May-Jun '09 | briefing | mail | interviews | articles | psorchatdon't say this | flaker creativity | flakers' jargon | other places | archives | send mail | ed dewke | search | acknowledgments | legal stuff | Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic | 2010 FlakeHQ, Inc.


FlakeHQ Interviews:

Keith White
author of
Healing Psoriasis Naturally,
Pulling It All Together

 Interviewed by Ed Dewke
in June-July, 2010

Ed Dewke: It’s been my observation that naturalistic therapies for psoriasis (often called “alternative therapies” because they pose as alternatives to traditional western medicine’s prescription approach to treatment) all have diets as a central feature. Even acupuncture, in my experience, has come with some stern dos and don’ts relating to what the patient eats and drinks. The centrality of diet in naturalistic approaches to treatment shouldn’t surprise anyone: When a body is not working as it apparently should, ingestion and exertion (eating and exercise) are the obvious “natural” paths to making changes (hopefully improvements). Modern western medicine works around this by giving us pills to ingest that contain unnatural compounds, or injections of various substances, many unnatural.

Altering one’s diet makes such an obvious difference in health and appearance that thousands of techniques have prevailed for millennia.

The disparagement, in contemporary civilizations, of naturalistic approaches to healing has many reasons, I’m sure; but the arguments I’ve found most understandable have to do with anecdotal evidence vs. scientific evidence, and the inconsistency of claims among the modern naturalist practitioners.

Many of us, myself included, have wandered into the cacophony of naturalistic therapies and found the different voices so discordant we’ve backed out quickly and tried to hide.

Flaker and author Keith White understands this and offers a kind of guided tour through the noise, using his own tracks (experience) as our path.  He’s studied these four books and applied selected recommendations from each to a plan for his own treatment that has worked for him.

John O.A. Pagano’s
Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative

S. Colet Lahoz’s
Conquering Yeast Infections: Chronic Illness and the Candida Connection

Robert O. Young’s, and Shelly Redford Young’s
The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health

Gary B. Huffnagle’s (with Sarah Wernick)
The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements

Another distinguishing characteristic about White’s compilational work is his decision to publish it as an ebook and offer it free via the web. This isn’t simply a wizened flaker’s largesse. He explains in both the ebook and this interview that his continuing learning depends on how others experience what he has experienced. That sounds dangerously close to sound science. How refreshing!

Reading Healing Psoriasis Naturally: Pulling It All Together has been an educational experience for me. Conducting this interview with Keith White has been fun, too. –Ed Dewke


* * * * *

DEWKE: How long have you had psoriasis?

WHITE: Psoriasis first made its appearance approximately forty years ago. It was sometime in the late sixties and I was approaching my 30th birthday.


DEWKE: Briefly, how have you treated your psoriasis and how successful have those treatments been?

WHITE: I have used a combination of intestinal cleaners, antifungals, and probiotics along with major dietary and lifestyle changes in my attempt to get my psoriasis to heal. This combination of treatments has been highly successful and I anticipate that one day, all traces that I ever had psoriasis will be gone. The story of how I came up with these treatments, what I have accomplished, and why I believe that the treatments worked for me is the basis for my ebook Healing Psoriasis Naturally, Pulling It All Together.


DEWKE: Do you know what triggers your psoriasis? How did you learn about your triggers?

WHITE: The following items immediately come to mind as triggers: potato chips, peanuts, pizza, beer, and wine. I am sure there are a few more I have identified over the years that I cannot remember right now. I learned about the triggers by observation. For example, the last major flare-up that I experienced took place after I had consumed one of my favorite pizzas. My first meal after I purchased the pizza consisted of three pieces of pizza and a soda. The next day, even though my psoriasis was starting to look worse, I had a similar meal. After the second meal of pizza, the flare-up really got rolling. Two days later, I remember thinking: “Well, that is the last time I will do that,” and it was. At that point, my psoriasis was worse than it had been over the previous months.

The initial process I used to identify trigger foods was basically trial and error. Whenever a flare-up occurred, I would note what I had eaten, eat that item again just to confirm my suspicion, and then add the item to my list of foods not to eat. Eventually, I started using the list contained in Dr. Pagano’s book as a guideline.

Later, I identified some foods that I have been calling “contributing foods.” The definition of what I call contributing foods is those foods that contribute to my psoriasis, but do not cause flare-ups. One specific food group that comes immediately to mind is dairy. After eliminating the consumption of all dairy products, there was a very noticeable improvement to my psoriasis.

I accidentally discovered this when I ran out of all of my favorite dairy products (2% milk, cottage cheese, butter, and Colby jack cheese) at the same time and did not get to the grocery store to buy more for a couple of days. By the second day, I could see that dairy products had been a previously unknown major contributor to my psoriasis simply because I had never noticed any flare-ups after consuming them. Without the dairy products, my psoriasis looked calmer, its color was changing from red to pink, and some areas looked like they were going to disappear.

At that time, I added dairy products to my “do not eat” list. However, as my understanding of psoriasis and the immune system have continued to grow, I have gradually started to consume dairy products, on a limited basis, while making sure that for at least two or three days each week, I completely abstain from consuming them. Even though I know that dairy products increase the inflammation associated with my psoriasis, I see this as a compromise that I can maintain on a long term basis.

Over the years and especially after reading The Probiotics Revolution, I have come to the following conclusion. The response of my psoriasis to trigger foods is, in most cases, an inflammatory response to a food allergy. This in turn, is just another sign that my immune system is either out of control or simply over-reacting to a food that is not really a threat to the body.

In a new section of my ebook, I’ll be covering what I discovered about trigger foods and how they fit into the overall understanding of my psoriasis.


DEWKE: You’re retired, now. What did you do for a living?

WHITE: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. To get a picture of my professional roots, I suggest that you watch the movie Apollo 13 and pay special attention to the men in the NASA control room. That is an example of what I was wearing to work (a white short-sleeve shirt and a necktie) and some of the tasks I was performing (monitoring electronic consoles) during the mid-sixties. However, rather than working for NASA in Houston, I was one of hundreds of engineers working for the Space Division of North American Aviation in Downey, California. The Downey facility was the location where all Apollo Command Modules were manufactured and ground tested before shipment to remote flight test facilities.

At age 24 and just a little over one year out of college, I found myself inside a semi-trailer (telemetry trailer) loaded with instrumentation that monitored all of the systems in “Boilerplate 6” while it sat on the ground. The trailer was parked approximately 50 feet from the launch pad. I, along with the other engineers and technicians, vacated the telemetry trailer thirty minutes before launch. I was a member of the launch team of the first unmanned test flight, Pad Abort Test-1, of the Apollo Project in November 1963. The nation was on its way to putting men on the moon and I was part of it. I did not know it at the time, but sadly that was the only launch flight I was going to see and be part of during the rest of my professional career.

In June 1964, I was given the task of establishing what was called the production programming unit. The group was responsible for processing data from ground tests in Downey and from flight tests conducted at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California, White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, and Cape Kennedy in Florida. At that time, I also started my career in developing software. This was the beginning of my professional career in the Information Technology field.

In the about the author page of my web site, I state that I have always worked on the leading edge of technology. Other than the fact that I spent the first six years of my professional career working on Project Apollo, the best example of what I am talking about is the following. In 1970, the project that I was assigned included the installation and modification of software on three different computers. These computers were located in Cupertino, California; Englewood, New Jersey; and Paris, France. To access these computers, I connected to a network by using a portable typewriter that included an acoustic coupler. I connected to the network though a touch tone phone located either in my office or in my apartment located in Southern California. Although I was not aware of it at the time, it now appears that the network I was using was one of the development phases of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the predecessor to today’s internet. Who knew in 1970 where this would lead? At the time, to me this was just another assignment that I needed to accomplish and working on it was just another day in the office. This is just one of a number of examples of the type of projects that make up my professional career.


DEWKE: How did having psoriasis affect your career?

WHITE: I am sure that some of my co-workers were aware of my psoriasis because I remember talking about it. Whether the reason that I discussed my psoriasis with only a few co-workers was because they did not notice it, they did not care, or they were hesitant to ask, I simply do not know. If I remember correctly, I was never reluctant to talk about it.

However, I do remember showing up at my office and at meetings with Band-Aids on my fingertips. At the time, I had a box of Band-Aids and a tube of First Aid Cream in my desk at work. Today, I still have Band-Aids and First Aid Cream in my car. I also had to constantly wipe the flakes off any chair I occupied, especially the chair in my office. When I came home, I occasionally discovered bloodstains on the elbows of my long sleeve shirts.


DEWKE: You’ve written that Dr. John O.A. Pagano’s famous book, Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative made sense to you, but you found the diet daunting. Would you elaborate, please?

WHITE: Simply put, I did not want to give up my favorite foods. To me, my favorite foods were a way of rewarding myself, a way of celebrating an event. Eating to provide my body its nutritional needs was simply not a factor at that time in my life. Also, as I said in my ebook, I needed physical and visual proof that it would work before I was willing to consider restricting my diet. The day that I saw the reaction of my psoriasis to eating broccoli, I saw the proof that I needed. [Broccoli: see HPPIAT, page 6. –ED]

That day, my life changed in a couple of ways. Prior to then, I was unwilling to consider giving up my favorite foods. After that day, I was ready and willing to start making, what I then believed to be, the necessary dietary changes. Down deep, I was still not happy about it, but I did eventually find a way to start. Also prior to that day, there was the thought that maybe I would never find a way to get my psoriasis to completely heal and possibly end up accomplishing nothing after making all of those sacrifices. After that day, I knew that someday I would find a way to get my psoriasis to heal.


DEWKE: You wrote that, in addition to broccoli, you found green beans “appeared to be healing” your psoriasis. “The redness in some of the affected areas disappeared for three or four hours.” How soon after eating the vegetables was this apparent to you? How were those vegetables prepared (or did it matter)?

WHITE: The improvements were visible within the first hour. The first time I noticed this type of reaction, I had just eaten fresh broccoli that had been very lightly cooked. The first time that it occurred after just eating green beans, the green beans were canned and had also been very lightly cooked. As I continued to consume either broccoli or green beans, it really did not seem to matter how they were prepared.


DEWKE: Accepting the fact that you weren’t going to be able to forgo all the acidic foods you enjoyed, your initial approach was simply to increase some of the foods that were alkalizing. Do you recommend that approach for people – like me – who find the Pagano diet nearly impossible?

WHITE: Yes I do. I have also seen comments from people, like myself, who were unable to get past the thought of sticking to the diet. I hope that my story will serve as an example as one way to get started.

During one of my training classes, the following question was posed to the class: “How do you eat an elephant?” After the appropriate pause, the instructor simply said: “One bite at a time.” By committing to eat more alkalizing vegetables every day, I felt that I had taken my first bite out of the elephant and in turn, my first step toward getting my psoriasis to heal.


DEWKE: You linked an over-consumption of garlic to the appearance of new rashes. Do you believe the new rashes were psoriasis? What made you conclude they were caused by ingesting too much garlic? (HPPIAT p.17)

WHITE: No. I believe the rashes were my body’s way of getting rid of the toxins released by the candida albicans killed by the garlic (i.e. the so-called die-off reaction, Lahoz, Conquering Yeast Infections, p.78). The following are the reasons that I believe that: 1) As these new rashes appeared, the areas previously affected by psoriasis continued to gradually heal and disappear; and 2) the rashes did not appear to me to be the same as the areas affected by psoriasis.

As far as the die-off reaction is concerned, I have also experienced similar reactions when taking supplements that contain probiotics. The evidence that these rashes are associated with the probiotics is even more compelling. I can get these rashes to appear and disappear as I choose. I start taking the probiotics, the rashes appear. I stop taking the probiotics, the rashes disappear. One of the areas where these reactions have appeared is the tips of my fingers. What drove me nuts for years was that sometimes my finger tips were completely healed. Then, for some unknown reason, they would become dry and cracked. I now believe that this was happening as part of a die-off reaction to the antifungals and probiotics.

Before I go any further, I want to explain that a lot of what I have been doing has been driven by my intense need to understand why my body is reacting in this way. Finding the answers basically gives me peace of mind and has led me along the path of understanding the overall process. Now that I understand what is going on, I know what to do. What I have learned from all of this is that my body must still use my skin to get rid of toxins. If my body was functioning properly, these toxins would be normally removed through the gastrointestinal tract.


DEWKE: You wrote that you made it through Phases I and II of the colon cleansing program but found it difficult to consistently follow through with Phase III of the regimen. You abandoned the program at that point. Improving your psoriasis was an unexpected bonus to the program but not the reason you started it. Could you share why you started it in the first place?  And to what degree the colon cleansing program helped with that initial intent?

WHITE: The reason I started the program was my doctor had received blood test results that indicated a yeast problem. The colon-cleansing program was his preferred method of treatment. Some of the areas previously affected by psoriasis cleared and the severity of other areas was reduced as the result of this treatment. I would estimate that ten to twenty percent of the areas previously affected either cleared or showed improvement. I really do not remember the exact percentage.


DEWKE: Aside from what you now know about the relationship between what you eat and your psoriasis, have you ever considered any other possible triggers for your psoriasis? For example, climate change?

WHITE: I really have not given too much thought to the effect of climate changes. I think that it has more to do with the change in environmental conditions associated with the climate change rather than the climate change itself. For example, my seasonal allergies, while in Alaska, appear to be triggered by birch and alder and occur in late spring. That opinion is based on speculation and observation. It is not based on any type of allergy testing. However, my seasonal allergies, while in Ohio, were triggered by ragweed and Russian thistle and occurred in late summer. That is based on allergy testing that was preformed when I was in my early teens.

I believe that Ms. Lahoz, in Conquering Yeast Infections, discusses that Candida related complex can be caused by both diet and environment. And, as far as allergies are concerned, after reading Huffnagle’s Probiotics Revolution, I consider allergies as being an indication of a malfunctioning immune system and therefore another symptom and source of inflammation, not necessarily a cause.


DEWKE: You’ve lived with psoriasis for many decades. Doctors have led you down many treatment paths. To date you have had the best results compiling and then practicing a diet-based therapy that I’ll bet no doctor has ever recommended in a face-to-face consult with you. The proselytizers of psoriasis regimens based on diet have made statements about why the dietary approach is ignored or in some cases even disparaged by conventional doctors. What’s your take on that? Have you received comments from your doctors about your success with the diet?

WHITE: First of all, since 1990, I have only requested advice from one doctor regarding my psoriasis. That doctor is my chiropractor and he suggested I stop consumption of all beverages that contain alcohol. That occurred in the early nineties. As far as any other doctors, they would notice the lesions and ask if I knew what it was. I would tell them that it was psoriasis. The doctor would then outline his recommended approach. I would then share where I was in my search for answers. I have believed for a long time that the answers to getting my psoriasis to heal needed to address two basic issues, diet and the process of removing toxins from my body. If what was proposed to me did not address either of those issues, I was simply not interested in discussing the approach any further. Basically, the conversation ended at that point. I am sure my body language and tone of voice made it pretty clear that my psoriasis was not up for further discussion.

I did recently receive the following comment from one of my doctors: “I wish that my psoriasis looked as good as yours does.” We had discussed my approach a number of times over the past couple of years and he has read my latest update. I anticipate that we will be having additional discussions regarding the respective conditions of our psoriasis in the future.

Having said all of the above, I would like to make the following observation on behalf of all medical professionals. From the point of general practitioners, it is my opinion that they simply do not have the time required to develop a deep understanding of all of the issues associated with psoriasis, both from a patient's point of view and from the many side effects associated with the currently recommended treatments of psoriasis. The only exception that I can think of would be those medical professionals who have chosen to take a personal interest in pursuing answers to psoriasis. One name that immediately comes to mind is Dr. John O. A. Pagano, author of Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative.

Also, there is the issue of motivation. For most medical professionals, solving the complex problem of psoriasis is a job. They do not have to think about psoriasis during the weekends and the holidays or while they are on vacation. However, for me, it is very personal and it is my life. There is no time off from dealing with psoriasis. There are no weekends or holidays or vacations from psoriasis. Psoriasis has been part of my life twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred sixty five days a year for the past forty years.

A couple of years ago, I had the following thought: “Psoriasis does not own me anymore, I own psoriasis.” That is the day I got back control of my life. Even though I did not have all of the answers to my psoriasis puzzle at that time, I did believe that someday I would find the rest of the answers to my psoriasis puzzle. Over the past couple of years, I have continued to find more pieces of my puzzle.

The revelation that caused my search to grow in scope occurred about the same time we started this interview process. It became known to me when I started to use the liver cleanse — which I thought would be the final piece of my psoriasis puzzle. I am now aware that my kidneys have been affected in some way as a result of the development of my psoriasis. I initially became aware that the kidneys and the bladder were possibly part of the answers that I was looking for, but that was approximately fifteen years ago, a few years before I had found any of the four books that have provided the information that has empowered me to get my psoriasis to heal and that I have used as the basis for my ebook. My attention, since discovering the four books, has been primarily directed to the liver and to the gastrointestinal tract. Now, much to my dismay, I discover that Dr. Pagano discusses, in the first edition of his book, how the kidneys and bladder help the body get rid of toxins.  It has been there right in front of me all of this time, and I simply missed it.

This, to me, is just another part of the learning process I am personally experiencing.  When I first read Dr. Pagano’s book, I simply missed this because my attention was drawn to other issues and it did not seem important to me at the time.  This also serves as an example as to how complete the information is in Dr. Pagano’s book.  I consider the book to be my psoriasis handbook and I periodically read through it.  Every time that I do, I learn something new.

This recent revelation does not change any of what I have put together at this point in my search. It simply expands the scope of what I need to research. For now, this is all that I am prepared to write regarding this new development. The scope of my search for answers has simply just been expanded.

At one point, I looked forward to the day that psoriasis would no longer be part of my life. Now that has changed. I want psoriasis to continue to be part of my life. However, my relationship with psoriasis has changed. I no longer see myself as a victim. I now see myself as potentially becoming part of the solution. I welcome that change.


DEWKE: How long will you keep adding to the book? Or, are you planning on letting the blog take over at some point? In either case – a dynamic ebook, or an ongoing blog – what do you anticipate will be future themes or topics or issues? 

WHITE: Even though my research has uncovered issues beyond the scope of psoriasis, I have decided to limit the scope of my current ebook to psoriasis. In my ebook, I make the following statement: “I now consider psoriasis to be the symptom and leaky gut as the condition that needs to be resolved.” That is as far as my current ebook will go and will be the starting point for my next ebook, Beyond Psoriasis, Way Beyond Psoriasis.

Also, due to the recent revelation that my kidneys and bladder are part of the process of removing toxins from the body, I have decided not to include the full discussion about detoxification in the current ebook.  In my opinion, what I have learned about the detoxification process and what I have been doing to remove toxins from my body should be the subject of a separate ebook.

When I start work on either of these ebooks is unclear to me at this time. I can only state that the last section of the current ebook will be “If I Knew Then” and will be a reflection of how I would approach the process of getting my psoriasis to heal “if I knew then what I know now.”

As far as the blog is concerned, I consider the blog as a way to interactively receive feedback from people that have read my ebook. At this point in time, I do not anticipate establishing a blog until all evidence that I ever had psoriasis is gone and I have completed my first ebook.

However, there are a number of other unresolved issues on my mind. The first primary issue is the refinement of my approach to getting my psoriasis to heal. Up to this time, I have been able to use my body as part of the learning process, especially in the area of understanding the die-off reaction. When my body is completely clear, that learning tool will no longer be available. That is both good news and bad news. I have solved my problem, but my learning process will also end. I do not want that to happen. I want my learning process to continue. There are two reasons that I want the learning process to continue. First, the effects of what I am doing and have learned have gone well beyond just the healing of my psoriasis. The effects have extended to all facets of my general health. For the first time that I can remember, my blood work indicated that all tests were within normal ranges. Second, I believe that what I have learned has the potential to benefit others who are struggling with psoriasis. I want to continue with what I have started. However, I also understand that to do this is beyond what I can accomplish by myself and with my own resources.

The second primary issue is to start looking at what I am doing as a business. Since using my own body as my principle learning tool is slowly coming to an end as my health improves, I will need to involve other people in order to continue my learning process. As far as I am now concerned, my work will not be finished until I have confirmed that my recommended approach will work for others who have psoriasis and that the approach requires no further refinement. At this point, I simply do not know if it will work for others and I am unwilling to walk away from the situation until I do know. Prior to now, I have been able to use my personal financial resources to fund my work. The day that I start involving other people in the process, I need to consider the preservation and protection of my personal financial resources.

Also, I do not want the issue of money to stand in the way of others benefiting from what I have learned and what I have written. However, I do believe that what I have learned and have written has value.

In your May-June Briefing, you stated “I followed his tease to his website.”  I found the statement very interesting because I never meant for my post to be a tease. At that point, I viewed it as a request for attention. I had always considered what I had written as something that had the potential to help others. I also thought that many people would take the time to read it and I was expecting lots of feedback.  However, up to that point, efforts to draw attention to my ebook were for the most part being ignored. I was beginning to think I had completely missed the point.

You also confirmed that my concerns about the subject of money are legitimate. I was glad to read that I passed your first anti-scam test. My daughter and I shared a chuckle when she read your comments regarding your first anti-scam test because we had already been discussing this issue.

At this time, I have yet to resolve the issue of money. For now, I have other milestones to complete. I also have in mind some possible approaches and I will be pursuing them during the next few weeks. But first, I feel that I need to be completely clear of all evidence that I ever had psoriasis and I want to complete my first ebook.

For the time being, this business issue remains just another bite of the elephant that I will eventually need to take. I know it is there and I will address it when I have accomplished the other milestones. In the past, I have seen other issues I knew would eventually need to be resolved. By the time they made it to the top of my list, I had come up with an acceptable approach. Like I said, one bite at a time.


DEWKE: Keith White, thank you for Healing Psoriasis Naturally, Pulling It All Together, and for taking time out for this interview. Your studied compilation of Pagano, Young, Huffnagle and Lahoz is likely to help many of us move confidently into a naturalistic approach to treating psoriasis. For many of us, that “comfort factor” is missing completely when we are faced with rhetoric and strange recommendations that seem far from being tailored to our specific condition and needs. Everyone has been told to “eat your vegetables” — but which ones, how, when, how much and why? You’ve presented a broad analysis that focuses on what we flaking and tentative inquirers share: a desire to live free of psoriasis symptoms. –ED


* * * * *

visit and
download Healing Psoriasis Naturally, Pulling It All Together

photograph by Whitney White

 FlakeHQ Interviews Home