Modifying Paleo to Treat Psoriasis

April 19, 2012 in Categories: , by

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In the paleo community, we are accustomed to assuming that a standard paleo diet will cure (or at least significantly improve) virtually every health problem.  But, if you have psoriasis (or dermatitis or eczema), be prepared:  paleo not only may fail to resolve these skin conditions, it might even make it worse.  Now, don’t go running for the hills.  The principles behind the paleo diet are still sound.  It is still the best way to eat for your long-term health.  And there are certainly some people who find complete resolution of their psoriasis symptoms with the switch to a paleo diet (for those people, the root cause of the psoriasis is typically a gluten sensitivity).  For me (and for many others), switching to paleo made my psoriasis worse.  This isn’t because paleo has us on the wrong track; it’s simply because out-of-the-box paleo is not actually enough.

I am a long term sufferer of lichen planus, a form of psoriasis where the inflammation occurs in the mucosal layer of the skin (and very unnerving, you can actually get lesions in the gut mucosa as well!).  In fact, it was my search for a cause (and hopefully cure) for this condition that brought me to paleo in the first place!  All my other health issues either completely resolved or improved substantially within weeks of switching to a paleo diet, but my lichen planus did not improve.  If anything, it got worse.  But since paleo was working so well for me in every other respect, my search for a solution stayed within a paleo framework.

What you might not know (and certainly I didn’t) was that psoriasis (and dermatitis and eczema) is an autoimmune disease.  It’s not always listed in those lists of autoimmune diseases that can be put into full remission by a paleo diet (it is listed in The Paleo Answer, but not The Paleo Diet nor The Paleo Solution).  Why is it so often left out?  I guess it’s because when compared to Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis or Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, psoriasis is small potatoes.  And let’s just take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are that, when our bodies formed antibodies against our own cells, we only ended up with psoriasis!

Psoriasis is also an indicator of a severely leaky gut (that’s how we develop the autoimmunity in the first place), with a very high likelihood of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.  It is also very commonly linked to a gut-brain connection problem with inflammation and autoimmunity targeting skin cells.  I went into some details about the gut-brain connection in this post, but I also recommend listening to the explanation of the gut-brain-skin axis that Chris Kresser gives in his Revolution Health Radio podcast episode titled “Naturally Get Rid Of Acne By Fixing Your Gut”.  There is a complex interplay between a leaky gut, a stressed body, loss of insulin and leptin sensitivity, mood issues, food sensitivities, and the inflammation that manifests as psoriasis.  Basically, if you suffer psoriasis, chances are your gut, your immune system and your hormones are all really messed up.

So, what do you do about psoriasis?  The first and most important step is to follow the paleo diet “autoimmunity protocol”.  This means that in addition to all of the foods we already avoid while eating paleo, we must also avoid:

  • Eggs (especially the whites)
  • Nuts and Seeds (or at least severely restrict quantities)
  • Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers of all kinds)

We are also people who Can Not CheatEver.  We can not tolerate any dairy, not even grass-fed butter or ghee.  Food quality becomes extremely important, so the more we can eat grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, pastured eggs and chicken, and organic vegetables, the better (I know it’s expensive and I certainly can’t afford this 100%, but I just do the best I can).  And we are people who can’t tolerate very much sugar (even the sugars in fruits) or starches (even from superfoods like sweet potatoes) as they tend to feed the organisms in Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.  It would be worthwhile to have a look at the GAPS diet food list as an indicator of which fruits and vegetables should be avoided (although I wouldn’t suggest starting with the GAPS diet protocol unless you really have tried everything else).  And that’s not all.  Because stress hormones can play a key role in the perpetuation of psoriasis, it is especially important for us to get lots and lots of high quality sleep, avoid excessive caffeine intake (or cut it out completely), severely limit alcohol consumption (or avoid it completely), get lots of low-strain exercise, manage the stress in our lives, get sun exposure and take a Vitamin D3 supplement (on the higher dose side; I take 12,000IU per day in addition to trying to get outside every day).  I also suggest reading my recommendations on Repairing The Gut.  In particular, I suggest incorporating organ meat into your diet at least twice per week, consuming bone broth or other collagen-rich foods (like gelatin, stew hens and heart meat) at least twice per week (every day would be even better), consuming fermented foods (like raw Sauerkraut or coconut milk kefir) every day, and consuming coconut oil every day (I like it in my coffee).

So how long until you see some results?  You should start to see improvement very quickly, within a couple of days for some people up to 3-4 weeks for others.  If you do not see improvement within a month, you may also have developed additional food sensitivities (your gut is leaky, after all).  If doing all of the above still isn’t enough to see improvement in your symptoms, it would be worth finding a physician, naturopathic doctor, or chiropractor who will order an IgG and IgA food sensitivity blood test (you might also investigate Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, internal yeast infections and parasite infections as possible confounding factors as well).  These food sensitivities are transient and once your gut has healed (and at least 6 months have passed without exposure), you should be able to reintroduce the foods.  Actually, you should be able to reintroduce eggs, nuts and seeds, higher sugar fruits and vegetables and maybe even nightshades at some point in the future as well.  Are you wondering how long this is going to take?  I’m afraid the answer is anywhere between 2 months and 2 years, depending on exactly what the root causes are for you.  But, if you could see how much my lichen planus has improved in 3½ months, you would be amazed.  I know that the extra dietary restrictions are tough, but it is worth it to be able to cure such an aggravating condition without the use of steroids.  And the thing to keep in mind is that once the psoriasis is gone, out-of-the-box paleo really will be enough for us.



Interesting! Myself and my youngest basically eat this way…and our exzema and other issues went away.

I am OK with eggs…they gotta be FRESH

Berries (not strawberries they are too acidic)

coffee is OK as long as not a dark roast, just the smell causes a histamine headache,

NO nuts, and seeds are Ok.

Nightshades have to be cooked for us, but still tomatoes are tough on the gut cooked (acid)

I have hopped that if our guts healed enough, we could add nightshades and acid foods back in, but not happening so far.

That’s awesome that eating this way has helped so much! Eczema is probably the fastest healing skin condition. Both my girls had eczema which went away once we got them gluten-free. Some people can never tolerate nightshades, unfortunately (I’m also hoping I get to add them back in some day! I miss tomatoes!)

Hi Sarah, Jamie is 3 and is doing well on paleo (he is sensitive to nightshades , eggs and coconut) . His skin is not improving though , it initially got better but he still get little bumps on his thighs and arms.. He has a lot of almonds and fruit and also sweet potatos.. would you cut these out? I am not sure where to go from here – he LOVES fruit and it would make things super hard.

I would try getting rid of the almonds first. They are a common food sensitivity and can cause gut irritation too (also maybe avoid even the occasional rice porridge). Do you have any dairy left in his diet? Bumps can be related to extreme casein sensitivities. Leave fruit and sweet potatoes in his diet for now (poor guy, he’s got to be able to eat something!). See if you can get some bone broth into his diet and make sure he either gets a VitaminD3 supplement or lots of time outside. I would give that a bit of time and then maybe see if you can get a food sensitivity test done before cutting out fruit and sweet potato (if his gut was really leaky before, he might have developed a sensitivity which is slowing down the healing process). Keep me posted on how he’s doing!

Thank you – ok I will leave out almonds, he will be asking for his beloved almond butter constantly though…
he definitely doesn’t get dairy as he is severely allergic to it! He does have bone broth at least 3 times a week. Will leave out porridge too. Thank you Sarah, it’s a minefield this !!!

I have to admit I’m ready to cry….I love sweet potatoes…tomatoes were bad enough to give up, now sweet potatoes?
Fruit? I have cut way back on fruit, having strawberries, melons, raspberries. It is just my husband and I, so making bone broth is a challenge. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I know what you write is correct. I know I have a leaky gut and I need to do whatever I can to make it better. I also don’t have a gallbladder and I know that this is a factor…..thanks for letting me vent! Thank you for all that you do!

Make dehydrated bone broth, or just make a regular batch and freeze what you cannot eat within a few days (pour the broth into containers, leaving space for expansion when it freezes, and freeze them). If you have a vacuum sealer and can seal it into bags, that makes it super easy for storage in your freezer. You can find a recipe for dehydrated bone broth here:

I know it’s rough and I have to admit that I still indulge in foods I know I shouldn’t eat (especially fruit and nuts). But even doing this 75 or 80% will probably show an improvement (and then maybe seeing improvement will give you the motivation to go 100%). US Wellness Meats sells bone broth from grass-fed cows ( if that helps. Are you taking digestive enzymes? I’m not an expert on dealing with life without a gall bladder but I do know that the various paleo nutritionists out there highly recommend them (maybe try and get in touch with Diane of Also, Stacy of has been blogging about diet changes she’s making to deal with leaky gut issues with no gall bladder, so that might be helpful for you too. Good luck!

I am suffering enough that I’m ready to go 100%. I have been gluten and dairy free at times and know that it makes me feel better. I am not taking digestive enzymes but I know that I should be….I will stop at the Naturopath and get some. Thanks for the info on the bone broth. I will check that out. Also, I have been following Stacy’s post. Again, thank you for taking the time to share and lead on this interesting journey….I just got done putting $200 worth of groceries away…the bummer was my grocery store was out of parsnips, turnips, and butternut squash. ); Hoping to make it to the first farmer’s market of the season this weekend.

Fruit is okay for most people as long as you aren’t eating a ton at a sitting. Some people cut out fruit altogether for a few weeks and then slowly add it back in, but if you have other things to try first, then don’t worry about it for now.

you are amazing! :) thank you so much for sharing. husband was just wanting to take our 2 year old daughter to the “doctors,” which i believe very different. i feel like i can make changes on my own without having the doctor filling me in on the s.a.d!

i have her on goat’s milk and goat milk yogurt for her probiotics. goat’s milk products are not cheap ($8 for a half gallon of milk). do you think that’s contributing to the psoriasis too?

also you may have already posted, but what do you/your daughter eat for breakfast? eggs are pretty much our go to breakfast. :/

Tricky with a 2-year old… maybe some homemade sausage or bacon from pastured pork? with some fruit on the side? Definitely the goat milk may be causing a problem. I would switch to coconut milk without any gum ingredients (it’s cheapest to make your own).

I have started serving lunch leftovers for Jamie’s breakfast (like roast chicken with a side of veggies plus a banana, or lamb meatballs with some leftover soup and a bit of fruit etc) and this seems to satisfy him well!

My psoriasis is worst it has ever been. In fact, I have all the symptoms you mention. I’ve been on “out of the box” paleo for 8 months. I’m that person that paleo made worse symptoms for. (Ack!) My skin is much worse. I have psoriasis now in places I don’t even want to type about here. (Ahem.) I gained several pounds. I have tried elimination diets before (no nightshades) and I’ve been off gluten, dairy and soy for about 2 years (even before going paleo, which now of course means no grains at all). I only do sweet potato once in a while…. once a week maybe. I do eat a lot of eggs. Wondering if that is part of the issue. I eat from 3-6 eggs day sometimes. Biggest obstacle for me is I’m not a tremendous fan of meat. I eat it because I have to. I’d eat veggies all day long, but I just don’t LIKE meat that much, which is probably why I end up eating a fair amount of eggs. I was vegetarian for 15 years. Unfortunately, organ meat is something I can’t approach. I can make bone broth, but I’m not sure it’s something I can do regularly. I’ve gotten to the point, after seeing many practitioners, and trying many different diets, that I feel very overwhelmed AND like I just keep restricting my diet further and further. (Which is tough for me because I have history of eating disorders and the severe restriction is very triggering.) I feel pretty trapped. If you have any links with suggested meal plans or other helpful suggestions, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks! This post was very informative.

Eggs was absolutely a trigger for me and I believe the reason why I got worse with paleo (because I about tippled my egg intake). Do you like fish? That would be the best solution. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so if you can handle the restrictions, it would be really telling if you could follow the Autoimmune Protocol for about a month. You should see a difference (I know it’s hard. It’s hard for me and I LOVE meat!). I haven’t put together an AIP mealplan yet, but that’s a great idea!

I have psoriasis, but it stared out as eczema when I was little. It was a small white patch on the shin of my left leg. I’ve cut out gluten, dairy, and nightshades from my diet. I mainly try to eat organic fruits and vegetables; rice and sweet potatoes; and lean meats. I also have cut out nuts from my diet.
I was diagnosed with an immune deficiency and was on IGG treatment for awhile. However, it seemed to make my psoriasis worse. I used to use steroidal creams, but obviously now I know how damaging they are to my health.
I’ve been slowly trying to rebuild my immune system, but I feel as if my psoriasis is very stagnant. Certain things help my psoriasis like: dead sea salt baths, curcumin, vitamin D3, evening primrose oil, among other things. I feel as if I’m always walking a tight-rope trying to make it go away. Any suggestions? I’m not sure if I should focus on my immune system, leaky gut, or removing toxins from my body. It’s as if I have cut everything out of my diet to hit a wall.

“Walking a tightrope” the best analogy ever! I feel the same way. I am becoming a very big fan of an elimination diet approach (where you go very basic with your food until you see improvement, then start to add things back in one at a time). I have a post coming about exactly how to do this (probably week after next). I typically recommend starting with the autoimmune protocol for psoriasis because it avoids the vast majority of triggers for most people (and focuses on inflammation, healing the gut, and detoxifying all at once).

Eggs were the same for me. I was curing myself on my own with veggies but everyone told me to eat eggs for protein. I did and I never even suspected that’s what turned my life into a nightmare.
I was lucky enough to figure out milk and gluten on my own through much trial and error but eggs threw me off.

Hello, I am gennone from Italy, sorry for my bad English, I’ll try to make me understand the same.I follow the paleo already for 8 months. My psoriasis has been reduced by at least 50% but I am a vicious man, and I still can not quit smoking..sometimes I drink good red wine and I eat pork meat..
I’d like to know your opinion about these foods for psoriasis:
-organic pork meat;
-pure 100% cacao or chocolate 90%;
Luckily I’ve found scottish highland fed grass(the best fed grass in the world), but you think might be a problem eating it every day?
With all these restrictions do not know what to eat and I am very worried because I’m losing weight.
A mealplan for psoriasis or autoimmune in general is real a great idea!! congratulation for your blog.
Gennone Timidoiracondo

I also forgot to tell you what do you think about garlic as bactericidal.Every morning I swallow without chewing a clove of garlic instead of using grapefruit seed extract, while in the evening I take probiotics with..

Hi Gennone! If you are still seeing improvement in your psoriasis, then that means you don’t really need to change anything. However, if the improvement slows or stops, I think that quitting smoking is definitely something to strongly consider! Organic pork (especially lean cuts) and grass-fed meat are great. Chocolate can be high in phytic acid, which is a gut irritant and can be a problem for many people, especially those with psoriasis. Chestnuts are actually fairly low in phytic acid and in omega-6 fats, so I think they are fine. Garlic is very good for you and I think eating some every day is great! I hope this answers your questions!

Hello Sarah, I’m seeing improvements, but the psoriasis always come back out again, so I think something is wrong. Surely wine and tobacco does not help .. the problem is that often I don’t know what to eat, especially at breakfast .. you tips to eat organic meat at least 2 times a week, but I eat it every day, sometimes alternating with fish..I try to follow the advice of Dr. Terry Walhs and eat plenty of vegetables, but the morning i don’t know what to eat(I have seen too much fruit that makes me itch)..
Can I eat fedgrass every day in your opinion?
Can I use good quality whey powder protein?
My big problem is that I’m losing weight and I am very underweight..

Hi Gennone, I don’t see any problem with eating grass-fed meat every day (or even twice a day!). I typically eat homemade sausage (either grass-fed beef or pastured pork) with fruit and vegetables every morning for breakfast. Fish is wonderful too and you can eat as much fish as you want. You can try a good quality whey protein powder. It may help you to gain some weight (but keep an eye out for increased symptoms). Quitting smoking will probably help you gain weight too. I hope this helps!

I am going to attempt an experiment with Ghee. You said even grass fed butter and ghee. Why do you say that and what has your experience been with that? From a google search it seems that ghee is a popular treatment of psoriasis in India.
From my research going paleo means switching energy from sugar sources (carbs, starches) to fat sources (grass fed wild(because of the higher omega 3 content)). Makes sense because fat is vital to fat soluble vitamins that protect omega 3 among many other functions.

Ghee is a great thing to experiment with. Many people who are sensitive to dairy can handle ghee because the protein content is so low. The fat from grass-fed ghee is beneficial because it’s high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can promote healing as well as having a good balance between omega-3 and omega-6. But, there are many people who are so sensitive to the proteins in dairy (casein, casomorphin, butyrophillin) and even the trace amount in ghee can cause them problems. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition and is associated with a leaky gut, which is a good indication that most people with psoriasis are probably super sensitive to dairy. That being said, ghee and pastured egg yolks are tied for potentially beneficial food worth trying to add back in and see if you can tolerate them. You can also get CLA from grass-fed meat.

I have a severe case of psoriatic spondylitis that has attacked my joints, tendons, and ligaments throughout my body, and even my eyes. I was reduced to living on disability within 3 years. I am also pre-diabetic, and developed life-threatening adrenal insufficiency due to long-term steroid use.

I started the AIP on July 1st, and noticed quite a bit of improvement fairly soon. I’ve actually been able to start some easy dancing and going on walks – for the first time in years!

But I’m having problems trying to find the best version of this diet for me. My doctors and I are having me tapering down on my steroids yet again in an effort to get my pituitary and adrenal glands to start working again. But as soon as I started the AIP Paleo diet, I developed major low-cortisol symptoms – which I believe is from switching to a much lower carb diet (about 60-80 gm/day). This issue could become worse as I continue to very slowly taper my steroids. I read that the body needs to use cortisol to handle a low-carb diet – and my body can’t produce what might be needed.

Also, I’ve noticed that my body can’t handle many types of fruit – my blood sugars go up to 160-180 an hour after eating them. On top of that, my blood sugar levels shoot up nearly 50 points after taking my daily steroids (even just 4 mg), even if I’m fasting!

My endocrinologist wants me to go back to eating more complex carbs, especially whole grains! But I’m feeling so much better NOT eating grains (except for my blood sugar) – I really don’t want to go back to that. And one suggested beneficial diet for spondylitis involves eating NO starch. Small amounts of simple sugars are OK, though.

I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. No starch is best for my spondylitis; no fruit or sugar is best for my blood sugar; and MORE carbs is best for my adrenal insufficiency! And none of my doctors are really into “weird” diets for dealing with my health issues.

I’m not sure how to handle this conundrum, but I don’t want to give up the improvements I’ve achieved so far! Any suggestions?

Wow! That is tough. So, my first thought is that finding a way to increase your carb intake a little is likely to help. Not everyone on the autoimmune protocol needs to steer clear of starchy vegetables; it really depends on whether or not you have SIBO, where it is, how much you eat… What I think would be good to try is some of the moderate level starchy vegetables like winter squashes, jicama, rutabaga, carrots, and beets. These are typically okay for SIBO but will give you more carbohydrates without the glucose rush that fruit gives. Maybe try and eat something like these at each meal in addition to green veggies. If you are already eating these and need more, you could try small doses of parsnips, sweet potato, plantain and taro root, which have even more starch. Go slow and pull back as soon as you aren’t feeling well. Let me know how this works!

Thanks for the suggestions, Sarah! I’m fortunate, in that I don’t think I have any significant SIBO issues. My chronic intestinal issues cleared up about 1 week after I started the AIP Paleo diet. I went a whole month with no problems there!

I was already eating carrots & beets every day, and about 4 servings of fruit. I’ve experimented with eating half a sweet potato a day, without any noticeable problems so far, thank goodness. I think I’d like to try some plantain, too, if I can find some.

Then I broke down and ate some caramel candies during a stressful very long drive this week. VERY bad decision! I paid for that indiscretion with 2 days of severe diarrhea. Of course, I’m not sure if it was the dairy components of the candy, or the corn syrup, or something else. Won’t do that again! Fortunately, it didn’t take long to straighten out.

Your docs are not into the weird diets bc they are not educated in nutrition and natural health. I found the same problem. That is why I took matters in my own hands, read some books and read websiteS like these. I also started going to a naturopath doctor. It’s been so much better. I will never go to another type doctor again unless I break a bone or something.

Ok, ok, this is the post I needed to read! Still worried about training for triathlons. They are only sprint triathlons so not as stressful on the body. But I have allot to learn here. hmmm.

I have suffered from scalp psoriasis for about 20 years. The only time over the years my psoriasis cleared were during my pregnancys. Do you know why that might be? I have been doing paleo for about 6 months and I think I am going to cut out everything you recommend. I feel awesome, but the psoriasis is not going anywhere. I really want to fix it the natural way. Thanks for the great info!
Ps. I went to the dermatologist today and he prescribed me a medicated shampoo and a steroid. I asked him about changing the diet because it is a auto immune disorder, but he said it is not autoimmune disorder. He said it is a extreme case of dandruff. Is he nuts? I do not want to use a bunch of chemicals!

It is autoimmune, but this is fairly recent information. Steroids may help the pain/itching and help clear it up some if it’s really bad (and you could apply topical steroids in conjunction with diet). I do sometimes resort to using steroids on my lichen planus lesions. I don’t know if I would use a medicated shampoo though. I have mild scalp psoriasis and found that giving up shampoo completely helped me tremendously.

Many women experience relief and even full remission of their autoimmune diseases during pregnancy. This happens because of the shift in the maternal immune system that takes place so that it doesn’t attack the baby. Unfortunately, women will often also experience a flare either when the baby is born or when the baby weans.

Skin conditions can be one of the most frustrating conditions to clear up with the autoimmune protocol, but it is definitely worth a try (especially giving up nightshades). Good luck and feel free to comment or email if you have any further questions.

Hi keely, yes your doc is nuts. Get the book healing psoriosis naturally by john Pagano. I am doing the diet and i am finding relief. Also don’t do the steroids. It will not fix the root of the problem and is a waste of time. This is all controlled by diet. Also if u need special shampoos and such check out this website for natural shampoos

Yes, thank you so much for the info.! My hubby and I have gotten “rashes” on our faces that have steadily gotten worse since going paleo and I felt I had just about exhausted all possible options to treat it. I will now be trying the autoimmune protocol for paleo and see if it works. I hate using steroid cream on my face twice a day but if I don’t the rash gets painful and itchy and spreads. I will try altering my diet before seeing a dermatologist now. Thanks again!

So glad I found this!!!!
I went Paleo on 1st August 2012 after being vegan and ill, no energy, thyroid symptoms, vit deficiencies etc… Bedridden….weight gain, even though I was sugar free and gluten free for years!
I have now got my lean buff body back!! Have lots of energy and my muscles work!! Yay I can feel muscles! I don’t get breathless and cold any more too!!
I broke out in Psoriasis on my scalp and ears. It’s quite horrible.
So I am glad I found your page!!!
I had been eating almond butter on apple slices, sweet potatoes, , sugar free meringues, and I was cooking everything in coconut oil.
I found out I have an allergy to coconut. Can’t even rub the oil on my skin!!
(anyhow the taste and smell makes me gag, and if I swollow extra virgin coconut oil raw, it makes me vomit!)
So my body was clearly trying to tell me something!! Lol
Love eggs as they are so quick!
It seemed like: I look fit, great weight loss, have my energy back, but at a price of having inflamed skin scalp????!!..

I NEVER want to go back to eating bucket loads brown rice & quinoa, never want that chubby carb look again!!
I live being thin!!
But I don’t want psoriasis either!!!!
Before I found your page I was dredding; oh god, do I have to have a carby brown rice diet to heal my skin?!!!
But please god no! I want to be thin AND have clear skin!!!
So I am going to follow your suggestions and see what happens!!!!
I will STOP eating;
Almonds & nuts
sweet potatoes
Nightshade ( I don’t eat them anyway as found Dr Paganos book years ago)
No eggs!

On a funny note; Whey protein hadn’t upset my skin at all!!
In fact when I take whey, I get such a boost!!
I stopped taking it to see if it did upset my skin, but no diff…
Not great with regular dairy though, bloats my tummy( lactose?)
Yet whey is fine!

Xx Fiona :)

Ps- wish we had as much grass fed following in UK as you do in the States!! It’s slowly catching on…!

Hey Sarah,
Love your blog. Has tons of useful information about eating paleo and psoriasis.

I have a question about your macro-nutrient ratios you eat on a daily basis. Basically….what are they?

I personally follow the “Perfect Health Diet” ratios of:
Fat 65% (Lots of MCT, Saturday, and MUFA fats)
Carbs 20% (Most calories from starchy tubers – potatoes, rice, tapioca, sweet potatoes, yams)
Protein 15% – Mix of different high fat meat, (oily fish, beef, pig, etc). If the meat isn’t high fat they add lots of fat to even out the calories. Oils recommended as all low omega 6, (olive, coconut, palm, etc).

I just started the diet this week and still consume waaaay to much alcohol on weekends =) So I can’t say whether or not the diet will cure my psoriasis.

I have noticed one thing while on this diet however, I am a little shaky/hungry and slightly more irritable at certain times than before. I wonder if this could actually be a good thing…like if it had to do with the die off of some organisms within my body. Did you notice any symptoms as you switched to a paleo diet? Also, if you can’t eat starch, and you can’t eat much fruit, where do you get your carbs from? From what I understand, carbs that are in veggies get turned into fat when they enter our gut.

Cheers and congrats on living psoriasis free!

I’m not entirely sure what my macronutrient ratio is, but I guess it would be closer to 30-30-40 protein-carbs-fat. Or maybe 25-25-50. I eat a little fruit and large portions of non-starchy vegetables. I’ve never heard that non starchy veggies get turned into fat and I’m not sure what the mechanism for that would be. If you are feeling a bit shaky, it might be that your body is still becoming fat adapted. That transition can take 2-4 weeks. I came from a low carb diet, so I didn’t have any negative adjustment period symptoms. Mostly I noticed improved digestion and energy in those early days.

Hi, Really impressed with your blog, and this psoriasis post. I follow paleo, and have question about psoriasis. Can I eat of grass fed beef ? ( 100% grass – local farm source ) My main food would be beef and coconut oil. + organic vegetables. I have no problems go with low carb anyway.

I choose avoiding alcohol completely. Although my psoriasis started at the age of 10 when I did not drink at all, recently I quit alcohol and gluten and psoriasis completely disappeared. Very important note on the vitamin D, not just for psoriasis but for all autoimmune diseases.

I would suggest having your levels checked then tinkering with your vitamin D3 dose to get your levels to the top of the normal range (around 50-60 ng/ML). Exactly how much you need to supplement with will depend on the food you eat, how much sun exposure you get, how efficiently your body makes vitamin D in response to the sun (evidence is that those with excessive inflammation do not convert cholesterol to vitamin D very efficiently), how good your digestion is, etc.

What type of blood testing identifies D3 levels or how would it be labeled in the lab results? I recently had testing done that included:
CBC, PTL w/auto diff
Hemoglobin Glyclated (HGB A1C)
Metabolic panel, comprehensive
Microalbumin/Creatinine Ratio
There is nothing here that I can recognize as identifying D3.

Thank you.

I know there are a lot of things we need to eliminate from our Paleo diets such as nuts, sweet potatoes, nightshades, eggs, ect to help clear up the psoriasis. So what do your typical meals look like? Any meal suggestions would be great! I need to take this route as my psoriasis only improved slightly on Paleo.

My breakfasts typically consist of any combination of leftovers, homemade sausage, pastured bacon, broth, soups, and fruit. My lunches typically involve leftover meat or canned fish with a large pile of veggies or salad and typically broth if I didn’t have it at breakfast (I usually have one cup of broth per day, but I do sometimes skip a day). I would often also have a little fruit for lunch. Supper is meat with a couple of different veggies and sometimes more fruit. I try not to snack, but if I really need something, I eat homemade jerky, a can of sardines, broth or a spoon of coconut oil (sometimes I eat fruit, but that usually doesn’t satiate me very well). I season with salt and herbs mostly. I drink a fair amount of tea (mostly herbal, but some black and green tea too). I eat fish 5-8 times per week (between lunch and supper) and eat organ meat 3-8 times per week.

Dear, Sarah, you are amazing. Thanks for your blog
I am a long term sufferer of psoriasis (since 18) I’m 33 :)
I went Paleo on ~1st July 2012 after being vegan (~2years). I cured my psoriasis 99%, but i felt terrible so decided to quit this lifestyle and decided to follow your advices
I follow the Autoimmune Protocol for about a month.
I feel good, but the psoriasis came back, becomes more and more visible :( Now It is even worst it has ever been. I realy don’t know what to think. I follow AP without any cheats and can’t understand whats wrong …
I eat homemade sausages 4-5 days/week, organ meat (3-5 days/week, bone broth every day, meat (beef, veal, rabbit, turkey, chicken, pork, venison 1-2 times/week, fish (mostly mackerel, salmon, carp, herring. Somtimes canned tuna)
Raw and steamed veggies expect nightshades.

No grains, legumes, dairy (even no ghee butter), no eggs, no nuts and seeds. Small amount of fruits 2-3 days/week) (~50-200 g/day) (Mostly melon honeydew, grapefruit, pineapple, avocado, berries) Rarely banana or apple.
Fats : mostly cocoa butter (20-40/ almost every day and coconut oil 20-40/ almost every day and salted pork backfat ~30-50g 3-5 days/week (RAW), olive or avocado oil, Small amounts of flax seed oil (4-10g/day).
I also use coconut milk and desiccated coconut meat (not sweetened) 1-2 times a week.

I don’t drink coffee. But i drik a fair amounts of green tea (2-3 cups/week)

I don’t use sugar, honey or any other sweeteners.

I season just with salt, herbs and garlic (RAW)

My macronutrient ratio is ~60/20/20 (fat, protein, carbs)

Do you have ideas what is wrong with my diet? Thanks in advance for any comments

Interesting. I do have some ideas. Did your psoriasis come back at the same time that the weather got cooler? Psoriasis and other skin conditions are very sensitive to vitamin D levels and sun exposure. You could get your levels checked and get a recommendation for a supplement dose (you should be aiming to be at the high end of the normal range). There’s no good reason to be taking flaxseed oil. Even though it’s high in ALA, it’s also high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Cocoa butter might be causing a food sensitivity-type reaction since chocolate is a gluten cross-reactor. Are you eating about the same amount of non-starchy vegetables now as you were when following a vegan diet? You might be skimping on some antioxidants if your intake has decreased too much. Also, what about other lifestyle factors? stress? sleep? those are just as important as diet.

Thank you so much for your pompt replay. Both of you 😉 I’m realy touched.
Yes, Sarah,you are right, my PSO came back at the same time that the weather got cooler. We had even 20 below zero 3-4 weeks ago. Now we have 2-10 below zero. I ordered vitamin D3 (5000 IU per Softgel). They recommend to take 1 capsule a day. Is it enough?
Ok, i’ll also quit eating cocoa butter. I’m not sure, but i feel that it can be a big trigger.
One more thing – i bought a half of pig month ago and eat pork every day. (Ground,= skin, fat, muscle; salted backfat) This pig was quite big so very fatty :) and i think it’s high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.
Regarding flax seed oil it’s high in Omega 3, not Omega6.
It’s realy hard to eat the same amount of non-starchy vegetables now because of winter and I’m not big fan of imported veggies, so i eat mostly cucumbers, carrots and beets from my garden, cabbage (also homemade sauerkraut), lettuce “Iceberg”, chinese cabbage, frozen broccoli, frozen spinach, frozen cauliflower. Frozen parsley and dill from my own garden.

Lifestyle factors? I THINK THERE IS NO too much stress. Ok, Maybe hatha yoga 2-3 times a week. But i like it and feel realy good :)
I sleep ~7-8 hours. (~from 11PM to 6:30-7:00 AM)

It’s easiest to figure out Vit. D dose if you get tested, but you could also start with 1 per day for a few weeks and see how you feel, then try 2 (it would be highly unusual to need 3 so if you think you do, definitely get your levels tested first). Take it in the first half of the day, better with a meal. I think the other parts of your plan sound great. You can also try coconut oil as a moisturizer which might help.

Hi there!!

I have a comment posted if you scroll up about when I first went Paleo after being vegan. Since then I have learnt that my body isn’t good with the arachidonic acid levels that can rise when you eat red meat every day. Arachidonic acid affects people with Psoriasis and arthritis very severely….Also If your Omega 3 levels are lower than your Omega 6 levels, the body wont handle a diet high in arachidonic acid, thus flare out Psoriasis or joint swelling etc….I also leant that the source of fish used MUST be WILD CAUGHT salmon/non farmed, even “organic” salmon can be farmed and fed grains. Wild caught salmon has high omega3 levels, but when salmon is farmed, it has high omega 6 levels which cause arachidonic acid inflammation in particular people. I found that eating extra virgin coconut oil made my skin inflamed too. ( in fact it made me want to puke and gag, inc nausea so bad…)
So now I have altered the Paleo diet to my individual body specifications: No red meat or eggs, inc organ meats espesh, as they have the HIGHEST amount of Arachidonic acid in them and Purines! No nightshades! Not keen on nuts either!
Gut health is VERY important for Psoriasis too!! Good gut bacteria is needed!!! Aloe Vera gel is very soothing too.
Meats I have are: Organic Chicken and wild caught fish- I also take high dose Omega3 fish oil- as people with inflammatory markers need to get extra Omega 3 as it is ANTI-inflammitory! But avoid omega 6!!!

For more about Arachidonic acid and inflammation :

We are meant to have small amounts of AA in our bodies, part of cell regulation…But whatever it is that handles how the body copes with a diet high in AA seems to missing in people with psoriasis…

Or maybe it really just IS the fact that meat from animals that were fed grains is high in Omega6 (pro-inflammitory and pro AA) that would NOT be there, if they were all grass fed like nature designed!!!!

I had definately made a mistake with my fish when I first started Paleo!! Now that I know about AA and incorrect omega6 levels, it is only wild caught fish!!!

Even so, any red meat was wild shot, but it still made my body inflammatory…If that is due to my gut not being able to handle red meat ( no matter how many digestive enzymes I take or bacteria I take), or even though it is not farmed- meat has naturally high AA levels, who knows!!!!! OR maybe it was mainly the eggs!! And if I had have avoided the eggs I would be ok?!! ( as I was allergic to eggs as a kid).

When I was vegan, I could not eat legumes, as they would give me muscle pain and paralyse my muscles!! I have also been taking high dose Vit D for ages!

But one thing I learnt for myself: Simply listen to your body!! Instead of trying to follow a diet style like it is a religion, just listen to your body!!

I am grateful though for the way I got muscle usage back and energy!!

Apple Cider Vinegar (RAW & Organic ONLY) has been very helpful to my skin too! It is said to alkalinise the blood and kill bad bacteria!! (if you try it, dilute it to take internally, it is strong stuff)!
My skin is clearing now though, not chancing the eggs or red meat again!!!

Hi :) Many thanks for your advice. I’m sure it can be very helpfull in the nearest future :)
First I’ll start to take a Vitamin D3 supplement, Quit eating cocoa butter. I think it would be a good idea not to eat so much pork – especially backfat and fatty parts which can be high in OMEGA 6. Also I’ll add more fish such as mackerel and herring (frozen or salted) IT MUST BE WILD CAUGHT :)
Salmon mostly comes from Norway and I;m sure it comes from farms :( even organic like you said
BTW I’m following a 21 day sugar detox together with Paleo mom :) So i’ll finish this challenge first :)
keep in touch 😉

I gave ACV (raw) a go over christmas, I put it in the vitamix with water, basil, garlic, lemon, and oregano, made a green liquid!!! It tasted DIVINE!!! It made me feel a bit drunk! lol It was so yummy. I went mad dipping buckwheat seed crackers into it every night (buckwheat seed only). I saw a slight improvement, I guess it really alkalised my blood, but its not kind to ones mouth!! It bunged up my digestive system, dont know why….Some ppl say it can be constipating…And the worst thing was that all those buckwheat seed crackers (even though they were only buckwheat (or kasha in usa) seed, nothing else, made me gain some weight. I checked the carb info, and buckwheat seed is higher carb than veggies!!!! Damn those carbs!! LOL ! Just before Christmas I was 8.4st, then in Jan I was 9st ! Booo! Those buckwheat seeds must have disrupted my Ketosis. :( Oh well, I have started to create ketosis again, please god I aim to get down to 8st ! Still, its much better than when I was a vegan, at 10st I just didnt feel like me!!! I lost a whole stone in 1 month after going Paleo low carb on 1st August 2012!
I won’t really bother with the ACV again though….Fish is much better for me! And I just dont like anything that gives off that drunk vibe, or may be addictive.. As I do not drink alcohol at all!!!

I just saw this page….after my SO got home from the grocery store with loads of fruits, more nuts and sweet potatoes. Just before the holidays I eliminated dairy, sugar and grain from my diet; well, not entirely eliminated yet, but drastically cut back. I decided to change to address my recurrent, debilitating sinusitis and pesky psoriasis that arrived when I spiked a high fever during a respiratory infection as I was going through menopause. Actually, the sinusitis is also an allergic reaction to my 19 year old cat, and I’m stuck with that until she decided to advance to her second life, but she’s got it really good, so I think she’ll stick around awhile. Anyway, my psoriasis got worse after the dietary change and, thanks to this article, I know why! I started eating one egg every day, snacking on nuts and dried cherries and added sweet potatoes to my diet, as my only starch. So, I’ll separate the eggs and stick to the yolks only, find another snack (?) and skip the sweet potatoes, which is fine with me because I really didn’t care for the sweetness. By the way, you inspired me to start a food blog which I’m sharing with my friends and family. I did my first post last week and linked to your article on The Health Benefits of Bone Broth. Thank you for contributing to not only my health, but that of my friends and family!

Oh, hecky darn, I forgot to ask my question! I was taking Evening Primrose Oil for my breast tenderness and pain, and it worked great. Then I read somewhere that EPO is high in Omega-6 so I stopped taking it more than once/week. I take 4 1000mg capsules of high quality Fish Oil daily and would like some direction on how much more FO I should/could take to completely counteract the O6 in the EPO. Can you assist with that? Also, just read your chocolate article…..ugh. I used to laughingly call it Vitamin Ch, now I’ve almost eliminated it, but I’d mourn the loss of it too if I have to take it that far.


I am confused. I have been to 2 Rheumatologists and the first one wanted to put me on methotrexate (low dose chemo)…I was scared to take this drug so I went for a 2nd opinion. The second doctor prescribed a anti inflammatory drug. Some background…I have had psoriasis on my scalp for about 8 years, I had Iritis for the 3rd time which sent me to an eye specialist who referred me to my 1st rheumatologist. The 2nd doctor I went to I asked if I could please try a paleo diet before being put on medication. She said it couldn’t hurt but still prescribed the anti inflammatory. I am confused because each doctor I see says something different and I would love to have this AIP work for me. I love eggs but it seems I cannot eat them anymore. I love dairy too and will miss those two things the most but if I can help my inflammation with my diet I will try it. It worries me that every doctor just wants to put me on drugs. I would like to find a more natural approach and the reason I became inflamed. Thank you for your wonderful site. I am not good at dieting and I know it won’t be easy.

Doctors receive extremely little (and depending on the program, sometimes none) nutrition education in their training, so it’s just not something that most doctors know about, unless they have a personal interest. The biggest hope that i have for my book is that it will help doctors feel more comfortable with a diet and lifestyle approach before medication.

The type of specialist that does have training in how diet intacts with disease is called a functional medicine specialist (depending on their training, they might also call themselves a holistic practitioner). Different professionals can take the functional medicine courses, so sometimes that person is a naturopathic doctor, sometimes a chiropractor, sometimes an acupuncturist, and sometimes an MD (typically internal medicine specialists). If you’re in north America, the best place to start is the Paleo Physicians Network or Primal Docs. If you’d like a recommendation of a functional medicine specialist who works long distance, e-mail me at

Hi! So happy I found this post and as I read the post above from Tammy, I wanted to share that my daughter, who is 7 seven, was diagnosed a year ago with an AID called superficial morphea and as someone also above mentioned, theres a risk of it attaching to organs etc. She is on low dose methotrexate and has been for a year. She’s being treated by the Seattle Children’s hospital. These doctor’s looked at me strangely when I started making suggestions to her diet and talking about Functional Medicine etc…let’s just say I felt just like that mother in the article, “The Boy with a Thorn in His Joint’s” by the NYS recently. I burst in tears when I read the article because doctor’s are quick to quite our intuition about our own child.

She has been living with her dad (in Alaska) an moving back home with me (in NYC)…Yay!. I’m a holistic nutritionist and she grew up eating very clean as a baby – at the time I was raw vegan and her diet consisted of mostly fruits, vegetables, avocados and coconut. When the relationship ended and she lived between 2 homes because of our schedules, she adopted a standard american diet.

I would mention to them about suggestion of seeing a functional medicine doctor and testing her for sensitivities but they would say, “we have never seen significant evidence to suggest yadda yadda”

I’ve been teaching and giving food demos for a while and I love where it has lead me (here too :) One of the oncology practices I would give classes at suggested I’d call Dr. Mark Hyman’s office (because it’s what they new), I did and just the phone consultation sent me to a different path. Long story short, I’m no longer raw vegan although I offer a lot of classes with a mind for Paleo and food triggers.

I will say your blog has been the first place that I feel supports this feeling and confirms all the research that I’ve done. Your information is SPOT on. When they say incurable, nice to think it’s “curable from within” :) She’s back with me full time in May and would love to stay in touch with you. I’d love to follow your protocol on her (us!) If you don’t mind I’ll use the email above?

Thank you for the work you do!!

Any suggestions for someone who doesn’t eat much meat and would like to follow this diet? I eat fish or chicken maybe once a week and red meat about once every six months. I enjoy not eating too much fish/poultry/red meat because it makes me sluggish and constipated. Thanks!

Your articles are the best I’ve read on paleo diet, autoimmune disease and psoriasis. Thanks so much for a thorough explination that is easy to understand, but not dumbed down. I’m truly grateful.

what fruits can you eat on the autoimmune protocol? and do you have a specific recipe for the bone marrow soup. Ive suffered with psoriaisis and arthritis for over 35 years I want to stop taking the enbrel that I have to shoot into my body every week The paleo seems very tough, but im going to do it, or do you thing i shold start with thed regular one or go direct with the autoimmune protocol. I have learned so much from y0u in the last day thank y0ur f0r your information

This is great information! Two questions: Is the AIP meant to be a lifelong lifestyle or just temporary to heal the gut? And if my dermatitis improved (but did not entirely go away) while I did the Whole30 recently and ate more eggs than I have eaten in my life, is that a good indication that I am okay with eggs?

Thanks for sharing all this wonderful info!

For some people it is lifelong, for some people it takes a month and they can maintain with standard paleo. Yes, you are probably okay with eggs, but keep them in mind if your dermatitis persists. You can always try a few weeks without them and see if it gets even better.

Just a one thing. I remember a year ago I had much less psoriasis, and the one thing was different – eating fish. I used to eat about 300g of fish daily. I did it again for 2 weeks ( about 300- 400 g daily ) and starting see improvements. Before this I was taking fish oil, but it looks it wasn’t enough. The first difference was nails – anyone with psoriasis knows how easy is to spot it – some of them are completely clear now. You may give it a try !

I love your blog — the science, and your unique voice, make these difficult topics easier to take in. I did want to mention a couple of things, as a lifelong psoriatic and one of the few people to be born with active psoriasis plaques.

First, psoriasis as autoimmune disease is not new. I learned about it almost 20 years ago, but I recognize that I also had the benefit of top MDs/PhDs who were working actively in both clinical and basic research spheres. I have found that many alternative practitioners — I recently interviewed two NDs, for example, for my daughter — continue to be ignorant about this commonly known fact. I am thrilled to see you speak the truth about immune functioning and psoriasis.

Second, to my knowledge, leaky gut is not the only cause. I would love to see the science that says this is so. I am not saying that cleaning up one’s diet and addressing gut issues won’t help, because I think it can, but the disease is more complex than leaky gut syndrome. I have met psoriatics on various autoimmune protocols, including paleo, who are frustrated when they flare and continue to remove food… It can become dangerous. It is a highly individualized disease. My mother had the benefit of being able to introduce foods to a virgin breastfed gut and then watch the responses, so I can tell you that one-size-fits-all food prescriptions don’t always work. There are psoriatics who can have nightshades, eggs, etc. This has been a huge confounding factor in trialing dietary interventions.

I am not writing any of this to discount the AIP because I know people who swear by it. I say this more to encourage people to keep food and symptom journals to figure out their immune responses.

Third, @fionafey mentioned the AA issue, which I think is valid. Another issue is that if one is sensitive to natural food chemicals, such as salicylates and amines, the meat-based diet and bone broth can be an issue. Autoimmune issues run in my family, and my father is sensitive to amines (as are many due to exposure to MSG). If someone is having trouble with the bone broth and meat, amine sensitivity should be considered. A lot of people are unaware of this intolerance, so I wanted to mention it here in case it benefits someone else.

My worst flare that nearly put me in the hospital was caused by strep throat about 3 months post-partum. Strep is a huge trigger for guttate psoriasis. My other major flares have been caused by first period after childbirth and puberty (hormones) — completely unrelated to diet and not preventable, sadly. Other triggers include alcohol (effect varies by type); tobacco and second-hand smoke; sugar and HFCS; bread/pasta/simple carbs; caffeine; fried foods; stress; poor sleep; and winter (low Vit D, not enough sun, and dry air). Response to fish oil is variable, and I think that is related to rancidity (have seen issues at times even with the expensive fermented CLO).

Again, I really love your blog and feel that you are bringing hope and healing to many. I wanted to add my voice so those who are doing things “right” with diet and lifestyle don’t blame themselves or go overboard with food removal. Removing too much can also stress your body and contribute to flares. Leaky gut is one part of the picture. Also, as someone who is married to an archaeologist who studies food, the Paleo diet benefits as promulgated are not exactly accurate or supported by what little evidence we have about how people actually ate. However, in this time of food and seed genetic manipulation, industrial farming, SAD food pyramids, etc., I totally get why it works for many and love all the blogs and recipes that help my own family to eat healthier and cleaner.

Yep- Paleo Mom is fantastic!! 😀
Yes, you are right, what seems to help one person with Psr, doesnt seem to help another! My body is not a fan of eggs, but who knows, say in 10 years time, my body might suddenly like them!! I am ok with nuts (not cashews as they are horribly mouldy toxic, and no “pea”nuts as they are not a nut but a member of the legume family)!….I take a high does of L-Glutamine every day. My body loves FISH too! But I make sure it is wild caught!! I find Chinese Medicine works miracles for me…I have a diff type of Psr, ‘Mixed Connective Tissue’ disease. The joints and tendons, organs are affected, with Lupus like symptoms. I really believe I can heal and be ok. The typical high carb vegetarian/vegan diet recommended for Psr really doesnt suit me at all!! I also use Goat Whey protein powder, found it very helpful! Hopefully grass-fed/wild caught will catch on more here in the UK!

I just checked how much fish oil I was taking everyday in the last 2 weeks – about 10 g ! There’s no problem to get grass-fed meat in UK. I shop locally and the beef is amazing. Never read about L-Glutamine helping Psoriasis…. got to read more. Fiona, we have our Paleo UK facebook group. It is closed one, so if you would like to join, I will catch you on fb.

Hi Sarah,
I’ve been suffering from psoriasis for more than 10 years. I’ve been introduced to the whole paleo thing through your podcast and I thank you for that. I’ve already started to implement many changes to my diet to adopt paleo style, and about to start AIP. I’m glad I found this article before I started AIP because I had no idea it was recommended to remove butter and even sweet potato from the diet. My question is, about coffee and tea. I drink about 2-3 cups of regular coffee everyday. You recommended to remove it completely if possible, and I think I’m going to do that. What are your thoughts on regular tea & decaf coffee? Thanks for your advice.

Decaf coffee is still a problem from a gluten cross reactor standpoint. Black tea is a gray area. In moderate quantities, it may help the body recover normal cortisol levels, but in higher quantities, the caffeine can disregulate tea. Black tea may also have some immune stimulating properties, but that’s not as clear (it’s clearer for green tea). So, ideally you wouldn’t drink either, but I do have to admit that I still have several cups of black tea a day.

My boyfriend used to have psoriasis on his hand and leg. After normal paleo (with regrettebly regular badly chosen, often gluten-containing cheats when I’m not around) the psoriasis on his hand went away and he eventually went to a dermatologist for the psoriasis on his leg and they gave him cortisone cream and said he’d have to apply it forever to keep it away. He used it once, it went away and never came back even though he didn’t touch the cortisone cream again. Maybe it needed a jump start or something and the paleo diet (albeit full of cheats) is keeping it away… No idea.

Loved finding your site today. Looking forward to exploring more. One question, though. Have you ever heard of the cilantro cure for psoriasis? Any concerns if I take your advice on diet restrictions but also try to ingest one bunch of cilantro per day?

Please look up the effects of cilantro on your heavy metal detoxification, especially if you have mercury amalgam fillings. With that amount of cilantro, you could do a detox that pulls mercury from fillings or recirculates metals throughout your body and brain.

I started having health problems last summer in July and after going through several medications (anti-biotics, ointments and creams) that failed I finally had a biopsy that revealed psoriasis.Unfortunately its in my skin folds and becomes very uncomfortable and irritated. I am a very active person playing hockey, soccer and mainly running and cycling so not being able to do this has taken away my ability to relieve stress. The biggest mistake I made was using topical steroids which made the problem worse. I started seeing a Naturopath right after the New Year and have been following a basic autoimmune protocol which has really helped. I have not had any coffee, junk food, dairy or bread since. Stomach wise I feel great but am still taking anti-biotics prescribed by my dermatologist who is excellent to deal with and very supportive plus a fellow Scotsman! That being said my wife mentioned a Paleo Diet and coming across this website has been very informative. I am taking supplements through the Naturopath but how much is not taking any pro-biotics hindering the process? since the anti-biotics will just kill any good bacteria off. I’ll be in Scotland next week and after I come back I’m really going to give the Paleo Diet a good try. Any additonal advice you can give me would very much appreciated. I’ve really had a rough time of it since the summer. Thanks very much and again an excellent website and resource

I definitely recommend a probiotic and/or fermented foods. Also getting your vitamin D checked and eating lots of glycine-rich foods (bone broth, skin, knuckles, meats with a lot of connective tissue like cheek and chuck roast, organ meat). You may also want to have a look at what you put on your skin. A high saturated fat moisturizer like coconut oil or grass-fed tallow can be very helpful with restoring barrier function.

Hi, just saw your page while doing a search for phytic acid and psoriasis. I’ve had guttate and inverse psoriasis since I was 13 after bout of strep throat (a very common starting point for guttate sufferers). I do a similar modified diet I like to call paleo light :) but its mainly gluten free dairy free and I avoid soybean oil like the plague amoung other things that don’t really fit under a certain diet heading. So it was refreshing to see your out of the box paleo. Most of my stuff I’ve picked up from medical journals (I’m a scientist too) but have not seen anything reguarding avoiding egg whites. I’m sorry if you covered this already, but why egg whites? Should I avoid the ones from my own chickens? They too are on a soy free diet.

Hi Sarah!! Thank you so much for sharing your story and all of your research. I love your blog and have been following for nearly a year now. I just realized you have this page on psoriasis a few weeks ago though and keep reading it over and over. In some respects I wish I would have found it “years” ago, but then again I’m not sure I was ready to “listen”. :)

I had excema as a kid and dx with psoriasis at 18. Even 30 yrs ago I was told it was AI, but every doc I’ve ever been to has always said “there’s nothing you can do other than use this cream, get some sun, go tanning, etc”. I also have Hashi’s which of course I was just told it was hypothyroidism and to once again, “take this pill”. In July 2010 I was poisoned by Levaquin (an antibiotic) and started learning about SAD and how to maybe change my health. Over the last 2 1/2 yrs I’ve learned what you have written about through trial and error of my own. First removing the garbage (processed foods, HFCS, hydrogenated oils, soy, etc). Then, changing some foods to non-GMO and grass fed meats, etc. I switched to an ND in Jan 2012, and in Feb 2012 I had a 95 food allergy test and found out I was “allergic” to casein and borderline on egg whites. That test gave me the determination I needed to stick with something. I now had it in black & white (well red actually) that dairy & eggs were harmful for me. Within the first couple of months I started noticing some improvements, less gas, better BM, and some improvement in my psoriasis. I added water kefir daily in late April. But, then things plateaued. In researching and learning about Hashi’s, I learned about leaky gut and thought “I have to have that or I wouldn’t have these other problems”. So, after consulting with my doc, we agreed I needed to do a gluten challenge. So, May 1st, I gave up gluten in addition to the dairy & eggs. Yep, no gluten for me. Things started improving again… even lost a few pounds (although I need to loose a LOT more). But, then I started having all these other problems I had never had before; acne around my mouth, cysts on my jawline & chin, my post-nasal drip returned, the worst smelling gas (makes the dog’s seem mild), and my psoriasis would flare. Piece by piece, I realized I can’t have nightshades (although I figured them out one at a time, not as a class). Pork even causes me inflammation. Oh and the fruits & starchy veggies were my gas culprits… I had now lost 10 lbs and was keeping it off. I had more energy and was feeling better. But, why was I not loosing more? At 5′ 2 3/4″ I should weigh 115-138 or so. I feel the best around 106, but would be happy with 118. At the top, I was 189.8 and was hovering right around the 179-180 mark. Something was holding me back.

I kept thinking rice might be causing me problems. I didn’t eat it that often, and of course with psoriasis it takes a couple days to see the flare. What else is it??

So, I decided to give GAPS stage 1 a try. Within the first 2 days my swelling went down, I started to loose weight and within a week my psoriasis had made huge improvements. But, after a week and a half, it was my son’s 14th birthday and I also was in a hurry and had take-out pad thai (GF & egg free, the owner is celiac so comfortable with her processes). I made a GF chocolate cake; mostly brown rice flour. Guess what… yep, my psoriasis started to flare again. Confirming I can’t do rice. Oh and ghee!! I thought ghee was OK for me, until I read your blog. Sure enough… it’s a very mild reaction from it, so had I not read your post I would not have suspected it.

It’s only been 6 days since I had the pad thai & GF cake, but things are improving again and I’m now down a solid 14 lbs and clothes & jewelry are starting to fit much looser. Since I’ve been off eggs for over a year, I really, really, want some… but I feel like I need the psoriasis to completely clear before trying to add anything back in.

Your blog has confirmed for me what I’ve learned through trial and error. I’m OK without the gluten. Grains may be a tad tougher. I like a little rice now and then, but obviously my body doesn’t like it. I love butter so much, I’m sad I won’t be able to use ghee. But, feeling good is SO worth it.

So, if I’m understanding your blog correctly, over time, I should be (hopefully!) able to reintroduce most of the foods. However, Gluten & Dairy will never, ever cross these lips again. Oh, nor my skin! Learned about that too… lotions without chemicals nor gluten, going with natural shampoos, conditioners, make-up, toothpaste, etc.

I just wanted to share with you and thank you for sharing with all of us!! You are amazing and an inspiration. Keep up the great work and thanks again!!

Would you be interested in writing a condensed version of your story (say 2 paragraphs) to include as a testimonial in my book? It would go with a discussion of figuring it out on your own one food at a time versus doing a full elimination diet approach and sort of getting it all over with. I think it’s awesome you ended up in the same place and have figured out what works for you. If you’re interested, my email is

I’ve always had skin problems, especially on my arms, but I’ve had one particularly stubborn spot of psoriasis on my right ring finger for about four years. Nothing I’ve tried has worked, so I usually just find ways to soothe it when it flares up, usually either diluted apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, or some nasty topical steroid cream when it gets really bad. My mom linked me to this page a few weeks ago. I already ate really healthy, but I thought I’d weed out a few more things. I’m now on day five of eating like this, and the spot is almost completely gone! I’m amazed at the results, and I’m soo so grateful to have found your website! Aside from my finger being cleared up, I have much more energy, I’ve kicked my sugar addiction, and I’ve lost a little weight! You and your blog are amazing! Thank you so much!

Hi Sarah, do you have a page on how/when to reintroduce those items we should be able to tolerate at some point in time? My psoriasis is a lot better, but not great yet. Mostly because I keep having a hard time leaving rice alone. :( Seems like my go to comfort food these days is Pad Thai or Orange Chicken on rice noodles. It’s only once or twice every 2 weeks, but it’s too much and I know I need to leave it alone. But, I’ve been off eggs for over a year. Started eating them in baked goods a couple months ago and think it’s OK. I’d really love to have an egg for breakfast… but I think you’ll probably say I need to be better with no rice/noodles for a month or more before trying to add something. Right?? Thanks so much!!

Hi Sarah,
I’m confused about coconut and whether it is ok following ai for psoriasis. I started 3 days ago & amazingly my skin is much less inflamed. I’ve been eating dessicated coconut and a little honey for those sweet cravings but I’m wondering if this is not sensible? Thanks very much

Isn’t is wonderful? I saw more improvement on 3 days of AIP, than 1 year of gluten free and 8 months of dairy free, and after 18 years of living with psoriasis I feel incredible. l wish you all the best!

It really is! It’s been a hard week but totally worth it to see changes happen so quickly — all the motivation I need! Amazing, thanks to Paleomom for her advice :)

Did I read your post correctly? A person can be healed from psoriasis? I didn’t think that was possible. I thought once you had it, you always had it. My husband has psoriasis and we recently started a gluten free diet, which has been helping. He cheated one day on vacation and had a piece of cake and within a half an hour his joints were hurting and swelling. So we know its a start by cutting out gluten. But anyway, my real question is finding out if you really can be healed from psoriasis? Thank you!

Yes, you can. It’s called remission. Technically, it can flare again at any time (since once the body learns to attack itself, it never forgets), but with careful diet and lifestyle choices, you can put it into remission indefinitely.

Hi, thank you for this great homepage!

I have Psoriasis and are already pretty lean (could even be good if I gained some weight) so I am wondering what you recommend to keep my weight or even gain weight?

I am a little worried if I stop eating sweet potatoes, where should my carbohydrates come from?

Hi, carbohydrates are not essential. From my experience , very low carb, high fat eating works really well ( as addition to autoimmune paleo ). That was my point of view.
To keep weight or gain , the best way is … strength training. More muscles = more weight. I wouldn’t recommend eating more carbs to keep weights, as this would preserve mostly fat tissue.

I’m so glad I found this article! I went strict paleo a year and a half ago, and EVERYTHING got better except my psoriasis. (My eczema disappeared entirely, but my psoriasis was still there.) I’m going to try your recommendations and see what happens. I wonder if part of the problem for me was eggs, since I did start to rely on eggs quite a lot. I was also still eating lots of nuts, a few seeds, and tomatoes. Thank you for your advice!

Hi, the last couple of times I’ve eaten a little dark chocolate its made me feel really nauseous & light headed. Do you know if it’s more likely to be the sugar or the cocoa bean?
Thanks :-)

I’m totally caffeine free because it was giving me headaches so I suppose it could well be the caffeine. I had some palpitations with it, which is a normal caffeine response I think. It was 70% chocolate and I’ve had no similar responses to fruit.
Thanks again :)

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