We discuss in this interview:
- How Alana was diagnosed with JIA at 11 and went on methotrexate until 14
- The comeback of inflammation due to a stressful time, after three years without medications
- The effects of an unhealthy diet even at a young age
- Her switch to Humira after methotrexate stopped working
- Alana discovered the Paddison Program and transformed her lifestyle. This immediately made her feel lighter and more optimistic about her future.
- Strategies for an alternative diet in everyday life
- How she went off Humira due to an operation, and after 7 months she’s still pain-free
- The power of mindset and visualization
Clint – Before I introduce today’s guest, I just wanted to say thank you, thank you for supporting this podcast. Thank you for supporting our program and thank you for putting your health first and setting really ambitious objectives for where you want to get to with your health and with your life. Because we didn’t choose to have this autoimmune condition that puts so much pressure and challenges into our life. But we can choose how we’re going to make decisions each day that can influence positively our condition and to take us a tiny step by tiny step closer to where we dream of getting to. In doing so, it’s inspiring for other people, so other people are watching you make positive changes, see progress, see your enthusiasm even against the challenges. And it really can uplift other people’s lives. Today’s story is going to be another example of that. Alana is joining me today, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at 11 years old, and we’ve only chatted for a couple of minutes here. This is going to be fresh and new for me to hear Alana’s story, and I look forward to sharing it with you as we listen together. So Alana, thanks so much for joining me.
Alana – Thank you so much for having me. It’s really exciting to finally see you face to face over and be a part of this course, amazing.
Clint – You mentioned that you’ve seen a few of these in the past.
Alana – Yeah, I’ve followed you for, I reckon, about 6 or 7 years almost, I would, yeah, see it online, do some more research and see your program and watch people’s videos just for that bit of hope and inspiration. It’s hard to believe that I’m here now talking to you. It’s just, yeah, come full 360, and yeah, hard to believe, really.
Clint – Well, I do hear that story sometimes, and it’s some of the most fun interviews because it just goes to show that persistence and time and effort and attention, right? So by applying attention to listening to healing stories, it’s teaching your brain that that is what I want in my life. Even occasionally picturing doing this interview is something that’s telling your brain, I want to be an inspiration, or even I just want to have some positive results to share with others. And it helps to align your mind and your actions so that you get to where you want to get to. Your story I’ve got only the bullet points, but give us the quick before and after here or give us the situation that you’re in right now compared to say when you were really struggling.
Alana – Yeah, I guess to sum it up, I was diagnosed at the age of 11 with JIA as you mentioned. And a really sporty kid I always, did everything basketball, athletics I was doing all of that. Very competitive love to do my best, try my hardest always. And yeah, and then, you know, being so sporty, I remember a specific day when it all happened, and it’s funny that day is really stuck in my head. You sort of remember bits from when you were small and a child, but this day really stuck in my head. I was at an athletics sort of junior development mate, and I remember running and it just felt off, and I felt off that day. I ended up going over to my parents and saying, I can’t continue like I need to go home. I feel off, I can’t run, it was strange. From then on, the diagnosis took a while to happen because I have I’ve always had certain negative arthritis, so the diagnosis took a while to happen. But then, yeah, it all came out that I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and yeah, lots of pain. A doctor said to me that, I wouldn’t necessarily be able to run again when I was 11. He told me and my family that and my parents were very emotional about that, and, you know, being a sporty child, that’s the last thing you want to hear. So I took a lot of exercising and then I was on the methotrexate for quite a few years there to get things my motion back and my movement, back to some sort of normality. I was on methotrexate for quite a few years till I was 14 and then started weaning off the methotrexate was given that opportunity by my rheumatologist. So started weaning off the methotrexate got to a very, very low dose, and ended up actually coming off the methotrexate between the ages of 14 and 17, which was amazing because you don’t want to be on any medication that you don’t need to be on I guess.
Clint – A question there. Well, first of all, a comment I once attended a presentation by Arthritis New South Wales, for which I was involved for a little while. And there was a speaker and he was very young, very well-spoken, juvenile idiopathic arthritis child. He talked about how, sometimes you do in inverted commas, grow out of it, and he was hoping that he would be one of those. You could feel like the people in the room this young boy, and I’ve never seen that statistics or the data on that, and I need to educate myself better in that area. But were you ever told that you may grow out of this or that this could go away on its own?
Alana – Yes, the doctor that I did end up staying at the room at the Royal Children’s Hospital, he was quite open to me, eventually trying to wean off it and trying to get me off methotrexate, which was amazing because, you know, not all doctors are open to that. So, yeah, it was amazing to have that opportunity. But yes, so I heard that from him that it’s possible to go out of it. But, they would sort of say, it’s very rare, we don’t see many patients come in that do grow out of it, essentially. But once myself and my family heard that I was like, I want to grow out of it like the other guy that you said that was sort of the aim then. So yeah, from 14 to 17, I was very lucky to essentially grow out of it in those 10 years of growing and developing.
Clint – And so during 14 to 17 off methotrexate, did you still experience symptoms?
Alana – It’s hard to remember, isn’t it, to flashback then, you know, it’s 10 years or so ago. I was pretty lucky that when I did come off it I would experience pretty well, no symptoms at that point. Yeah. My inflammation, like my swelling to look at was always quite low, besides my hands, nothing else really was visibly swollen. That’s why I sort of took a while for them to diagnose me because it was really just me saying, I’m in pain, I’m sore. So that was the only way that, yeah, because of zero negative, it doesn’t show up in blood tests. Yeah. Then 14 to 17, that was nice to not be on medication and just sort of live those few years and get back into sport and running and everything. Yeah. I guess 17 to 18, year 12, a stressful year, I was always quite hard on myself as a kid. I think just always trying my best, but really ambitious and determined. So 17 to 18, I started getting symptoms back and I remember I was working at a cafe, I was doing late-night shifts at a cafe as well as school, you know, not overly pushing myself, but yeah, just doing that part time job as well. I think the stress and exhaustion from that year potentially kicked the inflammation into gear again, I started getting symptoms again and pain in my hands majority, feet, knees, elbows, shoulders, sort of an all over inflammation.
Clint – I think, this is a good little sort of red flag for everyone to pay attention to is that you had this homeostasis, you were in balance and then just leaned on it like leaning on our kids always play with Magneto’s, they build up these big towers. But then you, you just lean a little bit and I think collapses, right? So we’re like that and we get into these nice equilibrium states. But then that, as you say, applying more demands on your body probably increased stress, reduced sleep. Then the body is just I just can’t quite rest and repair as much as I need to. How was your diet at that point?
Alana – Looking back, it’s definitely not anywhere near as it is now in terms of it’s not, you know, it wasn’t plant-based, I wasn’t eating as many whole foods as I should have. I was a healthy kid, I was, as I said, sporty and healthy, and that in that sense. But I think I was just my diet probably wasn’t as healthy as it could have been, probably a few processed foods and things in the mix, but just sort of any average Australian teen growing up the same sort of diet. I guess coming into that period of 17 to 18 that’s alcohol I guess came into the picture when that wouldn’t have been a part of my life earlier. So that could have been a potential trigger as well. So it wasn’t whole food plant-based, avoiding processed foods and things. So yeah, a lot different to it is now.
Clint – So after the symptoms started at 18 years old, you then were probably now that takes us back 10 years because you’re 28, certainly by like Enbrel came out something like 20 years ago. What were the doctors talking about then? Sometimes there’s a reluctance to go back onto, say, methotrexate, although, I’m sure that was a suggestion at that point. Yeah. Did you do that?
Alana – Yeah. So I did go back on methotrexate. I think they saw it as the best option because I never had, I was very lucky I never had any side effects with methotrexate, which was amazing. So I went back on methotrexate for quite a few years there at least while it was at 5 years or so. It was just methotrexate literally, and it seemed to kick in and do the trick during that period. I still never felt quite 100%, but I was pretty close while I was on the medication, I was quite lucky to have most of my symptoms eliminated or sort of masked by the medication if you might say.
Clint – It’s an interesting observation that when we’re on the medications, we quite often still have the sort of a little bit of niggle here, a little bit of niggle there, something not quite right there. What were those problem areas for you?
Alana – I think with little bits of stress that would come up in life and nothing major just living, just life things. I would just get (inaudible) hands and in the weather my hands. I loved running that was my thing, I would run quite a lot, out in the streets and I would just notice my hands sort of blow up or just feel achy. And in the mornings, waking up just feeling quite tired after a good night’s sleep, but still feeling tired and then a little bit sore. But in that time, though, methotrexate did for the majority of it, were very well for me. So yeah, I was very lucky.
Clint – I know that you went onto a Humira eventually. How did that end up happening? What was the sequence of events?
Alana – That’s probably the most prominent couple of years that has stuck in my head or the most prominent memories I have of recent proper pain in my joints because not much memory of it as a kid. I think mum and dad were probably almost more affected in a way than I was as a kid, because I emotionally probably didn’t understand quite what was happening being so young. So I was on the methotrexate, and then it actually stopped working for me, my body almost started rejecting it, and I sort of blew out into a full inflammation in all the joints that had happened previous. At the time, I was looking into holistic medicine and I was seeing a naturopath. He was giving me tinctures and supplements, and I was on lots of different things. I was seeing a Chinese acupuncturist and on some Chinese herbal medicine. I’ve seen a dietician by this point, I’d really done quite a lot of research and was trying to find the best thing or the thing that I could potentially get to work for me aside from medication. So I did that, and I sort of pushed through trying to do those things whilst the methotrexate stopped working for me, I think, over 6 months. Then it just got too much to be honest, and I got to a point and I went to the doctor, I said I need to be on something else, I need medication nothing else is actually working at this point. Then my specialist suggested Humira as one of the biologic drugs, and I went home and did some research about that for a couple of weeks and sort of sat on it because I wasn’t entirely comfortable I hadn’t really heard of Humira. I was frightened to go into a new drug and, you sort of do your own Google, and it’s never sort of nice things that are on there, you read and it’s quite horrifying sometimes. But I was at a point I really needed to be on medication, and I think when our body needs it it’s a miracle that we have all these options of medication.
Alana – So, yeah, and then eventually I went to the doctor and signed off and started my Humira journey. That was interesting because the doctor or my specialist had recommended staying on the methotrexate, whilst I start the Humira, that sort of how they transition it. I did that for quite a few months, I was on both of them and then that just didn’t sit well with me because I, as far as I knew, I was like, the methotrexate stopped working, so I don’t really know why I’m still taking it. So maybe 4 or 5 months down the track, I went into the specialist and I said, I do not want to be on methotrexate, I would like to stop it and see what happens. I was very lucky in that I did stop it, I slowly sort of weaned off it and nothing changed. The Humira by that point had kicked in and worked very, very well for me without the methotrexate as well.
Clint – There’s often a discussion around whether or not the methotrexate should be used in conjunction with the biologic drug, there’s studies that suggest that perhaps the effectiveness of the outcome is improved by doing both. But if you look at a sort of a cost-benefit as a patient, right, forget about the statistics. But if we think of it as a patient, let’s say Humira got us to like 80%. Let’s even be generous let’s say Humira got it, got us to 90% symptom-free, and the methotrexate edition took it to 95%. From a patient perspective do you really want that extra 5% when you’re then adding a methotrexate dose each week?
Alana – I tossed it up. Even going on Humira for so long, I can remember driving to the specialist, mum and I were in the car we were both quite emotional about the whole thing. I was calling, I think it was it’s like the Arthritis Australia hotline or we actually on the way we made some calls. I was like, I need to find out as much as I can before I go on Humira. I was quite scared about it, but yeah, very lucky that it ended up working out. And I think, like you say, Humira really didn’t stop for me. I was very lucky and quite quickly it kicked in and I felt
Clint – Like within a week?
Alana – Probably two weeks and quite quickly it worked. And then I was feeling very good again quite soon to the point where I really felt symptom-free. And that’s when, you know, I said, Well, why am I on methotrexate? I’d like to just try, you know, wean off it and see what happens.
Clint – Did you notice an energy increase after coming off the methotrexate? I found methotrexate to add a lot of sort of just this feeling of heaviness, and I was tired all the time on methotrexate. It does come up a lot with the folks inside our support group, too, that there is a fatigue effect. Did you ever have that?
Alana – I think because I was on it for so long, I probably got used to feeling fatigued as part of normal life. So it’s hard to kind of pinpoint whether you’re coming off it, I really felt much more energetic. But I think, in combination of maybe getting off that and becoming plant-based, really focusing on my foods and my gut, I think my energy sort of in three years has just been amazing and the best I’ve ever felt. I think that probably speaks for itself in a way. I was on methotrexate for so long, I just probably got used to that feeling, to be honest. Underlying nausea and things like that were sort of part of every day for a while there.
Clint – Probably people are wondering now, well, if symptoms were completely controlled on Humira, it sounds like you’ve done quite well over these years taking various medications. And this is a great story in terms of successful rheumatology treatment. So how come you’re on here chatting to me like what changed and when did your diet come into play and are you still taking medication and so on? That’s what the next part of this conversation will be.
Alana – 2017 was probably when I last was in that motion of a lot of pain switching medications. And at that time, my sister and I have a twin sister and we were both very heavily into trying to educate ourselves, she was helping me a lot, my family was very supportive. We found the Paddison program we were looking at your story online, and then there were quite a few other similar stories and programs around the world that we started to research about diet and all these things. So by that point, I think it was 2017, my sister said, Well, I’m going to go vegan and she said, you’re doing it with me. And I said, OK, let’s do it and I think I need the extra support to do it with someone is a lot easier than on your own. So that was quite funny. Then we were both living at home at the time, just making those changes with our food and what we were consuming, what we were snacking on. Mum was cooking a majority of the time then, so that was interesting that my whole family was on board and, mum was willing to, yeah, change meals. But we were never huge, meat-eaters or we didn’t eat lots of processed foods or things it was just a matter of sort of, finding those replacements I think that’s that was sort of the thing that made it easy for me or easier but it did take time. We did it gradually over probably a year, just getting there eventually. But it was amazing to have my sister to do it with, and then we went vegan, gave it a go. And then as time went on, I found myself getting quite passionate about food and eating that way, I really enjoyed it in that way. It was really making me feel good and quite energetic. And then we started introducing smoothies every morning to our diet, even a couple of years prior to that we were. My mum a bit of a side little note, but my mum had Crohn’s disease and she has also healed herself through juicing and smoothies, this same sort of diet that we’ve done. A bit of background story there. But anyway, together we all sort of went on that journey and started eating well together and juicing and yet looking up your program.
Clint – And I did start your program probably a year and a half,2 years ago, I gave it a really good crack. I thought I had sort of a month or so and I thought, this is a good month. It was tricky to pick a time that would be suitable around uni and everything else that I was doing at the time. But I picked a moment and I had a good crack at it. During that time, as I said, I felt I actually felt probably 90, 95% well on the drugs. Like, I was very lucky. I felt symptom free. But I think you’ve mentioned it in one of your podcasts or before that there was no better time for me to try and heal my gut than when I was feeling so good like that. So I really tried to utilise that time to, yeah, do the Paterson program, go on a vegan plant-based diet. It was tricky because I actually had nothing to measure against, I couldn’t measure these results against my blood, Sero Negative. I felt so good, so I didn’t wake up feeling any better necessarily, but I just thought, I need to give this a go because I need to heal myself from the inside out.
Alana – Yeah, so that’s what we did. I was celery juicing every morning, celery and cucumber juice for probably a year and a half two years there. Bless my family, like getting up, helping me and my sister was on it in the end, everyone’s contributing. Those kind of things have become staples in my diet today, and smoothies are my favorite thing. I start every day with a water and smoothie and and not just that, but you know, all the healthy fruits and veggies and adding greens always to my diet know every meal having greens, fresh salads, things like that. But yeah, doing your program, I think, really instilled some lessons into, my diet that I’ve taken with me and I use every day. I can remember going to my partner’s house at the time and taking, you know, he was living with his parents and I took my little container and had my buckwheat and sweet potato and bok choy. And they were looking at me like, what’s going on here? I said, Just just give me a month or so, I need to do this. So that was quite funny but yeah, I think it was an important time for me to give that a good crack. That was sort of that part.
Clint – I don’t think you can truly say that you’ve embraced the Paddison Program until you’ve had people look at your food in total disbelief. Until you’ve shocked family members, you haven’t quite embraced it fully enough.
Alana – Yeah. And until you start like really enjoying that crunch of the bokchoy and going, this is actually delicious, then you know you’re on the Paddison Program.
Clint – If you’ve ever said to yourself when you hear the snap of celery, ooh, that’s enzymes. You haven’t quite, you’re not there yet. The looks that I had one time on a plane I’ll never forget. So I’m eating the two green mix the buckwheat, and it had seaweed all stirred into it, and I’d ask for boiling water or hot water from one of the flight stewardess. And she brought me a cup of hot water and I pour it over so to warm the thing up and I mix the dry seaweed in with it so that it softens it all up. It was like constant double-takes from the person next to me just trying to be trying to create some kind of knowledge in their mind of what exactly is that guy eating because it’s so different. I just found it really, really like quietly satisfying and entertaining, and I never told them, like, I just let it just be weird.
Alana – The seaweed, a little container.
Clint – People look at me like I’m a freak and then like, I’m thinking about how long that person’s going to leave, what they’re eating, you know what I mean? So, yeah, yeah, we’re all just don’t a different thought processes. Those planes are mixing melting pot of weird, different, you don’t know who you’re going to be sitting next to. But obviously you mentioned a partner, he was supportive and didn’t think, Wow, this chick Alana has lost the plot. He’s stuck with you, and he was there and accommodating to what you needed to test and try and learn.
Alana – Yeah, which is amazing, I live with my partner Sam now. That was a couple of years back when I gave that a crack and he was super supportive. It’s funny because he’s never actually really seen me in pain, suffering because he came came along just after I started Humaira. So, I’ve sort of briefed him on the journey and filled him in, and he’s entirely supportive and amazing. I think he actually, yeah, is very beneficial to my recovery in a way sort of grounds me and brings me down to earth.
Clint – It’s the future buy-in to your dream that you need from your partner and lover and doctor. It doesn’t matter if they eat the same way that small levels of friction. If you need to take turns with making the using the pot, that’s more levels of friction. The largest level of friction is if deep down they think that you’re kidding yourself. That’s where that relationship will genuinely, interfere with your long-term outcome. But if the partner, even if they think it’s hilarious, they think it’s funny, they think it’s silly. But if they share your vision of the future, you’re fine.
Alana – Yeah, exactly. And yeah, just made it so much easier for me to give all that a go whilst we’re in a relationship.
Clint – Tell us about an abscess and having to come off Humira. I want to hear about that because people right now are still wondering, so you know what’s going on then? What else are we going to learn here? How are you managing now? Is it just with the drugs? What happened?
Alana – Yeah, I laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny at the time. I think as a slight side effect from my Humira, I was getting a bit of folliculitis and some skin infections, and I was just getting a couple of what looked like little pimples around my sort of bottom, and then one of them turned into an abscess. So which it needed to be operated on in the end. I went into hospital it was actually my birthday last year and I woke up in the hospital after my operation. That all happened and then I had to contact my rheumatologist because of course it was a risk of a large infection and I already had somewhat an infection. And being on Humira, it can’t be on Humira whilst there’s any sign of infection. So yeah, spoke to my rheumatologist and they said, Yeah, you need to stop your Humira immediately. Don’t take your next dose, we’ll see you in a couple of weeks. So I stopped my Humira while I was recovering from this abscess, and then a couple of weeks went by. I was on Humira fortnightly, the injection a couple of weeks went by, didn’t feel any different. Then I Went to my rheumatologist, I think a week or two later. And he said, we’ll just sit on it, see how you feel, come back in a month I think it was. And then I went back after the abscess healed up a bit more and again, I felt no different. And I went in, I said, Well, you know, what’s the plan? What do you think? And he’s amazing, and he said, You know, well, we’ll persist like this and see how you go. And then I went back and visited him in September last year, that was July, when I took my last dose of Humira and then September last year, I went back to my rheumatologist again, not feeling any different. And he said, Well, that’s amazing and if you’re not feeling any pain or, any symptoms at all, why would we put you back on it? See how you go and you may be in some kind of remission. We have no guarantee around how long this could last. You said it could last a month, it could last ten years. I think he said he had a patient that was felt like this for seven years and then came back in with symptoms again. But he said, You know, whilst you’re feeling like this, yeah, we’ll see you in a year. So I’m not booked until, yeah, September this year, which is amazing.
Clint – Yes, certainly is, You have therefore given that we’re recording this sort of mid-February. You’ve been off of Humira for 7 months, around 7 months, and you are absolutely symptom-free as if you had been still taking Humira.
Alana – Yep, 100% symptom-free, going to the gym 3, 4 times a week. Going on 10k runs, feeling no different, it’s amazing. I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt and the most energetic I’ve felt, I guess. Yeah, it’s hard to believe, but without that chance of giving it a go off the Humira I may not have ever known. And it’s funny because the sort of the last two years that I was on the Humira, I remember saying to my family, like I feel so good. I think I could have healed myself, I would really like to try to wean off my medication. And I was saying this for probably a year and a half, my partner and you know, how can I try and wean off it? And I brought it up with my doctor quite a few times, and he sort of said, Oh, well, if you stop it, you may not be able to come back on it. Eventually, your body might reject it, it’s a big risk, et cetera. So we left (inaudible), don’t rock the apple cart, you feel so good why would you like the apple cart? And part of me was like, I agree, I do feel really good. But then it’s like part of me knew for 2 years I was like, I feel so good, and I’d almost convinced myself that I’d healed kind of what we were talking about earlier, about the mindset and, manifesting. I’d manifested healing and I pictured it and coming off the medication, I’d really envisioned it. Talking to you like the whole thing, I’d imagine the whole thing, and I think that plays a huge part in recovery as well.
Clint – I think that is, I’ve just gotten back into it as well. Life gets in the way of the discipline of visualization, goal setting, and so on. But I’ve just gotten back into it, so I’ve gone to bed an extra 20 minutes earlier each night, and I sit and I picture the outcomes that I want. Some really trivial, things like having my book sitting on the bedside table next to me and things like the things I’m working on from a business point of view. Family related things and all sorts of stuff. But it’s extremely powerful, and if people are curious about this and want to know what we can do about it, listen to any interview that I’ve done with Dr. Nisha Manek, who’s a rheumatologist who’s on our monthly support, calls for our members. And her interview in our summit, The 2021 Rheumatoid Solutions Summit was absolutely brilliant, so if you haven’t watched it yet and you bought the summit, go and watch that talk. It’s a wonderful 50 minutes, it’s just it tells us how to do all this and the science behind it. The science is there to show us that what we visualize, we can help create and analyze it. It’s like the most exciting tool, and we’re all a little bit sort of about it because it takes time. It’s not like, it’s not as instantly gratifying is that it requires discipline and then you slowly observed things coming to you in a more subtle way as opposed to the instant gratification world that we were used to at the moment.
Alana – Yes, exactly.
Clint – So tell me, what do your family think about this situation? I mean, is there a cautious optimism that maybe you’ll be off meds for a little while, or is there just an overwhelming sense of happiness in the family for you?
Alana – I think an overwhelming sense of happiness sort of sums it up pretty good. Yeah, everyone’s really, really happy and I think relieved in a way. Just for me to have as much time as I can off medication and hopefully for a long, long time. And, you know, I sort of say to myself, hopefully that’s forever. But I’ve also come to terms with the fact that, it is there, a medication is there if I need it. And that’s so amazing, and it does serve its purpose when we need it, I think that’s really important. For a long time, I had to, put it myself into a positive mindset about the medication because I was taking it and to think negatively about it, again taking it’s like eating a burger which isn’t a bad thing at all. But if you are eating it and thinking negatively about it, yeah, it’s really that can become quite toxic. So the family is just ecstatic, and I think for me personally, I do probably have some underlying health anxiety and I think have for some time just because of my whole journey, but which is natural. So I just try to be as optimistic and positive about it all as possible and try not to worry too much. But I think every time I might have some alcohol or go out or something a little bit, you can’t help but sort of go, Oh gosh, I hope I haven’t overdone it. It is a worry that you sort of hold in the back of your mind constantly. But gosh, I feel amazing and I feel symptom-free 100% and I couldn’t ask for anything more at the moment. Like my family and I were saying, even if it lasts for six months a year, how amazing is that you know, like to have that time off medication feeling that good? Yeah. And I really waited six months before I told anyone that I was off medication feeling that good because I didn’t want to jinx it, didn’t want to jump the gun.
Clint – So many wise decisions that you’ve made throughout this whole process. I have people saying to me, I want to come on and share my story on your podcast. You know, I got off methotrexate, 6, 8 weeks ago and I’m thinking, settle down, it takes time. Yeah, like, we don’t even know how you’re going to be looking in like a few months. And also, I don’t really just want to celebrate coming off a drug just because of what we’re trying to celebrate here. The main emphasis with stories that we want to share is maximum health and therefore minimum symptoms. With the minimum symptoms, we might not need as many supplements of these inflammatory that we’re taking. We might not need as many daily painkillers and we might not need as frequent injections or we may in your case, for example, be managing perfectly without them at all. But the objective is not no meds. That’s wonderful outcome if the rheumatologist and your symptoms all align.
Alana – Absolutely.
Clint – Maximum health, see, that’s the thing. So you were on the Humira, but then you completely went microbiome supportive and juicing, and your exercise returned fully. You’re into your smoothies, lots of greens, and you had all the support around you, you’re thinking about a positive outcome or a compelling future. You did all of the healthy things, which is the real celebration. That’s where our attention should be because that’s what we can control with our hands and mouth each day. What goes in?
Alana – Definitely. And even if I was like, I said, still on medication. Yeah, that’s amazing and it was working so well for me. Like I say, to be symptom-free and, implementing all those things in my life to keep up my health and to be symptom free, that’s amazing. Or to have low symptoms. And yeah, maximum health. That’s the key thing, if you can live every day feeling the best that you possibly can. Everyone’s different and situational, but I think I feel very blessed and lucky to be in a position that I’m in.
Clint – One thing that I feel really confident about your ability to maintain your status quo is the things that we just mentioned, the checklist of all those positive things that you’re doing right. It’s not that you’ve just awoken to these changes in your life and you’ve just developed some routine around these changes. You’ve been at this now for several years, you’ve been plant-based for multiple years. Your sister’s doing it with your families on board. You’ve been lifestyle-focused, even despite the challenges since a kid. Very active you make wise, deep thinking decisions, and all of this shouts to me, Like it’s going to take what happened to me, which is worth just warning again. I got complacent and I ate a huge, like dripping, oily veggie burger with a large bowl of sweet potato fries, which threw me off and I’d been rock solid for years. So, just don’t do that and it looks very, very good. Like if you were a stock on the Nasdaq or the Dow Jones, or the Australian stock market, I would invest in your stock and say, you’re going, you know what I mean? Like, I would put my money on you and the little bit of alcohol here and there, especially if it’s only wine and it’s not beer. A little bit of red wine here and there, I don’t think I can’t find any studies and any anecdotal stories of that being really detrimental. So if you are going to drink, you are going to have a little cheat, a little red wine here and there appears as far as I can tell from my current knowledge, not that great of a risk.
Alana – Yeah, and like I say, I think it’s just being aware, you know? Which I think naturally, anyone that’s listening probably is always naturally aware of what’s going on and what they’re eating and putting in their bodies and fueling themselves with. But I think that’s just being aware and trying to be as healthy as we can.
Clint – Any talks of marriage with the man?
Alana – Oh, for Sam, I feel like we’re 28, he’s 30, I’m nearly 29, and I feel like this year the pressure’s on. Friends are getting married and having babies and but you know, we’ll see what happens. Yeah, hopefully. Yeah, hopefully in the near future. That would be nice.
Clint – Yes, because not trying to play things forward too much and jump the gun. But you know, there is like a now very clear pathway. If you wanted to start a family, there’s nothing, there’s nothing in the way anymore.
Alana – It’s funny you say that was the first thing my rheumatologist said. He said, Sedona, you know, devil’s advocate. But you know, now would be a good time to have babies and I think soon pumping right soon.
Clint – Chill out, everyone, not married yet. But yeah, no pressure, no pressure for a proposal. Like that one, just take its natural course and you know, as guy to girl. As soon as the girl starts to feel like the pressure is coming, it can actually be like, have the opposite effect. It’s a weird sort of phenomenon.
Alana – Yeah, I think it’s going to try and let it happen naturally.
Clint – Exactly. The happy child, full of love, full of happiness and new lease on life, Alana is going to be the exact sort of person that that’s going to attract that sort of action, you know?
Alana – Yeah. Yeah, that’s it.
Clint – Have we missed anything that you wanted to share or are there some things that you do that you think are particularly helpful? I know you mentioned exercise and that we sort of beat that horse a lot on this show, but talk about that briefly. And also, is there anything else? I mean, is there, complete open question?
Alana – I think rest, which I haven’t really mentioned much rest and sleep is huge and has been for me learning to let my body rest. Saying no, I think is really important when you can beat yourself up and I don’t want to miss that event. Especially having rheumatoid arthritis growing up through those years when you don’t want to miss things with your friends. But I really had to get to a point where I had to say no and learn to do that for my body and be OK with it. Just knowing that rest is productive, you’re not wasting time by resting or napping. I think I’m a Type-A personality, so naturally, I sort of want to be productive always and try to tick things off my list. But I really had to sort of bring that down and learn to rest, essentially. So that was a big one for me, but trusting my body was a really big one that I haven’t mentioned. I think a lot of rheumatologists say, that your body is attacking itself and that really, I think either way at me a little bit as a child and growing up because immediately you don’t trust your body. Then you feel like it’s a strange thought, but it feels like that inside of your body isn’t doing the right thing for you it is, they say it’s attacking itself. So you’re sort of going, Oh, well, like anything could happen at any time if that’s what’s happening in my body, which created quite a bit of anxiety for me, that came and went throughout the years.
Alana – I think, I read a medical medium book and a quote which really flipped that mindset for me, probably around the same time 5, 6 years ago. I wrote it down here because I wanted to share it. But, he said that your body is working for you every day, it’s a pathogen invader that your body is detecting, that it’s working to attack and get rid of rather than your body is attacking itself. And I think you know that for me, really flipped that mindset on its head, and from there, I sort of was like, OK, I trust my body, I love my body, it’s working for me, and yeah, I can try and possibly heal from that. So that was a big one. But other than that, just I think it’s really important to educate yourself and do as much research as you can to come across programs like your own. I think, you know, these are the programs that have given me hope and and sort of faith over the years that healing is possible. But it can take a long time so I think it’s important to be really patient and be grateful for the little wins. Like you say, it’s not about getting off medication, but lowering your symptoms or if you have CERP inflammation that shows up like getting that a little bit lower, things like that, like, yeah, being happy with the little wins and being grateful for those little things is really important as well.
Alana – I mean, it’s been my whole life, really that I’ve dealt with it and to be honest, it’s really made me who I am today. I think growing up, I was very competitive and all that. I think having arthritis sort of opened up my world a bit, it’s made me a bit more of an empath on more understanding that, you know? Yeah. Whilst someone might look fine from the outset and they look like healthy and they can exercise, it doesn’t mean that they’re okay. People have things going on that you just don’t know about. And that’s the thing with the invisible illnesses, isn’t it? People just don’t know when. It’s been a whole part of my life, but I wouldn’t change it in a strange way. I think, yeah, it’s made me who I am today. And you know, health is a huge passion of mine now, and I love talking about it and, sharing all aspects of health with friends and people. It’s amazing, I feel I feel blessed.
Clint – Do you want to reveal your Instagram handle or would you prefer not to?
Alana – I’m a teacher, so it is on somewhat private. But yeah, I’ll reveal it. It’s just AlanaRenee.D. I am on private, but if anyone would like to follow me, that’s fine. But I am a teacher, so I have to do the right thing with all that. It’s all about creating a lifestyle that works for you, and that’s going to look different for everybody. It’s very situational and individualized what that’s going to be, but it takes a while. I found a lifestyle and a life that works well for me and my health.
Clint – Do you feel that eating this way and having this lifestyle kind of makes you feel emotionally, spiritually lighter?
Alana – Yeah, absolutely, I feel like it’s given me some control, like a lot of control over my own health. Whereas I felt previously like I didn’t have control over my body. What’s my body going to do tomorrow? But by doing that, it gives me some sense of control, and and gosh, I feel so good for it. Yeah, my energy, everything become quite a routine eater now. And it’s just how I live. It’s amazing how I feel.
Clint – Well, congratulations. It’s been very interesting to listen to you and also been fun to bounce things around and have a bit of a laugh as well, so keep doing what you’re doing. As I said, you just come across as having such a rounded perspective on what you’re doing that I don’t have to be concerned that you’re going to go and have a big, crazy, wild night out and just ruin it all. So don’t do that. Like my wife points out, sometimes she says, you’re even better for skipping a meal than eating an awful one. You’re not going to die by going to bed hungry one night, but it will mess up your life if you eat something absolutely disastrous. If there’s nothing else on the menu so we can all get by without one meal once a year if we need to at an event or something where there’s nothing there. Social compliance is only complying with people who are less kind of aware and less knowledgeable about these things, so you’re stepping down. And so don’t do any of that, be an advocate for all the things that we do and we talk about share, share with everyone and it’s going to all continue to be awesome. So thanks a lot, it’s been a pleasure to chat with you.
Alana – Thank you so much for having me, it’s been a pleasure.