Julisa's Excellent Diet Defeats Lupus

The following story was written by Rosario P. who lives in Clifton, New Jersey.

In March 2004, Julisa developed a rash and after consulting several doctors, it was treated as poison ivy with topical medications. When the problem persisted, we took Julisa to St. Joseph's Hospital in Patterson, NJ. Following many tests, including kidney DNA, she was diagnosed with stage-four lupus (end stage), and placed on immunosuppressive drugs and steroids, including prednisone, creating very difficult side effects for a teenage girl. Desperate for alternative treatments, Julisa's mother and I searched the Internet for lupus information and found Jill Harrington's book, The Lupus Recovery Diet. The book credits included Joel Fuhrman, M.D. and we made the first appointment in August 2004.

Dr. Fuhrman explained the benefits of natural, balanced nutrition and prescribed a completely plant-based diet to cleanse Julisa's system. Of course, we were very skeptical that a diet could have such a drastic impact on her condition.

About the same time we took Julisa to a kidney specialist at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, who told us that she was facing kidney dialysis and placed Julisa on the national kidney transplant list. We struggled with the options facing her and the family. On one hand, Julisa would endure a weekly routine of dialysis sessions and eventual kidney failure, if a transplant wasn't found. On the other hand, she (and the family) would have to completely change eating habits -- no more pizza or cheeseburgers -- to comply with Dr. Fuhrman's program, and we weren't sure it was going to work.

Under Dr. Fuhrman's care, we finally decided to stop all Julisa's medications and treat her lupus with a plant-based diet. April 2005 testing revealed absolutely no trace of lupus in Julisa's system. Her kidney function has improved dramatically and continues to return to full function. Julisa recently celebrated her "Sweet Sixteen," with a healthy future and junior year in high school ahead of her. We all take every opportunity to tell other lupus patients and anyone we know about the miraculous results obtained from Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional approach. We are so very grateful to Dr. Fuhrman.

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Comments (41) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
LaShonda Bills - December 8, 2005 11:54 PM

I have been diagnosed with lupus for almost three years. I have been in and out of hospitals each year since due to complications, including surgeries and costly tests. I am so tired at times, I feel like giving up. A lot of what I go through I keep to myself because my family doesn't understand. Currently, I'm off work and seems all I do is "nothing" which conincides with how I feel. I want help and I've read so many stories about the "miracles" of the right diet. Please help and share your knowledge.

Dr. Fuhrman - December 9, 2005 5:47 PM

I have significant experience in utilizing nutritional excellence as a therapy for patients with lupus. Not only have I witnessed improvements in many patients, but quite a few have had complete remission of their condition. I wrote a newsletter about my nutritional protocol for lupus (November 2004). It will also be helpful for you to read my book (Eat To Live) too. You can order it from the store at drfuhrman.com or you could join the member center, where you get the e-book of Eat To Live and access to all newsletter and the "ask the doctor" forum too. Once you do a little homework and ascertain this approach is something you want to pursue, you should call my office and set up an appointment or phone consultation for me to speak to you directly. I could also put you in touch with lots of other lupus patients that have recovered or significantly improved their conditions that can give you some extra moral support. warmest wishes, Joel Fuhrman

Susan R. - January 15, 2006 11:57 PM

My friend also the same problems and have been diagnosed with lupus for almost three years.

Susan R - January 15, 2006 11:58 PM

My friend also the same problems and have been diagnosed with lupus for almost three years.

William P. Nashw - February 2, 2006 5:40 PM


Take courage and know that God is with you. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Andrew Spark - March 22, 2006 2:06 AM

I think your site is very nice and fantastic bog about health care system. I appreciate for your work.

Mary - April 15, 2006 5:28 PM

I have a daughter with lupus. Is it possible for me to contact Rosario P of Clifton, New Jersey directly or to have her contact me?

Janet - May 2, 2006 7:05 PM

I have been living with "Lupus like" symptoms for 3 years and each year it has been getting worse. I am on my 3rd opinion RA and numerous other specialists (total of 13) with the same results "You have an autoimmune disease but I don't know exactly what it is". At first it was just joint pain (not the actual joint but the area) and this was every single joint in my body to include my throat. Half of my voice box becomes paralyzed and I tend to sound like Minnie mouse. I still have the joint pain, knodules appear when they want to 2-3 times a week, lesions on my hands, feet, my hands now become numb and burn, the back of my legs tingle and sharp pains and I can't sit longer then 10-15 minutes. I am on blood thinners due to Antiphospholipid Antibody, I know have Leukopenia Anemia and on and on! Talk about giving up! Almost. Sed Rate usually around 126, ANA Titer 1:1280, Complement C3 28, Complement C4 <8, Immune complex C1Q Bind 7.0. I am scheduled to have a Sero Nerve biopsy this Friday and I've already had a lymph node biopsy done (normal). I have pages and pages of tests that I have not mentioned and they say that it looks like Lupus so I'm going to treat it like Lupus. I've taken Steroids with ugly side effects and every other med you can imagine. I think it's time for me to try something else instead of going to the Mayo clinic because I do not have the funds for that trip. I am desperate to have my normal life back. I can't imagine what a full day without pain even feels like. But I'm willing to try something besides RX's.

zaroke - May 3, 2006 12:24 PM

My question is if there is no cure for Lupus, why do the doctors give meds for this condition? From what I've read through the internet, medications only suppress the symptoms. The predinisome that they prescribe causes damage to your kidneys, and have other major side effects. I was just diagnosed with SLE, Shrinking lung Lupus. The Lupus is effecting my lungs. I am very short of breath and none of the medications I have taken not even steriods, have given me any relief. What do you do?

Mary Olverson - June 20, 2007 5:48 PM

I was diagnosed with lupus today. I was told to change my diet which does not include salt. Are there any recipes out there for diets without salt since I have been eating salt for over 40 years? Thanks in advance

Mari - June 30, 2007 12:08 PM

Pro 17:22 A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

I was at a women's fellowship group yesterday and we were watching a Joyce Meyer presentation when she referenced this powerful scripture. It has stayed with me all night and this morning, and here I am posting it for you. Let the words speak to your hearts and I wish you all a peace about what is happening with you. I am taking medicine because of the results I got through a ANA test but really, I feel great and wonder why the heck I am taking the medicine. At this point, the scripture I just posted is what really feels real to me. My heart needs to be at a happy point...and as it is getting there, I will have a breakthrough. I mean, really what is an autoimmune disease/disorder...? Could it be all associated to our own self image and not being happy within...to the point we make our selves sick? Well, no more of that for me, I am beloved by my Lord and Savior and he will continue to show me the light as I go through all this. God bless you all!...Maybe I'll check on you all again...'Cause everything is going to be alright.

Working towards a happy heart,

lisa - May 30, 2008 10:55 AM

hi i also have lupus. i have not taken stroids i started to see a md who is a holistic medicine, i am getting slowly better. hey i look at it as what do i have to lose. it's worth a try. i am only 47 and have kids at home. i also have two grandsons. i can't give up. i have to keep working on getting better. also it helps to put some of your dreams into play. i'm getting on a plane and going to my sisters wedding. in vagas july. i can't do heat. scared of planes. and i', planing a cruse to mexico jamicia and i have to fly to houston to catch the ship. but i'm takeing ice packs. because i have been so sick for 20 years. i'm fighting back. life is a gift. and my advice is live your dreams... i maybe resting losts on these trips. but i'm going. if i have to sit with blocks of ice on me to keep me cool. i will i can still enjoy some things. so people get out there andsee something ...but watch out for your flares. rest and good food helps... thanks from montana

margaret Thompson - July 14, 2008 4:32 PM

I am trying to help my sister who is suffering from Lupus and appears to be too depressed to help herself. It is unclear to me what solution you propose. Can you clarify for me please. thanks

Timmy - September 3, 2008 11:33 AM

I have always wanted a compendium of novena prayers. Thank you for sharing all these prayers with us. It brings joy and happiness to everyone. I know, I do feel that way.d

Jason Walker - September 25, 2008 7:32 AM

does anyone have a list of foods that are good for you and foods that are bad for you

please help


L.L.L. - October 7, 2008 7:35 PM

Dear People,
I have followed a strict diet for lupus for four years. At first, I couldn't walk without pain and my organs, especially my liver was affected, I had pain continually. I started this diet ( a combo of lupus and hepatitis B restrictions)because my doctors treated my like a hypochondriac and an imbecil. The last primary care physician showed so much anger and contempt for me that I was afraid to be in the room. Other doctors were afraid of me. I felt they were leaving me for dead.I received nothing from them but blame for my problems.So I figured I had nothing left to loose if I treated myself using diet and herbal/ nutritional supplements. I haven't been back to a doctor in four years. I lost over fifty pounds, and enjoy painless good health. If I cheat on my diet I will see and feel it, but now it takes a few days of cheating for the most part. I recommend a strict diet, plus dietary enzymes, to anyone for at least six months. Food triggers are your number one forms of stress because you give it to yourself everyday. It's hard but it's worth it.

Georgina - October 8, 2008 2:50 PM

I have read comments posted on your site. It seems as if the doctors do not really understand Lupus. I have had problems for many years, and I have not tested positive but have symptoms of Lupus,the symptoms are varied and intense at times. Sometimes I find it hard to fight on, expecially when you do not have the support that is needed. It can feel a lonely road, as we are trying to find answers,support and help that is need. I am now allergic to all convential medicine, I am being treated with alternatives which helps for a short period of time. I am trying to find diets that will help, in a language that everyone understands.

Wanda - March 2, 2009 4:09 PM

thanks for some encouragement. I was diagniosed in 1995 with lupus. I have gone to several seminars, I meet Dr. R lahita during one of the Lupus Seminars. I was encourage like I said. I met others who like myself had lupus. Some discoid others sle. We had a support group in my home town. Exchanged info and Also searched for Drs, Nutitionalist who educated us on the do's and don'ts. What Im getting at is the fact that this disease has many faces. And for those of you who do not know it really is a systemic disease!!!. I was attacked with vasculitis, Lupus profundus, corsinoid lupus and something where calcium pockets were building up under my skin. Now I want to say that I would like to first find out if their is anyone who is living with lupus for more than 10 years and how is it and has been for you. If you really came across treatment that has reduced or has made your living with Lupus a little less painful and productive. We all know with any changes in the body we have to discipline ourselves. Yeah we fall, there are set backs, which I have had. The point is encouragement for real and not advertised false hope. Feel me. Thanks for the time. And honest respond.

attaa alston - April 16, 2009 10:25 PM

WOW I have had lupus for almost twwenty years, for the first fifteen I was on prednisone non stop and that rotted out my hip joints, something the doctors knew would happen but I didnt... I just knew that I hated the drug and its side effects. I always asked is there anything in my diet that I am eating or not eating that causes these symptoms and they told me no... so if you are using diet or even contemplating the idea I would definitely give you the advice to do it. I have literally suffered all my life. I dont remember what its like not to suffer. The only thing I am good at is surviving i guess that and being uncomfortable. If food changes your life DO IT!!!!! or you can up like me totally disabled at 29 and living in excrutiating pain and guilt because you cant plat with your son....

April - October 1, 2009 11:25 AM

I have had lupus for 15 years. I have had numerous blood clots and I have had severe arthritis for 7 years. My daughter was born 3 months premature (1 pound 8 ounces-today is your typical 11 year old) due to a clot in my liver. I do not take prednisone, as I refuse too because of the harsh side effects ( was on it for a year after my daughter was born), but I am on other medication. Within the last 3 months I have been focusing on nutrition to help heal myself. I believe we can't completely cure ourselves of this disease but you can control it. I suggest to anyone wanting to try and control their disease through nutrition should read the book "Mood Cures" by Julia Ross. This book has helped me within a few months start to feel "normal".
I have also found that exercise (cardio and strength training) has helped me as well!
I hope this bit of information well be as helpful to you as it is to me!
**Don't forget, You control yourself, Lupus does not control you**

Amar - December 4, 2009 3:22 AM

My mother had the worst time dealing with Lupus. She has been living a very good lifestyle now. I went to one Doctor to another in USA with lots of steroids prescriptions. Finally, she went to India and consulted with very good Doctor. She is in remission now and living good life.

Here is the information of her Doctor in India. You may get help.


Andrekia - February 1, 2010 12:06 PM

I was diagnosed with SLE about 4 years ago. I am feeling great and I owe it all to healthy eating and exercise. I tried at first to continue to eat the foods that I always ate but if you pay attention to your body it will tell you whats making you sick. I stopped eatting processed foods, I eat allot of raw fruits and vegetables and most importantly I made it a family committment to healthy living. I sat my family down and told them that this was a change we all had to make and its not a bad change its all about eating healthy and being healthy.

WOON CHOEY KHENG - February 7, 2010 10:32 PM

The wound on the inner lips of mouth just won't heal since 6 months ago. I thought that was caused by the gauze during my treatment for my teeth. Recently, I went back to the same dentist and he told me that I have LICHEN PALUS and he told me to go to a Specialist. But then, the Specialist suspected that I have this so called disease, SLE. He told me to have a blood test and see a Physician as soon as possible.Oh gosh! How LUCKY I am!I've just been to the hospital for a blood test. Will I be sentenced to DEATH? Being able to breath and grow old is wonderful. I don't want SLE! Any proper diet for SLE patients?

Nadine - February 10, 2010 9:26 AM

I was diagnosed with discoid lupus 2 yrs ago because I was noticing bald spots in my scalp. My dermatologist gave me high doses of steroids which caused me to develop insomnia. He thinks I my be developing systemic lupus even though all the blood tests are normal. I tried plaquenil but could not tolerate the side effects of nausea and loss of energy. I then tried dapsone for several months but it didn't help. I also suffer from joint pain which is now in my hands, toes, back and arthritis in my hip. I am miserable most of the time because I can't sleep because of the pain. I usually take ibuprophen daily but lately am having alot of stomach pain. I am thinking of changing my diet and eliminating all medications because I have tried everything else. Has anyone else been diagnosed with discoid lupus but think it could also be systemic?

Angela - March 26, 2010 2:30 PM

I have been treated naturopathically for lupus for 2 years now, went from limited mobility and excrutiating pain to working full time and limited pain (mostly occurs when I indulge or err in diet). No gluten, that means no bread or cookies or muffins, etc. I use wheat flour now, very satisfying replacement most of the time (Pamela's). I take large doses of Omegas and joint solution, as well as 5000IU vitamin D. HUGE improvement, can't tellyou how great it is. Diet must include grains and lots of vegetables and fruits, limit the sugars and starches.

Lillian - April 7, 2010 5:54 PM

I was diagnosed with Lupus 1 month ago, I don't have the joint pain as of yet, I just have a skin rash, very itchey,and am very fatigue I decided to take a month off of work to see if I can't get myself better. I'm going organic mostly vegatables and fruit, restirct meat comsuption. I read all the commets and they were very encourqaging and give me hope that I can beat this diease. If you find or have an information tht is helpful please sent me a email. Lillian

cala basden - April 10, 2010 4:37 PM

i have had lupus for 8 LONG years. i have end stage renal disease and am currently on peritoneal dialysis. i am at the end of my rope. i am 29 and take about 12 medications a day; i feel like a zombie at times. i am tired of all the medications; i have coded 3 times so now i have a pacemaker and difbulator... i need help! i just want to be healthy. i'm happy and encouraged because of my faith in God, but i just need to get more in life than just being sick. please help me

Liz - April 14, 2010 1:11 PM

I was diognosed 9 years ago, when i was 16. I was put on steroids and saw the side affects in the mirror. It was rough being a high school student looking like a chipmunk attacked to a balloon. I haven't had any major flare ups since i was put on drugs but now i'm starting to realize that foods are seriously effecting how i feel and bringing out the lupus side effects. I'm going to try the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I'm hoping it will help with the constant fatigue and the stomach problems.

Ginger - April 15, 2010 12:26 AM

I started getting what I thought was an allergic reaction to a dandruff hair shampoo. It started upon the second use of the product with my hands becoming red and inflamed and a rash starting up my lower arm. Upon the third use, I started getting "hives" on my schoulders, chest and back and my forhead and sides of my face became red. By the end of the week, I was more covered with these red "hives" and rash and saw a FNP. I was put on prednisone for 6 days with absolutely no response and I continued to get worse. The redness on my forhead and sides of my face were peeling and very tight, my hands didn't feel as inflamed, but still didn't feel right. I saw the FNP again and was put on another round of prednisone for 1 1/2 weeks. I made an appointment with a Dermatologist who biopsied my skin, gave me DermaSmoothe for my scalp and Aristocort ointment for my skin. After another week, the red blotches on my chest melded more together with burning, peeling and itching. My back was peeling and itching, my scalp was still tight and itching with flacking, my hands started peeling, my forehead was very tight with several layers of skin peeling. The redness spread around my eyes with inflamation and peeling. I would just cry when I would see a worsening each day. Work was getting very difficult because of my appearance. Today I went back to get my biopsy results and was told I have skin lupus. They did additional bloodwork to see what my sed rate and ana are to see if I have internal lupus. I was now put on 80 mg of prednisone a day to continue til I go back in another week to the Dermatologist. I'm not in any condition financially to miss work, but the Dr. recommended I stay off until I get better. My boss is very understanding, but I am besides myself. There is no history of lupus anywhere in my family. I found this site and it has given me hope that I can get this disease under control. I have been eating a lot of vegetables and fruits the last two weeks thinking I was dealing with hives.

Is Dr. Furhman's diet for lupus something I can print out, or is it listed in his book "Eat for Health"? I would like to get on it asap. Thank you.

jayanthi m.r. - June 1, 2010 5:05 AM

my brother's daughter 12 years female is suffering from SLE from last 6 months. sever skin rashes, protein in urine and loss of 75% of hair, and swelling of stomach, fever. please suggest for remedies for cure

jlv - July 5, 2010 7:00 PM

seek a nutritional response doctor

FeliciaByrd - October 1, 2010 8:35 PM

I have been living with Lupus for the passt three years. Very hard at times never feeling goood, always tired.Taking chemo treatments for my lupus hopeing this will slow it down and put it in remission. Goes to change my diet, this is the only thing I can think of know besides taking all those medications.

Gill - October 2, 2010 8:38 PM

I have lived with the 'wolf' for over 23 years. It took 4 long years to diagnose, I was put on so much medication, it actually made me sicker. The hospital never told me much (I dont think they really knew what they were doing) information on Lupus was very scarce back then, therefore I felt like a human guinnie pig and I just accepted whatever the doctors did. in year 6 I became pregnant, with medical monotering I had a son and another son 2 years later. both underwent tests after birth and both remain healthy. with 2 small children life with lupus was extremely hard, I questioned the doctors more about the treatment and constant tests. my platelet count was very low so they took some bone marrow from my chest, (not a pleasent procedure) 3 hours later I passed out whilst holding my baby, I asked another doctor if the test was really nessesary, I was told that a simple blood test would have sufficed. That was when I decided to take control of my disease myself. I read up on healthy eating for rhumathoid arthritis and immune diseases and decided to turn my back on conventional medicine. I learned positivity and acceptance that I have to help myself, along with determination that Lupus will not take over me.
The Lupus has not gone away, but it is more managable than the first 10 years. I remain cautious of my body, after all it is a disease and shouldnt be ignored completely.
As I recently entered the menopause, flare ups are starting to emerge, so I am now researching for a change in diet if I am to continue without medical help.
I remember all too well the depression of those early years, only other sufferers can relate, even to this day my husband and boys are aware but dont really understand. some say I hide it well, I rarely talk about it,(it's no longer the most importaint thing to me) I've just got on with it, learned to adapt & slapped lupus right back.

Ruth Smith - December 4, 2010 9:32 AM

The most defining feature of the comments above is the amount of drugs with horrendous side effects used to reduce "flares".
My process is, at this time, to refuse all drugs and live on a fish, fruit, veggie, yogurt,(milk free) and rice brad diet. Same food every day and i also make myself exercise every day.
I am rigid in this routine and sometimes I become frustrated in my isolation from what the rest of society can do with their day, however, i have generally learned to engage when i can and retreat when i cannot.
If a Doc is abusive with you, move on as the most inportant energy you need to be around is positive and be able to make choices which work for you.
It is so interesting that "we" are told how well we look because of our rosey cheeks which is an indicator that we had better "go to ground" and rest.
Despite the horrendous times of flares, isolation when on the mend allows time to get to know yourself after the busy years of raising children and working. The conditions allows you to choose your friends and activities carefully such maximum enjoyment is acheived in the process.
Keep discovering new ways to support your internal physiology and thanks for the comments.
PS: I reccommend a daily dose Of VSL#3, lots of VIT D,CQ10 and "Green Leaf Source" which has helped my digestion.

Juan Estela - January 20, 2011 9:00 PM

I have had Lupus since 2000 and I have been able to live with it without it destroying me. I use Passion Fruit Juices when I am fatigued and without energy. The only medicine I am willing to use is Plaquenil and so far have had not to take anything else. I also use sun screen lotion at all times to minimize the UV intake from either the Sun or fluorescent lights. My diet only consists of no acids like tomatoes, lemons or onions. I also do not use much salt if any and stay away from any fast food restaurant. In my diet I have included also Omega 3 and 6 and seems to help me a lot with my stomach. Hope this helps all of you.

MARINA CLOETE - March 22, 2011 5:07 AM

I was diagnosed in 2008 with SLE,and since then i am on chloroquin tablets,my weihgt has increased with maybe 10 kgs.
Ijust want to found a dietthat could help me to get rid of that extra fat because i can feel that is not good for me.
Thank you

Tracy - March 26, 2011 3:24 PM

Hi Dr. Fuhrman:
I was recently diagnosed with Sjogren's and SLE and have started your Eat For Health program (7 days and going strong). I jumped straight to phase 4 because of the recommendations on your 28 day health profile I did online. I am so confused by all of the recommendations - include tofu, don't include tofu...no nightshade vegetables,but recipes full of them, no nuts, eat lots of nuts, etc. Do you have a specific dietary program with clear do's and don't's for people with Lupus and Sjogren's? I also tried to buy supplements on your site but got overwhelmed. I would be so grateful if you could give me a solid plan - I have no trouble committing but the conflicting information is paralyzing. Please help!
Tracy in TX

kutlo - May 6, 2011 5:20 AM

My niece who is 12 years old suffers from lupus. she has been living with it for almost a year now but recently she starting to have pains on her joints (fingers and ankles) painful chest. She is in great pain. Please,if anyone has information on support groups in South Africa can provide us with all the details .

Andrey - September 29, 2011 4:40 AM

am a patient with lupus since i was 14 years old and now am 20 getting tired with all those conplication , very much want to read the book that jill wrote ,and i will like to have one for my own what shall i do,cause i sure wanna get read of lupus.

Kevin t - December 26, 2011 4:35 AM

Hey I have lupus doing good anybody wanna hang hit me up on Facebook I would love to hang with someone just like me

karen b - July 18, 2012 11:55 PM

I have lupus for 17 yrs and I have a concoction of meds including prednisone , chimo drugs, hydroxychloraquine, 1000 mg anti inflamatary drugs daily, I am sick of the cytotoxic drugs which give me nausea and by the time it wearing off its time for another injection, I am tired with the disease which includes osteo and rhumatoid arthritus fybromyalgia migrains and just constant muscle and joint pain, my hips giveway all the time now I cant roll over in bed because its too painful, I hate feeling so weak, I would like to try a diet that can reduce inflamation and increase my mobility, At 52 I think I should be bouncing around still, when I became ill it came on with a vengance and I could not walk or feed myself, its a horrible disease to get and anything would be great to try that has had possitive results. Staying strong is sometimes very hard when no one knows what you are going through because you are rosey cheeked and look normal.

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