Alisa Overpowers Rheumatoid Arthritis
Alisa and her Mum Laura describe how they have overcome Alisa's Rheumatoid Arthritis with the Paddison Program and tremendous determination. Alisa has gone from 'getting flare ups every day' to 'rarely ever getting a flare up'. She now works at a health food store and is inspiring the people around her - she will inspire you too in this wonderful episode!
Clint: Thanks for tuning in today. I've got two guests on this episode. I've got the lovely Alisa and also her mom, Laura. Now, Alisa and Laura are part of our community support forum, and I've been watching Alisa's progress probably over the last 12 months or so, I would say, when she first sort of came to my radar. And she's really done an amazing amount of self-development and has come so far with her arthritis. But it's exciting to have you on this episode and to hear all about it. So welcome, both of you.
Alisa: Thank you.
Laura: Thank you.
Clint: Yeah. You're all wrapped up there, Alisa. Is it cold?
Alisa: No. It's just a really fuzzy jacket. It's cute. [inaudible [00:00:48].
Clint: So tell us what have you been through? When did this all begin for you? What did you get diagnosed with, and what happened next?
Alisa: So from what I remember, I was still in high school. I was in my senior year. I was definitely having symptoms before I was diagnosed, and somehow I always came up with some strange reason as to why I was having, you know, these pains. I'm like, "Oh, I just pulled something, or like I strained something." Like every... And I don't know how I justified it in my head every time because it happened a lot. It really became something that I was aware of when one of my fingers became swollen and it was swollen for months. I don't even know how long, maybe like six months. And I kind of ignored that, too. And then another one of my fingers started to get swollen, and that's when I was like, "Okay, there's something wrong."
Alisa: We made a doctor's appointment, and I didn't think anything of it.
Clint: Right. You weren't expecting some big horrible diagnosis.
Alisa: So I don't even remember. I think I was out with a friend and then my mom called me and was like, "You need to come home because the doctor needs to tell you." I don't think they told you first.
Alisa: They just said that they needed...
Laura: [inaudible 00:02:26] [crosstalk] so they... It's medical privacy so they have to tell you first.
Alisa: So I knew she was concerned because they didn't tell her, and she was like, "You need to come home as soon as possible so they can tell you so you could tell me."
Alisa: Yeah. So I called them back and they told me that I had a rheumatoid factor.
Clint: Mm-hmm. Yup.
Alias: And I had no idea what it was, and I was like… I mean I'm not that much older now, but I felt like I've grown a lot, and at that time I was like totally in denial, blew it off. I was like, "So it's not a big deal." Meanwhile, my mom was like, "Holy moly," you know, doing a lot of research about it. And it's…wow, there's just so much, it's really hard to like do it chronologically.
Clint: Yeah, sure.
Alisa: So I was still in high school.
Clint: Mm-hmm. And was it that they said rheumatoid arthritis or I mean at which point does it cross over from juvenile to rheumatoid in terms of your diagnosis? Is it 18?
Laura: I don't know but the doctor did... We both have the same general practitioner, and he said she has rheumatoid arthritis.
Alisa: So I feel like I definitely had it before I was 18.
Alisa: But I was diagnosed at 18.
Clint: Right, okay.
Alisa: So it was considered rheumatoid arthritis but maybe I did have juvenile because I had symptoms before that.
Clint: Okay. Maybe I can guide you a little bit. What happened with regards to… That would have been a general practitioner ran the blood test, so high rheumatoid factor, gave you a diagnosis. Then did you go and see a specialist, a specialist rheumatologist who then discussed heavy meds with you?
Alisa: I did not.
Laura: No. He did, in a way. He sent us to a rheumatologist but she was taking place of the original one you were signed with and she was sitting there talking to you about your hands and feet [inaudible [00:04:44] x-rays.
Alisa: Okay, yeah.
Laura: You did get sent to one.
Alias: And they recommended a medication for me, but I just, you know…
Alisa: I was like my whole idea in my head was like I'm so young and I know what heavy medication can do to a person. And I just was not about that. I was almost like I would rather be in a lot of pain than slowly deteriorate myself with medication.
Clint: Yeah. I had the same exact feeling. So I was 33, so I was quite a lot older than you were when you were diagnosed, but I still, you know, felt very young. I know from your perspective, 33 seems really old, but when you get to 33, you still feel really young.
Clint: And so especially when you get diagnosed with something of this kind of proportion, you know… Actually, 33. I'm sorry, 31. I was 31. And so I also was in sort of no way is this a) that bad, and b) something that I'm gonna have to take meds for for the rest of my life. I was just like you, but just, you know, a decade older when I was…or a little bit more than a decade older. So I can completely relate to that, and when I eventually went on Methotrexate, I felt like a complete… It just was everything against what I felt like I should be doing, but I got to a point where I had nowhere to go. I mean I got that bad.
So I'm curious as to how long it took you before, you know, you started to adopt natural therapies and stuff, because unless we do that, the disease gets on top of us and we eventually have to succumb to medication. So I'm curious as to how long you left it before you started to make progress.
Laura: Because you got really...she's gotten really bad.
Alisa: Yeah. So after I was diagnosed, I started associating the like random flare-ups that I would get to my arthritis. And they, at that point, weren't that bad. There were days where it would, you know…I would obviously be in pain, but it wasn't to where I was like I have no choice but to like go on medication. I was always like I can handle this. And then I don't remember like…I want to say it was like a year after that where I noticed that it was getting worse, but again, not to a point where I was like I need medication. But again like that's just the kind of person that I am where I'm like I can take it. I can take…you know?
Clint: That's funny... I noticed like a lot of people with rheumatoid have an extremely high pain tolerance level. It's amazing what we'll put up with when we think…we're kind of used to it and you do develop this pain tolerance that if others, someone else stepped into your body during the period that you're describing was not too bad, they would have freaked out and like, "What the heck? You know, I gotta get out of here." You know what I mean?
Clint: Yeah. So we do tolerate a lot more than we realized, I think, a lot of the time. Okay. So what happened after that?
Alisa: So my mom was doing a lot of research into it at that time, and that's when she found out Dr. Barbara Allan.
Laura: Well, before you even listen to me though you really had a bad, bad one, bad flare-up at a music festival. And that's when you...
Alisa: No. This was before.
Laura: This was before.
Alisa: Yeah, I'm talking about when you got the [inaudible [00:08:25].
Laura: What happened is I saw... Okay. What happened is I saw your video and you were doing a lecture and…a TED Talk and you mentioned Barbara Allan. Because you live in Australia, I thought, well, Barbara Allan is over here. I'll go check out her if I talk to her first. And I did. So I went ahead and got her an ALCAT test, and that basically shows you what food you've been eating lately that you're reacting to.
Laura: And so her idea is that you rotate the food. So it… Then you go from there, it worked for a little while.
Alisa: Yeah. So I didn't really understand like all the science behind it and, you know, the healing of the gut and everything. I was just looking for like a shortcut, I guess.
Alisa: Which now I'm like, that doesn't work. Because, you know, I was like young. I was hanging out with my friends. I was doing all these things. I was like, I don't… You know, I have this but I don't really wanna like, you know, full-fledged and figure it out. I was like, you know, if you have something I can do, yeah, sure, I'll do that. Meanwhile, she's over here like we need to... Of course, she's my mom.
So I followed that ALCAT test, and it was pretty crazy accurate.
Clint: Okay, good.
Alisa: Because a lot of the things that were flagged as like red like the things that I should stay away from the most. When I would eat them because I still was like, "Let me try..." you know, I would feel pain within 6 to 12 hours.
Clint: Uh-huh. Yup. And yeah, it would last for like…I would get flare-up, and it would last for like a day or a day and a half.
Clint: Mm-hmm. So it was very obvious.
Alisa: It was very obvious. And it confirmed it in my mind. I was like, "Wow, okay." That's when I realized it has to do with what I'm eating.
Clint: Good, okay. You were certain about that by that point. Yeah, cool.
Alisa: Yeah. I mean that's the kind of person that I am where things have to...they have to make sense. There has to be an A to B thing going on, a correlation. So that's when I was like, "Okay, you know, that's strange," and it kind of piqued my interest as to why that happens. And for a while, of course, I was just kind of like still following that ALCAT test. And it worked for a good amount of time, few months, six months. I'm just like guesstimating.
Alisa: There came to a point where even though I was avoiding those foods, I was...my symptoms started to come back.
Alisa: And then I went to a music festival. [inaudible 00:11:20] walking, I was camping, it was really hot. I wasn't eating good food, and one of the days I woke up and was just in so much pain. Like my whole upper body was really stiff. It was a pretty bad flare-up.
Alisa: And when I came back home, I was like…I felt stuck. I felt mentally stuck like, okay, I've followed this first program, the ALCAT test, and I'm getting worse.
Clint: Yeah. So you start to feel a sense of panic at that point because everything that you've known to be your solution looks like no longer being a solution. It's very, very frightening.
Alisa: Yeah. I was really scared at that point, just for my future. I just thought the worst.
Clint: Yeah. Now, by the way, this is often when we make our biggest discoveries as I'm sure you're about to share. Sometimes when we're at our absolute wits end and we have no…we have a feeling like, you know, the world's about to crumble, that's when we look in places we haven't looked before, and we explore things that we've never explored before. And so many times outside of just rheumatoid, I found that in my life as well. And I think, okay, some perceived disaster has happened. I'm in all sorts of trouble, but then you make a breakthrough. And that so often happens if we're looking for the breakthrough, if we're searching for the answer.
Alisa: Yeah. I completely agree. Anytime like mentally I've hit rock bottom, after that I just…I'm filled with a lot of passion and drive.
Alisa: And I know at that point my mom had already looked into your program and mentioned it to me before. And I didn't really…you know, I wasn't like looking to it because I was like, "Oh, I already have this and it's working."
Alias: So when that point came where I was like I need something else, she brought it up again. And I was like, "Yeah, let's do that." So let's do that. And I was always pretty apprehensive about that, about starting your program from my perspective because I have never had any dietary restrictions except for when I was like a toddler. I was allergic to berries, but then I stopped being allergic to them. So my whole life I just was able to eat whatever I want, you know.
Alisa: And so that kinda scared me a little bit to think like I…you know, I'm gonna have to be strict about it.
Alias: But at that point, I was like I need to do this.
Clint: Yeah. Good.
Alisa: So my mom, you know, started giving me the information. At that point, I was still a little bit like resistant but, you know, I was in it. I was gonna do it. And by the time I…you know, she started sharing the information with me and by the time I actually really started it, there was a time where I was fighting it, where I was like, you know, I want to do this but I was just, oh, you know, I just kept making excuses.
Clint: Yeah, I think I recall that. This is around about the time when your mom was sharing with us inside the support forum and she was saying that, you know, "She still wants to party but…she's doing it, but then she'll like cheat a little bit because she wants to party," and it was this sort of...there was this sort of an onboarding period where you weren't sure if you were kinda on or you were kinda off, you know?
Alisa: It was almost like I don't even know. I was just like… I don't know. I was like I'm over it, I don't wanna do this and then I'd be like, "No, but I have to." And it was just like this back and forth thing. But when I really…when I first started, you know, the first part of it, the sweet potato… Oh, yeah. That's right, the juicing. That was so intense for me. I mean I felt like I was in it at that point, like I was really about it. I felt like I knew it was the right thing to do. So…I mean I didn't back out at that point when I started juicing. I was like, "Okay, I'm in this," but I was just so irritated and fog brain and just so pissed. I was doing it, like I was drinking it but I was… I'm like I was working at that point, too. But my managers were like really understanding about it. They're like, "Okay." I was hosting at a restaurant so they just had me out front, and usually we stand but they gave me a little chair, and I was just sitting out front.
Clint: Okay, that's nice.
Alisa: Yeah. So they were super understanding with that, because I mean all I had to do was like be honest with them and tell them what I was going through. Nobody is gonna be like, "Well, I don't care," you know?
Alisa: They were really sympathetic. And then after the juicing phase, then, you know, it's the sweet potato, quinoa, buckwheat.
Laura: The dulse seaweed, remember the [inaudible [00:17:05].
Alisa: Yeah. Okay, so you're…oh my gosh. Your recommendation was to mix the buckwheat, quinoa, and seaweed together?
Alisa: I hated it. I learned after like I could totally eat it. I could eat the quinoa, eat the buckwheat, and do like the seaweed and the broth later. That was kind of...
Clint: Like on the sides, yeah.
Alisa: Yeah. That was my way of doing it later, I found out. It became a soup, the buckwheat separate and then the quinoa [inaudible 00:17:41] [crosstalk]. But when I first started, you know, my mom was like, "That's how he did it so let's try that."
Clint: Yeah, sure.
Laura: We went for it. We did eat it.
Alisa: Yeah, I didn't like it at all. I was like so... I was just… I mean I was still doing it. I was eating it, but I was not enjoying it.
Clint: Yes. Well, that's like the way that it's written there's no ramp on. It's like one day, you're eating like whatever you want. You could have the worst western diet ever, and the next day you're eating food that you didn't even know how to spell or pronounce. And it's just suddenly the transition can shock the system, you know?
Alisa: Yeah. It was very cold turkey, you know. But at the same time like even though it was difficult, I knew it was the right thing to do.
Alisa: I was set in like going down that path. I wasn't gonna… Even though I was like, you know, being mean and crabby and stuff, I wasn't gonna stop. Because I knew how I felt before I started and I was like, "I don't wanna go back to that," you know?
Clint: Yeah. Pain is a great motivator, right?
Alisa: Yeah, totally. Yeah, so I figured out my own method of doing it. Eating it separately worked a lot better for me, and I could tolerate it. It didn't taste bad. I was like, okay, I feel good about this.
Clint: Okay. So how long until you started to feel improvements and also start to get used to that way of eating, like a couple of weeks or what was…what happened?
Alisa: Yeah, so it was definitely a few weeks. I remember after the recommended, what was it, like 12 days to like start introducing new stuff…
Alisa: What was the first…I can't remember the…was it lemon?
Laura: It was lemon.
Alisa: Try to do lemon over…like as a dressing to a salad. And I had a reaction to that.
Clint: All right, yeah.
Alisa: My index finger like started to swell up. I didn't get like a flare-up. You know, it wasn't like pulsating like I'm in pain. It was just a slow like stiffness in my hands. So I was like, okay, can't do that. I went back to the basic foods.
Clint: The baseline foods, yeah.
Alisa: Yeah. And then…so we waited a week and then tried… Was it moong dal beans?
Clint: Oh, yeah. So you skipped to that.
Alisa: Yeah, tried that then I had a reaction to that. So in short I was…we were trying a lot of different things and I kept reacting.
Clint: Okay, that's not uncommon. Yup.
Alisa: And I was pretty frustrated at that point because I was like, you know, I'm…in the program I'm supposed to be moving on. My mom's like, "That's not how it works." She kept reassuring me like everybody is different.
Clint: Yeah. Lucky you had mom.
Alisa: So it wasn't wild like I don't know… It was way longer than 12…it felt like way longer than 12 days.
Clint: Sure. It could have been a couple of months, right?
Alisa: Before I could...
Laura: Before like four months before you can actually...
Alisa: Well, no. I mean it was about like a couple of months before I could introduce something and like I didn't get a reaction. Because I remember even like a few weeks after my mom put cinnamon on the sweet potato, and I got a really bad reaction to cinnamon for some reason. My hips swelled up really bad.
Laura: Yeah, I saw that. It swelled up [inaudible [00:21:28] like a grapefruit.
Alisa: Yeah. And I was like, "Something as small as cinnamon," you know?
Clint: It's crazy, isn't it? Yeah. Green beans, for instance, would do something like that to me. What else? Broccoli. You know, innocent vegetables that you wouldn't dream would create problems. There's a couple of examples that would really set me off, green beans and broccoli.
Alisa: Yeah. So I was on the baseline diet for at least a couple of months.
Clint: Yeah, which by the way is not that big a deal, because recently we had that whole baseline program analyzed by the nutritionist, and it meets every vitamin, mineral, essential fatty acid, calories. I mean the whole thing is legit.
Clint: I mean it can be used as a long-term diet as long as all aspects…you know, as long as for instance the sweet potato is not left out, and as long as the pseudo grains are the bulk of the calories. And you know, we don't leave out the seaweed, we don't leave out the greens. All of it is important, but if everything is eaten in adequate quantities, then it's a legitimate long-term kind of program. And it's amazing because it's just so simple, but it's so nutrient-dense.
Alisa: No. I totally…I agree with that wholeheartedly because when I was on the baseline diet, physically felt great. Mentally, I was like so bored of the food.
Clint: Sure. Yeah.
Alisa: But like I kept doing it because I wasn't getting any flare-ups. Like my… When I stuck with this baseline diet, my fingers that had been swollen for at least a year, two years, went down, and that was like so crazy.
Alisa: That's when I was like I know that this works. So even though I was like, you know, they're troubleshooting and there's a lot of like ups and down, I knew that it was working.
Alisa: So yeah, physically when I was on this baseline diet, no flare-ups, which was just so...
Clint: Amazing, right?
Alisa: Yeah, it was amazing. I was like… And it was like back and forth like this is awesome. And then like other days I'd be like I'm bored with this food.
Clint: Well, I was similar. I was exactly the same. You know, I don't draw as many parallels with every guest I speak to, but with you, I had a lot. I couldn't get off that baseline foods. I was stuck on that month after month after month, and I did not try anything else because I was too paranoids that I was gonna stuff things up. And I just felt fantastic, and I thought, look, I've been coming at this previously from a raw food diet for eight months when I first started trying dietary stuff. And that was way harder. So to be able to eat some cooked food and be able to have some salty diverse taste, you know I thought…I knew of a worst scenario, dietary wise, which sounds hard but there is a worse way, a harder way to go. And so I thought this is at least better than that. And I will stick with this because I feel really, really good. And I thought to myself, what if I have to do this for a whole year or a year and a half? It's still better than the pain and more drugs. It's still better than that. Right?
Alisa: Mm-hmm. I totally agree.
Alisa: I mean medication was on the very bottom of my list. And I was like, if this is…if I'm getting progress from this, I'm gonna keep going this way. I was sticking to it, I was on the baseline diet for a good few months. And you know, we tried things here and there, but I would still kind of get flare-ups. I'm trying to remember the first thing that I had that wasn't the baseline food that I didn't get a reaction to.
Laura: Was it avocado?
Alisa: We did squash, too, which was this like, you know…
Clint: Yes, squash is a really easy thing to get back in, yeah.
Alisa: Because I felt like it's kinda closely related to sweet potato.
Clint: Yeah. And you know, the only reason it's not part of the beeline is because I never ate it. And so I don't want to, but like this is such an important responsibility to put something like this out into the world and to back it the way that I back it. And I don't want any tiny leak in this that I can't stand by and defend. And I never ate yellow squash during my baseline days, and that's the only reason it's not in the first 12 days because I can't stand by it and defend it from the rooftops, right?
Laura: And I wanted to interject that I did everything she did with her so that if she had to go back on the baseline, I would go back on the baseline so that I could defend exactly what the program…exactly what she's got.
Alisa: Yes. So she...
Laura: So I have a leg to stand on.
Alisa: Yeah, totally. So when she was doing that with me, she couldn't be like, "Oh, you know, just do it. It's easy," or whatever. Not that it's easy, but you know, "Just do it. You can do it." She was, you know, doing it with me, where I was like...
Clint: Amazing. That's amazing commitment. And the love of mother and daughter, you know?
Alisa: Yeah, that helped me. Words can't describe.
Laura: I knew what rheumatoid arthritis was before she did, so I was terrified.
Clint: Yeah. Okay. So maybe one of the early foods was yellow squash. You might have been able to... Were you able to get some fruits in like cantaloupe or blueberries or...?
Alisa: Yes, cantaloupe and papaya.
Clint: Good, because they're two of my favorites. Two of the absolute best foods, yeah.
Alisa: I remember those were two of the things that I added on with my baseline diet that I wasn't getting a reaction to.
Laura: Do you remember what you said when I first served you your papaya?
Alisa: Oh, yeah. Okay, so before...
Laura: You said it smells like butt.
Alisa: Yeah. Okay. Before I like...
Laura: You're such a brat.
Alisa: I hated papaya like I just hated the way it smelled. I thought it smelled like fart. I just was like not about it. But because I was like eating this baseline diet for so long, my taste buds had changed.
Alisa: Like I noticed they were so much more sensitive to the taste of things. And I was like appreciated the taste of food so much more. And so I was like… Before I was like, you know, I hate papaya because I was thinking of how I didn't like it before then I started this program. But when I tried it afterwards, I really liked it.
Alisa: I tasted things in it that I didn't tasted before, which I thought was really cool.
Clint: Yeah. That's cool. I remember I actually have eaten cheese sometime in the…it's not the last year but at some point. I forget why. I was on a cruise ship or something and sometimes when you're isolated from your own kitchen and the foods that you need, starvation can kick in. You panic sometimes, and I think like some mashed potato had some cheese in it or on it or something like that. And I'm vegan but like I'm…if I sometimes eat something like that, I don't feel like the world is about to collapse on me, right? I'm on a cruise ship. I'm having some mashed potato, I find out it's got some butter in it. I'm frustrated and angry, but I'm not gonna like, you know, knock myself, right? It's very rare, I must add.
And this thing had some cheese on the top and so I tasted like a piece of shredded…of you know, shredded mozzarella or whatever it was. And it was like my whole mouth exploded with overwhelm of flavor. I mean it was like...
Clint: Because it had been so long since I've eaten something so… I guess like for me it was artificially flavored…flavoring, although you know, it's from a cow, but for me it was just too much. It was like it was turning up the volume of the sound system too much all of a sudden, is how I reacted. It was like, "Oh, my goodness." Like how can you eat large quantities of this? It's overwhelming.
Clint: And so on the flip side, if you've come from that sort of stuff and then tasted something that's subtle like papaya, you know, it's like from the opposite point, right?
Alias: Yeah. No, totally. Like…I mean I'm gonna go back to this, but jumping forward now like what you're saying if…like I'm out and I happen to find out there's something, like there's butter and something, it's just so insane. Before when I was like really sensitive and I would, you know, cheat or something and I get a really, really severe reaction. And now that I feel my gut, if I, you know, accidentally eat something like that, it's not that bad, like at all, and it's so crazy.
Clint: Yeah, it's awesome though.
Alisa: Like I'm… You know, like I might get a little stiff or something like that, but it is just not anything how it was before.
Laura: Yeah, how it was before is you hurt in your sternum, your jaw hurt. I mean you had…everything was flared up. You'd have this moving throughout your body to where you couldn't sleep all night, and you even said, "It's so bad I'm too hurt to even cry anymore." I mean that's how bad [inaudible [00:31:11].
Clint: Yup. Wow. And so it feels like that it's almost just like a shadow of the old reaction, just a shadow like it reminds you that it doesn't want that food but it doesn't scream at you. It just said, "Well, hang on. No more of that please, but I'm not gonna scream at you." Just be smart and do what you know is best.
Alisa: Because there have been times where, you know, I've eaten junk food and it just… I mean not so much where like… I mean I got a little stiff, but it just made me feel sick like in my stomach. I get a headache and like just felt really sluggish and tired. And it just amazed me how I would do that before and like think that it was okay and do it the next day or something. And I'm like, how do other people do this and not feel so bad that they just don't wanna do it again?
Laura: Because they're used to it.
Laura: It's normal.
Alisa: It's like a lifestyle.
Clint: That's it. That's it. It feels normal. It used to feel normal to me, too. I went through my whole 20s with weird digestive problems that I thought were normal. I didn't realize that it wasn't normal because all my buddies and I, we're all talking about the same things whether it'd be massive burps or worse, and then like indigestion and then, you know, just feeling atrocious from a weekend of having a pizza and then going out and drinking beers and waking up and just feeling like the world was gonna end with how bad you felt. Yeah, but that's because we're in our 20s and that's what we do or whatever.
Clint: Yeah. It's nuts, isn't it?
Alias: Yeah, it really is. And so like anytime recently, rarely, if I've eaten junk food I'm like, "Oh, my god, no way. Why did I do that? I can't…" It's not even the flare-up. I just feel…it's mostly like I just feel really tired. And I'm like… I just… I don't... I hate feeling tired.
Clint: Yeah. You've got sort of like premium fuel in your system right now, premium gas. And so anything that's not perfect and gives you so much energy, it just feels wrong. And that's great. I mean I think you're basically running your body the way that we should all be running our bodies. I think you're doing the right thing, and as a result, when the wheels start to go off the road and hit that sort of thing on the side of the road that go…you know?
Clint: You'll get…working up straight away, but other people are dozing off [inaudible 00:33:54] ditch, you know. It's normal to be in the ditch, you know?
Alisa: Yeah, I mean this was really a blessing in disguise because so many people eat so bad, and they don't have a reaction like we do to…you know, that red flag to be like, "No, stop." You know? It's like a gradual thing where they're like, "Oh, you know, I kind of feel tired and sick." But like nothing too bad so they just continue those habits.
Alisa: Whereas, you know, for us it's almost like life and death. You've got to be, you know, clean and healthy or it's totally the opposite like I'm gonna feel so bad.
Clint: Mm-hmm.That's right. That's right.
Laura: Plus you were doing exercising at the same time.
Alisa: Yeah, yeah.
Clint: Yeah. Talk us through the exercises. What were you doing mostly and what worked best?
Alisa: I was hiking a lot. There's a really nice hike right by where I live now. Yeah, five minutes away.
Laura: It's a nature reserve, yeah.
Laura: And it's a pretty vigorous hike. There's a lot of like steps and stuff. So anything to really like get me sweating and get my heart rate up, I knew, was helping because, you know, a lot of people they'll go and work out and be physical and not really push themselves, just to be like, "Okay, I went to the gym and, you know, I lifted some weights and that's my workout." But, you know, they don't really push themselves, just like sweat and, you know, get going, which I feel like if you're not at that point, well, what's the point? You got to like…you got to really...
Clint: That's fantastic.
Laura: She had swollen…she said, "My feet are swollen. They really hurt. I feel kind of stiff." I go, "Let's get your hiking shoes on. Let's go."
Clint: Yeah, that's it. That's it.
Laura: Yeah, and then afterwards you would go, "Wow."
Alias: It was… I'm always… I don't know. I'm always just so like amazed at the progress and how… I mean because I'm younger, too, granted, but like how I could bounce back where I would wake up and I'd be really stiff and like…you know, and my shoulder would lock up and I'd be like, you know, I'm in a lot of pain. And my mom would be like, "Okay, let's go. Let's go on the bike. I have this little gym at my apartment. Let's, you know, get your heart rate up. Let's get sweating."
Alisa: And I would do that and after like…it didn't go away completely. But like it was amazing how much I had movement. It was like locked up and really hurting, and then I could move it around and my fingers weren't swollen anymore, and I felt so good after.
Alisa: And it was just…yeah, it was crazy just getting the blood moving.
Clint: Yeah, I can totally relate to that as... No, I can totally relate. And for people who think that walking is enough, it's not. We've got to take walking… Walking just isn't adequate enough to get pain relief. To get pain relief, we have to push ourselves and sweat exactly like what you just said. So that can be an elliptical at the gym, an elliptical machine. It could be a stationary bike at the gym or an actual real stationary bike. There are some little tweaks with that. We have to watch that we don't grip the handlebars too hard because it can jar into our wrists and fingers and stuff but...
Clint: I'm putting aside, you know, outside normal bikes could. But I find that the resistance of a stationary bike in a controlled environment you've got nothing else to do but to think about getting your heart rate higher and getting more sweat so I like that. And of course…and there's Bikram yoga, which is, of course, my favorite just with so much sweating and the heart rate goes so high and it's high for a long time, and it doesn't load or impact any of the painful joints.
So there's several options. There's no excuse to not exercise daily, and if people are really debilitated, my starting point is aqua therapy and get them into a pool, and have them move around in a pool, just to get something happening.
Clint: So that was just made for other listeners or viewers just in case they're thinking, "Oh, okay. You know, maybe I'll just go for a walk." We have to try and take it to another level. I can get [inaudible 00:38:31]. One of my big breakthroughs was in Hawaii and it was through hiking as well, just like you've described. Because it's so mountainous, right, in Hawaii and when we would go and do some trip or sort of some nature walks or whatever, or bush walks as we call them in Australia, there was ups and downs. And I always was continually surprised at how my big swollen knee responded so well to ups and downs. I thought it doesn't make sense but my joints like being challenged.
Alisa: Yeah. No, I totally agree and found the same thing that when, you know, one of my bigger joints was swollen and…you know… And when you're like at home and before, you know, you get physical you're like, "I'm in so much pain. Why would I move around like that?"
Clint: Yeah, that's right.
Alisa: It just seems like it's gonna make it worse. And then when I get myself up and I start moving and get my heart rate up, it goes down. And it feels good, like I feel like I can get it moving and the swelling is going down.
Clint: Yeah. And it gives you a wonderful sense of control, too.
Clint: Because you're not lying on a couch like a victim. You're proactively reducing the problem, and that feels great. And you combine that with like going back on to baseline for a day or two if you need to, and you've got this double boom, boom, and you totally smash the pain down quickly.
Clint: And, you know, life doesn't seem too bad pretty quickly.
Alisa: Yeah. And I really have to say like anytime that I did have a bad flare-up and I went back to the baseline foods, it never failed. Like I never got worse or never like, you know, was…I was still swollen. It always went down.
Laura: Remember the B12 vitamin incident?
Alisa: Yeah. My mom got me a B12 vitamin, and she didn't read the label. It had lactose in it.
Laura: It was derived from lactose, yeah.
Alisa: And I had just such a bad flare-up.
Laura: It lasted 18 hours of hell.
Alisa: Yeah, it was really... Yeah, she felt so bad.
Laura: Both of her hips were swollen.
Alisa: I was like... I felt bad that she felt bad.
Laura: [inaudible [00:40:48].
Clint: Yeah. What a lesson, huh? It just shows you how crazy… You know… And this is why when people go to their rheumatologist and they're in a lot of pain and they ask the rheumatologist, "Look. Does diet matter or something?" And you can forgive them for saying no. And the reason is because you've seen firsthand what a minefield this is. You can see how there's only…like in my opinion, there's not a lot of other foods other than the ones that I've collected and put together here that we can all follow and get results from and then slowly reintroduce… Like it's not like we're missing a whole category of foods that we can also go and eat. I mean there's a very narrow path through the mountain.
Clint: And no wonder doctors say diet doesn't work because how many people come up with this tiny narrow path through the mountain? It's a pretty…it's a...
Laura: When we were seeing her, the rheumatologist, the other rheumatologist, not the one that they assigned. She said in front of both of us, "Well..." because she mentioned, "I'm doing this diet." And she goes, "Diet has nothing to do with it." And I just nodded my head and knew not to argue.
Laura: Because I forgave her. I understood her point of view what her world is like in a way and I didn't want to confront that with this very short period of time we had.
Laura: When we go home, we have to just go no holds barred.
Clint: Yes, 100%.
Alisa: Yeah, and I mean it didn't mean that I didn't listen to the other information that she had to offer. I took what I needed out of it, you know?
Alisa: And still was following this program because I knew that it was working. And I just…I can't explain how good that felt to have that guarantee that if I went back to the baseline diet and was physically active that I didn't have pain. Because even with this, the ALCAT test before that, it wasn't foolproof. Even though I was staying away from all the foods that I wasn't supposed to have, there was still…like I would still get small flare-ups. You know, there were still cracks in it.
Laura: Because we weren't addressing the cause of that.
Alisa: Yeah, exactly. And then when l started this program and stopped being a brat and stopped, you know, trying to find excuses…
Laura: Little brat.
Alisa: I know. When I stopped trying to find excuses and read about it and looked into the information, it made sense. There was an A and B thing in my head that clicked that I was like…I mean and that's how I've always been, where I'm like, you know, if it makes sense and what I'm doing, my actions are proving that it makes sense, you know, that's awesome.
Clint: That's it, that's it.
Clint: So give us just sort of, I don't know, one or two-minute summary on the symptomatic changes. So what is the sort of the before and after with your symptoms on a day-to-day basis before compared to now?
Alisa: Drastic. Absolutely drastic. Before, I was stiff and sore every day, and I would get flare-ups like every other day. Some of them were not that bad. I would get really bad flare-ups maybe like once a week which at that time I don't know how I dealt with that. But I did. Like you said, you know, we tolerate a lot when we don't realize how really bad it is compared to now like I can't believe it. I forget. I forget that I have it because I don't...I rarely, rarely, rarely have symptoms. And when I do, I know it's because of something that I ate or, you know, haven't been physically active in a few days.
Alias: Or I'm like it's a combination of that, and I'm really stressed out or something. But I always know why. It's not a mystery anymore.
Clint: Yes. That's it.
Alisa: Which is so…it's such a relief to me because before I was like what is it? You know, it was... And that was really scary to me to not know why.
Alias: So at this point, I feel so good and I'm so thankful.
Clint: You're welcome.
Laura: You know what Alisa did? She came over yesterday with some vegan cupcakes for Mother's Day. And she had this little card she wrote to me, and would you mind if I read it, share it?
Clint: I'd love to hear it.
Laura: Okay. She says, "I love you with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for everything you have done for me. You've instilled in me so many incredible qualities that I will take with me and cherish for the rest of my life. I look up to and admire everything that you are from your beauty and most importantly your witty, charming, intelligent, creative and driven personality. I am so lucky to call you my mom. Happy Mother's Day. Alisa."
Clint: Beautiful. It's beautiful. You guys have done this together, you know. It's something that you've been through together, and…well, that's easy from this point. Let me tell you. Like you guys have done this together, everything else, everything else it feels easy. You know? It doesn't get harder than trying to recover from rheumatoid arthritis. It doesn't get harder than that.
Alisa: Yeah. I mean going through what I went through like it's almost like a blur to me now because it was really hard. It was really hard. It was…there were so many ups and downs. You know, I'm not gonna front and say, "Oh, yeah. You know, I coasted through it and I followed the program, and step by step, and..." No, it was really, really hard. But from the bottom of my heart, I knew it was working and I knew that it was the right thing to do. And I'm just so thankful for you and I'm thankful for my mom that she stuck by me and did it with me and...
Laura: We're still doing it.
Alisa: I'm still doing it, yeah. And it's...
Clint: That's a very good point. That's a very good point because we always do it. It just...you do a much more broad and easier version of it, you know? I don't expect that one day you'll ever be able to go back to cheese pizzas and Coca-Cola. I don't expect...
Alisa: Yeah, and I don't want to.
Laura: I made her vegan pizza though.
Alisa: Yeah. That was really...
Clint: But here's the thing. Let me tell you about it because I'm the veteran now. I've been at this a very long time. The foods that you get to enjoy, the life that you get to lead, and the attitude that you have about being a compassionate eater, not eating animals, and also just doing the right thing for the planet yourself, you don't care about missing out on a steak, on a Friday night. You don't care...
Alisa: Yeah, it doesn't sound appealing to me anymore.
Clint: Right. But you feel fantastic about living the best quality life you can, given that you were handed something that's very scary and very serious. And so look, no one can change the past and the fact that something switched on inside you and that is your cross to bear for the rest of your life. But it becomes a very, very light cross, very, very light one that just sits up on your shoulder and you don't even care that it's there.
Alias: Yeah. It's incredible to look back and know that it was so difficult. And like you said, now, even if there is troubleshooting and, you know, I get a flare-up and…it's just so…it's a breeze compared to what I went through before that it's no skin off my back.
Alisa: You know?
Clint: Yup. Wonderful.
Alias: So it's great. I feel so much better mentally and physically compared to how I did before I started this program.
Clint: Are you still working at the same place?
Alisa: No. So before I was working at Bubba Gump which is like a fried seafood restaurant.
Laura: A fried [inaudible [00:49:43]
Alisa: Yeah, and before I started this program I was eating there, too. And like now that I'm looking on it, I'm like, gross. I don't even...
Laura: And then you get this…tell him how you got your new job.
Alisa: Yeah. So I was looking for a new job because I'd been there for like a few years and I was just like over it. And my roommate told me about this new restaurant that was opening up called True Food Kitchen, and their whole menu is based around an anti-inflammatory diet.
Alisa: Yeah. So we got a lot of sweet potato and turmeric. Yeah, their whole thing is, you know, you can eat healthy and help your body, and it can still taste good.
Alisa: And I honestly didn't really know that before I went into the interview. I was just like I want a new job and this place looks cool so I'm gonna go ahead and go in there.
Alisa: And so I talked to the general manager. I had my interview with him and he was like, "Why did you want this job?" I mean I knew that like they had better food and so I told him, you know, I was at this other place and they have a lot of fried food and I'm in a transitional period of my life where I became vegan. And I have rheumatoid arthritis and I wanna be in an environment where there's other people who are on the same page as me.
Alisa: And he was like, "Oh, my gosh. My mom has that." And he's like, "You're hired. You're what this is all about." He's like, "I need you."
Laura: And he wrote down...
Alisa: Yeah. And he wrote... I told him about your program and he wrote down your name and... I haven't asked him, checked back about it with him if he like told his mom about it because, you know, people will do it…well.
Clint: Sure, that's it.
Alisa: I don't wanna like push anything on anybody, but it was just so cool how everything just lined up and…you know? It was just crazy.
Laura: When you're on a lifestyle, any lifestyle you choose, serendipity happens like that.
Alisa: Yeah, you know...
Laura: You'll find out more and more as you get older that this happens.
Alisa: You attract people with the same mindset as you, and it was just so awesome because we were doing this whole interview and then when I said that, he's like, "I need you. I need you on my team."
Clint: That's awesome.
Alias: "You're exactly what we're about." And I was so excited, and I still work there. And it's really awesome.
Clint: Yeah, that's great.
Clint: Yeah, well done. Well, what a story, huh? And you went back to the music festival again? Have you ever been back to the music festival where...
Alisa: Not the same one, but I went to other ones and was fine.
Clint: Great. So you can now participate in all of the things you should be doing, having fun at your age and doing all the fun things with all your friends and I guess you just have to make some modifications — either eat beforehand or take special foods with you and stuff, right? That's a small little, you know, extra bit of work you have to do but that's what you do, right?
Laura: And some of these festivals have…they have these catering trucks and vegan catering trucks.
Alisa: Yeah, it's crazy. A lot of...
Clint: It's changed a lot.
Alisa: ...the festivals that I go to, they have a lot of vegan food carts. That's like mostly the food that they have.
Laura: It's gone upscale.
Alisa: Yeah, it's really cool. They're all about, you know, renewable stuff and like recycling and, you know, everything that's good for the environment. So if I don't eat beforehand, now, you know, like you said where you're in a situation where you're hungry and you gotta eat something…it's not like it's like dairy or meat or anything but I'll have this vegan stuff. You know, it has like oil in it or something. But now that I have healed my gut so much, I don't get a bad reaction like I would have before.
Clint: Yeah, it's just awesome. Yeah.
Alisa: It's a huge relief.
Clint: You've got a lot of sort of tolerance or a lot of buffer between the food and the reaction that you would have previously had. So Laura, you must be so, so proud of your daughter. What would you like to add to what we've covered?
Laura: The gut thing, when she was allergic to berries when she was four, her whole body broke out in hives. And a friend of mine who's into nutrition told me about probiotics. And I got her on those and she no longer had hives and could eat the berries again. Now, interestingly, it connects to the time that she was on antibiotics because of ear infections, and the doctors just prescribed that like it was candy. And I remember both of them being on it. And that had to do with why she was reacting, and it all started then. And so she…there is this… I just wanted to say that for listeners out here about the gut and skin, the gut and organs, everything reacting because your digestion, your immune system starts in the gut.
Laura: And so later on when she was getting her flare-ups, her sister had called me when she had that horrible flare-up… Unbeknownst to you, it was behind your back. Called me and told me about the fact that she was crying and in such pain that I started texting her and without telling you that she told me saying, "Hey, if you happen to have any flare-ups, I was just reading and I just texted you all this stuff. We got to get started on this program," and you just responded immediately.
Both her and I did the juicing together. I was very cranky because I completely like…I knew that I was quitting coffee. I was quitting sugar, the two main deals that woke me up in the morning. I was quitting all that. So I had withdrawals, and I remember thinking to myself while she was at work doing her juicing while working…okay, this is her interacting with people serving, as a server, juicing with no food. Poor thing. I'm walking around thinking, "Oh, I have this headache withdrawal," and went, "Oh. I don't care that I'm in pain. I don't care that I have a headache, because I'm thinking of Alisa." Alisa is the one who's inspiring me to do this. So we were both had this feedback with each other.
Clint: Yeah, it's great.
Laura: So I think for anybody out there who's going through this, it does make it easier if you have an accountability buddy.
Laura: It helps a lot.
Alisa: And I just want to add really quick. Probiotics…
Alias: …helped me so much.
Clint: Which one did you take? Might as well get specific, if you recall.
Laura: Kyo-dophilus 29 or something like that.
Alisa: Or Kyo-dophilus 9.
Laura: Kyo-dophilus 9, yeah.
Clint: Okay. I'll get you just to send me the link to it and I'll put the link in the show notes for other people. You know, so just recently more and more sport members have been actually talking about how the probiotics have been helping them. And it's so well-supported in the scientific literature, too. So they've done clinical trials and in some of the cases even like of the higher standard where you've got a double-blind placebo, the whole thing. And the probiotics lower symptoms. So it's not something that is being sort of still in the kind of maybe category. I mean it definitely helps.
Laura: Every time I see the science on probiotics, I got to share it with her and I share it with my family because it's real. It's not quack, it's real.
Clint: That's right. Yeah. There's so many other supplements. In fact, 99% of them, it's in the kind of like iffy category. But probiotics are right there and they're genuine.
Clint: So we'll get the one that you took. And how…did you sort of overdose or mega dose them? Yeah.
Clint: Yeah, as much as the budget could afford.
Alisa: I have like three or four maybe. Yeah, so that and drinking a bunch of green juice always helped. Like if I had a really bad flare-up, I would just drink a bunch of green juice and, you know, take three or four probiotics. And the next day I would feel so much better. And, you know, there were times where like I didn't figure that out yet and I felt like I was trying to ride it out for like a day or a day and a half. And it was just really cool how quickly that it helped my body.
Clint: Yeah. That's great. That's great. A lot of people would get a lot of benefit from that. So that's fantastic. Well, thank you very much. Is there anything else you'd like to share? I think we've covered your story and how far you've come and how you did this as a team together, and how Laura, you know, did the whole thing together. And I think that's a first. I've not seen a mother and daughter team like you guys. So that's really, really impressive.
And yeah, I think we've also left the sort of feeling that, you know, this isn't something that now as we said before we can go and change lifestyle back to the old ways. It's something you'll do for life, but it's something that really for me a lifestyle that's fantastic, not a lifestyle that's restrictive. It's fantastic.
Clint: Yeah. So that's like a window into the future that you…you know, you don't have to feel like it's an awful thing that you have to do for a long time. It's something that will help you thrive and have health and avoid other diseases like all your friends when they hit, you know, 50s or whatever, other friends in the future unfortunately…like now I just turned 41 recently. I'm seeing friends have serious health conditions come up now.
Laura: And you know what, even friends her age are coming up with autoimmune diseases.
Alisa: Yeah. It's kinda scary and shocking that like my friends that are my age are like, you know, having these health problems and are like…it's like as the generations go on, it's getting younger and younger.
Clint: Yup. That seems to be the case.
Laura: And it's because of our western diet.
Alisa: Yeah, I really believe that.
Laura: There's sugar in everything, and it destroys the flora. We take too many antibiotics, it destroys the flora, and then next thing you know, somebody has got an autoimmune.
Clint: That's it. Yup, that's right. It doesn't take that much of a mess up on the inside to trigger something that you'll have for the rest of your life. It's bad, isn't it? We have to be really careful.
Laura: I mean the average consumption of sugar was about a bag of sugar in the turn of the 19th century, and now it's 29 bags of sugar a year. And it's because it's in every single packaged food. They're putting sugar in everything. Even if you can't taste it, it's in there.
Alisa: Yeah. When I was like really being aware of what I was putting into my body and I was reading the labels on things, I was like sugar, sugar, sugar. Oh my gosh, I didn't even realize before like there's just sugar in everything.
Clint: Yup. All right. Well, thank you very much. I had a great time. We've passed an hour just like that. It's been a lot of fun.
Laura: I know we did.
Clint: Yeah. So thank you so much, and I'm sure we'll get a lot of really positive feedback from this episode. Do you have a Facebook page that's for sort of sharing your story or an Instagram account that you'd like to share or is everything really a…or nothing, like you don't have to. I just thought if you're sharing your blog or journey…
Alisa: Yeah, I don't really…I mean I kind of use Instagram but it's not...
Clint: It's not for this purpose, yeah. It's just for your own personal friends. Okay. I just wanted to double check.
Clint: Well, that's it. Thank you so much, guys.
Alisa: Thank you. We really appreciate you, Clint.
Clint: Mutually, because I really got a lot out of this. And watching and hearing about your development and progress was really…like some of your posts, Laura, when you would post and give us updates, that was some of my favorite. It would brighten up my day hearing how you were going.
Laura: That's fantastic.
Laura: It's good to know. Thank you.
Clint: All right, enjoy the rest of your day.
Laura: You, too. Bye.
Clint: Okay, bye-bye.