Monday, March 31, 2014

Healing Psoriasis Through Diet - My Challenges So Far

It gets worse before it gets better
I read that this could happen, but even though I was prepared for it, I was very disheartened when my Psoriasis got even worse... It was a little hard to stay motivated so I had to keep reminding myself that this was a necessary 'step-back' on the road to long-term recovery.  After a few days of extreme itchiness, the spots on my face disappeared and so did the itchiness (thank goodness).  I was hoping I would continue to see gradual improvement but I haven't seen much unfortunately. This could be a result of my other challenges below though.

Going out to eat is hit-or-miss
I had a few good reasons to take the risk and eat out this month- my birthday and visiting family.  Out of four meals, three were great, and the other was quite horrible.  It's kind of funny, the one time I specifically told the waiter I couldn't eat specific foods I had a severe reaction to something I ate... I still don't really know what caused it?  We think they seasoned the chicken breast with paprika or chili powder - which are actually nightshades. A few hours later I had a huge flare up, the crazy itchiness returned with a vengeance and by the next morning I had a few spots on my face again. I was so upset,  I tried so hard to avoid a relapse and it happened anyway. I didn't order any of my favourite foods on the menu and was so proud of myself for staying strong but I was not rewarded for my vigilance :(

I am glad I was able to find a few delicious meals that didn't affect me negatively. I will be sticking with these safe choices for awhile. No more gambles until I am much farther along on my road to recovery.

Packaged foods have many unexpected and hidden ingredients
Nightshades are harder to avoid than I thought.  Some allergens like peanuts are always clearly labeled, but nightshades can be hidden under the term 'spices'.  I never really noticed how often this generic term is included on ingredients lists until now.  Unfortunately for me, the spices could be paprika or chili powder so I can't safely eat the food until I contact the manufacturer and ask them directly.

I have learned to always check the labels! For the last 3 weeks I have been eating feta cheese on my salad and didn't even think to check the ingredients.... Yesterday, I suddenly became conscious of the fact that there were herbs and spices added to the feta for flavour. So I checked the ingredients and sure enough I had been eating sundried tomatoes almost daily without even knowing it.

At least I have had lots of practice avoiding gluten. Eating a primal diet for most of the last three years has been quite beneficial in this regard. I'm sure avoiding nightshades will become second-nature eventually as well.

Because of my lack of real progress I am moving onto my 'Plan B' and will post about it soon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

We Come Bearing Gifts

 My Mom and my Nanna made the long trek out to visit us last week. Having a new baby is definitely a great motivator for attracting visitors ;)  It was Miko's first time meeting his Nanna (Great grand mother) and I am so glad they had such a great time together.
 We had a very relaxing time together, managed to go out for a few meals, but mostly spent time in our home being entertained by the little guy. 
 Here is our four generations pic!
 It was so neat seeing my Mom interact with Miko, he's at such a great stage right now.

 He's such a happy little guy, our only challenge was getting him to ignore the camera and keep smiling.

I just had to sneak up on him during candid moments like this one.
 Miko always receives some very thoughtful gifts whenever we have visitors.  I know how fun it is to shop for babies ;)  My Mom gave Miko the cheerful painting you see above, she worked on it while she was visiting.  I just popped it  in a frame and now it is ready to hang in his nursery.
 My Nanna brought Miko a sterling silver cup with his name engraved into it.  It's a tradition in our family to receive this gift from a Great Grand Parent.
 In fact I still have the cup that was given to me by my Great Grandpa when I was a baby.  Miko's cup is on the left and mine is on the right.
My sister sent out some adorable onesies for him to wear.  Oh how I love baby clothes, they are so bright and cheerful.
The greatest gift however, was giving Miko the opportunity to spend time with his family.  Time spent with loved ones will always be the most precious and cherished gift of all. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Living With Psoriasis - Healing Through Diet

One of my favourite salads: mixed greens, carrots, celery, cauliflower, radishes and cheddar cheese topped with oil and lemon juice
As indicated in my introductory post about living with Psoriasis, I am documenting my goal of healing (or at least controlling) my Psoriasis through natural means. One of the major changes I am undertaking is overhauling my diet. Most of my inspiration and guidance has come from  the book 'Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative'. It should be noted that  I am not strictly adhering to all of the suggestions in the book, I am focusing on diet for now.
Another favourite: mixed greens, cucumber, carrots, radishes, celery and feta, topped with oil and lemon juice
After reading the book and exploring suggestions on Psoriasis forums I have come up with an individualized plan that suits my lifestyle and goals. Here is what I came up with:
Plan A
*This is my first attempt and is a little less strict in regards to dietary limitations
* I am going to follow this plan for 3 months and evaluate my progress. If I do not see any improvement I will move onto plan B. (more about that later)
-My Diet will consist of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods
-I will not eat gluten, red meat or nightshades
-I will greatly limit my consumption of sweets and alcohol
-I will eat a large salad at least once a day
-I will drink 8 glasses of water every day.
Pesto pasta (recipe coming soon)
 So far I am loving this diet! I am feeling very healthy and satisfied and have not had much of an issue sticking to my self-imposed guidelines. My diet now features an abundant amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, nuts and gluten free grains. It's amazing how easy it is to make dietary changes when your motivation is increased health :)

I have had a few challenges to overcome, but I am still feeling very positive and motivated now that I am a few weeks in.  I look forward to sharing my journey as I move forward. Some upcoming posts will include: my challenges so far, my favourite new recipes, and other lifestyle changes I have made that aren't related to my diet.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Miko's Project Life Scrapbook Progress

 I am slowly but surely making progress with Miko's Scrapbook. The majority of the pages will be completed using 'project life' layouts and cards. You can read more about 'project life' here. I chose to try this type of scrapbooking because it seemed easier and less time consuming  - and it is. The more traditional style of scrapbooking, which you can see an example of here, does in fact take much longer to complete. And also involves a lot more cutting and gluing. The one downside to project life is that the layouts are obviously more restrictive than having a huge blank 'canvas' to work with. But I think he trade off is worth it!
The pages have been assembled in chronological order.  The first page features our wedding and pregnancy news.

Pregnancy belly pics
Getting ready for baby
 More getting ready for baby...
 The arrival of our little one
 A yellow themed page
And baby's first Christmas :)
As you can see above- I am finding ways to be more creative with some of the pockets. I'm having a lot of fun so far, and I love how quickly I can finish a page or two.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Living with Psoriasis

So here is my story, I have had mild scalp psoriasis since I was a teenager.  In the last couple years, it has spread to my ears but has remained relatively hidden, or at least I had hoped so.  There have been times when it has almost cleared up (during the summer, while eating Paleo) and times when it 'flares' (during winter or stressful times). My Psoriasis has been pretty easy to manage/ignore and has not had much of an effect on my self-confidence or quality of life.... until now.
Ever since I gave birth to our wonderful baby boy in December, my Psoriasis has gotten much, much worse.  I'm not sure if it is a result of the physical trauma of childbirth and surgery, the change in my hormones, or the change in my diet and sleep habits. It has spread all over my body to my face, chest, elbows, and legs.  Not only is it now highly visible, it has also become unbearably itchy!!! My sleep has been greatly effected by it. Apparently many women go through this, as I have learned from reading anecdotal evidence on he internet.
According to the medical community there is no cure for psoriasis, only ways to control it.  I am reluctant to use medicated creams or oral medication while breastfeeding so I am going to try some more natural alternatives instead. I am going to document my journey as best I can in the hopes that it will help me identify if I am making progress.  Stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Somebody Loves Bath Time!

Bath time has become one of Miko's favourite activities.  It's such a fun way to end the day for all of us. Luke and I still both give him a bath together because neither of us wants to miss the cuteness.

It's hard to get pictures that aren't blurry because he is constantly kicking and splashing.

His eyes get super huge and he gets this look of pure concentration while he's splashing around.
 Of course, his least favourite part is when the warm bath ends...
 Aren't hooded towels the cutest?
The pictures below were taken 2 months ago - you can really see how much he has grown.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Miko at Three Months

How Miko is Doing
-Miko weighs 14.5 pounds and is about 63 cm long
-Still feeds every 2 hours during the day but has gone over 5 hours between feeds at night a few times!
-He is all smiles now, and makes noises of delight quite often.
-He has learned to makes splashes in the bathtub, its so adorable.  He gets his legs kicking and moves his arms back and forth and looks so serious while he's doing it.
-Shortly after his 2 month milestone he started to suck on his fist, he tries to get his whole hand in his mouth.
-Miko has just recently discovered his hands, he will stare at them quietly with a look of concentration.  He can even bring his hands together and will reach out and touch objects that are close to him.  While I am nursing him or giving him a diaper change, he will often find something to grab or stroke with his fingers.
-When I read him books now, he actually looks at the pages very intently and will occasionally reach out and touch them.
-Miko is so easy to run errands with, he just sits quietly in his car seat taking in all the new sights and sounds.
-Spring has come early to the Okanagan valley so we had our first nursing session outside last week. 
-Miko has started drooling and making spit bubbles but is not teething yet.

How I'm Doing
-I still weigh about the same and have decided not to keep track of it anymore. I have never been one to weigh myself, in fact, I have never owned a scaled until now (we bought it to weigh Miko).  What matters more to me is how I feel about my body.
-I have had a few health issues flare up since giving birth and I am working towards getting back to my healthy self (I am going to go into more detail in an upcoming blog post)
-Miko and I have stated going to 'Baby Talk' classes together.  It's a great excuse to get out of the house and meet other new Moms.  The topics we have covered so far are safety, attachment parenting and infant massage - which Miko absolutely loved - the nurses kept commenting on it.
-Miko and I have a great routine going and manage to get outside together almost every day.
-I get between 7-10 hours of broken sleep a night and I am feeling great
-Books I have read this month: Healing Psoriasis - the Natural Alternative, White Oleander, and Sarum (thanks Mom)
2 to 3 Month comparison