Max was my rescue dog found half-dead on the side of the road who suffered from chronic bronchitis, heartworm disease, arthritis, epilepsy and obesity. To say he was very sick for many years is an understatement.
He had this constant deep cough that was heart-breaking to listen to and with an inability to control his bladder. He needed constant care. I tried everything to heal him from various medications to expensive raw dog food but nothing helped.
One day, my new vet suggested I change his diet from processed dog food to whole food. This meant I had to cook real poultry, fish and vegetables to ensure that I controlled exactly what I was putting into his body. The vet said that processed dog food, even raw and organic, is basically leftover scraps and you don’t know what’s in it.
Out of desperation, I complied. In just a few months I watched him lose weight and go from not being able to walk to outright running. This alone was astonishing! Within six months, I weaned him off all medications and my vet said, “This eleven-year-old pup’s insides are that of a six-month-old puppy!”
Silently and behind the scenes, I had been struggling with a secret. For over 20 years, I had an auto-immune skin disease called psoriasis. It is a condition where the skin, instead of shedding normally about once a month when cells mature, sheds rapidly every few days. The sufferer is left with layers of red, thick, scaly patches on the body that are itchy, painful and although not contagious, people’s reactions say otherwise.
The steps in Max’s recovery inspired me to take control of my own health. Words can't express my amazement to see first-hand how much food is our medicine. Watching the changes in Max made me realize there was something much bigger going on in me. I started looking for a connection between psoriasis and what I was eating. I became a research “scientist,” watching every health documentary, reading every book, every article and watching every YouTube video I could find. You name it, I read or watched it.
Eventually, the diets I read about that would help my skin weren’t that different from what I had been preparing for Max. They were mostly alkaline foods that heal the gut versus acidic foods that can destroy the gut and they include veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and some organic animal protein.
After all my research, I cleaned house and got my friends and family’s full support. I removed all highly acidic and inflammatory foods from my life which meant nothing processed. What my vet had said about processed foods registered and I didn’t want useless scraps of unknown food in my body either. I know I’m not talking about dog food here, but it’s the same difference! It meant no sugar except that from a plant or tree-like fruit, pure maple syrup or raw honey.
It also meant no red meat, no dairy, no coffee, and no alcohol. My biggest challenge was giving up cheese and coffee as I'm sure most of you can relate to. After ten months, my skin was perfectly clear for the first time in almost 20 years! I was blown away and felt free from my psoriasis prison for the first time. I didn’t have this enormous weight on my shoulders of stress, fear and insecurity.
What saddens me the most is that I spent 20 years visiting dermatologists and trying every steroid cream or ointment available. I came very close to getting laser treatments, but they were too costly and time-consuming. They were all good band-aids, but I never realized diet was a root cause because my doctors never suggested it. Like many of you, I never trusted myself more than my doctors. I had to learn this from my vet and by watching Max heal.
Today, I control my health and there’s no need for me to see another dermatologist for my disease. If I see a spot pop up, I know it’s from stress or eating poorly. This is my body talking to me, telling me loud and clear it needs more balance between the two. For the first time, I’m listening.
Max’s experience led me to improve my diet, but there was one last missing link. I didn't realize how much love I would need to give to myself to maintain this lifestyle. I call the missing ingredient self-love. Nutrition combined with self-love, meaning gratitude, making happiness a priority, creating nurturing relationships with people, food, money, career, your body minus stress; this is the perfect recipe to keeping skin clear! Take it from me, health is everything and I am so honored Max came into my life to teach me this valuable lesson.
To learn more about Kim’s work as a Holistic Health Coach, speaker, workshop leader, and author go to www.healingmyskin.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on her mailing list for her soon to be released book PS - It’s All About Love: How a Painful Journey With Psoriasis Became A Life Devoted to Healing Others. She’d love to hear from you!