RECIPE: DIY Strawberry Fruit “Roll-Ups”

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As you know from reading my blog, I try to maintain a healthy diet for my Pso-Sanity. Well, luckily I’m not much of a sweet person but when I got a craving, I tried to find alternatives to sugary things I liked. I came across these fruit “roll-up” imitations a while ago and they hit the spot. You don’t even need to add sugar!!!

Everyone has their own method to making these at-home fruit “roll-ups” or “fruit leather”. You can google a bunch on the internet but here’s my method. I do not use a dehydrator but if you have one or want to purchase one, I’m sure the process goes along much smoother.

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Prep time:  5 mins
Cook time:  6 hours
Total time:  6 hours 5 mins

What You’ll Need:

4 Cups of strawberries

Wax paper (O.K. to cook in oven with or you’ll have a melted mess that doesn’t taste good)

Shallow baking tray

Blender

Oven

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to its lowest setting, somewhere around 150 to 170 degrees.
2. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 8.43.39 PM.png3. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or high-speed blender.

4. Taste the puree and add sugar if needed. (I do not add sugar as I feel like it’s healthy and sweet enough as is.)

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5. Spread the fruit puree in a thin, even layer on the baking sheets. The puree should not be more than ⅛ thick. (To measure, stick a skewer in the puree and then measure how far up the skewer the puree comes.)

6. Dry the puree in the oven until darkened, dry to the touch and pliable, approximately six hours.

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7. Peel the fruit leather off the Silpat or parchment paper and cut into strips

8.Store in an airtight container.

Of course mine sometimes look like broken messes of sticky delicious fruit roll-up pieces but, hey, who cares if it’s healthy and yummy, right!?

“Stay Calm and Spot on” -Brittany xo

 

 

 

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5 Yoga Poses That Will Help Your Psoriasis

You’re confused. I get it. Yoga? Psoriasis? WTF?

We all know Psoriasis loves stress. It’s like a fat guy finding an unlimited buffet for Free. Whaaaaaat? Get me on that line! (sorry, that was my inner fat, buffet-loving person). So how can we relieve it?

I can totally give you a list of 100 things. O.K. maybe like 28-ish. But my point is that yoga is a definite stress reliever. A According to a survey conducted by the International Journal Of Yoga, “of nearly 4,000 people, Australian researchers found that more than 58 percent of yoga practitioners started yoga for stress-reducing benefits, and nearly 80 percent continued in their yoga practice for this benefit.” Can anyone say #TeamYoga ?

Here are 5 Yoga poses/techniques to start your day (or finish your day) with. A little body bending never hurt anybody. Never mind, I take that back.

This pose looks easy, because it’s basically just standing. But it’s the basis for all of the other standing poses and inversions. If you do this actively, you will be working your torso and legs, and you will be grounding yourself. This can be great for confidence and easing anxiety.

Tadasana
Posture Tip
Your spine, especially your pelvis, should be neutral. That means you will have a slight curve in your lower spine. Many of us today, from sitting so much, either push our booties out too much or pull our pelvises in. A neutral lower spine and pelvis should have a slight curve, and you shouldn’t have any muscles clenched in your hips or your lower back.
    1. Stand with your big toes barely touching, and your heels slightly apart. A good way to gauge your stance is to see if your second toes are parallel. Press into all four corners of your feet: big toe, little toe, right side heel, left side heel. As you push into your feet, feel how that engages your entire leg and keeps those muscles active.
    2. Take a deep breath and roll your shoulders up and back, releasing them down, so your shoulder blades are resting toward each other and your neck is long. Take a few deep breaths here. Close your eyes if you like.

2. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath.

Uttanasana
    1. On your inhale, lift your arms to the sides and up, over your head. On your exhale, release your arms (either in front of your body or out to the side, like a swan dive) as you fold your torso over your legs. On the first time through, have at least a slight bend in your knees. No matter how flexible you are, your hamstrings will be cold when starting out, and you’ll want to be gentle with them.
    2. As you relax into the pose more, begin to straighten your legs as far as feels good. Anything that pinches or is a shooting pain should immediately stop your movement. Let gravity do the work here; don’t pull yourself down and try to force the fold. You can put yours hands on your shins, your feet, or the floor. This passively lengthens your spine and your hamstrings, and it’s also a great way to work on balance.

3. Plank Pose (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana)

This is a very active pose that works all the muscles of your front body.

Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana
Posture Tip
Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists, and your arm bones should be firmly in their sockets. Try not to anticipate movement by pushing up out of your shoulder sockets, but don’t rest into them either.
    1. From Forward Fold, put your hands flat on the floor, bending your knees as much as needed to do so. Step one leg at a time back, until you are in a high plank pose.
    2. Press into your hands, keep your legs parallel and engaged, and pull your bellybutton toward your spine. Take a few deep breaths here, working your core and your arms.

Press into your hands, keep your legs parallel and engaged, and pull your bellybutton toward your spine. Take a few deep breaths here, working your core and your arms.

4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This pose elongates your spine, stretches your back leg muscles, and aids in digestion. Since it’s a mild inversion, it can release stress, help with headaches, and calm the nervous system.

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Posture Tip
It’s easy to drop a little too much and get “banana back” or to hunch your shoulders. A good way to figure this pose out as a beginner is to get a friend to look at the shape you are making from the side. Your upper body, from your hands on the floor up to your hips, should be relatively straight, allowing for some curves due to natural spine curves.
    1. From Plank Pose, push into your hands and lift your hips up and back on the inhale. One thing that can be tricky with this pose is, again, keeping your shoulders engaged but not working too hard, and keeping a neutral spine.
    2. Your legs should be straight, and your heels working toward the floor. There will probably be some space between your heels and the floor. You could be very flexible, but if, for instance, your legs are a bit on the long side, you probably won’t have your heels all the way to the floor. That’s fine. Keep your legs active and heels reaching toward the ground. Your first time in this pose, pedal out your feet a little to warm up your leg muscles.

5. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

In any yoga class, this is a good pose to come to if you want to rest and reset your nervous system.

Balasana
  1. In Downward Facing Dog, take a deep breath. On the exhale, release your knees to the floor, pull your hips back to your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor. You can either leave your arms stretched in front of you or pull them next to your body, hands resting palms up near your feet.
  2. This is a restorative pose, so adjust it to your needs. If you want to widen your knees a bit, do so. Like all forward folds, this pose is nurturing. It relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck, and massages your internal organs.

 *Poses thanks to HealthLine.com  –  http://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/beginner-yoga-poses#6

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Eat Well Wednesdays! Grilled Chicken Kale Caesar Salad ala Nikki

Eating healthy is an important part of keeping your chronic illness under wraps. I find the best way to make sure you’re doing this is to meal prep but not everyone has time for that.

So here’s a super easy, quick, healthy kale salad that a friend whipped up for me. It’s definitely a new favorite.

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INGREDIENTS:

Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano
1 avocado
Kosher salt
1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed
Chicken cut into cubes
1/2 red onion
Caesar dressing

DIRECTIONS:

Coat a large pan with olive oil. Toss in thinly sliced onion and bring the pan to medium heat. Toss in cubes of chicken and stir until fully cooked and onion is soft. Remove from the heat and reserve.
In a bowl, toss in the kale, the cooked chicken/onion, chop up one avocado and place inside mix, sprinkle with Parmigiano and add dressing (but don’t soak the salad). Taste and season with salt if needed.

Voila! Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Nikki Bucks, cook extraordinaire and fitness instructor.

Traveling With Psoriasis

So, as you may or may not know, I do tend to travel a lot. Whether it’s for work or play, traveling with psoriasis can suck! So what do I do?

This weekend I was in Chicago attending the HealtheVoices conference and it was amazing (but I’ll come back to that in another blog). What WASN’T amazing was my packing skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a plane (not nearly as many as Beyonce but you know…) and I still can’t get it together. I’m always scrambling last minute. (insert frantic emoji)

SO … I decided to get it together.

BECAUSE my skin is so sensitive and I do need special creams and lotions and shampoos, I packed myself a little “Pspot-On Carry-On” toiletry bag. Everyone is different and I am no medical professional but I’ll tell you what I pulled out of my little bag of tricks… (and, no, it wasn’t a lamp).

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We know clothing is important (for your skin, sanity, so you don’t get arrested… stuff like that) but let’s focus on some products. Here’s my arsenal:

-Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap

-Grandpa’s Pine Tar Shampoo

-Blue Eiffel Naturals Face & Body Wash

-TheSleepyCottage sleep mask

-Any sort of baby lotion

-VitaminC Packet (just because)

-My own soft washcloth

-Any perfume I want (so long as I spritz it on my clothes and not my skin)

-A clean pair of panties (ask my mom… i can hear her nagging now… “Do you want to die with dirty underwear??” OK MAAAAAA, They’re packed! Ya Happy?)

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I tucked all my toiletries into this beautifully sewn bag and It was a wrap! Why didn’t I think of this sooner????

Moral of the story??? Just have a handy toiletry bag ready to go. Throw some of the amazing products I suggested in it (or don’t) but be ready. You never know where a spot may go….

HAPPY TRAVELS !!!

 

You Get A Giveaway! You Get A Giveaway! Everyone Gets A Giveaway!

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So, FREE stuff rocks.

With that said, I’m having my first giveaway soon! Thanks to Etsy and all the absolutely amazing people working so hard on there, I’m happy to say that I’ll be giving away at least 5 really amazing travel packages. Why?

Well, I travel a lot. And it’s been really tough on my body and my skin. A lot of the time I carry my bag on just because it’s easier (or because I’m cheap and not paying $25!!) – so I know if I bring my creams and medicines and special shampoos, I risk having them tossed.

In the near future I’ll be posting a blog about traveling with psoriasis and to the first 5 people who post a picture of their psoriasis or their battle with psoriasis on my Facebook page …. Facebook.com/SeeingPspots … I will be sending you a toiletry bag (I have men’s and women’s, don’t worry) with creams and oils and soaps and lots of fun stuff to bring on your next trip.

I’ll be in touch soon but for now LIKE my Facebook and follow me. I’ll let you know a week in advance when this will take place.

Hugs and Love to you All!

#KeepCalmAndSpotOn

 

Why Caring About Psoriatic Arthritis Could Come In Handy

When I was initially diagnosed with Severe Plaque Psoriasis I completely ignored all other forms of psoriasis. Why? Well, It certainly wasn’t to be cruel but I was just too busy wallowing in my own self psoriasis pity. I knew what version I had now and I had to focus primarily on what was happening to ME. Who cares about those other spotty people right? WRONG.

So fast forward a bit and It eventually sinks in that OH, because I have plaque psoriasis I am more susceptible to psoriatic arthritis at some point. Um, can anyone say yikes? Needless to say I was not happy about this revelation. But much like my realization and acceptance of plaque psoriasis, this too took a little bit of time to sink in but it sank… like the titanic. In fact, months after my own diagnosis and the constant wheel spinning of “where in the heck did this come from in my family?”, I was having lunch with my father and grandfather and BLAM. There it was. Right in front of me eating a pastrami sandwich. My grandfathers hands.

Psoriatic Arthritis: Hands
Soft-tissue swelling can be seen in the metacarpophalangeal joints bilaterally. Marked deformity in both fifth digits has produced telescoping of the joints. There is also sausage-like swelling of the right third digit. No psoriatic skin changes have occurred on the hands, but onycholysis of several nails is present, most easily seen in the left second digit.

Curled up into painful piles of bones were my grandfathers fingers. I had always noticed them, they were hard to miss, but they didn’t LOOK like my skin so I never made the connection. As a very stern, stubborn, former navy dude, my grandfather (or papa as I like to call him) never went to get this officially checked out. It was waved off and grunted at as “no big deal” or “just getting old”. But it was very clear to me that I was looking at a case of very obvious Psoriatic Arthritis and I didn’t need a medical degree to come to this conclusion. So what came next? AH! The revelation that my chances of PsA just increased substantially. I felt the pain and dread lurch over me and force me into a submissive physical hunch. So what now? Acceptance? Submission? Knowledge? A little mix of all three? I was in favor of a healthy mix.

So to the web I went…

What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.
So, again, why should I worry?
Well, I have arthritis in my family gene pool AND I have psoriasis so essentially I’m a psoriatic ticking time bomb. Factually, about a third of people with psoriasis will get psoriatic arthritis. People with SEVERE psoriasis (yup, like mine) could have a larger chance and USUALLY the skin symptoms pop up first. Lucky me, I know. According to an article by WebMD, “The Link Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis” reviewed by David Zelman, MD**, “About 40% of people who get psoriatic arthritis have relatives with it or with psoriasis. Scientists don’t know which genes are responsible for these conditions.”.
So what now?
Buckle up and wait for the psoriasis train to pick me up and take me on another ride, again. Keep up with my doctors and my skin and prepare for the worst. As my papa would say “screw it, it’s all in your head anyway” and then he would order a martini. Psoriatic pinky up and all. Cheers!
FIND MORE INFORMATION at PsACounts.com !!!

*NOTE That the image in this article is NOT mine or my grandfathers (as in, they aren’t his hands but are super close to what his actually look like. I’ll have to catch him mid pastrami chomp next luncheon) but in fact belong to The American College of Rheumatology as watermarked. Thank you guys.

**WebMd Article Link: http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/link-between-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis

***Brittany Hands Photo Credit: Jay Lee

What’s Stress Got To Do With It?

O.K. So Tina wasn’t singing about stress but for people with Psoriasis, stress certainly doesn’t feel like a “secondhand emotion”. So, why exactly DOES stress affect our bodies so much?

Well, stress can cause a lot of ailments and discomforts in the body. First let’s look at stress by itself. Stress is an emotional and sometimes physical reaction that your body has in response to an outside threat or demand. When you feel threatened, your nervous system reacts by flooding the body with stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which gear the body up for emergency action. So why does my skin react??

Although medical professionals still have a lot to learn about Psoriasis, they do know that it is an autoimmune related skin condition. It is thought to occur when the immune system turns on the body creating an overproduction of skin cells (that’s why we have those fun white patches of built up skin). I don’t know about you but if my body is going all civil war on itself, It’s stressed out!!

So, if you’re body is like mine and stress is a trigger, here are some handy dandy tips and suggestions:

-Exercise! Get your butt up and get that adrenaline coursing. It will release your happy hormones too!

-Meditate. Put some OHM in your life.

-Put down that bad habit. Alcohol, drugs and even smoking can heighten your stress levels. Cut them back or cut them out!

-Get enough sleep. Catching those needed ZzZ’s helps your body re-energize and relax.

-Reduce caffeine and sugar. These temporary “highs” will send your system into crash mode as soon as they start wearing off.

-Eat healthy. Believe it or not, changing the way I eat helped my psoriasis tremendously.

Is stress a trigger for you? What do you do to help manage it!

 

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