Brooke’s fascinating improvements and life changes with RA
We discuss how:
- Brooke was diagnosed with RA and the following week she found she was pregnant with her second child
- About one month after her daughter was born, suddenly pain struck her, she struggled to walk and her hands felt like they were frozen
- The rheumatologist told her to stop breastfeeding her daughter and take methotrexate
- Eventually she started with Plaquenil and kept on breastfeeding
- Convinced she could do more to ease the pain, she started searching and found Clint’s TEDx talk.
- She started the Paddison Program, with some slight changes due to her breastfeeding
- Results were encouraging, and along the way she started doing Yoga and getting benefits from it
- Brooke is now a Yoga teacher and has turned her diagnosis into a profession
- His husband has always been fully supportive, and they are opening a Whole Food vegan cafe together!
Clint My guest today has a wonderful story to share about not just overcoming symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis but how she’s turned it into a profession. She’s now a yoga teacher, and also she and her husband have started a Whole Foods vegan cafe. So their whole life has been turned around by getting a diagnosis, working on her health, and then her whole push forward and direction in life because of that particular disease. So she’s certainly turned a bad situation into a positive one, and an empowering one, and an inspiring one. So Brooke all the way from Newcastle in Australia, thank you for coming on this episode.
Brooke Thank you. Good morning.
Clint Yes I know I’ve got some weird lighting around me that’s because it’s a little after 7 o’clock at night here, you’ve got some nice natural light. And we took a while to get this setup, didn’t we? We (inaudible) about it for a little while.
Brooke Yes I am, I’m quite the reluctant podcaster so this story is not something that I’ve shared with many people, my immediate family and a few close friends are aware that I was diagnosed with RA. And that’s something that I’ve been managing for a few years now but it is very much out of my comfort zone. I’m doing this interview back and give it my best shot and hopefully be able to help someone is in this situation or being in a situation.
Clint Yeah and I think that that’s a testament to how well you’ve done if so few people knew you actually had the diagnosis and knew that you had the symptoms then obviously you’ve done a good job in managing it throughout the five or so years that you’ve had the symptoms so we’ll get into that in a minute. But first I want to share a short story about how this came about. I met your husband first of all I was I was at Brisbane Airport which is in Queensland in Australia and I was up there for a conference or something and I just ordered a green smoothie from a new cafe at the airport and really good quality green smoothie too which you don’t get too much at airports and so I was I guess I must have been off in my own little world like staring at my green smoothie and sipping on it and I was walking past this man and he goes Clint and I turn around and I didn’t know who he was and he introduced himself his name was Ben and he said, My wife has rheumatoid arthritis, she’s done your program and now we’re both big and we started this cafe Blah blah blah and I’m like Whoa whoa whoa slow down I said this is quite a story and so and then over the last few months we’ve connected and now you’re on here to tell us maybe a little bit more detail about what he mentioned and yeah encourage other people to turn these really challenging situations into a positive direction in life. So before we get into the cafe and all the things that you’re doing along that way you were going through some really tough times with rheumatoid at one point after the birth of your second child is that correct?
Brooke Yeah. So I was diagnosed one week and then the following week found that I was pregnant with my second child. And RA was I guess very mild at that time and it wasn’t really causing me a lot of problems I’d have pain in one area one day in and basically be gone the next.
Brooke And I wasn’t too concerned and I ended up having been diagnosed with it because I didn’t know much about it and like I said it wasn’t giving me too much grief. And then after my daughter was born I think she was around four or six weeks old and I woke up one day and it hit me like a ton of bricks I was struggling to walk, I had no movement in my hands and my hands were just frozen and I think heaps of pain and it kind of took me a couple of hours in the morning. I’m sort of shuffling around the house to be able to kind of get going for the day. So the pain was like nothing I had experienced and it was everywhere like hips, jaw every joint I had pain in and if I didn’t have it one day it would be there the next day it was just it’s very hard. It was not good. And trying to care for a newborn and a nearly three-year-old at the time as well, so yeah it wasn’t planned.
Clint What was it like trying to look after the newborn with the hand pain?
Brooke Very difficult so because I couldn’t lift my hands at first like I had a lot of trouble with simply like changing nappies and things like that I used to (inaudible) Nappy tabs off with my teeth and kind of just cut them back down with my hands and I couldn’t open appliance and stuff in my house because they were on like a roller chain and I couldn’t grip things. So yeah just day to day stuff I guess looking back now I probably don’t know how I kind of got through it at the time but I guess when you’re in that time. It is a difficult time for anyone having young kids I think. So you just kind of get through it. So yeah I think I just did what I could and tried to focus a lot of attention on getting myself better at that time as you know as well as looking after the kids.
Clint So what did that involve? Did that involve going to the rheumatologist or did it involve doing some research online or what did you do?
Brooke Yes. Everything, so I did see a specialist while through my pregnancy and then I did have my first appointment paced back about six weeks old. And like I said it was very bad at that time and I was sort of saying to the rheumatologist you know what can I do? Surely there are things I can do for myself to help. And he was like nothing. There’s nothing you can do. You just need to take… You need to stop breastfeeding your daughter and take methotrexate. And I said no I’m not gonna do that because that’s not how I want to bring up my children. So what are your other options? And he offered me Plaquenil, I think it was called and said I could go on that and continue to breastfeed but it probably wouldn’t be very effective and my condition would deteriorate.
Brooke So he was very positive. We didn’t get on very well, myself and the doctor. He was very dismissive of anything that I had and I believe that I could play a part in you know getting myself better and you know I certainly played a part in getting sick. Now I know what I know now looking back on some of the choices that I make. So yeah I guess I knew that there was something I could do so I sort of researching and I found your information online and your YouTube videos and your TED Talks and I was like: Well this is Clint and he’s from Sydney, I’m from Brooke from Newcastle I can do this!
Brooke I got in contact with you and obviously because I was breastfeeding I had to take a slightly different approach to the Paddison Program. I couldn’t do the fasting and follow the program strictly. But we came home one day cleared out our pantry of anything that didn’t fit in with the Paddison Program protocol. We had your two cookbooks PDF documents on our computer and all we did was read out of there. That was it. That was all we ate and I said Clint earlier I can remember our first meal was a baked potato baked in the oven with water. Some (inaudible) lemon. My husband my sitting down at the dinner table say, this is not to (inaudible).
Clint Oh yeah sure.
Brooke It’s really in my memory that first meal but it got much better from it. That was you know and now you know we would happily sit and eat spinach and potatoes and quinoa or buckwheat for dinner every night of the week because it’s amazing. But yeah a bit of a contrast to the way we used to.
Clint Yeah. Okay, so couple two things there first of all your husband Ben was happy to make these changes with you right from the start.
Clint That’s first.
Brooke He was amazing. He was super supportive and he’s like cause he could say and I guess he was the only who really knew how bad it was because he’s the one that would see me get up in the morning and just be nearly in tears because it felt like I had glass under my feet because it was so difficult to walk. And he was just completely on board. He was like we’ll do this together. And yeah. So he went plant-based straight away with me and that’s how we eat at home. So I think to start with you know if he was out for work and stocky perhaps wasn’t eating plant-based you know but definitely at home 100 percent. But then for a few years now he’s been completely plant-based all the time you know whether it’s (inaudible) so yeah, it was great.
Clint Absolutely. And what about then. Tell us about your symptoms and how they changed with the Plaquenil combination and these whole foods low fat dietary recipes that you were using from our materials because as you pointed out you know you didn’t do the elimination process, you didn’t do the cleanse, the juice cleanse and that was under my guidelines because I didn’t want you to do that because you were pregnant and so sorry breastfeeding right at that point breastfeeding. So we’ve got this delicate balance where we’re trying to kind of make baby get all of the nutrition, all of the amount of breast milk in the best possible supply that we can and we want you who are going through a draining period where you’re recovering from childbirth you are getting very little sleep. The baby’s draining from you a lot of nutrients takes the best quality out of you through your breast milk right. And so we also don’t really want someone in that situation going through an elimination process and looking for trends with food sensitivities and things that’s just the timing is not right ok.
Clint And so. By the way, the reason I’m kind of spelling all this out even though you and I both know this. We’ve communicated about this is for listeners and viewers because this comes up quite frequently. People who are breastfeeding who are in a lot of pain potentially recently diagnosed because it happens frequently is that symptoms go crazy after childbirth, it’s so common.
Clint And so this is why it’s worth just elaborating on this and this will be a great episode for me to share with anyone who’s currently breastfeeding and looking at the right medication and also looking at the right way to go about it with their diet. So to go full circle back to my question. You’re on a healthy diet but you’re not on a strict elimination. So how did the healthy diet and Plaquenil go for you?
Brooke I think it bought me some time and it bought me a bit of stability for a while because the diet was such a big contrast to how I had been eating previously. I definitely saw I wouldn’t say huge improvements but definitely enough that let me know that I was doing the right thing. So like you said I couldn’t do the illumination and the things I couldn’t do but I started every day with you know the celery and cucumber juice and I incorporated heaps of grains and buckwheat into my meals along with all the other stuff as well. I also took any supplements that were suitable so I did some minerals I did like turmeric and anything that was anti-inflammatory I would be having a long you know anything that I could do to help myself feed him with breastfeeding I would do so my RA was pretty yeah. look what I want to say manageable but probably not really at that time I did do what I could and that was oh this is all in 2014 so I sort of stuck with it till Christmas which was the December of that year and then my health took a downward turn. So I kind of bought myself six months of kind of plateauing I think where I just kind of got through day to day and I knew that once I stopped fading then I’d have more options with what I could do and it got to my daughter was one and my family kind of sat me down.
Brooke I was very very thin. I lost a lot of weight. I guess combining breastfeeding with the diet and my health really wasn’t going great. The only thing I was taking was the Plaquenil and supplements and I would have if I was having a really bad day I would take some soluble aspirin or something because that I was trying to not take anything that would damage the gut the health but just something to kind of get me through and my whole family kind of sat me down and said you know and my daughter Rose. She’s one she was thriving she was eating three meals a day and you know all the food possible. I said it’s time for you to stop feeding her and to focus on your health.
Clint So yeah I did and the first thing I did was when I stop feeding was follow your protocol from the start. So I went straight back to scratch without having trouble with weight. I was underweight. So I was really trying to pack on. Now I’m following all your advice with orange juice and all the things that I could do to be set in conjunction with these I started seeing a holistic health practitioner in Sydney, she’s a medical doctor she’s a GP but she has a focus on nutrition and diet and lifestyle along with traditional medicine because at this stage I was still in the Plaquenil and I’d stopped fading and then I saw her and I actually had one final appointment with the rheumatologist and he said I think you probably need to think about some methotrexate.
Brooke And I think by that time I was tired, (inaudible) I felt like I needed a bit of recovery and a bit of space to get the fire back to me again because I was just like this is just so so hard. So I did go into methotrexate at that time, the pharmacist hands me the prescription and started talking to me about it and I was like I’m listening to you but I’m going to get off this I thank you really from the day I started taking it I was like, this is not forever this is just a band-aid to help me regroup get some strength back and then yeah get stuck into it.
Clint Yeah great. You know the one mistake that I made when I started taking methotrexate was thinking that you know almost like the world has ended I finally have to take this drug that I’ve been trying to avoid for about a year and a half and then thinking well at least that’s it then at least that’s going to take care of all my symptoms. And it didn’t. This disease constantly disappoints.
Clint It’s like the most ultimate kick in the face day after day and like so I was lucky and got about 60 to 70 percent symptom relief from the methotrexate you know thinking I was gonna get one hundred but did you get like fantastic results from it also. And did you stay on the Plaquenil?
Brooke Yes. So I didn’t definitely didn’t get fantastic results straight away. I was probably 60 to 70 percent. And like you, it was a very low point I was really disheartened that it had got to this and I was hoping that oh well if at least I have to take it it’s going to be a miracle and I’m gonna feel great. So look I definitely did get, it took a couple of months kind of maybe six to eight weeks to try and really expect to see some results. They started me on maybe 10 milligrams that was a huge dose to stop it after I’d been on that for six weeks that they took the Plaquenil off I had stopped doing that and I ended up increasing the methotrexate. I think I got to as high as 20. Over a period of time.
Brooke But I didn’t have bad side effects from the methotrexate like a lot of people do. But apart from the fatigue it would make me every week or two I would just be completely fine and I’d be somewhere and all of a sudden I’d go pale and green and people would start asking me if I was okay. And within about half an hour I’d be throwing up so it’s like every couple of weeks my body just went Woah! And yeah. So yeah that was I was always like I felt like I constantly had food poisoning or something.
Brooke That’s so obviously the 20 mg was a little bit too much for me. So I dropped back and I got probably I’m probably about 70 to 80 percent now. At that time of feeling pretty good I still continued with all my supplements, I’m still following the Paddison diet. But I felt there was more work to do and that’s why my doctor in Sydney came into play (Dr Kate Norris). So we did a lot of work. We’ve got help. She did a lot of testing to find out what was in my gut was good and what was bad and we did some protocols to kill the bad stuff and feed up the good stuff. And some cleansing and the supplements mainly and found a lot of premium probiotics a lot of alkalising. You know you’re Corrales your spirulina.
Brooke So yeah I did everything I had. I did have one amalgam filling in my mouth which is part of the protocol and removed as well. So yeah I’m still grasping anything I could do to…
Clint You end up having this long list of things that you thought were actually probably contributors but will become things that we then want to take care of. Tell us about the functional doctor. Did they do a parasite or bacterial herbal treatment?
Brooke Yes, we did all that. I did have some parasites that went after me. So it’s a protocol to kill them as well. So yeah we did a lot of work with her and I still continue to see her I just checking about once.
Clint That’s great. How did they identify the parasites and do you recall which test was done or was it might have been a stool sample was it for that?
Brooke Yes, it was and it went to America.
Clint Was it ubiome?
Brooke Oh, I can’t remember now. This would have been in probably in 2016 so a couple of years ago. But yeah we did all that and I just really trusted that she was right. I just put my faith in her you know I wasn’t seeing a specialist anymore and I’m I told her I said you know you’ve got to help me coz I’m not seeing a specialist but you’re going to help me get better. And yeah. And she did it as well. So that was great.
Brooke We um I’m trying to think what else I did with her.
Clint I want to ask you about the parasites even further because I’ve got some clients in my support group who are always on this parasite angle. Did you ever notice that they passed in your stool? Did you look for them? No. You never saw the result?
Brooke I never saw the result but I had follow up testing and confirmed that they’re gone.
Clint It’s great. That’s great. Okay. And was the follow-up test the same send the poo sample off to the states.
Clint Yeah. It was.
Clint Yeah. Good Okay.
Brooke We also did some stuff around mold sensitivity and mold exposure testing as well. So we did all this with sort of combined into this one detox protocol. And during this time I had gone back to work as well part time. And I was working in the really old building and I was you know really bad air conditioning what was the boiling hot of freezing cold and lots of people sick around me. And I started I think because I’m still on the methotrexate at this time as well. And I’ve been slowly reducing size, dropping back all the time under the doctor’s guidance. You know it’s going down by like 2.5 or 2-milligram time and really very slowly. Yeah I mean but I was back at work and I kept getting sick just picking up anything that was going around and after I’d been back at work for six months my husband I made the decision that I really wasn’t working with my health so I left my job and decided just to stay home with the kids and focus on just continuing this health journey to try and get rid of all right. Because my symptoms where it was just very sporadic I definitely had pain in the mornings and stiffness in hands and occasionally at one joint would just flare up. But it was reasonably manageable and at that time.
Clint That’s right. Was there anything that you felt. Intuitively played the biggest role whether it be supplemental or just the ongoing discipline with your diet or something else you haven’t mentioned yet some kind of exercise or meditation practice or something that played a really big role in you would be really emphasizing that if you God forbid had to ever go through this again.
Brooke Yeah well, one thing I haven’t mentioned is yoga because you had said to me you know Bikram Yoga good to become yoga but there was nowhere within I think an hour and a half drive that I could do Bikram class at that point. So I was like well you know what. I can’t do Bikram but I’ll just do yoga and all that I can. So there were some places locally that did very gentle yoga very restorative which was all I could probably manage at that time anyway. And I kind of embraced a drive to the classes and I couldn’t hold the steering wheel properly with my hands. But I do this class more like when I had finished I could drive home properly and I’m like there’s something in this.
Clint That’s always a great sign. After a form of exercise if you feel better like immediately afterwards it’s a no brainer. Do that often.
Brooke Yeah yeah. I was doing you know I was outside I was walking and stuff like that but I didn’t have probably the capacity to do more strenuous exercise at times that I just stuck with what I could do. And as I progressively got better with my RA and then I exposed myself to different types of yoga and I could manage more things I started doing and as we started having classes around here which were heated so not Bikram but heated yoga classes and I got great results from going to them so I got probably a two year period I went from just the very gentle soft restorative classes to the more strength base dynamic. (inaudible) after classes with the heat. And definitely huge results from doing those so that became part of my practice.
Brooke And then a Bikram studio opened locally. So I was like yes I can do Bikram so when I stopped working my new job became going to Bikram three times a week. So it was still it still a 45-minute drive from where we are. I was like you know drop the kids off at my mom’s. She was amazing and I’d go to Bikram do my class and wow respect anyone who does Bikram yoga. It is so hard but it’s amazing.
Clint It is, isn’t it? It’s all expletives and all compliments. It’s everything. I just went today actually and come home and had to take a nap or something. It’s not. It never gets easier doesn’t get easier cause you know because I only have a go when I’ve got something wrong and then when I don’t have something wrong I don’t like to go and I’ve had a bad year with my left knee it’s been very had terrible osteoarthritis for almost a decade since I tore my ACL and got rheumatoid arthritis and then lost all the cartilage but I’ve been walking around fine on it for many of those years because I’ve done so many yoga classes right. And so I basically had a terrible knee that that gave me you know I’m not normal but a pretty good quality of life without too many complaints until I messed it up about a year ago coming up off the floor and because there’s no room for error in that knee I’ve had a lot of trouble getting it back to where it was anyway.
Clint A little aside there as to why I’ve been going a lot to yoga again recently and yet it doesn’t get easier Bikram because you know you take it like I took like not years off but you know it was going infrequently and so you feel like you’re starting from scratch again. So anyway I love that you got into the sort of started out with the gentle restorative yoga and then built your way into the power in (inaudible) which is what my wife Melissa’s into and then also had the option with the Bikram. So would you say that you would have been able to achieve what you’ve achieved with your health without yoga?
Brooke I think it played a huge part. I really do. Apart from the physical aspect of it I think giving yourself some time and space in yoga classes to focus in on yourself and try and clear your mind in that meditative aspect of your yoga practice. I think it definitely huge benefits.
Clint A lot of people are afraid to go because they feel they might have trouble getting up off the floor or even more frequently the concerns are their wrists hurt and they can’t go down with dogs and stuff. Yeah so did you avoid that circumstance by starting with the restorative and so your wrists weren’t required with any pressure during that class.
Brooke Yeah. So that’s definitely with the restorative classes. Yeah. There wasn’t pressure on the wrists but as I got further along with yoga and really just really wanting to (inaudible) and try and do whatever I could to help myself. I had a lot of trouble with one of my wrists in particular and I couldn’t (inaudible). So I did yoga classes for two years on my forearms. I’ve still got my hands full every down dug. My only yoga injury has been scraping the skin on my elbows off from going from down dug in with my hands on the floor and I just have to wait and stick out a cloth put it on. And you know I was never one to sort of announce that I had RA and I would decide if I said anything I just said I’d say I’ve got a wrist injury and I’m managing it.
Brooke So I just yet to be on my forearm classes and I just (inaudible) things I couldn’t do I’d just go on one arm and just take the weight in the left wrist just to ease off on the right then yeah. With yoga too it’s really about what’s happening on your mat. No one’s really interested you know and I certainly was I was you know fighting my own battles so I just got in there and just did what I could and I would encourage anyone to do the same and not worry about what. Yeah, what do you think people might be thinking because you know RA is a great example of people can look really well and not I mean I think everyone’s fighting their own battles and I think you just get on your mat and do what you can to help yourself.
Clint Yeah, that’s some good words there. Now next train of direction here I want to hear about how you became a yoga teacher yourself. But I also don’t want to skip over something that I think I’ll ask you first you before we begin recording and also during the call a couple of times you’ve sort of disconnected yourself from RA in a kind of an attitude kind of sense. Can you explain your thoughts around this disassociation with the condition and an unacceptable loss of having it as part of your identity and your thoughts around how this helps?
Brooke Yeah okay, that’s a really good question. I think as I got better you can become a real victim of your illness whatever it is. And there’s definitely times when I will write a note for a day or two why it’s me, why me you know. And that’s okay. And sometimes that’s good. It’s necessary but I just decided that it wasn’t going to ruin my life and I had lots of fun stuff I wanted to do and these two beautiful children, my wonderful husband and a really lovely lifestyle this wasn’t going to stuff it up for me so I was gonna do everything I could to be as well as I could and I wasn’t going to let it make decisions for me I was gonna control it, not It controlled me so particularly in the past 12 months where I was on at one point I was on one point two five milligrams of methotrexate and I’d take it once a week. And I’d say to the bottle you’re not even doing anything. I’m just not ready to let go of you yet.
Brooke It was only my quote. And I was just really mindful of maintaining a really good quality of life I wasn’t prepared to go off methotrexate and end up where I was. I was determined to maintain a really good health for my family and for myself. So yeah I just used to I’d say to myself I don’t have RAt. Just occasionally I get a sore wrist and so I just yeah. I don’t own it. I don’t have RA. I just occasionally have a little flare-up in life and I get on with it.
Clint Yeah, I love it. I’ve had the same sort of attitude and like you say we recall times when you wake up and it’s impossible to say I don’t have RA. And in those days you know like you say those days we’re not morons and tell ourselves something that isn’t the case. Yeah, we work through those days and then we move towards better days and we continue to push forward towards the days where like you said you’re on virtually none of the drug. And you’ree saying you don’t even have any association with you. You’re not doing anything and I’m just not quite ready cause I’m cautious and I’m in control. You came off that medication five or six months ago. Is that right? Absolutely. You got down from 1.25 and you hung there for a while and then you just said Okay that’s it.
Brooke So it was very gradual like I said it took me so I was on methotrexate for a total of 4 years and for probably over half of that time I was on less than 10 mg so it took me a really long time to taper off. And like I said I was chopping the 2.5-milligram tablets in half to have and that was probably spent four months on the o1.25 milligrams and I probably could have gone off it sooner but I was what was happening in life. And I know that you know stress plays a huge part in your RA. So I was really very cautiously went off it. Yeah. 5 April was my last methotrexate. Yeah. Five months. I had it and I kick the rest it took the rest of the pills back to the chemist. You know where you return the unwanted medicines I like I don’t need this anymore. Took it back which was a really great feeling and I just think the mind is really powerful and you know for you to say to yourself you know I don’t have RA I just think it has an impact.
Clint It has to and I think that the reason that it seems silly when we say things that other people would clearly argue is not the case is because we are saying it not to try and twist the truth at that time but to try and establish a better future.
Clint Right, it’s about incantation and you know the repetition now can create the state at a later point just creating those neuropathways in our brain about what is our reality. But you know my whole thing was you know pain-free drug-free back to massive energy over and over again. I had a dance around it. I like I would put movement to it, I’d be pain-free drug-free back to massive energy pain-free and I would say go over it all the time while I especially did my elbow pumps right. So I’d move my elbows like crazy to get a lot of just some fluid flow through my stiff and sore elbows and I just say it over and over and over and over and over and over again. Yeah I mean if you do it by yourself in private you don’t look like a lunatic. And yeah you can influence just influence the future just ever so slightly towards the way that you want it to be.
Brooke I’m still even writing yourself like a little like I’ve got some little notes written and I’m gonna stop you know next to my bathroom mirror where I brush my teeth you know in the mornings and evenings and it’s just stuff. Some little things stuck there and I just think you know if you read it it’s in writing. I think it’s really powerful. You know when it’s something about putting something in writing as well like when you write it down it’s like that’s definitely happening.
Clint Absolutely. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I hosted a conference for a company I’ve hosted the conference for nine times over a 10-year span so it’s their annual event and there’s the CEO of this particular company. When he gets up and he gives his presentation each year to all of the franchisees it’s not look here are the statistics. Here’s what we’re trying to achieve next year. Everything like that. Okay. He gets up and he says this is how you got to talk to yourself every day. And he just talks about incantations. He talks about visualization of the future and his whole talk is about selft alk to yourself because this whole success isn’t from a university education. It’s not from any particular MBA that he’s done. It’s because he believes in himself and he talks to himself like a successful person. And it’s an enormous company. And yeah. And that’s his talk every year. It’s like wake up and tell yourself in the mirror that you’re a winner because you are a winner. You own a franchise. You’re self-employed. People love your store you know and it’s just very refreshing to see that approach from a very senior executive.
Brooke Yeah I think realizing that you are in charge of your own health like there are these doctors and specialists and you know they have certain tools that they can offer you and they don’t have all the tools like you going like yourself saying just be right in that you know your health is in your own hands and you can make some amazing choices and decisions that can really help you so much. And no one can give them to you. No doctor. They don’t come in a packet you know. And like I said the rheumatologists and I didn’t have a very good relationship. He was very negative about my future as an RA patient. The initial testing they do with the rheumatoid factors. Mine was off the charts. They were like the strongest but the highest numbers you could have. The most concrete proof that you have RA and you’re going to be a very sick person.
Brooke I can remember once you know it having a really bad day and having an appointment and sort of saying to him like how bad does this gets. And he’s like in your case really bad. And that’s like so deflating. And I was like Hey man no I’m not listening to you. You can’t know everything you know. I just didn’t know what I need. There was something that I could do to help you. So I had you know yourself and lots of wonderful people that you know offered advice and support and help. But yeah you just got to build your own little toolkit of people and things that work for you. And everyone’s different. You know what works for one person probably doesn’t for another we’ve all got to make our little tweaks to things.
Clint Yeah. That’s really important. Absolutely. I think that something that a lot of people struggle with is that this isn’t so for example like you just buying like a Jenny Craig system and the food gets sent to your house and you’re on package food, no sorry meal plan #1 on Monday morning. It’s not like that. This is a lot of self-discovery.
Brooke And it’s hard work. It is not easy. It’s not easy and you know sometimes people will talk to me now that you know just through you know being yoga teacher and people talk to me and say I have RA. And you know I’ll say to people you can help yourself but you’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want it for yourself more than you want to take that pill. You have to. It takes commitment and energy and yes it’s not an easy path. But the rewards are so great at the end of it.
Clint It’s not easy, is it? No, it’s enormously challenging. And that’s right. And a little thought to everyone who’s trying their hardest at the moment and still on that path to trying to get well because you know your story has such a great ending to it. And a lot of people are working so hard and they haven’t got there yet and that’s what these interviews are for and that’s why I’m so grateful for you to to come on and share your story because there’s gonna be a clue in something you’ve said whether it be maybe they need a parasite test or maybe they really got to get back into the yoga class or maybe they just you know got to go and get on methotrexate if they’ve been trying to put up with so much pain for so long because it offers that inflammation suppression which we need to be able to then heal our gut. Yeah. Or a number of dozens of different things that you’ve said that could be the next step for someone on their path. And for them to eventually improve.
Brooke Yes and I don’t want I think I felt like a bit of a failure for having to go on the methotrexate. There was definitely a point and I would say to anyone like you if you’re not a failure you just using the tools that you have available to get better and you know you said in your podcasts that I listen to you can do so much healing whilst on the appropriate drugs like while you’re on the methotrexate it can give you and like it gave me a bit of strength just to keep going because you know I needed it I was like like every day was hard. And then one time going on there and I did get it wasn’t a miracle didn’t cure anything but it just gave me some space to breathe and not be in pain constantly when I could then continue to do the work that I needed to do to get off it and get better. So I think there’s a time, there’s a place for them I’m not anti-drug it’s just time in a place and stuff that is going to not help you know like you know you talk about your prednisones and stuff like that. Like, stay away from the stuff that isn’t going to let you heal while you’re taking it and just find the stuff that does and just keeps working.
Clint Absolutely. Yep. Perfect. Now you’ve got your yoga teacher qualification. Where did you get that done?
Brooke So long story short whilst I was going to yoga I was traveling you know 40 minutes half an hour to go to classes and then studio open locally within 5-10 minute drive from my house. So I started going there and I start that I had a place like close to home my family started going. Then I wrote my husband into yoga as well because he wasn’t doing yoga at that point and we just loved it. We started going there flat out like we were like you know the frequent flyers we were there everyday morning yoga and the studio wasn’t open for a great length of time may be 12, 18 months. And the owners decided to close and we were like No, what are we going to do?
Brooke We were so used to having yoga so close to home so I’d left my job when I was at home with the kids and we just really random way not something that I have a plan to do is have my own business. We just decided to open the studio so that we could have some way to go to yoga. The teachers that have been teaching there who we built these beautiful friendships with them were also wonderful that they had somewhere to continue to be able to teach yoga. So we just decided to do it. So that’s what we did. So my husband was still working at that point in his job full time and yet I opened the yoga studio and I wasn’t a yoga teacher. I didn’t want to be a yoga teacher. I just manage the studio and just got it open and kept it running so I do all the reception and all the things the cleaning though anything that I could do just to make it a great place to be.
Brooke And that was nearly three years ago now. And then about six months in seven months I realized that whilst I had been doing yoga for a number of years now and I’ve done a lot I just had an urge to know more about it. I wanted to know I was spending all my days talking to people about yoga, emailing people about yoga and I was like I feel like I need a little bit more behind me than just a keen student to kind of back up what I was saying and share you know how great it was with people so I decided to do my teacher training so I did that. Yeah in 2017 I did my teacher training and yeah I was a very reluctant yoga teacher. I would only do classes when a teacher would ring me like half an hour before the class saying they got a flat tire and they weren’t going to get there and I was like Oh no. Well, I guess I’ll have to take that in and teach the class and be like oh this is awful. Let’s just. Anyway.
Brooke And then so just gradually people started you know saying oh when are you going take your own classes not just (inaudible)and we really like having you as a teacher and I think I just got more confident in what I was doing and I was like All right it’s time say, I’m teaching. Yeah. My husband did his pace training as well.
Clint And now you’re both full time in the yoga place blacksmith yoga studio.
Brooke We opened up a plant-based cafe (www.theyogaplaceblacksmiths.com.au) adjacent to our studio. So yeah there was a space next to the studio that had been used as a cafe previously and it had been empty for some time and again funny. RA is the worst and the best thing that ever happened to me certainly changed our lives in a direction that it would never have gone in and this is just another you know we’re just going with the journey of sharing the great news of yoga and plant-based eating with people.
Clint How’s the cafe come along in those four months.
Brooke Yeah. It’s been really busy. I never worked in hospitality. I’ve never owned a cafe or worked in a cafe. I did work at McDonald’s when I was 14 in high school and that’s the extent of my hospitality experience. So it’s been a huge learning curve. There have been days where I was like OK I can do this it’s just hard. Yeah. Combining the studio in the cafe and family life as well. Yeah, we’ve certainly got it running, getting easier every day and we’re learning so much and have been really well received by the local community. It’s a really nice outdoor space. That is a beautiful garden. So you get to eat your food sitting on the sun. Yeah, it’s got a really beautiful that feeling of the yoga studio that you know that nice comfortable safe space has really just transferred over into the cafe. So like people will come to the cafe and they’ll be there for three hours. People just don’t leave. They just sit down, they grab a cushion and they just relax and that’s they just hang out which is beautiful. We just love that we just create a space where people feel really comfortable. Yeah and yeah and enjoy our plant-based food.
Clint Yeah well huge contribution back after you’ve you know been in so many challenging circumstances and then you’ve put in the very very long and arduous process to try and get well which has obviously paid huge dividends using all of the tools available to the drugs and the rheumatologists and the functional medicine and your plant-based guidelines around Paddison Program and your exercise and your you know your mindset tools around I don’t have RJ I’m getting well and you know you’ve applied the whole spectrum of things that I also feel that I experienced to benefit from as well so you know it doesn’t surprise me that you’ve had tremendous success but at the same time it comes with huge admiration of the amount of effort that goes into it.
Clint No one gets well easily it is tremendously difficult. So you’ve done fantastic and I know that coming on this podcast was not something that you immediately jumped at the opportunity but with a little bit of persuasion from your husband and myself and we said look if you can share and give back a little bit then that would be wonderful but you didn’t have to but you’ve said Yeah let’s do it. And I’m very grateful about that and I’m sure the comments that we’re going to get and the feedback on email and the comments on YouTube and Facebook are going to be fantastic through what you’ve shared today.
Brooke Oh, thank you. And yes like I said you were a huge huge instigator in me getting well like just finding you know before I found your program I dabble with lots of you know what else could I do. But what was so great when it was just so clear and simple because I didn’t have the capacity to think like I said everything was hard. I was tired and it was this is a simple framework I can follow. It’s like it’s all right. Just eat there. And I was like okay I can do that. And I think that was what. Yeah. It made it so so easy to follow. I think that was a huge yeah. I can remember seeing other practitioners and they’re like oh you just need to do this and that and you know there’s an hour a day of doing this and that was like Oh man I can’t do that at the moment but just having these little simple system just to follow let’s just eat these foods out of this book I was like OK I can do that you know. So it’s great.
Clint Well done. You’re very welcome. It gives me enormous joy to you know to hear that I have helped you and given you some information that’s been able to improve your situation and your husbands and your families so much. So it’s been it’s lovely to hear. Well, thank you so much for coming on this episode. I’m going to let you get back to the rest of your day. It’s Monday morning there so I’m sure you’ve got lots to do. And I’ll look forward to hearing how the cafe and the yoga go over the coming years. And we’ll be back in Sydney probably next year or so. So love to come up and grab some food and do some yoga some time.
Brooke You may Clint.
Clint All right thanks so much Brooke.
Brooke Thanks, Clint. Bye.