Before becoming a full-time author, I spent ten years as a patent attorney in New York. With a degree in molecular biotechnology and biochemistry, I specialized in analyzing the scientific and clinical evidence for biologics used to treat autoimmune disease (a class of medications that includes Humira and Enbrel). My work involved reading vast reams of confidential clinical trial reports, working with expert witnesses, and translating complex science into plain English. I was first and foremost a science writer, but I was writing in the high-pressure context of multi-billion dollar lawsuits.
Throughout this time, I was also battling psoriatic arthritis. My symptoms began when I was a teenager, with mild back pain and psoriasis. Over the years the pain slowly progressed and began affecting more and more joints. By my late-20s, I had constant pain in my sacroiliac joints and it caused great difficulty walking, sleeping, and performing my job. My husband and I also wanted to have children but I was told that pregnancy would be extremely risky and likely make my pain much worse in the long term.
We ended up being fortunate enough to have two baby boys with the help of an amazing surrogate (an experience I wrote about in my first book). My boys brought pure joy but I was still in significant pain everyday and often had difficulty caring for them. In 2015, I made the difficult decision to resign from my law firm and focus on my health.
I quickly developed a new obsession with scouring the scientific literature for any evidence that diet or lifestyle changes could halt inflammation. I suspected that the reason I had developed psoriatic arthritis was probably due to genetics and some degree of bad luck, but surely there were still steps I could take to reduce the severity of symptoms.
As I delved into the studies, it became clear that diet can in fact have a profound impact on the level of inflammation in the skin and joints. One of the ways this occurs is through the influence of food on gut health and the microbiome. There were several groundbreaking developments in this area in 2016 and early 2017. It seemed I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time—my newfound obsession with the science of autoimmunity happened to coincide with a time when great advances were being made and completely changing the way we understand the immune system.
Importantly, the latest research not only revealed new insights into what goes wrong in those with autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and arthritis, but also revealed new strategies to shift the dial on the immune system and quell inflammation.
As I gradually changed my diet and supplement regime to incorporate these new strategies, my symptoms began to steadily improve. After 3 months I was having my first pain-free days in more than a decade.
I felt compelled to share my findings with other people whose lives had been similarly affected by psoriasis or arthritis. To that end, I spent another six months investigating every last detail of how diet and supplements can impact inflammation and then translating the scientific research into a comprehensive, practical guide. In short, I wanted to bridge the gap between the science and real life, to share the most recent discoveries with those that can benefit most.
The Keystone Approach is now available for pre-order