I was pretty freaked out when I first found out I had psoriatic arthritis a few years ago. Within the first month of finding out I had it my fingers were already starting to bend down towards my palm, and I was told that at some point they may bend all of the way down and become completely useless. Not one of my happiest moments.
On top of this my hands were swelling up, and I was experiencing pain in them as well as in a lot of my body. This literally happened overnight at first, and then got worst fast!
If you don’t know what psoriatic arthritis is, it is very similar to rheumatoid arthritis. These are both auto-immune disorders that trigger your immune system to basically attack your own body. The origins and causes for it are still debated, and generally what you find when looking for information about it is a lot more questions than answers.
Once I discovered what it was I scrambled to find out what I could do about it! I was going to college at the time studying sustainable horticulture, and if I was going to continue to do horticulture I was going to need my hands!
I don’t get extremely emotional too often, but I broke down pretty hard when I realized the reality of the situation, and as my fingers continued to swell and bend in towards my palms I had to face the possibility that they as well as a lot of my body may never be the same again.
My Search For Answers
What I found after a ton of searching was a whole lot of fear surrounding psoriatic arthritis, and then links to medications for dealing with it. Most of these medications work by basically lowering or knocking out your entire immune system.
I was sort of attached to my immune system working properly as it is pretty much tied into a whole lot that goes on in our body. The thought of messing with my immune system, and possibly throwing my entire body out of whack to get rid of one health issue (even though it was a big one) was something after a lot of consideration I decided against.
It wasn’t an easy decision, because as with many other auto-immune disorders, psoriatic arthritis acts fast, and before you know it you are suffering full blown inflammation flare ups, as well as experiencing pain. For me and many others parts of your body rapidly begin to have issues, such as my fingers bending down towards my palms.
What I mean by bending down towards my palms is exactly that, and once they bend down to a certain place you cannot not get them back up past that without pain. Generally while they were like that they would stay bent down all day. I wasn’t incredibly old either, at 34 I just couldn’t believe this was happening.
On top of this their are lots of hard sells for the medication. You are told that you must nip your arthritis in the bud fast, and early before it is too late! You feel extremely rushed, pressured, and in the meantime your body is in pain, swelling, and for me my fingers were quickly bending down and into my palms. I have to admit, I took a long serious look at the possibility of taking meds for it.
I scoured and joined forums, email lists, read articles, and talked to anyone I could about psoriatic arthritis. I found that some people had relief after taking meds, and some people didn’t ,but what surprised me most was that many people either did not get a lot of relief, or after a few years of relief, their symptoms returned. On top of their symptoms returning, their immune systems were now completely compromised, and many of them picked up other health issues along the way due to this.
I made a hard decision at this point that I definitely was not going to take the medication route, and that I was going to try to cure my psoriatic arthritis with changes in my diet, and mind/body. This is not exclusively a post about curing my psoriatic arthritis with juicing, but juicing and juice cleansing has been a large part of it.
Juicing for Psoriatic or Rheumatoid Arthritis
I didn’t find a lot of information about juice cleansing until many weeks into my research. Then suddenly I discovered a whole vein of information about others who had cured or kept completely at bay their psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis not only with juicing, but with juice cleansing.
Juice cleansing? I sort of knew what this was, but lucky for me my partner Liisa who also works with me on this site had done juice cleanses before, and had tried to tell me about them. I had brushed it off before, because I thought doing a juice cleanse meant you barely drank any juice, and you were starving yourself, and simply depriving your body of calories. Boy, was I wrong!
What I finally discovered was juice feasting, and many stories from people who not only lost a bunch of extra weight with juice feasting, but also had cured many diseases and health disorders. Some of them even cured their arthritis! This made me really take a deeper look at the whole juice cleansing thing, and was the beginning of the roots of this site also.
Juice feasting is different from juice fasting in that you drink as much juice as you want during your cleanse. The idea is to get as many nutrients into your body while also giving it a rest from the task of digesting solid food. This has been shown to have many benefits, and there are countless people who have healed themselves as well as got off of many of the medications they are taking for various health issues. On top of this juice cleansing has helped many of people lose lots of extra weight that their body was holding onto. I am one of those people also.
Other Dietary and Lifestyle Changes That Helped Me
On top of juicing I found a whole lot of information about beneficial changes that can be made to the diet of anyone who is suffering from not only psoriatic arthritis, but also rheumatoid arthritis. A lot of these changes can also be beneficial to anyone who is suffering from chronic inflammation of any kind. This is what worked for me, and has worked for others also.
I Cut Out Almost All Processed Food
You read that right. I cut processed foods out of my diet almost entirely. Almost anything in a package that I did not make from whole ingredients myself I did not eat for a long period of time. This included artificial sugars and junk food of any kind. For a sweetener I used raw local honey, and fruit.
I Cut Gluten And Most Grains Out Of My Diet
If you do enough research you will find that gluten and many grains cause inflammation in our body. Many people also have sensitivities to gluten, and while I am not gluten intolerant, I find that I will feel better when I go for long stretches without eating a lot of it. Since I was really serious about taking the natural route for healing my body, I went 100% gluten free for quite some time.
I also cut most other grains out of my diet, but would occasionally have rice or gluten free bread. In general though I tried to limit this as much as possible for a period of time. To this day I try to eat less grains in my diet, and substitute vegetables or fruit in their place a lot. I am not perfect, but I do what I can. My goal is to include more and more vegetables and fruits in my diet over my lifetime, and less of the foods that may be an issue for me.
I Cut Alcohol Out
If you study health in general enough you will find that alcohol and smoking cigarettes sit in almost every single category for things you do not want to take into your body. They cross over into so many health conditions, and diseases that if you are trying heal yourself naturally of something in my opinion that it is a must to at least cut down drastically, or cut alcohol out altogether for a long period of time.
If you smoke, which I do not and did not at the time ( I quit smoking when I was 23 years old, after 10 years of it. Yes I started at 13. Cigarettes were easier to come by back then, and I also was involved in the use of other substances, which I no longer am today) I strongly advise you quit. Cigarettes are listed as harmful for almost every area of health there is.
At the time I wasn’t drinking as heavily as I have at times in the past, but I was having some drinks here and there. After reading everything I did, I decided this needed to go for a period of time also! If you knew my whole life story, you would know what a huge difference juicing, and leading a healthier have made for me. I am learning every day to take much better care of myself, and let me tell you it pays off!
I Cut Nightshades Out Of My Diet
You are probably wondering what the heck a nightshade is? Nightshades include some trees, herbs, shrubs, vegetables, and technically some fruit. As far as I was concerned the vegetables and fruit is what I had to watch out for.
Among these are potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, tamarios, Sweet and hot peppers (which yes include bell peppers, and yes I loved them at the time yet gave them up for a while), cayenne and chili peppers included, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, and eggplants. Basically a lot of the vegetables and fruit (tomato is technically a fruit) that I liked at the time!
Something to note is that Sweet potatoes are not a nightshade technically, and are in a different category altogether. I actually became very fond of sweet potatoes, and eat them quite often now. Also to note, I am talking about actual sweet potatoes and not yams. While yams are not a nightshade, I just like sweet potatoes better. 🙂
There are two components of nightshades that are the cause of why people theorize they could be a problem for those who suffer with arthritis or any other auto-immune inflammatory condition. These are the alkaloids they contain and other properties which make them increase inflammation in some people.
There is not a lot of specific research that indicates that nightshades definitely cause issues for people with psoriatic arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, but it has been suggested that many people do experience worsening of symptoms when eating them. It is suggested to eliminate them from your diet for a few weeks if you are suffering from any of these conditions, and see if your symptoms improve.
I want to include that I now eat nightshades, and do not have any problems with them that I am aware of. If you do enough digging you will find that they seem to bother some people, while others have no problem with them at all. I cut them out at first, because I decided I was going to do everything possible to get rid of my psoriatic arthritis, and figured it would be silly to do everything else and not go all of the way with it.
Stress Is A Killer!
This is the biggest one that most people miss in my opinion, and might be one of the biggest causes for flare ups, and a large part of these auto-immune conditions to begin with. I was experiencing a lot of stress in my life when my psoriatic arthritis began. I was taking on way too much at once ( a habit I am still working on getting better at. Making improvements! ) and was just stressed out a lot of the time.
I could sometimes time my psoriatic arthritis flare ups by when I was feeling more stressed. Not only did I begin a full time exercise routine back then, but I also started incorporating meditation and yoga into my life. On top of this I worked at changing thinking that led me to being more stressed.
I had to realize that as a human being I am capable of only so much, and that there are certain things in life I must let go of. I had a habit of being pretty hard on myself, and I still work on this today. Taking on way too much, and also never feeling satisfied with what I was doing led to more stress.
If you always have a mountain of expectation on yourself, nothing you do will ever be enough! I write about this aspect of calming my stress down, because I think that many of us are like this, and we need to hear that it is ok to chill out a bit. Believe me you will actually get a lot more done by taking it easier on yourself, and being content with what you do accomplish. I still work on this today, but I have made a lot of progress in this area of my life.
I encourage you to look into this more whether you suffer from an auto-immune disorder or not! You will find that stress is implicated along with diet related to many conditions of poor health. Stress is toxic to our body, and to our entire life in general. I have found that alleviating my stress has led to huge improvements in my life, and one of them was definitely lessening or helping me to rid myself of psoriatic arthritis!
I Added More Vegetables and Fruits To My Diet
Most vegetables and many fruits contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This is another reason why juicing is so powerful, because juice provides a dense concentration of the nutrients found inside. What I decided to do was replace meals where I might normally have a grain or meat with more vegetables and fruit. I didn’t cut meat entirely out of my diet, but I cut back a lot! I also mainly cut back on pork and red meat, because I had read these could be an issue for people suffering from auto-immune type arthritis, which is exactly what psoriatic arthritis is.
In between this I would go for days sometimes where I had no meats at all, and only ate/drank vegetables and fruit. I also added green juice daily to my diet, and of course did mini juice cleanses as well as a longer juice cleanse in between all of this.
If you do your research you will find that on top of having powerful anti-inflammatory properties, vegetables and fruit contain nutrients that cannot be found anywhere else in nature. The best we can do is try to synthesize these nutrients. I personally believe as do many others that when we do this we miss key nutrients (many which we may not be wise to yet) which aid other nutrients found in vegetables and fruit. This “synergy” of nutrients gives them combined powers that are far beyond what each of them contain as an isolated nutrient.
Nature knows what it was and is doing, and I believe that a lot of our modern day “mysterious” auto-immune conditions as well as cancers come from not only toxins in our environment, but from the foods we eat, and also from the foods we don’t eat.
I know this is not always possible for everyone due to budget or availability, but I wanted to include that I tried to eat organic produce as much as I could. Since conventional produce contains and is covered in more chemicals and pesticides, I wanted to eat as clean as I could.
Lucky for me at the time we were near a grocery store that had many organic options. It was more costly sometimes, but I cut out other activities and went without other things so that I could eat better. For a long time I mainly paid my minimum bills, ate organic foods, and juiced. I was very determined to take my psoriatic arthritis on the natural way, and for myself it paid off.
My Amazing Recovery!
At first I wasn’t sure if anything I was doing was making a difference, but it didn’t take a long time before I found out it was. Slowly my flare ups became less and less intense, the strange pain that I would wake up with in the middle of the night coursing through my body slowly vanished, the tired feeling faded, the overall strange feeling that is hard to describe unless you have ever had psoriatic arthritis began to diminish, and one of the most amazing effects was my fingers.
Not only did they stop bending down, but they began to bend back up! I am not kidding! I was told that this was impossible in all of the reading I had done, and was told face to face by a doctor that my fingers would never recover from where they were bent down to. Basically that however far they bent down, they would never straighten out beyond that again. This is part of what leads many people to getting on medications quickly. There is a certain fear that is advocated about how if you don’t catch it early, your screwed.
For myself this wasn’t true. My fingers actually recovered and while my pinky and middle finger are not absolutely perfectly straight the others are. My pinky and middle fingers are really close to being straight though, cause me no more problems, and are much straighter than they were when I was in the middle of psoriatic arthritis.
I really wish I had taken pictures at the time so you could see the difference, but when you are in the middle of not knowing if your fingers are ever going to be the same, you don’t really think about taking pictures! If anything you don’t want to be reminded of what is going on.
I can tell you the people who know me and knew me at the time were amazed by what happened. I showed them the difference, and they couldn’t believe it. Especially since I was told this was not possible.
Beyond Psoriatic Arthritis And Where I am Today
I don’t experience any of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis anymore, and as far as I can tell have gotten rid of it! It has been close to 4 years since the experiences I talked about above. (Yes that is a selfie above. There was no one else here at the time, and I thought a current picture might be a good fit for this section. )
As a side effect of doing all of this, I have really gotten into juicing and my health a whole lot more, and in fact started Raw Juice Cleanse Recipes out of the ashes of overcoming psoriatic arthritis! This is a huge part of what has motivated me to help others. This is only a part of why you may find that I seem pretty enthusiastic about juicing. I have also lost a lot of weight through juicing, and especially juice cleansing.
I, like many of you have my ups and downs, and am by no means perfect or the picture of absolute optimal health. However, I am getting better every day, and continue to learn more and more about nutrition, overall wellness, juicing, and anything else that will improve my life, as well as the lives of others.
One thing is for sure, I haven’t had to worry about psoriatic arthritis anymore!
Some Parting Thoughts
The experiences, changes in lifestyle, and diet all were a huge benefit to myself, and have been to many other people as well. While this is true we are all unique, and I can’t promise that you will have the same experience as I have. What I can tell you, is that what I talked about in this article has helped me to keep my psoriatic arthritis completely at bay for years, and as far as I can tell gone. I wanted to share my experience with the hope that maybe it would be helpful to other people.
I also want to be clear that I am not putting down, or coming down on anyone who has taken or is taking medications for their psoriatic arthritis. I know how much of a hard decision it is to make whether to take this route or not when you get this auto-immune disorder. It was a very tough decision for me, and many people are in so much pain from it, that it is a decision made out of desperation.
I have nothing but compassion and understanding for people who have this disorder, and again I simply wanted to share my story, the path I took, and what has worked for me with anyone who it may help.
If you are taking medications for psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other chronic inflammatory disease or disorder, you might consider talking to your doctor to see if you can put together a hybrid program that includes changes in your diet and mental state. I found that both diet, and state of mind (especially stress) have had a huge effect on my psoriatic arthritis symptoms. I have read that many others have experienced the same thing, and this has also been true with rheumatoid arthritis.
Some Juicing & Healthy Living Resources
If you are newer to juicing, or would like to know more about it and where to get started you should follow this link. Included in that article is also information and resources to get you started with juice cleansing if that is something you would like to know more about as well.
If you suffer from psoriatic arthritis or any other auto-immune disorder you most likely need to reduce inflammation in your body. I wrote a very informative article about juicing for inflammation that includes some very powerful anit-inflammation juice recipes as well!
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