In hindsight I probably shouldn’t add multiple new things to the diet at the same time.  Bad, scientist, bad.  I’m fixing it by eating the cereal again today, but not the tofu.  WE WILL SEE WHO IS GUILTY.

Meanwhile, I’ve dropped about 5 lbs so far, and have slowly been upping my rowing workout so I don’t feel quite like horfing anymore, so those things are good.  The Tai Chi class also went well, I’ll probably be adding that into the workouts from now.  I should have taken a picture yesterday when the plaques were better looking, but here is a picture of my arm currently, much more red than yesterday, though the size of the plaques have not yet begun to recede:

Psoriasis plaque 12 days into psoriasis diet
My arm Day 12

Annoying.  Well, until today things were getting better, just gotta keep chugging along.  I had downgraded my PASI score yesterday, though now it is back up to my ‘normal’.  I have spreadsheets of things like what I eat every day, and what my metrics are as I measure them, anyone interested in those?  I’m thinking about putting them into a google doc and linking it somehow to the blog so you can see changes as I update them.

Filed under: Diet, Psoriasis, Recipes

The Psoriasis Diet Day 4

Plaque psoriasis not healing in this weather

Well.  Well, well, well.  Things are going well. Sort of.  Sadly, today looked like this:

Plaque psoriasis not healing in this weather
Today looked like this, so first Tai Chi class was cancelled

So, Tai Chi was cancelled.  Sad face.  But it’s alright!  I’ve been (mostly) sticking to the diet!  I have yet to really cull out coffee from my day, so… that’s not great.  But starting next week I’ll stop drinking coffee every day, and the week after that, I should be off the black stuff.

As far as what I’ve been eating, it’s been a lot of beans (which I cook from dry in my pressure cooker, the wonderful Instant Pot aka best pressure cooker ever).  I made a chickpea and cauliflower curry, and then made a pinto bean chili (both of which I ate with basmati rice… although in the future I’m probably going to start going back to straight brown rice, it worked best for me as a grain).  The real star was what I made tonight, which was a soba noodle dish from food52.com.  Well, technically it was supposed to be udon noodles, but I had soba.  I also used spinach instead of kale, and added some thinly sliced mushrooms, because I be straight up kray like dat:

soba surprise
psoriasis diet dinner spinach soba noodles and mushrooms

Previously I tried to stay away from really rich foods, and this seems to qualify I think so I probably won’t eat it much, but it was *amazing*.   The other thing that I notice as I’m on this diet is over time I start to get rather sensitive to food.  When it affects my psoriasis I know it, and right now my psoriasis sense is tingling.  By which I mean, the psoriasis plaques feel hot.  That’s usually not a good sign, and the other reason that I won’t make this again.

The sad part is that there are a lot of things that affect me like that.  Really only eating plain rice and vegetables straight up *works*.  I feel like my body just punishes me if I stray to much.  *sigh*  Well, luckily things are looking up since I just went to the grocery store and loaded up on veggies, fruits, and unrefined grains.  Huzzah.  I’m soaking green lentils tonight to make my favorite lentil crepes tomorrow.

On the morrow then.

Filed under: Psoriasis

The Psoriasis Diet Day One

It's kind of like a continent

We’ve finally come to it.  I’m actually committing to the diet now, I’ve eaten most of the bad things in the house (although they will never truly be completely gone while I have other people living here).

So here is the deal.  I’m doing a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet.  I also have the restrictions that I’m not going to be eating/drinking dairy, most fats/oils, most meat, limiting/eliminating coffee and caffeine and all soft drinks, lowering alcohol intake (I’ll probably never stop from having a few drinks on occasion), most heavily processed foods, and nightshades like Tomatoes/potatoes/peppers.  As far as I’ve been able to tell, sugars don’t seem to affect psoriasis, so at least I can still sweeten things if need be.

ALL of these things are stuff that I love dearly, which is why I find the diet pretty difficult to stick to.  However, the rest of the stuff I can pretty much eat with abandon like all fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, and corn.

I’ve especially found things like fatty cuts of meats, fried things, and dairy to exacerbate my symptoms.  Lots of drinking does that as well.  The last time I did this diet I found that meditation and working out a lot helped distract me from being hungry and just generally increased my mood.  Oddly enough, for me anyway, when I get extremely happy my symptoms tend to reduce quite a lot.  Once upon a time I fell in love, and I’ve never seen my psoriasis disappear faster, even though I did no other therapy, or change my diet in the slightest.  So I find that mood is a significant factor in my psoriatic symptoms.  To further those goals I’m going to be working out on a rowing machine at least three times a week, and I’m going to a free class in Tai Chi this weekend (1-7-2017) to see if that would be a good course for me to take. I’m going to start doing Tai Chi regardless, but taking a class would be cool and motivating.

Another odd thing that I’ve found is that I don’t really experience “flare ups”, or times where my psoriasis suddenly becomes much worse and starts growing very quickly.  For me it is a steady progression, just slowly taking over my body, like some kind of terrible glacier of sadness.  So that’s fun.  But there certainly are times where my psoriasis becomes extremely painful for me.  I normally associate this with large amounts of animal proteins and fats.  Which are delicious.  *sigh*

Now when I reach for a bag of chips I’m going to have to start stuffing carrots in my mouth.  But this is all for the betterment of science!  I’m excited for some future posts where I start talking about my genome and gut microbiome, I think some people on the internet might find it interesting!  I took some pictures today, but the lighting wasn’t great, so I might try taking some additional photos tomorrow when I can get some daylight.

Today I ate: Basmati rice for lunch with some salt and pepper, then a chickpea curry with cauliflower and basmati rice for dinner.  I also ate some chocolate (which was bad, but left over from christmas celebrations) and drank Sleepytime Tea from Celestial Seasonings with no sweetener, which was good.

DateWeight (lbs)BMIBMI(2.5)Waist (inches)Hip (inches)PASI
1/4/2017220.43130.83454627

Ugh, I’m technically obese.  Great.

Workout: 10 mins on the rower

Until I get some better pictures here’s a little flavor to see what we are dealing with:

It's kind of like a continent
Thar she blows
Filed under: Diet, Psoriasis

What is the Psoriasis Area Severity Index

Tomorrow I plan on writing a post going into more detail about the diet, but today I wanted to write a quick blurb about another metric I’m going to be tracking, which is the Psoriasis Area Severity Index, or PASI.

There is a pretty basic question that comes up when it comes to psoriasis, i.e. “How bad is it?” or perhaps a little more officially, “How severe are your symptoms?”  This was a question I wanted an answer to myself, so I did some digging.  It turns out back in 1978 (according to the paper referenced by the websites I’ll be linking too shortly) researchers created a scoring metric to track exactly that question.  Full disclosure, I haven’t read the paper, mostly because it isn’t available in online form at Pubmed a.k.a. where I get all my scientific papers from, so I can’t really talk very knowledgeably about the origins.  It appears to have been developed so they could measure how well a retinoid treatment they were testing performed on psoriatic patients.

Apparently this has gained a fair amount of support from the research community, because there is (at least one) PASI calculator available to get your own score right from your very own little computer!

Now, you might get to this website and see that it has 4 different sections: Head, Arms, Trunk, and Legs.  Then you might see that each section of your body has a percentage measurement of how much of that area is covered (pretty self explanatory) and three different scores ranging from 0-4 for “Redness, Thickness, and Scaling”.  At this point you might wonder (as I did) how in the world do you rate that?  Never fear!  There is another site which details with great pictures just how you would rate each criteria.

So there you have it, another piece to this puzzle I’m creating.  Now I have a metric which I can use to measure just how my symptoms change as I do the diet.  Currently I’m rocking a PASI score of 27.9.  Which seems not great.  If you have no symptoms on your arms and legs, and have 30-49% coverage of head and trunk at a severity of 1 for all criteria your PASI is 3.6

If you have psoriasis check it out, it looks like it was developed to help patients communicate better with their physicians, so that might be really helpful for you!

Filed under: Psoriasis

Getting Started – My Plan To Heal Psoriasis With Diet

Ok, so I got a little sidetracked there with life.  There were a few things I wanted to accomplish first which just didn’t happen for quite some time and by then I had sort of run out of steam.  However, I’m back on track!  So starting this month, I’m going to be changing my diet, AND starting to work out more, just because I’m not happy with where I am in my life and my relative health.  Check out the About Me section to get some additional background on myself.  Basically, I have plaque psoriasis, and I’ve had it for a couple of decades now.  In my late 20s I did a diet which reduced the symptoms I had quite a bit.  Being older, but not much wiser, I’ve decided to get back on the horse and commit to doing it again.

The whole reason for this blog is to track how my plaque psoriasis does as I change what it is that I eat.  In the past I’ve found that 1) eating less and 2) eating differently had significant changes to my symptoms.

One of the more challenging aspects of psoriasis is it affects different people in different ways (both the symptoms AND the treatments differ between people).  But worry not!  See how this blog is SCIENTIST with psoriasis?  Yeah.  I’m a scientist.  I mean, in an official capacity I’m a kind of different sort of scientist than what I’m tackling with this blog, but heck.  Science it’s all the same right?  NO!  Wait, I mean yes.  Basically.

As everyone who has had psoriasis for some time knows, any given treatment may, or may not work for you.  And even if it does work, it might not continue to work.  This is a huge bummer.  And it also means that I don’t know if following a similar diet would work for you.  I might try it, with the blessing of your physician of course, since diet is one of those things that you have the power to change on your own.  No need for prescriptions or anything special.

The main highlights here are that I’m going to track what my diet is, AND, do some other fun stuff.  For example the “things” I mentioned earlier that I wanted to do were different personal health metrics.  Specifically I wanted to do 23andme and ubiome sequencing.

Why, do you ask?  Well I’ll tell you. First, 23andme was the cheapest way for me to get information on my own genome.  I have a whole blog post I’m going to do on that, so never fear: you WILL get a boat load of information as to why I would want to do something like that.  And secondly, ubiome (which is a ‘clever’ way of saying “microbiome”) is a way that you can measure your own bacteria types in your guts.  Since I’m going to do this experiment on myself, I wanted some baseline data.  We are going to see just how these changes in my life are going to affect the little dudes that live in my gut.  I’m suspicious that the composition will change because … well different bacteria eat different things.  If something in their environment (mah belly) change, it’s quite possible that different bacteria will begin to dominate, I might get some new bacteria, and I might even lose some other ones.  Hypothesis: the composition of the bacteria in my gut is related to the severity of my psoriatic symptoms.

So those are kind of the “bird’s eye view” measurements I’m doing.  The plan is to then also measure the gut bacteria after being on the diet for some time (I’m planning a month into it, and then 2 months and possibly more, depending on how things go).  My genome isn’t going to change, so one measurement of that is fine.

I’ll also be tracking things like my weight, BMI, mood and of course statistics on my psoriasis.  In my next post I’ll start sharing these embarrassing statistics for all the world to see.  Luckily, currently, I don’t think anyone actually reads this blog, because I haven’t really done anything with it in a year, so at least initially my overweightness and general unhealthiness will be fairly unknown.  But, this is SCIENCE people, and I’m sure many famous people will want to talk to me about my brilliant analysis.  Until that point I’m doing this for myself, and this blog is going to help me stay motivated, gall durn it.

Filed under: Diet, Psoriasis

The Plan

Hi Everyone, and welcome to scientistwithpsoriasis.com!

My name is Josh and I’ve shown the symptoms of psoriasis since I was about 12 years old.  This was a long time ago.  I mean, not THAT long ago.  But… pretty long ago.  The point is that I’ve had it for quite some time, so I have a fair amount of personal experience with it.

The purpose of this site is to provide a resource for people who want to know more about psoriasis.  To accomplish that there are a few things I have planned that I would like to do.  First of all, as a scientist I’m familiar with reading primary literature from science journals (i.e. articles which are often filled with very technical talk about science, written primarily for the benefit of other scientists and people whose careers are in medicine/science).  What I would like to do is investigate some of these journal articles and write some posts about them.  Kind of like a synopsis, breaking down the really technical aspects in a way that people can understand.  This may be boring.  I have no idea, but it seems like a good place to get started.  If nothing else, then I’ll learn more about psoriasis, which seems like a good goal.  If all goes to plan, then people can come to this site and learn some interesting science-based facts about psoriasis and likewise increase their understanding of the disease.

The second purpose of this site is back in my mid-twenties I did a diet.  It sucked.  BUT, it was the only thing I’ve ever found in my life that really helped me control my psoriasis.  So, for your viewing pleasure I’ve decided to do the diet again! Huzzah!  Bleh.  Ok, I’m not going to define it right this very second, because what fun would that be.  Alright, I guess this isn’t about fun.  The real reason is that I’m lazy and I don’t want to do it right now, but rest assured I will DEFINITELY tell you.  I mean, that’s what I do.  Tell you stuff.  In a future post.

I’m also pretty excited about a few things I have planned for the future!  I’m going to be tracking lots of metrics on myself and what happens to me throughout the course of this experiment.  As a little bit of a preview here are some of the things you are going to learn: my genotype, how my gut microbiome changes over the course of this experiment, what happens to things like my weight and physical characteristics, and obviously how my psoriasis symptoms change over time.

Because I’m a scientist, and this is the kind of crap we do.

Ok, buckle up.  This is day zero, the last day of my non-dieting state.  I’ll be posting about what I eat, and my current state, including pictures and the like.  In addition I’ve got a youtube channel setup, so you’ll be able to see my crazy face from time to time.  I’m also going to link up a facebook page, and twitter account.  It should be SUPER fun.  So fun.  To not eat good things.  Ever.  :'(

 

Filed under: Diet, Psoriasis