Andy Is Beating RA
In this Episode you’ll learn:
– How Andy used to be in a wheelchair and is now functionally wonderfully
– How far he has come on the Paddison Program for RA
– The massive improvements Bikram Yoga has provided
– Tips for newcomers to the Paddison Program
– Why you should avoid free online forums where negativity is king
– Why Andy expects his next 40 years to be his best
Disclaimer – the information on this site is not medical advice. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise, drug or supplement routines you must first discuss the changes with a licensed professional.
Clint: Welcome everyone to the Paddison podcast. I’ve got Andy with me on this episode who’s a lovely chap. Good day, Andy.
Andy: Good evening, Clint.
Clint: Now Andy is a member of our community forum and a big inspiration to many people because he’s had…I think your diagnosis is originally psoriatic arthritis. We’ll hear about in a second. But he’s had inflammatory arthritis for many, many years, and is been doing fabulously in the last, oh gosh, improvements from the last 12 months, but certainly in the last three or four months. So, Andy, we’re really looking forward to hearing your story in more detail.
Andy: I’m looking forward to explaining lots more about it.
Clint: So take us back to where the problems begin. Tell us what happened.
Andy: After university, my first job, I wanted to exercise and still have my bicycle. After one winter, I got my bicycle out, went for a bike ride, and came back. So probably about 23, 24, 25, 26 years old something like that, and came back from the bike ride, and thought, “Oh, my leg’s stiff.” So like a lot of people with arthritis, it suddenly sprung upon me. I thought I’ll just rest up, by next morning I couldn’t walk. My legs were like tree trunks and I went into hospital and I was there for something, not six months, but it took six months of recovery with lots of physiotherapy to get me walking again. It was determined to be psoriatic arthropathy. I had lots of steroids in my knees, lots of excruciating taking off the fluid where the needles go into the bone, and all that kind of thing. Not something I want to experience again.
Since that beginning, once I was mobile, my life roughly came back to normal. I had steroids for every six months with the rheumatologist for let’s say a couple of years, but after three or four years, it all stabilized out. I just needed some tablets to deal with occasional flares, occasional problems. In the long term, [inaudible [00:02:34] diclofenac sodium tablets. Typically, I would get through around a blister pack a year.
Clint: Oh yeah, not too bad.
Andy: So not too bad. Really quite stable to which I put down in my own mind to a vegetarian lifestyle. We’re talking about going back to the 1970s, late 1970s here, and I went vegetarian in 1979, and I thought I was on a pretty good diet. And I thought this is really quite healthy. [inaudible [00:03:10] and lots of whole food, SAL diet. Really my psoriasis was stable. Nothing mattered, and I was a happy bunny.
Okay, life wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t kneel. I’ve never been able to kneel properly since this arthritis blew up, psoriatic arthropathy blew up, and my right arm there, that’s about as straight I can get it. I think it was a little bit better. In the last short time, it’s got worse, but I can’t straighten it down. And so that’s been the third major problem.
On the time when it was diagnosed, they said I had arthritis in all my joints. My jaw, my shoulders, my hip, any joint you want to mention, but they never really caused me much of a problem over the years. So I was really quite pleased about that, and I put that down to my lifestyle. Playing badminton weekly, swimming a lot, walking with friends at weekends, and not too bad a lifestyle.
Clint: Yeah, so lots of exercise.
Andy: Not major exercise. Sorry?
Clint: A lot of sort of social exercise and a vegetarian diet at that time.
Andy: I think so, and that was really stood me in good stead.
Clint: Yeah, okay.
Clint: Big but.
Andy: Unfortunately, my uncle died at the same time as my son got married, and something in my brain I just could not accept the two at the same time. Just emotionally, I felt that was something I couldn’t deal with and I explained it to my wife and she understood, and so when it came to my son’s wedding party she did all the honors, and I just took a back seat.
But if you look at my blood test results, it all stemmed from that moment in time. So that’s what I, personally in my heart, put it down to. I just couldn’t emotionally deal with that so what I did next was I thought, “Well, this is okay. I’ve got a flare…I started taking the diclofenac tablet as I done many years before, and because it’s on repeat prescription, I just went back to the chemist and got some more, back to the pharmacy, got some more, and I just kept on popping these tablets.
It didn’t solve the problem so I had to see the doctor. The doctor put forward an appointment with a rheumatologist. So this is weeks and months beginning to roll by a bit from May we’re into June, July period. Meanwhile, I’m getting no better, still popping pills, get to see the rheumatologist, gives me steroid injection to the knee which stabilizes it, but that probably only last for a month or so in terms of giving me relief. So back to pill popping, waiting on the next appointment with the rheumatologist.
So we come up to November 2015, so we’re about six months later, this has been diagnosed in July as rheumatoid arthritis now, and my legs are looking awful. I’m in excruciating pain, but because I’ve been popping the pills, the doctor says, “I can’t give you methotrexate.”
Clint: Because of all the…
Andy: I can’t put you on one of this.
Clint: All the painkillers.
Andy: Because the liver is seriously damaged.
Clint: Oh, wow.
Andy: The liver is in a really bad way. And so being fairly clued into the Internet, I did a lot of research. One thing I come across is that avocados are one of the best things you can get for your liver. So I start popping these instead of the pills. The doctor says no more pills. He tries on me naproxen. I tried that for less than a month, and I had a really bad reaction. So I put naproxen too on the side, and he starts giving me some codeine tablets, and I can’t remember what else. But none of the disease-modifying drugs. Nothing like that.
So we are in around Christmas time, and I’m…go stay with friends over at New Year, hoping to get an appointment too in the New Year. Feeling increasingly bad. One of the phrases that I come across, I think you’ve used it for your own body is the feeling of walking on shattered glass. I had lots of pain in my feet whenever walked. I just could not walk and that was probably in hindsight a blight to think I’d have done something about it to deal with that exercise wise, but it is just so painful. Rest was the only thing that was on my agenda. Lots of television, lots of research on the internet.
One of the things, besides finding avocado, was I watched “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” in late 2015, and so I bought myself a juicer and started to juice. But I couldn’t understand how to use that to deal with my problem. I couldn’t see me living on a juice diet for the rest of my life, and I couldn’t see a pathway. I knew I had something going because when I took the juice, it was doing some good and giving me some short term relief, but I wasn’t seeing my way through the problem.
So New Year came, more doctor’s appointments. The doctor said, “Yes, your liver is improving. We need to get you to see the rheumatologist and get the rheumatologist to confirm we can start the methotrexate.” So that means waiting another month or so, and I think I had probably a steroid injection to help me keep going.
Clint: Particularly your knees. It was the knees that were getting the injections.
Andy: This is January. The knees always get the injection, take the fluid off, steroid into both knees. So that meant that January is actually quite a pleasant month in terms of being able to operate, and I thought, “If only I could have steroids for the rest of my life.” But of course, you can’t. They have further unwanted side effects of their own, and it’s clear the doctor wasn’t keen…the doctor said, “I can give you a steroid injection in six weeks to a month’s time, but no more than that. No more frequently than that.”
Clint: Yeah, my doctor said to me because I had the same train of thought with regards to my right elbow at one point, and also the left knee. He said that the current studies seem to indicate that if one of the major joints being elbows, knees, hips, shoulders, they can tolerate four injections a year before at least the science shows that it starts to weaken the integrity of the joint. So he was comfortable to go every quarter with me, but because I was…I only had the knee done after I had done 90%, 95% of my healing work in my gut so I only needed the one injection on the left knee, and it has never had inflammation ever again. So, it was remarkable. So okay.
Andy: The fact is the steroid injection in January was it had an immediate effect. I had to have it done at the hospital, and I couldn’t walk upstairs. I have to go up in the lift to see the rheumatologist. The rheumatologist injected me, and I was able to walk down the stairs.
Clint: It’s amazing. Yeah.
Andy: So I was in immediate, fabulous relief from the problem. Instant solution to the problem. Beautiful. Although not long term solution.
Clint: Yeah, not as a long-term solution, but I encourage people to certainly consider it as low impact medical intervention if they have just one or two joints heavily affected, particularly big joints, where everything else feels pretty good, especially if they have been doing very good with their discipline on their diet and exercise for a long period of time like I did.
I actually…I regret not doing it earlier because I thought I’m on top of this, I know what’s going on here. I understand what’s going on with my body. Why do I have one joint in my body that’s not responding? I’m going to get it over the line so that I can prove to myself that this works, but what was happening in my case, and not to steal your story here, but just to close off on this, is that in the Baker’s cyst behind my knee, it seems that I had a closed environment. There was no…it seemed that there was no circulation of the fluids or inflammation in that knee with the rest of my body. And so, it was this isolated pocket of inflammation that wasn’t interacting well or it wasn’t leaking out into the rest of the blood stream appropriately. And so once it was removed, it stayed removed. And so, I could have been trying to work on that knee for another 12 months of Bikram every single day, baseline diet, and I may never have gotten rid of that without that needle and injection. So sometimes there’s a very [crosstalk [00:14:24].
Andy: Blimey yeah.
Clint: Yeah. So let’s pick it up…
Andy: Interesting, interesting.
Clint: …from where you’re up to with your… So what happened at the end of January?
Andy: So I found the Paddison Program online and like a lot of people, very skeptical, but it rang a bell. Probably it took me a couple of weeks into February to decide, “Yes, I’m gonna give it a go. The cost isn’t too high. This feels like it could actually do something. ” And I was out the end tether. So because the steroid was wearing off, so I bought the program, I downloaded it, and I researched, and like everyone who downloads it, you start to read, and you read, and you do not stop reading. And you just devour every last word, every page, and get it right.
I didn’t start because we booked a holiday in Northern France in Picardy. So we decide to walk…drive out to Picardy. My wife thought I needed a good break, and I thought a holiday is not the right time to start a program. I need to be at home. So beautiful holiday, where…lovely environment and we would drive somewhere, and my wife wanted to walk around the Chateau, and I got out of the car and I said, “I can’t, I’ve got to get back into the car.” I just cannot walk more than paces, and walking ten paces from the car was excruciating because all the steroids had worn off. So holiday not ruined, very enjoyable.
I must fill in a little bit. I had done some dietary changes. I’d begun to give up gluten, and experimenting with that and improving the number of vegetables I was eating, and so on. So when I came back to the UK, I decided that was the moment I would actually start the program. So I did.
Now, I cannot remember exactly. It’s important to, I would like to be able to say honestly when I started the methotrexate, but right now I think that was after I came back from France as well. There’s something I learned about methotrexate which is I think quite important for anyone considering going on it. The doctors like to increase it. Get you on it a little bit, test the water to make sure you’re not reacting too badly against, and then increase the dose quite extensively. The principle being that they want to kill the arthritis dead metaphorically speaking. And so that’s their strategy.
So when people got to methotrexate, they want to…the doctors and rheumatologists want to keep on increasing the dose. I, like a lot of the people interested in alternative remedies, rejected that and wanted to keep on a lower level. I’m now not quite sure if that was the right thing to do because the key thing of methotrexate is to help avoid bone and joint damage.
Now I’m not sure whether I lost out there what you’re wanting to go about should you have had steroids at some point. So it’s again a negotiation with doctors and rheumatologists, but I was really scared they were gonna increase, move me onto biologics, and other things, and I just did not want that. So when they put me on to 10 milligrams of methotrexate, I stuck on that religiously. I refused to budge. That was my thing. I actually increased much later on which we might come to. But at some point, I moved on to twelve and a half, a small increase.
Clint: Yeah, that’s not much. Yeah. Okay, so you’re running. At this point, you’re doing something that makes the results a little cloudy. You’re running on methotrexate, and you’re also running on the program at the same time. So given that it takes about three weeks for the methotrexate to kick in, there might have been a period of uncertainty as to what was going on, but talk us through that.
Andy: The methotrexate for me didn’t kick in until about two months.
Clint: Really? Okay.
Andy: It was about two months ’til I…yeah. So I actually had quite a good feel for the Paddison Program which I remember beginning to kick in.
Clint: Okay, great. So walk us through.
Andy: So I started the program. Actually, I went to visit some friends who are vegetarians as well, and I knew I could trust them, and I thought this was the weekend when I will start it. They understand dietary needs pretty well. So with my wife, we went down, had a little…big bunch of friends, and I got my juicer with me, and started…I’ve been on just plain water for two days.
Clint: Oh wow.
Andy: And that was my own personal decision. I just started on water, but when I got down to visit my friends, I moved on to the cucumber and celery juice, and it was bliss. I was in seventh heaven because it was like a cherry moment. I just knew which is what your program is designed to do, to give people that feeling that this is a life-changing moment, and it did it for me. I knew…I have more mobility, not total relief, but certainly significant relief from the pain. Inflammation was still there, and it was really interesting because on the cucumber and celery which didn’t taste fabulous, but okay. I was taking it properly. I had no jealousy of what other people were eating.
That night we had a bunch of about 15 friends, and they all had a big takeaway Indian meal, piles of good curry which I would have equally been happy to devour, but I was in seventh heaven. I was happy. I sat with them and I drank my juice perfectly happy because I knew I was beginning to see a way forward out of my hell hole.
Clint: Yeah, because no food tastes as good as pain relief feels, does it?
Andy: No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t. I’ve learned that so much. We might come on to that later if we don’t run out of time, but yeah certainly. The sweetness of being able to walk out away from a meal that you’ve digested and know that you got no pain is a very beautiful feeling. You can have no ramifications from it whatsoever is fabulous because that means you’ve got the tools to live a full life for a very long time with no recurrence of arthritis, that you can manage your pain. That realization that not just you’re pain-free then, but you’re going to be able to deal with all the pain, you’re going to be able to avoid pain in the future.
Clint: Absolutely, and I know that that’s where you’re at now. You know you know that now and obviously, now we’re skipping forward to the present sort of the time to be able to have a way of eating that meets your nutritional requirements, that meets your energy requirements, that minimizes all of the disease symptoms for rheumatoid, but also for the potential risk of getting other diseases. I mean, it’s a wonderful feeling, and it’s so reassuring, and I think we were talking in our support forum the other day about this topic of what does it feel like to have remission, and I personally don’t like that word, and I like to think of the whole experience of being…or the goal of what we’re trying to achieve to be completely and confidently controlled by our own lifestyle decisions, and I think that is a blissful life and it gives a great level of self-satisfaction, of achievement, and of self-worth because we have to fight to get there, and it’s a…
Andy: Fight. It is a fight. It’s a fight. It’s a fight, there’s no doubt about it. It’s the biggest fight I’ve ever undertaken. It’s every day, every minute. When it takes you 20 minutes to go to the toilet from the bathroom, from the bed to the bathroom, and when you get back to your bed, it takes you five minutes to recover before you can think about lying down in bed, and then you got to build up strength to move the covers over your body because your arms aren’t working and they’re in such pain, and you have to use your mouth to pull the bed covers because you can’t use your hands. That’s real pain.
Clint: Absolutely: That’s a 100%. I can relate to all of that. I’ll never forget one time I described…I can’t remember what format I was in whether I was speaking on. I think I was on…spoke on stage and talked about pulling…I used to pull the duvet cover over me with my teeth because my wrists, elbows, and fingers couldn’t do it, and someone came up to me afterwards and sheepishly waited for the crowd to disperse and waited 20 or 30 minutes for me to stop talking to other people and so forth, and came up to me and said, “I’ve got rheumatoid and that technique you described about pulling your covers over with your teeth, that’s a really good technique. I’m gonna use that.” So I was expecting her to say, “You poor thing.” But instead, she was like, “There’s a strategy.” And to think that we have to get to this point where we’re having to use our jaw power to pull things. I mean, it is a horrific condition.
Andy: Well, I’ve learned to be so organized because I need everything in exactly the right place in my bedroom because if it’s not, then I can’t get dressed in the morning. On bad days, it would take me two hours to get dressed in the morning.
Clint: Wow, two hours to get dressed.
Andy: It’s not a good place to be. All of my worst my CRP, C-reactive protein was over 170. I was in a really bad way.
Andy: And that’s milligrams per liter, and so this is all down to. And I think in hindsight it’s all down to the diclofenac tablets that I took and postponing the eventual take of methotrexate. Have I not had not those, I might have speeded up and got on a smoother ride.
Clint: Maybe, 170 milligrams per liter, I think I’ve only ever heard of one person ever being over 200. So you’re right up there, and I did a one-on-one consultation recently with a guy, and he was up around the 100 and something. When I was first diagnosed I was like 56 or something, so yeah you’re right up there. So let’s bring listeners up to speed with where you are today. Let’s talk about now the recoveries that you’ve made, the changes that you’ve made to your lifestyle, and some of the real improvement areas for comparison to what you’ve described in your past.
Andy: Okay, so if we can…so I’m going through the program, and I’ve maybe got a blood test every month, and the signs are good. It’s coming down steadily, and yes it could be mixed, it could be methotrexate, it could be the diet, but definitely there’s a steady drop of the C-reactive protein. Slowly, but surely.
Come forth, so I started both program and roughly the methotrexate in March, April. So if we fast forward to August, I was in a place where I could walk to the end of the road. I had a really good couple of days mid-August whereas one day, I actually walked eight miles, and that was just literally fabulous, but I couldn’t hold on to that good health. I would go back into a low space, and I was really annoyed with myself. Whether it was because I wasn’t following the program, I can’t really know because I’m trying to do my own thing and interpret in my own rules. I hadn’t given up oils at the stage, and that’s where I put a lot of it down to.
Clint: If you could just repeat that because…just repeat that because you said that really quickly. It’s important to really say this slowly for everyone to hear.
Andy: I have put it down to the fact that I have not given up oils.
Andy: I was going to come on to that in September. I had another really good…I had other problems. A lot of people, it turns out with arthritis, RA, have anemia, I had anemia. So my doctor booked me in for a colonoscopy. That didn’t show anything. Then booked me for an endoscopy, and that didn’t show anything, but the endoscopy was in early September. The fate of the endoscopy is that you empty your bowels, a second cherry moment.
Clint: So you eliminated all of the sort of waste products from within your intestines and colon, and as a result of that, you suddenly felt amazing again?
Andy: I was able to walk over 10 miles across the countryside on my own. I was on top of the world. I was thinking, “I want this to last.” I went in for the endoscopy, no problems, no cancer showing, no signs of anything to do with anemia or whatever else triggers. So all clear on the western front, and I thought I’m feeling good, but I could not hold on to my good signs, and I was so annoyed. I thought I want to start Bikram, but I couldn’t start it.
Andy: And I thought, “What could I change in my diet?” Oils, and so, just it’s a really tough life when you’re on a tight diet, and my wife wanted to treat me, “You’re on such a tough diet, and a have a chocolate bar.” Good heart, dark chocolate, 70%, but it’s got oils in. And I eventually was able to get into my own head. I don’t say it was my wife’s problem, it’s my problem, into my own head that I simply had to say, “No, no, no, no.” And then I began to improve. It took all through September for me to get clear and to feel good enough to get to Bikram. I was annoyed with myself, but my health improved sufficiently, and I knew that from things that have been said in the forum, things you’ve said, that if I start Bikram, this is a chance to really step the play, step up the game. October the 6th when I started Bikram.
Clint: Awesome, awesome, awesome. If this were a live play, it would be time for a new scene. You know, a new scene.
Andy: It won’t. It won’t, it won’t, it won’t.
Clint: And the scene would be a bunch of people wearing very skin clothing lying around on yoga mats all looking like they’re not looking forward to what’s about to happen for the next 90 minutes, and then Andy comes in struggling with your two knees and your stiff right elbow, with your sore feet, but feeling optimistic.
Andy: Oh it was so painful. Going to that first session was so physically painful, and opening and closing the car doors. I was frightened I was not going to be able to park close enough because I couldn’t walk very far, struggled to walk in. I had phoned them up before and I said, “I’ve got really bad arthritis, are you okay with that?” They said, “They’re very welcoming.” I walked in. Tough time walking up the stairs, not pleasant, and then I walk in, and there’s all these women in very slim, and I thought, “What am I doing here?”
Clint: You thought, “Why did I wait so long to come to this?”
Andy: It was a really emotional experience. That was a roller coaster that first session because I couldn’t do anything. There’s always advise to Bikram session, “Don’t do anything you can’t do. Just stand in the warmth.” And that’s pretty well what mostly what I did. Then there’s never encouragement for you to do, nor if any is right for you. Always go to what’s right for you, and that I followed religiously ever since, but that first session, I cried. I cried. I thought, “I’m a cripple. I do not deserve to be here. This is for a healthy person. These people are healthy, they can do back bends, they can do anything. I can’t do anything here. I can’t lift my arms above my…” The highest I could get my arms for the breathing was about there, and the initial [inaudible [00:34:51] armor and just everything was painful.
And when it came to the…so there’s three parts of Bikram. There’s warm up which is about 30 minutes. There’s balancing, I couldn’t balance. That’s 30 minutes, and all the rest of it, and then there’s floor exercises. I told them, “I can’t get to the floor.” It took two people to lift me with the help of a chair to get me down to the floor, and I just lay on the floor, and I did not do very much, and at the end of the session, 30 minutes later, I needed two people to help me lift up me up to get me vertical again. That was my first session. It was not pleasant in any way, shape, or form, but I’ve been to it. I’ve been to it, and I thought, “I’m gonna come back again. I’m not gonna let this go.”
Clint: Yeah, I remember that. I remember you talking about it, and you received a lot of support and congratulations and encouragement, and you could just tell that a lot, a little light bulb was going off inside you like something had switched in you. You’d found something that you were about to really apply yourself too, and a bit of a spoiler, you’ve sent me a video today, and I’m amazed at the flexibility that you are displaying in the video that you sent through to me especially compared to what you’ve just described. So I mean, tell us now. I mean we’re going now…so it’s been about say five months, four or five months?
Andy: Yeah, yeah.
Clint: Tell us how you are now in class and give us a bit of a summary now over the next few minutes of how your body is now in Bikram, how it is when you wake up compared to where you were before, and just your whole outlook on your condition.
Andy: It took from…I decided in my own mind, I’ve been once, I can do it again, and I’ve been every weekday ever since without missing a thing. If I missed one in the middle of the week, I made up for it on the weekend, right, and that has paid huge dividends. By the Christmas, I was able to get up and down from the floor without help from anybody. Using the chair and then some bars, ballet bars at the end of the room, I was able to get up and down the floor all by myself independent of anybody else. That was Christmas. Christmas break, I didn’t do anything because we were visiting family and friends. So no Bikram over Christmas week, and I was really worried that I would have a setback, but I didn’t. What I got was in there, was locked in solid, the improvements have made.
Beginning to do some bouncing by that. But let’s move forward. About less three, four weeks ago, I had to go away for a week, and I went to another Bikram center and they didn’t have my usual ballet bars. So the only chair, and the teacher, who I knew, teased me. He took the chair away., then he brought the chair back and I thought to myself, “No, no, he can leave the chair away. I’m gonna do this.” And so it may have taken me…so five minutes to get down to the floor with a crash and a bump, and a real worry because I’ve never used my wrist like that, but I got down, and at the end, I got back up again, and it took me probably about 15, 20 minutes to kneel and work out how physically I could do it because I couldn’t use my hands. That was about three weeks ago. I’m now doing it, I’m using my hands and it’s just gradually every day, I’m beginning to be able to get up off of the floor, and be independent.
And that’s such a big thing for someone with rheumatoid arthritis. So big because you’re so in danger of falling over and you’re stiff and if you fall over, you can’t get up. If I was in a road and you fall over, you can have a car and you can’t get out of the way. If you’re in an isolated place and you fall over, you cannot get up again. It’s…could really have very serious health problems. Not to mention which a lot of people who have arthritis have brittle bones, and some are in danger of breaking bones partly…possibly because of drugs they’re taking, partly because of milk they’re drinking, but they are in real danger of breaking bones so falling is a big thing.
I’m 63, 64, if I fall over, I will end up in hospital have a joint fixed with a…and I could end up in a wheelchair permanently. I forgot to mention I was in a wheelchair at my worst stage but we can ignore that. Yeah, I can upload a picture of myself in a wheelchair because of just not be able to walk. I could walk short distances at my worst stage, but if it’s any distance, I’ve got pictures of me being pushed around by my friends down in the south coast getting myself some fresh air. Go out to the seaside and have some fresh air. Yeah, so we had a wheelchair available to us for about three months from March, April, May, as soon as I got… So not good times. That’s 2015.
So we’re now almost a year later, and we’re now about 11…just shy of 11 months into the program, and now we’re able to get open and walk. The change in Bikram has been phenomenal…from Bikram has been phenomenal. I couldn’t have gotten to Bikram without the diet. But the Bikram is consolidated health improvements all the way around. I walk, and my posture…I didn’t realize how bad my posture had become. My wife told me about my posture. She said, “Your posture’s…you need to do something about your posture.” And I thought, “No, I’m okay.” But when you go to Bikram, in a studio with mirrors, and I’m looking at myself walking and I’m thinking, “I’ve got posture problems.” But those are disappearing really fast now.
As I stand up and I’m learning to lift my chest, I’m finding that my posture, my balance, my whole physical being, my whole body is coming into lime. It’s beautiful. My body is not beautiful. Anyone who looks at my body, I’m not a sexy person. I’m a little bit overweight so my tummy is out there a little bit. So the hey ho. I’m becoming very healthy, and people say to me, they just prompt me and say, “You’re looking so healthy.” Every day I get a comment how healthy I am. Just people walk up to me, and say just out of topic, out of…unexpected, I don’t ask them, I don’t talk to them. I can’t believe it. I never felt such energy. I’m getting up at 5:00 a.m. Not every day, but increasingly every day. Once, it was just once, and I thought I could do this again, and there have been some bad days, but I’ve got energy burn throughout the day.
Clint: It’s awesome, awesome. And so what…
Andy: It is awesome.
Clint: It is awesome. Let’s put this in perspective, right. The average person diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, this is the default scenario is that they go on, increasingly more aggressive and sophisticated life threatening through side effects drugs throughout the period of having their condition, which continues to worsen because it is a progressive and aggressive disease, and the prognosis for their future is only optimistic if a dramatic intervention with drugs is involved. And so the whole concept of even not worsening is hard for a lot of medical professionals to appreciate that if you don’t get worse. Well, no one just doesn’t get worse. Or at least if they’re not getting worse it’s because of again, very, very dangerous drugs that are required.
Now for a situation to not just not get worse, but to dramatically improve, is quite astounding, and although I get very familiar with stories like yours, the stories like yours are extremely uncommon within the medical conventional treatment of the disease, and so I’m wondering…let’s now, we’ve enjoyed a full version of your story, so now I just want to move across to some maybe bullet points you can answer for me that I’m sure people are wondering. So what does your diet look like now? How are you going with your foods? What sort of things…just a handful things that you’re eating each day before I then have some other questions for you.
Andy: I ran gluten-free. I’m beginning to reintroduce gluten. I’ve got plans on that to test my body. I’ve now started to eat normal oats. I was always on gluten-free oats over the last year since November 2015. I’m now eating normal oats. So I’m not worried about gluten in oats. I have absolutely no reaction whatsoever.
Clint: Awesome, awesome. I want everyone to listen very carefully to that. And there’s a book called “Eat Wheat” which has only been released a few months ago at the time of this recording, and that particular book goes into great detail about how gluten can be a useful protein for the body, and eating cereal grains is something we’ve done for a much greater length of our human history and evolution than even eating meat itself. And look, there’s a tremendous amount of science associated with eating cereal grains and the history and association with the human consumption, and I think that unless someone is literally celiac disease, then all of them, everyone who goes through the reintroduction process and heals their gut in the way that you are doing through our program, should be able to at one point tolerate eating normal gluten-containing foods again like I did.
Clint: Thank you for giving me that. Yep. So continue on with your other foods. So you’ve reintroduced that.
Andy: So for breakfast today I had porridge. Just simply oats and water.
Clint: Do you flavor it at all?
Andy: No flavor whatsoever. My taste buds have changed beautifully and I can enjoy just oats and water, no flavoring whatsoever. No even any sweetener or no salt.
Clint: What’s really interesting, Andy, is that I’ve noticed now having have brought up a couple of kids is that kids before they develop their adult taste buds and sensations and desires around foods, both of our kids absolutely loved rice cereal which is just ground up rice. And of course, there’s no flavors, no preservatives, no nothing. It’s just ground up rice in a box, right? And they could not get enough of it. And I was even with my understanding of how these things work, I used to look at the kids and think, “Surely, this little one wants maybe a little flavoring or should we do anything with this,” but no. It would shock them when we would start to introduce say mashed up pear or something. The sweetness was overwhelming, and I’m only talking of course up until one year old or so forth, but I just want to add that kind of perspective as well. That when we’re really little, an unflavored ground up cereal or rice grain…
Andy: Is standard.
Clint: Tastes great, yeah.
Andy: Yeah, for the nutrition, what else do you want. Anyway, that’s my breakfast. I make my own…if I ever have anything feeling like a flare or some reaction to some food, then I would put turmeric and black pepper in it, in my porridge. They’re my go tos for if I have got any… That’s one of my tools in my chest for fighting any kind of issues. If I’m stable, then just plain porridge. For lunch, I had a big bag of salad, fresh salad bought today, and then some hummus and some oatcakes.
Clint: Great, doing well on the hummus.
Andy: The hummus is homemade. So I make it all from…soak my own chickpeas, bottle them up. So the ingredients in the hummus are always turmeric, ginger, black pepper, some salt because my wife likes the salt. Hope she’s not hearing this.
Clint: There’s nothing wrong with that.
Andy: She doesn’t like the turmeric so much. And tahini and cider vinegar.
Clint: You’re doing great with those.
Andy: So that’s my kind of…so great ingredients. And then because it looks beautiful, I dress it by sprinkling it with paprika and some olive oil, and just the mix on there makes it so attractive that it becomes irresistible.
Clint: So what’s…a couple of things I want to comment on there. So you’ve graduated through the process to now be at a later stage where you’re able to tolerate tahini and hummus which is great because as we know they’re high in fat. So they’re gonna give you a lot of calories so that the net amount of calories in your salad is actually going to be pretty good. You’re probably going to get, without one to put a number figure on it, you’re going to get enough calories in your lunch meal as if you would’ve eaten say some kind of large amount of buckwheat, quinoa, rice, or something because it’s so high in fat, and that’s a great sign about the digestive robustness that you now have as well. So that’s really exciting. And also, that you’re able to put it all on top of the salad means that you’re getting all of that unbeatable effects of having the salad in your diet as well. So that’s excellent. And the olive oil, when did you start being able to tolerate a little of the olive oil?
Andy: Just a little bit just to help coat…
Clint: Just a splash.
Andy: So, I don’t ever cook with oil, but if you’re gonna get any goodness from the oil whatsoever then it has to be kept at a lower temperature, and so just a little bit, and I found I can tolerate it.
Clint: I’m very happy that you can tolerate that, and if listeners getting excited, “Wow, I can have olive oils.” You heard what Andy said about he had to eliminate the oils for a period of time.
Andy: Oh definitely. That transformed me, giving them up.
Clint: All right, and then what about…
Andy: And then for evening, just fruit. Just fruit: banana, pear, apple, whatever that’s around, perhaps some dried fruit. I’m getting heavily into soaking fruits, soaking dried fruits. So I have some of those in the fridge already soaked with turmeric, spices, cinnamon, maize, nutmeg, all the nice beautiful things so I can add those sometimes to my porridge in the morning, but they’re always there in the evening as well as an alternative if the fruit bowl is empty.
Clint: Awesome, okay, so by having a really light fruity evening meal it means that digestion requirements…
Andy: Settles down.
Clint: Very, very easy. That means you’ve basically…all that fruit would have passed through your stomach and into your small intestine within an hour, and so your body has a very easy job when you’re going to sleep at night and doesn’t have to concentrate on digesting food. So that’s really, really cool. So I want you to now give us some tips for other people listening. You’ve come so far through this process. What are some common mistakes that you hear about that people make maybe that you witness inside our forum that you find yourself having to more than once steer in the right direction? Are there some common mistakes or lessons you’ve learned that you’d like for others to take on board?
Andy: The oils is the big one. The second is to listen to your body. I know a couple of other people on the podcast who’ve said this. You’ve got to listen to your body, everyone is different. There are principles, the program is good, it works, but you’ve got to interpret it for your body. There are some people who struggle particularly in the early days, perhaps they found some of the baseline food difficult or unpalatable. They’ve got to trust their body, but they’ve also got to trust the program. I think a lot of people who may not be as successful as others are because they are not trusting the program. They are finding it difficult to migrate from their previous lifestyle, and they need the commitment to believe in the program, and if they get past the stages where they are going through difficulties, then easier times are ahead.
Andy: And you need to go through this program once. You don’t want to repeat it. You want to go through it once and say, “That’s it. I’ve done it.” So believe in the program, get through it, and then the rest of your life is ahead of you. Something I think is a big thing.
Clint: You’ve got a great mindset with regards to applying commitment to something and putting your mind to it. Any other tips around that? Are there some of your thought processes that you might be able to extract and tell us so that others might be able to use the same thought processes?
Andy: Giving up foods is difficult. Giving up cheese. Cheese is very addictive, and so I weaned myself off cheese which I absolutely adored. I have no desire for it now whatsoever, and just no interest in it whatsoever. I know the damage it’s done to me and I don’t want that again, but I love my cheese. I loved high-quality cheeses, French cheeses, you name it, and probably that contributed significantly to also why my arthritis blew up, but I would say, restrict yourself to one type of cheese. Get rid of the range of cheeses. So for example, I gave up all cow products and restricted myself to sheep and dairy cheese, sheep and goat cheese. That was quite a good choice because they’re more easily digestible by the body. The fatty acid chains, whatever the term is, they’re shorter so they’re more easy to digest. So everyone wanting to give up cheese and struggling, limit yourself just to sheep and goat cheese in the first instance.
But it’s all that process of learning your body. I would have found it difficult. I know I’m happy eating porridge without any sweetener but some people need their sweeteners. You know, just reduce it bit by bit so you’re migrating your body onto an easier path, but don’t try and expect to perfection. You need to taste, you need…some people, a lot of people like saltiness so use something like tamari sauce which is gluten-free alternative to soy sauce or something like that or just use good quality salt to flavor things so that it becomes really enjoyable, and then as your taste bud change, you’ll be able to reduce your salt levels, but don’t expect perfection overnight. Make sure you enjoy the food.
Clint: Good, good.
Andy: Those are my main tips.
Clint: These are good transitional things. I’m like an army, military sort of guy who likes to have all of the troops really, really regimented to get the greatest possible result, but often we have families to run, we have very busy careers to maintain, we have all sorts of demands upon us with traveling and these tips that you’re able to give them are really good transitional things for people to make adjustments for the better if they’re trying to create that balance.
Andy: I’ll just mention one more if I may.
Clint: Of course.
Andy: My wife really helped me. She has been really supportive throughout. And what she did was because I couldn’t get up into higher shelves in our kitchen, and I couldn’t get down to the lower shelves, I couldn’t bend down, so she sorted all the food that I could and should eat to be easily accessible, and anything that was wrong for me she moved away so I wasn’t tempted by them. So the sugars went up high. Just anything that wasn’t on my diet plan she moved away and just so that I…when it came to a food time I was able to go there and quickly choose. Because you’ve gotta learn new cooking techniques, how to cook without oils, and it’s slow to do that, but if you’re not tempted by a tin of baked beans that’s all processed and got high sugars and high salts in it… I gave up potatoes. I went for sweet potatoes and found them really lovely. Just all these things. Just make sure it’s all easy to hand. When you go to the kitchen you’ve got easily prepared food.
Clint: Awesome, I love that. That’s another fabulous…
Andy: So that kind of thing happen.
Clint: That’s another great tip. So we were going to cover a whole bunch of other things on this call. We were going to talk about how you’re trying to make change with the national charity organization, the N-R-A-S or the NRAS over there in the UK. We were also going to talk about a lot of the online forums that exist and the different opinions that exist and how we can all filter the negativity that exists online and remain focused on the truth and remain focused on ourselves and our health.
Andy: What I’d like to say about forums is skepticism is a really useful tool that everybody needs. But there are techniques out there on the internet to solve arthritic problems but Paddison Program is a phenomenally good one, and having blanketed views that stop people from seeing that it is actually working for a lot of people are not good, and some forums, online forums you go to, people just try and shut the subject down. They feel that they have to close the subject down. They are so negative about talking about people taking control of their own lives, and it’s sad.
By contrast, when people come on to the Paddison Program forum, it’s just a welcoming, embracing love for recognizing that that person has made a commitment to try and solve their own arthritis problems. They come in and from the moment they walk in, they’re given suggestions that relevant to their personal issues, and just from wide variety of perspectives of people who are going through or gone through the same challenges, so relevant and helpful all the way down the line, and that stays right through while that person uses that forum day-in-day-out, whatever hour of day, they will get answers to questions, and no one is judgmental. If somebody wants to eat meat, if somebody wants to stay on a drug, no one judges them. They just accept them and say just if you want to heal yourself, these are the steps that you need to consider. It’s your decision.
Clint: Yep, exactly. And you certainly are one of those supportive people who come forward and help all the newcomers and all of the long termers as well. So I’m very grateful for your amazing contributions to the forum. Before we wrap up, where do you see yourself going in the next 12 months? Let’s say we were to plan about rescheduling another chat in 12 months. What’s a realistic goal for yourself that you’d like to think about? Are you going to be, for instance, focusing more on food expansion? Or commitment to Bikram? Tell us what’s Andy gonna be doing in the next 12 months that you made your goals?
Andy: Firstly, I’ve been really conservative on my methotrexate. I’ve not put out my methotrexate yet. So I’ve got an immediate goal. I’m waiting on my next doctor, rheumatologist appointment to confirm. My doctor’s appointment is next week. My CRP will be normal. I can guarantee you that. That’s my confidence in understanding my body for the first time since I started to go wrong. At that point, I will be saying, I will be coming off my methotrexate. So that’s one challenge.
I’m reintroducing all the foods bit by bit and I know I’ve chosen my armory to protect myself if I have problems from anything, but I will be retesting, and then each one that’s causing me a problem, I’ll reschedule for a year further down the line. So going through reintroduction tests, still eating a whole food plant-based diet throughout, no processed foods. I’m not gonna go there on anything like that.
So I have a goal in my own mind to be healthier every day. That is my state deeming [SP] life. So whatever you see me like today, I can guarantee until the day I die, I will be a healthier person. I’ll be fitter, and my mind is sharper that it’s ever been in my life before, and I will be a healthier person. If I can help other people, I’m a great advocate for this program. I know the science isn’t as rock solid as for drugs. It’s not such a gold standard as yet, but it helps people. The evidence is building day by day. Everyone who goes through the program has such a positive experience, that it’s becoming such a… It’s gonna be a torrent of people saying, “I need to do this program.” Those who hear about it.
Andy: So I’ll just be a better person. I’m at retirement age. Shall I end up with a job? I don’t know. I think I’ve got a lot of other projects to do, get down my allotment, and take my allotment over. It sat there for last two years doing nothing, if I can have a good summer go growing some plants, that will do me. That will be a good summer.
Clint: Awesome. Well, that puts a massive smile on my face. It’s so nice to listen to someone who is just so happy being themselves and so happy with a wonderful plan going forward, something to look forward to. Someone said that “Happiness is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.” And you’ve got certainly a loving a wife, you’ve got plenty to do right now with all the things that you’ve got going on in your life with your healing, and you’ve got so much to look forward to with improved health and more inspiration to others.
Andy: Absolutely. I’m gonna have 40 years. I’m gonna have 40 years unless I get knocked over by a bus or similar. I’m gonna have 40 years of the best years of my life.
Andy: Thank you.
Clint: Awesome. That’s a great way to end it. So thanks so much Andy. This has been a lot of fun. And I look forward to talking with you more online.
Andy: Thanks very much. Cheers, much appreciated for everything. Cheers, now Clint. Bye.