Six Healthy Eating Ideas for Helping Psoriasis
The summer is fast approaching and you know what that means, right? Magazines emblazoned with gorgeous models, adverts at the bus stop asking if your body is ‘bikini ready?’ and banners in health food stores promising that popping a couple of goji/green tea/krill oil tablets a day will magically melt the fat away from your stomach, making you healthy in the process.
Crikey. Imagine if it was that easy?
I’m 35 (gulp), but I still get all excited when I hear about the latest diet ‘trick’. Of course, none of it ever works. I think we all know (at least I do, deep down), that when it comes to weight, there’s one rule: the calories you consume need to equate to calories you expend if you want to maintain your weight. A reduction in either the consumption (diet changes) or increase in expenditure (physical exercises changes) of calories you consume will result in weight loss.
It’s simple. And there’s no mention of magic goji berries or gallons of green tea.
But eating healthy doesn’t always mean calorie counting. High calorie foods are often very good for us (hello avocado and olive oil). For us lot with psoriasis, carrying a few extra pounds is the least of our problems when our skin is redder than an industrial krill oil tablet tub. What we need to do is look after our skin. We need to be healthy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean slashing the calories. A diet rich in olive oil may be seen as unhealthy, because of the high calorie content. But that’s simply not the case. There is such a thing as good fats. So don’t be afraid of high calorie healthy foods. Just remember about moderation.
I’ve been trying to eat healthy this year. You might have seen my adventures in veganism at the start of the year. An interesting toe dip into the permanent world of bean pastes, mushroom burgers and dairy-free cheese (surprisingly good). Although I found out that I’m not ready to give up Dairy Milk just yet, cutting down on meat is something I can get on board with.
If you’re looking to be a little more healthy with your food choices, here’s a selection of healthy veggie recipes that lend themselves to helping to promote healthy skin. As a bonus, you might find they’re pretty low on the calories too, so you might just shift a few extra pounds in the process.
Juicy Start To The Day
For the past month or so, I have been starting the day with a juice. I can barely believe I just wrote that. People who have juices for breakfast used to make me scoff. (Whilst I’d be scoffing an egg sandwich down). But now, I am one of those dreaded beings. But it’s ok, you don’t have to don a tie dye dress and light a bunch of joss sticks to be a regular juicer.
This is my favourite one: Pearfection. It’s a Jason Vale recipe. It contains pears (no surprises there), cucumber, an apple and a parsnip.
I know, a PARSNIP.
I was highly dubious too, but it’s actually really nice. The parsnip adds a delicate sweetness to this fruity juice.
This is a lovely and healthy juice to help aid psoriasis. The apples and pears contain that all important dietary fibre and cucumber is one of nature’s best diuretics, keeping bloating at bay and helping to flush toxins out, meaning your skin is kept looking its best.
To make it, chuck all the ingredients in the juicer. Pack leafy stuff between the more robust ingredients, like the apple and the cucumber. I like to put the cucumber in last because I think it helps ‘clean’ the juicer.
Don’t forget the handful of ice, and remember to take a photo before you wolf the whole thing down, posing with your best smug face. You’re one of those juicer types as well now, you know.
Mason Jar Salads
I work full time, so making pretty, but time consuming lunches, is not an option for me. I’ve taken to making my lunch in Mason jars on the weekend, where I make Monday to Wednesday’s little delight. On Wednesday night, I make Thursday and Friday’s lunch.
There is one rule with Mason jar salads. Layering. Put the wettest ingredeints in first – so that’s your dressing, and then layer, finishing with the dry stuff on the top. When it’s lunchtime, shake the whole thing up and empty on the plate. Voila! Lunch is served.
There’re so many versions of Mason Jar Salads on Pinterest, so I will let you make your own discoveries! (Remember what I said about wet stuff going in first!)
Some of my favourite psoriasis friendly ingredients are:
- Pomegranate seeds
- Kidney beans
- Green bell peppers
- For the dressings, I like olive oil, Dijon mustard or lemon juice
Do you like soup? It’s the perfect portable lunch. All you need is a flask and a microwave at the other end.
This recipe was too simple to leave out and it’s the best way to use up courgettes, which seem to be in serious abundance during the summer months. As well as the lovely veg, there’s a splash of olive oil in there too, which is good for your heart as well as having anti-aging properties (allegedly!)
Courgettes have high water content, keeping you full, whilst being very low in calories. They contain a tonne of vitamin C, ideal for making sure your immune system is healthy. Courgettes also contain potassium, which is good for controlling blood pressure.
If you think psoriasis and leaky gut is linked (I’m with you on that), then you’ll want to stock upon courgette as it’s rich in dietary fibre – aiding digestion and keeping you regular.
This is how you make this delicious summery soup. I wore my Philips BlueControl unit for treating psoriasis whilst I made this soup (see me modelling it in the striped top in the main image). It’s super handy because it means you can do normal activities, like make soup, whilst treating your skin.
Two or three large courgettes
One large onion
Two sticks of celery
30g of cheese (if you like)
Dash of olive oil
500ml vegetable stock
Handful of fresh mint
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius
Chop up courgettes, celery and onion and pop in a foil tray. Drizzle with olive oil
Roast for 40 minutes
Take out of oven and add to a saucepan of simmering vegetable stock and the handful of mint
After five minutes, whizz it all up with a stick hand blender and season with salt and pepper
You can add a couple of chunks of cheese when you serve it up
A Chip Off The Ol’ Block
Chips are second to bread in my diet devil list. I love both, but the avoidance of the bread aisle on shopping trips mean I don’t have to face toast temptation in the mornings and the simple luxury of a slice of bread whilst I’m making dinner is nothing but a fantasy.
Chips on the other hand are a different matter. We always have a bag of frozen yellow fingers in the freezer, beckoning me to pop them in the oven every time I’m looking for something healthy.
Healthy chips sounds like an oxymoron, but it can be a reality. Making your own chips, by slicing and dicing a few spuds and chucking them in an air fryer, results in delicious potato goodness that rivals (truly, I wouldn’t say it otherwise) that of chips in posh restaurants and definitely those from the supermarket freezers.
It couldn’t be simpler. Slice up three or four Maris Piper spuds to the thickness you want and chuck them in a low fat electrical fryer. We use a Philips air fryer. It’s quick, quiet and convenient and produces chips and wedges in far less time than it takes to warm up the oven to 220 degrees Celsius, bung a tray of fries and wait 25 minutes for them to be ready (the obligatory cooking time for any frozen food on the yellow spectrum).
No warming up the unit and they only take twenty minutes or so until they are done… ta da!
Kidney Bean Burgers
These are healthy and cheap! So a double win. They’re perfect for throwing together after a long commute. You feel like you’re being bad having a burger, but kidney beans are mini powerhouses, full of folic acid and zinc. This is great news if your psoriasis is flaring as zinc and folic acid is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. And creating any kind of burger at home means you’re doing your health a much bigger favour than heading to a fast food restaurant.
I like mine with bread rolls (obviously), but you can swap the rolls out for more salad and feel a lot less guilty in the process.
The full recipe is here, where you’ll be delighted to find out they’re a mere 10p to knock together. I’m not a huge fan of cumin, so have left it out in the past. Try it with paprika or another spice of your choice instead.
How ‘Bout Them Apples (Or Strawberries)?
This is a vegan sweet treat I made way back in January, served up with dairy free custard, and it was lush. But fruit crumbles shouldn’t be relegated to the winter months. Make it, let it cool, serve with ice cream and you’ve got yourself a summer spectacular that’s so good it couldn’t possibly be healthy, right? (There’s a fair amount of sugar, so stick to one portion… if you can!)
For another summer version, swap out my apples, cinnamon and blueberries for strawberries and serve with a dollop of (low fat – we’re trying to be healthy here) cream. You’ll win either way as strawberries and blueberries are excellent for psoriasis sufferers who might be following an anti-inflammatory diet.
2 tsp cinnamon
175g plain flour
85g vegan margarine
110g demera sugar
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius
Cube fruit and pop into the dish you will be using
Add cinnamon and a little of the sugar and mix well
Mix the flour and margarine together to form breadcrumbs. Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the fruit. Add the remaining sugar to the crumble mixture
Bake in oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until crumble is crispy.
Serve with vegan ice cream or custard.
However you approach your healthy eating journey, remember that no-one is perfect. Don’t stress if you have a BBQ blow out or a hen party means your no-alcohol rule is blown by a fishbowl of some dubious pink liquid. It’s ok. Tomorrow is another day. Don’t let one slip up become an avalanche of disaster. Just one little change can be the stepping stone to bigger changes.
I’m still having juices in the morning, but I’m also still opting for bready lunches on lunch dates and sometimes a double helping of a dessert in the evening (that damn fruit crumble).
But do you know what? That’s ok. This is me. This is my body. Small changes are better than no changes.
So don’t listen to those billboards, slamming your non-existent thigh gap. Be proud of your body, it’s got you this far in life so far, even with those wobbles and patches of psoriasis.
Do let me know what you make – or if you want to share any recipes, I’d love to hear all about them too.