Food and more food

I’ve always been the foodie in the family. Well before I was married, before I was finished secondary school (pre-university), I had an adventurous palette. If mum wanted someone to try something, I was always the first to put up my hand. And as those teen years transformed into early twenties, I was eager to munch on pretty much anything.

A great school friend of mine (who lives in the uk now) was doing his PhD in London was a great experimentalist. His gastro enterprises were and still are legendary, I remember the first visit to Belgos in London, or the first visit to the Japanese Diner in Islington… or the Mango Room in Camden Town, or the amazing Turkish food in Ealing, or amazing Sushi in Ealing central….. good experiences that you never forget.

Another friend is a lover of steak and he ate them almost blue, rare as possible and there were many attempts to wean me off medium well, on to rare. And he was right.. so now it’s medium rare or rare. This grew into a passion for Steak and we have a group that meet up to try really wonderful beef in some of the best steak houses in Europe. Sadly since Covid that’s been on hold but those trips were treats and seldom, therefore great.

Sushi became another big like, and that evolved into a love of Japanese cooking, which evolved again into a life of cooking, first for my mum, then friends, then my wife to be and now for my family. So it’s been good eating.!

So this is the connection with Psoriasis…… I remember the first plaque on my right elbow, in 2002…. I was in a hotel in Fussen, in Bavaria, Germany. It was winter and I was with some friends and Dad..(same parent that entered a nursing home a few weeks ago – which I spoke about in an earlier blog)… everyone was getting ready to pack up and head to Munich and a few days later the airport to get home a week before Xmas.

A few weeks later, after Xmas and the new year, I remember being in the office, speaking to one of the senior managers, whom had his shirt sleeve rolled up and you could see the Psoriasis plaques going up his forearm.. I had a chilly moment and said naw that patch I found is nothing like that. It must be something else….but ohh how wrong I was… the picture below is my arm and exactly what I saw that day

Both arms look like this

So what’s the link.. why am I here in this frame of mind and what am I trying to communicate..

Life has been good, the food brilliant……

I can cook any dish and have considerable Chef talents and been in demand for my food…. Even though my real job is the CEO of a software company…..

I’ve been to some of the best restaurants in the world, I’ve drank some of the best wines, eaten my way through most cuisines and been very adventurous……

None of this is a healthy lifestyle….. yes I have hiked, I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro twice and planning a third trip, but my diet has been rich, often healthy but rich in so many delights…and there is no doubt in my mind that this lifestyle contributed to the place I find myself in today.

In the early 2000, I took a job as a software consultant and my first assignment was to Rome, Italy… for 6 months… with frequent trips home, but in those six months, the rich diet began.

Every lunch, every evening meal was a restaurant, breakfast was a hotel meal.

Shortly after that assignment finished, I relocated to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and there were no flights home, I was there for two months. Everything was a restaurant.

That followed swiftly by a short trip to South Africa…. (All of this happened in one year).. and I was staying in Five star palace, with some of the best steak I ever had…….. with a great performance from the team we won the contract we were pitching to the prospect and we went home for Xmas.

I was asked shortly after the return to the office in the New year if I would lead a team in South Africa, and I went from consultant to project manager and I was assigned the South African rollout and spent a wonderful year working there, and there was so much eating out. There was no option except to eat out.

The food was epic……. And hopefully by now the reader should be getting the picture….,

Our western diet and lifestyle allows us to have incredible choices and convenience on what we can eat………

People do what seems easy and convenient, not what is best for them

John Spence

This life style continued, as I finished each assignment and I was put back out on the road, ratcheting up air miles and helping to make millions for the company I worked for.

The more I traveled, the more I experienced food culture. From Rome, to Jeddah, Johannesburg, Ljubljana, Budapest, Lugano, Bratislava, Botswana, Bahrain, Muscat, Mauritius and after 5 years I was burned out…. As most people are on the road…. And I’ve left out so many other places on that list as it would be too big… I learned so much about the world we live in and met and made life long friends and I came home and met the sweet wonderful woman that would say yes and then “I do” and those years were filled with love and plenty of restaurants and plenty of my cooking…..

Then the kids arrived and it was survival mode for a while, as our second decided that sleep was optional and the diet nosedived… then tragedy struck and mum passed away suddenly and again the diet nosedived….. but you pick yourself back up and get on with life…

For a few years there were the odd diet, I went vegan for 12 weeks as an experiment in 2017…I’ll add more on that another time, then in 2018 things started to go bad for both Dad and my wife’s folks. … … The doctors suspected Alzheimer’s with Dad back in 2019, but that diagnosis took a while longer to be finalised as Covid emerged in early 2020, another curveball from life.

Does this sound familiar??……

I’m deliberately and very clearly trying to paint the picture, that there’s been a lot of road travelled, lots of ups and downs and good times and bad times….. everyone’s life’s will have similar patterns……. And our diet is one of those things we just don’t pay enough attention to.

I eat everything… I’m not fussy…. But when stuff is hard, I’ll eat bread and cheese, I’ll eat a burger, I’ll eat the easy and convenient stuff… then when I’m in my good zone I’m cooking curry, steaks, making pasta, or cooking delightful French cuisine or Japanese or Thai ….. and again I hope this paints the picture…. This is not a healthy diet..

Now here is the weird bit. As we grew up we were poor. Dad spent too much time in the pub and not enough time on his business and money was always in short supply. Therefore mum had to make do with what she could afford. . . . . . she had all her sons to feed and our school sandwiches always had lettuce, tomatoes and onions, with the odd bit of cheese, but sliced ham in our house was a luxury item.

Mum made sure that there were loads of veggies on our plates every day as it was inexpensive and like I said money was tight. I therefore had a wonderful diet as a child growing up… … … the lack of money restricted the choices and therefore veg was plentiful……

I’ve been reading over on Reddit, about people in their early twenties with severe Psoriasis and I’m going out on a limb here but how bad was their diet growing up.?

I’m on a mission to cram as much veg into the kids as I can. Why would I feed my beautiful, young, and innocent children processed food… just because it’s convenient for me to cook it…

I need to get this message out, our bodies are screaming out about the lack of a balanced diet….. if your eating processed or restaurant stuff… it doesn’t matter which end your on …. A healthy diet is what matters…..

I believe if I can crack the healthy diet, I can achieve full remission from Psoriasis…

So what’s your definition of a healthy diet? Here is mine:-

  • Low dairy, which means no milk.
  • Low dairy, which also means I have to cut out cheese from my diet. Something I struggle with, as I love it.
  • No red meat, which means no beef, bye bye steak, you are now a rare treat (excuse the pun).
  • No pork, which basically removes all the processed meat from the diet.
  • No lamb.
  • The only meat from now on is organic poultry.
  • Increase the consumption of fish.
  • Organic eggs.
  • Organic fruit and veg.
  • Lots more leafy greens.
  • Herbs and spices need to be the best quality I can find.
  • Daily turmeric supplement (with black pepper)
  • Daily flaxseeds (Omega3) supplements.
  • Daily Kombucha to help foster a health gut.
  • Good hydration 2ltrs fluids a day.
  • No Alcohol
  • Black coffee with no sugar.
  • No sweets, chocolate etc….

That’s a health focused list of choices that will help to avoid dietary inflammation and hopefully ease the symptoms of Psoriasis.

Things I need to be careful with. Fruit has a lot of fructose (which is sugar)…. So while fruit is good for us it also contains large amounts of sugar. So a balance has to be met as sugar is a Psoriasis trigger.

I know that I’m going to have ups and downs and sometimes things won’t go to plan, but as long as I write it down, and tell you the reader the truth, then I should make headway.

My skin is settling down, I’m not flaking, itch is low, yes there are still plenty of red skin patches, but I don’t think I’ve felt this good in a long time. Years to be honest.

That’s all I have for you this week, I hope it’s giving some insight into the journey. Psoriasis health online. 14th November 2021

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