Approximately 1% of people in the United States and abroad are diagnosed with a skin condition called vitiligo, which is marked by skin pigmentation that can occur either in small patches or over very large areas of the body – the proven and scientifically tested vitiligo diet is often the recommended way of dealing with the disease, but while this may suffice as a natural vitiligo treatment, if comes with its own obstacles.
The biggest problem people face when on the vitiligo diet is how to handle the numerous food cravings they may experience – because organizing the diet may end up conflicting with a patient’s original diet, it is important to try and find a balance that will be beneficial as treatment while still giving the patient the ability to enjoy their intake.
The problem with autoimmune diseases, is that many can be traced back to heavy diets of Neolithic foods, which include a variety of carbohydrates and legumes – the total elimination diet prompts users to cut out as much of these possible, in order to best isolate which foods are the culprits. But there are a few foods that are generally considered to be instigators.
A few examples are as follows:
Sweets – while on the vitiligo diet, it is recommended that patients stay away from high-sugar foods or foods that have refined sugars. The reasons is because the excess insulin produced can negatively interfere with the management of the body’s auto-immune system, of which vitiligo is thought to stem from.
Yeast – there are a number of cases that draw comparisons to food allergies and stomach trouble resulting from yeast products, which can include beer (which is a primary ingredient).
Vegetables – usually vegetables are a good thing to include, but in the vitiligo diet, we try to avoid high starchy carbohydrate vegetables like corn, potatoes, and yams, for the same reason we try to avoid refined sugars – by lowering the high blood sugar levels, we can help to normalize the body’s reactions, and bring down instances of vitiligo
How Do I Handle Cravings?
One way to handle cravings that may come up – for example, cutting beer entirely out of your diet – is to find a supplemental food.
Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth – because refined sugars are such a huge part of our diets, it can be difficult to quit cold turkey on those chocolate bars.
- Find other natural sources of sugar, and learn to manage it – for example, dried fruit is a good example, and these can include exotic fruits like bananas and mango. The link between vitiligo and diet is often attributed to highly oxidative foods, so finding alternatives in the form of berries can help to stem these cravings.
- This can also include fruit juices, but be sure to check to make sure that they are only in their own juice and don’t have any added extra sugar.
Finding New Recipes – instead of seeing this process strictly as a vitiligo treatment, try to approach the diet as an opportunity to learn new recipes and practice your culinary skills. The benefit of this will be two-fold: first you will be able to come up with healthy food that won’t exacerbate the vitiligo, and the activity of learning is a great way to distract yourself from food cravings.
- Vegan recipes such as falafel burgers can be a great substitute. Because it is important to avoid dairy and eggs while on the vitiligo diet, you can also utilize ‘food tricks’ – one example is making ice-cream entirely out of avocados and bananas.
- Smoothies are an easy and affordable way to eat on the go, and especially for those with busy jobs it can be even more stressful to try and accommodate new diet restrictions. A smoothie, not just of fruit but a variety of fresh vegetables, can also help with treating your vitiligo
- Non-vegan recipes can be just as good, although it’s best to avoid certain meats like beef – if you must eat meat, try using organic lamb. Lots of wild game is also suggested for people on the vitiligo diet for their lack of hormones, exposure to pesticides and other toxic substances, and general leanness.
Regardless of how you approach your diet, it’s important to remember why you’re doing it – and this will help to bolster your will-power, especially in those instances when you feel food cravings bubbling up again. Just keep in mind that cutting out these substances is important for your body to re-adjust, and the relapse of eating foods can start certain biological cycles all over again. Many people find that doing the diet with a buddy (whether or not they also suffer from vitiligo) can be a positive reinforce when it comes to sticking with it.
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