LIVE Q&A With The Rheumatologist

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How Lou controls his RA while traveling the world

We discuss in this podcast:

  • How Lou has been able to travel across Europe in a van with his RA condition
  • The challenges of preparing a van
  • Doing changes in lifestyle to accommodate RA symptoms
  • Benefits and side effects of Enbrel
  • Switching to a vegan diet
  • Withdrawing from caffeine and alcohol
  • How the Paddison Program can become the ‘new normal’
  • The great support he has received from her wife Dana
  • Water fast and back pain

Clint Today, my guest has a very interesting life. He is married to Dana. his name is Lou and he has been travelling all around Europe for the past two years or so in a van. And he has a very large Instagram following with his wife, and they post inspirational pictures and beautiful pictures of landscapes around Europe. And also pictures of their own life, both their highlights living out of the van and also the lowlights and the challenges. And one of the big challenges that, Lou, my guest today faces is that he also has rheumatoid arthritis and him I, and his wife have connected online because in the past he has done the Paddison Program to the letter for 12 months and wants to share today the great results that he’s had with that. But also he’s explored some other healing options we’re going to talk about his water fast, the deeds wife up to next. They live this fascinating life where they’re always on the go and exploring the world. And it’s a life that’s rich and full of adventure. And we’re going to hear about that today, as well as his health challenges and how he finds this balance. So, Lou, thanks so much for joining me today.

Lou Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on. I feel like we’ve listened to so many of these episodes. We’ve listened to them in the van all the time. And I’ve just gotten so much valuable information from these podcast episodes. So I’m hoping we can provide some of that today for someone else as well.

Clint And likewise, I’ve been following what you both have been up to on your Instagram and YouTube. And in fact, the reason that I reached out to you again, this not being the first time I’ve invited you under the show. I reached out to you again recently is when I saw your video that you guys created about your water fast. And it was not only highly interesting, but fascinating to watch in terms of its production values and the way it was edited. And so that’s on YouTube for everyone to watch, and I’ll post a link to that in the show notes of this episode. But yes, when I saw that, I’m like, wow, you’re doing some wonderful things and inspiring people. So I really wanted to get you on here. So let’s talk about the van. Right. So everyone associates the two of you with this adventure that you’ve had in a van. So perhaps you could talk about how that all began and what the idea was behind that before we then get into some health stuff.

Lou So my wife and I lived in a 1981 Mercedes 3070 van for almost two years together, and we built everything ourselves. And the reason we decided that van life was something we wanted to try was we’re living in Berlin at the time, and we really love taking walks in the evenings and we’d walk around and in Berlin there’s just so many old vans and there’s lots of people living in them and instead of living in apartments. And so one night we just kind of like looked around like, well, we can probably do that, too. And it took a very long time to turn that dream into reality. We had to get German drivers license’s, which is no easy feat. And then buying a van in Germany was also quite difficult. And then we ended up building out the entire back of the van to turn it into a home with a fridge and a gas stove and solar panels and all of that. That took about six months. But yeah, it was a very long, beautiful journey, and right now we just sold our van after two years is very sad. But we are moving on to the next part of our adventure, which is buying a sailboat.

Clint As you do, like you, obviously, you’ve done the land, now you’re going to do the city next. So I can’t let you off the hook without pushing this a little further, because not everyone wants to give up their nice apartment or nice home and go and live in a van. So what I mean, a lot of people can also walk past and see people living in vans. And again, not many people would say, oh, I wouldn’t mind, you know, living in that. So, why the curiosity around that? And why the urge to want to go in and go down this path?

Lou Well, I think part of the appeal of living in a van is we been living in Berlin and we wanted to travel, but we like to cook for ourselves, and we like to kind of like had our things with us and we couldn’t really afford to, like, travel all over and see all of these beautiful places. So we kind of started thinking maybe if we bought a van, we could live in it, we could cook in it, we could save rent and drive around and see these things. And on top of that, we had a YouTube channel at the time, so we thinking it would make for a good story, but also we could work on the road so we didn’t need to be tied to one place. So it’s kind of like a combination of things like we had a rolling office, we had a kitchen, we can eat the food we like to eat. Because we don’t really eat out at restaurants or anything, so for us, travel is really just about like going to places, meeting people, walking around. But it’s like being in hotels and like going to restaurants and all that never really appealed to us.

Clint Yes, that makes sense to me now. It’s kind of like one of these, like when folks retire, they’ll often get one of those mobile homes and you’ll see them, in one of these luxury, almost bus style, big machines. And they drag their four wheel drive behind them so that when they get to a location, they can then use the car to explore. And you’ve just done that more on a budget level with the van. And a lot of your own interventions to the back of it to make it nice and comfortable the way you want it. Is that fair to say?

Lou Yeah. We actually spent a lot of time in campgrounds with other people living in vans and like those big fancy ones that you’re talking about. Yeah. And all like the very, very nice people. But it looks much harder I think doing it when you’re retired and you’re older and you have arthritis and I’m happy we did it now because it’s not easy.

Clint Yeah, absolutely. And with some particular highlights of the travel that you want to like talk about something that we may not have really extracted from your online postings or perhaps something that you did post one or two things. Something that was really Life-Changing that you witnessed was something that happened while you were going around on these adventures.

Lou So I think for us, the most beautiful memory is the five months we spent building the van. And originally our plan had been we bought the van in Germany and we’re like, we’ll just build it on the street in Germany because everything is pretty relaxed and there’s lots of other vans around. So we’ll just live in an apartment and build the van on the street. And it took so long to buy the van that it was already winter by the time we finally had the license plates on it. And in Germany in the winter, it just rains all the time. So we didn’t really know where we’d be able to build this van. And we started looking at garages, but they were like a thousand euros a month to rent like a covered garage just to work on the van. So then Dana went to Google and she started looking around and she looked for the driest places in Europe, and the top hit was southern Spain. And so we started looking at rental cottages in southern Spain, and they turned out to be cheaper than garage space in Berlin. So like, maybe we should just move there and build the van there, and that’s what we did. We found a little cottage on top of a mountain, and it came with two donkeys and a donkey pen and some dogs and some cats. And it was run by this nice old English lady who’d been living there for, I think, 20 years or so. And there was way on the top up of this mountain. And you can see Gibraltar from the donkey pen where we worked on the van. And that was really the most beautiful time. It was really, really difficult. We lived in the cottage was really small, and it had no heating. And so we had thought at the time that like southern Spain, it’s going to be pretty warm. But unfortunately, the cottage was in a microclimate. So it’s like on top of a mountain and it rained quite a lot. And the only way we could heat it was with a fireplace. But fireplaces lose quite a lot of heat because it’s just like a open hole in the middle of your house.

Paddison Program For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

Lou And the very first night there, the toilet overflowed into the house and the plumbing broke, and all sorts of different challenges that we had to overcome. But it was just really, really fun to build something together, because I think when you’re building a project, it’s like very, very visual. And so you see every day the work that you do. And for us, our job is very rewarding and very fun. But a lot of the time we never really see like. You’re like the results of all your effort. Like you post a video and you kind of like get them like so you don’t or like a photo does well or it doesn’t. But there’s very few physical things, you just spend so much time like hunched over a computer and like the things that happen online don’t feel real the same way as like building a home, you know. And just the feeling, I think at the end of those five months, like, well, it actually took a lot longer, like five months. Just the beginning of the build. But we were really like working on it for a whole year after that to like finish everything. But just like lying in bed and looking around at like walls you built and like we built a fridge into it. And like, you can open the fridge and have like cold drinks from solar power on top of the van. It’s just like a very beautiful experience. And I think because you pour so much energy into it, the van itself has like very calm energy. And even like the owners we bought before, we’re very nice, they were also like a young artistic couple and they had done a whole tour around Europe as well. And it was just like a very beautiful bonding experience.

Clint Yeah, and I saw some of you handy-work in one of your, it was actually in the video about the back pain in the water fasting. You both very, very good at using your hands and, you know, building stuff and just doing what I would describe as like handy, personal handyman kind of stuff but in your van. So it’s a it’s a skill that I certainly don’t have and it was very impressive seeing you guys put up an extra platform for sleeping and changing it in mattresses and stuff like that. So, yeah, definitely a skill set that lends itself to living in a van that I don’t have.

Clint So let’s now shift across from that beautiful memory and rewarding experience to talk about your health. As you know, an audience are all typically living with some kind of inflammatory arthritis. So take us through that situation with yourself. How did that begin? And walk us through that process, and bring us up to speed to when you then went into the van and presumably you had the health condition when you went into the van.

Lou So I first started noticing symptoms when I was in college, I think I was a sophomore and it started very, very gently. Like my hands would be a little stiff in the morning or my feet would hurt a little bit. And it happened so gradually that it was actually quite hard to notice. It wasn’t like you were like two weeks after it had like it was like a very dangerous level for me. It was like it took, I think like six months before it like really started to become noticeable. And I think because I’ve been having so gradual, it kind of like snuck up on me and just like I can’t remember too clearly. But I do remember are like buying boots instead of shoes with laces so that I could just like not at the time my shoes in the morning. And like not wearing shirts that had buttons just like started making all these small changes in my life.

Lou And at the time I was studying in Portland, Oregon, and when I transferred to NYU, my parents put me in touch with one of the best rheumatologist in New York. And he did a whole bunch of blood tests because that’s like what our family friend had thought, he thought that I had rheumatoid arthritis. And so I went to this rheumatologist and they did all sorts of different bloodwork and nothing really came back. Clearly, there were no like very high indications of any of the levels. And so he started me on, I think, the most gentle medication he could find just to see if my symptoms would respond to that, and they didn’t. So eventually I was upgraded to Enbrel and that was the weekly injection that I’d had to take. And you had to, like, store them in the fridge, and it was kind of a pain, like just to, like, get them and store them and also to use it. But it did work, my hand started getting better and I could tie my shoes again. And like that stiffness in my joints definitely felt better with the Enbrel. But I also started to feel very weak, and I would like strained muscles or injure myself quite easily. And I asked my doctor about it and he said that there was no connection between the Enbrel or muscle problems. And he also said there was no connection between diet and arthritis. And so I wasn’t like very content with the Enbrel, and I also wasn’t like, I think I don’t remember exactly, I was maybe like twenty five or something. I wasn’t like entirely willing to inject myself with a drug every single week for the next 70 years. That just seemed like completely crazy. And also I was in these like offices and it was like me and maybe one other young per person. And then everyone else looked like they were like on the way out.

Lou So I kept going with the Enbrel, but I was experiencing a lot of like muscle problems. Like I strained my calf muscle and I just wasn’t able to recover. I’d go to physical therapy. And I also injured my back at this time, carrying our air conditioning unit up four flights of stairs. And it would just take like six months for like an injury to heal. And so at time had been working in tech sales in New York, and the company she had been working for kind of imploded. And so she was kind of exhausted from New York. And she had been going out a lot with clients and drinking a lot and eating a lot of unhealthy food as part of the job. And so she did a month long vegan beginning cleanse to kind of like reset after the company went under. And before that, I had actually been vegetarian in college. And then I think at some point I studied abroad in Barcelona, and that’s kind of when I dropped vegetarianism. And then she went vegan, and she is like, you have to do this. Do you know all of this horrible information about what’s going on right now? And I was like, yeah, I do actually. And so you actually kind of like convinced me to join her. But I think I’ve always loved eating rice and beans. So it wasn’t ever really like for me, like the home-cooked food was never really an issue. It was more just like going out to eat that I was kind of worried about at the very beginning. But anyways, at this point, she kind of had like started the beginning of our health journey.

Lou And then the next step in that journey, when we moved to Berlin, my dad is German and my mom is Peruvian. And when his father passed, he inherited a little bit of money and he bought an apartment in Berlin with it. This was like 15, 20 years ago, back when Berlin was like really, really cheap. And all of his extended family said it was a terrible idea to buy an apartment in Berlin, but we did it anyways. And so when we kind of soured on New York, they offered to let us live in their apartment in Berlin. And so that’s when we moved to Berlin. We’re like, oh, this is great, we can kind of figure out what we want to do with our life, there’s not as much pressure, you don’t have to make as much money because the city is just so much more affordable. In Berlin, we both had jobs. I mean, in New York, we both had jobs. But we weren’t really saving any money because it’s just so expensive to live there. So it’s kind of like we’re always losing money. And so we moved to Berlin, and that’s kind of when the idea came to start a YouTube channel, because prior to that point, we had both. I had been working at a production company in New York doing documentary stuff, and we had both been huge fans of Anthony Bourdain, the travel series. And we’d like to start that in the evenings but once we went vegan, we started watching it and we’re like, oh, this is like kind of gross. Like, it’s mainly just like me markets and like everything is like just dripping in blood. And so Dana was like, well, maybe we should start our own vegan travel show and like, we could make it ourselves. I could be the host. You could be the cameraman. And yeah, it was all like very idealistic and naive. But I had been working at this company and I was like, we could definitely do it for cheaper, just like seeing, you know, maybe not better, but we could only do it for cheaper. And so that’s kind of when the idea came to start a YouTube channel and we would make like content around vegan travel. And while we were living in Berlin to keep up with my arthritis, I was taking like storing Enbrel shots in New York with Dana’s parents in their fridge. And then every time we came home, I would bring a cooler full with me back to Berlin. And in order for that to work, I had to wean myself off. So I went from a weekly shop to taking one shot every two weeks and then even one shot every month. And to be honest, it didn’t even really make that much of a difference going into a lower dosage. I didn’t notice that my symptoms were coming back in any way, but eventually it just became too tiring to like get this medication back and forth. And I was also never really sold on the idea of taking medication for the rest of my life.

Lou So at some point, I kind of just stopped once we ran out of shots, and I think it was like nine or 12 months after that, my symptoms like came back because it just happened so gradually. And finally I was like in a lot of pain again, and I told my wife. And so she does what she always does and good went on Google. And the first thing that came up with the Paddison Program and she’s like, Lou, we have to do this, this looks incredible. And I wasn’t entirely sold at first, it looked like it was gonna be very, very tough. And I was also quite addicted to coffee. So it’s like I don’t know if I can give that up, but I don’t remember exactly how she convinced me. She’s very persuasive, but the very first time we did the program together. So she did it with me and she would make me (inaudible) every morning, and we did it like exactly to a tee. No exceptions. And it just worked so well, it was crazy, I couldn’t believe it. At first, like the first four days I was so mad at her as like, this is terrible. I feel terrible because I was also withdrawing from caffeine, you know? So it’s like caffeine withdrawal itself is a brutal process. And just like I just couldn’t eat just like the plain, plain foods. But then I think it only took like seven days before it started working so well, I couldn’t believe it. Then I think two weeks and I was hooked. I was like, yep, like this works. And I think it took and might have taken in like two to three months, I think within two to three months, my pain was down like ninety five percent. And then like below five percent took a while. But I’ve kind of always found that’s the case with me. Like I can keep it at like 90 percent with like a good amount of stuff and then the last 10 percent is a real challenge. But with the Paddison Program, I think it’s like after nine months I was down to zero pain.

Paddison Program For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

Clint Yeah, it’s fantastic. And you did all of this whilst on your travels?

Lou So we did all of this while in Berlin. And I was kind of like the ideal, perfect place to do it because Berlin has organic grocery stores that are just 100 percent organic. So you don’t have to read any labels or anything, it’s like it’s all just very easy. And organic stores are more expensive, but there’s still quite a lot cheaper than groceries can be in the US. And so we kind of like built our own little bubble because it was just me and her and we’d made a couple of new friends there. But it was like there’s a very, very easy to just do it together. And even our friends, like all of our friends in Berlin were vegan. So we would just like bring quinoa and sweet potatoes and stuff whenever we did, like, dinner or anything. And I can just like eat my quinoa from like to take out container or whatever. And no one was like judgmental or anything. They were just kind of like, wow, that’s like intense. But they kind of all thought it was funny.

Clint That’s fantastic. So then when you go on the road, did things become harder once you got into the van? I imagine that they did with food preparation and being able to source things as you begin to move from city to city and even from probably campsite to campsite, trying to work out, well, how do I replenish my supplies? How do I prepare the food? How do I do green juices on the road and that sort of stuff? Did that become a major challenge and did that impact on your health?

Lou So it became challenging I think even before we went on the road because I think we like we did the program for a while and then we came home and got married in New York. And so we were living at home for a while and that kind of like threw everything off even before we’d gotten into a van. So then when we came back to Berlin we were kind of like in this in-between where it’s like, are we on the program or are we not on the program? Like the slip came already then. And then when we bought the van, I kind of like recommitted to being oil-free because I wanted to be strong enough to build everything. But I’ve kind of always found with my symptoms that like if I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t drink caffeine and I don’t eat oil, that gets me like 90 percent of the way. And so that like last 10 percent requires like eating a ton of greens. And making sure I don’t eat any like processed food or (inaudible). During the van build, that was kind of the level I was at and it was also a lot harder when we were in Spain to get organic and we didn’t have a juicer. So it was like the amount of like greens I was eating went way down compared to Berlin. Where we would have to hike down this mountain with our backpacks for like an hour to go visit a farmer’s market or we’d have to drive for an hour to like go to a grocery store. It wasn’t just like hopping down a couple of flights of stairs and walking five minutes to like a beautiful organic grocery store. It was kind of like much harder just to get food even while living in a cabin.

Lou And then when we moved into the van, it almost became easier to eat simple. Because it’s just so hard to cook in a van that it’s like if all you’re trying to eat is like rice or quinoah, and like some beans and some lettuce, that’s like ideal van food. The simpler your food is the easier it will be cook. And at the very beginning, we didn’t even have we hadn’t finished building the van completely before our rental agreement had expired. And so we were living in the van at the same time that we were building and our propane system wasn’t done. So we would have to just cook on like a small camping stove outside every night. And so basically we would just eat oats in the morning in the camping stove. And then in the evening, we would eat quinoa or rice and then like chop up some veggies and put that on top. But it was very rustic.

Clint So anyone who’s watching or listening to this can’t complain about having to eat some of the simple foods given how extremely simple you guys had to take it. So then let me see then. So you’re off the Enbrel, you’ve done a year on the Paddison Program and you’ve had excellent results and then you’ve gone and got married, which is lovely. And then you’ve started your adventures. And then when you on your adventures is when my wife Melissa became aware of a couple of just hashtags Paddison Program. And she’s like, you should check out this couple they are lovely and they’re on the road. They’re in this van and they’re traveling around Europe. Look at this post, and so that’s where, you know, I started to become aware of what you guys are up to. So with now that you’ve been through that experience and that amazing travel with your health that at the moment. And what did you do with your management of it so that you remain able to keep your symptoms low enough so you don’t need to go back on one of the drugs?

Lou So I think the first time you reached out to us, I wasn’t entirely sure like what my health program was gonna be. So I didn’t want to come on the podcast because as like, I don’t really know where this is going and what I can offer. But after living in the van, I think it was even before the water fast (inaudible). And it took me a long time to make like change in my brain into thinking the way I’m eating oil-free is just the way I’m always gonna eat. When I first did the program, I kind of like had the illusion that at some point, like things would go back to normal. And it took a while to like figure out what the new normal would be. I actually got this tattoo, I don’t know if you can see it. I got these five here, this was like my I got it as the fifth attempt of the Paddison Program. And I just kind of (inaudible) like fifth and final. So it’s like I’m not like I don’t wanna, like, jump on and off the program anymore. I just kind of made a new program in my head that works. And my rule is that I eat oil five days per year.

Clint And knowing that you can allow yourself to do that makes it feel like you have a little bit more freedom. It’s like Dr. McDougald, I believe, has one piece of turkey once a year at one meal, I believe, or something. Just so it’s in an optimal health way. And I could be misquoting that but I know that he allows one cheat of some kind, once per year and it may be what I just said. So that’s interesting that you also have made that kind of rule for yourself. And if you found that when you do eat those oily meals, do you notice any symptoms? And I imagine also you’re not going overboard, you’re only just having a little of oil. Right?

Lou I mean, sometimes we go overboard, but everything is always vegan. it’s not like vegan junk food is still junk food, but it doesn’t have quite the same punch I think. As like animal-based junk food. But I always wake up feeling like kind of puffy and stiff. I can’t really tell if that’s arthritis or if it’s (inaudible). I think it does just make you feel terrible, it’s just like very bad food. But I do find that like having the five per year makes the rest of the year a lot easier. And it kind of like it makes me want to eat healthier on just the day to day. It was also last year when I first did the program, I stopped drinking alcohol. And then during our wedding, I started drinking again, not like a lot, but just like the normal amount that most people drink. And on January 1st, I decided I wasn’t going to drink at all in 2019. And that has definitely made a huge difference, not just because like drinking affects arthritis, but I think also because it’s very hard to eat healthy when you drink alcohol. It’s just like at least for it’s much easier to like decide you’re gonna eat like a vegan frozen pizza after you’ve had a beer or something.

Clint Yeah, it’s a slippery slope kind of thing.

Lou Yeah, I think like I’m lucky because my symptoms never got terrible, and also, they’re very gradual. But it also means that like if I do something, there’s not like immediate consequences. Like if I eat unhealthy for like a day or even a week, I’m not going to feel significantly worse. And so it’s very hard to stick to a very high level in terms of like what you’re eating when you don’t notice, like the negative consequences right away. But after like a month of eating unhealthy vegan food, then I would definitely like look at myself and be like man, that’s not very good. I don’t feel so good, I don’t look so good and I don’t have so much energy. I can tell right away after like a month that like if I continue to do that, I would be in a very bad place in like six months.

Clint So it’s about being.

Lou That’s kind of like the five exceptions comes in, because it’s like each time I make an exception, the next day I can be like, I don’t feel so good. And let’s wait a while before we do another one of those. But it also helps to feel normal and to be able to go out in New York and like try some of like the really cool thing is that people are doing with vegan food these days. Then since for me, there’s no like terrible health consequences the next day. It’s a good way of finding balance within a very strict system.

Clint Yeah, I like it. And then now you’re about to take things on the water and go out on your sailboat, which you just in the process of purchasing. Now, what new challenges do you expect with the sailboat food prep, exercise and maintaining your health that you are going to see as different than what you experienced living in the van?

Lou I think something will get a lot easier and some things are gonna get a lot more challenging. I think the things that’ll get easier is it will be a lot easier to get exercise and move just because like sailing is (inaudible) driving. So like already the activity of sailing involves some movement, whereas driving is pretty much just like sitting. And in the van, we did a lot of driving and we also did a lot of just working on our laptops in the van. So it’s like even though we were seeing all these beautiful places, we actually spent like most of our time, just on our laptops, editing videos or writing newsletters or all this different stuff. And in the boat, I think it will be easier to disconnect a little bit just because you can’t work when you’re at sea, it’s too bumpy. I get seasick right away. So I think it’ll be a lot easier to disconnect and kind of recharge that way. And I also like swimming, I used to swim in college. So I feel like getting back into the swimming will be really nice. And I know that it does very well with my arthritis just because it’s kind of one of the few activities where I can push myself as hard as I possibly want. And there’s no risk of injury. So I’m definitely excited about that in terms of things that we’ll get more difficult. I know that the amount of greens I eat is gonna go way down just because it’s very hard to like find salad when you’re in the Caribbean on a small island. A lot of these places don’t even grow greens, it’s all just imported. When you do find greens, it’s like it’s not likely to be organic and it’s probably like a week or two old. So I think like the fresh produced greens is definitely going to be a challenge. But I do think eating like very simple or healthy food will be kind of the same as in the van, if not easier, just because we have a lot more storage space. So it’ll be very easy to store it like organic bags of quinoa in bulk and just have a two month supply of quinoa. And those are great to store because it’s super light. So that the very simple meals I think will actually be a little bit easier than the van. But my wife and I are like kind of dreaded in losing fresh salad.

Clint That’s a bit of a challenge. But every time you dock you’ll be able to get often and get on stock up again. Maybe get green smoothies and just almost do a detox from your healthy but not green intake that you’ll be getting on the boat. And where do you plan to go? What is your destination list?

Lou So the boat we’re buying right now are trying to buy is in Massachusetts. And the goal is to explore a couple of different itineraries. But our goal as of right now is to try and make it to Granada by June, which is when the hurricane season starts in the Caribbean, or at least when the insurance companies say that hurricane season starts. So kind of everything we’re working backward from there just because we’d like to obviously avoid the hurricanes, but also be in a nice area when the hurricanes do hit, that’s protected from them. So we’re trying to sail from Massachusetts down, there’s this thing called the Inter Coastal Highway it’s called and it basically goes down the eastern seaboard of the United States all the way to Florida.

Clint And so you go past our house. We live a few minutes from the intercoastal in Jupiter, which is between sort of Port St. Lucie in Florida and Fort Lauderdale, which is about on your way down to Miami, kind of hidden down that direction if you’re driving on the freeway we are about two hours north of Miami. The intercoastal just goes all the way down like I every time I go pick up my daughter from school. Well, I don’t drive over it, but I drive alongside it. And when I where I go to the gym, I have to cross over. And when I go to yoga, I have to cross over the intercoastal. So I know exactly where you’re going to be going and it’s very protected. You’re going to have a very smooth ride. There are no waves. It’s all like an inland channel.

Lou Yeah, we’ve heard that. It’s like a good way to learn because the risk isn’t so high because you’re always kind of very close to help. But basically, if we decide to do that route, then we would go from Florida across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas and then work our way towards Grenada. But the other option is to go out on the intercoastal to Norfolk. And then from there we would hire a captain and go directly to sail out us into the ocean and then down to St. Thomas. So that would be like a longer open ocean passage, but we would probably want an experienced captain for that, just to help us.

Paddison Program For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

Clint And how long do you expect to be on the sea or on the water?

Lou It’s up in there a little bit, but I think it will probably be at the very least three years, potentially up to five.

Clint Do you have any family members or friends that think you guys are crazy?

Lou Yeah, most of them are quite worried. It’s actually quite funny because my family doesn’t know much about sailing, but my wife’s family, Dana, is very much into sailing. And they had a sailboat and her dad races. So they’re a big sailing family. And I can’t quite decide which family is more nervous. The ones that know what’s out there or I like the ones who don’t know. It seems that it’s like an actually a pretty even split right now.

Clint Yeah, it’s fascinating. I admire what you guys do and how you live your lives. Anthony Robbins talks about the quality of your life comes down to how much uncertainty you are willing to accept. And so for example, you’re willing to accept a tremendous amount of uncertainty, which is complete and utter exploration right into the unknown. For people who’ve watched frozen 2 and so that’s exciting, and that’s like thrilling. And those at the other end of the spectrum who have complete certainty as much as they possibly can. You don’t think about old people who want to have their meal at exactly 5:00 on the clock every afternoon. And they want to have their cup of tea at exactly six. There’s no nothing being learned. There’s nothing new, right? So your appetite for uncertainty is enormous. And with that, I feel comes a great reward, which is learning, and that feeling of excitement and thrill. And it’s certainly a life that’s rich, and I think that’s very cool.

Lou I was thinking this morning. Actually, yesterday when I was preparing for this call how arthritis kind of ties into this whole like exploring journey? And I feel like there have been actually quite a few. Like I’ve almost like benefits to having arthritis or like the silver lining, which is that just being in pain for such a long period, kind of just gives you such a high threshold for discomfort. And so much traveling and seeing new places and like doing creative work is just being okay with being uncomfortable for long periods of time. And I think a lot of people can handle pain for a short period of time, like acute pain for like a day or two. But I think what really, really breaks people are long periods of discomfort. I know the summer when we are living in our van, it was 110 degrees for a couple of days and 100 degrees for a month. And inside the van, it was 110 degrees. And just like living in that kind of heat without air conditioning and without a shower. It’s like it’s definitely not something I could have done easily before arthritis. But I think, like having gone through everything, all these hurdles don’t really feel like they’re just not as challenging as arthritis.

Clint Most definitely. And your wife, Dana, you mentioned this inside the video several times with the one with regards to water fast. She’s been a great support, hasn’t she this whole time? She’s just incredible with helping you to not just discover things online that have helped you so much, but just as a support.

Lou Yes, she has been absolutely incredible. I think we’ve like listening to a lot of your episodes. And the thing that strikes me is just how much harder it is for people who don’t have someone helping them. And I’m just so grateful that I did, because there’s just so much that goes into it. Like when I first did the program, she was the one who discovered it to begin with. I think it’s just like it’s very hard to have a clear mind when you’re in so much pain. And she was kind of the one who was like, oh there must be a better way to do this. And I thought I’d never even occurred to me that I should just Google how to fix arthritis. And then the fact that she did the first program with me the whole way was incredibly helpful. I think there’s like not too many people who would do that. And also just like waking up every morning to make green juice and go grocery shopping. It’s a ton of work at the beginning at least.

Clint Oh, wow. She’s a saint.

Lou Yeah, she really is incredible.

Clint Yeah, they all need a medal. Everyone who’s married is just supporting someone with RA, totally needs a medal. So we were going to talk about your back pain and your water fast. I think I’d like everyone to just go and watch your video. Your video is very self-explanatory. It’ll introduce those people who aren’t familiar with your work and your YouTube channel to what you guys can create, which is fabulous and educational work. But is there anything that they won’t see on that video that you wanted to add about this 5-day total water fast to alleviate back pain. Was there anything else you’d like to share about that experience?

Clint So I’ll just start as if someone has already seen the video. But I think if once you’ve seen the video, the thing that doesn’t really come across is that I think the pain conduction in like a day for starting around day four is just like absolutely exponential. It’s like the first day is pretty brutal because you’re not eating and then the second day you’re really hungry. And then the third day you feel kind of weird because you’re not eating. And then starting around day four, it’s just pain starts falling away. I know like from previous back injuries that like if I had kind of just like eat in a normal vegan diet and gone to see a physical therapist and then the acupuncture that like the severity of the injury would have taken me six months to heal. And it healed on day four and day five, like entirely.

Clint Was it all muscular and sort of strain related or do you think that there was some kind of inflammatory component from RA autoimmune perspective?

Lou I think the RA definitely makes me more susceptible to injuries and it makes them last a lot longer. But I think it was mainly just like a very strange muscle problem in the back from the tourists and also from just like it built up from a couple of months of stress and not eating well. The other key point from the video is I think we reference the true North Health Centre at the beginning. And I definitely like if we had been living in the US, I felt like I definitely would have liked to go someplace like that just because they can do all of your blood work and there are doctors around. And you can even do a much longer fast. I just did seven days because that was kind of the limit I felt comfortable with. And also they say that once your ad painting zero, there’s really no point in continuing like once your body has finished the healing process. You don’t need to go to like a 10 day fast or 15 day fasting because like you had some sort of number or in your mind. It’s really like you kind of just have to play it by ear as you’re going along. And also, if you do it in a controlled environment, then you’ll get bloodwork at the beginning of the end and you can kind of see exactly scientifically what has happened. Because I think it’s very hard for people to do that it would actually work. But I think like when you have the numbers backing you up, then you can just look at the paper and be like, this is what I was seven days ago. This is what I meant today. The last point I would make about the video is that the refining process is actually much more challenging than the actual water fast. You kind of get used to not eating after like three days. But it’s very hard to start eating again in moderation. It’s exciting because you’re eating all these foods and they taste amazing. But it’s like it just takes so long to get back to a normal-sized portion just because your stomach has shrunk. And it’s like you may only fast for seven days, but you’ll be slowly refining for 30 days after that.

Clint Did you say 30?

Lou 30 yes, but you are going to feel like completely normal, as if like you hadn’t. And I (inaudible) then like at True North they don’t allow you to leave like every day you do of water fasting. You have to stay 2 days after. So for a seven-day fasting, you would be there for three weeks total.

Clint For those people who are away, true north is in Northern California. And it’s run by a wonderful group of doctors, all aligned with Paddison Program principles. And Dr. Michael Kleper was one of the chief doctors there for many, many years before he’s now gone off and giving lectures all around the world to medical professionals who built plant-based diets in parallel to medical care.

Clint So thank you. Well, I think we’ve covered what we wanted to cover, and I’ve certainly enjoyed hearing about your adventures and your health and learn a lot about you and your wife and the way that you guys view the world. And it’s really cool. So I’m going to pay attention to what happens over the coming months with your sailboat adventure. And I want to wish you all the best of luck. And I hope it’s fantastic. And I hope your health stays perfectly in check for you so that even without the Green you’ll be doing just great.

Lou Thank you so much for inviting me on and for inventing the program. We are so grateful and I can’t believe it. Not like just for the amount of time it must have taken to experiment and try all of those different foods. I can only imagine that’s just like years and years of work. And also for the podcasts, I feel like it was so nice to like listen to them every time when we started the program. And every time we kind of get tired of it, it’s nice to just check back in and be like, look at all these other people. They’re also doing amazing things. So thank you. Really? And I think also for introducing me to (inaudible) yoga and connecting the importance of meditation to arthritis. Ever since I did the very first program I’ve met it every single day. So that’s why I haven’t made a single exception on. I’ve done daily meditation now for I think three years where I forget. Whenever I first started the program. But I haven’t skipped a single day. I feel like that’s helped a lot. It’s like keeping things in check. Thank you so much.

Clint Thanks for coming on. Thanks for mentioning the meditation there at the end as well. I think that’s a valuable addition as well. And if you want to go and definitely go, I should say, and follow Lou and Dana over it. Wild We Roam on Instagram. That’s W-I-L-D W-E R-O-A-M and you have the same Instagram and the same YouTube.

Lou Yeah. If you do just Google Wild We Roam, everything should come up. I think including the water fast usually comes up right away.

Clint Yeah. Beautiful.

Lou Oh yeah. we’ll keep you posted on our journey. And maybe we’ll see you in Florida.

Clint That’d be awesome. Let’s try and hook that up. All right. Thanks so much, Lou.

Lou Thank you, bye-bye.

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