We discuss in this interview:

  • Laine’s RA diagnosis 12 months ago, and how she has been able to overcome inflammation with the Paddison Program
  • Chronic stress as a trigger for RA
  • How she found the Paddison Program searching on the internet to avoid the usual treatments
  • Her personal implementation of the Program, tips and adjustments
  • Food suggestions
  • The importance of being relaxed while eating
  • Outdoor activities as an effective stress management strategy
  • Physical therapy for the knees
  • Breakfast tips

Clint – Welcome back to the Rheumatoid Solutions podcast, where we interview people who have transformed their lives with inflammatory arthritis and learn from them so that we too can implement strategies and mindsets that are going to help us live healthier, happier, healthier, more vibrant lives. And today I’m interviewing Laine, she is in Hawaii in Oahu, and she’s a surfer. But 12 months ago, she got hit with inflammatory arthritis. 12 months later, after doing the Paddison Program, she is in a whole lot better state, and she’s going to tell us in a moment the sort of the before and after. Then we’re going to go into the detail of the steps involved, the medical recommendations, and we’re going to explore each of the areas that she was afflicted with and how she improved those areas of her body. So, Laine, thanks for joining me.

Laine – Thank you for having me.

Clint – You’ve had to turn off the air conditioner, your beloved aircon, right next to you because it is Hawaii and it is pretty warm all year round. So thank you. I hope you don’t run into overheating mode throughout this interview.

Laine – Thank you, I think I’ll be okay. Got the Pacific breezes here.

Clint – Awesome. Now, you and I connected on Instagram. You posted something that caught my attention. And that’s one of the nice features of Instagram, when someone writes something about you, you get notified. It was a wonderful post about how much you’ve improved in the last 12 months. Can you just give us that sort of this is then, this is now before we go into all the detail?

Laine – Sure. About a year ago, my knee had swollen up for no reason, and at first I thought it was an injury. I saw a lot of doctors, eventually got referred to a rheumatologist, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My knee was pretty swollen and painful, I would wake up in the morning and spend 10 minutes just trying to straighten my leg all the way so I could walk somewhat normal. I just remember waking up, being in a lot of pain, very stiff, and then eventually my elbow started flaring up. They would have flare-ups, it swells, it would get hot and painful, and it would last three or four days and then the swelling would go away and it would be normal for about 3 or 4 days, it was just the cycle of flare-ups in my elbows. That definitely confirmed the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. And so I made some changes to my diet because I had done like a little bit of research on the Internet and I saw some improvements. I had cut out gluten, dairy, and sugar, most processed foods, but I wasn’t fully healing until I found the Paddison Program and gave up the oils and the animal products. 2 weeks into the Paddison Program, I saw huge improvements in my knee. I could bend it so much more and the pain was so much less and I could go back to regular activities. My elbows weren’t flaring up anymore and it’s just progressively gotten better since I’ve been on the program and I’ve stuck with it now for 100 and I think 130 days now and I have my life back. I’m surfing again, I’m doing all the things I used to do, and waking up every day just so grateful that I’m not in pain.

Clint – It’s absolutely awesome.

Laine – It is.

Clint – And what do your friends and family say when they witness your improvements?

Laine – They are really happy for me. They want to know, you know what I did? They want to know about it. So a lot of them that are close with me have been helping me with the foods and stuff and, like, eating with me and cooking with me, things like that. And seeing me do all the workouts I do, I was just determined. They’ve been very supportive but curious, and my dad also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis he has it in his hands. So I’ve been trying to get him to get on the program, which is a little bit difficult. Its hard to do the program, you have to change a lot of things.

Clint – Yeah, I think if you wanted to sort of look at that, what they call the Pareto Principle, which is the 80/20 rule, where you do you get 80% of the results by doing only 20% of the required changes. That would eliminate all seed oils, which are things like the oils that end up in stir-fries and so on. And then obviously all oils altogether, but certainly any cooked seed oil, they’re the worst in terms of their inflammatory potential. And then after that, it’s probably a step down to sort of dairy and meat. But if you can get him off the oils, that might be enough for him to see some improvements in his hands. So that’s exciting.

Laine – I’ll be going home to visit soon, so I’m going to be able to talk to him more about it and show him some different ways to eat.

Clint – So he doesn’t live near you.

Laine – Right. He’s in Indiana, where I’m from.

Clint – Oh, okay. You moved to Hawaii for career reasons or for the surf?

Laine – For the surf.

Clint – Oh, so you are you sort of quasi-professional or professional surfer?

Laine – I am not, but I was a college swimmer and I just really loved being in the water. And so that was kind of like something to replace, what I used to do every morning was get up and swim for pretty much my whole life. And so I was always in that routine and now surfing is just taking the place of that. But I’m self-employed, so I work from home.

Clint – Okay, let’s just explore this a little further. What do you do for work in case you might have a customer listening?

Laine – I am a jeweler, I make custom jewelry and I sell jewelry on the line. So hopefully if anyone’s interested in jewelry hearing this, they’ll check out my website www.lainebenthall.com.

Clint – Is that also why you have what appears to be a workshop behind you?

Laine – Exactly. I’m in my studio right now.

Clint – I see. I thought it was like a garage or something like that, I didn’t think it was relevant to what you do for work. I thought it was more the family shed. Oh, wow. Okay. Well, tell us what you sell so that people who are interested can check it out.

Laine – My website is www.benthall.com, I also sell on Etsy.

Clint – Okay, great. Well, there’s an impromptu little sidetrack. I didn’t know you did that. That’s really, really cool. And you’re wearing a very shiny necklace. Did you make it yourself?

Laine – I made this pendant here. I don’t make the chains, but I do make pendants to go on the chains.

Clint – I see. I see. Okay. Well, thanks for that little sort of sidetrack. Now, you’ve moved to Hawaii because you’re self-employed, you can live anywhere in the world, and you’re done with swimming. You want to add a little bit more flair to your daily activities. You’re in Hawaii, you surf and 12 months ago you’ve been hit with rheumatoid arthritis. You’re in paradise, which I believe is one of the best places to be if you have inflammatory arthritis. You’ve got access to fresh fruit, fresh air, you’ve got access to the outdoors, nature, a chilled sort of environment. What do you think brought it on?

Laine – I think I had a little bit of chronic stress from 2020 through 2021 with the pandemic. I decided to make cotton face masks and sell them online. So right after the pandemic hit, everyone needed a mask and there wasn’t a lot available. So Etsy had called for all makers to sell masks on their platform. I decided to do it and I was selling so many masks. I was sitting there at the sewing machine all day, every day, for months at a time. And I wasn’t giving myself like I wasn’t taking time to prepare a meal or work out or go outside and just relax my mind or even sleep, I wasn’t sleeping 8 hours a night. I was just pushing myself a little too far. I think that’s what brought it on, looking back.

Clint – So one of a very rare moments in time where you saw an opportunity to both help people and also to unselfishly capitalize on a very, very short term supply and demand crisis. And before you knew it, you were like working in your own sweatshop, not taking care of yourself. The next thing you know, your body said, this is ridiculous, we’ve been hit with an autoimmune disease. Life’s not fair sometimes, is it?

Laine – Yeah, that’s correct.

Clint – So when it’s hit, did you go to the rheumatologist? Is there a rheumatologist that everyone goes to in Oahu or is there a big waiting list? Tell me about the rheumatology environment.

Laine – Luckily there was a rheumatologist available. My primary care physician asked me a bunch of questions and I had had a swollen knee when I was about nine or ten years old and diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. So that gave her a hint into what this could be. And she immediately referred me to rheumatology. I got in within a month luckily, because I’ve seen a lot of people have had to wait a long time to get in. And the rheumatologist offered medications, and I was also seeing a sports medicine doctor about my knee, they wanted to do a steroid injection so I tried that. It lasted about two days and the swelling came back. The rheumatologist put me on some steroids initially to get the swelling to go down, but as soon as the steroids were done, the swelling came right back. And then she offered hydroxychloroquine was what I was going to choose as my medication, but I just wanted to hold off and see if there was anything else I could do before I committed to taking medications. I joined a support group on Facebook, and that’s how I heard about the Paddison Program.

Clint – Hmm. Okay, great. Now, let’s just go through that then fairly quickly. Let’s talk about just your implementation of the program. Any hiccups, any sort of particular challenges or omissions that you had to make to some of the foods. And if you found it easy to reintroduce the foods, just the sort of like just like Laine’s brief experience of just so that others can say, Oh, that was like me or not, I was different.

Laine – So I started the I did the cleanse, I was a little unsure if I should do that because I am slightly underweight but I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. At first, it was a little difficult, but it ended up being easier than I thought, and I felt really great those two days while I was on the cleanse. However, the second day after I woke up, after the first day, my elbows flirted up a little bit, and I think that was just some lingering things from what I had eaten a few days before. But it was a little discouraging because I thought I would wake up and feel better after the first day, you know? But then I stuck with it and I just kept feeling better. I did end up having one more flare-up about two weeks into it, I had drank some fruit juice that had some added sugar in it or something and caused a flare-up. But I think that I was having a bit of a problem reintroducing fruit so I had to kind of back off on any kind of sugar at that point and continue to allow my gut to heal a bit before I tried the fruit again.

Clint – Hmm. Every extra person that I get feedback from helps me to make, tiny, like, little carvings. Like if it’s a statue, changes to the carving just a little bit thinking, oh, okay. Yep, don’t really overemphasize the fruit. I think to myself now, whereas I try to encourage most people to do the fruits first. Stories like you’re just sharing with me now make me think, Yeah, just back off the pedal just a little bit. And so thank you for that. Then with time, then I guess you emphasize more of the vegetables, and then you’re able to introduce sort of more starchy foods. Is that correct?

Laine – Yeah. So I stuck with the buckwheat and quinoa mixture I think it was about 2 weeks until I added the basmati rice, I handled that just fine. I was also drinking the orange juice just fine, I wasn’t having any problems with that. Then I tried more fruit and seemed to be fine as long as I didn’t overdo it and eat like a lot of fruit. I wouldn’t get a flare-up, but I’d get a little bit of extra swelling in the knee, so I would just kind of scale that back if I got a little extra inflammation. And I was introducing the lentils, and I tried avocado and didn’t have any problems with any of those, really. But there was like, I don’t know exactly what it was that I ate when I was reintroducing things, that it would kind of cause a little bit of extra swelling. But I think that’s part of the introduction process.

Clint – Yeah, exactly. There’s no kind of what’s this word frictionless way to eventually have a ton of foods in your diet when you’ve got inflammatory arthritis. There are going to be some hiccups along the way, and I get like little sparks of, oh, that’s good, that’s good. When you say and I was able to introduce like the lentils, for example, and it’s like, okay, so there’s just so health promoting. And then once you lock the rice in you’re like, ahh you fine because now you’ve got the base of most of your midday and evening meals locked in. These things are massive milestones so that makes me really excited listening when you say that. And then I imagine, or at least I’m fingers crossed because you’re in Hawaii, which has got the best fruit in the world. Hopefully, you’re able to eat some fruits now.

Laine – Yeah, I actually have a mango tree in my backyard and we have tons of mangoes and I’m able to eat as much mango as I want now, which is so great. And I have endless access to fresh papaya and pineapple, which are all part of the healing foods, and they’ve been great. You’re right about it being easier here in Hawaii, it definitely is.

Clint – Papaya especially is like one of the sort of holy grail fruits that you can eat with rheumatoid arthritis. For people who’ve not heard me say this 100 times already. One of the reasons is that it contains an enzyme that helps to break down proteins, and its allergenic, partially digested proteins entering the bloodstream is one of the reasons our body is reacting and creating inflammation. It’s only one component, but it does contribute. And so when we can more adequately digest our proteins, we then are just a little bit less immunoreactive. That’s one aspect, but another aspect of many is very high in vitamin C and very high in potassium, two things that are deficient in most people with inflammatory arthritis. So you’ve got your protein breakdown and vitamin C in high levels and potassium in high levels. It really is, in my view, the number one ultimate antirheumatic food. When I was in Hawaii, my wife and I, we’ve been there several times. We got married there and stayed there for our honeymoon during the three weeks that we honeymooned through Oahu, actually, no, through Kauai and also across onto the big island. I think so many papayas almost turned orange. And in that time, I was able to, at the end of three weeks, able to eat so many more foods in my diet than the very restricted set of foods that I’d had coming into our wedding, because I was very much still in the sort of reintroduction phase at the day of our wedding. In fact, I ate brown rice and avocado on our wedding day as my wedding meal, nothing else. We have such fond associations with Hawaii and its healing potential, it’s a great place to be. Tell us about the nonfood strategies that you used as well.

Laine – This kind of has to do with food, but I really prioritize mealtime. Not being rushed while I eat, like mentally being relaxed while I’m eating, I think has helped a lot. The physical therapy that I was doing before I started the Paddison Program, I stuck with that and just like built on that. So I had this really structured workout routine that I would do three times a week to gain the muscle back in my leg. And I think that has really helped my knee a lot, the exercise and my elbows. Really just to get the strength back and the range of motion back. I sleep 8 hours a night, if I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep, I will take a nap during the day to get the rest of it, I think that’s helped. Just trying to keep myself relaxed, not have any kind of, you know, how you get butterflies in your stomach, that kind of anxiety or excitement. Try to keep that down, try not to get too excited or worked up over small things, that kind of thing. I think that’s helped too. I was having a bit of like heart palpitations around the time I was diagnosed, and I’m not sure if that was from stress or from the rheumatoid, but that’s gone away now too.

Clint – That’s good that it’s gone is all I can say, I don’t know. I haven’t heard anyone say it before, which is why I don’t know anything about it. No one said I get inflammatory flares, so to speak, I get heart palpitations. Nothing springs to mind. I may have heard it casually in our support group, but didn’t sort of. Yeah, didn’t really sink deep, so I’m glad that’s gone. The science shows that generally you know our happiness hormones where dopamine which is kind of like your reward sense of when you see a notification on your phone that you know, in your case maybe you’ve sold another piece of jewelry or something. These are good for you, right? And very addictive. And then you’ve got serotonin and oxytocin and all these things associated with love and especially outdoor activity and stuff, which we’ll talk about in a minute. So I wouldn’t shy away from excitement, but certainly, definitely, the opposite of that, which is stress depletes those same happiness hormones. Makes us insufficient in these anti-inflammatory happiness hormone. We all have a job to do to keep stress at a minimum. My stress strategy is movement, it is movement, it’s outdoor. It’s either going for a bike ride, it’s going for a walk by myself. Because if I take one of my kids or if I’m with my wife, it’s social and it’s nice, but it doesn’t allow almost like the drainpipe to completely empty out of the sink. I have to be alone for that if I’m just walking or if I’m doing something more strenuous, that’s when it’s even more effective. Pull-ups or really working on my bike hard, these things are highly effective. So I imagine the stereotype is surfing is like the ultimate stress reduction. Tell us how that plays a role for you.

Laine – It’s definitely like a stress reducer and a time for me to mentally relax and just focus on the ocean and nature while I’m out there is like a meditation. When I couldn’t surf, it was really difficult, I didn’t know if I would ever surf again. And so when my knees started to slowly improve, after I cut out dairy and gluten, I bought myself a new longboard to try to just encourage myself that I am going to surf again, I will be back on this board. And so when I was able to kind of stand up on my leg again, I got back out there on small waves just to see how I felt. Honestly, it hurt to stand up the first few times, but I stuck with it and I was just happy to be out there on my board. When I was getting better to where I could stand up without pain, iit was so encouraging and I was just so happy that I could surf. Then once I got on the Paddison Program and got the inflammation down and I was able to get back on my shortboard, which I couldn’t bend my knee enough to stand up on the shortboard. So once I was able to do that, I was just so happy, just so happy to be back on my board and able to do it and just knowing it’s going to get better from here on out.

Clint – Do you notice any association with post-surfing inflammation reduction?

Laine – I think there is something to that, I always feel great after surfing. I think that being in the water, it’s usually kind of cold the water a little bit. So I feel like it reduces inflammation just from being in the cold a little bit. It’s your blood flow going and all those good endorphins and yeah, I think it definitely helps.

Clint – And what about this physical therapy that you talked about? I’m sure a lot of people’s ears sort of pricked up at that point and thought, I wonder what exactly she was doing for her knees and elbows. Without having you trying to demonstrate on the video for people who are just listening to the podcast. Can you describe just the general approach for the knees, and just a general approach for the elbows so that people can have an idea of what you’ve been doing?

Laine – Okay. I started out with the physical therapy from my insurance, and I went to the people that do that, and they gave me their basic exercises, which were a lot of stretch bands and just simple walking with balance. Trying to get the balance back, pretty easy stuff. But once that was over, I had to do something on my own so I would search the Internet for how to strengthen my knees, and I came across a Ben Patrick, The knees over toes guy, his program. I decided to try it because you can start out with a lot of pain and barely any range of motion and you can progress from there so I thought, Oh, this is perfect for me. And I’ve stuck with it now for probably five or six months and I’ve seen so much progression in the exercises. I mean, I was just sitting on my knees yesterday, which was great. It was like a big thing for me to sit full weight on both knees. Just a week ago, I was like barely sitting on my knees. So I’m definitely still healing and seeing progress with these exercises. I highly suggest Ben Patrick’s exercises, I think that they’re great for restoring the range of motion and strength in the knees. That’s what they’re targeted for.

Clint – Yeah. And I’m very interested. I have this program as well and I was very interested in it. Again, very close to my heart and close to sort of things I need to understand to be able to give guidance to people and so on. Some of the earlier stuff and this is available online as well. People if you want to just see this, it’s not revealing his paid material or anything like that, but one of them is a stand against the wall and lift your toes off, which is I think he calls the what’s that muscle that no one ever.

Laine – The tibia. I think tibia is.

Clint – Stibbe for Pilatus or something. Yeah. Anyway, so you went you did that. You were doing that every day. Correct.

Laine – I would do a three days a week.

Clint – Three days a week. Right. So you didn’t try and accelerate more than what he said, you just did what he said.

Laine – I did what he said.

Clint – And did you on the days in between do anything in particular or you just took a rest day.

Laine – Days in between, I might like work on my arms a little bit, do some push-ups and pull-ups. Obviously, there’s the surfing that I was trying to do regularly, and since I was a college swimmer, I would go swim laps a little bit to help loosen me up, I think that helped elbows a bit, too.

Clint – No doubt. And this is, by the way, a lot more than the average person with RA, so you’ve just sort of casually said, Oh, yeah, I just went and swam a whole bunch of laps, so it’s easy just to sort of dismiss that, that for a lot of people is the complete entirety of their workout for a week, for example, swimming some laps and you just sort of doing it on your own, on your days off. So yeah, you’ve obviously got exercise and physical activity, as you said, with surfing as a real strategy in this mix.

Clint – Great. Is there anything else that we haven’t covered here? we’ve talked about your changes to your foods. We’ve talked about moving away from a sweatshop lifestyle to a lifestyle that is very nurturing with your 8 hours of sleep a night. Finding that work-life balance, getting out, surfing, physical therapy followed by Ben Patrick’s Knees Over Toes. Then being mindful with your eating so that you’re not sort of stressed when you’re eating and you’re taking your time with your eating. Have we left anything out?

Laine – I think that covers most of it, I had a few notes but we’ve covered all of that. I would listen to your podcast while I was doing the program daily. Pretty much every day, I would put one on while I was cooking or doing my work, and I think that really helped me keep on track and stay motivated. And I always thought like, I hope one day I’ll be a success story like these people I’m listening to, and here I am. So it’s awesome. But I really do think the podcast helped help me and hearing other people’s experiences, and the little things they did, I would try on everything. I was willing to try everything like you can imagine, like what you went through. And so yeah, I just tried every little thing I could hear about and thought that it might help. I would give it a try.

Clint – Fantastic. What does your sort of diet look like now? Are you able to eat sort of a diverse plant-based diet? What do you have for breakfast just before we wrap up?

Laine – Okay. Every day I start out with a juice, I make a cucumber celery juice in the morning instead of what I used to drink coffee, I don’t do that anymore. And then for breakfast, now I’m having oatmeal with fruit in it and some nuts, which is really exciting. For lunch, pretty much every day I’ll eat rice with sweet potatoes, sprouts, spinach, other fresh veggies and avocado. I just love that meal, like three months into the program, I just started craving those foods and I just really enjoyed them. I can eat that every day and be happy, honestly. I put a lot of sprouts in my food, the mung beans. A lot of times I cook a miso soup and I put pumpkin in there broccoli, garlic, and onion. I can make sushi, I make some sushi wraps, and veggies, that are pretty yummy. But mostly I stick with the basmati rice, the sweet potato, avocado sprouts, and spinach. I do some green smoothies with lots of spinach, pineapple, and banana. Those are really good.

Clint – Yeah, well, they said that at nighttime you’ve got some beans and rice, lentils and rice, potatoes and rice sort of curries, that sort of Indian.

Laine – Yes.

Clint – Yeah.

Laine – I do the dahl, too. The dahl is really good.

Clint – Okay. Well, you and I eat pretty much the same. That Lunchtime meal that you mentioned, we don’t have that, I’ll have to try that. But, yeah, everything else you’ve mentioned is very similar to the way I eat with the miso soup from time to time, and green smoothie from time to time. Most days we have a green smoothie in the afternoon, oats for breakfast, and rice at lunchtime. It’s identical compared, we’re splitting hairs. Really, it’s that similar. Well, Laine, thank you so much, this has been fantastic. It makes me so happy that you’d you had planned one day to perhaps share your story, and here you are. And what makes me happier than that is that there is still progression, you’re still improving. And that’s the thing because the metaphor I like is that with rheumatoid it’s a fairly strong current in a river that we’re always being taken downhill. It’s progressive, it’s worsening symptoms, it’s joint degradation. Spacing in those joints is showing up on x-rays as being less and less, and then we’re getting, additional medications being applied. So we have to actively and quite aggressively swim against the current just to stay where we are in life. And to actually swim up the stream is very challenging and requires all the things that you’ve done. It’s not just diet and that’s why know people on Facebook jump on. I’ll share a little clip from this, it’ll go on Facebook and a portion of the RA community who don’t know the intricacies, they jump on it and say that’s not true. They sort of get all flustered about it because you’ve got to do everything right. And that’s what the it’s what’s hard to appreciate from just looking at this quickly from the outside is that this is a full-on life turn upside down kind of thing.

Laine – Definitely a big lifestyle change in a lot of ways.

Clint – So well done, and we’re always looking to get back to Hawaii. So if my family come back to Hawaii, I’d love to meet you one day.

Laine – Oh, that’d be great.

Clint – Perhaps at down-to-earth, they’re not too far from Waikiki, isn’t it?

Laine – Yeah. That would be awesome. I would love that.

Clint – Well, thank you very much. I thoroughly enjoyed your story, and I want people to go, if they’re interested, to go www.LaineBenthall.com. It sounds like you have some wonderful handmade jewelry that people can look at if they’re interested. And you have an Instagram, do you want to share that in case people wanted to follow you and just sort of continue to enjoy your journey?

Laine – Sure. My Instagram is lainebenthal.

Clint – Great, nice, and simple. We’ll put that link also if people want to just get the spelling on the show notes of this episode. If you enjoyed this episode or you enjoy these podcasts in general, please give us a five-star review and a nice comment over at iTunes. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that in about the last 70 episodes. So it means that our rankings on this kind of platform remain probably a little lower than what they could because, with your support, we can bump it up and maybe get more exposure of the show to other people who don’t know about it. So if you’re on your iPhone right now, can you send us your hit end of this episode? Can you go and give us a five-star review if you like this episode, which I’m sure you did, because Laine, you’ve been amazing. Thank you so much, and I’ll see.

Laine – Thank you Clint. Bye.

Clint Paddison

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