Psoriasis and depression - how food keeps me positive

Psoriasis and depression

Depression - it’s a depressing subject so making this a positive post is quite difficult. Depression is one of the comorbidities linked to psoriasis. Comorbidities being other chronic and serious health conditions to which those with psoriasis have a greater risk of developing.  Having experienced depression personally, I wanted to share my thoughts and advice to show there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, it was my second bout of psoriasis that really took its toll on my mental health. I had one course of light treatment and managed to stay clear for two to three years. I thought that was it, I’m cured! No one explained that it could come back. It came back with a vengeance and I quickly descended down a dark tunnel of anxiety, paranoia and depression. I became a recluse and didn’t talk to anyone.

So how do you climb back out?

It all starts with something clicking in your head that you can fight this and you have the strength. If you don’t talk to anyone then the only person that can help you is yourself. I decided enough was enough and I was going to fight this disease. I won’t pretend it was easy or an overnight recovery. It took years and determination not to go back into the dark.

I decided I wanted my life back and that meant getting back to the things I enjoyed the most which as you will have guessed involves food. Obviously this isn’t going to be the solution for all of you. My point here is that you should find that passion in your life and put your heart and soul into it.

It may seem strange but even though I have had a passion for food longer than I have had psoriasis, I often think that it is psoriasis that pushed me further.

Fresh ingredients

I went into professional kitchens and started experimenting more. I possibly became a little obsessed with food. Better to be obsessed with food than scratching my skin though.

I found a love of life again and from that moment my motto became “Live your life, don’t let psoriasis live it for you”.

The impact of depression on food

Many people will have experienced feeling low and craving junk food, chocolate and all the other things we love that are bad for us.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a link between depression and obesity. I know when I am having a bad time, even now, my cooking can go out of the window and it becomes a week or two of takeaways.

So I learnt how to make my own takeaways! Here are some healthy hacks to help you when the cravings strike:

  • Make a curry from scratch.  This option is much healthier as most recipes don’t contain cream like many of the dishes you get from the local takeaway. 
  • Invest in a pizza oven.  Last year I bought a pizza oven to make my own pizzas and I haven’t looked back!
  • Make stir fries your friend.  They are quick, easy and healthy as long as you avoid the ready-made sauces, although some of the low calorie ones aren’t too bad if you add a few more spices. 
  • Get a veg-box delivered. Fresh ingredients are key and having a regular veg box delivered spurred me on to create something each night so I didn’t waste anything. 

Often, if the ingredients are good you don’t need to add much. Cooking fresh also means less salt and adding a small amount of salt to food is okay when your food starts off salt free.

A quick recipe I discovered recently was for chicken breast. Marinade the chicken in a mix of soy sauce, rapeseed oil, honey, lemon and ground black pepper then roast it for about 20 minutes making sure it is cooked all the way through. It is delicious and healthy. Yes it has a spoonful of honey, but that’s better than a spoonful of sugar. My top tip here is to line the roasting dish with foil to save you struggling to get the caramelised honey off the base.

Chicken breast

For other ideas on how to eat healthily and cook with fresh ingredients, you can read my previous post on food for healthy skin and a healthy heart.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your life back under your control and I hope this has inspired you to find a passion that inspires you to crawl out of the darkness of depression. If you are looking for more information on psoriasis and comorbidities, I found the following links very useful:

NICE pathways for the assessment of psoriasis and comorbidities

National Psoriasis Foundation

This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.

UK/IE 2013b/00058l; Date of preparation: March 2016

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