Real life testimonial: Rheumatoid arthritis GONE!

This is part of an ongoing series of real life success stories from people all over the world who have been impacted by the Paleo lifestyle and The Paleo Solution. Read Lizana’s story below.

I have been a member of MaD CrossFit in Wellington New Zealand for 8 months and enjoy the benefits of strength and conditioning training as well as paleo eating.

My mother suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over three years. Her symptoms ranged from living with daily swelling and aching in her joints to incapacitation from extreme flair ups and attacks of the knees and hips. She was constantly exhausted and fatigued, working in the garden; a great passion, became impossible and a walking stick was always close at hand to help with walking during attacks.

Doctors tried to prescribe her medication but she refused as she knew there was a better way – she believed she could control this through diet and supplements but still wasn’t sure how. In January this year I challenged her to try strict Paleo for 30 days to see if it made any difference – what could she lose from it?!

Within 2 weeks all fatigue and pain had vanished. Swelling in her joints had all but dissipated. After 6 weeks, there were no symptoms at all and she had lost 10 kilos without even trying – and she got to eat bacon!

4 months after starting, the Rheumatologist cleared her completely of the disease. She even spent a whole 8 hours in the garden without any pain or exhaustion. Something she never dreamed she would do again. The walking stick now lives in the roof! Any slip in the paleo regime and symptoms begin to come back overnight.

I have noticed a complete change in my mother, she is much happier, relaxed and full of life. Paleo is now a way of life!

Thank you,

New Zealand

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  1. Mlkrone says

    I have to ask, when you say any slip in paleo eating results in the return of symptoms, does that just mrefer to grains, legumes, and dairy? Or does quality of food sources have a large impact a well? Dies she do okay with non grass fed beef or lower quality chicken? Are these issues you have noticed our does proper supplementation get the job done? My girlfriend has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in her knee and I’ve been trying to figure out our best method to approach a dietary cure, but we are on a very tight budget that can’t afford grass fed or most of the other foods that are notably more expensive

    • Natalie says

      I’ve had similar issues and most of them are gone on conventional paleo (I do supplement with cod liver oil to balance out the ratio). Remember: it’s not all or nothing. The most important thing is to eliminate agents of disease such as sugars and gluten containing grains.

      • stephen says

        just a note on cod liver oil. i found the best one was from Green pastures. they ferment their oil so it is not processed like so many oils. its the one recommended by the weston a price people. Thought you guys might like to know

    • Lizana says

      Mums diet is total strict paleo with grass fed meat except for the occasional lower quality chicken. She supplements with cod-liver oil, calcium and colloidal silver. I agree with Natalie and think the priority is to remove gluten, grains, sugar and dairy from the diet, that’s a start.

    • Monica says

      My son has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and he has been doing awesome on the GAPS diet. We only can afford grass fed beef and high quality chickens some of the time. He also eats nightshades, but we found out he has a problem with pork, egg whites, avocado, peanuts and a few other foods. I think its different for everyone.

      I would recommend starting with the high quality meats and a few veggies for a week or two if you can then slowly add in other foods including low quality stuff. If you absolutely cant do that then start with low quality, but don’t eat anything but meat and veggies at first. Then you will be able to see which foods are a problem.

      My son was unable to walk without pain medication before starting and now runs around like a normal child We are considering dropping his last medication (methotrexate) to see what happens!

      • Mlkrone says

        Thank you guys. I definitely look forward to improvements and then hopefully getting off meds like metho. It will be maybe a little tricky to see certain things because the drugs actually are working at the moment. But our is time for a start!

        • izzy says

          Thanks for the insight. I am going to give the paleo diet a try starting tomorrow. I have suffered with RA for over 20 years and have been on medications including methotrexate, plaquenil, vioxx, etc. I am hoping to get some relief from the never-ending pain and inflammation. We will see what happens!

      • Sarah says

        I have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as well. I am now 21 but wasn’t diagnosed until late 19. I am still on methotrexate and simponi (injection). After reading your comment I really am considering the GAPS diet. How long has he been on it and how closely to it does he have to stick?

    • Paula says

      I’m considering starting the Paleo diet, and stumbled upon this article when looking for more information. I am posting because it may not just be “the Paleo diet” that is responsible for Lizana’s mom’s recovery, but more specifically, the removal of a specific food item from her mom’s regular diet when switching to Paleo. In other words, though I am not in any way knocking Paleo, it may very well be a single food that her mom eliminated from her usual diet that did the trick.

      I had symptoms consistent with rheumatoid arthritis, including severe flare-ups from time to time (like Lizana’s mother, I did not want anything to do with medications). These symptoms had come on fairly quickly, and persisted for about a year and a half, until they suddenly went away. The symptoms were there constantly, and when they were at their worst, it was a struggle to walk and climb stairs. (I was 35 at the time.)

      As it turns out, I have an IgG food allergy to eggs. (I had been eating lots of them daily as they were the healthiest protein option available to me where I work – I work in a remote location and live in a camp 80% of the time.) In the two weeks before my wedding a couple of years ago, I was so nervous that my appetite disappeared, and consequently wasn’t eating much at all – which is when this disabling pain disappeared. A couple of days after my wedding, I returned to work, had an omelet for breakfast, and within a few hours the pain started to return. I sought out information on the internet, which suggested food allergies as a possibility, and eventually got tested for IgG food allergies, which confirmed my hypothesis. I also had frequent digestive upsets and severe bloating, which also went away when I removed eggs from my diet. I, too, lost 10 kg in a couple of months, without trying, after removing my allergens. Not only are stairs and walking not a problem, but I am able to run for the first time in my life.

      I’m a big advocate of IgG allergy testing for this reason; though it was expensive (about $265 CAD) it gave me definitive answers. If I had started the Paleo diet without having this testing done, and continued eating eggs, this diet would be unlikely to work for me.

      • Ildi says

        Paula, thanks for your post! I think this is the best advice I’ve ever read.I’m going to do the IgG test this week. I can’ wait!
        Are there any other foods that cause you problems according to the test or only eggs?

      • grace meyer says

        Paula where did you get your tests done? Looking for good/legitimate source for IgA testing. Any/all referrals welcome. Thank you.

    • says

      Nutritionator’s right. These stories are wonderful motivation. I love to read them just to keep me continuing on my journey.

  2. says

    That’s AWESOME to hear. I volunteered to work with a friend of mine. She has had cancer 5 times now, but last week was officially declared cancer free again.

    Each time this happens she is determined to remain cancer free. Each time it has returned. The paleo lifestyle was worked well for me so I suggested she give it a try.

    We just started this week so I’m excited to see what results she can create. I will point her to this testimonial to continue to build her faith in the program. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Anne says

    Eight years ago I was being tested for RA as my fingers were becoming knobby and my little fingers were looking crooked. I had joint pain throughout my body. With just a gluten free diet, my fingers straightened out and the knobbiness and pain disappeared. I wish I had taken pictures. Tests for RA were negative.

    Past 2 years paleo and health is even better.

    Lizana – Great story. I hope your mom’s rheumatolgist tells all her other patients to try a paleo approach.

  4. LisaN says

    Can you tell me if it is normal to have your symptoms flare up while on Paleo? I am on day 8 and have tendonitis in both achilles, but am feeling worse. Does it take your body a while to detox before you feel the change?

    • LisaN says

      Thanks Rob,

      I am going to eliminate the foods you suggested for people with inflammation/autoimmune(also have Sjorgren’s syndrome) issues: eggs, nuts, eggplant, tomato, potato and peppers. I love those foods and was eating them until I went over your book again. Maybe that is why I still hurt. Do you have any breakfast suggestions?

  5. Tyler says

    My wife (24yo), too, suffers from some form of arthritis (yet to be diagnosed). She battles with flareups in her knees, wrist and sterno-clavicular joint (collarbone). We’ve been following the paleo diet since around February, but with some slips (dairy, nightshades, etc. but few if any grains/gluten). Her condition hasn’t really improved and may have even gotten worse these last few months.

    I would be curious to hear the details of the diet your mother followed, or anyone else who has had success with paleo improving arthritis. Do we really need to be strict and eliminate any and all nightshades / dairy to realize any potential improvement?

    I’d be curious to hear what people think. I just ordered some glucosamine and have her taking some Omega 3 supplements as well.


    • Lizana says

      If mum introduces dairy or nightshades back into her diet she starts to notice symptoms again. She takes cod liver oil, she noticed this has to be good quality oil and not in tablet form, but learning what she needed came from experimentation.

    • Monica says

      I left a comment above about my son who has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It has more information about our diet. I just wanted to say that it sounds like you are missing something major that is leaking through her gut(food allergy). After one week of eating only meat and vegetables almost all of my sons pain was gone. This seems to be the case with a lot of people who follow a no grain diet that I have talked to.

      At any time if we add in even a small amount of grain, dairy, pork, egg white, avocado, peanuts and a few other things he will have a reaction and will wake up the next day limping severely with swollen joints. When we take the food back out, after a few days he is back to running around again.

      You really need to be strict, go back to a very basic diet for awhile then slowly add foods into the diet and watch what she reacts to. There are many great diets that help you do this. We are following GAPS and it is helping us step by step. Good luck!

      • Tyler says

        Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone. It sounds like we just really need to work on being strict for a while and – as you mentioned – slowly start re-introducing certain foods after establishing a baseline of health.

      • Angela J. says

        Monica, I have joint pain and RA-like symptoms, but I am anti-medical establishment (following a long history) and haven’t gone in for a diagnosis. I always have felt that it’s something that I’m eating too… But I have done GAPS stage 1 for three weeks, and although I felt better digestively, my joint pain didn’t budge. I eat beef and chicken broths, boiled meats of all kinds (beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, elk, bison), and boiled vegetables (only onions, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots). Meats are all sourced from local farms, grass-fed only. Do you think that I am reacting to some food in that short list, or do you think I need to do Stage 1 for a longer time? I am in contact with another person who had RA for 30+ years, and her joint pain went away after two weeks on Stage 1. Since I have been on Stage 1 for three weeks, I’m really starting to wonder if it is something that I’m still eating, or if it’s something else. With your experience with your son, do you have any advice for me?

  6. Lee says

    I too have a testimony in the making! No more RA, or Barrett’s Esophagus – no meds! These symptoms disappeared after 1-2 weeks, rather miraculously, as did the 30 lbs. – I was convinced to do the “30 days”, and thought I had nothing to lose – I have NO REGRETS! After years of illness placing me on disability – I’m well – unfortunately not rich! I can’t afford grass fed meat – usually eat fish and hamburger and liver (chicken) with lots of eggs – I don’t eat dairy, or nightshades for the most part (a little marinara sauce once or twice a week), no grains, sugar, legumes – fruit once a day. I supplement with fish oil. After several years of pescatarian eating – I never had difficulty adjusting to the diet! Meat was out for me – thinking I was doing the “healthy” thing! With buddhist influence – I still feel sorry for the animal that gave its life for my sustenance, but the change in my life is awesome! There is life after 64+!

  7. Charles says

    Been living this. Very high numbers for RA 8 years ago. Debilitating RA and nearly immobile four years ago. Add celiac diagnosis plus a host of other autoimmune issues like Sjogren’s and Reynaud’s by that time plus scary high RA numbers. Rheumatologist wanted to put me on all the standard evil drugs. being a non compliant PITA I went paleo and within forty eight hours went from two plus hour gel times in the morning to literally being able to hit the ground running. I was told all my RA joint damage and subsequent hearing difficulties were permanent damage. I was also told I was being a fool if I thought my RA would respond to diet. My hands almost look normal again and I am tolerating more and heavier workouts. I can handle tools without striking fear in people standing nearby. No flying hammers or anything like that now. Systemic inflammation was so severe before going the paleo route. I also knocked out the nightshades. If I have any I will go into an RA flare for at least a week or so. As a result I avoid them and do a very low carb diet with lots of healthy fats. Things are healing on me that I didn’t even know were broken.

  8. Ildi says

    Is rice safe to eat if you have RA? As I know it doesn’t contain any gluten, lectin etc., or does it? Are green/yellow/string beans OK to eat? Are there any fruits that should be avoided? I’ve been trying to get rid off this awful disease for more than ten years now, and I am to try paleo as a final hope. But I am already so skinny, I don’t want to lose weight. I have always felt that my body has the inner wisdom to heal, I just have to find the right way to help it ( her :). Vegan and vegatarian diet did help a bit, but I need something that helps a lot.Thanks for your answers in advance.

      • Ildi says

        Yes I have: lean, fresh, grass fed meat, wild, fresh fish, vegetables excluding nightshades: potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers ),nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil and fruits.
        But if I stick strictly to this diet I start loosing weight so rapidly that it is scary. Is there anybody here who has RA and eats some rice and feels OK?

          • Ildi says

            Oh, yes, I tried sweet potatoes once (actually twice) but increased my flare-ups. But I’ll try it again with some meat, probably I ate too much of them without meat, that was the problem. Thank you for your advice! I’ll try coconut oil as well.
            But what should I do with the yellow (string) beans I bought yestarday in the market? Are they considered legumes / beans or vegs? They are called beans, but they don’t look like regular “dry” beans. Are they accepted in paleo?

        • Dana says

          All culinary beans are legumes whether they are in pod form or dried. The difference between green beans and dried beans is the green beans are the pod part of the plant. If you open one up and look inside it you will see the seeds that are the same part as the dried beans that you buy shelled, but they are immature. I know that on Atkins style low carb plans, green beans are OK in moderation, but dried-seed beans are totally out, at least until later re-introduction phases.

          It doesn’t hurt to try, since you already have them on hand. It can’t be worse than, say, eating the seeds in cucumbers. If you react to them after eating them, you’ll know not to eat them again.

          (yes I know this was from four days ago but in case someone comes along with a similar question…

          • Ildi says

            Thanks, Dana! If green beans have the same component as dry ones then I will stay away from all kind of legumes, because once I had some red beans and they caused serious digestion problems and made my joints swollen and very painful. I even developed some hand deformities after eating a great amount of soy (tofu), so I will always remember how dangerous legumes are.

    • Dana says

      Quinoa is not a true grain; it comes from a broadleaf plant very similar to amaranth. But as a seed it will still contain antinutrients and you probably won’t want it taking up a lot of your diet, at least in the beginning.

      You get much more nutritional bang for your buck just avoiding the stuff. The amount of nutrition you get from it isn’t much to speak of compared to what meat and veggies can get you.

    • Ildi says

      Thanks Diane, but as I know quinoa is a grain, should be excluded.

      Okay, I’ll try everything again :).
      Starting point:
      After 8 years taking Cloroquin (almost made me blind :( ), 2 years only NSAID (Diclofenac), now I am on Meto (3 tablets a week, 7.5 mg, started four weeks ago).
      I experience some flare-ups (definitely after sugary fruits, coffee, nuts, egss etc.) and morning stiffness. Some damaged joints and quite high RA numbers.

      NOW, starting a very strict paleo.(At the beginning of my RA I did the Gerson-diet, then I excluded gluten, diary and red meat).

      My goal is to stop joint inflammation, morning stiffness, and put on some weight (my BMI is mow only 15.7, a bit scary). In the long term: to heal and stop medication.

      My diet:
      After waking up I drink a big glass of pure water.
      7.00 – 50 gr chicken breast, steamed vegetables(sweet pot, zucchini, carrots), olive or coconut oil
      9.00 – 50 gr chicken breast, raw veggie salad
      12.00 – 50 gr chicken or trout, a big sweet potato, some salad, oil
      drink ginger tea
      15.00 – 50 gr chicken breasr, sweet potato, steamed veggies
      19.00 – 50 gr chicken breast or trout, steamed or raw veggies

      I try to eat appr. every 3 hours, never feel hungry or tired, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. I can only afford grass fed meat twice a week.
      I also take Omega 3 fish oil supplements and Calcium + Vit. D.
      Trying to take a big walk every day and sty in the sun as much as a can.

      NO grains, dairy, legumes, nightshades, eggs, chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol, nuts, seeds, sugar, salt, junk food, preserved foods, bad oils, bad fats, fruits (I will probably cheat on this, but I will try to avoid high fructose fruits).

      Tough, isn’t it?

      I will perhaps need some encouragement from you on the way.

      I will tell you what happens in a week.

  9. Ildi says

    I guess nobody will read this post, but anyway…. I did the IgG test, and it turned out that I am seneitive to EGGS, FISH, most grains, but not all, nuts and dairy. My question is: is it safe in the long term to eat only lean chicken, veggies, fats and some fruits, nothing else? What do you think?

  10. Sharon Cole says

    We need help please. My hubby and I have been eating Paleo for over 2 months now. It has worked miracles for me. No joint pain, no asthma lots of weight loss so on. My hubby has lost over 35 pounds as well. But, he says he has more pain in hands and shoulder than ever before. Off and on over he years he has had terrible pain in shoulder or hip and hands that makes him squeal. I don’t remember all those areas hurting at one time. Right now his shoulder hurts so bad he can not lift his arm. He has had hand surgery in the last month and now the Orthopedic surgeon thinks Mark may have rheumatoid arthritis and has referred him to a rheumatologist. We don’t use any meds and do not want any aboard. The docs have meds for everything as you well know. I would have thought my hubby would be feeling so much better rather than worse. He mentioned this morning that maybe eggs are causing some problem, he is eating way more eggs these days. I sprouted wheat and made no flour bread and he eats that in the morning with eggs and bacon ( i eat no gluten) He has had tummy burning which says to me food issue. No more tummy burning since Paleo. It is sad to see him in such pain. Does he cut the eggs? I suggested cuting the sprouted bread..what do you say about that? Please help!
    Thanks so much,
    Sharon Cole
    Humboldt County, CA
    I love Paleo!!

    • Sharon Cole says

      I am sorry, I forgot to say he is 63 and very acitve! He rides morotcycle and is planning a 4 corners ride with his same age friend..4 corners of USA! He works hard on our land too. We raise our own chickens for meat and eggs and have clean water. We eat mostly organic and local grass fed beef. I am 62 and also active. I am hoping and praying that you can help!

      Thank you~!

  11. Mandy says

    I noticed that a lot of people have seen great results for their RA by eating the Paleo diet. I was wondering if any of them have other auto immune disease? See I have Psoriatic Arthrits, Psoriasis, and Ulcertive Colitis. All three of the disease are very active and I am currently taking methotrexate and Introvenous drug called Remicade.

    I had no choice to use these medications because with out them my health would have only become worse. I had to be hopitalized due to U.C. and the pain from the Arithritis is unbearable. In addition, my body was over 80 percent covered with Psoriasis. Since I have been taking the meds I have to admit my conditions have improved. I am no longer covered in Psoriasis, and my UC is almost completely gone. However,I do still have some digestive issues. The other issue I have is some recurring flares with the Arthritis.

    I am currently in Cross fit and have been considering the no grain diet but I guess what I am asking is there any one with multiple Auto immune dieases seen improvements with the Paleo diet I notice some saying they were able to give up there meds. Has anyone gave up taking Remicade? This is the thrid biologic I have been on because my body stop responding to the first two (Enbrel, Hurmia). I have now been on it for three years with the above improvements but each treatment is 6,000.00 and it is becoming quite expensive thou I do have great insurance. Thank the lord.

    Would appreciate any input.

  12. Amanda B says

    Lizana I would love to meet and talk with you! My dad has pretty bad RA and I think he could do the Paleo diet quite well, or at least try it. So inspiring hearing your story, healing the body through diet is definitely the way forward, I wish this was promoted first and foremost as a solution rather than drugs.

  13. Gerry B says

    This paleo diet sounds great, because I also have RA nasty disease. There is a web site that you might find helpful “Roadback Foundation” its people who are going through the same pain, their ans is stay off the meds. Its run by volunteers who have autoimmune disease, that how I found out about your site.
    Have a great pain free week. Iam on antibiotic protocol and it is wonderful,Dr Brown belief these problems come from nasty bacteria, I was tested positive.

  14. Haajar Eberle says

    Hi everyone,

    I am in need oF advice. My 9 month old daughter has been diagnosed with systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. She is currently on immunosuppressive drugs (her inflammation had gone out of control with untamed fevers and rashes that wouldn’t go away without meds). My question is, can I put her on this diet? How would I do this while she is on medication? And lastly, she is breast fed, so does that mean I would have to be on the diet as well?

    Worried Mom

    • says

      I would think so, I don’t see why not. You would need to work with your doctor in regards to the medication.
      Yes, you would need to be eating like that too if she’s breastfed.

    • Susan says


      Were you able to implement the paleo diet? Has it helped the SIJA in your daughter?

      (I am very curious as I have a niece who is currently in the hospital with SIJA complications.)

      Thank you!

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