It’s Just Psoriasis, It’s Not Contagious

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As I brave my winter skin, I also brace myself for the stares and comments that come along with it. As a New York native, I can say I am fairly accustomed to the bizarre and odd things that one sees in this city. Cirque du Soleil on the train… questionable food on the streets sold from even more questionable vans… fashion statements galore… you name it, we have it. But what happens when you are on the other end of the staring?

I don’t care how long you have Psoriasis, you never get used to the stares. You never get used to the moving of seats on the train just to get away from you. You never get used to the questions. And, oddly enough, for a city that considers itself so diverse and open-minded, I think we can be one of the most close minded cities in the world.

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I’ll never forget standing on the street one day waiting for my car to be taken out of valet. A little kid, maybe four or five years old, was getting out of the car with his parents and he asked his mom if she thought all the bug bites on my skin hurt. It was maybe one of the most innocent things I had encountered concerning my disease. He didn’t mean anything by it and it was almost sweet. But the way it hit me and hurt me will never leave me. Kids can be so innocent and so raw.

Walking by unusual people every day never bothered me. It still doesn’t. But to suddenly be my own little side show was surprising to me. I never really saw it that way but I was this little freak roaming the streets of New York. I didn’t fit in! And all because of my SKIN!

I think my point is… take it with a grain of salt. Try not to slide your sleeves down to make people feel comfortable, or sit by yourself on the train away from everyone intentionally. If someone has an issue with your skin, let them ask you about it. You’ll be surprised how many people will sigh when you say, “it’s just psoriasis. it’s not contagious.”

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Table For 3!: My Date, My Psoriasis and Me.

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So I have a date the other night but my scalp had other plans. It was beginning to look A LOT like Christmas and I had a few hours to get ready! Is my dog sick and I need to cancel? Did I injure myself and need to reschedule? Do I wear a hat and cover some of my face on our first date? UGHHHHH.

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No, Brittany! You’re going to woman up and figure this out. O.K., so my first problem was that there was no way I could leave my hair down. It was obviously flaky and I DIDN’T want to flake on this date (literally – in both ways) so that was out. Ponytail? Meh, I can’t really pull it off, PLUS, it shows the terrible amount of flaky build-up all around the frame of my face. SIGH… Wouldn’t it be great if I had bangs? Eureka!!!

Faux bangs! They’re cute enough with a little, messy bun but can be sexy too. Done.

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First, I brushed out my hair and applied some hair oil to my scalp. You can use any. I have about ten varieties.

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Second, I starting curling sections of my hair, bit by bit.

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Third… I already have side bangs but they are long-ish. It doesn’t matter how long your hair is, just take a section of the front like you would see on someone who has bangs, make sure its even and push back the rest of your hair so it’s out of the way. I twisted the “bang” part and put a little clip on it to hold it in place.

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Fourth, after you twist the little section you want to be your bangs- pull them up towards the back of your head. Stop when the bottom of the bangs reaches the length you want. I left mine in my eyes a little so I could curl them just a tad and mess them up. Pin them back with bobby pins and try and get them as close to your scalp as possible so you don’t have an odd bump.

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Last but not least, I threw my hair up into a curly, messy bun with some pins. Tossed a little hairspray into it. Moved some pieces around for a messy, sexy look and voila! No Psoriasis in site. For tonight.

And while I know this is not a long term solution for your scalp psoriasis, it did get me to and through the date.

Mission Accomplished.

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

 

 

 

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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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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