After being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Isabella has been able to greatly reduce her symptoms following the Paddison Program: today she is pain- free and drug-free.

We discuss in this interview:

  • Isabella’s diagnosis with psoriatic arthritis at age 19, with major inflammation in the joints and tendinitis
  • A not so healthy lifestyle with the wrong foods and stressful activity
  • How she came in contact with the Paddison Program and decided to go with it
  • Methotrexate and its side effects
  • Re-introducing foods
  • Stress and its impact on the digestive system
  • Weightlifting, stretching and other exercises
  • Juices and foods that helped her in her journey
  • Getting in the right mindset
  • Facing social implications of a healthy lifestyle

Clint – Thanks again for joining us. We’re in for another feel good story today and hopefully highly educational as well. My guest is Isabella, she is from New York State and she has psoriatic arthritis. And she’s going to share with us today about the dramatic improvements that she’s made following the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis, very, very similar condition. How she has gotten her symptoms to very, very, very low levels. And she’s never been on the medications for this condition. So it’s all very interesting, and I’ve shared with you now in this introduction just about all I know. So everything else we’re about to discover together, I’ve deliberately asked her not to over-share so that we can we can experience this together. Interviewee, Interviewer, and audience are all in this for the ride. So thanks, Isabella, for joining us.

Isabella – Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Clint – Let’s do our little before and after statement at the start. I haven’t even prepped you for this either, but can you just tell us, like, and I want you to try and do it in under 30 seconds? How bad symptoms were when you were at your worst and how you feel today?

Isabella – Okay. So I would say at the worst was probably a couple months before my diagnosis and I just couldn’t function like a normal 19 year old at the time, couldn’t stand for too long, couldn’t walk. Volleyball was out of the picture, I’m a collegiate athlete, so that was not good. Like I would wake up, with complete pain in my back. Just overall daily functions were a no go, which was very not fun and very alarming because I am so young. That was before and then now I feel like I have a brand new body. Like I’ve never felt this able-bodied in my whole life. I feel so strong, I’m able to go back to weightlifting, and I’m back playing volleyball. Overall, I feel very, very good.

Clint – This just so feel good already, we’ve already ticked the box. It’s just so nice to hear. So what we’ll do now is follow our sort of well-trodden sequence on these interviews, which is we’ll go into some detail about your story and find out, you know, how it began and why you think this came on at such a young age and then what the doctors wanted you to do and so on. And then we will talk about your favourite aspects or the most powerful aspects of your current regime, the non-negotiables that you do that you find most effective for inflammation, reversal and low-level maintenance. So you are so young, have you questioned, first of all, how this came about? Take us back to when this began and your thoughts about it and what you were doing and so on.

Isabella – Yeah. So I was kind of just, you know, living life like a normal teenager, student athlete. I was wrapping up my senior year of high school, which was 2021. So this is like post-pandemic. I’m just getting back into volleyball again, so I’m playing my school volleyball season and my club volleyball season at the same time. So a lot of physical activity at the time. Also very stressful time because I’m graduating. I’m going to school in the city in the fall in New York City. Um, so there’s a lot of things going on. Um, so I’m playing and I’ve always been kind of the overuse injury athlete, there’s always something going on with me. Um, but it kind of all came like crashing in on me at this one time. I was having major si joint issues. Major, like, could not walk it was crazy. So that was going on, and then also at that time, I’ve never had this before or since, but it was something with my hips, they said I had bursitis could have been, could have not been. Also major inflammation in my IT bands as well, which runs from my hips to my knees, I have a history of patellar tendinitis. Overall, lots of tendinitis in my high school years. Doctors, physical therapists, they were always just like, overuse. Like, just rest for two weeks and you’ll be fine. I always did that and they would always come back. And I was like, I’m strong, like, I’m healthy, I’m young. What’s going on? Um, so yeah, I kind of went to PT for a little bit for all of that, like the si hip, IT band situation. Um, it mellowed out a little bit before I started college volleyball.

College volleyball intensity did not help these pre-existing conditions whatsoever. So I was going through it my fall semester, my first semester of college, I was playing six days a week. And I was also commuting from where I live upstate to New York City for college. So it was a lot of sitting on the bus, not stretching, was eating garbage because I had no time to cook. Overall, looking back, it was everything I wasn’t supposed to be doing for my body. I was treating it like a garbage disposal. But that’s what everybody does at like 18, 19. So I was just living my life and then my season ends. It’s like a catastrophic back injury, I had like a severe muscle spasm in our last game of the season, I was like wheeled out on a stretcher, like could not move. It was so bad.

Clint – Middle of the game?

Isabella – Actually during warm-ups, so I didn’t even get to play the game.

Clint – You stretch it off during the warm up?

Isabella – Yeah, my friends were like taking videos of me. They were like, What is going on? So I was put on medication for that and I was like, I can’t do anything. That was like when it was at the worst. So that’s like November 2021 to March 2022. That was, like very, very rough. That’s when, like the daily activities, so much pain. I felt so hopeless. I was like, I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish playing volleyball. Am I even going to be able to be active in my adult life? Like it was very much caving in on me. I was like, Oh man, this is like, this is really not good. Especially when I got the diagnosis as it’s something like Chronic. It was very like impending doom was setting in at such a young age. And I was like, okay, we got to do something about this because I knew that I didn’t want to go on medication because actually my best friend was diagnosed with rheumatoid when we were 13 years old and she’s been on medication is getting off now. So like, I know that road and I didn’t want to go down that. And a friend at the time was like, Hey, my mom has rheumatoid arthritis and she is on this program and she’s off her medication now and she’s doing great. And I was like, that sounds really awesome. I’m going to take a little bit to think about it because it’s such a drastic life change. And I was, you know, obviously treating my body like a human garbage disposal. So I was like, this is a big change. Thought about it, I was actually on a trip with this friend that has rheumatoid arthritis. We went on like a wilderness retreat sort of thing, and I had my epiphany and I was like, the day I get back, I’m doing it. And the day I got back, I bought the program and I started instantly and I just went like full blown in, never went back. And now I’m better than ever.

Clint – That’s almost like click your heels and it’s magic, right?

Isabella – Yeah, it was definitely turbulent. It wasn’t just up. It was very up and down with the progression of introducing foods. But now that I’m here, I’m like, Where have you been all my life? Like, Wow.

Clint – It’s amazing. Now I think we’ve missed the section of the diagnosis of Psoriatic because you’ve talked.

Isabella – I glossed over that. My bad.

Clint – Let’s just fill that bit in.

Isabella – Yeah. So I was kind of like, okay, we got a couple months until I’m back into volleyball. We got to figure out what’s going on. Like this injury was six months ago and I’m like, even worse. So I’m like, okay, I get sent to a sports doctor. Thankfully, he’s like, this seems like something systemic. This shouldn’t be happening, I’m gonna send you to a rheumatologist. So I was like, All right, I go to this guy in the city and he does all the blood tests and he’s like, Yeah. Do you have anybody in your family with psoriasis, with psoriatic arthritis? So I was like, My dad has psoriasis. And he was like. Okay, that makes sense because we think you have psoriatic arthritis. And I was like, okay. And at that time again, a lot of like lower back SI joint pains. I did get a few injections into my back, which I forgot about until now honestly. It was only a couple, probably 2 to 3 within that month period before I decided I don’t want to do medication. So I had a few of those just to like function. I think it was either the visit that he told me or the visit after that, he was like, okay, like these are your medication options. Like you can try methotrexate and then go on Rinvoq, I think is the name of the medication. And I was like, okay, I’ll take the methotrexate home, I guess, and try it. And it ended up really affecting my appetite. I was nauseous, I felt overall just very down. It messed with my menstrual cycle to which I was like big red Flag. So I was like, This isn’t good, and after reading over the long booklet of ike side effects from the Rinvoq, I was like, all of it together was like, this isn’t for me. I’m too young to go on medication. I don’t want to do it.

Clint – So you did do the methotrexate for a little while?

Isabella – It had to be like ten days max. And then I was like, over it. And not every day was.

Clint – Yeah, right. So you basically took it twice or something? Yeah, once.

Isabella – Twice, 2 or 3 times. And then I was like no.

Clint – Right. They’re common side effects, I’d say nausea, tiredness.

Isabella – Tired, so, so.

Clint – So tired and.

Isabella – I’m already so exhausted from like not being able to function that I was like, this is so much I can’t do it.

Clint – And then did you contact that rheumatologist and say I’ve stopped it or did you just stop it and say I’ll think I’ll tell them when I go in for my next appointment?

Isabella – I think I stopped, and then right before I started the program or like, right after, it was very, like very short amount of time because I had my little wilderness epiphany, and then I was like, it’s happening. It was right in that time where I was like, I stopped it. And also, I don’t want to go on medication. I’m going to try this. I’ll see you in like two months and I’ll tell you how it is. Which he was fully in support, of which I was not expecting very in support of it. Um, and so, yeah, I saw him like two months after it was right before volleyball, just so he could, like, clear me really. Um, and he was like, That’s great. Sounds good. Um, and that was it. I think I saw him maybe once after that. And then life gets busy. I’m still commuting. So then I didn’t go back, but I probably should just to check up on the blood work obviously, but.

Clint – It happens like that. It happens because it’s not exactly a thing you look forward to going to the rheumatologist In my list of top ten things, you know it’s definitely outside of that because you’re basically under the microscope for any problems that could exist. It’s not it’s like they’re they their job correctly is to look on identify any potential problem which then needs to be treated. So yeah. You kind of feel.

Isabella – Probably only medication no other way to fix it. So it’s like, you know, the, um.

Clint – That’s it. So, um, okay, so what we really want to do next is talk about like what helped you the most. So you’ve already sort of given us the feeling, the results of the program were up and down. But just the general trend was in the right direction and continued until you got to where you are today, which is feeling outstanding. So, um, let’s just quickly go through what helped you the most and, and in what order did you notice things start to improve in the body?

Isabella – Yeah, I would say after 4 to 5 days, I was like waking up and I could, like, get up, like, without feeling like a 90-year-old woman, like, back. And I was like, oh, wow, I can, like, get out of my bed without feeling like that, that’s crazy. That was where it mainly was, was like my spine, so that was the biggest issue. Um, definitely did feel it in my hands a little bit. Um, my knees as well. Those were the big ones. But the back thing was like huge. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is great. After a couple days. And I was like, That’s insane. Also, my energy level was like off the roof. I was like, I noticed that right away. I was like, I can get up and function without coffee, which was a really big change for me. Such a caffeine addict. I was drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow and now I haven’t had it in over a year, which like, so proud of myself, so that was like jaw-dropping. The amount of energy that I had was insane. Um, so I would say, yeah, after a few days, like. Very intense pains pretty much went away. The main up and down, I would say, was when I started reintroducing foods. It wasn’t necessarily my pain levels, but it was my stomach and my digestive system getting used to things again. That was the main thing that I was noticing. Like during the summer when I was walking a lot because I didn’t want to do anything super high intensity yet. So I was walking and I was stretching pretty regularly. So I was doing that and I was introducing foods here and there. I probably went a little too quick because I was like, Well, I feel great. We’re just going to keep doing it. Um, because it didn’t cause any pains, which was like phenomenal. But definitely for my digestive system sake, I probably should have gone a little slower with that. Um, just like bloating and just changes in the bowel movements you know how it is. Um, so, and I still get that, like here and there. I think it is more environmentally caused, like physical stress, Like, am I exercising a lot or am I having a lot of mental stress? What’s going on in my life That very much affects what’s going on with my digestive system.

Isabella – But I would say the big like curve for me was when I went back into volleyball because again, very high intensity. I had a new coach, so he didn’t really understand what was going on, obviously it was up and down with that. Things would come and go. But I also wasn’t as physically strong as I am right now because I’ve been weightlifting very regularly. Like kind of regularly since my volleyball season ended in November, very regularly the past couple of months and I feel like so strong. So definitely I would have been better off if I started weight training like the sooner the better. But I had a lot of fear about setting myself back and like, what if I hurt myself lifting? I had a lot of like because it’s happened before, like lifting related issues with myself. So that was a big learning curve as well just trying not to like catastrophize everything. Like during my volleyball season, it’s like it’s okay, like it’s going to be ups and downs we just started. So I tried to give myself a little grace there, but from there to now, like I feel so much more physically able, I’m like, I’m fully back to playing volleyball. I can, like, there’s no fear anymore about, like, waking up in immense amount of pain. If I go for a walk for too long, it’s not going to result in arthritic pains. And all of those things that I used to worry about, I don’t worry about it anymore. So that’s really fun and nice for me.

Clint – Yeah, that’s one thing I wanted to ask you is did you sort of move back into weightlifting because of something that you’ve always done? Or is it because of this sort of things that I talk about a lot, which is I want people to be as fit and as strong as they possibly can? And I’m not trying to sort of suggest to take credit or anything. I’m just wondering if it was intuitive for you to go back and get back into the gym because for a lot of people it’s not even when the pain goes away. So I want to know how that motivation came to be.

Isabella – It was, I would say, 95% you and what you preach. Because again, like I just had a lot of worry about how to go about the gym now because I was like, okay, like we got to do some things differently because I’m not trying to set myself back again. So I kind of had to relearn how to go about weight lifting, and what worked for my body at the time. I actually what really, really gave me a lot of confidence to get back in was this book, I can send you a picture of it I don’t know where it is right now. It’s called Built from Broken, and it’s about this guy who had a bunch of injuries, and basically how he fixed it. It talks a lot about reducing inflammation. The first part of the book is a bunch of science about like, I read it so long ago now, but it’s like it talks about like the synovial fluids and like, warming up and the importance of dynamic warm-ups. And not necessarily lifting the heaviest, but doing it in timed motions like and making sure your form is correct. And the last half of the book is a full workout plan, you can do it like two, 3 to 4 times. There’s pictures for every workout, so it’s like all the anxiety around going to the gym, even if you don’t have like any type of arthritis. I feel like it’s a great book if you’ve struggled with any sort of injuries if you’re an athlete who’s had a lot of injuries. If you have arthritis and you’re scared about getting back into the gym, it’s like it’s such a good plan. It’s an amazing book. Like, I could preach about it all day, but that I’ve.

Clint – I’ve actually seen that book on Amazon when I’ve been browsing through and looking for things over the years. Um, and I think I, you know, spent some time reading the reviews and thinking I’d be interested to read that book. So I wonder if I can get hold of the author. It’d be fun to interview that person.

Isabella – That would be awesome. It’s an amazing book.

Clint – My action point here will be to go down that path. I’ve interviewed several authors over the years and they’re quite accessible. So I’ll try and reach out to him or her.

Isabella – Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s a lot of good motivation to because the book is called like Built from Broken. And if I’m remembering correctly, it’s like you’re not trying to like fix yourself because you’re broken, it’s not like in a negative way. It’s like you’re using all these pieces to, like, make you the fittest best version of yourself. And I just loved his analogy that he uses about like, you need all these parts to like to make the strongest you and yeah, very inspirational. Love that book.

Clint – Did you follow the workout guides in that book or did you use the ones from our program, the upper body and lower body workouts, or did you come up with some kind of hybrid or your own thing?

Isabella – Before I found the book, I found the book around September, October. So a few months after I started the program. Before that, I was doing some of your workout plans mixed with some yoga-like at-home stuff. Nothing crazy. Um, because I was very tight, like, I never stretched ever. So I was like, we need to get, you know, get this flexibility back. Like, I used to be a cheerleader. I used to be able to, like, put my leg like. All the way up here and I could barely lift a leg before starting. So I was just getting back into stretching. Walking helped me so much. Um, and I live in a very like suburban rural area. So it’s very pretty nice like nature walk for the mental health. I would listen to podcasts, I would listen to your podcast while I would do my walks. Those things were really helpful at the beginning, for sure. Very like low intensity, but still I knew that I was helping myself. So. Yeah.

Clint – Okay, great. Well, what else helped? We’ve spent a bit of time talking about the exercise and that one we really need to highlight and emphasize. And anyone who’s not physically active, um, don’t give up. If you’re only able to move your neck, then move your neck. And then tomorrow you might be able to move your neck and just one millimeter of the left shoulder and the next day, two millimeters. It’s just about trying to go a little further. And the most emphatic encouragement around this particular part of our lifestyle approach for inflammation reduction. Move, move, move. get strong. What else?

Isabella – I really like the cucumber juice, I drink it all the time. It’s just so refreshing and I feel so hydrated after really. It’s really nice when I’m doing, like, a long day of physical activity, too. Um, it keeps me feeling, like, replenished. Oh, I love that cucumber juice, it’s so good. I also do other juices but that’s just kind of like for pleasure. I don’t really know, like if it has the same benefits as the cucumber juice, but I do like just different types of fruits I put in the juicer. Other things, I was a stomach sleeper beforehand. Worst position you could possibly be in. Like leg half up. Laying. However, I forced myself to be a back sleeper. Now I do my side sometimes, but using pillows to, like, hug on both sides and put under my knees if I need. Like, really keep me, um, like, secure, and like, I’m not going to move around. That helped my spine, like, immensely. Getting myself into that habit, I because like, when you’re side sleeping or stomach sleeping, your spine is all out of whack. So definitely back sleeping, Amazing. I try to do a little mobility like stretching, like dynamic warm up type thing in the morning. Does it happen every morning? No, but when I do, I’m like, Oh, wow, I feel so good. Um, so just like, moving, trying to do something right when I get out of bed, just to kind of, you know, get everything, you know, moving again, get the wheels turning. That really helps.

Clint – Can you tell me what breakfast, lunch and dinner look like right now? Um, if you snack in between meals, what time you finish your evening meal, how much you eat, and are you hungry before meals? Let’s cover all that, please.

Isabella – Yeah. So I have oatmeal every single morning. Um, I always was an oatmeal fan because of my grandfather, that’s the only thing he knew how to make. So whenever we were over, it was oatmeal, bananas, blueberries, honey, amazing. So I’ll switch it up with the fruits, this morning I had raspberries, bananas, blueberries on top. I love a good pumpkin seed. Mix some nuts in there, get some crunch. Um. I love my oatmeal. It’s like my pride and joy. Um. That’s every morning that never changes, so it’s oatmeal every morning.

Clint – Me too. Same thing I’ve been doing for 15 years.

Isabella – Lunch today, I had a quinoa. It was kind of like a little grain bowl situation. So it was quinoa and spinach was the green, and then there was chickpea, avocado, tomato. That’s all that I remember right now. Yeah. Okay.

Clint – I’m getting a feel for it.

Isabella – Yeah. And then love sweet potatoes, too. I didn’t have time to make them this morning. Love a good, sweet potato in there. Um, and then for dinner. I haven’t made dinner yet. I usually have it before, but I got home kind of late. Yeah. Um. Yeah. The world is my oyster. There’s so much to make.

Clint – But in the following list, are you able to eat, say, regular potatoes, Rice, both white and brown? Able to eat lentils and beans and able to eat maybe some occasional cornbread. I mean, all these things currently on the menu.

Isabella – Yeah. So most of those I haven’t tried any breads yet. Um, try to make my own bread once, and then I forgot about it. Left it too long on the counter, and I was like, Oops. So I haven’t tried breads yet. What would you suggest I try for the breads? Is there something that I could buy? I don’t know. Do you make your own bread?

Clint – No, I don’t make my own bread, we’ve never tried. We buy a beautiful oat sourdough that we can just get locally easily that’s got no oil. And it takes, it’s baked over two days traditionally and so on. We’ve been blessed in that respect with regards to bread, there are quite a few options around here where we live in Sydney. It’s not the case always with things that we want, it’s harder to get really good soy yogurts for the kids, for example, compared to the United States, where they’re everywhere. Ones that taste really, really nice and they enjoy, but we just happen to be in good luck with the breads. Um, having said that, I haven’t eaten that particular bread in probably six months. We’ve just we’ve been out and had some picnic lunches and things and I’ve just eaten regular whole grain bread that the kids have in their sandwiches that they have for lunch at school each day and so on. And that does contain a little bit of sunflower oil. But, you know, the amount is small and I always have lunch with fruits and my greens as well. So the negative impact of that very small amount of oil is really, really sort of minimized and almost eliminated. So yeah, so but the first place to start is a traditionally baked oat sourdough, it’s delicious as well. And I used to put or would put still these days just a big knife spread full of what you guys call jelly. We call jam here like raspberry, raspberry sort of preservative, you know, fruit, um, and with no butter, of course, or anything. And, you know, if you’ve toasted that sourdough and put that on top, it really hits the spot.

Isabella – I think that’s the only thing I haven’t tried on the list is the bread.

Clint – Yeah. Great. So you and you now have a diverse Whole Foods plant-based diet. Can you talk through how it’s, we’ve heard you say how well you feel from an inflammation point of view, but just confirm for us any other positive impacts that you’re experiencing regarding performance with lifting, feeling satiated, feeling like you’re enjoying the foods, any of those sort of aspects.

Isabella – I could write my own book. Oh my gosh. I’m always satiated. People think I eat like a rabbit, like I’m just like, gnawing on carrots all day. And I’m like, No, no. I have full, well-balanced meals, I’m always satiated. If I need to snack, go to snacks, fruit all the time, like so easy. Just grab it, eat it. Also love rice cakes. Um, so I’ll do like, I had this today. This was my pre-workout, um, rice cake, banana, a little bit of honey. And I was so pumped after like I always feel energized. It’s like I used to go into like a food coma, not be able to be a functioning human for about 30 minutes after eating when that’s like not supposed to happen. You’re energizing your body with the food so I feel I always feel energized. Again, my energy level overall, is so much better. I would say I like the art of preparing my meals I’ve always loved to cook, but it’s like I feel that was something I wasn’t expecting. I was like, wow. I’m like nourishing my body. Like, I’m helping myself by preparing this food right now, which some people might not get. Like if you’re not a foodie like that, for sure, it just might be an annoying thing you have to do. But for me, I like even when I don’t look forward to it, when I’m in the act, I’m like, Oh, I love it. I love that I’m, you know, taking care of myself and with this delicious food, like I make such diverse meals and I’ve learned a lot about how to like, I relearned how to cook, which is not something that a lot of people get to do. So, yeah, um. I forgot the question. If I’m being honest, that’s great.

Clint – Do you try and finish eating before 7:00 at night?

Isabella – That’s always the goal. Yeah, I do break that on occasion with a little snack, if I’m being honest. It depends like when I started eating that day, I feel like if on my usual school or work schedule, I can be done at like 7, 8:00 and be good. If I’m getting up super early and I eat earlier than usual, then I’ll be like more hungry around like 8:00, 10:00. Um, but yeah, that’s always the goal is to finish by 7. And I always feel better when I wake up when I do that.

Clint – What is your favorite anti-inflammatory meal?

Isabella – Oh, let’s get on. Uh, when I’m feeling, like, really, like, just not good. I love to do, like, a hot meal, either soup or rice of some sort. Um, I love to do a good curry. I love the recipe in your book. Something just loaded with vegetables can never go wrong with that. I love to like bulk it up with potatoes and rice. So it could either be just more of like vegetables over rice or more of a soup where I’m adding like more vegetable broth. Um, I would say that’s my favorite is doing like, a nice, hearty soup.

Clint – Yeah, great. Okay. And I’m going to try a few more like of these one off questions here for you. What mistakes or what mistake have you made that you would advise others to just be careful of?

Isabella – In regards to the program?

Speaker3 – Yeah.

Clint – Anything in the healing process itself in the past sort of year and a half. Is this. Yeah. Does anything strike you as a mistake that you made that you’d have to warn others about?

Isabella – I would say I have two big ones. One is more of a practical one and then one is more of a mindset. One. Um, practical, I would say take a little more time with the reintroduction. It’s not a rush, you have your whole life. It’s okay If you can’t eat certain foods for, like, a couple of months, you’ll be okay. And you’ll just ease better into the whole thing. So I would say don’t rush. And then second, for my mindset, I feel like I got really down on myself at times when I wasn’t feeling the best. Um. And you know, obviously cognitively, I know this is an up and down journey that’s like, you know, that’s what life is all up and downs. But just it was very short amount of time where it’s like diagnosed figure out how to get better, go in the program. Now you have to do this like intense exercise of like being in a volleyball season for like three months, and there was a lot of up and downs in that season. Especially with kind of telling people and them not understanding. And it made me kind of feel. Like bad about myself, I guess. But I actually just today, so this is perfect. Just today I got this analogy of like the up and downs in life and how it’s like your hypothetical wound. If you’re sewing your wound, it’s like the needle has to go up and down like through like that. So with every up and down, the wound is getting tighter and you’re healing. So I just, I really love that analogy and I think it works well. For something like a chronic issue or a disease or illness is like there’s so many physical and mental ups and downs, but every single one is getting you closer to becoming better. So I really liked that analogy, I’m going to try to keep that in my head. I think that’s going to be my new mantra. I just I’m obsessed with it.

Clint – That’s lovely. Did you hear that or did you make that up?

Isabella – I did not make that up. I read it. It was kind of like an article.

Clint – Yeah, that’s lovely. That’s really good. Okay. I’m liking the answers to these sort of questions that I’m throwing at you here.

Isabella – Yeah, keep them coming.

Clint – Okay. Um. I think we’ve covered this. But in case anyone’s just questioning, I mean, how does your body feel now when you get out of bed in the morning?

Isabella – I feel like I can just like, if I wanted to, I could just rise out of my bed, put on shoes, and, like, go outside to run, which, like, running was like, out of the question. My knees would like I would want to amputate my legs off. It was knees were not doing it. So now I’m like, theoretically, if I wanted to, I could just slip those shoes on and just head for a nice little jog, which like that has not been able to happen in a very, very long time. Um, it’s so great. Like, I went on a hike very early in the morning two weeks ago, first hike by myself actually, and it was just so, like, so uplifting and it was uplifting in like this realm too, because I was like, wow. Like, I just did like a three mile, four mile hike. Like when that was not even fathomable, like a year ago, literally. Which is like, it’s just so crazy how you can just be so low at one point and like not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And then you look back and you’re like, you know, you climb up that mountain and the view is just like, wow, Like, look at that. A lot of struggle to get up. But like, we’re here now.

Clint – So awesome. Okay. And what about what would you say to other people with psoriatic arthritis who perhaps are maybe on the fence about making lifestyle changes or perhaps they are trying, but just not seeing the results so far that you’ve experienced? What about something words of encouragement or advice for folks like that?

Isabella – Yeah, I would say if you’re on the fence about doing the whole lifestyle change thing, it has been the most fulfilling choice I’ve ever made in my life. Um, the fact that I got to make it so young is like, I find it even more valuable because now it’s like. You know, I feel like so many people go through years and years and years of such emotional and physical torment over this. And I got to make that change. You know, while my brain is, you know, you know, I’m still developing. It’s going to be like a locked in sort of habit. A lot of people get on the fence because they aren’t sure that they can make it into a habit, but I think it’s much more than just like a diet. Like when you think of a diet, it’s something that you can break. But this is like you’re doing it for your overall health and well-being. And like when I started, it’s like there is no choice. Like there is no choice, this is my medication. To break it is to like, you know, not be, you know, doing my body well. Um, and, yeah, it’s a really hard thing if you’ve kind of been through this very up and down journey for so long. But I mean, maybe it is easier at one point because it’s you get to a point in your life where you’re like, okay, this isn’t working. I have to change. I have to do something to change. That’s what happened to me. So I would say, don’t shame yourself into being the victim of like, oh my gosh, what was me? This is my life and I just have to deal with it. I would say, like take what you have and take that like take that experience and use it to drive you forward into making those changes because yeah, you’re just going to hit a point where you’re like, okay, I’m done. Time to change. And it’s hard, it’s hard to go out with friends. It’s hard to, you know, go to dinners. But I’ve gotten so used to I’m not embarrassed at all. I bring my Tupperware everywhere I go into restaurants, big salad bowl, and I’m just munching away. Servers giving me weird looks, people walking by like, what is she doing? I don’t care anymore. And it didn’t take me that long to do that. And I know it’s harder and easier for other people, but, um. Yeah, just. Just know that, like, you’re doing yourself, like, the biggest favor. And it’s so fulfilling when you actually do something really, really hard. And other people are like, I don’t know how you do this. It’s that much more fulfilling to be like, Yeah, I do this every day. Like not just when I’m around people, it’s like it’s an around-the-clock thing and it’s really fulfilling. So I would say, just try it. You would be so surprised about how much you can change. My friends, in high school, I barely woke up for my online classes, like during the pandemic, like I was barely getting up and, you know, being a human like and they’re like, wow, you do all this stuff now? And I’m like, I do all this stuff now. Like, that’s great. So there’s always room for improvement, always Like, there’s always a time to change. Even if you feel like you’re at a plateau and there’s nothing to do to save you, there’s always something that you can try. And if it doesn’t work, that just moved you closer to the next thing that’ll help you. So just keep moving.

Clint – What’s been your friend’s reaction to your transformation from Carried off in the pre-game warm up of the final of the volleyball to now breaking your strength records at the gym and taking your own foods to restaurants?

Isabella – My friends, first of all, when that happened during the game, my coach was like, because he had a semi-final game to win. He was like, Do not look at her, we need to focus. But my friends were terrified they were like, Girl, that was scary. Also, I had an ongoing nickname of Grandma because like, hello couldn’t function. I’m 18, 19 years old, My nickname is Grandma. That was, like, crazy. So, yeah, I went from being like, the little grandma broken back Isabella who can’t move. And now I’m like, I can do things. And they’re like, Wow. Like, you look so fit. Like, you can move. It’s like, I can play beach volleyball now, which is like amazing. Like, all my friends are into beach volleyball, and that’s way more physically demanding, in my opinion, than indoor volleyball. It’s like you got to be, you know, doing all the things. But yeah, they are like, wow, it’s the same thing. Like. They’re like, I can’t believe you do that. It’s like when I meet new people, it might come in a negative sort of connotation, like, Oh, I can never be able to do that. Like, that’s crazy. Why do you do that? Oh, what do you have? What is that? Um. But my friends who are around me and they saw me go through that whole journey. They’re like, Girl, like you are so strong for that. Like, you just never cease to amaze me. Like it’s the things you do are just insane in the best way.

Clint – It’s awesome, I’m loving that vibe Our community is a pretty unique community where we’re doing stuff that’s quite out there, quite different than what other people are doing, you know? So you’ve got the masses who will do things like, I’m giving up sugar for like 30 days, right? And then the next person comes along and say, I’m going to try and do a keto diet, right? And so that’s their big thing. But, it takes a it’s only a very narrow portion of the world who’s doing the extreme levels of things in terms of all aspects of health management across the spectrum of, of of variables that we do because we’re up against the most ginormous of enemies in debilitating, ongoing chronic inflammation that causes us to have to make a big change. And everything else is inadequate. Just doing this or just doing that, it’s just not going to get you enough results to keep you on the motivation path and to to get to an elation point of results. That’s what we’re after. We want to feel elated and like you, you, I can tell, are elated about these results, and so that’s what we’re after. So, yeah, that’s funny. I’m really, really like enjoying hearing about your friends reactions and stuff because the stuff that people have told me, I mean, it’s so funny, the looks I’ve had eating food on planes next to people like the double takes and stuff like almost Wish I had have film these reactions to the things that I’ve seen that. People reacting to my foods that I’m eating and things, I used to eat hot chips and then I’d eat like at airports always because you’re in public places eating and I’d eat like a hot chip and then I’d eat rich in like a bag of chips and eat like, baby spinach out of a bag. And then I’d have another hot chip and then baby spinach out of a bag. And the looks you’d get doing that. That was a classic, you know, and just the weird seaweed mixes I’d put and have to sit next to people on planes and they’re looking at what is that smell? I’m eating seaweed.

Isabella – Yeah, I actually I have such a good story. I had a birthday dinner with my friends in the city and obviously, like very hard to eat out, but we’re like, we’re going to try our best. We found an Italian restaurant that had gluten free pasta, so I was like, Perfect, I’m going to make my nice little sauce. I’m going to get gluten free pasta with like, steamed vegetables, put my sauce on. So that’s what happens, you know, put my sauce on. Grubbin So good. It was, um, it was roasted bell peppers and mushrooms. That was the main base of. Of the sauce. So. Yummy. And it’s a very authentically Italian restaurant, these people are not Americans. He comes over and he’s like, what is that? Like, What is on your plate? What is what did you put? And I explained to him, you know, Yeah, like, you know, uh, dietary restrictions. I had to bring my own sauce. And he was like, Can I try it? And I was like, of course. So this, like, this server from this restaurant, like, took his piece of bread and he took my he took my sauce and we got it on video. And he was like, he was like, Wow, Like, that’s really good. And the whole table erupted. They were like, Yeah, let’s go. It was so. Best birthday gift I could have had, like a true Italian, like, accepting my sauce. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is amazing.

Clint – There so much to that story and taking your own sauce to the Italian restaurant is just classic, isn’t it?

Isabella – Yeah.

Clint – So funny. Oh, well, thank you for sharing. I think we’ve covered quite a lot of ground here. We’ve shared some stories, some laughs. And we’ve also heard about your transformation from really awful levels of inflammation throughout, especially the lower body and through your spine and now being able to essentially live a pain free life and do whatever you want again. And be so happy about where you’re at now and not be sort of feeling like you’ve got this restricted new version of you, but instead a completely new and open version and one with enormous opportunity. And you’ve got this gratefulness that you exhibit when you’ve suggested that this discovery at such a young age now sets you up for so many decades of positive living that can influence others. And also, what we do is we then dramatically reduce our risk factors for getting any of the other big four lifestyle diseases of society like diabetes and cancers and heart disease, and so on. So, you know, all of that stuff plummets in terms of risk factor. So well done. Congratulations. It’s been so fun to connect. And maybe we’ll meet one day. We always talking about our next trips to the US and doing some health retreats. I’ve got someone who’s very keen to run health retreats for us, so if we set those up or I do a book tour, perhaps I’ll see you one day at one of these things.

Isabella – I’m in New York City, so yeah, perfect. Clint, you’ve changed my life, so I very much appreciate it. It was wonderful talking to you.

Clint – Thank you.

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