We discuss in this interview:

  • Phill’s diagnosis of undifferentiated Spondyloarthritis a year ago
  • How inflammation started with plantar fasciitis and then spread all over the body
  • Night sweats
  • How Phill started doing research to avoid taking medicines, and eventually found the Paddison Podcast and information on the benefits of a plant-based diet
  • The great influence of his best friend who was treating cancer in the same way
  • Phill’s experience with leflunomide and prednisolone
  • How Phill applies the information he gets through the podcast and support group to his everyday diet
  • Coming off drugs and managing the condition with diet and exercise
  • Resistance training
  • After 5 months without drugs, Phill is now healthier than ever

Clint – Good day! It’s Clint here, welcome to the Rheumatoid Solutions podcast. Today’s guest is Phil and he’s going to share with us his massive recovery from extreme back pain, feet, pain, and the use of multiple medications to getting to a point where now he’s in great shape. He doesn’t require the medications anymore and he is raring to go, really, really keen to share with us because he’s able to play sport with his son again and live life to the fullest. Phil, I can’t wait to hear your story. Tell us quickly your before and after and then we’ll dive in.

Phil – Thank you, Clint. So a quick rundown, basically, last year, almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with what’s called undifferentiated Spondyloarthritis, which is a type of autoimmune arthritis. The doctor told me they all sort of overlap each other, Someone who has undifferentiated and didn’t have a particular straight diagnosis. I was put on leflunomide and prednisolone, a pretty heavy dosage, which I slowly, obviously slowly tapered off the prednisolone. And I was given leflunomide until I had to stop the leflunomide because I had some side effects. But by that stage, I’d already sort of had the plant-based diet down the path to the point where I’d no longer have to take medications. I am probably 97 to 98% pain-free, I live a full and active lifestyle, working as a waiter in a busy restaurant hit the gym four nights a week after 12 hour day in the restaurant where it felt better than I’ll ever have. Raring to go, as you said.

Clint – It’s the sort of thing that blows the minds of medical professionals when these things happen. My first question is, what has your rheumatologist said about your current status, given how far you’ve come in just a short period of time?

Phil – Okay. So this is one of the most exciting ones. The last time I spoke to my rheumatologist around 2 weeks ago, he told me, now I only need to see him in another six months, and after that will be every 12 months. And he said to me and I quote, I don’t have to see you as often now because you’re doing my job for me, you are curing yourself. That was one of the best feelings one could ask for.

Clint – Isn’t that extraordinary? Was that a telehealth or were you sitting opposite him when he said that?

Phil – Sitting opposite him after he checked all my joints and stuff and actually touched to see if I had any pain in the problem areas that I previously had pain.

Clint – Before we get into the detail of how they eventuated and the struggles that you had. Where was he checking? What have been your problem points? I think I mentioned back and feet, but could you tell us?

Phil – Yeah, look, I didn’t have it in my back so much, the big problem for me was in my left plantar, Plantar fasciitis was a huge problem. And on my right heel, I had an enthesitis really bad, and still, that gives me a little bit of a pang of pain to this day. They were the main problem points, but as I said, I had a knuckle that was swollen up on this hand was I couldn’t close my fist. When it was really bad, my knees had blown out, they were really sore. And my sacral joint when it was really bad, it’s worse. I couldn’t roll over in bed, I couldn’t lay down, I couldn’t do anything without pain. I was using crutches just to get around, just to get up and move around the house so I could not walk. Yeah, I still have it next to my bed just in case.

Clint – Oh, man. So, look, let’s go through the sort of the tough times. And we won’t dwell on this too much because you’ve got a lot of stuff that you want to share, things that you discovered. You research the heck out of this. You basically applied it like a university degree and did, like many of us do, is just hit the books, hit the research, hit online articles. You’ve learnt so much and it’ll be great to get your perspective on the most crucial things that worked for you. Just to set the scene and to put you in the position of how you were motivated to learn these things. Can you just walk us through maybe over the next 5 minutes or so, that journey of waking up for the first time in pain and how it evolved?

Phil – Well, it kind of evolved slowly, but when it got really bad, I was scared for my life. I didn’t know what was going on with my body and I was starting to suffer night sweats as well, which I didn’t know was at that stage, I didn’t know that was a sign of your body fighting inflammation. So I was having these huge night sweats, I had this pain through my body, I thought I’ve got some sort of cancer or something is going on, something serious. I was scared for my life. Obviously, the process went along and the doctor suspected something opposed. I thought it was this problem with my feet, etc., or a strain, or I didn’t know what was going on. So I was in and out of podiatrists, I had orthotics made up and then I was in so much pain with the night sweats, etc. My GP suspected something and sent me off to get blood tests, etc. and I came up HLA B 27 positive, which then we thought might be ankylosing spondylitis, off to the rheumatologist I go. And then diagnosed with undifferentiated Spondyloarthritis. The motivation came from me just thinking I’m too young for this I’ve got a five-year-old son and he’s asking me, Daddy, can we go and play ball? And I couldn’t stand up to kick the ball, he’s my world, he’s my everything. Just being too young for all of this and wanting to get better no matter what it took where they had to do it with medicine or without but I really didn’t want to take medicines. Then I started to find a bit of research online and everything started to string together and I could see that this was achievable through diet.

Phil – I found podcasts of yours, found yourself. That made me determined that hey, hang on, this is completely reversible in a natural way. I don’t need to take these medications, this methotrexate, this prednisolone, and all the others. I read about the effects of those and how nasty they could potentially be, so my mind was made up that it was a no-brainer for me what I wanted to do. Also, looking at the benefits of a plant-based diet in general, I started watching a lot of documentaries and learning a lot about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Unbelievably at the same time around that was having my best friend who was diagnosed with cancer, which then went to stage four cancer, he also started a plant-based diet. Clearly, if I tell you this whole time I’ve been healing myself, he’s been healing himself pretty much all the tumors have gone by. One which is shrinking. So it started in his liver and kidney, and it was in his main artery. They operated and pulled it out, but then it came back and spread to his lungs. But they’ve all shrunk down, that’s another story. So I knew the power plant-based diet, and I was watching documentaries, and I knew I was reading I was watching testimonies and different stories of not only people with my condition but all conditions. So I knew that food is our medicine, and our blood is our own medicine. Our bodies will heal themselves if given the right ingredients. So I pursued. I kept on.

Clint – Naturally to put myself into that position of time. When you’re looking online for plant-based diets in terms of autoimmune and plant-based combinations, we are obviously definitely in amongst the mix with the Paddison Program. Brooke Goldner shows up a lot in that department for autoimmune. When you head out into diabetes and heart disease, you enter into a lot of other names. But what were your considerations at the time? What were you thinking about doing in terms of these programs?

Phil – Well, I had no idea, but one of your podcasts, which I’m in now, was one of the first things I’d seen. Before I’d even had my diagnosis, we suspected ankylosing spondylitis. When my GP suspected ankylosing spondylitis, I saw a lady who’d had amazing results with ankylosing spondylitis with your program, so that’s what started me. I started to eat healthy and clean, and it was only a matter of time before I bit the bullet and I bought your program. I played it for the money and it was well worth it and that way I had a guideline. It was like I had help, instead of me having discovered this whole new way of beating myself all on my own. I thought I had some recipes and a guideline and a community. Even though I was quiet, I’ve been sitting back silently in all these Facebook groups and all these. I could have jumped in on your online forums, and I could have done this, I could have done that. But I sat back quietly until I knew I was ready until I knew I’d had results. Then I sort of popped up out of the blue.

Clint – That’s right. Suddenly you’re like, Hey, check this out. It’s like Superman, I’m pulling back the other clothes, and there he is with the big S on his chest. For those people who are watching this, and this is maybe your first time listening to conversations on this show, and you may have a form of ankylosing spondylitis, so forth. To let you know, just like Phil has mentioned, we have multiple people in the podcast archive that you can go and watch and learn about what they did and so forth. That includes Sheri, Katie, Salem, Gabrielle, Tamara, and Tiffany, all who have fallen under this kind of ankylosing spondylitis umbrella or Spondyloarthritis kind of category. If this is your first time and you’re looking for more to build a case for yourself to go and go down the same path that Phil has gone down, all these people before you. Then there are a ton of extremely reassuring stories for you to go and watch. So I thought I’d mention that as we get back to Phil now. So the doctor wanted and did actually go ahead and put you on those medications, didn’t they? You mentioned methotrexate, I don’t think you ended up on that. But he did put you on leflunomide, correct?

Phil – Yeah, I was leflunomide, I wanted to avoid methotrexate because I’d heard so many horror stories. But I was on leflunomide and I was on some pretty heavy prednisolone, and to be honest, it did affect me, even those drugs affected me. At first, when I was having to take such high doses and my body wasn’t used to it I wasn’t sleeping well, I did have hair loss, and I would wake up in the middle of the night, it was a strange feeling. It was a strange feeling just having those medications in my body. Fortunately, prednisolone obviously you taper off because you have to because they know that the effects are disastrous. Leflunomide, I would have been happy to sort of plod along and say for the rest of my life because I didn’t really feel any bad effects from it. But I think it was my hair and my beard was a lot thinner, my hair was a lot thinner, things were really the same. Only looking back now, I can see that my beards come back to full thickness, etc. That might be the better diet that was all I’m really hoping nourishing my body now. I would have been happy to take leflunomide for the rest of my life if I didn’t have pain, because, as we all know, once the pain kicks in, you will take anything, once it’s there. And agreeing with what you’ve said in the past as well, you can’t be silly and you have to take the medicine sometimes to get the inflammation down while you work on your diet are working on lowering inflammation the natural way. So I was happy with leflunomide however, one day my rheumatologist rings me and says, You have to come off it straight away, it’s affected the neutrophils in your white blood cell count and you’re going to be very susceptible to infection. So that’s when I got scared, I was like, I really didn’t want to take methotrexate. But then I thought, maybe I don’t need it because I can sort of feel in my body that I was okay.

Clint – How far along into the Paddison Program and all these. We’re going to talk about exercise a lot in just a moment and some other things. How far along that path were you? In other words, do you think that your digestive tract had improved a lot by the point where you come off leflunomide?

Phil – Yeah, in a huge way. I didn’t start the program exactly as I should, I didn’t just do a juice cleanse because I’d already be induced by that stage, so I didn’t do the 3-day juice fast. And I’d already started eating healthy so I sort of slowly crept it in. I’d already started a sort of vegan plant-based diet, and then I bought the program and I’d already started juicing because I’d seen some of your videos and stuff before I actually paid for the program. First of all, I was waking up in the morning and I was having just raw, crushed garlic with water every morning. And then I was having juices with huge amounts of celery and ginger, etc. anti-inflammatory, really anti-inflammatory stuff straight in my stomach. But then over time, that sort of evolved, and I bought L glutamine, I went to the supplement shop and bought some glutamine, I read about that. The only type of animal product I was eating at that stage, my wife was making me huge bowls of chicken feet soup full of collagen. So I was only eating raw collagen off the chicken feet. I got my head around that and yeah, I know, I love it. Now I still eat chicken feet like crazy. You see, my wife from Latin America said, I have a sort of different approach, a very natural sort of approach, and they know perhaps things that we don’t know in modern medicine. So I was having a lot of that and then the juices and etc., they sort of evolved into smoothies. Once I saw Dr. Goldwin talking about lupus, which by this time I’d sort of painted a picture of all the autoimmune and all links through the gut, microbiome, etc.. As well as taking on a plant-based anti-inflammatory diet and sort of feeding good microbiota in the stomach and fibers, etc. So the juice has evolved into smoothies, anti-inflammatory smoothies with, having my five serve veg every day, which were four or five serves or whatever, which we’re all meant to have, but very little of us do. Having that in a smoothie every morning with kale, with broccoli, with whatever veg I had, with carrots, with some berries, with blueberries, which are very anti-inflammatory, which are I learned amazing. I think through your podcast, I learned that they actually teach you how to fight inflammation, blueberries and polyphenols, and things like this. I’ve learned so much that I don’t know how much I’ve learned. I don’t have a scientific brain, so I can’t remember everything, that’s why it’s good to talk to you and sort of put it all in perspective again for me.

Clint – Oh, absolutely. And yeah, those smoothies that you’re talking about there if you’ve got all of those greens in there and then you’ve got the as you say, the polyphenols, which are all the different coloured fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind there are no polyphenols in meat products, there’s no fiber in meat products. And these are the two things that are so crucial to restoring our health. So for those people who are sitting on the fence wondering, but what about these other plans where you eat lots of meat and vegetables like an autoimmune protocol or something like that? Well, it’s a Titanic, you can get improvements for a little while because you’ve eliminated all your dairy products and most of your oils and processed foods. And for a lot of people that get some a great result, but that’s not going to get you there in 5, 10, 15 years. that’s a Titanic. You’ve eaten all those meat products and you just cannot defy the science in the end. So you’ve got all of the greens in there which are alkalising, they’re fully omega 3, no, omega 6. You’re putting all the polyphenols, as you said, with all of the coloured, especially blueberries.

Phil – Also these smoothies, flax seeds every day, a daily thing with these smoothies and as well as eating plant-based every day.

Clint – When you came off the leflunomide then, what happened?

Phil – Well, nothing that was amazing. By this stage, I started back at work doing, three shifts and four shifts and still with a bit of a limp. My foot was still sore, and then but things are getting better and better every week. Was it the leflunomide taking its part? Or was it my diet? I can sort of sense it was my diet, I can feel it, I don’t know something inside me could feel was me doing this. I’m not the doctor’s magic pills, as I said in my timeline piece I sent you. And then I had to come off and I sort of felt like I was okay, I spoke to my doctor and said, what about if I don’t take anything? And he was sort of not against it, but he didn’t really recommend it. He was sort of convinced that I wouldn’t be able to like my pain is going to come back in. But I was sort of believe that no, I didn’t even need the leflunomide. I don’t know why, I just didn’t need anymore. I think I showed you my timeline, He had to go away, he had his holidays or something through that period. So I came off leflunomide because I had to. And I’d already had methotrexate in my house because he there was he told me a few months earlier that I was at 90%, but he wanted to see me at 100%. And it was almost like a junkie, if you just take this little methotrexate with leflunomide I can get you to 100%, and it was tempting.

Clint – That’s funny. It’s like, did he have the black coat on and, like, lift inside and say, yeah, and I can do it for nothing, too. It’s covered by the government.

Phil – I thought about it then and then I thought, you know what? I’ve already seen some great improvement, so I am going to get better. Even if it takes me five years, I’ll beat this. I had no idea I’d do it so quickly. So I thought, you know what this is a marathon, this condition is with me for life they’ve told me so this is going to be more of a marathon, not a sprint. So I thought, I’m fine I don’t want to take the methotrexate. I can’t remember when it was that I did pick up a bottle, he sort of convinced me. I went and got a bottle and I was looking at people’s stories on my telephone of people taking methotrexate. My wife sort of pleaded with me, look, just hold out, don’t take it just yet let’s double down on a diet again. And I can’t remember the exact timeline of things, but by the next time I had to go back and see the rheumatologists. I asked him do I need to take the methotrexate? What are your thoughts and how’s everything and how’s my blood work, etc.? He sort of conceded that I didn’t need to because I’d bring my CRP and my ESR levels so down so low. From memory, like I said, I went through so many things, so many emotions, and it’s hard to piece together the whole timeline. But I do remember key points like that. So by the time I came off the leflunomide and I was looking at having to swap, not take them both together and swap from one to the other. He had gone on holidays for a while and it was going to take two weeks or something for the leflunomide to leave my system. He didn’t want me to start the methotrexate until the leflunomide completely left my system to get my blood work back to normal or whatever. And like I said, I can’t remember exactly because so many things go into it, so many emotions and so many thoughts. And but it had been five weeks, I’ve been off leflunomide by the time I emailed him and said, I’m going to do it without. I have Celebrex here on hand if I need to, but I’m just going to try and manage the diet and exercise.

Clint – When was the last time you took any meds?

Phil – Well, I think around December last year when I came off the leflunomide or January, it might have been early January. Late December.

Clint – Okay. So let’s, let’s call it five months ago. How do you feel now?

Phil – Amazing. Absolutely amazing. The only reason I get sore from time to time is because I’m lifting heavy and heavier weights in the gym every night when I go.

Clint – Now, on your Instagram, you run around with the shirt off. Now you look like kind of a David Beckham in his heyday with the abs and the and the physique and like a lean, muscular. How have you found exercise to be a parallel adjunct therapy to getting well?

Phil – Parallel adjunct therapy. What does that mean, exactly? Adjunct therapy.

Clint – Adjunct means well, it’s the same as in parallel, so I kind of used two words.

Phil – In my healing journey, I think probably it’s absolutely essential. Whatever type of exercise it is you do. You recommend yoga, and I think it’s probably great for some people. I obviously do a lot of stretching. I didn’t actually get into the yoga, it just wasn’t my thing. I was starting to get into lifting weights before I was diagnosed before I had the problems. So now I do resistance training, I enjoy resistance training at the moment. And because I’m eating lean and that’s why I can look like a David Beckham in his heyday. I mean, I’m not in my heyday, I’m 43, which is not really old, but it’s not I’m not a young man. I look better than I did in my twenties. I look and feel fantastic.

Clint – Well, you look good. And you also. I think the point’s even more pronounced because you look like Beckham did when he was probably 26 in the physique, it’s amazing. So when did you start the weight training? And I just want to say that this is a really important observation as I listen to you here. You mentioned L-glutamine before. Now that is a precursor or a building block for glutathione, and glutathione is called the master antioxidant in the body. When we talked before about blueberries, the polyphenols in the blueberries, they’re an antioxidant, right? So we combat free radical production. But no matter how many blueberries you eat, how many greens you eat, which are also rich in antioxidant compounds, nothing beats glutathione. Glutathione is in the cells, so it’s not circulating in the blood and offsetting free radicals that we consume on a meal-to-meal basis. Glutathione is driving the antioxidant powerhouse of our whole body. Getting glutathione up is crucial for everyone with inflammatory arthritis. It’s big in the fitness industry, they all know this just for longevity reasons recovery reasons, and so on. But for us, the crucial factor is that it reduces oxidative stress. Without going 10 minutes into the science, its leaky gut, and oxidative stress are the two most crucial factors of inflammatory arthritis management. If we can get our glutathione up, we know from the studies that glutathione is suggested as a possible marker for disease activity in inflammatory arthritis. What does this mean? They say instead of measuring your CRP, you could measure someone’s glutathione and tell them how much inflammation they are likely to have based on the levels of glutathione because it’s directly correlated to inflammation. So if we get our glutathione up, inflammation goes down. It’s really, really strong the science on this.

Phil – That explains a lot.

Clint – This is what I’m reading from listening to you. Is El Glutamine, which is a supplement that you were taking, which by the way, the studies, support for glutathione production, the studies are pretty weak in terms of inflammatory arthritis improvement and that might be because people aren’t doing EL glutamine plus going to the gym, plus doing a plant-based diet, plus all of the healthy things you’re doing. They’re just doing the supplement, which itself is not doing much for them. But, hitting the gym and this is the most exciting sort of punch line of this whole thing, is that resistance training is the most effective way of all exercises to increase glutathione. Well, compared to high-intensity interval training it is and compared to cardiovascular activity. So you have gone down the glutathione grab kind of pathway and look at how effective it’s been in parallel to keeping your leaky gut under control with the foods you see, you’ve got diet and exercise.

Phil – Yeah, it’s amazing. And look, I don’t know what it is exactly because I can run such a broad spectrum of everything. I don’t know what it is exactly that worked for me, and also I don’t have that scientific mind like yourself. So it’s good for you to be able to sit here and explain to me what’s sort of going on with my body, what’s happening, and why it’s all working for me. But yeah, look, I jumped on the leaky gut thing very early, and I jumped on it on glutamine because I’ve read that it was leaky gut in collagen, it was leaky gut, etc. And I’ve just been at first like I said, I was adding it to my smoothies, to my juices, and now I had it in my smoothies, it’s an everyday thing. I was worried about the resistance training, and putting strain on my joints, but it seems it’s made my joints better. I didn’t damage them, it’s made everything better. I can’t explain it.

Clint – Everyone, listen again. Please say that again Phil. I want you to repeat exactly what you just said. What has resistance training done for you?

Phil – If it’s the resisting training part, which I’m sure is tied in, it’s made my joints better instead of having a reverse effect. It’s made my joints and functionality in my joints better and stronger. And I’m talking after the enthesitis in my heel, which we know can be really excruciating. Anyone who’s suffered from that can really bad. But I’ll do a 45-degree leg brace with 100 kilos on it. Now, with that, keeping in mind that I still suffer in the size a little bit. But every time I do, that seems to be getting better and better and better. And as I’ve grown heavier like these last couple of weeks, it seems to be getting even better, the enthesitis it’s completely disappearing. So now when I put that post on Instagram where I was probably I was 97% pain-free. That’s 3% has probably a lot to do with this enthesitis. But now this week, how I’m feeling, they would probably say I’m 98% or 99%. So thanks to those leg presses I did last week and those squats.

Clint – For those who are watching and listening to this now thinking I could never do leg presses or squats, these next few moments are for you. You just start at the position that you’re at right now and you do what’s possible every day to the extent that it’s not a sharp pain, but it might be discomfort, but not sharp pain. But we’ve got to engage the parts that hurt, engage the parts that hurt. What does this look like for the knees? If your knees hurt, you might just want to get into a single isometric squat, isometric just means stationary. Don’t do squats, just get into position and hold it, hold it, hold it. Okay. My legs are starting to quiver, my muscles are getting tired, hold, hold, and then we come out of it. And that might be enough, that might be all we can do on day one. I have a big timer on my check this thing out, right? I have a big timer on my phone, it looks like that. I time all these things, isometric pull-ups, everything, I time it. You have to measure what you want to improve, and then if you record it and put it in a public space, it improves exponentially, so we record these things. Then if you want to look at elbows, get some resistance bands and just hold again, do some resistance workout at home, ten bucks for a set of bands. You know, the cost is not a prohibitive thing. If we’re looking at the feet, you’ve just described an advanced foot thing, but with each of the parts of the body, including our fingers. We want to hold on to a solid, hard bar and take some of our weight, make those fingers work, as long as we do it with a thick bar, it won’t cause setbacks in the fingers, it’ll just help them to close. This is 16 years of rheumatoid arthritis, look at those hands. Do you know what I mean? Only 3 years on med, so I’m like 10 years off whatever it is, 10 years off drugs, 9, whatever. We got to get this body an opportunity to do what it’s capable of, I believe. Mentally putting the lid on the ability of our body that wants, wants to build its own glutathione through exercise. So how did you get there with the feet? You can’t just get into a 100-kilo leg press like that. You must have incrementally got there.

Phil – Yeah. So obviously it was a slow thing. And look, let’s keep in mind that even with stretching out my plantar fascia on my left foot, that was really sore. And with the enthesitis on my right was excruciating. I work as a waiter so once I had orthotics made up, I guess I was gently stretching them. And first I started back at work, just 4 shifts a week. Now I’m back on my full shifts. But first, I was just 4 shifts a week and then it was 5 and then it was 6. And I think at about six shifts a week, I started to go back to the gym once or twice and just started off light. I was still a bit apprehensive and scared and I started just a little by little, and the whole thing is sort of just ramped up in a build-up. Now I’m at work full time, I can even pick up extra shifts. I’m running around the place like one of the fastest waiters quicker than, what we have there running around the whole day, basically. Then I hit the gym at night and I’m lifting heavier and heavier and heavier every time. So it’s been a slow ramp up. But I did start slowly and you have to, you know, and as you say, you have to get moving. Here’s the thing for me is some nights after a double shift at work, I’m tired and I don’t want to go to the gym. My brain’s like something, you don’t want to go but I do want to go because I know what happens. I’ll feel guilty if I don’t go and this is a problem for us. I think I heard a reference in one of your podcasts that it’s like that tiger in the boat in the life of Pi, you know? Or it’s like that fire that embers are still there smoldering. So more like if I don’t keep going to the gym, it comes back. I’m worried or I’m worried that I’ll come back, the tiger will wake up again. So even if I’m tired, even if I don’t want to go, I have to go because that’s what keeps me able to be able to run around and play kickball with my son in the park.

Clint – Right now that is your medicine. You don’t have a pharmaceutical drug, you have an exercise and diet lifestyle drug. If we stop the drug, we get worse because we’ve stopped our medicine. And so we must take the medicine, whatever format it looks like for us that we’ve created with our lifestyle. Without it, as you say, in Life of Pi, the line there it or tiger it’s a wild animal and it’ll attack you again.

Phil – Definitely.

Clint – What I really want to know. People are probably fascinated to find out what stretches did you do for your feet. Because that’s something that’s going to be really interesting. And what did the orthotics do? Do you still wear the orthotics? Talk to us about feet.

Phil – Look, the orthotics are in my work shoes and I only wear them in my work shoes. If I do need to change them over to my other shoes, I do. but generally, I don’t know. The orthotics in my work shoes and I work as a way to I’m constantly walking around. So I think that gentle, gentle stretching helped me a lot. Little by little, I think is what done it for me. I didn’t really do any stretches with my feet or anything because working as a waiter and having my orthotics, the work that was done for me and my steps every day, so I can’t really stand on any stretches there. Just slowly, slowly, everything stretched out.

Clint – Is that because the orthotics apply pressure into different parts of the foot? Therefore, like are we talking about the soft tissue parts of the foot, elongating and changing and developing different? I have never worn orthotics.

Phil – From what I can gather, it supports your feet for anyone who’s suffering from the plantar fascia, which is a lot of us do and decide. It supports your feet and it slowly stretches it with each step and it slowly makes it more, what’s the word? Flexible, I guess.

Clint – So yeah, it’s a tricky one to grasp which a range of motion of the foot potentially.

Phil – So I think for anyone with, with the sole plantar, with enthesitis, it’s definitely going invest in the orthotics. Go and invest in some good, I found the HOKA shoes by Bondi, you’ve probably seen them referenced a lot, but I don’t know if you have. Other people watching this in Spondyloarthritis groups, etc. On Facebook, I found a lot of references made to this. It’s a shoe called the Hoka Bondi or the Hoka shoes. Just amazing for people with arthritis, I recommend going to get a set of them with some orthotics if you’re suffering as I did in your feet, which a lot of us do. A lot of that’s where the symptoms come first and that’s how we find out, that’s how we get our diagnosis. That’s how we find out we’ve got Spondyloarthritis or psoriatic arthritis, etc. I went through the whole thing before I thought it was a foot problem at first. I thought it was something to do with my work or whatever used or etc. etc. but then things got really bad. We thought, this is not just for my feet, it’s something more going on here.

Clint – From a mindset point of view. You mentioned your son being a huge motivator to play with him and spend time with him. Could you give us some other things that were going through your mind that were either negative things like your demons that you had to battle or the driving, things like your son, if any, if there are other things? And can you just give us an insight into your mind throughout this process?

Phil – Yeah. So, look, they say a lot of these leaky gut conditions in autoimmune can be brought on by stress as well. I had leading up to this point in my life was a few pretty hard years were a lot of death of loved ones, etc., loss of friendships, etc. So it probably might have been stress that caused my problem. So as part of my healing, what I’ve done, I sort of had to refocus my energies and my attention on not what people have done wrong by me or not what I had lost, but on what I had and live in the moment a lot more. Turn my phone off, stop trying to worry about all that the world was doing and impress what half of the world and focus on and live in the moment and be with my son and with my wife and with my family. And be there in that moment and live and heal myself as well mentally. A lot of people use meditation, etc. as well and it works. Keep in mind, that I had my friend taking similar steps to me to battle his cancer. So it sort of applied to me is also, we were able to help each other and share information. And so I looked into meditation a lot and I’m quite spiritual, I prayed and I believe in God a lot. So yeah, there were demons, and there were blessings. So I had to look more at the blessings that I had and change and focus my own mind shift. And, that helped me with changing over diet as well and not worrying about what I was missing out on, but worry about what I could gain. And honestly, what I have gained is, like I say, I feel better, I’ve got endless energy. People telling you look great. If you had to see photos of me when I was in my twenties, I was a big boy, I didn’t look like I do now. Everyone’s going to have, there’s always going to be demons to fight, but you’ve got to shift to a positive mindset. But also the diet will help that. As we also know, the gut microbiome affects emotions and affects thoughts. So. They all come into play together.

Phil – What I would suggest is to start cleaning up your diet and the rest will follow. You’ll have the energy levels then to want to excel. Even when it comes to exercise, since I’m more plant-based now, I recover quicker. After my heart exercises, I’m lighter, I’ve got more energy, I’ve got my old sets back that I had. I’ve just recently got my old strength back, probably a little bit stronger from when I was. Now I’m around 70 kilos, I think 74 this morning. Before arthritis, I did lose some weight I was about 80, 83, so I was a bit stronger and I lost a lot of muscle, and regained that strength, but now I’m lighter I don’t weigh as much. So I’m stronger, fitter, leaner, meaner, and I feel fantastic. And it’s all, all thanks to you and other people like you who sort of showed me the way. And then the rest I built myself, I painted a picture for myself and I’ve done it. I didn’t do it myself, I’d done it with this whole community of support. And as I say in my post, I’m a believer in God I’ve done it with the big man upstairs, first and foremost.

Clint – What part of this entire journey are you most proud of?

Phil – All of it. Look, if I tell you the truth, as much as I’m proud of myself, even my wife God bless her. This is what she pointed out to me one day when I was lifting myself up out of bed in the morning, and I started getting up really early during lockdown when I wasn’t able to work, and I had that time to study and heal. I would lift myself out of bed on my crutches then I’m hobbling to the kitchen and put my crutches there and lift myself around. I start making myself my healthy chop up my fruit for my breakfast when I was just having fruit for breakfast the days. Now I’ve expanded, I’ve discovered there’s a wonderful gluten-free world out there that I can enjoy. But these days was purely vegan, fruit, and vegetables could get that inflammation right down. But my wife says to me one day as I was starting to get better, and I was saying it’s amazing what I’ve done, she says. And what do you think your wife has done for you all this time? And I said, I don’t know, what did you do? Pray like you always do and help out. She goes, well, what didn’t I do? I was like, I don’t know. What are you talking about? She says, I mean, don’t you think that it would have been so easy for me to get up and cook your breakfast every morning? She made me get up and do it myself, she made me get moving. God bless her. Do you see where I’m coming from?

Clint – Absolutely. I’m making you get out of bed and physically use your strength and muscle.

Phil – And become more and more determined to get better. So you get going through that pain made me determined to get better. So it made me stick more with the diet. My proudest moment and who I can sort of thank is everyone, you know? I mean, I might say, yeah, I’ve done it, but it wasn’t me. It was Clint, it was the whole autoimmune community, it was everyone. And the battle still on I’m not I’m not there yet, it’s an ongoing battle. But, man, I feel good.

Clint – That’s right. So the battle shifts from the kind of feeling like you’re in the corner and the 2,000lbs gorilla is beating you in the head with both fists. And the battle changes that you’re still in the ring, but now you’re feeling strong and the enemy is not attacking you, but sitting down on their stool.

Phil – Sorry to cut you, but here’s another gem for you. So I had to take my son to the doctor he was having some sinus problems and I ended up seeing the same doctor who sent my GP who sent me for my blood test, he suspected ankylosing spondylitis. She asked me how I was going, so I gave her a quick rundown of what actually how I’m going. Clint, I kid you not she started taking notes. From what I’ve done. So what now I’m teaching the doctors? That’s an amazing feeling, that puts that gorilla right back in his corner. To have my rheumatologist tell me you’re curing yourself, that’s an amazing feeling.

Clint – Yeah, absolutely.

Phil – She started taking notes yesterday, writing down L glutamine or this or this. She asked me, What are you doing? So I started to give it a little bit of a rundown and she starts writing it down.

Clint – This is what we can do. This is why I have this show and this is why I’m so grateful to have you with us today to share this information because there is so much content in the world that isn’t helpful. And I’m not just talking about the frivolous millions of cat videos on YouTube. I’m talking about even within the health spectrum, within the autoimmune community. The path to wellness is very narrow up the mountain and we have just put another step in place that’s made it just that little bit easier to keep your footing on that, on that path to walk up the mountain with this episode today. We’re trying to build a solid, straight, nice path that millions of people can walk down because there are so many paths based on information that just doesn’t work, even within the autoimmune space. So thank you for contributing.

Phil – No, thank you. Look. And that’s why I reached out to you because I felt I had to share. So perhaps I can help someone the same way I was helped if it wasn’t for your podcast, would never have started. So I thought, I have to play my part as well. And what I would recommend to anyone watching this is that, watch this podcast, watch all of your podcasts, whatever your condition is, research as much as you can. And there is so much information out there and you have to troll through hours and hours and days of it. But if you find one or two little gems, that helps your condition and helps you like like I’ve done, then, man, you’re living, you really live in, you know, it might take a while. Watch all the podcasts read all the interviews and read all the information. My phone is just full of information that I’ve saved and kept. And like I said, I’ve learned so much of it and so much of it is science-based. I don’t really have a scientific mind, I can’t tell you what’s worth and what information is stuck in. I couldn’t repeat it, but I know it’s in there. I know it, you know? Yeah. So that’s why sharing the information, I think is important and, and having these communities and that’s why I sort of I tagged you and called out to you because I thought it was time.

Clint – Thank you. Thank you. What’s your Instagram anchor so that people can follow you?

Phil – My Instagram is Phillcamp. You can check it out there. It’s not really diet or lifestyle-based. Up until now, it’s been more my family and my adventures. There’ll probably be a lot more now that I’ve gone public. I’ll probably start to put a little bit more. Diet, etc., and lifestyle things up there. Obviously, I’ve just gone public now, so I’ll start to share my story with the world a bit and help, help whoever I can.

Clint – As I say, at the end of all of these wonderful interviews with folks like yourself, the only enemy you have now is complacency, and never get complacent. You brought up the life of pi analogy, It’s a fabulous one. We don’t want to poke that lion and stir it up because it will turn if we get a little bit too complacent, a little bit too aggressive with our stick. So watch out for that as a final parting, and thank you. The last comment I want to say is, how does it feel now to kick a ball with your son, to cuddle your son, and to know that you can lift him, hold him and play with him?

Phil – Yeah, amazing and I can do it better than I could before. So, you know, I can run further and be less tired. I can run longer than I could before. It’s amazing. What can I say? It’s a blessing.

Clint – Yeah, good.

Phil – Thank you.

Clint – Thanks, my friend.

Clint Paddison

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