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How I Healed my Skin through Juicing Raw Fruit, Veg and Exercise

by Hanna Sillitoe(more info)

listed in detoxification, originally published in issue 219 - January 2015

A study published in the Archives Of Dermatology suggests:[1]

  • 350 Britons each year commit suicide because of psoriasis;
  • 10,400 develop depression;
  • 7,100 are diagnosed with anxiety.

Those are frightening statistics. That’s almost one human being per day in the UK, killing themselves because they cannot live within their skin. Just last month, the national press[2] featured the story of Hollie McEwen, a beautiful twenty eight year old nurse who hanged herself. Hollie fell into depression after suffering from severe psoriasis. I know that all too familiar feeling of utter helplessness and despair so well, because I’ve been there. If you’ve never suffered from a skin condition it’s hard to describe the effect it has on every aspect of your life. Shopping for clothes, choosing what to wear for a particular occasion - these things no longer become a pleasure, more a mission to find something that will make the angry red patches of skin on your body look marginally less noticeable.

How I healed my Skin

This year a little green juice changed my life. I’m aware it sounds kooky. As a self-confessed sceptic I could never have predicted the journey that was to follow, when I first embarked on a juice cleanse back in January. I’ve had plaque and guttate psoriasis for over twenty years. This year saw a horrific flare which left my skin looking worse than it’s ever been. I was covered from my scalp to my ankles in this bright red scaly rash. It was so painful there were days I was unable to leave the house. On the days I had to go out, I covered myself in moisturiser and wrapped my body in cling film. The feeling of clothes brushing against red raw skin would leave me crying in agony and I was exhausted from the relentless itching, which kept me awake at night. In addition my mouth and eyelids were covered in eczema. Despite my severe physical and emotional distress, the doctors kept telling me, aside from temporary remission using steroid creams or immunosuppressants, they could offer no permanent solution to this unbearably painful skin condition.

I began trawling the internet. My doctor had told me diet would not have any effect on my psoriasis, regardless I knew I’d been eating poorly, drinking too much alcohol and generally not looking after myself. I had noticed that on days when I was particularly dehydrated and eating poorly, my skin looked redder and more angry, perhaps there was a correlation? I began researching the influence of food on skin and came across the concept of juicing, simply extracting the juice from raw fruit & veg. I read about Juicemaster Jason Vale and juice documentary film maker Joe Cross - these giants of juicing had successfully cleared themselves of their autoimmune illnesses, the principle seemed to make sense and if it had worked for them, why not me? I was inspired to give it a try.

How I healed my Skin

I spent the first week on a diet restricted to drinking green alkalising juices, freshly made using broccoli, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach and avocado. Within days, the pain and itching began to subside and after two weeks the redness and scaling began to rapidly disappear. Yes, the diet was restrictive, but my energy shot up and I felt amazing! Seeing my skin clear was the only motivation required. Within weeks I was able to go out in short sleeves, I will never forget that day. Clear skin is something so many people take for granted  but for anyone with a skin condition, the pain can quickly become physically, mentally and emotionally unbearable. 

By flooding my body with an abundance of liquid nutrients I was literally pouring in alkaline goodness whilst asking very little of my body in terms of digestion.  In addition, juicing altered the way I viewed food, it gave me a phenomenal energy boost, I came off sugar, alcohol, sweeteners and white processed rubbish and began to crave salads, fruit, veg, nuts and seeds. It truly prompted a catalyst for change. I went from sitting around on the sofa, stuffing my face with pizza, pasta, sweets and wine - feeling fat and miserable, to craving healthy meals and exercise.

I stopped seeing food as something merely designed to fulfil cravings and desires and instead began to explore the incredible benefits that come when fuelling the body correctly.[3] In the late sixties, Dr Ann Wigmore co-founded the Hippocrates Health Institute. A pioneer in the use of Living Foods for detoxifying and healing the body, she was spot on when she said; ’The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison’. As a nation we’re too easily prescribed medicine to suppress symptoms, instead we need to focus on curing the underlying disease. My doctor had always told me diet would have no effect on my skin; not only have I seen the very dramatic effects on my own health, I continually see it in others. My father has had high blood pressure for as long as I can remember, his doctor tried everything from DVT socks to daily medication. I suggested he try a 28 day juice programme, it’s lowered his blood pressure back down to ‘normal’ for the first time in years and completely altered the way he thinks about food. Exploring the true medicinal properties of food is so often viewed as a little ‘alternative’, but surely this is the wrong way round? Food should be the first port of call when it comes to regaining our health. Only then, if it has no effect, should we view medication as the ‘alternative’.  

How I healed my Skin

I have always adored food, in every conceivable sense. There’s something miraculous about sharing a meal and time with friends. There’s something even more awe-inspiring that comes with being able to introduce people to heavenly dishes which are as medicinal as they are mouth-watering. I cherish being able share health and happiness, to demonstrate that the elimination of dairy, sugar, gluten, processed foods, chemicals, flavourings and additives does not mean compromising on creation and flavour. Far from enforcing constraints and deprivation I focus on the exciting introduction of a scrumptious rainbow assortment of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. When combined, these beautifully simple ingredients can conjure up the most sublime raw treats, resplendent smoothies and decedent desserts. Cooking was a passion before I got sick, now I get to play with foods and flavours under a whole new set of rules and I'm thrilled to be able to share the results of that creative process.

This year has seen me fully eliminate my psoriasis and eczema, I no longer suffer from the recurring kidney infections which plagued me every few months and my blood pressure, which was always high, is consistently normal. In addition, my new lifestyle has seen me lose over 65lbs in excess body fat. My juicing and clean diet have given me the energy to weight train, cycle, swim in open water, fell run, I even completed my first triathlon last month! I look back at the person I was and question how I ‘d allowed myself to become so lethargic and sick.

How I healed my Skin

I cannot begin to describe the feeling of empowerment that comes with holding the key to healing yourself. To be able to connect so wholly with your body. To possess the knowledge to control an illness which for so long dominated every aspect of my life. And to be able to do so using food - it’s like the best drug ever. My journey - and it really has been a journey - has been the biggest and best adventure. I have met some awesome people, I’ve learnt - and continue to learn - some phenomenal lessons. I’m excited and inspired to share what I have discovered with my family, my friends and the world. If I can trigger a revision in thinking, if I can motivate a change in the way people think about food, then it’s mission accomplished.

My world has changed dramatically through something so simple: how could I go on this phenomenal journey and not use what I’ve learnt to inspire hope in others? The results speak for themselves. The feedback I get through my website and social networking is incredibly heart-warming. I tell my story and encourage people to try juicing as a first step back to health. These are people who come to me feeling hopeless, their before and after pictures tell the story better than I ever could. Seeing the difference a simple, green juice can make never ceases to astound me. It takes dedication, forethought and commitment, I won’t lie and insinuate it’s easy, but it IS simple.

References

1. Study published in the Archives Of Dermatology

The Risk of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality in Patients With Psoriasis- Evidence-Based Dermatology: Study  August 16, 2010

Arch Dermatol. 146(8):891-895. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.186. 2010

A Population-Based Cohort Study

Chosidow Olivier Md Phd; P. Dellavalle Robert Md Phd Msph; Do Daihung, Md; González Urbà Md Phd, M. Popescu Catalin Md Phd Williams Hywel MSc PhD FRCP; Shanu Kohli Kurd MD MSCE MHS; Andrea B. Troxel ScD; Paul Crits-Christoph PhD; Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2928071/

http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=210088

2. Daily Mail Article

By Corey Charlton For Mailonline Published: 11:08, 24 September 2014 | Updated: 18:06, 24 September 2014.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2767742/Beautiful-vibrant-nurse-28-hanged-tormented-chronic-psoriasis.html

3. Ann Wigmore Institute

www.annwigmore.org/

Comments:

  1. Maria said..

    Way to go! Very inspirational story.


  2. Vania said..

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You and Joe Cross have in inspired me to get rid of my 8 year battle with psoriasis.


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About Hanna Sillitoe

Hanna Sillitoe is 35 and lives in Derbyshire, England. Having finally healed the chronic, autoimmune, skin condition Psoriasis from which she suffered throughout twenty years of her life, she works to coach others on the health benefits of juicing, nutrition, exercise and clean diet. Hanna is the author of ‘It’s a Skin Thing’ a free 28 day skin clear guide, which offers a step-by-step insight into clearing skin problems using fresh fruit, vegetables and vitamins. Hannah may be contacted via info@beyondfit.co.uk    www.BeyondFit.co.uk/skin   @BeyondFitUK (twitter)  www.facebook.com/BeyondFitUK

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