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The “Don’t Eat” List for Curing Psoriasis with Diet
from Kristan R.

Dear Ed.  Re: Don’t Say This.  I have to admit, I laughed so hard, I cried!

Thanks — I needed that.

Wanted to let you know I started getting P when I was around 20. It got real bad and nothing could get rid of it. Finally, when I was 37, I got totally disgusted with it and started researching and talking to people and I discovered a lot of things.

Long story short, I cut a lot of things out of my diet and the P went away. Totally.  Within 4 months I had baby's skin and I was cured for several years. Of course, I maintained my diet of not eating certain foods that I KNEW caused the P to flare. THEN I got pregnant and I discovered I COULD EAT WHATEVER THE HECK I WANTED TO EAT!!!

And I did. Of course, once I gave birth, all bets were off. P returned with a vengeance! And it STILL revolves around what I eat!!

Here is the basic “no” list:

  • no dairy (animal fat),

  • no red meat,

  • no pork,

  • no shellfish,

  • no white sugar,

  • no white rice,

  • no white flour (or anything made with rice of flower),

  • absolutely no fried foods,

  • no tomatoes,

  • no alcohol,

  • no caffeine,

  • no chocolate

  • no prefabricated foods (containing MSG and sulfites), no hydrogenated oils or oils that have been anything OTHER THAN cold pressed.

Other than that, I can eat whatever I want (big smile!!). But it works, I promise.  -Kristan R.


Ed’s Response:  Your “don’t list” looks familiar.  It has elements of both Pagano and Connolly (search on either name from the FlakeHQ home page for all relevant correspondence). And you realize, of course, that your list, if followed, would practically decimate the diets of millions of people, both flakers and non-flakers.  This is not to suggest your “don’t eat” recommendations are in error — I’ve heard from dozens of people who report good results from diet modification like this — but this approach to treating psoriasis would be, for many of us, an absolute last resort. 

Your observation about P going away when you were pregnant — and enabling you to eat anything you want — complicates things a bit, don’t you think? 

There has been at least one study about pregnant women and their  psoriasis that suggests the abatement of P is real for less than half of the flaking women who become pregnant — which means it’s far from universal.  One theory about this is that pregnancy mutes some of the immune responses that might otherwise consider a growing fetus a “threat.” In muting any such immune response, the processes that cause P get muted as well.  Perhaps some women who don’t have this fortunate reaction would not respond well to the new biologic therapies, either — all of which mute very narrow immune system “actions” that are linked to P.

If we accept the notion that diet has an effect on how the immune system works — and it would be ridiculous not to accept this, in my thinking, given what we both know about P and the overwhelming anecdotal evidence provided by people who have successfully undertaken these super-restrictive diets — then the scientists among us must ask about the nature of that relationship between diet and immune system response.  That question hasn’t been well-explored scientifically, at least not from the perspective of psoriasis ... probably because it’s difficult and any profitable outcome seems distant and barely comprehensible. (Think of the impact on the food growers, processors and distributors if every flaker in the world stopped eating all the things on your list.  No, the outcome of a study of why these things contribute to flaking would have to be some “agent” — like the proteins that make up our current biologic drug therapies — that prevent, for example, tomatoes from contributing to our flaking without prohibiting us from eating tomatoes.)

Eventually, I believe we will learn that these super-restrictive diets work for some people like the twentieth century systemics — methotrexate and cyclosporine — worked for some people.  They both have a broad, shotgun-like effect on immune system activity and, for some people, that effect includes mitigating psoriasis. It would not surprise me if we found out the diets, however, accomplished this with much greater safety (i.e., less toxic side effects) than the systemic drugs.  Even if we discover this, in lieu of alternatives more people will continue to ingest pills that poison them if it means they can still enjoy their pasta and their sweets. 

We are taking our first steps in the area of biologic therapies that work directly — and hopefully benignly — on the immune system to thwart P. They don’t work for everybody and they are much too expensive right now.  But as the cornucopia of these drugs fills, and the costs come down, my hope is that we can say sayonara to both the twentieth century systemics — methotrexate and cyclosporine — and the super-restrictive diets.  In the meantime, I’m glad we still have access to all of these things.

Thanks for sharing, Kristan.  And keep on laughing!  -Ed

P.S. To all other readers:  Aren't you glad I didn't post this letter until AFTER the holidays?!

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