RA strategies – Why Diet Alone Is Not Enough
We discuss in this podcast:
- The enormous task at hand which requires more than just food adjustments
- Other parts of an effective strategy that can be overlooked by the huge change in diet
- The importance of physical exercise
- Bikram Yoga
- Interactions between diet and drugs
- Plant-based supplements
Clint Here today, I’ve got Cecile back. We had her on the previous podcast talking about her story, and about how she got off prednisone, and all about getting off prednisone. So if you have a situation where you’re on prednisone and you want to learn about how to do that, go back and watch the last episode with Cecile. She also shares her story and how she did it, so it’s all about prednisone.
Clint Today, we’re going to talk about why diet is not enough. So a common mistake that a lot of people make when they start a program, where there are dietary changes to influence their inflammatory arthritis. Is that they think that it’s just a diet that’s going to do all the heavy lifting and enable them to get rid of their joint inflammation and come off their medications. And it is those mistaken views and expectations which then can create set us up for disappointment and frustration when we experience the actual rolling out of the plan. Even if the plan is the best possible plan that you could put together, and that’s because there’s more to it than just diet. And so I’ve invited Cecil back because she’s a good example of someone who incorporates all aspects of the Paddison Program and a healing journey that takes into account the other aspects. And I want to hear about how these other aspects have been crucial over and above the diet in helping her improve. So welcome back, Cecile.
Cecile Thank you very much, happy to be here. So, for me many versions the diet seems so big of a change because when you’ve come from a regular diet, it is huge. It can be overwhelming of course but especially it is taking so much place in your daily life that you completely forget about the rest, the rest in secondary. And unfortunately, it’s not. So diet is a big team and it is not easy, and it is a huge change, but it is not enough. For me, I could see right away that diet was not doing all of it. I became vegetarian and I think two years before (inaudible). And when I’ve been diagnosed just before I have been diagnosed actually, I felt so bad with what’s happening to me. And I thought I should go all the way in (inaudible), and see if it would help me. And I felt better on a lot of levels, but it was not changing everything. When I’ve been diagnosed, then I took out the (inaudible) and I took out the gluten. But again, I felt a bit better in a general way, but it was not impacting enough my rheumatoid arthritis, not at all. So I was absolutely not reluctant to start medication because I was absolutely aware. If I wanted to keep my joints? There was no other way, that’s very simple. So medication was for me, difficult to accept, but I knew there was no other way starting there. I never thought that would be something I would rely on all my life because we know they have other effects than the one that which are helping us with our joint. But for me, that was really something I needed to go through in order to keep my joints safe. In the first step of the disease, then I do also.
Cecile Rapidly I realize that this fatigue I was having was just taking me down all the time and I realized I was really getting stiffer even if the pain wasn’t there. But getting rid of my stiffness would take me more and more time. I really felt all of this was taking me down. So when I realized it, your program how sport was absolutely necessary as I decided to try it. And like many of us, I went to my first Bikram class and I thought I would die there. I think I hated you that day. And the first thought was like, no this is wrong. That cannot be something that’s good for me, that’s going to help me. But I decided to try it and stick to it because, when I saw your improvement that I just could not try it that was just not possible. So I went for it, I’m lucky enough to have Bikram yoga close by only 8 kilometers biking, so that’s nothing. And I did stick with that and it was really painful and also it was really hard and then slowly I realized I was less and less tired. In the beginning I was kind of looking for excuses not to go because, you know, I’m so tired I can’t go, And then I started to not use those excuses anymore because I saw the benefit I could get out of it. And every time I had some issue with my pain, I would go back more to Bikram and the pain would just slowly melt away again. So that was my second drug I would say before for the pain and also improving my life quality because I think less and less of this fatigue was a huge benefit for me of course.
Clint Yes. And that also helps your mental state as well and helps with stress reduction as well. The areas of influence over the condition we have, we’ve got our medications, we’ve got our diet, we’ve got our sport, as you call it, or exercise, we have got stress reduction, and we have supplementation. And there are some little quirky things that we can do with regards to a thing and oral health and things like that. But in terms of sort of our main categories, they are the main categories. And when we focus only on one of those categories and try to exploit it massively, we’re going to get disappointed. It’s like if we only relied on medications and we will eat whatever we wanted, and we didn’t exercise. Don’t you know that that medication is going to work its hardest for you for a year or two? And then it’s going to stop working. Because you’re working against its efforts by doing all these other things that are counterproductive. So, we can’t just if we’ve got sort of three main areas, which are diet, exercise, and medications. If we only do one of those three or even two of those three, really, we are up against the greatest enemy possible. We need to do is all of the things correctly to make progress.
Clint Like you, I did not succeed just doing dietary changes. I did eight months of the raw food diet, but I was on Methotrexate as well. And I had to from there look at going on to another drug because I just couldn’t break through and get rid of all the inflammation. And that was the turning point for me when I took upon additional exercise and took upon basically made it my life’s mission and so forth. But the diet alone would not have got me there. There is no doubt I needed to go on the medication. There’s only been one person who I know, who I’ve worked with, who only made dietary changes and did not make any other changes. Just basically change a diet, stayed on their current medications which they on, and were able to then slowly get off the meds and become inflammation negligible. But like literally one person, and so we need to recognize that this is a disease that needs to be influenced from multiple angles to get inflammation as low as possible. So Bikram yoga, is what I also used for my exercise for a long period of time and still do intermittently. The diet, obviously, we have that in common. Medications, I was on Methotrexate like yourself.
Clint We’re going to talk about mindset and motivation in another episode that we’re going to record with you as part of our three-part series in the next podcast. Did you do anything with regards to your supplementation? Did you take any moringa powder or spirulina or Chlorella and any of these like high impact sort of plant-based supplement? Did you do anything else with regards to bromelain enzymes or probiotics, anything that we should know about on that front?
Cecile Yeah, I tried to stay very basic and then everything I heard, oh that should be working for you, then I would check before running through the shelves because you find them everywhere. There is also (inaudible) are looking for a magic pill. Where you kind of externalize the burden of pending your rheumatoid arthritis and you really hope that this one thing is going to solve it all. So at one point, it can be the diet in your head and then at another point you’re looking for the supplement that’s going to just, you know, suppress everything. So I was lucky enough not to be too long that way. And I also started with a wonderful nutritionist, plumb based nutritionist. I learned afterwards, that she was actually a researcher working with my hematologist, but he was not my rheumatologist. So I could not find a better person to support me. And she was really good at starting me on the supplement patients. So she was very careful to say, “Ok, this is the minimum you should take. If you want to go further, you can take this and that. But it’s not really proven up to you.” So I tried to keep it very simple. I started with probiotics, vitamin D and a mix of (inaudible).
Clint Yeah, I really sort of, you know, your sort of vanilla-flavored good recommendations.
Cecile Basically I never went way more these because nothing was really proven to make a huge difference, and I prefer to focus on keeping what I have at a very good level instead of finding something new to add on top because, at the end of the day, you still have to monitor all your supplements, your diet, your stress management, your sport. And when something goes up or down, you want to link that something you did or didn’t do. So if you are if you’re adding many supplements, it gets difficult to know what’s really impacting. So I prefer to keep it simple, and I usually have so probiotics, but natural. My favorite is this Japanese paste.
Cecile I use a lot miso, I use it as a soup, I use it also as a dressing. So it’s my favorite one to use daily. And I don’t even think about it as a medication or a supplement, it’s just part of every day. And what I would like maybe to add is that, I think we have to do so, as we said in the beginning diet is definitely not enough and a proper kind of mindset for that is we need to see any of our choices in a day. We need to make this choice, thinking about what we want. Thinking that we want to heal. Of course, it’s about what you eat because you have to make this choice several times a day, so that seems like the biggest one. But again, going to Bikram, or training oh I’m tired. Try to find for yourself what is the real motivation there. Do you really want to avoid eat or do you really need to take a rest? You can think about it, but it’s also about to do I want to see that friend today? That friend who is always taking me down there. And it always so negative and always worried about me. Maybe not today to the end, a positive day. So let’s do that. Maybe next week or maybe next year we’ll see. I think it’s really important to prioritize things and to see that every choice you make about people, about your relationship, about what you’re doing, that they are not doing. Are you postponing things? Sometimes it’s good to postpone. You realize that when you postpone some decisions do you have to make and we are taking a lot of your stress for example. Finally, you should wait two or three days, somebody else came up with a solution. You don’t even have to think about it anymore, that’s absolutely brilliant. So I think all of these we really have to keep in mind that everything that we want to do, we want to do it. Thinking about being better, doing better for ourselves. And that really impacts everything in our life. So that’s why I am thinking just about the diet is not enough, and it’s not the approach that will bring people to success.
Clint Well, there are so many influences, are there, to our microbiome. So our mood, our stress levels. These things influence our microbiome very significantly. Not just the food, the exercise influences our microbiome. So literally, those five things that we mentioned before, all of them influence our microbiome. And so if something’s influencing our microbiome, then we have a direct impact on our immune system. So with all these presses and influences on the microbiome, it even make sense to understand that diet is not enough. If you’ve got a car that can go five ways and you only have one of the steering wheels, and for other people that drive it in different directions, I mean, you obviously haven’t got complete control over the situation. And we wanted to have complete control where organic human that has so many multifaceted dimensions. We can’t control everything we want about our health. And I don’t even think we’ll ever even fully understand the complexity of the human body and human health. And so all we can do is to influence it as much as we can.
Clint And so the message of this podcast is that whilst diet is one of the most important aspects of building better health and reducing inflammation in the body in for short term and long term results, it alone is rarely enough to be able to overcome an incredibly difficult disease. And that we should view the condition as so significantly challenging that we have to get a seven, eight, nine or even a ten out of ten in each of the other categories. So that our report card is going to give us the results that we want for ourselves in our body exam. So if each one of our categories is a different university course and we’re only really studying hard on one and doing well in one, we fail in the other areas. And failure is a strong word, so we don’t want that. We need to study and do well in each of those categories to pass our university to get the outcome we need.
Clint So thank you, Cecile, for coming on here and sharing and having a chat with me about diet, because you and I have had similar experiences in that department, we’ve utilized all aspects of the tools available to us, not just the dietary component. And I hope that other people can relate to that and also be motivated to keep up the diet. It’s critically important, but to also look at these other areas if they are not seeing the progress that they want.
Cecile Thank you very much.