We discuss in this interview:
- How Anne Marie has been able to get off drugs by following a plant-based diet
- The benefits she is having on the Paddison Program
- Eliminating pain in the feet
- Eliminating shoulder pain
- How to stay on the healing path
- Methotrexate and prednisone – experiences on these drugs and getting off them
- How to expand the foods into more diversity
- How leafy greens are still the greatest path forward
- The morning Green Smoothie that works a treat
Clint – Thanks again for joining me on this podcast where we explore ways in which we can reduce inflammatory arthritis. Today I have another guest to share her tremendous progress by following the Paddison Program and evolving into a more diverse plant-based diet. We have connected on social media. As you know, I post the episodes that we record on Facebook, Instagram and share them on our mailing list. Annmarie, my guest today has made a comment on one of those posts and said, hey, I’ve got a great story, too. So I emailed and said, hey, why don’t we share your story as well? That’s what we’re doing today.
Clint – Now, to frame this, I have only known Anne Marie for about 4 1/2 minutes, so we have connected just for a few minutes now, and she’s giving me the basics so that I can provide a sensible introduction. But I like saving the details for the actual conversation so that I can get that shock factor of her progress and have a real original conversation. I’m going to guide this the best I can, and I know so far that she’s been able to come off some medication, so we’re going to hear about oming off medications. We’re also going to hear about the evolution from the early stages of the Paddison program, where it’s an elimination diet and the foods are simple and repetitive, and that transition period that she has followed to more Diverse foods. And how she found that possible, what she did and the pitfalls and successes that she’s had along the way. She’s all the way from California, and I’d like to welcome you and Marie to this conversation.
Anne Marie – Well, hello Happy to be here.
Clint – Let’s start with the before and after, a little TV commercial. What have you been able to achieve from where you were originally at your worst to today?
Then & Now
Anne Marie – Ok, so my journey probably not very different from everyone else’s that the diagnosis, the day was in October 2017. But I even specifically for this discussion went back to my medical records to see, I feel like there was something before that diagnosis and I went back and looked. I had been going to the doctor, 2015, 2016, 2014 with aches, pains and things, nothing got diagnosed. In twenty 2015 I was at the podiatrist, and I remember specifically I had a lot of foot pain, I was having a lot of trouble. Nothing got diagnosed, he told me to take anti inflammatories, change my sneakers for my activities, and that, so I did that. But things weren’t clearing up, they weren’t really getting better. Again a rheumatologist appointment in 2015, I remember the conversation as you might have something like rheumatoid arthritis, but none of our blood work s conclusive. Your symptoms aren’t bad enough so we can’t really do anything yet, we’re going to have to wait and see. So I even talked to a little bit like, hey, is there a diet change? Are there things that I can do to make sure I don’t go down that path? She said, no, we’re just going to have to see what’s going to happen is going to happen. Don’t change anything, keep living it. I was an active person, so just live a healthy lifestyle. Of course, no guidelines on how to do that, which is, of course, is typical. And she just goes about your day and go about your life and we’ll see what happens.
Anne Marie – Then what happened from 2015 to 2017 was probably just a continual degradation of my health. I remember by the time I went to the rheumatologist in October of 2017, I could not walk. I mean I could not put shoes on my feet, they hurt so bad. It was getting out of bed in the morning was oh please don’t make me do it. My activity level had gone down to nothing, could not even walk my dog because it hurt too much to walk around the block. That was my most affected body part, but I also had aches and pains everywhere else, things that were just coming and going. Like one day I just couldn’t lift my arm over my head because my shoulder was so painful. But two days later it was OK. And that again, I found out later, very typical of this kind of coming and going of joint pain. But my feet were absolutely, positively the worst affected and never changed, they were excruciatingly painful. By that visit in 2017 the bloodwork came back, apparently whatever number she was looking for was acceptable to diagnose me with rheumatoid arthritis. At that point, I got prescribed methotrexate, folic acid, prednisone, because I was in so much pain and some other prescription painkillers that I don’t even remember. So I left that appointment, hobbling and limping with a bag full of drugs and said, OK, if this is what I need to do, this is what I need you, because I am not I don’t want to live like this, I was at my breaking point. I’m like, I am not going to live like this. So if it’s drugs, if it’s whatever. But I also always felt that food is my medicine and I felt there’s got to be a way to at least make some improvements if not really fix this, so I said there’s got to be something I can do, so I started researching.
Clint – What were you eating up until that point? You said you’re very active and have a healthy lifestyle.
Anne Marie’s Old Diet
Anne Marie – Yes, standard American lifestyle. I mean, I’d say I would think it would be healthy. I would certainly all meet all dairy, and I like vegetables. Vegetables wasn’t a problem, but I didn’t eliminate any foods, I just ate what I wanted, whatever I liked.
Clint – Maybe ordering from restaurants, take away or going to restaurants a few times a week?
Anne Marie – Probably by that point, I had kids, so your lifestyle changes when you have kids and not kids, but yeah, so certainly take out foods, any restaurant we wanted, any of it. I didn’t put any restrictions on myself at all up until that point.
Clint – Just like everyone else.
Anne Marie – Exactly, very typical standard American diet that everyone does. At that point I said, OK, I’m going to start researching and there are a hundred different things when you start with Google it gives a thousand search results, right? You start finding the autoimmune protocol and you start finding a bunch of things. So I start kind of sifting through and really spending every free moment just researching, reading and researching and reading and trying to OK, this book and the reviews on this book and this and that. The turning point is when I found your TEDex talk where you talked about your knee was blown up like a balloon and the whole thing. I don’t even remember exactly what it was, but something about that struck me, and I said this makes so much more sense than everything else that I have found so far. So I went further, I actually got the program and I said, OK, this really is about food and changing things. I can control this, it’s a very empowering to really start thinking like, hey, if I can really nourish my body differently because I really do believe that food is my Medicine and that we can truly change our health with food. I felt like that was your message so I said, I can start here, I’m going to do this. So, I mean, I am one of those people when I decide to do something, I jump in with two feet.
Anne Marie – We did not have a juicer in my house when this started, but I said, oh, no, we’re going to get a juicer and we’re going to juice cucumber and celery. I went ahead (inaudible) I put a date on the calendar. That was my Christmas present that year, I got a juicer. I had the program, I had my juicer. I picked a calendar, I told my husband, I said, OK, I’m like, look what I’m doing, I’m doing this and I’m jumping in with two feet. I said, So you’re going to have to help me, help me feed the kids and help me do those stuff because I knew that we were going to have two separate diets for a while. So he said, yeah, absolutely, I want you to feel better and no problem. So I did, I jumped in, I jumped in with two feet, started with the two-day juice cleanse, the whole thing. And I was shocked at how quickly, the pain started to kind of dissipate. Because what I did notice because at that point I had been on Prednisone, a couple of prescriptions worth of prednisone. Prednisone worked great. When I got off of prednisone, I didn’t feel so great. But I also knew that I did not want to be on prednisone for a very long period of time, it’s a pretty harsh drug and has lots of side effects. So I knew I’m like I got to figure out a way to not need prednisone.
Anne Marie – I would say methotrexate for me probably gave me 10%, 15% improvement. Like I did say, I would say I felt on oh, I’ve got a little bit better. I think it works. But 2 months in I feel like well at this point I should be feeling better than this, I feel like if I’m going to commit to taking this drug I should get better benefits than what I had. I didn’t feel like it was enough, but once I started the Paddison Program, and that even the first 2 days of the juice cleanse it was noticeable, like all of a sudden within the first week, like 50% better, which the drugs had never given me, it was really that quick. When you get results like that, it’s easy to stay determined and stay committed because (inaudible) something’s working here I have to stick with this. So I did, I stuck with that. I continued on the methotrexate for a few more months. What happened, which, of course, doctors do not recommend this, but my mother actually passed away, and I had to get on a plane and fly to the funeral. I had completely forgotten to pack the drugs because it’s a totally different state of mind. I Was gone for two weeks, didn’t have them, didn’t even notice, and even traveling, I stayed mostly on my diet. I came back, I had two weeks of missed methotrexate, and then because I was kind of out of sorts, still out of routine, then 3weeks went by, 4 weeks went by, 5 weeks, no methotrexate. And I hadn’t thought about it, It just kind of by accident. All of a sudden I went, holy crap, because I thought, oh my gosh, am I going to die? You know, you’re not supposed to go off those drugs really quickly, and I realized I have been improving the entire time without the methotrexate. I called the doctor and the rheumatologist and told her, I said, here’s what happened, told her the story, and she says, then don’t take it because it’s clearly not helping you. But I have other drugs for you, I can give you. Plaquenil, I could give you a list of stuff I said. But I’m telling you, I feel better, with just diet changes. She’s like, well, that’s not going to last, I don’t know what’s happening, but you’re not going to have long-term results you better really rethink this. If you’re going to go on this path, you’ll be back. Let me know when you feel bad. I said, OK, I have not talked to her since, it’s been since 2018.
Clint – We’re talking about 2/12 years.
Anne Marie – Like three years, and I have not had to go back on the drugs since. I don’t take any painkillers at all, I don’t take ibuprofen, I don’t take Tylenol, I don’t take anything, I don’t take any of that stuff. I just stick with exercise and diet. That’s it.
Clint – Yeah. So many parallels to my story as well. I also come off my methotrexate by traveling and forgetting to pack it, so that’s exactly what happened to me. Also, you mentioned the dramatic improvements during the cleanse phase and the early stages, also my experience, I used to have my pain within 2 days on a cleanse. This is common for a lot of other folks. But certainly I can say that was my experience as well. Also when I came off the methotrexate, you didn’t notice anything except improvement, I noticed nothing. I didn’t improve further, but I had been on it for 3 1/2, 4 years or something. The effectiveness for me early was about, I want to say, about 60% reduction in symptoms, so if I was a nine, like, I was just terrible when I went on that thing, I was just lit up in like 80% of my joints, like everywhere. Finger’s knuckles, hands, ankles, you name it, jaw, everything chest. That might have reduced that from a 9.5, and it might to come down to a 6, but I was still bad on my maximum dose for a while until I started the interventions. For me it was initially a raw food diet and then eventually the baseline.
Clint – There’s a lot of parallels right? When we think we’re going to go on methotrexate, we think, well, for me it was like, oh, OK, I give up, give me the drug, and then I’ll do that for as long as needed and then I’ll feel fine. But you don’t understand that it’s not a complete solution for most cases.
Control Over The Disease
Anne Marie – We were kind of trained to believe that something that comes out of the pharmacy out of a little bottle is magic, and it’s going to make all the difference, right? It’s going to cure everything, and it’s like even if it gives you some relief or some benefit, there’s always more that you can do to complement it. And I think that people just don’t seem to wrap their heads around it. We put too much faith and too much emphasis on the little pill. Which probably really did start me in the right direction and certainly like the prednisone, too, that really did give me some relief break. I responded very well to the prednisone, so that was actually almost a godsend, too, because it just gave me some relief. Where you could just kind of rest and just kind of, oh, thank God, the pain is actually gone. But the payoff of that, I knew I didn’t want that long term. I didn’t want to have to depend on that little pill in particular, because there are so many side effects and it’s so detrimental to your health, and I knew that. I said I got to find something else that I can supplement and make this better. At least at a minimum, my goal at the time, I thought, oh, if I can at least not have to take prednisone maybe once or twice a year, that was kind of my goal. And now I realize, like, I am never going to need that stuff again. I can control this in a way that I will not need that, and that’s just such a relief that my health is only improving as time goes on.
Anne Marie – My most recent blood work has virtually never been better. The doctor said to me, like, I don’t know what you’re doing, just keep on doing it because everything looks spectacular. Including some of the stuff that if you really dive into whole food, plant based and vegan, there’s a lot of talk about some of the minerals or vitamins that you get low in. Like Vitamin B, might be really low in vitamin B if you’re big and for a long time, and vitamin D and all the stuff. So she tested all of it and she says your ranges are spectacular, don’t even worry about it right now. She’s like, we’ll check it next year or in two years, but right now, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s all good.
Clint – And so your inflammatory markers are normal?
Anne Marie – Yeah, everything.
Clint – This does not dictate whether or not there should be a medical intervention or not, but are your rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP ever measured? Because I’m just always curious to see those markers. They’re hard to get down, those ones really hard. They’re just an indicator of the presence of all of the activity of autoimmune activity. So it’s like, is it sitting there behind the surface? I’m just curious if you’ve ever had those measured.
Measuring The Markers
Anne Marie – She mentioned that my rheumatoid factor one was done, that was, I think, one of the diagnostic tests they decide right? So whatever the range was like, I don’t remember at the moment. But that one I asked I need to get that checked again. Like, do we know that’s an indicator of disease activity? And her opinion was it’s not it’s especially after only like the three years she felt like even if it’s budged, it might have budged some, she says, but I don’t think it’s a good indicator. So she said, don’t worry about it, because that number is not going to make a difference in any kind of certainly not treatment. But she says, I don’t think you should depend on that number (inaudible) to know how you’re doing or how you’re feeling. She’s I don’t think it’s going to give you a really good picture. She said really do the SED rates and all these other inflammation markers and all those were really low like I had gone from double and triple and quadruple what they were, all those markers. This is the stuff that’s telling us how much inflammation in your body and how low it is now. She does. I’d rather you focus on that than the rheumatoid factor one. So anyway, so at that point, I said it doesn’t really matter to me, I feel good, as long as there’s nothing glaringly obvious that I should be concerned about. She said, absolutely not.
Clint – Sensational.
Clint – I had a conversation with rheumatologist Dr. George Muñoz about this on one of our live calls that we do for rheumatoid solutions and rheumatoid support twice monthly. And he alerted me to the interesting statistic, and I’m off the top of my head, I just tried to search the helpdesk because I quoted someone a few weeks back and with the scientific study. But apparently over a certain age, around 60, and of course, I know you’re a decade younger than that. But the study was done for 60 plus that something like 40, 50% of people have elevated rheumatoid factor are just regular folks, Okay. Not folks who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory. There is this growing sort of Autoimmune inclination within the Western community, which is not a good sign, it’s not a good thing.
Anne Marie – Well it’s also not a surprise.
Clint – No. So I’m just saying that rheumatoid factor is more common than what we previously thought. I’ll get that study, I’ll link to that study from the show notes. So go to RheumatoidSolutions.com, and then you can find Anne-Marie in our podcast listing. And on the transcription here where we’re up to, I will put the link to that study about rheumatoid factor because I can’t find it right now to quote exact PubMed reference. To get us back on your personal journey, you could barely walk because of the pain in the feet. You started methotrexate, prednisone, you were able to get off both of those drugs, one of them strategically, one of them sort of fortuitously. Then you now have tremendous, perfect blood work. How are your feet? I just want to know before we get into your sort of your advice for us and your teachings for us. What’s it like to walk around? How did you feel your feet change with time?
No More Feet Pain
Anne Marie – It was a slow process. For a while all I could wear was a pair of sneakers, and there was a period of time where that was torture to actually put my feet in a pair of sneakers. They were just so swollen and so sore, the act of walking was just so excruciating. I went from that to just gradually over time, and overtime I mean, over a few months. Before I really felt like I could wear just regular sneakers without pain, the podiatrist had suggested there was a new balance shoe that had a super firm, it was like an Orthopedic sneaker, essentially like $150 orthopedic sneaker. But honestly, for a while it was like the only shoe I could put on my foot and walk at all. Even walking in the house have hardwood floors and it was just excruciating to walk. I’m walking in those sneakers, Oh, it’s not as bad. I could start to actually leave my house and take a little walk, which was a big deal. And then, oh, I can walk a little bit further, Oh, I can do a little bit more, All of that stuff and just gradually over time. I would say probably the better part of the year before I felt like I can wear any shoe, I can wear any flip flop, I can wear any sneaker I want. But that probably took the better part of a year up to a year before I could actually do that. But I was out through that whole time consistently just being really diligent following the diet. I did not do Bikram yoga until I heard about it, and the Paddison program, an amazing thing to do to help with the inflammation, all that kind of stuff. I have historically been a very active person, so my career is physical therapy and fitness training so I’ve been very active. But at that point, like by the time 2015 hit, my feet were really bothering me. I was no longer doing any of that anymore because you kind of start thinking like I must be getting old. Of course, at that point I was only in my mid-forties. I’m getting old, I can’t do this anymore, I must have trained too hard through my entire life. 5K, 10K’s, half-marathons, all the other stuff that I’ve done, like I really wore myself out. I can’t do this stuff anymore. Now I feel like I’ve really hit rock bottom, I’m on the upswing. I cannot wait for covid to really be over so that I can get back out and do the kind of group trainings and things that I am accustomed to and I love because now I feel like, oh, I can do that again. I can get back out there and I can do all that stuff again, and I have not been able to say that since at least 2015. It’s been a good five or six years, the changes in my diet and stuff have only come at the end of 2017, I’m on a trajectory upward. That’s how I feel like for sure, and now I just like I’m ready just to take off.
Clint – That is awesome. That’s brilliant. So you think that you might actually be able to do some stuff with your exercise and group training and so forth that potentially exceeds what you were doing prior to when this all hit?
Anne Marie – Oh, that’s a good question. I’m not so sure I’m motivated to do that anymore, so I don’t know if I really need to do a half-marathon, but certainly a small 5K. Silly, it sounds silly, but when you are accustomed to doing I don’t know if you feel like orange theory and cross-fit like these kinds of weight training, like I used to love that stuff. I mean, there was a point in time even holding on to 1 or 2 pound weights, which of course to me felt like, oh, my God, this is humiliating and embarrassing that I can only hold 1 or 2 pounds. I was afraid to hold those and put them over my head because my hands were sore they were swollen. I wasn’t sure, I didn’t trust my grip even for a pound or 2 pounds. Right now because we’re still pretty locked down, I’m doing workouts in my garage and I’m using 8 pounds, and I’m using 10 pounds, and I’m using twelve pounds, and I have no problem putting them over my head. I completely trust my hands, they’re not in any way, shape or form swollen or sore anymore that’s gone. Just like you think about all the stuff that I couldn’t do before, like little things but they’re not little. It used to hurt like heck to reach for the car seat belts, it would just kill my shoulder. I mean, that’s been going on for a very long time. But it was like all those things every moment of your day when you’re in that excruciating pain and it’s everywhere. It’s just it’s so awful, and now all that’s gone. Like, I only started thinking about some of it now because I knew I was going to talk to you. So I thought, oh, my gosh, I remember when it hurt to put my seatbelt on, I remember when a one-pound weight trying to do an exercise with a one-pound weight was almost impossible and scary because I didn’t know if I was going to drop it. I’m not there anymore, I’m in a completely different place. So it’s like I thought this is really working, and no medicines I’m not taking medication this is completely a lifestyle change.
Clint – Wonderful. Look, that’s just extraordinary, it’s what we all hope for when we have this condition. You’ve just described the the holy grail, the end result, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Whatever metaphor we like, we’re all hoping that one day we can get to a point that I used to incant to myself, pain-free, drug-free, back to massive energy, I used to say it over and over again. I’ve matured in my view of medications over the last decade and think that they are not an enemy and that what we need to do is make sure inflammation is as low as we can get it. When necessary, we add the medication to make that happen after we’ve done as much as we have control over with our diet, exercise, stress reduction, supplementation, sleep habits and so on. But yes, if we’re so healthy that our body is reconfigured so as not to need any interventions, then sensational, and it’s just so beautiful to see that you’ve achieved that for your body, and that is absolutely phenomenal.
Anne Marie – Again, it’s consistency over time and I think we’re a people set themselves up for failure. Now I can look back in hindsight. People don’t realize how much of a commitment it’s going to be, and they look at that as a negative. I looked at it with a completely different view, I thought I actually have control over the food I put in my body. In the Hippocratic Oath, food is my medicine, you can’t control this and you can really enhance and compliment any medical intervention that’s happening. You really can. And really and truly, that’s going to be most of your time spent because only you are feeding your body and you have to eat every single day. This is a huge influence on your health, it has to be. If you look at it in this, it’s like, hey, this is a ginormous investment of my time and energy for my food but yet the chances of the outcome are so big. To me, it’s a no-brainer, and so when you flip the narrative like, oh, poor me, I have to eat all this kind of bland, yucky food. I say, well, this is the cheapest, easiest way to help compliment your health and really improve your health, then why would you not try? Why would you not? Because it’ll pay off in dividends in the end. Just flip that coin over, don’t start with the poor me and try all the food replacements really have an understanding of what a whole food plant, based diet really means, start there. Just as much as an investment in anything else, you invest money in the stock market for retirement, you know you’re not going to get the immediate reaction and the immediate gratification it’s for later. So even if you don’t like some of the food, you have to eat, right? You’re getting the retirement benefit, that’s if you’re investing it right? That’s what you want. I feel like if you look at it in a different light, it’s all of a sudden this medicine is not so bad. Honestly, it’s not if you have to spend a couple of minutes choking down a little bit of broccoli that you think you don’t like, I mean, for the dividends later, is it worth it? It’s two minutes, it’s not that bad.
Clint – I love it. I love the way you put this, the common sense and logic behind it. No, I obviously think the same as you do. I just love how you’re putting it into your words. This is irrefutable evidence
Clint – You’ve got your mindset which I guess, if we to categorize what you’re talking about now, we’ve got to get our mindset right? Which you’ve given us some framework. Eat this because you’re investing into your future so, we got to think about the why. So why are we doing this? It’s because if we do, we are likely not just from stories of those around the world who share on this platform, but from the scientific evidence. And as we shouldn’t find out ourselves our own experience, we will feel better. We have to go down that path knowing the science, there are examples of others, and there is shortly our own experience. So we get the big why and then give us more wisdom here.
Anne Marie’s Tips
Anne Marie – I have a very strong opinion about why people are hating on greens, I can only speak as an American. So I think it’s hilarious now and compared to 45 years before I started this journey. We think of the greens and salads as a side dish, when in fact that’s the main dish, right? And so what does that really mean? So for example, like I told a friend of mine and she nearly lost her mind and people are going to blow their minds. So my go to breakfast smoothie and it’s been here from the beginning. If I do happen to feel a little bit sore or I know that I haven’t been eating really great. My detox or let’s say breakfast smoothie has only four ingredients cucumber, celery, sweet potato, and spinach. Now, let me tell you the amounts; so I put in one entire cucumber, I put in four or five depending on how big they are stocks of celery, the entire steamed sweet potato, and one pound of spinach. Now, people will look at me and say, you are crazy because you can’t eat one pound of spinach in a sitting. And I’m like, I ate it for breakfast and I also said, you absolutely can and you absolutely need to. When you’re in the depleted state, or when you’re really sick, or when you’re really in pain, or when all of that is happening the number of nutrients you need from those greens is ten times more than the average person. And the average person doesn’t even eat enough of those on a regular basis anyway. So when you are not feeling well and you are in excruciating pain, you need a ton of greens. So the easiest way to get greens into your body every single day is to blend them up in a smoothie. Because it’s just easier to consume and you can get the volume down to a more manageable amount.
Anne Marie – And I always tell everyone that I know that said, hey, your veggie soup. First of all, you can get recipes for a no-oil basic veggie soup and there are a hundred of them on the Internet, that’s only a 30 second Google search. Then after you get your basic recipe, here’s what you’re going to add. You’re going to add two or three handfuls of spinach and some shredded cabbage. You’re going to add all these other things to it because they’re not in there. So it’s not hard to do it if, you actually put in a tiny bit of effort into it and it’s not expensive that’s the other thing you always hear. And that breakfast smoothie that I just described probably cost me less than five dollars. And that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going to Jamba juice and it’s better because it has way more healthy ingredients in it. The soup, same thing when you are buying actual whole food, when you actually buy potatoes versus buying shredded frozen potatoes, I spend less than half the money. So when you actually start doing it out I feel like every argument that comes up, I can’t do expensive. But if I’m like, I’m full, that’s not it at all. Right? Absolutely not, because I can give you exactly what it costs. For example, for my lunch today I made a salad for a family of four. I’m sure the entire salad cost me ten dollars for a family of four. And we all left the table satiated and I have two teenagers. So it’s not like I made a tiny little side salad, I made my giant bowl of salad. It’s just huge and it’s just funny to watch. But once you start, it’s hard in the beginning.
Anne Marie – The beginning is really a wrap your brain around it because most people don’t think they could possibly eat a pound of spinach in one sitting, it sounds ridiculous. And I mean, here in Safeway it’s a box one pound. Right. And it’s five dollars at Safeway. I’m like, that’s what I eat for breakfast. So, I go to the grocery store, I’ll buy two or three of those knowing that I’m going to make a few smoothies this week in addition to all the other greens. And that’s why my friends, will laugh at me. Because I have to go to the grocery store every other day because I’m like, I don’t know how much I can fit and how quickly I get through it. So it should be getting fresh groceries every other day for a family of four. And once you really wrap your brain around that and say, OK, this is what I need to do. Then now it’s like, OK, now you’re off on your launching pad, now you’re really ready. Soups and smoothies are the easiest way to get greens in your body and you need them to give a super nourishing, or super detoxing, or really anti-inflammatory stuff. But you can’t just eat your little side salad, if that’s not enough, you need to have the volume. So I’m like if anything please just listen to that. Just eat a pound of greens a day. Like, just start there.
Clint – Yeah. I mean that’s my early stages as well. We used to take photographs of my salads for comical reasons. One time I was staying with a friend of mine, who is a comedian out here in Australia as well, and while we were staying at his beautiful place up in a barn by which is now like the celebrity hub here in Australia. We were staying up there and he had one of these aluminum metal salad bowls, which was absolutely enormous for a family. And I was at his house making my salads in that. And yes, it was just absurd the size and it was full of different sprouts that we bought from the local market. So it was extremely interesting to look at and it was unusual. It was bumpy, lumpy, and full of sprouts, some that were just shooting, and others were an inch long and it was just getting so many laughs from the other people. But look, who cares what people think because it was all about get the grains and grains in. I call it green a mania when we’re in Bali and we’re over there and I was drinking wheatgrass shots, followed by green smoothies, and followed by an afternoon juice. I mean, when you feel better from doing it, you realize, hey, just what works, just keep doing more of it. And there’s going to be one in 200 people who are listening to this and say, oh, what about the oxalates in spinach? So just let me speak to that just for a moment. For anyone who’s just, hey, you can’t have that much spinach. So I would direct people to some videos on nutrition facts, done all by Dr. Michael Gregor, who goes into the dangers of any of having oxalates in your diet, which come a lot from spinach and silver beet or Swiss chard, or whatever is it called depending on your country. Now, watch those videos and put your mind at rest. If you’re eating a lot of spinach, your only risk and it is small if you’re on a plant based diet, is related to kidney stones. If that’s something not in your family, that’s something that you don’t have a problem with. It has a relationship to your gut bacteria and missing certain microbes that break down the oxalates, which make them harmless in certain quantities. In a nutshell, go watch that. If you’re worried about the oxalates, which I never was and Anne Marie don’t appear to be. And so, just for the very small concerns amongst a small minority of people, go check out Dr. Gregor’s videos to look at the science. Eat your greens, don’t worry about the spinach if you’re on a plant-based diet, healthy and mixing them up the safest thing. Dr. Michael says, just don’t exclusively eat the Greens, mix them up so that we’re mixing up our spinach and our other grains, which I recommend in your book anyway. So with that little footnote, let’s move on to more awesome stuff. I want you to be the one talking, not me because I love listening to you.
Clint – Ok, in the four and a half minutes we talked before we started, you wanted to convey one message that you had highlighted, which is the importance of staying on the narrow path of the start before expanding into other foods. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Anne Marie – Yeah, because I feel like it was critical. So I feel like if you get success very early on, you’re going to be more motivated to stay with it. And I will fully admit that I got my juicer for a Christmas present because I was going to do the Paddison Program to the letter. I said I’m going to try this because I figured, if I’m going to do this, there’s no harm in any of this, right? This food is not going to kill me, right? So it’s like there are no side effects to eating this way for me, juicing for two days. Like I’m not going to die because I had celery juice for two days. So I said, if anything or if it doesn’t work, then I’ve lost nothing, right? So I said, we’ll use the juicer at some point again. So within the two days of juice and I really did it exactly the way you described. I did just two days and that itself is a giant change, nobody does that right? Like you don’t normally live your life and decide you’re going to just take celery juice and cucumbers and then, just eat nothing else all day. And I will fully also admit it did not taste second. But I figured I’m like, well if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this. And again, it comes down to, OK, I’m going to choke down this thing for a minute or two with the idea that I’m investing in the benefit. I’m like, I can breathe a little bit and I get comfortable with being uncomfortable, it’s a couple of minutes, right? It doesn’t taste that good but I’m going to get the benefits. I really believe I’m going to really go and see if I can get benefits and well, I did and I got really good. Once you get benefits, it’s like, OK, well then I’ll torture myself for a minute or two with some yucky kind of juice because it feels so much better later. Like, isn’t that worth it? I don’t even understand why someone would not try like I don’t even understand it because like, you’ve nothing to lose. It’s like you already feel like crap, why would you not least try? In my case, it wasn’t that big a deal. Then like what I’ve said, once had a couple of days of really starting to feel better just from that juice itself and it was easy for me to go. I mean, I printed it out like the Paddison Program, I don’t even know if it’s still the same. Back then it was, try this the first ten days and then do this on day thirty. I printed that and I hung it on the side of my refrigerator, it’s still there, it’s still in my kitchen, and I still glance at it. Of course, my diet now is way beyond that but I also leave it there as a reminder like this is where you started. And it’s even though there are some negative connotations of where I started because I wasn’t comfortable and I was in a lot of pain. It reminds me of it and it motivates me to stay on track. Because I’m like, I don’t ever want to have to go back to this day, and I haven’t had to and I don’t want to either. It reminds me like I’m going to continue on the path and the trajectory I’m on and I’m not backtracking like I’m not interested.
Clint – Yes. I want to get with a couple of other things or I want to get you a list shortly, your sort of top five suggestions to our audience. But before we get to that, why don’t we sort of under that umbrella give us some tips about all associated with the reintroduction process based on your experience.
Anne Marie – I think a lot of people have these preconceived notions that they don’t like some of these vegetables and things that are on there. At first, I would say try them and secondly, everyone has access to the Internet, so try to look up some recipes, like when you start to add those foods in. For example, I have kids in my house, I have one kid that will eat lots of raw shaved carrots in the salad and one that only likes them roasted in the oven. So try a different cooking method, don’t necessarily eat it raw, and don’t assume. My kids will tell you they don’t like turnips, except they don’t know that they’re in virtually every soup that I make and they eat them all the time. Zucchini is another one that’s the kids don’t like. Then I said, you like to eat in the vegan zucchini bread I made last night and you liked it in the soup we had last week, and you liked it without knowing that they are there. There are so many ways to prepare it, right? So like, I again, roasted vegetables in my house is a staple. I have three racks in my oven, probably at least twice, if not three times a week. I fill three trays of vegetables to roast them. I put carrots, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli. Roasted broccoli in this house goes like wildfire. Steamed broccoli in this house gets left but with roasted it gets eaten. So try cooking it, preparing it, and eating it in a different way. And again, you can just easily Google that, right? So you think you don’t like that but you don’t know yet, so try it. Try it roasted, or sauteed, or some other way that you’ve never had because you might find out, oh I actually like it in that.
Clint – I love it. And that’s a fresh piece of advice it’s a really insightful and good one. And you made me laugh with how you sneak in the foods into the kids. Sneaking the unwanted veggies in with the food. Off the top of your head and I’ll put you on the spot now but can you list some non-negotiable for Anne Marie’s lifestyle that keeps you healthy?
Anne Marie – I eat the greens, I eat them every day without fail. And now, I’ve challenged myself to prepare them and present them to my family in different ways. Because I am the main cook, the main preparer of the foods and that’s my household duty. And I can tell you that over time, some of the whole food plant-based foods have now been substituted for the regular foods and they like them better. It would be so much easier if I could, in a pinch, do Kraft macaroni and cheese, even though it’s garbage, right? And feed that to my kids because they don’t even like it anymore. Now I found what they want, tried and true recipe over time, a true whole food plant-based mac and cheese, and they like it better. The good and the bad in that it’s great and it’s much healthier and happy to serve it to them. But it’s a more complicated recipe, right? It’s not quick.
Clint – My wife right now would be just like, I hear you Anne Marie(inaudible) over my shoulder. She is trying to get in in the camera and say, I spend half an hour. It’s because she also makes that sort of stuff too.
Anne Marie – I think it’s great and that’s what you make sure if everyone likes it. Now I know I make a double or triple of it, right? So I have leftovers and I have them because it’s not a quick meal. But I always tell people, if you’re going to try this don’t start at the more complicated recipes, don’t do that. Don’t kill yourself because you’re setting yourself up to fail. You need to go much simpler just start with the vegetables that you already like. For example, stick them on cookie trays, put them in the oven, and roast them. Start there because you already know you like them. Then add in a couple that you didn’t know you liked. For example, you’re going to see the turnips at the grocery store buy a couple, put them into wedges, stick them next to the potatoes and see how you like them. Then, come up in a soup, just try them and just do something different with them. But do the simplest things first, before you try to replace all those lovely standard American diet kinds of foods that you love because you’re going to be disappointed. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment and they’re different, especially if you have kids, and they are unforgiving. So it’s like you just have to kind of walk them through the fire slowly. So I always make sure that from the beginning and now it’s much easier.
Anne Marie – I always have some of the vegetables that they like, the way they like them cooked. So I will throw some roasted vegetables on the table and I would say dinner at our house is much more always a bit more of like a salad bar. There’s some steamed broccoli, but then there’s the leftover roasted broccoli from last night. Everybody gets to pick and choose what they like. And then there’s always the rule that you have to try that. You don’t have to like it, but you have to try it. And after a while they find out, oh, actually, I kind of do like that, it just kind of builds over time. And that’s the way to really try to incorporate your family into it because I know that’s a big hurdle for a lot of people to For example If I’m going to eat differently and I’m going to eat what everyone else is going to consider weird, you have to make some compromises. I would say, just add a couple of things at a time and overtime because it’s consistency over time. This is not an overnight thing because it takes time, but once you start dealing with those results. It’s so much easier to commit to it and I’m not going back because I’ll do this. And COVID helped a lot because I still am the main cook in the family, everybody’s here for lunch and for dinner. So if I decide this is all I’m cooking today, take it or leave it. But I’ve converted a few more recipes and now they’re saying, well, I like that too. And sometimes they like it better, knowing my kids would never ask me for Kraft Mac and cheese again. They’ll never ask me for that because now, it’s like garbage and it tastes like crap. Can you make the real good mac and cheese? Yes, but not today I don’t have time. I’ll make it tomorrow.
Clint – I feel like I’m just talking to Melissa right now and she is like that every day because she makes her own pasta sauce. So she makes the delicious pasta sauce and she’ll go into all the details of what’s in it and stuff like that. And she said, it took me half an hour just to prep it. And then I’ll add all of the extra bits and pieces, which is delicious and everyone loves it. But gosh, isn’t it easier just to crack open a jar from the supermarket? But now she’s doing her own pasta sauce and she doesn’t mind. She said that’s what my grandma used to do and so that’s the positive spin she puts on. It’s much healthier for the family and we all love it. No preservatives and it’s oil-free so everyone can just. But the point is well taken because I hear it from Melissa all the time, is that it’s a lot of work to be the healthiest version of the foods to create.
Anne Marie – But it gets easier when you start because when you start figuring out your own shortcuts. You start figuring out what makes more sense and how to incorporate it all into your day. It just starts because it’s a new habit and it’s like after a while it becomes a new habit. And then I can’t imagine going back now and not doing some of the things that I do now. For example, I just can’t even imagine what life was like before that. I just don’t and that’s the point, and I’m like, this is just what we do. This is just how I do things now.
Clint – I wanted to jump in before, but you were saying such wonderful things. And I didn’t want to stop but I made a mental note. When you’re talking about getting lots of grains, having to go and buy grains every couple of days, the more that our life reflects the way that things would likely have been before the Industrial Revolution. So we rewind hundreds of years if we think about it. I like to think we probably would have been outside all the time, getting lots of vitamin D. We would have been walking barefoot quite often on the ground, which has healing properties. And it’s good for our foot arch, it’s good for calf muscles and alignment, and all of the benefits of barefoot walking. We would have been out getting leafy greens, planting vegetables, and whatever it might be on a daily basis. So we would have been getting our food every day.
Anne Marie – I agree.
Clint – So it’s not a negative that you have to get fresh produce on an alternate day frequency because that resembles more closely what we would have done before we made life convenient.
Anne Marie – Yeah, I agree.
Clint – So that’s not a negative because I go and buy mung bean sprouts every day because they go off so quick and I eat a bag a day. So I’m replenishing mung bean sprouts which are really perishable every day and for me, it’s like a nice habit. I finish at the gym popping, grab them, walk, and that takes me less than five minutes. But if you can’t store the healthiest food for long periods.
Anne Marie – But people don’t realize that it’s a new habit that you have set over time. And I think in the beginning people think like, I’m too busy, I don’t have time, and I can’t do this. And again, the mindset has to switch, like, if you go right from work, you go home and you didn’t go to the grocery, you don’t get the fresh stuff. Like, well, I didn’t have any fresh stuff and you just order takeout. 9 times out of 10, where are you actually spending your time on, Facebook or watching TV or something else? So it’s like, give up that time and do this instead as an investment in your health. And your well-being and you have more time for Facebook and you will.
Clint – And can I add to that? Instead of your post, which will be something meaningless. For example, sharing some meme of some idiot doing something stupid, your update could be some inspiring, delicious meal that you’ve just created. And you can feel good about yourself, as opposed to the counterproductive feelings that social media normally give you, which is everyone else has a better life than me. Stop that and look at what you’ve just done. Here’s your quick in post and out again, and you still feel good. You’ve achieved something and you’ve still gone on social media, but you’re now the voice and not some follower listening to someone else. I love that as well. We’ve been chatting a lot and we could chat a lot more. I really enjoy your wisdom and your whole attitude, but let’s try and wrap this up with just a couple more non-negotiable for you that you can share with us.
Anne Marie – Exercise too is a critical part of it and I had to blow differently at different points. And at one point I really did because I was a very active person. So to go from very active to not being able to do anything was really like a kick in the stomach for me. And to understand that to me, yoga used to be for sissies and now I realize how yoga is actually a real workout. And it’s incredibly beneficial for people with this kind of joint pain and stuff. It really is a great exercise and I would say before I wouldn’t have necessarily classified it as an exercise, but it absolutely is. And at some point, I feel and in this time too I allowed myself to not have exercise. Like I think there are some points in time where, like, you need the rest more than you need the exercise. And it could be a mental reset, it could be truly needing more sleep, or needing more nutritious food, or not concentrating on like I have to get this workout in. And sometimes I feel like add the workout as like I feel like good enough to do it rather than making it. I have to and it’s like not that kind of thing. So it’s like changing the feeling around exercise too. But yes, without a doubt it’s like just spend the time then the energy to really do the food and get the sleep. It’s like nothing that’s different than what you’ve been saying all along or anything that’s a lightning stroke of difference. It’s just really eating the real good food, get good sleep, do all the work that takes stress reduction, and all that stuff it all adds up. And you should be just doing that on a normal basis anyway because that’s just how we have to get to life. But every little thing will complement what we’re trying to accomplish here, which is just to live a life that’s as pain-free as possible. I think that’s what everyone’s goal is in here. It’s like it’s you can get there it’s a journey, but you have to be consistent. And if you have a bad day, be gracious to yourself and give yourself a little bit of grace. Like everyone’s going to screw up, I mean I don’t have perfect days all the time and I will admit. I am an NFL junkie during football season and I eat a lot of potato chips, but I also have more smoothies during that time to try to counteract it. But I can do that now, but in the beginning, I couldn’t. And that first NFL season when I first started, it was not going to work. Now, three years in, I can eat potato chips now, but knowing that tomorrow I need to have a good smoothie to counteract that.
Clint – And that is a really dialed-in and finely tuned awareness and you can play that game. As you said, once you’ve mastered the art of pain mind relationship, the awareness is there and it’s at an advanced level. Just to close that out, I don’t think any of us would ever say that, this was a wonderful thing to have happened. I don’t think that I could ever go so far at any time to say I’m glad that I got rheumatoid arthritis. However, I’m wondering with you, given that it’s happened. How would you say your life has improved? What are the improved parts of life that have been a consequence of that horrible diagnosis now like today?
Anne Marie – Well, I was forced to do the research, time, and make a commitment to make not only my life healthier, but I truly have made my family’s life healthier and so there is a benefit to that. I have a daughter that’s actually looking into colleges now and she’s in junior High School, and one of her critical characteristics that she’s looking for in a school is, how good is the food here? Can I get vegan and vegetarian? And that’s now a priority to her, which is not typical for a 17-year-old kid. So because she has lived in this house now, and now she knows. And she goes like, Well, I don’t want to be in a place that I can get nothing but McDonald’s. And she’s like, I need to make sure that I’m in a place that has a good amount of the food that I want to eat. So it’s a priority to her and I’m glad that I’ve been able to because it could never happen if this didn’t happen. And because it wouldn’t have been a focus in our house and in our lives, and now it is. Now good eating is a priority in our family. My second daughter, she’s an athlete and she plays soccer. I also notice she plans her diet better, knowing what to eat, what not to eat, and when to eat, before her workouts, or before games of hers. And again, I don’t think we would have been at that place if this didn’t happen, because there’s just so much more knowledge that has come into the house now by default. And it’s just dominoes for me, I have to be the kingpin. I have to be the one that’s doing the cooking in the kitchen, that’s just how my house works. But I’m a domino to them now and they saw or they watched me because they were old enough. They saw the pain I was in and they also saw how uncomfortable I was. And now they see me working out in the garage, lifting weights, and doing all the stuff now. They know how greatly this affected my life. So again, even just a little bit of a domino effect, food kind of makes a big difference. Like what you eat is is truly how what’s going to be your health level. So my husband’s health is also improved, he’s lost weight and he’s doing well, too. So it’s like we’ve all noticed a difference and that’s also rewarding. It just keeps us all in the same direction.
Clint – Absolutely lovely. It’s amazing how when we mature and we have kids, we can feel so satisfied that it is an enormous accomplishment to improve their lives in a significant way. And that alone putting aside our own health improvements in our own lives. And that just means so much that we’re setting them up for a healthier future. And because mom has had some health compromise in the past. I’ll look back as they grow older and say, we need to be careful too. My mom had this diagnosis and we got to be sure that we live in a way that we minimize any predisposition against getting the disease ourselves. Look, we have to look for these positive aspects of negative things in life. And what you’ve instilled into the children now is tremendous and it really gave me goosebumps when you were saying that.
Clint – Well, thank you. I just absolutely loved having this conversation with you. And thank you for posting on my Facebook comment or Facebook post about how well you’ve done. You’ve blown my socks off in terms of your story, in the way that you’re so eloquent at talking about this stuff. If anyone else has a short story to share please let me know. Because whilst they come through in a steady flow, I love sharing as many as possible. So reach out to my post under a Facebook episode or on Instagram. Let me know and come share your story too, because you can see how uplifting it is to hear from Anne Marie. Thank you, Anne Marie, It was just tremendous.
Anne Marie – Yeah, thanks. It was a fun afternoon, I’m going to go walk my dog.
Clint – Good, I’m going to the library because I’ve got a book there then, I’ll go to the gym after lunch. We got both got a lot of activity in our day, which is important. Thank you so much.
Anne Marie – Yeah. Thank you.