It\\\’s Just A Bad Day

The following blog post was created through a paid partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. They were gracious enough to compensate me for my time and give me the opportunity to speak with Dr. Elizabeth Perkins, an Alabama-based rheumatologist with a wealth of experience treating PsA. #sponsored


Last year I had the absolute pleasure of attending a Novartis event in NYC with a few psoriatic disease patient advocates. We spent the day talking about what our communities truly needed and were introduced to a new video series that they created for patients called PsA Real Talk.

Their PsA Real Talk series features Dr. Elizabeth Perkins talking to real psoriatic disease patients about their conditions. I absolutely loved the videos and the concept – it’s exactly what patients like me need!

We wrapped up the event by attending a cooking demo that was focused on making delicious dishes full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. The group made amazing Italian dishes and then took the time to talk about the role that food played in managing our disease.

Leaving the event, I was really excited to share some new recipes with my family (the roasted green beans with sun-dried tomatoes and thyme has become a regular in my house since) and I was excited to share these videos, featuring Dr. Perkins’, with my community.

Flash forward almost a year and I was SO excited when Novartis reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in interviewing Dr. Perkins on the impact that choosing certain foods can have on managing psoriatic arthritis symptoms. I also was excited to get her tips and tricks for food prep and navigating the kitchen while symptoms may be flaring.

Of course, I said YES! I had loved Dr. Perkins in their videos and, if you know anything about me, I LOVE discussing the role diet plays in managing psoriatic disease.

The following is an excerpt from my interview with Dr. Perkins.


Julie Croner (JC): When are you talking with a patient about treating psoriatic arthritis, do you typically mention diet as part of the overall treatment plan?


Dr. Perkins (Dr. P): It’s important to me to always incorporate lifestyle choices into the conversations that I have with patients around managing their psoriatic arthritis. I spend time highlighting five pillars of wellness –  nutrition, exercise, sleep, meditation, and social connection. So yes, I definitely bring up diet.


JC: I like how you are talking about the five pillars of wellness. It’s not just diet. It’s not just sleep. You really need to bring everything together. Because it’s all SO interconnected to how we end up feeling.

So when you’re talking to your patients about the nutrition part of wellness – do you have a diet or nutrition plan that you suggest to your patients to help manage their psoriatic arthritis?


Dr. P: When you have an inflammatory disease or a chronic immune disease, you’re going to be much more sensitive to the things that control and influence inflammation.1 So when it comes to nutrition and diet, there’s actually a fair amount of literature about what types of food groups influence chronic disease states and a lot of ways you can approach this.2

I try to give my patients food groups to prioritize. I’ll tell them about the four things that should be on their plate. A type of white meat, like chicken or seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. I encourage them to think along the Mediterranean diet spectrum.2


JC: Do you ever suggest omitting certain foods? For instance, omitting gluten or alcohol?


Dr. P: Before making dietary changes, I ask patients to pay attention to what they eat and how you feel as a result. If every Sunday night you go out for Mexican and have chips, queso, margaritas, burritos, and tacos, how do you feel on Monday?

Well, you feel like PsA on Monday! (JC note: I loved when she said this. It made me laugh!)

Rather than omitting things right away, I suggest keeping a food diary. For instance – track to see if wine or a cocktail influences your achiness or your fatigue the next day.


JC: Do you have any tips, tricks or hacks that you suggest to your patients for cooking and for eating healthier?


Dr. P: Planning ahead is the key. If your Monday through Thursday is crazy, use Sunday nights to plan out your meals. Spend time in advance doing creative planning and thinking through your prep. Set realistic goals!

Find ingredients, like vegetables, that are already chopped or pre-prepared.

As far as prepping and cooking go, organization is super important. Where are things organized and stored in your cabinets?  What tools are you using every day and are these items easily accessible? Do you need to bend, climb, reach, or move things around to access your most commonly used kitchen items? Do you own kitchen tools like a crockpot, electric mixers or blender that can make your life easier?


JC: I always suggest to people to pack a “flare kit” or have a meal in the freezer that’s an easy go-to for when you’re not feeling well. Something that you know is anti-inflammatory. So I’ll stash a few snacks that I know fit into my diet and will always have a few bags of frozen veggies in the freezer ready to sauté up for days when I don’t feel well or have zero time.

Ok, last question! When it comes to food and cooking – if you could tell your patients one thing, what would it be?


Dr. P: I would tell them to examine their relationship with food, think about how it makes them feel and make adjustments accordingly.

It’s tremendously impactful to have a rheumatologist on the side of patients. Thank you Dr. Perkins for taking the time to share your thoughts so I could spread them to all of you! And thank you to the Novartis team for giving me the opportunity to “talk shop” with one of the great rheumatologists out there.

I encourage every single one of you to check out Novartis’s Real Talk video series, featuring Dr. Perkins and a few PsA patients in conversation about living with and managing PsA. I recommend talking to your rheumatologist, who knows you best, to discuss individual tips to help overcome barriers and provide personalized nutrition advice and a treatment option that is right for you.


Wishing You A Pain Free Day!

Julie Cerrone Croner, Certified Holistic Health Coach, Yoga Instructor, Patient Empowerer, Autoimmune Warrior (Psoriatic Arthritis), Avascular Necrosis, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome |










  1. Pahwa R. Chronic Inflammation. StatPearls [Internet]. Published June 4, 2019. Accessed November 8, 2019.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan. website. Accessed July 2, 2019.


11/19   COS-1378655


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