Switching From Paleo To Paddison Program To Conquer Rheumatoid Arthritis

In this amazing Episode you'll learn:
- How Erika's health was compromised in a bad car accident many years ago
- Digestive issues and bad eating were the norm before diagnosis
- The Paleo diet provided some improvements which plateaued
- Shifting from Paleo to the Paddison Program has made her totally pain free
- How she avoided medications entirely
- Her blood test results are phenomenal (reversing CRP and RF)

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.

Watch this Episode:

 

Erika Blood Test Results

 

Clint: Well, thanks for joining me today. We've got a fabulous guest on this episode of the Paddison Podcast. Her name is Erika and she's got a fabulous story to tell us about her dramatic improvement following a low-fat, plant-based diet. And welcome to the call, Erika.

Erika: Hi. I'm so happy to just be talking to you. You're an inspiration because you were the first person I watched to overcome an autoimmune disease with a plant-based diet. So thank you for going through all that so I could be in this position.

Clint: Well, that's one of the reasons that I was so motivated to get to the end result, because about three quarters of the way through the process, Melissa, my wife, said to me, she said, "You know, we should be putting all this together, everything that we've learned, all of these things that you're doing because they're so unusual compared to the way that anyone else around us was eating and also anything that we'd been able to salvage online with any kind of information online.” So she said, "If we only help one person by putting all this together in a way that's available online, then it will have been worth it." And so it's certainly gone a lot more than that. But it's just lovely to speak to people who've benefited as a result of what is very difficult time.

So why don't you talk about the difficult times that you went through and then how you came to make some exciting improvements, which I haven't heard about. This is all new to me. So I'm excited to hear this as we go.

Erika: Okay, so I just wanna first off talk about, I got in a really bad car accident back in 2000. I was 15 years old. I'm 29 now. I broke about eight of my vertebrae in my spine. I did have spinal fusion done. So I feel like after that, I noticed just a lot of changes over the years. I was getting more fatigue. I had more brain fog. I had confusion, dizziness, body aches. And this went on for a very long time until I saw the physical symptoms of my RA. So I don’t know if being…because I was in…it was a long recovery. I was on morphine, probably antibiotics, all these different things that I'm now connecting back because when you think about trauma and antibiotics, and I've researched and all that and I've listened to you talk about that, I feel like that was the start of my leaky gut. So it kind of just progressed from there.

So basically in November 2014 or 2015 I had started experiencing swelling and stiffness in my fingers. And at the time I was a rock climber with my boyfriend. We would rock climb all the time. I had been climbing for a few years. So I thought that I may have injured my fingers. And so I just kind of put it on the backburner. I'm like, "I'll probably go down. I probably pulled something in my finger.” And then it wasn't going down and I was experiencing severe fatigue. I actually passed out at work, so dizzy I passed out. I didn't know why.

I hadn't been to the doctor's in a very long time so I wasn't up to date with my vitamin B, vitamin D, my iron. I hadn't checked any of that for a long time. So basically I had asked some of the climbers, "Hey, have you experienced this?" I showed them my fingers and they were like, "Whoa," because they were really swollen. And they were like, "No, I have never seen that before.” And they were like, “You should probably go get that checked out." So I was like, okay. And it was really weird because my grandma had rheumatoid arthritis and the disease was really progressive with her, and she had osteoporosis. She was only like 55. And so basically within five years she got extremely sick and had multiple surgeries, okay. So she passed away because of complications from medication. And that was back in 2000, actually right before my car accident.

So I don't think they had a lot of research behind the medication. She was just extremely sick and fatigued anyways. So anyway, I had that in the back of my mind because I’m like, for all these years I thought something was medically wrong with me, but I didn't go to the doctors because I was scared. I was like, “Okay, I feel like something's severely wrong with me because I had congestion all the time, major congestion, depression, anxiety, severe stress,” just a combination of all these terrible things. And it didn't matter how good things were in my life. I couldn't get rid of my depression and anxiety. I'm like, what the heck is going on? I would just be driving and I would get super lightheaded, and then it would give me anxiety.

So I'm like, am I getting lightheaded and then I'm getting anxiety, or do I have anxiety and then I'm getting lightheaded? So basically I decided to go to the doctors in January 2016. I went to my primary care physician and I told him, "Hey, I have some swelling. I'm not feeling good." He checked out my knuckles and he was like, "Well, you are a climber." And I told him I thought maybe it would be rheumatoid arthritis and he was like, "No, you're really young. Why would you think that?" I'm like, "Well, I know my grandma had it and I honestly haven't been feeling well for a very long time." And at that point, I had been looking online to see about symptoms, and a lot of the symptoms I was experiencing, the physical ones were what people with RA have.

And so he went and checked my RF factor and then he checked my iron, my vitamin D, my B12. So a few days later he calls me back and he says, "Okay, there’s a couple things. You're extremely anemic. Extremely anemic. You're extremely B12 deficient and you're vitamin D deficient.” And he’s like, “And another thing is your RF factor is elevated." It was 37. So he says, "Some people have elevated RF, doesn't mean you have arthritis.” He’s like, “So I'm gonna send you to a specialist." So I'm like, okay, really scared. I already had one positive number. And so I think I got into the rheumatologist in March, beginning of March, and she checked my joints, asked how I was feeling, and then she goes, "Well, I'm gonna go ahead and run your CCP and your CRP and your ESR."

Clint: Good.

Erika: So she ran those numbers, and the next visit I had come back to her, she had me come in and she went over it with me and she said, "Your CCP is 144.3.” So she said, “That's really high," because I think normal is like less than 4 or something like that, less than 10 or less than 4. And at that point I didn't know anything about any of these numbers, you know? It wasn't even significant in my mind. I'm like, okay, I don't understand. But then my ESR was 8 and then my CRP was 0.30. So it was still under one. It was still low but I could feel that it was going to get worse. It was getting worse because I was feeling it in my feet. I was feeling it in my shoulders. And I'm like, okay, something's really going down.

So that conversation with her was basically like 10 minutes. She didn't ask me about anything in my life. She just says, "This is your numbers. You have rheumatoid arthritis. You're gonna have this for the rest of your life and you have the progressive form of the disease."

Clint: Well, it's all progressive so I don't know why she said that your form is progressive.

Erika: She said according to…because I'm seropositive [crosstalk] because of that, and my CCP was really high and I guess they go off of the CCP and it can predict how progressive your disease [inaudible [00:08:55].

Clint: Okay.

Erika: So she tells me that and she goes…she gives me…I even have it right here. This is the methotrexate.

Clint: Oh, right, information sheet.

Erika: [Inaudible 00:09:10] methotrexate and she's like, "Well, you know, it does have some side effects. You will lose your hair. Don't worry about having a baby. Don't even try to do that," just all this terrible stuff. So I’m like, I left and I’m like, wow, I felt like my old self died. I felt like I got diagnosed with cancer because I'm like, holy crap. This could get terribly out of control. You don't have any control at that point. So you're just like, what am I gonna do? I was with my boyfriend's mom. She went with me and I just felt so lost. She had prescribed the methotrexate and sulfasalazine. And so she was like, "You need to get on it immediately. We need to treat this aggressively. Your joints are gonna get damaged." Before that, she had me do an x-ray, and the x-ray didn't show any damage at that point. So that was good.

So anyways, I go to pick up the sulfasalazine because I'm like, okay, this is my only option. What am I gonna do? I hadn't started digging in to the holistic, trying to treat this naturally because I'm like, okay, wait a second. I've heard about people with RA. I know they're all on medications. Why do I think that I could achieve this through some other way, right? So I go to the pharmacy and they tell me that the sulfasalazine is…they didn't have any.

Clint: They ran out.

Erika: They ran out and I needed to come back the next day. Okay, so within that one day, my boyfriend, my boyfriend's mom, me, we're just online searching for everything. There has to be another way. And the reason I say that is because I treated myself very poorly my whole life. I had extremely high anxiety, extremely high. And then I just had the worst eating habits. I basically ate bread and cheese, the worst things for me, my whole life, just bread and cheese, bread and cheese, bread and cheese, bread and cheese.

Clint: Wow, okay.

Erika: Fast food any time. French fries from everywhere. Sometimes In-N-Out three to four times a week. I'm not even joking. And I was like, “Oh, I can do this because I'm thin. I don't have to worry about this.” But it's not what's on the outside. It's what's on the inside. And that's what I totally have learned in this whole process. So anyways, I went online and my boyfriend actually found your Ted Talk. And we love Ted Talks. I've been watching them forever, I mean, on any random thing. I'm so interested in it. He finds your Ted Talk and so I'm like, wow, there's someone that overcame this. And you were in a terrible position.

I'm like, okay, if someone in that condition can do something like this with discipline and determination, maybe I can. So I found a naturopathic doctor, too, as well.

Clint: Good.

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Erika: The thing that I've learned now is that naturopathic doctors get fed information that's produced from meat companies and stuff. I just know the train of how information gets to the schools. And so it's like paleo diet, right? So I got sold on the whole paleo thing. You gotta eat a lot of meat. You gotta have a lot of fats, tallow, all this stuff, right. But it's good in a sense where you get to cut out the junk. You get to cut out the dairy. You get it to cut out the…you know. I cut out the grains and the bread and all that stuff.

Clint: Did you do what some people call the autoimmune protocol which is a sort of autoimmune version or did you just do…

Erika: Yeah.

Clint: You did that, okay.

Erika: I did that for two months and, honestly, I didn't really tell if anything was bothering me because thinking back now, it was just the meat. It wasn't the white potatoes or whatever, because paleo is so like, no white potatoes, no this. And it's like no tomatoes. And what I've read, people with these allergies to those night shades is extremely rare I think. But I do believe that some people have these allergies, but I don't think for me that was the case. It's the meat. And let me tell you how I got there.

Clint: I can comment on that later as well. So I'm excited to hear the rest of your personal journey, and at the end we can talk about some of these details. Okay, so what happened next?

Erika: Okay, so I realized… During the last year we went to Yosemite. We went to Yosemite last August because we're climbers. We love nature. We go to Joshua Tree. We used to climb, but this last year I didn't climb because of my hands. But I did hike because I had so much energy because I'd been juicing for 10 months. I did eat a lot of veggies, minus the meat, but I did eat a lot of veggies and didn't eat junk food, didn't drink soda. I mean, I haven't had a soda in like a year and something. So I was feeling better. So I did the hike.

Clint: So at this point are you still on the sort paleo meat plus vegetables approach?

Erika: No.

Clint: No.

Erika: This is what I was [inaudible 00:15:06] is that when we went to Yosemite, we had prepackaged food. And so we made roast beef, okay, or pot roast. We made a bunch of pot roast. And I even… Over the year of being paleo, I didn't really like eating a lot of meat. I was a vegetarian a long time ago and I just… I always loved animals and I always felt guilty for eating animal protein, but it's so a part of our society that you just give in. So anyways, I'm like, okay, I need to eat paleo. I need to eat healthy during this trip. So I made a bunch of pot roast. And so I hadn't had that much red meat because we were there for six days camping. So I hadn't had that much red meat. And by the end of the trip I thought it was like elevation, this, you know. I was trying to blame it on different things.

But really, thinking back, my fingers got even more swollen because I was eating so much red meat. And at the time I was like, "Oh, it was probably the potatoes in the pot roast." No. So this last December I just had this feeling that red meat…at the time I just thought it was red meat, in December. I was like, okay, I think red meat is really irritating me. I had been doing so good with this paleo diet. It's supposed to be the cure-all and I still have inflammation. My pain had subsided basically 96%, 97%. My pain did. And so did my stiffness. But my inflammation just was so stubborn and I’m like, okay, it has to be meat.

And then I revisited your… Well, I didn’t tell you this but probably in Junes… Okay, so I started the paleo diet last March when I was diagnosed and then in June my boyfriend bought me your program because I was having so much inflammation and so much pain. and I wasn't ready to commit to your program because I was like, “This sounds so extreme.” I was like…in my mind, I'm like, “I still need to do the paleo diet.”

Clint: Sure. You hadn't completely decided whether or not it was going to do the job or not.

Erika: Exactly. So I was like, well, let me at least try this out for a year and then do that, right?

Clint: That's right.

Erika: So in December I was like, you know what? I'm just gonna cut the red meat out and see what happens. So I cut the red meat out this last December, and then all December I was barely eating any chicken or any fish. I was trying to do mostly vegan dishes because all along since the beginning of seeing your video and then just reading about plant-based diets, watching documentary, "Forks Over Knives," "Food Matters," "Fat, Sick and…”

Clint: "Nearly Dead."

Erika: "Nearly Dead," all those things, I was like, okay, a plant-based diet has to be the way. It just has to be. How can it not be? Animal protein is terrible. Now that I think back on it, I’m like, holy crap. I've only been officially vegan for a month and a half. I'm talking hardcore, all the way. Anyways, so I cut out the red meat, cut out the fish and whatever and then officially at the beginning of January when I was like, okay, no animal products ever. And even within a week of me cutting it out, my inflammation went down. So I had started the vegan diet a few weeks before I just last saw my rheumatologist where I just last got my blood results that I'll tell you about.

So I cut it out and I’m like… I even felt a gazillion times better. I felt like I didn't have this stagnant energy in my body. I just felt so much clearer. And it’s funny because I think my… So my mom got me a bikram yoga pass.

Clint: Awesome.

Erika: I asked it for her for Christmas. So she got me this last December. And it's funny because I knew you emphasize that so much. So I feel like the bikram yoga and the plant-based diet just came together at the right time and I feel like everything just came together in the right time for just how it needed to play out, you know? It happened when I was ready to do it and when I knew it needed to happen because I simply wasn't seeing the results that I thought I should have been seeing, you know? So this last visit with... Do you have any questions or do you want me to go into my last visit with my rheumatologist?

Clint: When did you visit your rheumatologist last? So how long ago were these last tests?

Erika: Let me get it right here.

Clint: Okay, and whilst you're doing that, just in case someone's watching this a long time or listening to this a long time after we've recorded this, we're recording this on the 23rd of February, 2017. So that's where we're at now, 23rd of Feb. You're a day behind because you're in the States but…

Erika: So I went on February 9th.

Clint: Okay, a little over two…that's two weeks ago, a little under. Two weeks ago. Okay.

Erika: So it's all recent.

Clint: It’s very… It’s right now.

Erika: So here's the thing, when they check your CCP, they only check it once. And if you're positive, you're positive, okay. So my rheumatologist… I forgot to tell you when I first got diagnosed by the first rheumatologist, I asked to see a second rheumatologist to get a second opinion and someone who was a lot nicer because I feel like my first rheumatologist was like, "You have this. That's it," you know? I was crying. She wasn't even concerned about it. So I asked to see another, second…another rheumatologist. And so I told this rheumatologist that I didn't wanna get on medication, that I wanted to try to do this by myself.

So the second rheumatologist knew that I was trying to do this with diet even though she thought it had nothing to do with it. She was like…you know, they're like, "I don't know what you're talking about. That has absolutely nothing to do with it." She was like, "I heard some people can take turmeric and it helps them." Okay. So anyways, she knew about that. And so I told her that I wanted to check my CCP again when I gave myself one year of healing my leaky gut.

Clint: Good.

Erika: Which she didn't get either.

Clint: Which she had never heard of, right? She'd never heard of that.

Erika: No. So I asked her to recheck my CCP, my ESR, my CRP and my RF before I went in to see her this last time. Okay? So it's crazy. It was way more than I ever expected. So my RF went from 37 down to negative…to below 10.

Clint: Wow.

Erika: Okay? My CRP was 0.30 to less than 0.20.

Clint: Which means that they cannot detect it below that measurement. Less than 0.2 means we don't know how low it is. It's just below the level of measurement of our equipment.

Erika: And I'm saving the best one for last, and then my ESR stayed the same. It was still eight. So I don't know… I was reading that some people's blood is just…that's the way it is. I don't know. So I'm not sure what that means.

Clint: ESR will pick up everything. If you've just got a little bit of a sniffle or you've got a little bit of muscular pain or you’ve got a little bit of a cold or if you've just got a backache, it will pick up all sorts of inflammation. But let's be realistic here. The average person on the street without any kind of diagnosis, if they had their ESR measured, my guess is it's probably gonna be somewhere between four and eight anyway because normal is under 20. So it's less than the 50% marker within normal. So it's awesome.

Erika: So then my CCP, which she was… She was really reluctant to retest this. She was annoyed, okay, because she hadn't seen me. I actually emailed her before I had my appointment with her and emailed her and she said okay. So I got my CCP back and it was from 144.3 down to less than 27.

Clint: Wow, that's incredible.

Erika: Okay. So I go to the doctor's appointment and I’m like, at that point, because she hadn't released my CCP to me because I get my lab results through online, and the first time she ran my CCP she never released it to me. I had to go down and get it from my medical records. I don't know why they do that. And then the second time she didn't release it to me. So I didn't know my CCP until I saw her in the doctor's office. So I had no clue what was going on. I knew that my… I was frigging jumping for joy when I knew my RF factor went into the negative, okay. So I get there and she's like, "How are you doing?" and I'm like, "Good, really good." And she's like, "Tell me about this," because I just look better from bikram and just from eating this way. And when I first went in there, I'm all hunched over. My hair was thin. My hair was dry. My skin was dull, all that stuff.

And now my skin is so bright. My hair is finally growing. It has never grown. That's why I know I was unhealthy. Nothing would ever grow. I knew something wasn't right. And so I went in there and she could tell that I just looked better. So she was just like… I think she was just prepared. She kind of knew what was going on. So I go, “Can you…” Before we even go into detail about anything, I'm like, "I'm just so curious. Can you please give me my CCP?" And she goes, "Okay, let me take a look at it." And I don't know if she had even looked at it before she went into the room because they're so busy. I don't know if they do that.

Clint: Possibly.

Erika: But she seemed shocked with me that it went down like that. So I just went in to… She's like, "Tell me what you've been doing." I said I changed my diet to vegan. I juice every single morning, the first thing I do before I put one ounce of food into my system. I basically drink all water. I exercise every single day. I meditate. I got connected to God. I've become connected to my food. It's crazy how it will change you. I'm so an environmental activist right now because it's crazy when you learn about agriculture and meat production and what it does to our environment. It’s absolutely… How could people wanna contribute to any of that? So it wasn't even about just my RA. It was like everything, like saving the wildlife, saving our rainforest. I'm crazy with all this stuff now, but anyways…

Clint: Now you're giving me goose bumps right now because I had the exact same sort of evolution of realization. So first I realized that it was about pain, and then it was about me and it was about serving my own needs. And the best way to do it was to eat as much nature as possible, as much plant foods as possible. And then what transpired after that is once I felt better I thought, "But it's more than just me. I just came to this via my own personal needs but now I realize that you feel quite superior as a human being in that you don't harm other living animals, and that feels really good."

Erika: I think [inaudible 00:27:38] out of anything, I feel so good that I'm like… I feel like I'm not contributing all this terrible stuff that's going in the world. Not to make you have this big ego but it's kind of like, wow, I have this responsibility. And I didn't tell you, when I first changed my diet to paleo when I got diagnosed, I had made an Instagram account to document my journey. Okay, so people have been… And it's all been food related, okay. And then occasionally I post progress pictures of my hands and bloodwork and stuff like that. And by the way, when I just got my bloodwork done, too, I had her recheck my vitamin D and my ferritin and all that. All my bloodwork is completely normal.

Clint: Outstanding.

Erika: Okay, and some people… So I have this Instagram account and people message me to get help. They're like, "I'm sick. I'm this." So people have been following me with the paleo diet, and then I changed my diet to vegan. So it's a whole other world because all paleo people are like, "No grains." They can't even look at bread. They're so anti-diet.

Clint: It's a nightmare of a diet. It’s a nightmare of a diet.

Erika: Well, now I had to unfollow all the paleo people because I'm like, I can't see all this meat. It's grossing me out. I'm like, that was me. So now I have this obligation. I told everyone I changed my diet to vegan, that basically if you're trying to heal yourself from an autoimmune disease, it cannot contain one ounce of animal protein. No cheats, no nothing. It's gotta be plant-based. There's no other way. I'm convinced, you know? So now I have this obligation to get the word out there because, one, it's for their health. Two, it's for the environment. And three, it's like you're saving animals from being tortured and killed for, what? Two minutes of satisfaction? It's not worth it. It’s not worth it.

Clint: Exactly, and of course that's the third part of the trifecta, is the planet because it's hugely understated about how much the production of animals contributes to environmental disaster just because, in a nutshell, animals or livestock require so much land in which to graze and to basically develop into full beasts. And then those beasts can only supply a small amount of energy to human beings but the same amount of land can be used to create crops which can feed a dramatically higher number of people. And also, there's no pollution with regards to runoff, with regards to the feces into rivers and, of course, all of the methane problems and... I mean, this is just for listeners who…just the tip of the iceberg.

Erika: “Cowspiracy.” [Inaudible 00:30:34] the documentary "Cowspiracy?”

Clint: I haven't watched "Cowspiracy." You know what? I think everyone should watch it. At one point I will watch it but, you know, my cup is full with my desire to continue doing what I'm doing. I don't need any more… You know what I mean?

Erika: Yes, I understand because I already feel myself taking on this role. I'm like, oh, my god. I'm just obsessed with learning, basically, through my whole journey. And this is what I tell my followers: you have to be your own researcher. No one's gonna take care of your health except you. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you're the one making the decisions of what you're putting in your body. That's just basically it. So that's what I said. I tell people about documentaries I found. And this actually really inspired me to go vegan as well because I had been reading this before I actually made the commitment, but this is "The World Peace Diet." And it's about a plant-based diet and it basically goes into everything about the production of meat and how it affects our health and all these different things.

So this book really…and I wanted to share that because it's a really good book and if people are on the fence about going plant-based, that's totally something that I recommend.

Clint: A large portion of our audience are actually just audio. So you might just wanna read out the name of that book and author.

Erika: Okay, it's "The World Peace Diet" and it's eating for spiritual health and social harmony and it's by Will Tuttle, PhD.

Clint: Fantastic. Okay, so people can pick that up on Amazon I imagine. So you've done an absolutely outstanding job. What's really cool is we get so many clients, I wanna say, or people who I'm working with who go through the process that you went through which is going through that AIP or autoimmune protocol. And then it normally does last about a year and then they come across. And the reason is… And it actually makes sense because I see the autoimmune protocol or something that still contains meat and some high fat foods like coconut oil which is included in there, it's a natural progression towards the ultimate way to eat.

So what Paddison Program does is just take you there in an instant. But what autoimmune protocol does is take you halfway and then you make improvements because you've eliminated the junk food and you've eliminated the dairy products. But you're still left with some high fat, oil-based foods, like the coconut oil, and you still got meat. So you've gone halfway and you've got another halfway to go.

Erika: I mean, honestly, if I could tell anyone, I would start the program immediately. But it took me to this point to where I finally decided and it happened all in the right timing. And like I said, I did learn from the paleo diet to cut out all the junk food and the fast food and all that stuff. It's just meat and dairy. Dairy is my number one trigger. Probably last June actually when I was super swollen and my boyfriend purchased the program for me, I accidentally had… I went to Panera bread and I wasn't even thinking that they put heavy creamer in the tomato soup.

Clint: Wow. Tomato soup.

Erika: Because I hadn't had tomato soup for so long, you know? And so my finger got so swollen. But it's crazy because I know I can manage that because the next three days I'm like, okay, I'm just gonna eat salads. I'm gonna be not eating the best things. But now I love salads. Before, it was a chore. Now, every day for lunch I have a huge bowl of spinach and arugula and cut-up cucumbers and tomatoes and garlic and avocado and hemp seeds and sweet potatoes. That's my lunch.

Clint: Awesome. Awesome. Fantastic. How far have you got back into reintroducing foods? So perhaps you could list where you're at with the sort of foods that you're eating each day to give someone an idea if they're thinking, "Gee, it does sound too hard and I really wanna hang onto my meat," but what sort of foods are you able to enjoy at the moment, keeping in mind listeners that it gets more and more and more broad as you go?

Erika: Okay, so for breakfast I have my juice in the morning. That's the first thing I have.

Clint: And that's celery and cucumber, isn't it?

Erika: Celery, cucumber, kale, Swiss chard, lemon, green apple, and ginger root.

Clint: Awesome. Fantastic.

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Erika: So that’s every single morning, a mason jar I got.

Clint: You've got it right there. That size jar.

Erika: That size jar. And then I make a vegan banana bread with buckwheat flour, oat flour, flax meal and it's got pecans in it and it's all banana. So that's my breakfast and I'll spread some almond butter on it [inaudible [00:36:03].

Clint: Wow, so you're in what I would describe as our phase five maintenance phase. So you are eating many foods that I call advanced foods. That includes the nuts, the nut butter. So you've done outstandingly well to be able to handle those foods at this point and that's really exciting.

Erika: Well, what I wanna share, and this is what I talked to my doctor about, is that I dodged the bullet when it came to medication. The interesting thing about my story is that people already were sick on the medication and that was their last resort, whereas I suffered, I'm gonna say suffered, for seven months with very, very, very swollen, tender fingers and achy and stiff. But I was so scared of the medication that I just kept believing in the food. I was like, no, I'm gonna keep doing this. I'm gonna keep doing this. I'm gonna keep doing this.

So I had to power through that without any medication. I actually had one steroid shot when I first got diagnosed because they’re like, "Well, you can't leave here without taking medication. You need to take a steroid shot." You know? Because my fingers were so swollen. She was like, "You gotta do something.” So the nurse convinced me to take a steroid shot. And it did help but when it wore off in a month, I felt like it got even worse after the steroid shot. So I didn't want that again.

Anyway, so that's for breakfast. And then for lunch, like I said, I'll have spinach, arugula, cucumbers, tomato, garlic. And then I put some avocado and some hemp seeds on it. Then I have a baked sweet potato with it.

Clint: Yum, that's a delicious lunch.

Erika: It's amazing. I could eat it every single day.

Clint: And what's for dinner?

Erika: And then for dinner it's been pretty much the same kind of things, just a different arrangement. But I'll have black beans. So I make my own black beans, like a batch in the beginning of the week. I love it and I miss it so much because being paleo, they're like, "No beans, no rice." And I'm like, I'm Mexican and I grew up eating Mexican food. That was torture for me, okay? So now I'm like, yes, I could eat this every week. So I'll make brown rice or wild rice or quinoa and black beans, pinto beans, whatever. And then I make Buddha [SP] bowls. So I'll have my rice and then some sort of potato and then the black beans and then nuts, I always put nuts for extra protein, and then some fresh sprouts. So I like to add raw stuff incorporated with it.

Clint: Okay, so you eat the way that we eat now. We have a tremendous amount of variety now, my wife and I, because I've been sort of where you're at for like four or five years. So if you would…you might play it forward from what you're eating now for several years. And we eat everything from veggie burgers and I can handle ketchup, no problems. And we can have…other nights it’s like…there's moong dao recipe in our program. I gotta think actually… We have a lot of lentils and rice and…

Erika: Lentils. That's on my salad, too, every day. I put a cup of lentils on my salad, too. I forgot to say that.

Clint: Fabulous, and Melissa cooks them in a big pot, a really good quality big pot on the stovetop, slow cooks them with a whole bunch of different vegetables and seasonings. So it's a delicious flavoring on top of the rice. And, gosh…

Erika: And sauerkraut.

Clint: Sauerkraut. Okay, great. So you eat a lot of sauerkraut?

Erika: I've been recently obsessed. So I didn't tell you but my boyfriend, so he… It's just me and him, we live here. But he went paleo with me in the beginning to support me, and I was making the food. And then he went vegan with me.

Clint: Fantastic.

Erika: So we're both completely vegan and he's obsessed with sauerkraut. And I guess I tried a really nasty one a long time ago so I was like, ugh. But I found a good one. So I've been eating four scoops of that a day. And I even noticed that even makes me feel better. I will eat sauerkraut for the rest of my life. Everyone should incorporate that into their diet as well.

Clint: Do you buy like the Bubbie's brand from Whole Foods? Or do you make your own?

Erika: We wanna make our own. Right now I do buy a raw, organic one from [inaudible [00:41:01].

Clint: Local. Local one.

Erika: Yes.

Clint: Even better. Okay. I think until I'm informed of the otherwise, I think that the Bubbie's one at Whole Foods is good to go. I think that it's a good quality product for what is a huge company that supplies to a huge grocery store. Normally those sort of things aren't good, but in this case I do think that that Bubbie's brand is good if you don't have a local supplier and you're based in the U.S. and you have a Whole Foods nearby.

Erika: Just on that, now I wanna tell people, don't waste your time on probiotics. I feel like it's just such a waste. You can buy sauerkraut for $5 and you're gonna get trillions, trillions of probiotics more than you would get in an entire bottle of probiotics. So there are just things that you can do to reduce the cost of things. So basically in the morning I take a B12 and 2 turmeric supplements and sauerkraut and my juice. That's my medicine.

Clint: Fantastic. And I think that's great that you brought that up. I've mentioned that a few times but that needs reiterating. You're absolutely right. There's an order of magnitude, more bacteria, by eating a big cup of sauerkraut than taking the probiotics. And as you say, it's very affordable for everyone even if they are on a strict budget.

Erika: Yes.

Clint: The thing about the sauerkraut, too, is that the bacteria are more diverse because the cultures that are created are more diverse than the specific strains that are created for the probiotic by the companies. There's no downside in that. It's fantastic.

Erika: I have one thing. So during this time of changing my diet and this whole journey that I've been on, I was drinking a herbal tea from a Chinese specialist. He had used that to help with his RA. And he's from China and he came down here to help Americans because he was talking to Americans and they're on the medication and sick. And I guess there are these Chinese herbs. And so I had been drinking that for six months, too, as well.

Clint: What's it called?

Erika: It's Rheumatoid Arthritis Herbal Tea and you can look it up online. It's in Pomona, California.

Clint: Well, maybe you could find out for us because people probably won't do that. They could be on their treadmills or on a cycle bike or something. So what we'll do is, if you could just find the actual ingredients for us, if at all possible…

Erika: I have the ingredients right here.

Clint: Go ahead with the ingredients.

Erika: Okay, so Chinese angelica, safflower, cassia twig, medicinal cyathula root. These are [inaudible 00:43:58]. There’s a lot here. Common three wingnut root, large leaf root, katsura, pepper sim, common flower cleanse fruit, ginseng. There's a few more but I've been drinking this because I found him online. But he wouldn't let me drink the tea in the beginning when I got diagnosed because I was so low in iron and all that stuff. He said, "You have to get your iron up. You have to be in a healthy state as far as your iron and stuff when you drink the tea."

So this tea actually really significantly helps me with pain. So I believe the tea played a part of it because it helped me manage the pain. Even though I had swelling, it helped manage the pain and enabled me to be able to eat without being on the medication.

Clint: Okay, well that's great. Well, people are gonna wanna know what that is more specifically. So maybe he has a website link that we could use and you could give this to me offline and I can add it to the show notes.

Erika: I definitely want to because I'm such a believer in it. It really helped me a lot. If someone's trying to manage their symptoms, at least if they have little enough symptoms… I mean my fingers were really swollen but I was still able to function, you know what I mean? I'm in grad school and it was difficult for me to type and stuff like that. But the pain definitely subsided significantly and the stiffness, from the tea. But I know for sure the food is the biggest part because my inflammation didn't go down until I took out the dairy and meat.

Clint: Fantastic. All right. Well, is there anything else you'd like to share? I've got a couple of open loops. Let me just cross them off first before you ever think about anything else you'd like to share. First of all, one open loop was that we did mention nightshades before. Let me just make a comment on those to people who are still a little bit concerned about nightshades. I work with now over 300 people in our community forum and we get a lot of feedback about various foods. That's a large enough sample size to start to get trends, you know? And generally speaking, I don't see the nightshade group of vegetables as providing any more of a reintroduction challenge than any of the other vegetables statistically.

So I therefore don't, for instance, put them, nightshade vegetables, later in the reintroduction sequence. I simply have them scattered in their likelihood to sort of create pain based on feedback from thousands of people who have done the process and have given me feedback on what they're able to eat. So it's very anecdotal, but it seems to work. So, anyway, the point being is that each food needs to be tested individually for the individual person. And it means that one day when your stomach is robust and your healing has made a lot of progress, then white potatoes are a very, very good chance of being put back in your diet. I absolutely love white potatoes…

Erika: I love them.

Clint: I eat them all the time, and you…

Erika: That's another part of my lunch or snack throughout the day.

Clint: Right, but we have to graduate to the point where we can eat those foods. So it doesn't mean run out and eat them now, but I want everyone to feel inspired by what you've done and from other guests that we've had and what I've done that there comes a time when you've healed enough where these foods can become not only tolerable, but delicious, eaten regularly and health promoting.

Erika: I definitely agree.

Clint: And then the other one I had in terms of something to add was we have some great Instagrammers that are spreading the word about our program and plant-based living and really creating a community.

Erika: Yes, I follow Ida.

Clint: Ida.

Erika: Ida. Yes. I've been following her, but I was following her when I was paleo so I felt so guilty. I'm like, hers looks so nice and I've got an animal piece of meat here.

Clint: Now you guys…

Erika: But I actually messaged her because I was like, "Hey, you're an inspiration," because I was paleo and now I turned vegan. And I'm so much happier and healthier. So she was like, "Good job. Keep in touch with me." She's doing great. That's inspiring.

Clint: Awesome. She is doing outstanding and now she's pregnant and she's got a baby on the way which is so exciting. So she's got a plant-based pregnancy and she's talking about how thrilled she is because she, like yourself, like all of us, has put a lot of discipline and a lot of hard work into our healing. And the rewards are way, way beyond the effort.

Erika: Let me tell you this. So basically, my Instagram has been a live experiment for my followers. By the way, my Instagram is called "Turning Pain Into Purpose,".

Clint: That's what I was heading towards a moment ago.

Erika: So everyone's been following me and it's been a live journey. I literally post my blood results, post pictures of my hand progress, food, what I eat every day. And it's interesting how some people, they still discredit. They don't believe…you know, like I'm a lucky person. And that's what I'm getting at. I'm not a lucky person. I wasn't unlucky that I got it and I'm not lucky that I overcame it because it was 100% hard work. It was not fun going places with people and watching people eat all this delicious stuff. It hasn't been easy but now it's like, I love what I'm eating. I don't even care. I see people sitting in the line at McDonald's and I'm just like, “No, stop.” It's disturbing.

Clint: You know, I've almost reached out at the checkout at supermarkets and taken food off of the conveyor belt for people. I've nearly actually removed it and looked at them and thought, "You should not be eating that." I've had to really hold back. It's very hard for me because I see suffering. Every day I'm dealing with people who need help, making mistakes, needing corrections, right. And then I watch people who are naively heading in that same direction every day all around me. I'm like, if you only knew where you're going.

Erika: Yes, and then people are trying to make changes that follow me. They actually message me all the time. "I got a juicer. I'm doing this and that," but then I'll see some of them and they're drinking a Coke. And some people have even messaged me like, "I've tried everything," and I'm like, "Okay, really everything?" Everything? I basically… My boyfriend last year was like, "I don't want you to work. I want you to 100% focus on healing, 100%." So I was in grad school. I focused on my grad school. And then everything else was self-care, something that I had never done my entire life. And now I'm all about self-care. I'm like it's not selfish. It's to survive. I'm 29. I'm gonna be 30 at the end of this year. So this is when you start, for me, because I like to think that I wanna have kids later. I thought way later in life because it's like, I need to get my career and all that stuff.

Now I'm like, there's like so much more in life that I care about. It's not all school. It's not all my grades. It's about being a quality person. It's about helping people. It's about sharing your knowledge. I feel like when you go through something like this, it literally is your obligation to tell other people, "Stop," you know? It's kind of a fine line because sometimes I feel like I don't know if I'm coming off like, "Hey, don't do that." But then also it's like someone's gotta tell you. If someone would have told me a long time ago, "Stop eating French fries," I'm talking about fast food dipped in this grease that's probably GMO... Now I'm thinking, I ate so much GMO food. It's absolutely disturbing. Like In-N-Out… People don't know this, you have to go look it up, but In-N-Out's all about, "We cook our fries in vegetable oil."

So I'm thinking all this time, I'm eating healthier fast food. No. Their fries are deep-fried in cottonseed oil which is 100% genetically modified. And their beef comes from factory farms which is full of hormones and antibiotics and all this terrible stuff. And you don't know this until you research, research, research. If I'm gonna go to a place, I look at the source of it. I get all crazy with it because I'm like, I don't want that in my body.

Clint: But the safest thing to do, and I completely agree with you, the safest thing to do is just eat all your foods at home and prepare them all. Make them low fat, plant-based. And that is the safest way to go. So if people just really wanna keep it simple, it's just, follow this program, do this. And you don't have to try and reinvent the wheel or think about all of these complexities. It takes time to be able to eat out, and for the longest time that was our biggest challenge. My wife and I, we used to travel with rice cookers. We learned how to actually use rice cookers at hotels without setting off the fire alarms.

I mean, we had to… I was taking rice cookers on cruise ships because I used to work on cruise ships. And the sacrifices that we have to make are most evident when we're trying to eat out because you can't trust the foods. The foods are atrocious. There’s hidden problems.

Erika: Even the waiters or whoever, the employees, nobody knows any information on nutrition. You ask somebody, "What's in this?" They're like, "I don't know." I'm like, "Well, can you please go ask?" I feel like it's an inconvenience and people are annoyed by that. It's like, “Well, hello. This is important to me.” So it's like you end up getting the salad or something super basic because you don't want anything…

Clint: So say, like I have to go to functions, and it's funny you bring up genetically modified, I worked at an event two nights ago in Melbourne Interstate at the second biggest city in Australia, and I sat next to the ex-CEO of Monsanto Australia.

Erika: No.

Clint: Yes. Now, at this function, it was not where I gave my keynote presentation. I did not speak about my health in that. I was…

Erika: Oh, gosh. [Inaudible [00:55:28].

Clint: I have another job where I entertain and host events and stuff. So that's what I did, but I let him do all the talking. And he said that in that role he used to, at times, have bodyguards at events and the public perception was just so strong, you know, a difficult role. And he's moved on from that since. But it was interesting to come close to someone from that company because we have certain prejudices.

Erika: [Inaudible [00:55:58] research. They even…

Clint: This has been a fabulous, fabulous chat, Erika. And I think we can do this again. And I'd like to call upon you down the track. I've got potentially some online events planned where I wanna sort of get a big audience together and get some speakers, and I'd like to potentially have you involved with that. And I wanna thank you for being such an inspiration to so many people on Instagram. Now, you've got some great company. We mentioned Ida before. I also wanna mention for people who do enjoy Instagram as a platform, so they need to follow Ida. And I'll put her anchor in the show notes of this podcast on www.paddisonprogram.com/blog

Also Christine, who continues to create some fabulous recipes for children. So her son, Cole, I believe one of the first in the world…

Erika: I looked up that video. I watched the testimonial.

Clint: So Cole is like a pioneer for children around the world who have JIA, and Christine and her family are leading the world, I believe, in that. Follow Christine and her son, Cole, and of course Roxana, another fabulous plant-based champion who was also a previous guest.

Erika: I’ve seen… For the last month I've been taking Epsom salt baths and I've watched every one of your testimonials and it just amps me up even more. I'm like, "Yes, I'm not lucky. I had this crazy thing and you can overcome it." It's crazy. I would love to do that. I would love to speak for you. That would be awesome because what's crazy is when I first got diagnosed, because I'm so obsessed with Ted Talks and stuff like that, I was like, "I really would love to do a Ted Talk." I would love to do a Ted Talk about giving patients the option to try an extreme diet or a plant-based diet, right, or the medication. I feel like there has to be some talk. This is negligent. You cannot let someone walk out the door and just think that they have absolutely no freaking control over their lives.

So it's interesting, really quickly, my rheumatologist, when I saw her last, her husband studies plant-based diet and heart disease. He's a doctor as well. So I told her, "You study that," and I asked her something. I said, "Can you do me a favor?" and she said, "What?" because her whole attitude changed when she first saw me do this. She actually made a video with me for my Instagram followers to say that I overcame a disease with a plant-based vegan diet.

Clint: I want that video. Great.

 

Erika: And it’s on my Instagram. It's on my Instagram for everyone to see so everyone can see the proof. So I asked her, "Here's a little thing. Why don't you just ask your patients what type of diet that they eat just to gather the information in your head. You don't have to conduct a research but just so you can see a pattern and a consistency.” And then she's like, "You know what? Some of my patients, they tell me that when they eat dairy, their symptoms are worse." So I'm like, okay. And then I was like, “You know what?” I’m like, "Here's the thing. Nobody knows, if you look at the Arthritis Foundation online, nothing like that, they don't know why anyone gets autoimmune diseases or rheumatoid arthritis.” Okay? They don't know.

And then you're treating someone based off of these blood markers that could be different for each person. You could have it positive. You could have it negative, but you still have the same symptoms. So how are we treating something when we don't know the underlying cause? That was my thing. I'm like, okay, you don't know why I got this. You can't give me one explanation, not one. There's not one explanation. So how can you treat that? And I told her, "The closest thing we have to figuring anything out is leaky gut.” That's the closest thing and it makes total sense because of how much of our immune system is around our gut and everything.

So she was like, "I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna start asking my clients what their diet is."

Clint: Awesome. Well done. This is a good start.

Erika: So I'm like, that's all I ever wanted.

Clint: Well, I can see you've got so much passion and you're so excited about... You know, when we learn something, when we learn the real truth, the truth gives us goose bumps. When we know that something is so true that it's divine, then we feel elated and we feel inspired. We feel light and we feel, not just feel light, but we sense the light in us and that that's what we're meant to be doing and then that's what we should be sharing because everything else other than the truth and a way of helping people is less important.

Erika: Yes. There is one more thing I wanted to share. My good friend is…he’s going to school to be a doctor at Midwestern University in Arizona. And so he's so…because he’s almost finished with his schooling and I think they have an integrated medicine program, and he last year was the president of that club. There's a new president. So he's in shock by this because he knows all about the numbers, all about this stuff, and he's like, "You are a miracle. This does not happen." So he talked to one of his professors who's a doctor who wants to see all my lab work and send all that [inaudible 01:01:40] because they're really interested. They wanna do a case thing on it.

And then actually the new President of the school just called me today because he told them my story. So they want me to come speak to their students, their Integrative Medicine Students, on how they should talk to patients about plant-based to treat symptoms.

Clint: Absolutely awesome.

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Erika: I'm like, what is going on? I'm talking to Clint Paddison. I'm doing that. What? It's crazy. I never… No. No. I never thought any of this.

Clint: It is absolutely wonderful. I just got goose bumps again. I can see you on stage. I can picture you doing that.

Erika: Me too.

Clint: So let me ask you this, how are those levels of depression and anxiety these days? Remember, that used to be your whole thing?

Erika: Yeah, let me tell you. I'm sorry, I'm getting crazy about this one because I just watched a Ted Talk on a psychologist or a psychiatrist who treated her patients with a plant-based diet, high in nutrients, and virtually all of her patients' depression and anxiety went away from a plant-based diet. Okay, so within four months of me changing my diet, even when I was paleo, right, from cutting all the crap out, eating more veggies, juicing every day, I noticed my mood improved. And so I'm like, this is weird. I’m like, why do I feel better when I have a disease? I should be moping around. I should be depressed about my life, be scared as hell.

And it got better and it got better. And I feel like the happiest person on this planet. I try to get depressed because I was so used to it. I’m like, "Okay, you should be... Wait, I can't." I'm literally so freaking happy. I'm happy and my friends are the one that's going to school for medicine and his brother are my really good friends, and they're like, "You are just filled with joy and it's literally coming out of you and you cannot contain it.” They’re like, “It is so contagious." That's how I feel. I'm like, if anything, if people wanna get rid of their depression and anxiety, it's all food-related, 100% in my mind because I lived with that my entire life, okay. Entire life. And I don't have any of that. Not one day do I get anxiety.

And it's not because I have control over my symptoms. It's just that I feel better. I'm so connected to my food. When I juice… I'm basically talking to my food when I'm making my food. In my head I'm like, "This has vitamin C. This has calcium and this is good for me and this is organic." It's just like this whole energy thing. And it’s like when you put fruits and vegetables and stuff like that that has good energy, you put that energy inside you and then you're able to give that energy out into the world. And that's the cycle of it. So it goes beyond just eating a healthy diet. I mean, it's gonna change your whole world.

Clint: It certainly does. That's very David Wolfe of you. You know David Wolfe, the raw food man? That's exactly how he talks. I interviewed him at his house in Hawaii.

Erika: Okay, my boyfriend and I are a bit obsessed with him. He does the breathing exercises four times a week with the cold showers.

Clint: Okay. He's a cool dude.

Erika: Yes, he is. And I'm all about that alkalizing the body, and that's what I feel like bikram does. And I didn't really touch much on that but, yes, bikram bumped it up 5,000 times. I go five times a week. My instructor, I finally told him, "I have RA." And they're like, "What? I wouldn't have even guessed." And I'm like, "No. Well, not anymore.” And I told them about this and they're gonna start telling…because a lot of people go there with these conditions. So I'm trying to get the word around my bikram yoga place and talk to people because a lot of people that go there have a lot of different conditions that they're trying to manage. And bikram is just absolutely the most amazing thing in my life. You just detoxify. You just detoxify and it feels so good to let all that out.

Clint: So the reason that I feel so, so confident about the future, because I stopped using the word "cure" like six, seven years ago and it's about having complete control over your future, your symptoms and so forth. And when you've got that yin and yang of low fat, plant-based and bikram, you have this almost impenetrable fortress against future symptoms and other diseases. That combination of bikram and low fat, plant-based, I mean, I would like to see statistics of people who do that and getting disease in the future. I would say it’d be… It is so powerful, that combination. It's unbelievable.

Erika: It's not even just about the RA. I mean, it's preventative for so many things just like heart disease and all these different things that people have. It's like how can you get this if you literally live this lifestyle, eating plant-based and detoxifying your body on that level five times a week? How is that even… How would anything bad grow in you? You're not giving it the right environment. [Crosstalk].

Clint: It has no chance. It has no chance, no chance. And we need to keep saying these things and keep reinforcing these things because I've had listeners that come back to me and say, "Look, I've been listening to the podcast for a year or following your emails for like a couple of years or something and I only just started bikram the other week because you keep talking about it." Sometimes it just takes that long and the tail is so long before someone actually takes action. So that's another thing, too, for us to continue to reinforce. Now, you've been one of our longest guests we've ever had. I haven't stopped smiling this entire conversation.

Erika: I know. It's crazy.

Clint: It's been really, really great. Your energy is obvious. Your desire to convey information is clear. Your results are outstanding. And I'm really excited to do some more stuff with you down the track.

Erika: Yes.

Clint: As someone who's more of a veteran at this, talking to someone who's bug-eyed and having lots of fun discovering these things right now, always keep in mind that if things start to feel a little uncomfortable, you just need to quickly reset back to some real basic foods again. Normally, it’ll only take a day or two days and then you can put back into your diet all the things that you're enjoying on a daily basis. But if you feel symptoms, take action immediately, intervene and then everything gets back on track real fast. So there's nothing to be afraid of.

Erika: I have two questions. I use a tiny bit of oil sometimes, you know, olive oil or something like that, very, very... I mean, it's very little amount. Everything I try to do without. I don't notice anything but I minimize it as much as possible.

Clint: So if you're using that, you're taking a risk.

Erika: [Inaudible [01:09:31].

Clint: You're just taking a risk because the…and I can send you the studies.

Erika: Like hummus. I'll get hummus from the farmer's market and there's a little bit of oil in hummus. Basically, it's not much but there is tiny bits of it.

Clint: There's a little. So all it is is basically a higher risk than the other foods. So we know that high fat foods are inflammatory for the gut, and with gut inflammation comes the joint inflammation. So it's not you cannot eat those foods. It's the just be aware that they are riskier. That's all it is. It's just a little riskier, and if you find that you're starting to feel a little bit of warmth or a little bit of puffiness in the fingers again, then all you have to do is just avoid those foods for a few days. And I'm giving you this information based on where you're at right now, okay? So that's why.

Erika: And then oil, and then bread. So I've been incorporating... Because I was paleo for so long and then now that I've changed my diet to vegan I'm like, okay, well was it really gluten all this time or was it really the meat? So there's organic bread shop by my house and they make organic sourdough bread and stuff. So I'll eat that and I don't notice anything. I've been eating…not a lot. I still try to limit this as much as possible because I don't wanna go back to relying on bread. It reminds me of old habits so I just try to keep it as minimal as possible. But I'll have whole wheat pita. It's all whole wheat. It has to be organic whole wheat with not all these weird ingredients in it. I definitely will never, ever have white flour or anything like that.

So what do you think about the gluten thing?

Clint: So the situation with wheat, I'm glad that… I’m actually halfway through reading a book called "Eat Wheat," okay. It's a book that's just been released and it debunks all of the ridiculousness of things like grain brain and wheat belly. The author of that book is gonna be on the podcast soon. He's just waiting on me to finish the book and then I can have him on the podcast. So, in a nutshell, breads are as diverse as you could ever imagine. So a processed white bread is an atrocity to humankind. So what the problem there really is the instant spike in glucose. It just absorbs like fairy floss, although I think you call it in the States something different, that candy cane?

Erika: [Inaudible 01:12:12] when I used to eat that, the white bagels, before I changed my diet, I would get so lethargic after. I'm telling you, I would get so lethargic that I couldn't even talk. That's how it messed my brain chemistry. I mean, at work, "What?" literally cross-eyed. And I'm like, "Oh, now I need a Starbucks coffee to pick me up," and then it's just these constant [crosstalk].

Clint: Disaster.

Erika: But no unrefined flours or anything like that.

Clint: But at the other end of the spectrum, the author of "Eat Wheat" goes to explain that we have actually been eating wheat far longer than records show that we've been consuming meats. I mean, the genetic history that we have associated with cereal grains is enormous. So humans know how to eat these grains. It's the crappy version of these grains, it's the other processed foods, it's all the other junk in our diet that has led us to then have a compromised digestive system so that a large chain protein like gluten then becomes hard to break down. It is not that gluten is a problem today. It is not that gluten was a problem in the past. It's that human digestive systems have become pathetic and useless at breaking down what was previously something that was easy for us to break down, which is gluten.

So, hence, the rise in gluten sensitivity which could be just said in a different way, pathetic digestive system where gluten is, because it's the more difficult protein, the first protein to say, "Hey, I'm causing you troubles because you don't have the digestive strength to defragment me." And so this means that with time…and I experienced this myself. I had a gluten sensitivity. I wasn't able to eat that without getting a blocked nose. I couldn't breathe through my nose as soon as I would eat that, same with ice cream, all these different things, before I got diagnosed. But now a whole wheat bread…

Erika: [Inaudible [01:14:15].

Clint: Especially your sourdough bread that you're getting next door, if you ask them, ask them how long it takes to make the bread because if it ferments for a couple of days, you can enjoy that as much as you want.

Erika: It does. I asked them that, too, because I heard obviously the longer, the better.

Clint: The longer, the better.

Erika: But that’s right. I was reading into bread and it was like, it's not bread. It's the production of bread now. They shorten the process so much for mass production. So people have messaged me now because they're like, "I see you're eating bread." It's like heroin to people, you know? It's like, "What are you doing to yourself?" I'm like, no, you have to listen to your body. Do you feel like it's triggering you? Because wheat has nutrition to it.

Clint: A lot.

Erika: It's not un-nutritious. And we've looked at it as the most un-nutritious thing for you you could possibly eat. And it's like, no, it has nutritional value but you gotta be eating other things good along with it. I mean, you just eat wheat and wheat and wheat and wheat and wheat and you don't have all these other cushion nutrients, then it's gonna be a problem. But I feel like I'm at a good place because I do eat so much good stuff all the time that I don't think my body at this point is going, "Hey, hey, hey, doing be doing that."

Clint: And it shouldn't. And, again, it's the right format of bread. It's the right type of bread. It's like if you go to buy a car, you can get a totally crap car that's gonna fall apart. In fact, the car metaphor is not even as good as the bread one because most cars are gonna get you from A to B. A crappy piece of bread is going to cause you dramatic health problems and a quality piece of bread, once you're able to not react to it in an inflammatory way, is going to support and nurture the microbiome in your gut and your health. There are so many health benefits for eating wheat. It can support and help stimulate the growth of your microbiome, it's food for your microbiome

It's healthy, and there is this whole concept of anti-nutrients and lecithins that get put out to confuse the public. This is all crap. The truth is…

Erika: I feel like it's just another thing to sell products that are gluten free. It's all marketing. It's all marketing.

Clint: The gut is our second brain, right? The gut is our second brain and this brain is never smarter than the gut brain. The gut brain, that’s the one that needs to be able…that’s the one that we need to listen to and to nurture. This thing gets in the way. This thing reads too many stupid blog posts from fools trying to sell something online to try and make money but ultimately disserve the public. What we need to do is to heal our gut with quality plants and we will thrive.

Erika: Well, now that I’m… I'm kind of glad I had the whole paleo experience because I'm so repulsed by it now that I just never, ever... I'm so disgusted by meat and everything. I'm just like, “I can't believe that I ate that.” But it was an experience where now I know. I know better. I know, and people have been messaging me like, "Well, how come you eat grains now?" and stuff like that. I'm like, "Well, my body can tolerate it and I'm not eating meat anymore." Honestly, not even if you have a disease, no one should be eating meat. The production is just absolutely atrocious. It's just so repulsive. And people have that information.

Now I look at it when people are like, "I'm cooking a steak," I'm like, "That's not a steak. That was a cow." That's how I see it now. But everyone, like I was, you're just so detached from food. You're like, a pork chop or a chicken wing. It's like, no, that was part of something.

Clint: I know. I know. I grew up on a…

Erika: And that energy is in you now, and that's not a good breeding ground for…or it is a good breeding ground for disease but it's not a good breeding ground for health and happiness, definitely not.

Clint: I grew up on a farm and my sister and I, as children, before we had developed any kind of prejudices between the way we should eat and the way we shouldn't, and I think it's good to look at things through a child's eyes, and we found the process of killing a bullock as it was called, as we would kill one of our steers so that we could eat it for the family, actually, it wasn't the most disgusting thing on the farm. The most disgusting thing was preparing pigs because you actually have to put a dead pig, after its neck is cut and its head is shot with a bullet, into a big tub of boiling water so that its hair, through the boiling water, peels off its skin. This is how it's done.

That was the grossest thing and the grossest thing I will ever smell. But what we used to be so repulsed by was when the bullock was killed, we used to have to actually help remove its guts and intestines and stuff whilst it's hanging upside-down and the blood’s running down. And if ever there was an indication that little kids are not designed or not configured to be carnivores, it's watching myself and my sister trying not to be sick while we're trying to help dad cut the skin off this animal. I mean…

Erika: Oh, my gosh.

Clint: So Gary Yourofsky, who's a great…he's more in the animal rights kind of things, he said, "I will shut up and never speak again about animal rights or anything to do with veganism the day that you put a rabbit and an apple in with a child who's one year old and if the child eats the rabbit first."

Erika: Exactly.

Clint: Right? It's just such common sense as to the way that we're naturally inclined. None of us wanna see an animal that's ripped apart. And no one's thinking, "There's something on the side of the road that I need to stop my car, go back, and start gnawing into." It just doesn't work that way. But anyway, we are digressing a lot and we really have overshot. But I've really enjoyed this chat and I hope that listeners have got a lot out of this. So thanks so much, Erika. And if you'd like to follow Erika on Instagram, go to Turning Pain Into Purpose on Instagram. So thank you so much, Erika. This has been a lot of fun.

Clint Paddison

Clint Paddison has recovered from crippling Rheumatoid Arthitis and now assists others with this disease via the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis, the Paddison Podcast and the blogs on www.paddisonprogram.com

  • Debbie Dolnics Burton

    So love her evolution! Good luck and a job well done. I did the same thing, went half way and did not see results until I went all the way to plant based 100%. It really does work!
    Thank you for your story, so happy you didn't have to struggle with the medications.

    • Mark Rovin

      Hey Deb, find me. It's Marc I lost your number. Hit me at Mrovin3@gmail.com

  • Jean Kincaid

    What is the Web site where she got her tea from? Do they sell it online?

  • Kim

    I've been on tha AIP diet for 10 weeks and I'm sicker than I was. I have RA. Just bought the paddison program. I have lost a lot of weight and stomach is really messed up