Reversing JIA with Christine
In This Episode:
- Christine’s 6 year old son Cole reverses all joint swelling
- The steps Christine implemented with Cole for him to become pain and drug free
- Cole’s journey towards wellness, including medical pressure
- How the Paddison Program stopped swelling when other common diets did not
- The dangers of common JIA medications
- Much more – if you know a child with JIA then share this podcast
Disclaimer –the information on this site is not medical advice. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise, drug or supplement routines you must first discuss the changes with a licensed professional.
Clint: Thanks for joining me today. We’ve got Christine on this episode and we’re gonna talk about JIA, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. How are you, Christine?
Christine: I’m great, thanks, Clint.
Clint: Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. We’ve been in touch online for probably a good six months or even a little longer about your son, Caul [SP]. And we’re gonna talk about him today and the great progress that he’s made and all of the challenges and hurdles that he’s had to overcome to get to now a wonderful health state. So why don’t you just start by telling us a little bit about Caul, how old is he, what’s he like, your little son.
Christine: He’s six years old. He’s a very social boy. He’s very outgoing. He’s very active. He loves all sorts of sports. Right now, he’s on swim team and he’s in soccer camp and he does martial arts a few times a week. And probably would do any sport you asked him to. He just loves it. So he’s terrific. He also has a lot of motivation for a kid. He’s very disciplined. He can be very focused on the things that he really wants to accomplish. And I actually think his personality was really fitting for the challenges that he’s had over the last year. So I’m kind of lucky as a mom that he really kind of looked at this diagnosis with me and we kind of attacked it like a challenge, so I think I just feel lucky that he has those personality traits that enabled me to get through it with him.
Clint: Okay. Now, just talking about…I can see your face light up when you talk about Caul. And as parents, when we talk about children — and we were just before we started this conversation, before we started recording, what we talked about is kids — because as parents, we just become so protective. Our whole world…like my sister the other day said, “The most important thing in my life are my two kids,” and it just struck me, just that is the case. I mean, when we have kids, we would exchange our lives for our kids. They’re just so important. And so when something like a serious health condition comes along, it’s even worse, I think, than when it happens to ourselves because the child just depends upon us as parents so much for information as to guidance, as to how they can take action and so forth.
So when he got diagnosed, what was the diagnosis? Tell us the story of how it happened and how did it make you feel and just walk us through the whole process of how it transpired.
Christine: Well, he was five and a half when he was diagnosed. So, onset of his arthritis symptoms was June 13, so a little bit over a year ago. He woke up one morning, walked into the kitchen, and his right knee was swollen. And he just got over being sick, so he did have an infection, he had a stomach flu. So I do think that was associated with a cause, a trigger for these symptoms. And then three weeks later, his opposite ankle became swollen, so he had two joints affected. And so that was, yeah, a little over a year ago now, and so what we did is we, you know, went to the pediatrician, of course, right away, we went the day after, and you know, went through the whole course of what to do when something like this happens. And we thought it was a sports injury because he’s such an active boy and so we treated it that way in the beginning. Elevated his leg and we iced his knee constantly throughout the day, he wasn’t…you know, we kind of tried to restrict him from walking on it for a couple of days. He had stiffness, it was uncomfortable.
It wasn’t terribly painful, thank goodness, but it was uncomfortable. And then the symptoms of the stiffness and his inability to kind of move freely stopped, and within two days, he was running around like normal. But he still had this swollen knee. So we proceeded, you know, to continue going to the pediatrician and do follow-ups, and you know, within a few weeks, nothing was changing. And so we went to the orthopedist and we had an X-ray. And then from there, of course, got blood tests and then went to the rheumatologist. So that was kind of our path.
Clint: And when you were going through this process, how long did it take to try and find an exact diagnosis and who actually diagnosed him and with exactly what?
Christine: So they say it has…this kind of swelling has to take place in the joint for six weeks for them to give you the diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. And when we got to Stanford, which was the first hospital that we went to see a rheumatologist, he was at five and a half weeks. So they wouldn’t confirm the diagnosis but they said this is what it looks like.
And of course, I wanted to get more opinions, so we did see two additional rheumatologists, as well as see many different alternative doctors to see what we could do outside of, you know, the typical path because the typical path meant kind of harsh medications that I really wasn’t interested in at the time. If I could, you know, put them off as long as possible, that’s what I was looking to do and see what I can do to help him.
Clint: So what medications was he being suggested and who was suggesting those?
Christine: So the rheumatologist had suggested, and there was a number of them, suggested pretty much the same course of action, which was to inject his joints with steroids. And there was a consensus that it most likely was going to come back, the swelling even, you know, that the steroid was just a temporary relief of his symptoms. And so within two to three months, we’d probably be back again and we could make the decision to do another injection but that it wasn’t something that was really gonna solve the problem.
So the next step would be to give him methotrexate. So that was kind of what they suggested and that was the rheumatologist.
Clint: Okay, yeah. So, you know, I was on methotrexate and over 90% of people with adult rheumatoid arthritis go on methotrexate at some point throughout the course of their disease. And anyone listening who’s been on it or is on it knows that it is a serious drug. I mean, it’s chemotherapy, cancer drug and it has a very, very severe fatigue side effects. That was the main thing that I suffered from besides my liver blown out and I had to almost get off it because it’s just so harsh on the liver.
And my feeling for thinking about, you know, a little boy who’s half my size or maybe a third of my size in terms of body weight and ability to handle the toxicity of that, it just makes me feel really awkward. You know, I don’t feel comfortable with thinking about putting a little perfect organic little bubble of joy on something that’s very toxic and harmful for the body, and you know, would really affect his energy levels.
So anyway, that’s my first thoughts on that, and so I can totally understand that you’d want to explore other alternatives if there was anything available. And at this point, I just wanna say that, since we’ve been running the Paddison Program, it’s coming on five years now, we periodically get requests from parents in situations like you were faced with in this moment, having to consider very, very serious drugs for very, very small humans who they love very, very much and just with absolutely no good stories to fall back on or examples through which to follow, and it’s all very, very scary. And it’s very, very pessimistic in terms of outlook.
And yeah, in fact, as I mentioned just before we started recording, I have three people who are waiting on email replies from me right now about this exact topic. “Can you help me? I will do anything. So desperate, my child, my early teenage boy, has JIA, and you know, we’re so desperate right now.” And so, my replies to them are going to be, “Listen to Christine’s story, listen to what happens next. And so, we’ll get into that right now but my concern for people around the world with a child with inflammatory arthritis or an autoimmune disease is just a lack of good examples of what’s possible. And lack of a plan of how to go from A to B without all of that toxic medication.
So, I’ve set this up pretty well, let’s talk about what happened next and you can explain whether or not he had to go on the drugs and how you went about proceeding from this point.
Christine: Well, they gave us this diagnosis and I was expecting them to look for causes, silly me. You know, I just thought, “Oh they’re here to help me figure out what happened and what we can do to help him.” They do very few tests to look for reasons why this would happen. I think like strep and Lyme is a couple that they run initially because, you know, those kinds of illnesses can lead to this kind of arthritis. But you’re just…I don’t know, I just remember feeling like, “Wow, where am I gonna go from here?” because there is so little information alternatively and things that you can do to help your children.
Everywhere I turned was the same…I got the same information. And so, I was horrified and my whole family…well, my husband and I were. So, I just enlisted healthcare practitioners that had other philosophies and other expertise and I just kind of went to several people to see if I can find some answers. And I enlisted one wonderful holistic pediatrician to help me kind of dig for some answers. And we ran all sorts of blood tests, and you know, we ran food testing and I did stool sample after stool sample, you know, we were looking to see if we can find something so that I knew how to treat him. And certainly, I worked with a naturopath to help me because I knew diet was gonna be significant as well and I needed advice from that.
And I went to see an osteopath, I saw an acupuncturist, actually I saw two different acupuncturists. Found a wonderful one at the very end, which I’ll tell you about, who was really helpful. But so, I wanted to see what else can we do here to help him. So I guess to make a long story short, I was at the point where…okay, well, maybe I should back up. I was very into diet myself as far as, you know, just providing healthy options for my family. And so I was, at the time, kind of going paleo in my house. I was revamping my pantry and cutting out lots of different foods. And I got my kids on a smoothie kick of veggies and fruits. And so we were doing a lot of smoothies in the house and I was moving…I hadn’t bought bread for a couple of months before his diagnosis, you know.
So we were making some changes initially and I think that also did help him, set him up for this, for eventually trying your diet. But initially, we went paleo because I was reading so much about grains being inflammatory, and you know, they do…we eliminated dairy, which is good. And gluten, of course, and other inflammatory…you know, potential inflammatory items. So I was gluten, dairy, and sugar-free in the house pretty much. And so we started there and we didn’t get anywhere. He didn’t improve.
And then we went paleo, strict paleo. And when I say “we,” we did this as a family because I really believe that that’s the way you make this work. Everybody has to be on board. So we went paleo. And I tried this for a couple of months and without any progress. In fact, his sed rate elevated when we were on paleo. So I was not sure what to do next. And this is when I kind of went online again because we were getting closer to the point where I was feeling some pressure from the rheumatologist that we need to do something.
Clint: Yeah, most definitely.
Christine: And of course, we were concerned that one leg could grow longer than the other and he can have some issues with his tendons in his ankle or any damage with his joint. So of course, you know, I felt under the gun to, you know, try to heal him. And so I was just looking for answers on the internet and that’s when I found your video, which was extremely compelling to me. And I was…I don’t know, I was very moved by it and it made total sense to me because after the infection he went through, he had some vomiting and diarrhea. And I thought, “Oh my gosh, what about if Clint is right?” He has a total leaky gut and these proteins are reaching through his gut wall and his body’s attacking. And this is causing a worsening of his symptoms. So I thought, “We have to try this,” even though I did get advice from even alternative practitioners that, you know, they were kind of like, “Well, you did the diet thing. It’s not working.” And I even had one person in particular say, “Okay, make a list of the things that you’ve done and let’s cross them off together. And one was diet, cross it off.”
So I was supposed to be looking at other options. I don’t know what those other options were because we were doing supplements, we were getting herbal supplements at the time, too. I was doing also homeopathy, you know, we were doing all sorts of things but I was supposed to cross off diet and I kept coming back to it. Every time I was doing research, I kept coming back to it.
And so that’s what felt right for me. So that’s when I found you and I said, “We have to try this.” And so you basically saved our lives and saved my son’s life. So, amazingly enough, after three weeks on your diet, his sed rate and his CRP was completely normal. Three weeks, that’s all it took. You know, may feel like a lifetime when you’re going through it. But it’s amazing how quickly it went. But his symptoms were still there, so we were very concerned. And that’s why I was writing a lot on the forum, “I don’t get it. Why is his bloodwork fine? I’m not seeing any changes.” I was getting nervous. And soon, we started to see the bone of his knee, it was taking shape and very small improvements. They were tiny, but within four weeks, he was like 85% improved, I would say. So we were almost there.
Clint: Sorry, did you say four weeks or four months?
Christine: Yeah, that’s three to four weeks.
Clint: Okay, so, yeah, weeks, right. Super-fast.
Christine: Three weeks and then his bloodwork was normal, but then three to four weeks more until we saw the inflammation go down, right? But you know, I wasn’t sure it was gonna happen because it felt like it was taking a long time.
Clint: Anyone who’s an adult listening to this think, “Are you kidding yourself? That’s a long time?” I mean, you know, as an adult, it can take years. So I’m not saying that, you know…all I’m saying is compared to adults, that’s quick. But obviously, when it’s a little one who’s got lot of challenges and doesn’t know why he’s having to eat this way maybe so much and his parents who are anxious because the doctors are breathing down your neck, yeah, as you say, can feel like an eternity.
Christine: Right, and this happened in mid-June. So June, and now we’re at…what, so I started the diet September 13, so we had a few months before I even started the diet. And then it was, yeah, maybe two months until we got to about 80%. So that’s several months, and for several months, I think that was one of the hardest things as a parent is to see this constant inflammation and not be able to fix it every day.
And so it took every ounce of my patience to just continue and have faith that it was gonna work. And so, we kept going and so we stalled out for a few months. And that was the time that I was most nervous because I wasn’t sure we were gonna get to 100%. But I just kept thinking about it and thinking that, “Why would we make so much progress, like such huge progress and then just stop?” And it was hard for me to believe that he wasn’t gonna get there but there was no change after that. I thought, “There’s got to be something he’s still eating that’s affecting him. There has to be.” And so I documented everything he ate since the beginning of it, since the beginning I started on the paleo approach.
So every day, I wrote down everything that he consumed. So I was like, “Okay, well, this shouldn’t be so hard. Let me go back and look at every day and see what there could be.” And the only thing I could think of that could possibly be keeping his progress from moving forward was nuts. Since he’s so active and we’re always on the go, I bring nuts with me. It’s a good source of protein, it’s a good source of fat for him. And he loves nuts. And I’m thinking, “Maybe he’s consuming too many nuts.” And so I just completely took away nuts, and within three weeks, he was 100% symptom-free.
Clint: That is an absolutely remarkable story. So can I just sort of bullet-point it back at you and you just confirm that I’ve understood it correctly for listeners?
Christine: Because I said too much.
Clint: No, not at all. It’s just that this sort of stuff is unheard of for a lot of people, well, unheard of because doctors never talk about changing the diet, first of all. Did any of your rheumatologists say, “Maybe you should change…” no, okay, big headshake there, big headshake. And some people…some other practitioners were quick to say, “We have tried it. Let’s forget it, let’s move on to other things.” Okay, so first of all, no doctors are talking about changing diet. Parents with kids aren’t being told to look at diets because they get all of their advice and suggestions from their medical practitioners, so they’re not talking about changing diet.
And so, this is such a unique thing. So let’s just get it totally clear here what happened. So you decided to follow the program that I’ve put together for adults with rheumatoid arthritis and, carefully and with great, great caution, apply it to your son and watch his every response. After three weeks, his sed rate, which was elevated, dropped to completely normal. And then, subsequently, after another three to four weeks, he was at 80% but not quite all the way there. So he still had some symptoms, even though his sed rate remained low. And then it took you maybe another couple of months to get him to 100%, no?
Christine: Three to four weeks.
Clint: Three to four weeks after you took out the nuts, which were in the program, yeah?
Christine: Mm-hmm. And I have to say I did start acupuncture at the same time. Well, I think I started acupuncture like a week after I took out the nuts. So that could have been helpful, too. I don’t know.
Clint: Yeah, yeah, let’s say that maybe it contributed a bit as well. Okay, so right, now, first of all, you’re mom of the year. Let’s just give you that and Caul is little six-year-old of the year or five and three-quarters at the time, wasn’t he?
Christine: Yeah, he is.
Clint: And this is very, very inspiring. So let’s talk about the challenges that came with the dietary side of things because it is a challenging diet. It’s challenging for adults. It must have been challenging to implement something so restrictive for a, you know, five-and-a-half, six-year-old. Talk about the challenges with that. Or you mentioned earlier that Caul is quite a determined young fellow, so maybe he didn’t have as big a challenge as what a lot of other little ones might have?
Christine: Well, I think, you know…I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a five-year-old and sitting in the rheumatologist’s office, listening to this conversation. I actually thought they were gonna tell him to step out and one of my…like maybe my husband could sit with him while I talk to the rheumatologist because I was surprised they say all these things in front of kids. I’d be terrified if that was me. So I think that must have entered some of his determination to get better and to get better through just eating healthy foods rather than taking these harmful drugs, right? Or potentially harmful drugs.
And because…I mean I’m sure he could also see the looks on our faces. You’re not gonna smile when the doctor says certain things. I mean he’s a smart kid and any child would, I’m sure, sense their parents’ hesitation to do something and it’s pretty tough to have a conversation with the doctor and not have any…you know, have a blank face, not have any emotions involved in it. So I know he knew that we want him to be healthy and we were looking…he knew I was looking for alternatives and we had a frank conversation before we started the diet. And I really believed in it and I think that’s something that a parent needs to have. I mean, they need to believe that this is gonna work because if you believe in it, your child’s gonna believe in it. That’s the one benefit of having a young child. You’re their example, and you know, children tend to believe what their parents believe.
And I’ve always kind of talked about foods too around him. He knows that, you know, eating healthy is important. And he hears me talking to friends about foods. We also have friends that have certain food sensitivities, so he knows he’s not the only one that may have to eat a little differently. And I would definitely bring that up on purpose so that he would hear about that so we wouldn’t feel like alienated.
And so, he was on board, he was like, “Let’s give this a try.” But he’s still five and a half, so there definitely were some bumps in the road in the beginning. I mean, he ate salad before, which I don’t know, I hear and I know like a lot of my other friends and we go out for lunches and this was before his diagnosis. He would have a Caesar salad with grilled chicken on it and my friends would be like, “How do you get him to eat that?” And so he did eat some healthy foods before, so that was helpful. But he couldn’t eat the Caesar part now. He couldn’t have the cheese and the dairy, and he couldn’t have his French dressing. And so even though he ate healthy foods, there were certainly some of the other influents in there to make it tasty.
And so all of a sudden, he was like, “I’m supposed to eat this without any oil or anything?” So that was a tough one. So he did it a little bit in the beginning and then we had a little difficulty with it. So everything that he wouldn’t eat, I tossed in my Vitamix and it worked. I mean, it was amazing. I asked him, “Do you want me to make this salad or would you like to have a smoothie?” He’d say, “I’d rather have a smoothie.” So I throw it in the blender and we got away with all of our salads in the blender. And then you can put everything in the blender. You can hide anything in there. I was giving him bok choy and mung bean, and cabbage. I mean those are strong flavors, you know. But I wanted him to have the glutamine in the cabbage and I want him to have all these important nutrients and things that were gonna help heal his gut.
So you know, we did spinach, we did romaine, you know, just kale, lots of kale. So anyway, and then I put some fruit in there and it was fine. He enjoyed them actually and I joined everyone with him. So we all kind of got healthier too in the process. And so I did do everything with him because…and when we sat down for family meals, we were all eating the same foods. And I didn’t put anything in the house that he could see that wasn’t what he could eat because I didn’t think that was fair. I wanted him to get the best shot he could to be able to do this.
So you know, we did have…the first week is the hardest. It’s definitely the hardest. It’s the most limiting. You know, the whole idea is to start basic and start small and see what your body can tolerate. And you build from there. So that’s what we did, and you know, we got through the first few days and I have to say I gave him a couple of little toys to get him through. I’d say, you know, “Every few days you get through, I’ll give you little treats,” and they were just little toys and that was great. And it worked and he did require that after we got it two or…I don’t remember how many times, two or three times, and then after that, it was fine because by day six…so one thing I did do, I followed all the right foods and I did follow the protocol but I did add things in a little early.
I remember you had, in fact, this caveat that said, “This is an adult diet. This is not prescribed for children.” So you have to be careful. And of course, so I weighed him every day. I made sure that he wasn’t losing weight because that was very important. And I measured his knee every day. Although in the end that wasn’t helpful, but I didn’t know at the time, it was something I was doing, so it made me feel like you know, we were doing this right and that was part of your baseline. Let’s make measure these joints. Let’s see if there’s a change. And I have to say that for Caul and I it was a little trickier navigating the diet because Caul didn’t have pain. I was very lucky that way. And for the adults who did this program, you know, they typically had pain and they could see from what they were eating. If they would add in something that affected them, they would feel it and they’d be able to monitor that and say, “Okay, well I guess I can’t eat that” or “I can’t just eat that right now. Well, maybe I can introduce it in another week.” That’s the way you kind of go through the diet.
But I had no way of doing that because nothing changed ever. He didn’t have any stiffness anymore, so I couldn’t measure that. I measured his knee for swelling but that never changed. And he didn’t have any pain, so I couldn’t go by that. So we did your protocol but like I remember adding in black beans day six, not sure when…maybe that was after the 12 days I was supposed to do that. But I started that earlier because I needed to keep him on this diet. And I needed to get enough calories in him and I needed a slow protein in his body because this is a kid that plays soccer and swims and does all…you know, so he needed to eat a lot. And I did. I fed him constantly throughout the day.
And so anyway, so we had a few bumps in the road in the beginning but after that, it was pretty smooth.
Clint: Listeners, if you…you’ve just covered so much incredibly information-dense material…
Christine: I rambled.
Clint: No, not ramble, like the last sort of five or six minutes of you speaking there, people should just flick back five or six minutes and listen to it again. You’ve just covered some of the most incredible principles of looking after someone with this disease from a natural point of view and I just…that last, the way you just spoke was sensational.
Normally, I take notes and then repeat back at the end of the podcast. “Oh, the important points,” but there’s no way I could have kept up with that. You know, you probably said 15 imperative, must-do things or tips that people could use when they’re helping their child with this condition.
And so I could not keep up with all those things. So many of them were so important. So listen back to the last sort of five or six minutes again and get those all again. How is he now? So you mentioned that his swelling was not going down and I just want you to clarify how is his knee now with regards to the swelling? And how is he like with his mobility and everything?
Christine: Oh no, I mean as of…like I don’t know the exact date but it was like the last week of March or the first week in April. He had no more swelling whatsoever because we went to the rheumatologist, I actually thought there was a little bit left in his ankle. I thought, before I went to the rheumatologist, that there might have been a tiny bit of swelling in the ankle because it appeared to touch bit thicker to me than the other one. But she said it was perfect, that there was no swelling there.
So you know, it’s just me looking at it every day and it’s possible that that ankle is just slightly different than the other one now but we can’t really see it.
Clint: Yeah, also, as a mom, you know, mom’s always gonna look at the tiniest detail, worried about her son more than anyone else is ever going to study it, you know?
Christine: And it’s hard to know what they look like before. You know, that’s another thing to think about, right? We never stare at our kids’ joints every day to see if, you know, anything’s changed. So maybe that ankle was thicker to begin with, maybe it was what transpired over the course of however many months, but you know, we’re thrilled that he has no more symptoms.
Clint: It’s incredible. It’s absolutely sensational. So how do you guys eat now and have you stuck with this or has he started to eat some different things and how do you feel about, you know, raising him from this point?
Christine: Well, let’s see, so April, May, June, July, so it’s been four months that he’s had no swelling. I stayed true to the exact diet about two months after his symptoms were gone. And then I started trying a little bit of gluten at first which, you know, who knew if that would have been…maybe it wasn’t even a problem to begin with but it was something that I wanted to eliminate just to make sure. And he’s been fine. So we do eat it, he does eat little gluten now. I’m not even willing to give up my gluten-free items, though, because in my mind, they’re healthier than the gluten. So we still eat the gluten-free items that we found like, you know, brands that we like.
But we do eat some gluten now. And I’ve given him some animal protein once a week for maybe, I don’t know, I’m not even counting really, the last month, maybe five weeks. Maybe once I gave it to him twice a week. But it’s only on the weekend so I can keep track because I don’t wanna have to write everything down every day anymore because I’ve done that for a year or whatever. So in my mind, it’s like on the weekend, which is when we’re socializing more, when we may have a barbecue, I wanna give him a little flexibility to have something if he wants it.
His taste buds, I think, have changed a bit. He doesn’t ask for things that he used to want. I’d even offered him things that he used to eat and love and he’s not even interested. So I’m really happy about that actually. But I’m not…it’s not that I’m…I’m not a vegan, it’s not that I believe in a 100% veganism and this is the way everybody has to live. I don’t necessarily believe that. I think if you can get an animal protein from a good source which, you know, that’s tricky these days, but if it’s organic and it’s grass-fed and it’s the best you can do, right?
And it comes from…it’s raised healthy and all of that. I mean, I think that, from time to time, I think it’s fine. So he’s been having a little bit of animal protein on weekends and he seems to not have any symptoms from eating it. And so we’ve just been doing that and we’re gonna see what happens from here.
Clint: Okay, great. So yeah, my take on that, obviously, listeners are beginning to get my thoughts on that, I’ve said before to adults who ask me…well, I sometimes get the question, “When I’ve done this and I feel normal again, can then I go back and eat my X, Y, Z, and drink my coffees and all that sort of stuff? I’ll be cured and then I can do whatever I want?” So my thoughts on that, you know, this isn’t an autoimmune disease, this is something that once it’s wired a certain way, it’s very difficult to unwire ever again.
And so, I’m cautious, as someone with an autoimmune disease, to not to try and throw any kind of little kindling on what may be a very, very tiny little bit of information in the body. I don’t want to stir something up that could be like a sleeping bear. I want it to keep hibernating for the rest of my life. And so, for a normal person with a normal human digestive system, if they would eat 90% plant-based whole foods, low fat all the time and then have a little bit of anything, whether it’d be animal protein or dairy products or even something that we’d all consider really bad, maybe like, you know, eat, I don’t know, dirt or something. Yeah, eat something terrible, right?
The body’s very robust. I mean, we see this with people who eat, according to my definition, a terrible diet for decades and no obvious external symptoms. I mean, the Western diet is the exact diet that you use with rodents to create disease. If they wanna give a disease to a rodent so that they can then experiment on how to improve them with a drug, they give them the Western diet, right? But some human beings can survive on this for decades without finally, you know, getting some chronic disease. But of course, they will eventually.
And so, the body’s very robust against the occasional thing that isn’t ideal, and that’s how I feel about this. So it’s an evolving or a continual analysis. You know, if he’s doing fine with a little bit of animal protein here and there, then, you know, that might be okay. Is it optimal? Definitely not. Is it what’s needed during the initial stages to reverse the swelling and reverse his inflammation? Definitely not. And so, you as a family need to think about these things and my family will be vegan. Certainly, I and Melissa sometimes…she’ll sometimes eat some dairy products. She hasn’t tasted meat. She’s never had meat in her whole life, not a fish, not a chicken, not an egg, nothing, right? So she’ll never, ever have meat.
But sometimes, you know, she won’t object to having some butter on toast if she’s starving and she’s out and that’s the only thing that they have, whereas me, because of what I’ve been through, I find it abhorrent.
Christine: For sure, and I would never suggest this to somebody who has symptoms or, you know, is strongly…
Clint: Is on the healing path, yeah.
Christine: I mean, when we did your diet, we did 100% and I cooked everything, too. I mean we never ate anything from a package. And I baked when I needed to. You know, if you’d go to a birthday party…I mean there’s challenges when you have kids. You know, you’re around all of this, you go to a birthday party and it’s like, “Oh my gosh, we have another birthday party next week and I know I have to bake,” because I feel…you know, I don’t want him to be left out. So I would make something for him that he could eat. And for the holidays, it was the same thing.
And now, we found some really great recipes and I like to bake them anyway. So we do that from time to time. I don’t know, I just think you make it work. You replace things. We used to eat ice cream, now we eat sorbet and he doesn’t have it every day, but on occasion, I wanna treat him with something and I can give him something. And there’s always an alternative, you just have to find it. And sometimes, it’s a little trial and error to find out what it is that your child likes but they’re out there and I think, in the beginning, it can be very overwhelming if you have to really overhaul your pantry and start from scratch. But it’s like anything else: once you learn how to do it, it becomes part of your routine and you figure it out, and you find the products that your family likes and recipes.
Clint: Well, it’s a huge challenge. There’s no doubt, it’s a huge challenge for adults. And it’s a huger challenge for parents with a child. But it’s equally as important as the size of the challenge. Like, the importance is infinite, isn’t it? I mean, there’s nothing more important than setting a child’s health up for the rest of their life.
Having been involved in this kind of work now for long enough, I’ve met parents who have children with JIA personally and I’ve had conversations like this. Child with JIA chatting to me and talking about, you know, all the drugs he’s on, and even worse than methotrexate, right? So, it starts to escalate. He started to get into some more really, really heavy stuff, some of the most dangerous stuff you can legally buy as drugs or not buy but the most dangerous legal drugs you can take. And chatting to him, and naturally, you know, I say, “So what are you eating? [inaudible [00:40:34]?” you know, as he’s snacking on some kind of junk food. “Oh, what did you have for breakfast?” He likes…there’s a product in Australia called Weet-Bix. I think you guys call it Weetabix. But anyway, it’s the same sort of product.
“Oh, breakfast, I love having that,” and I say, “What do you put on that?” “Milk, I love my milk. I cover it with milk,” blah, blah, blah. So I speak to the mom and the dad and I say, “You might seriously wanna have a look at eliminating the milk out of his diet. Dairy is one of the biggest aggravators for adult rheumatoid arthritis.” And, “Oh no. No, no, no, he loves his breakfast. He loves his milk and Weet-Bix, we could never take that away from him because that’s his favorite meal of the day.”
And so, you know, you’re in this situation where you feel that you have some extremely important changes that need to be made in this family. But with a routine that’s hard to break, and as an outsider, and also as not as the parent of the child, you know, it’s not my place to then say much more other than my experience, my journey. And people, you know, in that position, might say, “Oh, well, that’s for adult, and juvenile’s different.” And that’s why I wanted so much to talk to you about this is because I believe that we have the same situations going on, just on a smaller human being. But I do believe it’s the same systems at play and I believe that the foods required to calm everything down are the same. It’s just more challenging because the person’s little. They’re growing, as you say, you want all their bones to grow at the same rate and we want him to be active, and social, and everything. I mean, there’s so many things at play.
Christine: And we’re all brainwashed to think that milk is the only way to get there, like, that’s what blows my mind. Like forget green, leafy vegetables that are so high in calcium that you can just throw in a blender with some berries that are low-glycemic fruits, you know, and the kids will love it. I make pots [SP] now for my kids and I put them in the freezer and they just munch on those all day because they’re made of veggies, like 75 veggies, 25% fruit and they’re delicious.
So there’s just ways of getting around it, and you know, I think it’s just this belief system that it’s tough to transform, I think, when from the beginning of life, everything is about milk for the baby, right? And then somehow, once the baby’s weaned from the breast, they’re supposed to drink cow milk. And that’s the only way that they can get calcium because the kids are not eating vegetables. But there’s so many ways you can even hide vegetables but we’re just not counseled on any of that as mothers. The pediatricians generally don’t give us ideas for how to make that work, right? And they just rely on milk for everything. I think that’s a part of the problem, but I do know that there are personalities of children that are more difficult to feed. I have one of them.
My second child doesn’t have the same personality as my first child and I’m sure she would have been more challenging if I had to work with her with this diet. And so, just with that said, I’d like to say that to the parents, if you have one of those challenging children and you can’t follow Clint’s protocol exactly with the way you build foods on a daily basis, I would pick from his list of foods and go with that. Just at least take away the irritants in the body that are preventing the child from healing. We went paleo, I did different foods before, and we did not have any success. Actually it got worse.
And so I really do believe those animal proteins were causing his body to create more antibodies, which is the problem in the first place, right? It’s an overactive immune system, so you have too many floating antibodies. And so these drugs just kill the antibodies, right? But if you keep creating more by eating the wrong foods, you’re not gonna get anywhere. You’re not gonna be able to heal, right?
So I think that’s why this disease is like…you know, what all the doctors say, it’s incurable. It’s incurable because we don’t change our lifestyle. The drugs can’t do it by itself. As hard of the drug it can be, to suppress the immune system, if you keep creating the same problem, it’s still gonna be there. So I don’t know, I wish I could…you know, I’m here today because I really want parents to try this and it was just no choice for me because I felt like, well, I could do this or I could spend years of my life going down this other path. And with all these potential problems and risks to his health, and I don’t know, I couldn’t do that.
So I was lucky in the beginning for sure that it wasn’t…it didn’t go from zero to so severe that I had to give him something and I’m sure there are situations out there that are different and these rheumatologists are very much needed, but like you’ve said, I’ve heard you say that you can be on these drugs and still do this diet. And it can still work. You can titrate them eventually, titrate down the drug until it’s no longer, if you’re on this diet. So, it makes a huge difference.
Clint: Nice, covered everything I wanted to add there. That’s right. If the symptoms are so great that damage is being done to the joints and inflammation is out of control, then medications are a godsend. Medications are there to be used. And I went on the medications and, daily, I see people who correctly need to go on the medications because a subtlety of this is that inflammation itself creates more leaky gut. So this is a phenomenon that’s been well-studied. It’s very complex and it happens at the molecular level, at the gut wall, and it’s a complex mechanism that involves all sorts of difficult terms to pronounce and explain that I don’t fully appreciate yet myself.
But the bottom line is that inflammation in the body creates more leaky gut. And so, we have a duty of care to keep the inflammation down so that we can actually heal our gut. Because it can’t heal while it’s inflamed and more perforated. And so, if the dietary interventions aren’t getting any results, like we saw with Caul, then yeah, medications are required. But just as you said, those medications can be monitored and inflammation monitored monthly, and with time, with consistent levels of low inflammation in the body, the drugs can be reviewed and potentially lowered and potentially even removed altogether, depending on how the child goes.
So, wow, what a fantastic summary of what you’ve been through in the last year. I mean, who would have thought, huh? What a whirlwind last 12 months for you.
Christine: I wish…I don’t know, of course, I wish that I had heard about this sooner or have known somebody that have gone through this path because I think, you know, it’s so horrifying in the beginning. And it can kind of shut you down, too, how scary it is, instead of knowing that there are other solutions that you can follow. And I think I would be excited if I had learned about this and learned that there were other children that were able to be healed through this way. I don’t know. I just think of all the dark places that you go when you hear about this disease, you know, and it’s tough.
And I’m thinking about that as we’re talking too, I’m thinking about, you know, the mom and dad that maybe have been struggling with this for years. And it’s like, “How do you then start over really, you know, go back to trying something new when you’re probably exhausted from everything that you’ve done so far?” And it’s tough to find that kind of hope that things can get…really that you can do such, make such improvement. I just hope people believe in this. I hope they believe that diet can truly heal. And it’s hard for, I know, a lot of people because they just…if their doctors aren’t saying it to them, then whoever else is saying it is, it’s just a bunch of…you know, it’s hokey, it’s not real. But it is real and the rheumatologists, that’s not their training, and their training is to treat symptoms.
And so, you know, I think that there’s definitely a place for them. But if you want true healing, I think you have to do it yourself. I hate to say that. I just don’t know how many rheumatologists out there that are supportive of diet per se and I think that will change. Like, you had said that you wrote a pamphlet for that and it’s in the works.
Clint: Yeah, it’s the perpetual nearly finished document.
Christine: It’s in the works but I’m just hoping that more and more doctors will learn from this and I’m certainly gonna…you know, our rheumatologist knows about it and we’re actually…we have to have another…well, she asked us if we could come back and I said, “Sure, we’ll come back,” just to get another evaluation so she can see that he’s still symptom-free.
Clint: Is she paying you for this one? How much do you have to charge? How much does she charge for you to tell her what needs to be done with her patient?
Christine: I’m just hoping that there’s some interest here then, “Wow, this worked for this patient. Let me document everything I can, and maybe I can give that information out.” I mean, it doesn’t hurt to give the information out and share it with patients.
Clint: That’s the last thing I wanted to ask you about. Yeah, depending on what you wanna do with your life… I made this decision several years ago. Melissa said to me, “If we can help one person by sharing everything we’ve learned, it’s worth putting the time into putting all these materials together and making it available.” And we decided not to publish a book because we thought, “Well, maybe no one will get the results that I did or maybe no one’s interested.” And so we just put it on the internet as an instantly available thing. And we’ve never had time to take it to the next level because just the scale of it and the rapid uptake of it has kept us so very busy.
But in the same way, you’re at a point now where you have a unique insight into dealing with a child with this condition in a way that I don’t have. And in a way that I don’t know if any other parent has. And so you’ve got something to share that many, many people are interested to learn more about. I mean this is just the tip of the iceberg because people with a child with this condition will wanna know, “Well, what goes into the smoothies, when did you give them, and where did you get these foods, and how did you do this and that?”
The number of questions actually and the detail of those questions is almost endless. And so, if you felt like putting together…either we could do another one of these where you can go through all of your strategies and plans in more detail. Or you could put something together in a PDF document or website or whatever. I mean I really feel that there’s so much desire for the information that you’ve got because your results for Caul are amazing.
Christine: I did start a website. Yeah, and it’s very basic. I’m not a web designer, so I just kind of went after and got his story up there. And you know, it’s just a few different subjects, you could say, and with some information. And I thought that might be helpful to just get some information out there and maybe somebody will come across it, I hope. And it’s not really that ready for viewing but it’s a work in progress right now. And I’m just not sure. Like, I haven’t even tried to see if it’ll come up if I, you know, just put it in my browser.
Clint: Yeah, sure. Okay. Well, why don’t we just…to be determined on that. We won’t maybe…if people are listening to this podcast well after it’s been released…right now it is late July 2016. So if you’re listening to this and it’s a couple of months beyond that, then there might be a link on our show notes at paddisonprogram.com and then you’ll be able to find this episode by just searching through the podcast history. And we might have a link up there to a website, so go and check it out just in case because Christine may have got that to a point that she’s happy to release to the world.
And similarly, my homework is to finish the guide for rheumatologists, which I’ve been working on inside our community forum for everyone in there. And so I will have that completed shortly, it’s one of those…yeah, it’s just such a beast, that one, because I’m trying to cover every single thing and I think I just need to sort of tie it up and get it out and then refine it once it’s out there because we all need the document to show to our rheumatologist, all the scientific evidence, and the support behind this approach, especially when we’re talking about kids because, you know, we feel a little bit sheepish to do the wrong thing when it’s our child. I think we’re willing to put ourselves through anything but when it’s our kid, we’re nervous.
Christine: I find it’s odd that a diet can’t be suggested because it’s a healthy diet and there’s nothing gonna be harmful about it. On the flipside, you know, what they do suggest are all these drugs where there’s plenty of side effects and complications from. And so, I don’t know why it would be hurtful to say, “No, there is a diet out there that could improve your symptoms,” and certainly people would have to get support elsewhere. But you know, there’s plenty of support through your forum. And that’s another thing I wanna mention because I used your forum and it’s…when you’re doing something different or nonconventional, you may not be met with people that feel the same. And it’s tough when you don’t have support with what you’re doing.
And that’s what’s the forum is about is providing that support and there’s a lot of really educated people there that have gone through their own battle with RA and have so many stories and so many tips, and recipes, and everything, and I think it was just invaluable. And so, I think people should surround themselves by people who are gonna support them with this diet and get support maybe from your forum if they need to. I would think that, if you had a child, it depends on the personality, of course, and what your circumstances are, but I would imagine that it would be helpful.
Clint: Yeah, absolutely. I implore people, it’s the best place to be in the world if you’ve got inflammatory arthritis, come and join the forum. For a small monthly investment, you’d get life-changing information and we’re there to transform lives and make people feel confident and reassured and what they’re doing is wonderful, and to get massive results. I mean, it wouldn’t be so popular and be growing so quickly and be such a success if people weren’t getting results.
Clint: People would soon look to other ways and look to other ways to spend their time.
Christine: And people who…like I’ve seen some of your other podcasts of some of your members that has struggled with their disease for a while before they found you, right? And they’ve completely turned their disease around. So you know, I think that’s another question on people’s minds is, “Oh well, he didn’t…” you know because I actually got this feedback from somebody I was talking to. “Oh, well, he didn’t have his arthritis for that long, so that’s why it worked for you.” And that has nothing to do with it.
Clint: It’s got nothing to do with it, no.
Christine: I mean, you can have it for 20 years, and change your diet, and you can still get results. Like, I remember reading about people who felt a change in their pain level within a day from eliminating those foods that irritated their body, right?
So it doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, it’s gonna work. You just have to believe it. I mean, what do you have to lose? That’s what I thought. You know, I was thinking back to…I’m getting this feedback that I’m working on a diet and it’s not working, so I should just go to try something else. And I thought to myself, “Well, what do I have to lose, really?” I mean I need to feel like I’ve tried everything, I need to cross those things off my list. Now, if I went to something else and never tried your diet, I’m always gonna think to myself, “Oh my God, what about if Clint was right about those animal proteins and what they did to the body?” You have so much information. It’s all based on research, too. That’s what’s so great about this, you can look up this information and find it validated. This is not baloney, you know?
So I don’t know. So I wanna take the opportunity to thank you for…you struggled with this disease for years and you spent so much time putting together this program to help other people. And by the way, I’m not getting anything from Clint for talking to you, this is all my doing. I just want people to know that I’m for real and I’m not getting any kickbacks any way and that what you did was phenomenal. And what you’re doing to devote your life to helping other people, and I think you’re doing it because you know what it’s like. You’ve been there. You’ve had that struggle and you know how life-changing this can be and what better reward than to change somebody else’s life that positively, right? Give them back their life, basically.
And that was my biggest thing. When this happened, I was so devastated, I was like, “Wait, I had a normal life and a normal kid, and the next day, my life is completely changed. And now I have a new normal that I don’t even wanna adjust to. I don’t wanna accept. This is not what I wanna do and I don’t want this for my family.” It’s a huge adjustment to have a child who has an incurable disease. So I know what it’s like to be on that other side now and my heart goes out to all those families. I don’t know how I would have done it and I hope that I never have to again. So I hope somebody takes this seriously.
Clint: I’m sure they will. I’m sure they will, and if you ever put up your hand to help in a more of a sort of day-to-day way, then you’ll be inundated with people wanting more information. So you’ve done enough for today and if this is it, then I’m still very grateful, extremely grateful because I do get tremendous amount of satisfaction. And it’s beyond satisfaction. I can’t think of the right word. It’s an elation. I get goosebumps when I hear your story.
I well up when I hear about Caul, and you know, it’s his whole life, you know. I’m not talking about even a pet, we’re talking about a little boy. So yeah, this is more important than anything else and I’d love to meet him one day, that’d be great.
Christine: I know he’d love to meet you. You’re like the hero in our house, are you kidding? He’d love to meet you. Yeah, and he’s got the Australian accent down really well, too. So I think you’d be impressed.
Clint: What’s his…
Christine: He likes to do accents.
Christine: We have a friend who’s Australian, so I think that’s how it started.
Clint: Yeah. Nice, nice.
Christine: And he speaks French, so he’s into languages.
Christine: Yeah, he’s an amazing boy. So, I don’t know. There’s nothing really more worthwhile than being able to give somebody back their life, right? So I get why you do this and I’m sure it’s contagious.
Clint: It is, yeah, it is, and maybe you’ll catch the bug as well and help some more people. But you’ve helped so many people just by recording this today with me and I hope that this message really touches family members and makes them think about maybe the steps that they can take to stop the underlying cause because there’s nothing more important than…yes, thank you so much for doing all that you did and applying all of the discipline and encouraging your family to go along for the journey. And I’m sending you lots of love and lots of encouragement to keep Caul on the right track, make sure he’s at least operating at 90% all the great foods just to keep him in a protective zone, and it’s just a great story. And let’s stay in touch, and thank you so much.
Christine: Thank you, Clint. Take care.
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