I’m a 41-year-old South African male. In September 2018 I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis by a rheumatologist. She wanted to put me on one of two disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) immediately, both of which have long lists of potential “side” effects: coughing up blood, bleeding gums, lung lesions, lymphoma (cancer), skin blisters, bone marrow damage, etc. I asked her if lifestyle changes could impact the disease, and she patronisingly shook her head.
I told her that, while I might be back in a few months begging for a script, I would see what I could do for myself. I had plenty of room for improvement – I was flabby, smoked a pack-and-a-half a day, was also addicted to coffee (8 cups a day) and carbs (sodas, sweets, chocolate bars, ice-cream, biscuits – I had no off-switch).
My starting hypothesis was that I my bad life-style had resulted in a leaky gut, and this had caused my immune system to “go rogue”. I had previously suspected I had gluten and dairy issues, but had never done anything about it.
On Tuesday, 16 October 2018 I quit it all: cigarettes, caffeine, dairy, carbs, the works. I spent the next 3 days on the couch with a killer headache. I didn’t allow myself any pain killers though – this was to be a hard re-set – and I have taken no medication since.
My new diet consisted of bone broth, bone marrow, beef liver, red meat, avocados, coconut oil, lemons and pink salt, potassium salt, magnesium and water. 2 months ago I went full carnivore.
I did some fasting initially, several 36-hour fasts and one 72-hour fast.
I also started resistance training, getting safe sun exposure and going to bed on time. I read blogs, watched YouTube lectures and listened to hours of podcasts on auto-immunity, nutrition, keto, gut health, both for the information and for the inspiration – Robb Wolf, David Perlmutter, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, 2 Keto Dudes, Ken Berry, Gary and Belinda Fettke, Georgia Ede, Tim Noakes, Low Carb MDs, Ted Naiman, Kelly Brogan, Paul Mason, Nina Teicholz, Jason Fung, Peak Human, etc and, of course, HPO with Shawn and Zach.
On 4 March 2019, 4 months and 20 days in, I ordered follow-up blood tests. The results:
– Leucocyte count down from 13.61 to 9.96 (now within the reference range)
– Neutrophils down from 7.86 to 5.02 (now within the reference range)
– Monocytes down from 2.24 to 1.67 (still high, but headed for the r. range)
And, as regards the main marker for my auto-immune disease:
– Anti-Nuclear Antibodies titre down from 1:640 to 1:80 (now “clinically insignificant” according to the comment). My psoriatic arthritis is either in remission, or well on the way there – unbelievable!
– Weight-loss – down 14kg in the first 2 months (all fat, mostly abdominal), maintained for 3 months
– My mood and energy are a lot more stable, and my base-line anxiety is much reduced
– My psoriasis has unfortunately not resolved – it is no better, no worse.
As I write this, I have been on this protocol now for nearly 5 months. I don’t know that I will be as strict going forward – I really miss certain foods – but I will let my body’s reactions guide me as to what I can and can’t tolerate.
The most difficult part of it has being defending this approach to skeptical family and friends, especially since I had no guarantees that it would work, or even if it did work, how long it would take. Having living, thriving examples like Shawn, Zac, Georgia Ede and Amber O’Hearn gave me a lot of inspiration, as well as peace of mind that I was at least not harming myself.
My thanks to them and all the other keto/carnivore luminaries for giving freely so much time, effort and expertise to bring this healing paradigm to greater public awareness. Big Pharma be phucked – let food be your medicine!