Eating Vegan-Paleo for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritisby Julie Cerrone Croner Patient Advocate
The Paleo diet is a hot topic these days. Many autoimmune patients try it and see great results. Why? Because the Paleo diet eliminates many of the top trigger foods that can cause inflammation in our bodies.
Seventy percent of our immune systems live in our guts, so we need to be cognizant of what we’re eating. Grains, dairy, refined sugars, legumes, and other foods can cause autoimmune patients many problems because they invoke immune responses. A vegan Paleo diet (also called the “Pegan diet”) goes an extra step and cuts meat foods.
Here are a few of the top foods cut out by the vegan Paleo diet, and how doing so can help psoriatic disease patients.
Lectin proteins in legumes can cause problems in people with autoimmune diseases for several reasons. First, they’re hard to digest. These proteins were created to protect the seed from being destroyed by predators. Therefore, our digestive systems aren’t equipped to properly break them down.
Because they can’t be properly digested, there’s a trickle-down effect that can cause inflammation. These undigested (or half-digested) food particles can then cause imbalances in your GI tract. Imbalances, such as bacterial overgrowth, will then stimulate your immune system. And when you have an overactive immune system to begin with, this is something you want to avoid! Soy, lentils, peanuts, beans — these are all examples of food that you could omit from your diet to see if they cause health issues.
I believe (as a certified holistic health coach) that cutting out gluten is a MUST for everyone with an autoimmune condition — even if you don’t see an immediate change. Going the extra step and cutting out all grains is a wonderful act you can do for your body. Why? Phytates and phytic acid, which are found in grains, can interfere with our digestive process and immune system. These can result in higher inflammation levels, mineral deficiencies, and other problems. Best solution: sub in the many flours now available that are gluten-free, including almond flour, in your recipes.
As countless people keep telling us these days, bone broth can be healing. But meat (even organic) holds many toxins such as the antibiotics that animals received, and other irritants that will interact with your immune system. It’s not that these foods were inherently bad for us, but once our society started adding additives and other pesticides to food, our bodies started reacting negatively.
If you’re going to eat meat, you MUST make it organic. Then you’ll have fewer irritants invoking an immune response. Cutting out all of these toxins, and sticking with an organic fruit and veggie-based diet, will have your body thanking you.
Fish can be beneficial because of their high omega levels, but the problem with fish lies in the high levels of mercury and other metals they pick up in our oceans. Some fish, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, are higher in levels of mercury than others, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish, so it’s best to eat those lowest in exposure. Sure, you may be feeding yourself anti-inflammatories, but the metals that you’re consuming can be equally – or more – harmful in the long run, even if you really want that swordfish entree.
When you’re trying to cut down your inflammation and give your body the best chance to heal, cutting out eggs can be helpful. Eggs can spark allergic reactions. Did you know that eggs can carry viruses, bacteria, yeast, mold, candida, and other fungi? They’re often touted as a great source of protein, but when you have health problems, be aware that they can cause allergic reactions. And remember, eggs are ingredients in many foods, as well: baked goods, pastas, etc., so make sure to check the ingredient label.
Our bodies were never designed to digest another animal’s milk. We’re not well-equipped to break down dairy’s proteins. Dairy is full of fat and sugar, which can wreak havoc in your system. Mucus, a major cause of inflammation and allergies, is something that dairy helps promote in our bodies. Not only do the core components (casein, lactose, and other proteins) of dairy cause problems within many individuals’ bodies, but cows that produce much of our dairy products are fed antibiotics, hormones, soy, corn, and gluten. Do your body a favor and order your food sans cheese or cream next time. What’s the worst that could happen? Your joint pain lessens and your skin clears up!
Each and every one of us reacts to foods differently, but if you have a chronic-condition, you might benefit from cutting out these food groups. If you want to find out what foods are your triggers, complete an elimination diet. This will allow you to identify your exact problem foods.
Stick with plants! Fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds are great options and readily available. Don’t think you can get all your protein without meat? That’s a misconception. If you eat enough calories with your fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you’ll hit your protein (and your vitamins, amino acids, and every other nutrient that you need) levels easily.