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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Remission of auto-immune disease, Lupus with Paleo diet

Take a few minutes to watch this inspirational video about the health transformation of Veronica Garza who suffered from Lupus, a nasty auto-immune condition that can affect organs, skin and joints, for which she took a host of medications. When she changed her diet to paleo eating and she lost around 20 kg and more importantly her Lupus went into remission and she came off her medication.

Vimeo video

Veronica Garza is an athlete, co-founder, and Business Manager of G7 Athletics. (A CrossFit Gym)

“When I joined G7 Athletics a little over a year ago, the gym was just a group of family members and friends working out in a backyard. After watching my brother and sister flinging around some barbells and weights, I was convinced that the workouts they were doing were too difficult for me.

Most of my adolescent years, I was involved in physical activities like cheerleading and gymnastics, but it had been almost 10 years since then. After high school, I rarely exercised or gave any attention to my physical health, which took a toll on my body. At one point, I was almost 200 lbs and constantly in and out of doctors’ offices for a number of issues.

My senior year of high school I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a condition of having a low platelet count. I was treated with Prednisone and gained a significant amount of weight as a side effect of the treatment. In 2004, I was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that frequently caused achy joints, fatigue, sun sensitivity, and issues with my kidneys.

On top of all of that, there was the fact that I was a size 14, 185lbs and very out of shape. As far as I was concerned, there was absolutely zero chance that anyone was going to pull me out to the backyard in the hot summer heat and expect me to get through a workout alive.

I have always had a fear of working out in public. I hated going to gyms because I worried that people would make fun of me if I couldn’t figure out how to use the complicated machines. Worse, I worried that they would think to themselves, “It’s a good thing she’s here. She really needs to be exercising more.” The truth is that nobody really thinks those things when you walk into a gym, but I had never found a place welcoming enough for me to feel otherwise. A year ago, I finally found that place.

After numerous attempts to convince me to join, I decided to give CrossFit a try, but I went into it with hesitation and doubt. I didn’t think I was capable of doing the intense workouts my siblings were doing, but they assured me I would be fine.

Although the workouts were testing and required a lot of effort, I was capable of completing them. My siblings helped me to start off at a level I was capable of achieving. This meant getting into a resistance band to complete pullups, doing pushups on my knees, and running shorter distances than what was prescribed. Everyone was very encouraging and I really felt like they wanted me to succeed.

On my brother’s advice, I started following a Primal diet, cutting out grains, avoiding sugar, avoiding vegetable oils and consuming plenty of meats, vegetables and animal fats. In a very short amount of time, this led to visible weight loss and an overall feeling of better health. I even started getting better in the workouts!

One day during a workout consisting of squats I realized that my knees were not hurting, which is something I was used to. I have not needed to see a doctor in over a year now, and I rarely ever deal with the symptoms I was dealing with before. I feel stronger and healthier, which is the most important thing for me. It’s an added bonus that I have lost 40 lbs. and dropped from a size 14 to a size 6 in less than a year.

Although I have a long way to go, I have come a long way. In less than 1 year, I have competed in two CrossFit competitions and tested my bravery and skill against some amazing athletes. In March 2010, I competed in the CrossFit South Texas Sectional in Austin, TX and received 21st place. In May 2010, I competed with the G7 Athletics Affiliate team at the South Central Regional in Fort Worth, TX.

Most importantly, I feel healthier, happier, fit, and more confident. Every day I am challenged with a new workout in the gym, but I know that every day I will get through it. This attitude now extends to every aspect of my life. I now realize that I am capable of achieving things that I never thought possible.

This is just my story about how G7 Athletics has positively impacted my life. Many of the athletes at our gym have experienced similar situations. I currently help run the gym and get the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful G7 Athletics community as an athlete and Business Manager. I’m happy to be in the position I am in right now where I can tell people about G7 and speak authentically on how it can improve their lives. It changed mine.”

Veronica Garza, g7athletics.com

http://paleozonenutrition.com/2010/08/14/remission-of-auto-immune-disease-lupus-with-paleo-diet/

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13 Responses to “Remission of auto-immune disease, Lupus with Paleo diet”

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have a similar story to tell.

    I suffer from SLE, however, it has gone into remission since I have been eating a high-fat, moderate-protein diet, with no grains, legumes or dairy at all. I am also a competitive powerlifter and I have no problems with exertion at all anymore.

    Now, I have one concern.

    My lifestyle changes have obviously expressed my genes favourably towards my current state. However, will SLE be passed down to my children, when I do decide to have them?

    Thanks.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm Reply
    • I haven’t looked at the chances of passing on the SLE gene, a genetic expert would be the person to talk to. It certainly got passed down in my family, although mine is a very mild version, and not expressed at all with paleo eating. I do have a couple of other issues often related, Hashimotos and Raynauds, neither a real problem though. The interesting thing I think is that the gene expression is because of our current diet, if we started life as hunter gatherers we may never have realised we had this genetic disease. It is only because our diet causes the expression of it. If your children eat paleo since birth – it might never be an issue for them.

      May 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm Reply
    • Kris #

      Hi! I’m Kris and I have lupus, celiac and hashimotos thyroid. I’ve never been super heavy and always athletic- but I was having trouble keeping my weight up after a serious bout of hyperthyroid and suffering from lupus rashes all over daily. I have been paleo for three years and a year ago started crossfit. I stopped having rashes within a month and my ANA is now normal and my WBC has normalized. Hmmm? I will never stop doing crossfit I totally believe that this and my paleo lifestyle has “cured” me. I only take thyroid medication now. Anyone else?

      November 12, 2014 at 6:20 am Reply
      • Hi Kris, your improvements mirror mine. Although never officially diagnosed with Lupus, I suffered from joint swelling (fluid in my knees, stiff sore neck, and jaw joints) since I was 18. My mother who has the same symptoms does have Lupus. I had a weak positive ANA at the time (1:64). When I switched to paleo in 2009 my joints problems resolved. My hashimotos which was diagnosed in 2010 is controlled well on thyroxine. I also have a type of eczema on my hands which stays away as long as I don’t have gluten or too much dairy or nuts. I haven’t had my ANA tested since, but could be a good idea. Thanks for sharing your improvements. I was doing crossfit but had to stop when niggles kept coming back, however I still do some Crossfit type exercise and continue to lift weights.

        November 12, 2014 at 8:27 am Reply
  2. miriam #

    How long does it take to see results: no pain, no inflamation, and negative ,lupus,lab results by using this diet?

    May 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm Reply
    • My mother found her lupus symptoms reduced in the first 3 weeks. I’m not sure how others progress. If you do try it out – please keep in touch and let me know how you go. Once you start paleo eating you may go through an adjustment period of 2 – 4 weeks where you can sometimes feel worse before you feel better.

      May 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm Reply
  3. JA #

    I started with the paleo diet 1 1/2 months ago after a chance reading of Robb Wolf’s book while visiting friends. I thought my only health concerns were high BP (discovered 1 year before) and high cortisol levels (discovered, while trying to determine what caused the high BP, 1 month before). Both of these conditions were addressed in the book with the promise that they could be diminished by following the paleo diet. So I immediately begun the diet hoping to avoid any medical treatment. I lost about 1kg every week and was immediately pleased with the results. Even though I wasn’t overweight, I knew that losing about 5kg would make me more comfortable in my own skin so I continued with the eating plan hoping it was doing as much good to my health.
    This week I was diagnosed with SLE. My doctors have called it low-activity SLE. My kidneys have been damaged by the disease (75% function still avail) but I do not have any other symptoms – no joint pain, no skin issues. I used to suffer from terrrible headaches but since using my high BP medication (the only drug I’ve decided to take) that hasn’t been an issue at all. Now, my doc wants me to start a low dosage (8mg/day) course of cortico-steroids to reduce the inflammation in my kidneys. I recognise the importance of reducing the inflammation (prevent further permanent damage) but I’m particualry concerned by the side-effects of the drug and am considering holding off medical treatment for a while in the hopes that the diet will help reduce inflammation instead.
    I’m interested to hear if anyone has attempted this (with specific reference to organ damage) and whether they’ve experienced a positive outcome?
    I’ve taken my paleo diet “to the next level” and excluded eggs and nightshade vegetables. I hope it has the sought after effect!

    October 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm Reply
  4. Lorraine #

    Hi, do you find Paleo diet helps discoid lupus flare ups? I keep reading conflicting info out there….alot say avoid animal protein and go vegetarian. But thinking it is our hormone anitbiotic animal protein that is out there that’s the issue, if you buy grass fed organic are you good? Then I read egg whites are bad too. But Paleo sounds reasonable as a solution as it brings us back to non processed food which in my mind seems to be the issue causing alot of our increase in disease. Any feedback is appreciated…very confused.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:24 am Reply
    • I’ve looked around to see why there is a recommendation to avoid animal protein. As far as I can see (altough I haven’t had an extensive look) it is because of a supposed link to inflammation and because it has saturated fat. Do you have any particular links with research that give reasons for avoiding animal protein.

      Some of the theories are outdated. Saturated fat is now seen as fairly neutral. I’ll write more in a blog post about protein. But I’d use the auto-immune paleo diet rules. See blog posts under the auto-immune category.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:52 am Reply
      • Cassie #

        I think the ‘research’ Lorraine was referring to doesn’t refer to grass fed pastured protein. It’s research based on conventional meat in which has been raised on grains including GMO and soy- nasties that cause inflammation. Apparently these nasties then come through in the meat/fat as well as all the other toxins the livestock are exposed to. Theoretically then grass fed pastured meat should be the opposite. (I’m sorry I’m unsure of the reference for this, it may have been a recent Chris Kressler blog post)

        With regards to egg white- apparently some cealiacs have problems with the egg white of conventional/grain fed chickens but don’t have problems with pastured eggs. I heard this in one of the ‘Paleo View’ podcasts- it was the personal experience of one of the presenters.
        Hopefully that helps.
        X

        March 17, 2014 at 9:18 pm Reply
  5. Cassie #

    Hi. I’m literally crying reading this profile. I too had ITP as a teen, though is was 11 at the time. I was hospitalized as I had no platelets and give a choice between splenectomy or chemotherapy. I chose splenectomy- which worked though not as quickly as the doctors had wanted.
    Then when I was 19 and studying nursing at uni I was diagnosed with SLE after a month of crippling arthritis and myalgia. That was 11 years ago.
    I have now been slowly transitioning to a paleo lifestyle for about two months now. It has been slow transition as I am currently breastfeeding my second baby and want to avoid breast refusal because of a sudden change in diet. I haven’t seen a big improvement in my symptoms as of yet- I’ve just returned to work as an ICU nurse, shift work is a killer! I am anticipating the day I can wean off my nasty medications for good. For now I have lost several kilos and feel mentally well. I also have energy to burn.

    March 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm Reply
  6. Michele #

    Has anyone had success with the Paleo diet and treating cutaneous lupus? No other signs of lupus except for one annular rash on the cheek for my 8 year old :(. All bloodwork is normal, negative ANA, Anti-rho and Anti-sm all normal too. Let me know if anyone eradicated their skin involvement with the Paleo diet. I would greatly appreciate it :).

    November 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm Reply
    • Here is a good series of articles on lupus and paleo http://www.paleoplan.com/2014/10-15/demystifying-lupus-part-1/
      I dont know of anyone personally – but all auto-immune diseases have a similar pattern of issues – gut permeability, genetic susceptibility, an antigen trigger, so the same treatment is at the heart. Deal to or get rid of antigen (e.g gluten in many cases like celiac and hashimotos) heal the gut – – take out irritating foods, correct gut bacteria, etc.
      A good book to read is Sarah Balantynes. the Paleo approach.
      It is worth a try

      Julianne

      November 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm Reply

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