We discuss in this interview:
- Maya’s continuous health improvements after three years on the Paddison Program
- The huge benefits of her new lifestyle raising two kids
- A daily routine with exercise and healthy food
- Stress management and meditation
- Useful tips for healthy eating
- Managing alternative eating habits within the family
- The right mindset to stay on track
- The importance of consistency
Clint – Welcome back to RheumatoidSolutions.com. We have a guest coming back today who was on the show about 3 years ago, and she was fabulous talking about how she managed to keep her symptoms at bay and raise two young children. I’ve invited her back today to tell us about where she’s up to, and to explain to us what it’s like to be living a long-term, pain-free, drug-free life with rheumatoid arthritis. Welcome back, Maya.
Maya – Thank you so much Clint, I’m happy to be back.
Clint – You’re looking so well, and so healthy. Clearly, everything’s going well for you.
Maya – Yeah. Thank you. I feel extremely healthy, much better than I did previously in previous years. But yeah, I’ve been on your program for a little over 3 years, 2 1/2 years about 3, and I’ve been doing fantastic these past few years. It’s just an amazing lifestyle. I am amazed to be off all medication and living a normal life exercising. It’s been really, really amazing.
Clint – Yes. Now, for our audience and probably the majority who may not have seen or listened to our first episode because it was 3 years ago. What we discussed, if people would like to go back and look at that, is everything about raising a young family and falling pregnant and breastfeeding. All during a period whilst taking Methotrexate, Prednisone, and so on. So if you’re at sort of the child-bearing years and wanting to have a baby or have known someone who’s looking at doing that with rheumatoid arthritis, and then negotiating the medications and the risks and challenges. Then go back and watch that episode. It’s a good one. It was March 2018, go back over and check that out. You can find that on PaddisonProgram.com/Blog, and just type in Maya.
Clint – Today we’re going to talk about, a lifestyle that continues to maintain your health and keep you symptom-free. Why don’t we get straight into it and talk about what does your day looks like? What time do you go to bed? What time do you get up? What time do you eat your meals? Why don’t we start with that kind of framework?
Maya’s Day to Day
Maya – Sure, absolutely. You know, a lot of it stems from your program like that, really laid the groundwork for kind of my lifestyle today. It starts in the morning with a green juice, your cucumber-celery juice that you recommended. I’ve been drinking it every day for the past 3 1/2 years since the day I started your program. I haven’t skipped it since, even if I go away on vacation or anything and I can’t juice my own juice. There are so many juice places out there these days, I do get a green juice or some form of green juice no matter what. So that’s number one, I definitely start my day with that. Then I eat breakfast, usually, I have the same thing every day and I’m not sick of it. But I have gluten-free oats that I make with just a little cashew milk and coconut milk half and half, and just some days to sweeten it. Once I discovered that I was hooked on it and I’ve been eating it literally every day for like years, but I’m not sick of it. So, I eat that probably around like 8 -00 to 8 -30, I am like a morning person. Then prior to that too, I like to exercise in the morning also. Like that’s another thing I’ve been extremely thankful for after finding your program is being able to run again, do yoga again and do all these things that really brighten my day. It puts me starting my day on the right foot. So I’m super thankful that the program has gotten me to a point where I can do all that. And then lunch is usually always a salad.
Clint – Do you basically get up, green juice, then exercise, then your oats?
Maya – Yes, sometimes I exercise before the green juice depends on what time, my kid’s wake me up. Whenever I could sneak out the door for a run, that’s when I’m going.
Clint – And normally a run?
Maya – Normally I run or yoga, it’s between the two. But I’m getting more into the running this past couple of years. And then lunch, I get hungry early. I’m more of an early person but like 12, 12 -00 to 12 -30 Pm I usually eat lunch. Usually, a salad but I switch it up there’s a lot of options for me these days. I’m not limited to certain foods. I remember being challenged by that in the beginning of your program because you have to build up into it. But, fear not, years later there are so many things I can eat. But I am very just routine-based, so I generally get the same stuff. I make different salad dressings, which I really like, I switch that up a little bit. I do a lot with Tumeric because that’s been helpful for me or ginger, tahini, things like that. And then dinner. I generally eat, I know your program says, I think to finish it prior to seven, which is no problem for me because I’m hungry by 5 -30 to 6 -00 Pm we’re eating. I go to bed early, I turn in early by 9 -30 to 10 -00 Pm I’m asleep. And then for my kids and my family too, that’s the one thing we don’t eat the same things. I do try to help my kids eat some healthy things and they do, and I love that they eat vegetables as much as I do because I didn’t eat vegetables as a kid that much. So to see them, you know, going towards a healthier lifestyle makes me very, very happy. But still, I’ll give them chicken tenders or whatever. So it is different meals, and my husband too. That’s pretty much my day-to-day, that’s been it for the past couple of years. And I’ve been flair-free, pain-free, med-free all this time. So it’s working.
Clint – It’s just incredible, isn’t it?
Maya – It is.
Clint – It’s incredible. For any naysayers who say the power of food isn’t there or that we can’t see any changes if we change our diet, it’s nothing short of absurd, not only from a scientific point of view, and you can read it in the science. But also in the anecdotal stuff, just literally like listening to you it’s like how can this not be ignored?
Maya – Yeah. It’s sad to see people that don’t believe it or, you know, for me, it’s easy for me to say it doesn’t matter because I feel good, and that’s all the proof that I made in my life. I can go on with my daily life still living a normal life. But it is sad for me to see other people with RA or other autoimmune diseases struggling. There are varying degrees of the disease, too. But I mean, what diet can do for it just is amazing. I just wish more people would be on board with at least trying because they could be where I’m at in a year.
Clint – I think it’s worthy to point out that you’re doing a lot of things right, and it’s not just the diet. So you’ve got the diet right but you’re also getting your rest at night, getting to bed early. There’s a lot of train of thought and a lot of belief around the hours we get before midnight are so much more crucial than the ones we get after midnight. That’s debated a lot in science but I think everyone would agree that the closer we get to living in our circadian rhythms of when the sun’s up, we get up and after the sun’s down, start thinking about making your way towards rest, not too long after that. Then you’re also getting your juice in the morning, and your exercise going. You’re getting all of those benefits as well and it just sounds like you’ve got also balance in your life. You seem like you’re not flighty and you have a calmness about you, which means that you’ve set up your life to support your healing. As opposed to being frantically entrepreneurial and chasing tight deadlines. I’m extrapolating a lot just from listening to you talking and I might be off the mark, but you certainly do appear calm and balanced. You’ve got all those things going on and I just wanted to put that all into more of a bigger picture. Just because I have done episodes which were titled, “Diet is Never enough.” They also are valuable to learn and they are also good to listen to. For most people, if they just change their diet, it might be incremental and they might get them halfway there. But then there’s all this other stuff that needs to be done as well. You’re a wonderful example of being able to get the whole way, using all of the interventions.
Maya – Yes, that’s very true. Like stress management, I think is extremely important too and they talk about some of that contributing to your inflammation. I think when I was diagnosed, it was an extremely stressful time in my life too. I know it was also the food I was eating, but also the stress that I was causing my body. My lifestyle at the time was also a factor, so I definitely agree. I think stress management is also extremely important.
Clint – Yeah. What do you do on that front? Because you do appear to be pretty chilled out.
Meditation & Yoga
Maya – Actually, I started meditating more recently and I’ve tried it here and there. I could never get into the zone because I’m a type-A and I’m always on the go type of person. I mean, I’m a mom of two kids and I also work, so I am kind of naturally that way. I try meditating and it’s hard because you need to still your mind. I can’t sit there because I’m thinking of all the million things that I have to do. But I recently downloaded those different apps available on your phones. I recently downloaded mine and I’ve been doing this and it’s been helpful. There’s a more guided meditation and you can find them because there’s YouTube, and it’s everywhere. But it’s been extremely helpful and I’ve been doing it for a month now, and I’m loving it. I think that’s honestly helped me kind of calm down a little bit more and be a little more present, patient, and all of that. I do yoga also and I think that’s also a different type of exercise for me, it’s helpful and also coming. Doing yoga is kind of the opposite of running and when running I’m kind of the cardio building up and going fast. Yoga has a slower pace, but it’s still an exercise and I get a lot out of that also.
Clint – Both of them still draw your mind back into the body. If you’re running enough, the body is at a fairly elevated level of activity. Your mind just gets pulled into the body and you can’t be worried about stuff. For example, I’ve got to concentrate here. I think it’s the single-mindedness or it’s a single focus. If I am running, I have to make sure my breath or my knees are fine. All of these little things but I’m focused on the body and with yoga, you are just concentrating on your breath. You just pulling all those thoughts back into a reduced number of thoughts and then meditation. We’re trying to reduce them even to fewer and I guess fewer thoughts are equal to calmer.
Maya – Yeah, with fewer thoughts and your breath is calmer. I think it lowers everything down in a good way.
Clint – Yes. Let’s jump back to your diet. It is because there is something that was circling in my mind when you were talking about your salad lunch. Now, what do you put on the salad? Because we don’t want people to think, she’s not eating enough calories and that’s why she feels good. They can also ask, I can’t eat a salad, what am I just going to eat leaves for lunch? That’s not going to work and I’m going to stop watching.
Maya – I’ve gotten great with my salads, actually. I make all different kinds and I do kind of switch up what I put on top. But usually, I’ll put alfalfa sprouts, edamame, red cabbage, and shredded carrots but I don’t love carrots. But I just put a little in there for the color and for the vitamin A. Then, I’ll do a fruit like an apple or a mango, just a couple of pieces and I just put the sweetness. Then I usually do a protein, either tofu or tempeh I put in there and that’s basically my salad. Lastly, I top it with dressing and I do different kinds of dressing as I mentioned earlier.
Clint – Wonderful. Now I’m curious about the edamame and that’s not a common addition. You’re talking about the sort of baby green soybeans that are normally put into Japanese foods.
Maya – Yeah, that’s it!
Clint – OK, they’re great and they’re really good with their fat balance as well. I really think that edamame is great food. Then for dinner, you’ll do sort of a starch-based steamed or boiled or curry and only things like that.
Maya – I do like the best nanny rice I’ve stuck with or I’ll do like sweet potatoes as my starch. I usually make kale or spinach pesto sauce, a couple of raw cashews, some basil, some lemon juice, garlic, and a little water. Then, I pour that on top just for extra greens. I don’t love vegetables and I’m still never there but I’ll eat them. I like a salad, but I don’t like eating broccoli or whatever. I like to just juice my greens or I’ll put it in a sauce or something just so I’m getting that intake and still getting the benefit of them. Then sometimes I eat protein and sometimes not. Sometimes I eat tofu or tempeh and I don’t do a lot of beans. I don’t think I can tolerate them but I’ve tried to introduce them here and there. It’s been over a year but I could maybe try again. But what I found with reintroducing foods, especially after you’ve healed for a while, that I have to eat that food. If I eat it once, I’m fine, but if I eat it consecutively for like seven days. I start to feel a little bit of stiffness, then I know that the food caused it. Otherwise, it’s been hard for me to really pinpoint after you feel for so long,
Clint – It’s subtle and it’s not like an alarm going off but it’s more like a little reminder.
Maya – But I still introduce new foods here and there. There’s a lot of fantastic vegan restaurants near us thankfully. I try different foods there and I feel I found that vegan restaurant that is very accommodating. For example, if you have an allergy or anything that they want to know about it and they make sure it’s good for you, so that’s always comforting. You know,
Clint – I feel sorry for vegan café chefs. I mean, they must get some of the most challenging requests ever. People like us show up and we just ask for these complex modifications.
Maya – I find it easier to be an easier customer. In the beginning, I always say I can’t have this food. But now that I’ve introduced more, I’m just like no peppers. It’s easier in ordering food that is fine with me. My husband now knows what I can and cannot have. If I send him to do the food shopping, he’s always trying to get something new for me and he knows, which is really nice. In the beginning, it was a lot of confusion from my family and even my husband. They always ask, what can you have or can’t you have? They are always worried about me and there’s still some of that now. I remember during Christmas, everyone was so concerned. What are you going to eat? I’ll be fine I’ll just bring my own food and I know you’re going to have this. It’s just kind of planning ahead for those moments. For example, we have an engagement party on Saturday and I’ll eat ahead just to be safe. It’s because I don’t know what they’re going to have and I’m sure they’ll be something not for me. I am not going to go starving, but it’s just kind of changing your lifestyle a little bit. Planning ahead a little bit more and that’s how I’ve really been living these past couple of years.
Clint – What do you do with your evening meals? I know there’s a lot of friction associated in a lot of families with eating different things. What are your tips for someone who wants to do this with things? But how am I going to eat at night different from my family?
Maya – It’s really not that hard for me, it’s just more planning out what I’m going to have. I pre make rice usually, so it’s in there for me. If I need something quick, I can have that and I’ll change up what I put on top. Then me together with my kids, pre-plan stuff and they eat a lot of the same stuff. For example, if it’s a veggie or rice they will eat that. Then I’ll change up like their meal or whatever they’re eating. My husband gets scraps and he gets a mix and match of everything. He likes certain foods too and it’s interesting. For example, my youngest daughter, who I had to take prednisone during that pregnancy I was also not eating meat and I wasn’t eating gluten. It’s funny because I feel like she is turned off as some of those foods too. She doesn’t like a lot of meat and she doesn’t want to eat it. I wonder if I change that for her or what she’s into. Maybe it’s because of what I ate when I was pregnant, but it is interesting. She likes veggies, rice and she’s happy with her food. But my husband likes sometimes he wants me, so he’ll make it himself. He’ll make burgers on the grill but it’s funny with him too. He likes vegan restaurants and he’ll always say a vegan hamburger is like the best hamburger he’s ever had. We’ll buy it sometimes for him to make it at home too and he is open to different foods too. It’s just, you have two kids and we both work, and it’s a lot of like, we gotta find something to eat most of the time. It is just preplanning and a lot of that also.
Clint – I can see that the friction in your family has been reduced to as little as possible. Your husband sounds accommodating, but also has his own sort of personal preferences. But at the same time, it sounds like if you really wanted to become extremely confrontational about this. He probably would be, I’ll eat what you want me to eat. And at the moment, it’s all in nice equilibrium.
Maya – I’ve never been a great cook and I’ve never been interested in it. I do it now for myself because that’s my lifestyle. I feel like if I was a better cook and I could make some delicious meal for my whole family, they would all eat it. It’s just I’m not that person and I don’t have all the time to be. I feel like cooking takes a lot of time and maybe that’s just in my mind, but there are certain things I make for myself. For example, I make this like Turmeric coconut rice and they all love it. Every single one of my family loves that food. When I make that, I’ll make a big batch and everyone can eat that. I would say if you are a great cook and you can throw things (inaudible), but I need to follow a recipe. But if you can throw things together and I’m sure there are things that the whole family could eat, so it’s eating the same meal and not having to get different things.
Clint – Her favorite recipe book at the moment is from Forks over Knives. They’ve got a fantastic recipe book and that’s perfect for our family. It’s normally starch and then lots of legumes, beans, lentils, and stuff, which I know makes a lot of the recipes for you at the moment. But in our family, those ingredients are really common. Every food has no oil and there are very clever recipes in that book, which is great. I highly recommend it and any of the recipes from Forks over Knives, they’re fantastic.
Maya – I’ve been on a website before and I’ll check out the book, that would be great.
Clint – Yeah, it’s just an Amazon click and you have it. Let’s talk about philosophy and just your whole view on this. What keeps you on track or what keeps you thinking, I want to stay doing what I’m doing? Tell us a lot of the thoughts that you have on repetition that keep your habits as they are.
Never Going Back
Maya – Well, we’ve all experienced the pain of RA, right? And that experience is enough to keep me going and I’m like, I never want to be back there ever. The frustration, the anger, and the sadness that I felt which I remember all of that. I remember that time in my life and I never want to go back there, that keeps me going every single day. I don’t need anything else and that was enough for me. I was diagnosed in 2012 and I only had it for five years, and it’s before I found your program and before I started to get into remission. There are people that had it for years and they probably experienced longer but for me, I only experienced it for 5 years. It’s enough for me to remember and keep me going every single day. It does get easier like in the beginning, it is kind of a hard change to change up your lifestyle that drastically. As I mentioned, your family members are all confused and what can you eat but it gets so much easier. I don’t even think twice about these things anymore, it’s just your natural day. It’s just part of our routine and that’s why it was easy. Then remembering how bad the pain is, that is all I really need to keep me going. (Inaudible) huge sacrifice to me. I’d rather live this way and be free from pain than let RA rule my life.
Clint – Your blood test results are fantastic as well. The last C reactive protein test you had was less than 0.2 mg/L and you mentioned that just before we hit the record. From a quantitative medical perspective, you’re in great shape and it’s just tremendous.
Maya – The blood markers are the proof. How you feel is also proof but knowing that the blood backs that up also. It’s just a reminder and it makes me understand that this is sustainable, and it works. I feel wonderful!
Clint – Yes. Well, is there anything else that you’d like to share? Is there something That you feel we need to cover on this sort of this theme of maintaining wellness once we already reach a state of equilibrium? Is there something else that you would like to make sure that we cover to share with people who are in this situation? Wherein, you are just getting into this situation or seeking to get into the situation?
Maya – I would say just to remain as consistent as possible with it. Don’t ever get complacent because we do have this disease and it’s with us for life. We have to get it right, you can’t cheat, and unfortunately, we can’t. If you want to be in remission and be in control of this disease. Then I think you have to be in control of your diet and you can’t let that spin out of control, complacency gets tough. You and I were speaking earlier before this recording about a flare I had just recently. The first one was I didn’t read a label properly and I had a pressed juice which was just like lemon and ginger. I didn’t read it carefully and it said, paired with cayenne and I can’t have peppers. I drink that juice and I flared up in my finger. Then the second one was because I think I was getting complacent, I was allowing myself to have ice cream being gluten free. But I got on that kick a lot of it and you pay the price. If you’re going to cheat, you’re going to pay the price. If you want to win and you want to curb your RA, then you know what to do. Just stick with it, just don’t get complacent, be consistent with it, and you can live a fantastic life.
Clint – Awesome, and that was a piece of great advice overall. I think that what you’re doing is absolutely sensational and I really appreciate you spending some time with us. I think I saw an update from you on Instagram, which is how I connected with you again after a few years. And I said, hey, why don’t you come and tell us where you’re at? Because people can create testimonials of other lifestyle interventions and say, a paleo diet really helped me with my symptoms or I went keto or even some people are doing these sort of insanity kind of thing. Testimonials can then be created within a few weeks and say, I took all this stuff out of my diet and now I’m feeling a bit better. But sometimes I literally pray to God for those people. It is because that future is not going to look good on those platforms that are fat-heavy, meat-heavy, and vegetable plant Devoy. What we’re demonstrating today is that you and I spoke three years ago, and you’re doing even better today than what you were three years ago when you felt great. This is not something that’s fleeting and being able to live this lifestyle is very possible and it’s very doable. As you said, once you get into the habits and the routine it just cranks it out. It also becomes part of your life and you can focus on other aspects of your life, like your job, your family, travel, and things that excite you and uplift you. Do not just focus on the fundamentals obsessively, but you move on. Your mind thinks about other things and this has been tremendous.
Clint – That’s the way life should be lived and not in a bed with icepacks and there’s much more to be doing.
Clint – That’s right. Thank you, I really appreciate your time. Why don’t we get back together in three more years?
Maya – Sounds good, I’ll be here.
Clint – We’ll do another update and we’ll learn from you again then, if not sooner. Thank you so much and it’s been lovely to see you again.
Maya – Thank you, Clint! Thank you as well.