The Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis has put Margaret in the position to come off multiple medications, reduce RA symptoms to almost zero and get back in control of her health.
We discuss in this interview:
- How Margaret has massively reduced swelling with the Paddison Program, coming back to her running activity
- Her heavy doses of medications and how she has been able to quit them
- Side effects of methotrexate
- Humira and insurance dynamics in the US
- Adjusting to the Paddison Program from an already plant-based diet
- The 2-day cleanse and its immediate results
- The power of being in control of our health
- Useful food tips
- The impact of a healthy diet on mood and state of mind
- Supplements and exercise
Clint – Don’t we love happy stories today? I’ve got Margaret on the episode to talk about her journey with rheumatoid arthritis. She was on multiple different rheumatoid arthritis medications. She has improved herself so much with her lifestyle changes that now she’s on a low dose of methotrexate only. Also, her symptoms are far less than they were even when she was taking the higher dose and multiple medications. Margaret, welcome, I’m really looking forward to your story.
Margaret – Wonderful. Thank you, Clint.
Clint – Now, tell us or I like doing the snapshot the before and after. Like I wasn’t able to walk down the stairs, but now I can do this. Give us a little something to look forward to in this episode.
Margaret – I mean, I got to the point where walking up and down stairs was difficult. My knees would give out sometimes and I had a lot of swelling. I was waking up in the morning and having to sit on the side of the bed. I just did a lot of self-talk because my feet hurt so bad, which was probably one of the worst things. I thought, okay, I got to walk to the bathroom and that’s kind of where I was. Then my wrists and hands would kind of flare. But probably my knees and my feet were probably the worst. Now, I’m to the point where I am running again. I am running better and faster than I have in years. I also experience minimal to no swelling and I can go up and down stairs. Thus, I’m just so incredibly grateful.
Clint – Wonderful. Well, for our audience who will listen to or watch this episode, I don’t know your story. All of that was new to me and that’s the way I like it. It is because I want to sit through this and experience this with the audience and ask the questions that they would. Before we talk about what you did, let’s talk about when you were diagnosed. Was it rheumatoid arthritis? I think you told me that you at one point had a rheumatoid factor elevated in an email that you exchanged before we set this up. Also, you had elevated anti-CCP antibodies. So did it start in the feet or was it like always a problem in the knees? Tell us about the progression and then the drug management, and then we’ll get into what you did about it.
Margaret – Okay. I was diagnosed in 2019. Looking back, I have had symptoms for years and I just didn’t recognize them. I was doing a lot of running a lot of marathons and getting older, so I just kind of attributed some of that pain to getting older and being active. However, the first kind of major flare I had was in 2019 I was at work, and it just came out of nowhere in my wrist. It was after lunch and I went to pick something up, and my wrist was swollen and it hurt. Then, you try to reason away what it could be. I thought it had been cutting some fabric the other day. However, within an hour, my other wrist experienced the same thing. By the time I left that evening, I could hardly put my coat on and my shoulders hurt so bad, and I was struggling to drive home. Then, when I got home, I put ahead ice packs and heating pads. I remember my husband came home and I was like, I don’t complain much about things. Then he was like, what is going on? I said I think I have rheumatoid arthritis and to which he says, that’s not good. He doesn’t know anything about medical things. But I said, what do you know about this? Then he said, I had to write a paper on it in eighth grade and he kind of knew that it wasn’t good. Then that week I went to my doctor and I got the labs done. My factor rheumatoid factor was negative, ESR was negative, but my anti-CCP was just off the charts. Then, I got the diagnosis and I was just doing ibuprofen trying to manage it, but that pain is just so relentless. I think by the third day I was just kind of laying in bed trying not to move and it was just incredible. Then, I got on prednisone and then it took probably that November, and I don’t think I got into the rheumatologist till the next month. Then, I started on methotrexate right away. I mean I was doing pretty well that whole next year or so starting off at four tablets a week. Then, I went up to six and I was doing okay for the next year or so.
Clint – Are you still on the steroid at this point?
Margaret – Yes, I would take them occasionally. Historically, I was running a lot and I would take ibuprofen quite often, and I would get gastritis sometimes like just really bad stomach upset from this ibuprofen. I was managing it between that, prednisone, ibuprofen, and methotrexate. I was just trying to manage it but wasn’t able to. Then, probably one of the biggest losses I had was my husband and I and friends of ours, we would run together every week. We were doing races and just having a good time and I couldn’t do it, especially those long runs. I mean, I could do it, but the next day I would pay for it like swollen joints, knees, and fatigue. I guess I didn’t realize how bad I was till I felt better. Then it was kind of like, how was I functioning? I wasn’t sleeping well and I had so many nights where I’d wake up because I’d have to change positions. It is because whatever was hurting and it was multiple times a night. I mean, enough that I would look at the clock and think, oh my goodness. I used to work out in the mornings, and I was an early riser and I wasn’t doing that anymore. I just really felt like it was changing, who I was and it was a lot of loss. I felt like. I was just kind of trying to manage those things, knowing Prednisone was not good to take long-term for bone health and all sorts of reasons.
Clint – You knew that because of your profession. Did you mention to me prior to the call that you’re a nurse? Is that correct?
Margaret – Yeah, I’m a nurse.
Clint – So that’s also why you knew straight away that you suspected that it was rheumatoid after you got these symptoms. Like, I know what this is because of my job. At this point, your rheumatologist probably sees you again. Then says, you’ve still got some symptoms and you’re probably telling him or her that you’re complaining about the fatigue and so on. What was then the pharmaceutical decision at that point?
Margaret – I mean, if I would go in and complain about something, it is increasing the dose. Then at one point, it was suggested that I go on injectable methotrexate, which I was going to do. However, I didn’t and I just chose not to. Then, somewhere in there I switched rheumatologists mainly out of just convenience. Honestly, I felt like they were both wonderful people. I just felt like I was just going in and it was just going to be medication after medication after medication. It was kind of like I kind of felt like, it doesn’t really matter who I go to because this is going to be the regimen.
Clint – Yeah, I understand.
Margaret – I remember the first one I went to, of course, your first appointment. I go in there with all these questions about diet. I was already eating whole food plant-based several years prior to that because of high cholesterol. Then, I watched forks over knives and was an immediate convert. So that was another devastating thing about getting this diagnosis because I felt like I’m eating well. However, going into the rheumatologist and saying, I’m a runner, I like to run, and I do it for mental health. Then it was kind of like, well, just do the elliptical or just do something else. It was probably really disappointing and I just often felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of answers or alternatives or direction about diet.
Clint – Some of these professionals are like the ultimate hope crushes. It’s like it’s a part of their job description, you know? It is just because they see bad cases and the prognosis for many folks isn’t great. Literally, they don’t (most of them) know the science and evidence between diet and arthritis. As my friend Dr. Yu the rheumatologist who we have on our monthly live calls for our members. You’ve mentioned oxidative stress to rheumatologists and you get a blank stare like it’s crazy. Some of the stuff that I talk about day in and day out as being contributing to the disease. Then, I can present paper after paper after paper where researchers are publishing in the major rheumatology journals. It’s just not that not part of the way they think or they’re thinking what symptoms, what drug, what imaging is required, what labs need to be done to monitor the disease and to minimize the symptoms, not what’s causing it. Whereas I spend all my time looking at what’s causing this. The disease is so complex and there are so many different ways you can look at it, treat it, and as a patient, manage it. One can certainly be forgiven for not knowing absolutely everything about it because it’s so complicated, right?
Margaret – Yeah, I think agree. I know they say they don’t know what causes it, and that was any research done early on. It was like they don’t know what causes it. It’s like, something did because before I was okay and now I’m not. I mean, something causes this and I think that was one thing that was just always in my mind. Also, talking about that first visit to the rheumatologist. We’re sitting in that waiting room and I am seeing people walk by in really bad shape, right? I mean, their fingers are pointing in every direction except the way they’re supposed to be pointing. I’m just watching them and thinking, is this my future? I remember my husband saying, just stop and don’t go there. But the rheumatologist said to me, I’m sure you saw some people out in the waiting room that was in fairly bad shape. Those are the people that didn’t want to take the medication and now they want to do something about it.
Clint – So they say, I’ve heard this so many times and it’s those like persuasive minds. The studies show that those who go on medication early with aggressive treatment do have better long-term outcomes.
Margaret – One thing too, she was talking about methotrexate and said you know people are afraid of methotrexate and really large quantities. It’s used for chemo it’s but you will be taking a small dose and it’s safe on and on. However, it’s like you also have to take folic acid to prevent anemia, hair loss, and mouth sores. Then, you hear that and you think it is kind of a big deal that I’m taking this. It’s like just brushing it off or like no big deal.
Clint – The real threat, despite all of those things that come up the most, is liver damage or oxidative stress to the liver. It is the ALT and the AST markers that you look for each month when you get your blood done, as you must do because this is serious stuff for your liver. Then moments before we started this call, I was just communicating with someone in rheumatoid support who’s just updated me, and she’s had to come off her methotrexate. It is because her ALT and AST are elevated and she’s in the best shape ever we’ve got. She’s cruising along with really low symptoms, CRP, and everything’s really great. She feels fantastic, but now she has to stop her methotrexate, which interrupts everything all of the balance that’s involved. It is because her liver enzymes are way up from the drug. I mean, that’s one of the considerations, right? I went really close to having to cut off methotrexate because of my liver as well. We had a great chat there about these considerations and challenges. Then, you changed rheumatologist, and then you went to the new one. What happened then?
Margaret – Honestly, kind of the same story and I really like him, and his a very nice guy. Interestingly, I had an appointment just last week and I hadn’t told him what I was doing yet that I had been doing your program. I went in thinking that I’m going to tell them all about this and see what he says. It was kind of like, I’ve heard some things and I wish he hadn’t heard of your program. The doctor said do whatever works kind of thing. He said he was going to look into it, but I’ll check back next time and see if he did. I’m all excited and saying, and I feel fantastic. I’ve had my medication, my methotrexate, and it’s kind of like that’s nice.
Clint – We go through this with every guest I have on the show, we have this same conversation. We’ve presented something that is not only effective but sustainable long term, essentially a sort of permanent reduction of symptoms. The rheumatologist shrugs and it’s just like do whatever you’re doing. Also, a sense that it’s not that interesting to me or you keep doing it, which to us is just dumbfounding. It is because it’s the disease that they are meant to be the expert in treating. However, that’s an area of expertise that is not where they’re at. As a result, it’s like good for you
Margaret – I remember last spring when I went in and was not doing well. I remember he said to me, you’re in your forties. Once you get on the max dose of methotrexate, we’ll put you on a biologic probably Humira and then that’ll probably hold you over till you’re 65 and then Medicare will pay for infusions. Then, I said well what am I on the max dose of methotrexate. Then, he was like you’re pretty much there and I just left that day just kind of in tears. It is because I thought he’s got my whole life mapped out for me because this is my future. I am going to be forever dependent on these drugs. Then, he’s got me like he’s got my story till I’m 65 doing infusions and it just felt so hopeless. At that point, I was willing to try anything because I did not want to go on Humira for multiple reasons. I tried acupuncture, I tried multiple different supplements and nothing was working. I eventually said, okay, I’m ready to feel better. Let’s start this new era and I don’t know if you’re ready for that little story yet.
Clint – We want to get the Humira story down, and then we want to spend the balance of our call talking about great things. Can you give us some insights into the ways that you’ve used the program to get your life back on track, how quickly it happened, things that you had to modify, and how it was working? It is because you’re already on the whole food plant-based. I want to know how what the subtleties were for you and so on. Let’s get the Humira done and then we’ll talk foods, exercise, and all the rest.
Margaret – I made the call and started this whole Humira process, in which they assign you a nurse ambassador. She said to me or she contacted me and wanted to know my story Then she said, we are very committed that you get your medication no matter your financial situation and your insurance situation. We are just very committed to this you. I think I got it delivered to my door in a week. I mean, I had this month’s supply of Humira sitting on my doorstep for thousands of dollars. I was just shocked and they have this copay card, so they pay for it until I would hit my deductible. I’m looking at this cost when I saw my insurance, explanation of benefits just horrified by the cost.
Clint – Can you just explain because I’ve lived for two years in the US, we’re here at the moment. However, we’re just visiting on this occasion and for the rest of the world and also for some people. My memory was this we paid a ridiculous amount of money being self-employed for our monthly premiums. There’s all the jargon, right? Correct me as I make mistakes, but if we’re at something like $1,600 a month for our premium for our family. Can everyone just take a moment and think about how much money that’s US dollars, 1600 a month? Just for our family to have insurance and not to use it, but just to have it right. Then, when we would go to a doctor like a child gets some kind of like compulsory MMR injection because they’re two years old or something. Then, there’d be a cost and then our insurance would cover some of it. I understand that our contribution was the co-pay, am I using the right phrase? Then you continue to do this until those co-pays add up to, in our case, something like $9,000 per individual per year. If my little girl goes and has her MMR injection because she’s two and we contribute $50 Then the insurance covers $200 or something, and that $50 comes off $9000. Thus, we’re down to $8950 which we still have to pay before insurance will cover the rest of our thing for that year. If she breaks her arm, thankfully no one has anything like that, then we’d be up for $8,950, and then insurance would cover it or the rest of it. Then whatever bills would have for the rest of the year just for her, but we’ve got the same scenario for each. With that now understood, what happened with the Humira here?
Margaret – Yeah, that was good and we have high-deductible insurance as well. Luckily, it’s through my husband’s work and so they contribute to the premiums, which is very generous and nice. I get this explanation of benefits and it’s saying that the retail cost of Humira for one month was like $13,000. Then, it was like the insurance discount brought it down to $8000. And then how was this? Then, I think I would have owed $4900 after all these discounts.
Clint – You would have been out of pocket for the $4900 for the month.
Margaret – The drug company said, you get this copay card and on this copay card is like 16,000. So, you won’t have to pay anything and I kind of don’t believe it. I got it for the month, didn’t have to pay a thing, and it actually was helping. After a month, I didn’t know that my feet could not hurt and it’s been so many years I’ve been living with this. Then I thought, will I get it in the second month? During the second month, it comes to my door and I didn’t have to pay anything. I thought, why are they paying for this? They’re essentially paying my deductible. Once that’s done, the insurance is going to have to fork out this cost. I feel like it’s this whole racket that I don’t want to be a part of, right? Then, the drug company is blaming the insurance company and the insurance company, and then in the middle is this patient that just wants their medication.
Clint – Let me put this and I hope this doesn’t come off as skeptical. Let me repeat this back and see if you agree with what I think’s going on here. I think our audience understands this as well. What’s happening here is the drug company knows that their product is so highly-priced right that the patient may not be able to afford it. They want to basically get that patient onto the onboarded so that the insurance company can then pay the drug company the exorbitant price to make that happen. They don’t mind covering the cost for you and giving it to you for free until quickly, because I only take a month or two. Then, the insurance company has to pay them their maximum price. It’s like here’s an ice cream for the child. Thus, the child wants ice cream and becomes interested in ice cream. Then, mum and dad have to pay for ice cream for the rest of the year.
Margaret – Working in health care and dealing with insurance. Anyway, I thought well what’s going to happen every month? I was kind of like what’s going to happen this month? During the third month, I got a call from the specialty pharmacy and they were like, there is a problem with your copay card. It looks like you’re going to owe like $1900. If you just want to give us another credit card, we can just ship it. I was like, do not ship it. We were heading out of town and I will just sort this out when I get back. I’ll call my nurse ambassador from Humira and get this sorted. I get back and was on the phone for probably 2 hours with her. She was saying how committed they were that you get your medication no matter what. The insurance companies have kind of caught on that we’re actually paying your deductibles. Now you have to call this other division, this financial division. Then, I had to download this app. Then she goes, if you can afford it, just go ahead and pay for it and you should get reimbursed. I was on hold with the financial division for at least probably 30 minutes and it never got through.
Clint – Now, hang on. This financial division was it under the Humira umbrella.
Margaret – Yes, it’s under Humira, but I had to call this other number. Then, I get done with all of this I hang up and I left a message. I hung up and I just looked at my husband and I said, I’m not I’m not doing this. I am not spending 2 hours of my life every month essentially begging for medication. Of course, he is like, we’ll pay whatever we need to pay. I’m like, no way and I will find something else. Then he’s like, what are you going to do? I said, I don’t know, but not this. When I was first diagnosed, my friend’s sister had rheumatoid arthritis and I called her. Then, she told me about this program, your program that was plant-based. She wasn’t going to do it because she doesn’t want to do the plant-based thing. I never looked it up because I’m thinking I’m already doing that. I didn’t even look it up, but now I was desperate. I thought I must be missing something, I got on. I watched your TED talk and it was just mind-blowing. Right away, I realized that there were three things I thought that was okay. This is what I can tweak and see what happens. I was drinking an irresponsible amount of coffee for many years. Also, I was taking a lot of ibuprofen. As I mentioned to the point I would get gastritis sometimes and between taking it for running. Then, I would get pretty bad headaches with my period. Over the last few years, I had kind of added oils back into my diet. When I first started whole food plant-based, it was for my high cholesterol. I had to cut out all oils, but then I kind of added that back and some seafood. It felt like there was something I can do. Then, I spent I don’t know how much time and I think I watched your TED talk. Also, I don’t know how many times. Then, I looked at all your interviews with other people and I thought I’m I’m doing this. Thus, I went out and bought a juicer I think that night. I love kitchen appliances and it was a good excuse to get a juicer. The first big challenge for me was getting off a coffee and that was pretty brutal. I had a pretty bad headache for a couple of days, but my joints didn’t hurt. I mean, I am not kidding. I had relief within 48 hours of starting the celery cucumber juice. I did the cleanse and I think I made it for 36 hours or whatever. I didn’t quite make it the whole 48 hours, but I felt fantastic and I just couldn’t believe it. The biggest thing I would notice in the morning, I always had swelling around my ankles and knees. Every morning I would get up and put my feet out. I just couldn’t believe that this could work. I think I did have quite an advantage because I already knew how to eat whole foods plant-based and that is a huge hurdle to get over. I felt like I did get results pretty quickly and it wasn’t so difficult to do. I started on the weekend and then like that Wednesday I thought after work I’m going to stop at this. We have a running path near where I work and I thought, I’m going to go running and see if my joints swell. Notoriously, if I would go exercise the next day, I would gain weight because of swelling.
Clint – What?
Margaret – I thought I’m going to test this out. I went running, I felt great, and I was really out of shape because I couldn’t really breathe. However, I didn’t have any swelling the next morning and I couldn’t believe it. Then, thinking back to all those times when I was taking ibuprofen or prednisone for joint pain, which just made everything worse. I don’t know, that was just a big aha moment for me of gut health and leaky gut. I had heard of that concept, but until I experienced it. I’m not sure I would have believed it but experiencing it, it’s incredible.
Clint – That’s actually one of the main reasons that the two-day cleanse is there. It’s not there because it is essential to making long-term progress or getting the best possible outcome. It’s there for the experience of, oh my gosh, look at this connection that’s there.
Margaret – Yeah.
Clint – There’s an extra subtlety to this that I’ve mentioned on a couple of live calls recently that I haven’t mentioned in podcasts, I don’t think. But that subtlety is that when the body suddenly experiences a starvation state where the calorie intake is insufficient, then inflammatory processes driven by the immune system are given low priority. What does this mean? It just means that the immune system begins to allocate resources to survival and does not operate normally. There are two things going on here; one is we have less trans locating undigested proteins from food entering our bloodstream. Now, we have that because there’s just no food. I used to think that bacterial components entering my blood were the only thing that was going on when we stop eating. But the contribution from your immune system deciding, there’s no food, starvation is happening. I, therefore, will stop the inflammatory process and I will stop producing leukocytes white blood cells to attack this perceived threat in my joints, which in fact could very much be a real threat. Given that bacteria and bacterial components have been identified in the joints of our patients. It just stops doing it and so you feel euphoric because the immune system has given you a break. Thus, there are two things happening now. I spent probably nine years under the thought paradigm that it was only the first contribution, which is no food and no stuff entering my bloodstream. Therefore, no immunoreactivity in my body. If I have known that there is a second component, which is your immune system just stops because you’re in a starvation state, which is very much the case according to science. If I’d have known that back in the day, I may have never pursued this whole journey with the same fervor and conviction that I have. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have because I would have thought, it was just because of that. It is because I believed that it was entirely due to the food I never stopped, so my naivete gave me great motivation.
Margaret – I’m glad you didn’t stop and I’m so thankful that you didn’t just take their word, the specialist’s word for it and sort that out.
Clint – Even if it was just for my own health because it was a great thing not to know. Also, believing that entirely that was due to food equals pain. Therefore, let’s get the food right, and let’s go on this journey and continue on that. It was only when I was writing my book, only like about a year and a half ago. It was something that I make this extra connection. So where does that bring us now? You were a really quick responder and you did the cleanse. Thus, you felt so much better real quick. Then, we know that only last week you went to your doctor and you said how well you’re doing. But in that period between when you started the Paddison program to last week, what has been the progression, and what happened to the Humira? Did you just leave it aside and how did you feel after all this?
Margaret – I called Humira and I called the pharmacy and said, do not send this because I’m done. When I started the program, I felt really good immediately and for a couple of weeks. In the back of my head, you were always saying now be friends with gentle hunger. I think you said that somewhere, so I was always thinking about that. Then I was this is the other thing, I’m kind of I can be a little bit competitive or I don’t like to say I’m competitive. However, I really wanted to get off this methotrexate. I was decreasing it by two tablets every month and I had gotten to the point where I was off of it just for a couple of weeks. But I was like, it still must be doing something because it wasn’t as bad as I was because I felt the best when I was on four. I thought, I just need to give this some time to really heal my gut. A couple of things that I realized during that time period is that I had something to fall back on. It is when I kept telling my husband and daughter. The reason this excites me so much is if I do get a little flare-up, I know what to do, I can do something, and it’s cheap. I can go to the grocery store, and get some celery and cucumber. I do not have to call anybody nor I don’t have to wait on the phone. Also, I don’t have to wait for it to be shipped or feel guilty that I’m a high user of our health care system. I am going to go to Aldi and get some celery and cucumbers. It is that easy, right? I mean, besides just having excruciating pain, it is a sense of losing control. I mean, I felt like I just didn’t have any control over my life and I felt like I got that control back. I mean, if I feel a little twinge of something, I would just really go back on that. Thus, it is one thing I learned through all this. Now, one time I’m still having a few flare-ups right before my period, and I had that previously. If you could just figure out a juice that I could do to throw me into menopause, that’d be marvelous.
Clint – What our members do inside rheumatoid support is apply a little bit of progesterone cream onto their skin, that helps and that’s the only solution. Yeah, that’s all I know. You might already have been over that bridge in the past without (inaudible) but that’s helped some people. The rest almost have that understanding that’s not the time to test new foods. If you’re wanting to eat out at a restaurant or something and see if that restaurant’s going to be just fine to eat at in the future, don’t do it at that time. It is because you’re going to give it a false reading. You might falsely accuse the restaurant, but it might be just fine. Dare I say it in today’s work society, but if there are some small emotional changes during that time as well. It’s like you make big decisions or have deep conversations at that time. If the fuse is a tiny bit shorter, then you also don’t want to be making big dietary changes and decisions around food as well. It’s as simple as that or it’s just a little bit of a tread lightly for a few days and then gets back to normal again. Just go back to the regular decision-making and process and all that. I don’t have a solution to that, but I do believe that contrary to your doctor, you are young to be able to manage the disease with minimal drugs long term. I think all that you’ve done with your and let me justify the statement. All that you’ve done in the past with your whole food plant based has obviously made you a good responder, right? Your microbiome is not off with the Pixies, okay? What you’re essentially doing is probably just through oil use and as you said, the ibuprofen use. Also, it is because you can eat whole food plant-based and still be eating foods that are high in omega six compared to omega three. You can be eating foods that are high in acid compared to their alkalinity contribution to the body. It can have food sensitivities that you are completely unaware of. You can be eating a high-fat plant-based whole food diet. You can be eating nuts and seeds constantly throughout the day as a snack between meals. Also, these things whilst the average person think a big deal, when you have immune reactions going on in your body. Thus, this can really stir things up. Once it’s stirred up, you’ve got more inflammation at the gut wall, a more leaky gut and the cycle continues. It’s all in the detail and you were forced into this I’ve got no other option after the Humira trauma and then symptoms continued. Then, you saw your life plan out in terms of a medication patient. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Margaret – Right.
Clint – There’s got to be more to it and I think you’re in a great position. It is because you’re only on what was the starting lowest dose that I took of methotrexate. You’re currently on a starter dose, okay? A lot of rheumatologists that I learn from through third parties, customers of mine say my rheumatologist said this. Many of them below ten milligrams don’t even see it as a viable dose. They say don’t even bother taking it below ten. Now our community has experienced different things to those guidelines. I had a client, Hannah in the Netherlands, who several years ago stayed on 2.5 milligrams a week. She took one little tablet a week for a year before she decided to stop that because she felt it was different coming from 10 to 7.5 to 5 to 2.5. She felt it every single time and she stayed on 2.5 for a year before she came off it. There are different opinions here. We also have got more information just coming through this past year. I’ve learned so much in this past year that I’m so excited about this year ahead with 2023 about what to contribute via these podcasts and my book. Also, the improvements coming through the Rheumatoid Solutions membership. It is because I have learned so much that I feel that it’s almost there’s like a new wave of information coming through. It’s just tremendously exciting for me to be able to bring stuff that no one else is talking about. I just think that we’re in for a wonderful year ahead in terms of sharing information. I feel really confident about the decades to come and that’s exciting.
Margaret – It’s so exciting for your book to come out too and that’s exciting.
Clint – Yeah, so awesome work. Let’s go into a little detail before we close out and hear about some of the specifics that you emphasize. Is it leafy greens? Is it your exercise? Is it, for example, you’ve got to drink lemon water before? Is it you don’t eat before? I mean, a lot of people already know the program, but are there some things that you’ve found are your little absolute go-to’s?
Margaret – Yeah. One thing that is huge for me is I always meal prep on Sundays. Quinoa for some reason has always kind of upset my stomach. Thus, I can’t do quinoa, but I usually do buckwheat and amaranth. I make a pretty good batch of that and I do a bunch of sweet potatoes. I love Japanese sweet potatoes and those are just the white ones are just they’re my favorite. I usually make those I dish out to take to work. Pretty much every day for lunch I am eating even now am eating sweet potatoes and grains. Then a really good leafy green salad with some spinach and some arugula like a spring mix. Then, I put sprouts on it and a few walnuts, and some dried cherries. I make a bunch of those salads and I feel like that consistency to eat that every day, I think is really helpful. For our evening meals, I basically have been cooking like I had been cooking for years, which was so nice. I am not just doing the oils and I’m having a little bit of a minor flare-up. I’ll just do the grains and stuff that evening meal as well. Basically, my meal has just lots of grains. I mean, we go through a lot of greens in our house, let’s just say that. Then, I kind of do the celery cucumber juice as needed. I probably do that a couple of times a week maybe, and then more so if I’m feeling like it’s before my period or something. The other thing that I find interesting is I really liked sugar before too. Sweets were my kind of my downfall, but I have completely cut that out. I had my A1c checked about a couple of years ago and it was 5.4, which isn’t bad. I had it checked recently after being on this program for about three or four months and it’s down to 5.1, which is fantastic. I also eat a lot of oats and my breakfast is always the same thing because I really like consistency. For me, I think it helps to keep me on track, but I do still cut oats. I make a big batch of those and just keep them in the fridge. Thus, I do that every morning with some berries, cut-up bananas, almond milk, and some cinnamon.
Clint – Sensational.
Margaret – Yeah. I think it’s sometimes a little challenging going out for dinner with friends. I don’t like to be that person that has to be different. However, I’ve just told myself I got to get over that and it is what it is. Also, I have to do what’s best for me and feel better. I remember the first I was only a week or two that I was on this. We went out with a big group of our friends and my husband was like, what are you going to eat? Then I said I don’t even care because I feel so much better that I just don’t even care. I will just eat some plain lettuce and I just feel so much better. It’s like when people make the connection between food and how you feel. I just think that’s awesome to make that connection. Even when we switched over to whole foods plant-based years ago, my husband and daughter were not very happy with me when I did that because I cook for everybody. But after several weeks a month, they were both like, we feel so much better and they even felt better. Food just makes such a difference in making that connection and I just think it’s huge.
Clint – Yeah, it does affect you, It affects your mood, hormones, happiness, and decisions on what foods you’re going to eat. Like your microbiome, they call it a second brain. I mean, it influences so much of you as a person, as Margaret like Margaret. You’re more microbiome than you are human cells, right? When someone says, where are you going as you leave the house, you literally can say I’m taking 30 trillion bugs for a walk. It’s like it’s this crazy scenario, but there are more bugs innocent or honest than what we have in human cells. I mean, it’s an extraordinary concept but we really are interacting with other people, making decisions, and running our lives based on a huge percentage of feelings and thoughts that aren’t our own. Thus, it’s a bit of a mind bend. I notice that if I’m eating super clean, I’m just so happy and I’ve got clarity on everything. It’s you getting the right signals you get your body calm and it’s a weird thing. What’s interesting is that you need discipline for about 2 to 3 weeks when it feels uncomfortable. It comes to a point where then you get positive feedback from your bugs to then make it all comfortable. Did you experience that as well?
Margaret – Yeah, I think I would say that’s true and it did take a lot of discipline. I think this was true when we made the switch to a whole food plant based when you kind of do that reset things start tasting better too, right? I mean, like now if I would take a bite of a dessert, it would just be way too sweet for me. I mean, you just start tasting things more. I think you just have to give it that couple of weeks to kind of reset your palate and just reset all of that so that you can enjoy food. The biggest thing was I was like, I have to eat salad without salad dressing. Then my husband was like, it’s not that bad and he’s forgotten dressing before. However, I actually prefer it because you can taste everything.
Clint – Your salads also, they’re pretty epic. I mean, you’ve got the dried cherries that you mentioned in there, some walnuts, some other things that you mentioned, and they sound yummy. You’ve made salads that have texture and flavors in them. You’ve gotten to that point where you can eat those without problems and that’s awesome. Let’s talk about some other things that that people might be wondering about. Did you ever do supplements? Also, let’s talk about your exercise now and what that looks like. Is there strength training involved or is it just cardio sort of style running and recreational sort of jogs? Let’s talk supplements and then talk about exercise for me. Then, I want to ask you about your sleep quality and then we’ll wrap it up.
Margaret – Yeah. Supplement-wise, I really don’t take anything right now. I really this next year I want to look into the omega three and omega six tests. In the past, I’ve tried lots of turmeric capsules, ashwagandha, and fish oils. Yeah, I’ve tried quite a few different things and I didn’t really notice a huge difference with me.
Clint – Good because supplements have a disproportionate love from our community than what they deserve. I think the list of my recommendations has even gone down from 5 to 4, and one of those is B12.
Margaret – Oh, I do take B12.
Clint – Yeah, It’s like a no-brainer. For the B12 is almost compulsory and then so you’ve got then all probably 100 things which have been researched for our condition I think there are only like three others that I strongly endorse. Also, those diets can cover a lot of their impact as well. Let’s talk about now exercise, what does that look like for you?
Margaret – I try to get to the gym at least twice a week to do some strength training with just some machines. I just do it more for some resistance training for bone health too and I’d been doing that for years. I would say lightweight lifting and I’m up to running again probably six days a week. Also, I was just doing the elliptical before. When I would run on the weekends, it was pretty painful and I would still make myself do it just to be doing it. I probably do cardio for three times a week, but now I’m up to six times a week. I’m running faster than I ever have run just feeling better. I just can’t believe it and I can’t tell you how many days my feet don’t hurt. This realization that my feet don’t hurt is just amazing. As I said, you don’t know how bad you are till you feel better. I thought I have been dealing with this for years. I think I wonder sometimes if my diet kind of kept it at a simmer and I just didn’t recognize it. All those years of running, exercising, being in pain, and just thinking, that’s just me. To be on the other side and to feel like this is just for exercise, that’s just been amazing.
Clint – Yeah, that is sensational. I get questions frequently about shoes from people with sore feet. Have you adjusted your shoes? Do you wear special shoes around the house to dampen the contact or are you barefoot around the house? Just tell us about what shoes you run in and what you do?
Margaret – Yeah. I just stick with Brooks running shoes and those have worked the best for me. Then, I really don’t wear any kind of special shoes. It’s interesting you say that because for years I’d be like, my feet hurt and I need a new pair of shoes. I was constantly buying shoes and trying different ones, thinking that were going to help my foot pain. I mean, I don’t wear really anything special just Brooks.
Clint – Okay. Can you walk barefoot around your house?
Margaret – Yeah, I don’t love to be barefoot anyway, but I can walk barefoot around.
Clint – Yeah, I’m barefoot right now. I walked across the street across the tarmac and the concrete barefoot with absolutely no pain. There was a point where I felt that I may never walk barefoot in my kitchen again. I thought it may never happen and it was genuinely thought this might be it. I might always have to wear these like boots things with the soft merino wool on the inside. Melissa worries about everything and she says your gonna step in dog poop or you’re going to get some kind of a thorn in your foot or there’s glass on the ground. Then I’m like, bring it on.
Margaret – Yes, I don’t care.
Clint – Like, glass doesn’t hurt as much as what rheumatoid used to. This is an expression of my freedom and it’s so empowering. Of course, I look out for those things and it hasn’t happened. I may have inadvertently stepped on something not too nice over the past couple of years, but it’s worth the risk. Finally, I wanted to ask you, I had one other question. What was that last question I had queued up there for you? Oh, I already remembered it, how is your sleep?
Margaret – Yeah, that is the other thing. After starting this program, I remember the first night I actually slept all night and woke up to my alarm. I couldn’t believe it because my sleep is so much better because I just don’t have an issue anymore. I went from tossing, turning, changing positions, and just feeling so tired. I can’t believe how much energy or more energy I have. I think from sleep and I think from being off of caffeine. I think those two things just have so much more energy.
Clint – Fascinating, because obviously, the drawcard for the caffeine is to make you have more energy. I heard I think it was Anthony Robbin’s team on stage one time first brought this to my attention. I may be allocating this to the wrong people. But apparently, like when you take coffees now in your twenties, thirties, or forties, it’s like drawing down from your reserves of a part. Now, I’m speaking about an area I don’t haven’t studied, but it’s like drawing energy almost from the future. Yes, you can tap into this by pulling this energy that the caffeine can stimulate, but long term that is not a wise move. I look at it purely from the point of view of the studies. Coming back to the science, the science shows coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid. As well as decaffeinated coffee is associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid. I think that alone forget all the other arguments and that alone. I don’t want to debate it anymore or let’s not debate this. If that thing increases your risk of rheumatoid, don’t do it. If you’ve got rheumatoid, I know it the study doesn’t talk about if you have it but let’s get our health right. It’s wonderful that you’ve improved your energy from that and plus you’ve halved your methotrexate, which is going to contribute a lot to that as well. Well done. Anything else you’d like to share? Are there any other things that you do that you know no one else does and you’re happy to share with us that help you?
Margaret – That’s interesting. I think I just want to encourage people. I mean, I know it can seem daunting to change your eating habits, especially if you’re on the standard American diet for sure. I think I love Michael Pollan’s saying, eat real food, mostly plants, and not too much. I think you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want. Just to try not to feel too overwhelmed by that. There are so many good resources out there for plant-based cooking. In fact, I just ordered a cookbook that you had interviewed somebody on your podcast just recently. There are a lot of good resources, just keep it simple, and I think it’s planning ahead.
Clint – I was thinking about that on the drive we just drove from Jupiter in Florida to Orlando today. I was thinking about it when the kids were sleeping in the back seat just for a brief period. I thought, what the healing path looks like? It looks like if you’re really poor or you don’t have much money and you have to eat the most humble basic foods. Then, you don’t have access to all of the star boxes and McDonald’s. You don’t have access because you live in maybe a rural area. It’s like you’ve got a local mango tree or maybe a few citrus trees you grow. Also, sweet potatoes and potatoes in the yard with some carrots. Everything’s grown, right? Your foods are the cheapest ones in the supermarket that are considered almost like, overlook them because they’re so simple. They are the ones that contribute to the ultimate compost heap in your stomach of health, which is your gut. Bacteria is what we are compost heap, right? With that, it creates an environment that supports us and it’s a big step down from the shrimp-eating and barbecue-loving or high-end successful work environment mindset. I’m going to eat humble foods that are so cheap that anyone could afford them and eat them regularly. It’s kind of it’s so dissatisfying for the type of overachieving person.
Margaret – Right. I just heard an interview with Dan Buettner from the Blue Zones. He was saying that these communities that are in the blue zones are just surrounded by foods like you were just talking about or like they just live their lives. They’re not thinking about food constantly because their environment is such that they just have simple foods around them. Like rice, beans, and they can think about other things besides crappy food. Like, I just feel like we are just surrounded by bad food and I think it’s hard for people. However, as you just said, it can just be so simple and so cheap. You can add some spices, it tastes good, and I love it.
Clint – Yeah, absolutely that’s right. We’re not saying that you have to live off only a small range of foods. No, what we’re saying is that those foods don’t need to be expensive. Those foods are what it is and it’s just an interesting kind of pondering that. The decluttering and simplification of the food is the wisest path forward. Some beans with some rice with a salad. Then, you can have some fruit between meals like berries or melons. All these different things and have some grain like breakfast oats. Then, let’s get some different legumes and let’s mix them up then. So that’s day one, let’s get some same sort of thing but let’s get some different fruits and some different beans. For example, brown rice or a different kind of rice but they’re all simple stuff. However, there’s a spectrum within those simple foods that can hit our 30-plus plants a week to give us the diversity we want and have the best possible gut health. I think we’ve done pretty well, Margaret. I think we’ve done pretty well in uncovering your story today and doing it justice. I think it’s amazing how far you’ve come and some of your stories are just fascinating. I hope everyone has gotten a lot out of our chat and I’ve really enjoyed it. Time’s flown and we’re a little over time, so I just want to say thank you for sharing your story it’s been great.
Margaret – Yeah. Thank you. I am just eternally grateful for all that you’ve done with the Paddison program and the Rheumatoid Solutions. You’ve given me my life back and I feel like me again. There were times I was in a pretty dark place, so I am just really grateful. It is an honor to be able to tell you that and thanks for having me.
Clint – Thank you. We both shared those dark places. I think most of the people who have the condition also have been in those dark places. If someone is right there right now, take a leaf out of our books and get simple food. You don’t need to spend much money and make those foods frequent because you’ll start to feel better and be encouraged. Also, who knows might want to go down the path that you have. Then join our program and follow it through to the letter to get all the nuances just right to get the best possible results. Thank you very much. I’ve gone into the darkness here, the sun has set on me and I’m just now a floating head lit by a computer screen. For people on YouTube, I apologize for the uninteresting appearance that I’m running at the moment, but that doesn’t affect the content. Thanks for watching or listening right till the end. Thank you so much for coming to the episode today and I appreciate it.
Margaret – Take care.