Diet, exercise and stress management strategies with Charlotte
We discuss how:
- Charlotte was diagnosed with RA a couple of years ago
- As a registered nurse, she has added her personal perspective in adjusting her lifestyle to face the inflammation
- She also kept a constant relationship with her rheumatologist, and made him read the section of the Paddison Program for rheumatologists
- She continues her recovery without drugs
- Regular exercise is one of the key elements, and she recently has started Bikram Yoga with her husband
- Managing stress/sleep balance
- Celery juice is a staple in her diet
- Charlotte has started a business in the health sector
- Her former colleagues follow her new activity and methods with interest
Clint Today’s guest is from New Zealand, her name is Charlotte. She lives on a farm and she got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a couple of years back. Welcome Charlotte, looking forward to hearing about your story and all the things that you do to keep inflammation at bay.
Charlotte Hi. Thanks for having me today. That’s correct, (inaudible) yeah and hopefully she (inaudible) stuff that’ll help some other people in the Paddison Program.
Clint Yes. And you’ve come from a background as a registered nurse and worked in primary healthcare. So you’ve got so that perspective that you bring to these changes that you’ve made to your life. And also now you’re a health coach and you’ve built a business called Wealth of Health, helping people at the moment just currently in New Zealand. And it’s been a great start for your business and being able to share your empathy for people who come to see you with health conditions. So without going into an enormous backstory of what you’ve been through and everything, why don’t we just hear about your diagnosis? What decisions you made? And some of the challenges you’ve faced and where you’re at at the moment.
Charlotte Sure, so. And I didn’t see my diagnosis coming. I’m very, as my rheumatologist I (inaudible) very health literate. And I just did not see my diagnosis coming so when it came through, it was and I grieved for weeks and weeks, it was a really tough time for me. And at the same time, it gave me an answer. I’d been living with this so-called mystery illness for some time, and I was so frustrated that my life it slowed down and that I didn’t know what was going on. So essentially, for me, finally having a name to put on my symptoms, it gave me a portal for trying to find answers. So it was a really positive thing in that regard. And I’m from there I was pretty promptly saw rheumatologist. So, and yeah, he was I think even he was a surgeon who referred me to the rheumatologist was pretty keen to get me on some medications straightaway before I even saw the rheumatologist (inaudible) just give us some breathing space. Yeah. And then I went on to see the rheumatologist. At that stage because of my interest in holistic health and nutrition, I just knew deep down that I would be able to find some solutions in terms of why I managed my diet to impact on my symptoms and my inflammation. And so I managed to convince the rheumatologist just to give me a bit of time you know, we’re OK. We’re going to manage this. Just give me a bit of time, and he said, well, let’s catch up in six months. And he was kind of skeptical at that point, and at that stage I hadn’t discovered Paddison Program. I was actually doing another autoimmune protocol, and I wasn’t really making any progress. And I was like, oh, you know, all the theory says that I should be making this progress.
Charlotte And one day I was just flicking around on Facebook and I found the Paddison Program and I was like, there something in this. And (inaudible) watched some of the videos and listened to some of the podcasts. All right, I’m going to give this a shot so that nicks time that I went back to see my rheumatologist, I said to him, this is what I’m doing. And I flicked him through the information that you guys have on your program for rheumatologists. And I’m still not entirely sure whether he read that, he was kind of (inaudible) and quietly intrigued as to my progress. But he doesn’t really want to lead, I think he’s still pretty stop by when I say I mean, he’s always this is not the typical process that the disease takes (inaudible). He’s sort of, yeah I think he doesn’t want to get as excited as I am, but he’s just he’s quietly intrigued so it’s quite cool. I catch up with him probably every six months. Yeah. I seem to be my reports coming back from him afterwards as always you know there’s been no progression on the disease. Your joints, I think I have a little bit of doing damage done. And based off both my little fingers, otherwise there’s nothing, nothing, really. And so I just keep on keeping on, and I really appreciate and I appreciate how thorough the rheumatologist is and his examination of my joints. So I do actually, I look forward to my reviews with them kind of to be like, hey, I’m still going, still not on drugs, still doing really well. And you see what I’ve been doing, give him some updates. But I really I appreciate how thorough he is with his joint examination. And I always really liked it, because I guess as much as I know I’m doing really well, I kind of want to hear him say the examination findings, add it. You know, you’re right. Things haven’t progressed. So kind of peace of mind for me, I guess. Yeah. So that’s pretty much where I’m at the moment. Did you want me to talk about where I’m gone with what’s been working really, really well for me?
Clint I do. Yeah. Thanks for the very rapid report there on how you’ve done over the last couple of years. I think viewers will appreciate that, and we just go through that part of your story fairly quickly so that we can get on to a lot of things that they’re going to learn from, and be inspired by. But I just want to comment against your rheumatologist visits and totally agree that, even when we’re doing well, we still need to keep the rheumatologist on a regular cycle. We need to see that he or she just to continue to check in, because they do have that expertise around the inspection of the joints. They may want to run some lab work, check your CRP. They might want to run some scans, as you said you’ve identified their is a small bit of erosion in one of the joints on your hands and they can organize those tests. And so like for a MRI or probably an X-ray in that case. So, you know, this is important, and to have this sounding board, a very important sounding board and absolutely good work and continue to see him. I think you mentioned, you know, you’re part of our support group and you mentioned recently that he said, you know, if things don’t change, I might have to discharge you, but don’t let him do that. You want to stay, stay seeing me.
Charlotte Yeah. I think he’s quietly intrigued enough that he won’t discharge (inaudible) discharge me. I mean, he was like (inaudible), yeah.
Clint Yeah. Fabulous. All right. Well, let’s dive straight into some really helpful things of what do you think are the most important aspects of maintaining your current state of wellness and preventing the disease from progressing?
Charlotte Probably my number one thing for me. Just over a year ago, I went on our local buy and sell trade page and I bought a second-hand stationary bike, I call it (inaudible). And I have without a word of a lie, probably use that stationary bike six out of seven days a week since kin the last year, over a year. So it’s really a very big part of my healing process, and it’s just helped me so much. I think I really feel that it helps to shift any inflammation that just helps to keep everything moving. I am that person now because of the process I’ve been through my health. I wake and I’m you know, you sometimes you like a bit, a bit tired, a bit sore and you need to get moving. But I went motivated, so I’m at a bit on my stationary bike. And I do that for usually around 30 minutes at a time. I have just recently started a street program with a personal trainer because while I’ve been on my stationary bike we’ve reached nearly every day for the last year. I can still do a bit better with strength and other stuff. So I could do one Monday day on my legs, but I always use the stationary bike as my warmup, so that’s been really, really important to me having a stationary bike. I guess I’ve done some travel a little bit of travel in the last few years, and mostly I’ve been really fortunate that the places upstate have had a gem or something like that. I’ll still be able to keep it up, but I’ve been on the road and it’s just made a massive difference to me. So yeah, it’s a life changer.
Clint Fantastic. Let’s talk about a little bit more because we shouldn’t brush over what you’ve told us. And I also personally agree with is that daily exercise, 30 plus minutes of cardiovascular is absolutely crucial to be able to keep inflammation at bay. So let’s continue to go into some specifics here in case people have that curiosity piqued here. So do you push pretty hard so that you actually notice that your glutes get sore and that you’re always maintaining sort of sore glutes? Or did you at the start or did you build up did you ramp up to the amount of level that you’re at now and do now sort of do a maintenance amount each day? What’s your attitude towards doing it? Do you have something to eat before you do it? Do you stretch before and afterwards? I want to know those kinds of things.
Charlotte So and so I the cycle that I bought, I bought for like a hundred dollars, it was insignificant really for the value that it’s brought to my health. And I built up gradually but I’m at the point now where I probably need to splash out upgrade because I’ve built it up to the highest resistance and I do that solidly for 30 minutes. But I’m probably not challenging myself enough now, I need to probably violent the most fancy spend box or something. I don’t know. Any recommendations would be welcome. So and I do feel it, you know, after 30 minutes, It builds up my heart rate. And, you know, I get a good sweat and I really feel like I feel really good afterwards. I don’t stretch beforehand, and to be honest, it’s something I do in the mornings. So I always have my world limited water before I go and get on my cycle that’s out of my morning routine. And then when I get off my cycle, I have a young family so I kind of hit the ground running. So I don’t typically stretch, my stretching might be, you know, chasing small children around, trying to get them dressed for school, that sort of thing. So, yeah, I don’t stretch is such that. What else you asked also. I mean I. Yeah. I come away from there and I have I do have another large glass of water, I think hydration is really, really important with exercise. Yeah. So that’s been really good.
Charlotte I had initially a lot of the recommendation and Paddison Program was around that group, but where I live the nearest bikram studio is about an hour and a quarter away. And I definitely have been up there a few times. And even recently my husband said, Oh, I can try bikram we can do it together, so that was really cool, and I think he even enjoyed it more than I did. And that’s fantastic. I do love the bikram, but I don’t like to make it so I (inaudible). It’s a challenge to make it work with everything else in my life and the timetable I have in the fact I have to travel an hour and a quarter to get here. And I think it’s kind of one of those noble things that I do on occasion but it’s not something I can do routinely, although I feel like if I could do it routinely, it would be pretty important. Yeah, pretty good for me.
Clint Well, it sounds like a stationary bike is doing the trick most definitely. And when I used to go on cruise ships as an entertainer and sometimes be away for 10, 12 days at a time and I’m stuck on a ship, the exercise bike was my default cardiovascular approach and it was hard to do my stretching and do the Bikram series on the boat because the boat moves. And so I’m trying to stand on one leg and I’m falling over then I’m trying to do triangle pose and I’m falling backwards. And when the boat would dock, I would do some of the postures because when the boat’s docked, obviously there’s no sway, but hard to get a good cardiovascular and sweat up doing the Bikram postures at home or on a ship without when it’s air conditioned and you’re just not quite getting that same experience. So stationary bike, absolutely fantastic for the purposes of getting that sweat that we need. So you’re building up your antioxidant enzymes and so we actually within the cells of your body, your building up a resistance to the free radical load that’s being created by the immune system as it tries to clear the joints from these bacterial proteins in these circulating in the complexes. So whilst that cleaning is going on, and the immune systems creating this free radical load. And also a free radical load comes from our diet, just lifestyle, just breathing, creates free radicals. You’re able to by consistently having this state of fitness, able to have a better control over that free radical situation and be able to clear that out. So important and really glad that we spent some time on this. It’s a great reminder, I think, for most people to get the discipline.
Charlotte Absolutely. And I think mean to add to that to that I’ve found many helpful is because you’re making a commitment to your health that when you’re in the cycle, you can make it like a multi-purpose time. So for me, I listen to my favorite podcast or some music or I’m like sometimes it’s not very mind focused. It could be a really good mindful time as well. But sometimes I’ll be taking emails, sending reminders that multitasking I essentially so never people who are thinking on. So we’re going to find time in my day to do this. Use it to do something else that you enjoy or even write a book in your (inaudible). And quite often, you know, it’s good just to keep your fingers moving at your side and keep inflammation shifting (inaudible) anyway. But there are other things you can do with that time that makes it not quite right while you’re getting into a routine that makes it feel like it’s less of a hassle, I guess.
Clint Yeah, absolutely. Because we always look at it’s like meditation, the brain comes up with a million reasons why now is not the time to sit down and meditate. And think exercise is a close second unless it’s enjoyable and you feel that, you know, there’s this big stick needs to be big enough for you to actually get on that exercise bike or to go to bikram class or to go and start lifting weights at the gym or whatever it might be, even a walk. So let’s talk about your next tip. What’s the next thing on your list to keep us on track?
Charlotte Probably. I know for me this sleep-in stress management are massive, and that’s been a really big undertaking for me to re-juggle my life and find a better balance and learn some better techniques for managing stress and prioritizing sleep. I’m fine, If I get a good night’s sleep, I’m okay. But my sleep gets compromised, everything tunes upside down and inside out. So yeah, there’s a little discipline, as you know around going to be at a reasonable hour, but I do prioritize sleep and I have I guess the more aware of my work life balance. I’ve cut things out of my life that no longer serve me and it’s been, it’s quite hard to do it and I actually say no to things. But when you learn to say no and just do what truly lets you out, keeps your cup full it make life simpler because the things that you are spending your time on are the things that you enjoy and instead of big things that feel kind of like burdens that drag you down. So I’m very much focused on doing the things that fill me up, make me feel good and managing the within my week so that I’m not overdoing it. I have leaped to meditate, and I find it really, really helpful. And like you said before, you do have to still make time for it, and, you know, I’ve got a young family, so I need to manage to the best I can in the time that I have with they’re not around. And I know that I’m going to be interrupted, but I find that very, very, really good, for stilling my mind and still in my thoughts and just giving me some really good at a pace, it’s been really, really helpful. So that was the least on my list, that was really important.
Charlotte That wouldn’t come second to my celery juice. Celery Juice is kind of right up here for me in this journey. I’ve been, I think (inaudible) so I think I must have started juicing Celery pretty early in the program. But when I followed that initial cleanse stage and I have carried through a couple of juices at that time. Juices kind, well, the ones that I’ve been don’t particularly like celery, so I’ve had to work on how I prepare my salary to be kind to the juicer, but I wouldn’t go without it now. There are days where when I’m away from home and it’s not always like there’s not a lot of places where I live, or where I travel you can’t just get celery juice from a juice bar. So there are days that I definitely do go without celery juice, but I just love coming home and having my celery juice. It just, I just, I feel, I can feel how good it is for my body as soon as I take a sip it’s so good. I am trying to grow my own celery as much as I can in the garden and that’s been (inaudible). I still love his amazing crops, and it’s really, really going well, I the leaks crop is just so. Yeah, you just do your best, and lots of my friends know that I’m a big fan of celery. So sometimes I get bunches of celery delivered and it’s really lovely as well from other people’s gardens. So yeah, I think celery juice is amazing, and shouldn’t this (inaudible) to the support how healing it is for your body as well, yeah it’s really big. It’s amazing the amount of people who are still like celery, try some it’s not that bad. And I guess you just become accustomed to it. Yeah, I think it’s been really, really important to my healing.
Clint That’s wonderful. We’ll touch upon celery juice again in a minute. Stress reduction and sleep, you mentioned. And have you ever noticed a connection between symptoms and either stress or sleep? Or is it just a feeling that if you don’t get them right, then the other aspects of what you’re doing don’t work as well?
Charlotte Yeah, it’s a really good question. I think for me, if I get tired, I get it a little bit under my anxiety and everything goes spirals, downhill from there. And when I do start to feel that I should come back and my head is way better. I’m just really like, sleep is like a foundation for me. You know, I (inaudible) everything else tends to just fall into place a little nicer, and it just goes a bit smoother for me. There’s definitely times in life as we know it, you know, there is more stress and just more stuff happening that you need to deal with and other stresses. Yeah. I think if I think about the two together, you know, when I am stressed, I do need to be very mindful of still getting on my stationary bike each day and still getting myself to be at a reasonable hour. I need I can usually pretty quickly get things back on track. Yeah, those are the things that are sometimes non-negotiable, we need to be really super aware of the amount of sleep that you get, that’s just a really for me.
Clint Okay. Fabulous. Is there a time that you set for yourself to go to bed each night? And if you don’t get enough sleep, do try and catch a little nap during the day? Or do you go to bed early the next night?
Charlotte This is a very good question. So I and my coaching programs, I’m always talking about how we need better bed time routines and how we need to prioritize sleep. I am trying to walk the talk a little better, and so I do I’m trying to talk back and saying that I actually because of what I’ve been through with cleansing my body and the dietary changes I’ve made. I actually think I do need less sleep than I used to which is really interesting as well. So while I’m saying, you know, sleep is really, really important to me, I get by in function amazingly on lists and I used to have, which is really interesting. But I do still try and follow enabling routine, you know, screen time at least an hour before bed and just try and let wide things down. I it’s a bit of a chilly winter in New Zealand, so I’ll save a nice hot bath, that sort of thing it really helps. Helps ease joints and helps to calm things down so that you’re ready for a good night’s sleep.
Clint And what about napping?
Charlotte Yeah. I’m not too much of a napper. I’d have to be really, I’d have to be pretty unwell or exhausted to let (inaudible), I do try to push myself through the day. I will sit down and meditate or just lie with something, close our eyes, that sort of thing. I do (inaudible) earlier in the day, if I sleep during the day, I disrupts my night-time sleep.
Clint Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. If you can get through the day and you don’t feel the need to nap and you sleeping well at night, I think that’s ideal. I know there are people who believe that having a little nap after lunch is not only not a bad thing, but healthy. You know, I think that if your energy levels are great, you go through the day without the feeling of needing to or you do just skip past that little inclination of wanting to. I think that an ideal state of energy. Okay. So we’ve got we’ve checked off celery juice, I don’t have any questions about that. Actually, I just obviously have put that at the top of my list for a very long time. When I was going through a lot of inflammation, I found that very, very helpful. Obviously with cucumber in my case. So what’s your next tip then?
Charlotte And I think for me and I have been obsessive about green smoothies. I actually just the waking had to buy another nutrabullet must be about my third one because I make so many smoothies. And I don’t think I’m hard on my gear, but, you know, I think they save a lifetime, you know, the lifespan that won’t last forever. So I make a lot of green smoothies, and I put all the intense greens that I have in my diet down to what you know is the out to a lot of the healing that I’ve done internally. I’m just I’m in my coaching programs, I talk a lot about nutrient density and how we actually made a lot more a lot more fruit and vegetables. And it’s specifically we did a lot more greens and I find that the green smoothie is just the best way to get (inaudible). And that’s been just so good for me. And so I grow a lot of just (inaudible) and things like that. Kale in my garden, very simple to grow. We love (inaudible) a challenge this time of the year. So I got a lot of that and I actually don’t know, I feel like I’m so fortunate, I don’t know where I’d be if I had to buy the amount of greens that I get through each week. So yeah, very fortunate for the space. So I could just grow them. And my green smoothie, my favorite sort of green smoothie combo is banana and melon, either rock melon or honey dew. Either are the same two they find for me, and usually some kale and some silver bait or spinach. I quite like to put a mint leaf, like fresh mint from the garden is really lovely and I absolutely love freshly squeezed orange juice. I know that probably doesn’t look that everyone, but it lifts, it gives it the most amazing flavors that I really enjoy my smoothie.
And coconut water. So I used the coconut what I often use this as a time of day that I put my probiotics on there as well. So I be taking probiotics for quite some time now and I find it really helpful. And yes, so this I’m pretty sure that’s about it, about my smoothie. (inaudible) as well. And it’s got spirulina and a few other greens. And so I find that just is something that I add to that just box it up a bit more with so much more good stuff, so that’s my green smoothie. Recently I have been adding more raw (inaudible) to my diet, and that’s for some of you that have tried Rauscher. But, you know, that’s it’s quite strong. It’s something else. And so I just thought I had to find a way to make a (inaudible) smoothie, And I created the smoothie was I was just banana is a basic kind of makes it Creamier. So it was banana, a whole chopped up fresh orange, probably like half a a thumb size piece of know raw turmeric root. And sometimes a bit of fresh ginger actually, and coconut water. Sometimes a little touch of honey. Sometimes people get a bit sweeter (inaudible), that’s so good. And I just feel like it’s such a good way to get it really good raw turmeric because I’ve found it to be really helpful for reducing inflammation as well. I’m a big fan of smoothies.
Clint Yeah. Okay. Beautiful, me too. Green smoothies and green juices, you cannot get it wrong. No wonder you’re doing so well. You know, this big reminders to people. These are the fundamentals of our program. So you’re knocking out these fundamentals and you’re going to get results. So what else is on your list?
Charlotte What else? Oh, I’m just. I just can’t survive without my buckwheat and quinoa, my dulse, my seaweed, (inaudible) Oh, my goodness. I’m nearly out. Well, I say that I can’t function without it, but I just love it so much I just come to really enjoy it. (inaudible) what are you eating? This is my staples, this is my standard, it’s so good. So I’ve been buying buckwheat and quinoa in bulk. And it’s worked really well for me. I often back in a big box. I like to have it fresh and hot in the morning and I’ll have some left over for lunch, so I have a little bit more with my dinner as well. And I just love it, it does made for me. I do end up sprinkling a bit of salt because I feel like it made some salt to me. But yeah, I just love it. It’s like my happy food, I feel when I’ve been away from home, like I’ve kind of mastered all of those little tips and tricks for being away from home and still eating the way you need to eat, and It’s not always easy, but I feel so happy if I had my buckwheat and quinoa for my breakfast and it’s just really good. I know it’s a really good (inaudible) for me, and just to get that baseline, I guess it’s really it’s it just feels really good and it’s paid enough because to me when we talked to Paddison Program, I was well, I still am. I’m still a very proud Kiwi farmer on a dairy farm. And currently transit outside to organic production. We also produce some amazing beef and lamb on our farm. So to me, to take on a vegan diet was well, there was a really big deal. And it’s not that I’m mean, I was never a massive meat eater, but I really appreciate the quality that we produce on our farm. So that was a really big deal to take that out. I found that the Buckwheat and quinoa has been enough to sustain me as regards to protein. So that’s been really helpful.
Clint Yeah, good. Again, real fundamental stuff here that’s really refreshing to hear that the foundational parts of my healing process are applying so well. In your case, to which of these buckwheat and quinoa are just being so alkalizing, non irritating, non grains, you know, they’re seeds. They’re very gentle in the digestive system, they’re complete proteins, they’re low in calories, so you can eat a lot of them without worrying about weight gain not that any of us have to worry about that. And just that confidence that you get with being able to eat them on a regular basis and know that inflammation is going to be under control. And that reassurance is very, very crucial when we’re going through this as so many doubts creep in and worries creep in if inflammation starts to creep in. So have you got anything else on the list?
Charlotte What else I think. No, I think it was by the really key things I had on my list. Yeah.
Clint Okay. Well, it’s a fantastic list. You come from this background of being is a registered nurse working in primary healthcare. When you see people who still work in that field, and you get into discussions about what you do now and what you’re eating and stuff. Are there any, do you feel a disconnect with the medical community? Or do you feel that you’ve created a nice sort of I guess, blend between what you’re doing now and your education background?
Charlotte Yeah, that’s a really good question. So I always recall some of the patients I used to deal with rheumatoid arthritis and how challenging their lives were, and I guess that haunted me when I first got my diagnosis, it’s still it’s still today. I still recall some of those people and the challenges they faced. I was like, wow, you know, it was one of those things that kind of fueled my devotion to my healing. I was like, wow, I if I can avoid it, I’m not going down that road. So and moving on from that, I still catch up with some of my old colleagues and they are really interested in what I’m doing. I even had one of the GP’s that I worked with and referred some clients to me, which was pretty cool. So they are just very open to what I’m doing, and you know the benefits of looking at because the theme along with them is just like all lifestyle factors. Because they often and it’s often a little bit less and you’ll meet as a leader, the value of that lifestyle and all that that entails. So yeah, it’s really nice to catch up with them and you know, I often ask if I if I miss my male role and I’m like, oh my God, there’s definitely parts of my nursing career that I really miss. But what I’m doing now is just so much more fulfilling because I’ve done what I love, and I’m seeing some really brilliant results. The people that I’ve worked with, so it’s so rewarding now with on my terms, my time, you know, it’s great. So, yeah, it’s really, really good.
Clint Well, congratulations on everything that you’ve done, not just with your health that you’ve shared us with, because that alone is tremendously impressive. But also being able to start your own business, it takes time to educate yourself and then, you know, build some kind of framework around how you’re going to deliver that information and websites and in some cases insurance and all sorts of stuff and then building a client base. And so, both these things, have an element of risk about them as well, you know. And you’ve negated the risk by being in contact with the rheumatologist on your health front, keeping a close relationship going and getting blood tests, results so frequently. Everything’s being done very, very above board and sensibly. And with the business to you, you know that whilst it’s just beginning, I think that anyone who’s watched this can see how transparent you are and how nice it would be to have conversations with you about their health and see that you certainly know what you’re talking about. So your website, if people want to go there, the web address is www.wealthofhealth.co.nz. Charlotte’s available to help you with various health conditions.
Clint And it’s been a pleasure. So thank you, Charlotte, for coming on this episode. And I look forward to continuing to help you online in our support platform where we communicate regularly and in your inspiring others in there as well.
Charlotte Thank you.