In this Podcast you will learn:
- Ellen’s story with RA and how far she has come with her health improvements
- Methotrexate and Sulfasalazine challenges and successes
- Plaquenil gave her giant heartbeats and had to stop ASAP
- 18 months of prednisone gave her shingles, prednisone is ‘the devil drug’
- How animal foods mess up your heart and arteries
- Getting Dr Klaper involved as her GP was a major progress step
- Dr Klaper does skype calls, so you can contact him from anywhere in the world
- Going from the McDougall Program across to the Paddison Program
- Now Ellen can pick up her grandkids again!
- She’s a star in Bikram yoga
- Needing to have a gigantic desire to heal
This podcast does not constitute medical advice. All changes surrounding medications, diet and exercise should be made in consultation with a professional who can assist your unique health circumstances.
Watch the Episode Here:
Listen to the episode here:
Clint: Welcome back to the Paddison Podcast. We’ve got a great guest today. She’s made really fantastic progress with her rheumatoid arthritis over the last couple of years, and she’s got plenty to share on this topic. She is a wonderful community forum member who helps many other people, and has lots of strategies that she is very good at explaining, and we hope that she’s able to share a lot of those today. So welcome, Ellen.
Ellen: Thank you, thank you. I’m so glad to be here. Happy to be here.
Clint: If the people are watching this YouTube video, they’ll appreciate the wonderful colorful background you’ve got there in your room.
Ellen: Oh yes.
Clint: And if you’re listening to this on the podcast as a recording, then just picture a lovely room with lots of creative…we’ve got drums in the background, and a lovely couch that looks like it’s had a lot of love, and some nice paintings. It’s a great space.
Ellen: Oh yes. It certainly is.
Clint: Now we’re here today to talk about rheumatoid arthritis. You and I have got to know each other online, and this is the first time we’ve communicated face to face, although you were a part I remember of an early sort of coaching call that I did about year ago I remember.
But now we’re going to hear about your journey, and what you’ve been through over the years, and then and hear about how far you’ve come since you’ve made a lot of changes, that you were able to implement. So where did it all start, what happened?
Ellen: It started in about thanksgiving 1998. It’s a long time ago. And I started getting this feeling in my right elbow. It was so weird, it was like pain and then it just got worse, and it’s like and I work for Superior court of Sonoma County. So I was working, and then we went on a vacation for a very short vacation for Thanksgiving, and I could not…I had excruciating pain in both shoulders.
It was so bad. It scared me a lot. I was very scared, and I couldn’t hardly move, and my husband put me in a shower, is the only thing we could think of to do. And then it got a little better, and then I had to wait. I went and saw…I was seeing a chiropractor at the time, and she couldn’t quite read the blood results when they came back.
But my sedimentation rate was very high, and so then I finally got in to a rheumatologist. It took over six weeks. There was a guard dog manager who would not let me get in there, and I was so sick that I really thought I was going to die, I really did, and my husband went and stood in that office, and stared at the lady and said, “You’ve got to get her in here.”
And she finally did. Finally got in.
Clint: Was it just that much backlog with the number of people trying to see this doctor?
Ellen: I don’t know. When the doctor finally got me in, she said, “We don’t let this happen to people.” It’s like well, you just still let it happen to me. And then I got on methotrexate shots, and then prednisone of course, and that it went on for a while. And at first the prednisone didn’t work. I still have the excruciating pain.
But it finally started settling down, and I just, I had gotten off work, so I was off work for 10 months, and they really wanted me to come back, but I didn’t, I didn’t go back. I needed to get well again. So I kind of fought a battle with that too, with the HR or whatever. And then it’s just like for all you people out there who know what it’s like to have R.A, it was really hard, it’s scary.
And then just giving myself shots, that was like, I was taught to give the shot in the arm, and I couldn’t even do it. And luckily I had a friend who had done shots, so I started giving myself the shot in the thigh, which was so much better, so much easier. And the friend and I would laugh, because I never wanted to do it, and it would take me, one time it took 20 minutes to get the shot in.
Clint: Just building up.
Ellen: I just couldn’t do it. And then we’d laugh because it was so pathetic how long it took. This went on for…finally got on methotrexate pills, and then I got on plaquenil and had giant heart beats. So I got off and then I got on sulfasalazine, which I was on for years. So I mean this is like I’ve had this disease for 16 and half years.
So it’s been a long time. And it hasn’t really gotten to the point where I had like two remissions. One in one year remission, a two month remission, and maybe a three week remission. And I just haven’t been able to shake it, and then, then my blood pressure went up at 55, my blood pressure went up and I thought, “Oh good Lord now I [inaudible 00:05:15]”
So got on the blood pressure medicines. I didn’t like that at all, I really didn’t. Then I had esophagus problems or something. And it’s like I wanted a way out of this. I wanted to find a way so out, so the first book I read it was Dr. Bernard doctor, and read his book and started thinking about…I went just ate plants for a while, but it wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t enough what I was doing with…when I was on his, because I had like a piece of chocolate here and there. I think he was big on like low oil, but you could possibly have a little bit. He wasn’t totally clear about it. So I kind of got to the end of my line, I wanted get off all this medicine. I was sick of being sick. It’s like how long was this going to last.
It could last forever as far as was concerned. And I didn’t, I wasn’t a big exerciser. I mean I was a walker, but basically my elbows started to bend, like they weren’t straight anymore. I mean I had problem every once in awhile with either my hand, or my back, or it’s just like ongoing problems. But starting to eat the plants and I was on the right track and then…
Clint: Well hang on a sec. Let’s not forget your knees. Tell us about your knees. How were they?
Ellen: They would swell up even when I was on methotrexate sometimes. I’ve had…when I got off all the methotrexate the first time, I think I was, had the disease for one year, and then I got into remission for one year. And then the knees swelling came back in full force just after one year, it just like so bad I couldn’t even walk, I could walk like these tiny little baby steps.
Back on prednisone. Which I didn’t want to be on, you know [inaudible 00:07:15]
Clint: Listeners have heard…listeners are probably thinking, “Wow, where is this going to go.” It sounds really terrible and everyone’s probably been able to relate to it so far in some way, but boy do we have a turning point coming up in this story. So tell us then Dr. Neil Barnard’s book you read that, and you started your education process.
Ellen: Yeah, I got all his books. Every one of them.
Clint: Okay, yep. He’s great on the topic of diabetes. He’s got a great book hasn’t he about reversing diabetes.
Ellen: Yeah, that was the one I think I got first maybe.
Clint: That’s the one I recommend to anyone who has any form of diabetes. You should read Dr. Neil Barnard’s reversing diabetes book. It’s a great book and it’s a very… it dovetails very nicely with the Paddison program. So if anyone’s on the Paddison program with a form of diabetes, then there’s nothing to concern yourself with, because they’re so similar.
So after Dr. Barnard’s book, what happened next?
Ellen: Well, my blood pressure was still…it was stable. I just had this gigantic desire to get well. I can’t tell you ever since starting Neil Bernard’s books, I had such a profound sense that I’m going to get well. And I was on that path and I was going to find a way to get well. So the next thing I did was…and meanwhile I had inflammation happening.
My knees swelled up every once in awhile, and when I was still on methotrexate. Nobody knew why. I had MRI and nothing. At least I didn’t have hardly any damage, so that was good. So I thought, “I’m still, this is not enough Dr. Barnard.” And I saw him in person.
He was wonderful but wasn’t enough, so I e-mailed Dr. McDougall I thought, “I’m going to email Dr. McDougall. Maybe he won’t answer it.” But sure enough right away he answered me and he said, “Just go gluten free. No soy, no oil, and just do that.” Because I was trying his elimination diet and failing pretty much, and went on his forum thing, couldn’t figure it out anything about that, it was too hard. So he was very kind so then I just I said…I was going to do his program.
So he said, “Okay, I’ll see you in June” or whatever. So I did his 10 day program June 7, 2013 for 10 days, took me off all the blood…
Clint: We’re going back about just under three years ago now. This is where we’re at now, okay.
Ellen: Yeah, three years.
Clint: And just to set the scene so everyone can picture this, you’re currently on sulfasalazine, you’re on tablet methotrexate, prednisone?
Ellen: Prednisone I think I got off I finally in 2010. I was on it for 18 months. It was horrific for me. I got shingles. It’s like, I’m telling you, to me it’s like the devil drug, it’s evil, I think.
I finally got off of it. Took everything I had to get off of that drug. Everything inside of my…you had to have such strong…you have to have such strong desire to get off that, because you have to beat your own mind. Your mind doesn’t want you to get off of it. It’s like being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Like Vertigo or something. You just can’t get out of…can’t get out of it, you know, it’s like…so anyway.
Clint: Yeah, yeah. Okay, and I knew you’ve…
Ellen: I’m not on that anymore.
Clint: …you’ve documented the strategies that you’ve used to get off that drug really nicely in our forum, and it’s been very useful for people.
Ellen: That was tough.
Clint: Yeah, yeah. I know. I’m so thankful that I never went on that drug. I think one of the most fortuitous things that ever happened to me with this disease, is that my rheumatologist does not recommend that people have prednisone. So it’s not an option
for him in his clinic.
By taking prednisone out of the picture, it just makes everything…I just think it just makes everything easier, because you don’t have the option. So you have to either get onto a different disease modifying drug, or you have to look at a biologic, or hello, have a think about it, you have to look at what you’re eating, and you have to exercise, like you’re training for some kind of event. And if you do those last two things, as you came to discover, you get the results that you could without the side effects of the prednisone, because the damage that prednisone can do to your gut is worse than anything, any food you could ever eat.
Ellen: Yeah, and look what did it did to my…I now an iceberg in my eye. It’s a little white calcium deposit, and it rubs against the cornea, which is the outer part of your eye. I have, now I have, that’s going to be the rest of my life, eye drops, eye gel at night. It’s like jeez, so I advise you if you can get off of it people, get off of it now.
Clint: Yeah, yeah. Let’s talk about how to substitute prednisone, because that’s the thing, right. It’s all good and well to say let’s get off the drugs, but it’s hard without something to substitute it with. So if you can substitute something and get pain relief without the side effects, then that’s what we ought to be doing. And you are getting to that in your story, because you went to see Dr. Mcdoodle, and doodle. Dr. McDougall. He’d love that.
Ellen: It’s okay. He wouldn’t mind. I don’t think.
Clint: And you were about to do his 10 day program. So thanks for continuing your story at that point.
Ellen: Oh yeah, and then of course my blood pressure was like 152/90, because as soon as he got me off of the metoprolol and lodipine, it went back up. And he said. “Well, it’s okay.” And I cried in front of him and I think that was hard for him, but…and he kept saying, “Well, your damage is done,” because I have one…this hand. And you could tell it’s like not quite the same as the other hand on one of them.
It’s got like a hump on the right. So but anyway I got through that, and just I was really stoked about doing, continuing along, and getting well.
Clint: And how did you feel at the end of that 10 days?
Ellen: I felt really good.
Clint: Not really good?
Ellen: I felt really empowered.
Clint: Oh, you did. You felt good, yep?
Ellen: And I had learned all about heart disease, and how eating animal foods can just mess up your heart, mess up your arteries, and cause that whole thing to happen, where you get a heart attack. So I was basically now heart attack proof. I didn’t need the blood pressure medicines. Of course I went back to my family doctor, and my blood pressure was 160/70, probably because I was stressed out about seeing him, saying I wasn’t on it anymore.
So he said well he put me right back on them, which you can’t be on them when you’re eating plant based, whole foods no oil, unless you’re, naturally have high blood pressure, which I really, I don’t think I do. So then I found Dr. Klaper just by sheer luck I think, or maybe Dr. McDougall mentioned him or whatever. And so I made an appointment with him immediately, because I wanted to get off those blood pressure medicines.
And I’d heard so many good things about him, and went and saw him. It was like best thing I ever did. He’s like such a nice man, supportive. He listened to me. I mean he took the time to listen to me.
He took me off the blood pressure medicines again. He took my blood pressure, it wasn’t that, you know…and he’s worked with me ever since, and I can now email him at any time, and he emails me back. I mean, I think…and also I think I did as a four day fast, because I know I have to, I’m skipping around a little bit, but in December 2014, I had gotten off all methotrexate again, because I thought two years of McDougall, I’m getting off these drugs. And the inflammation came raging back. So I did the four day fast at home under Dr. Klaper, and all the inflammation went away, all of it.
So I knew, like you said you’re on the right track. You could tell it’s the food or whatever.
Clint: Yeah. I think it’s a good point where I can make some comments there. After the event that Dr. Klaper and I put on here in Sydney recently, he and his wife invited us over a few days later to spend some just some casual time with them in Bondi, near the beach there. And he and I just were just engrossed in conversation, and two hours passed in about five minutes it seemed like.
My wife’s grabbing me saying, “Honey, we’ve got to go, we’ve got to go.” But what we were talking about is all of the intricacies of this disease, and he asked me, actually he said, “After I watched your TED talk,” he, and showed his wife, and his wife had just watched it before we came over. And he said, “How did you continue to persevere year after year, when it’s just so difficult to reverse this disease?”
And I said, “Because every time I stopped eating, the pain went away. And I just knew that it was my gut.” And if every time you stop eating the pain goes away, you know where the problem is, and so you just have to simply keep addressing the problem.
And, I mean it seems commonsensical to me that if you stop eating, pain goes away. Okay, well you know the problem is in the gut and so you’ve got to fix it. I mean it only makes sense to want to fix a problem. Problems are there to be fixed, aren’t they?
Ellen: I’m so glad you figured that out, because I don’t think I would have thought of it, but thank you.
Clint: Well, anyway we had a great chat, and he is our recommended doctor. For anyone who’s listening to this podcast, who has rheumatoid arthritis or a different inflammatory disease, or just has a loved one who needs the right advice and the right support, Dr. Klaper does Skype calls, so it doesn’t matter where you are on the world.
Contact True North Health Medical Center, and organize a Skype call with Dr. Klaper, and he will give you the right advice without confusing the message, that I put out there, and that Ellen and I are discussing today about a plant based diet, and lots of exercise. So where are we up to then Ellen? Well, I want to hear some good news.
You’ve just dropped the bombshell that you got off some drugs, but then you also had to get back on some…tell us when it all started to really start to turn around.
Ellen: Oh well. Let’s see. I’ve got my little list here to…I don’t think I need it.
Clint: No, I don’t think you’ll need it. Just in general terms.
Ellen: Okay, well I started your…I don’t know how I found you, but by God I did. It’s like I just…because I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted from McDougall. I was just, like you people out there that are on the McDougall (diet), yeah, it’s great but it’s not quite…wasn’t enough for me. So I found you somehow, I thought, “God, this is like the best thing that ever happened.”
So, bought your book. Read the whole book. Got a discount. Got on your forum and it’s been great. I mean and then I was confused at first, because it’s really hard to figure out if the food is causing the swelling, or what, but like you pointed out again and again, I was at the beginning of the program, and there’s no way anything could really possibly happen yet, I don’t think.
But for me it was that first bikram yoga class, May 17, 2015. It’s like, I didn’t want to go to bikram yoga. I thought, “Why should I do that. I’m not…” I mean I used to play soccer. I was like an amateur athlete, but that was what I was 25 to 40 years old. Yes I was kind of rough back then, but anyways, bikram yoga, I thought, “Oh no.”
So you kept pushing me on it and, “Well, just try it, just try it.” And thought, “Okay” so I said, “I’m going to go just go down there and try it, because Clint said I have to, and maybe, just maybe it’ll make a difference and I’ll get better.” By God that first class was the hardest thing, it was so hot. It was so extremely hot, and luckily I got this teacher named Lori, because I was kind of afraid of the yoga teacher, because the Yelp interviews, the Yelp reviews weren’t that great, a few of them.
So I thought, “I don’t want to get him.” John, you know. So made it to the first class, and then I went again and made it to the second class. It’s like pretty soon the knee swelling and…like, when I look back, I have never had too much pain. I don’t know why, but it’s never been pain, it’s always been swelling with me with my RA, I mean at first when was first sick, I had phenomenal pain.
But it’s basically just been maybe here and there I have pain, because something happens, but all in all, it’s swelling. Well, my point is that the bikram yoga it’s my right knee, it started to go down a little bit, but it would only go down right after class for about two hours, then it would come right back like the next morning I’d wake up, there it was again.
But it was like the beginning, it was the beginning of getting better, and it took…it wasn’t…I don’t know if it would have happened without the bikram yoga, I really don’t, because I mean I was walking. I was doing this step up and down with a five pound weight vest, because Dr. Klaper said I needed to do that to build up my bones, because I had osteopenia.
That lovely thing to get. So bikram yoga has been difference between night and day with me. It’s like I am now stronger, I’m more flexible, I couldn’t pick up my little baby granddaughter. I have three girls and two boys. I couldn’t pick them up and now, no problem. I can pick that girl up, Savannah up, so easily it’s like nothing.
Clint: It’s so amazing.
Ellen: I can pick up eighteen pound bag of potatoes pretty much no sweat. It’s like I’m so much more flexible, and it’s like a total miracle, so thank you. I can’t tell you, and I’m going to cry, but I really appreciate your
Clint: Oh you’re welcome, you’re welcome. And everything you’ve done. All the effort that you’ve put in, because…
Ellen: I’m like rock solid.
Clint: Yeah. What we’re going to talk about next is the discipline it takes to go through that, because it’s one thing. You know how many people that I tell to do bikram yoga who actually go out and do it? It’s the whole lead the horse to water thing. All I can do is suggest it to people, but you’re one of the few people that actually went out and did it.
And then one of the even fewer people who’ve stuck with it, and stuck with it to the extent that your results, and your life now was so incredibly improved as a result.
Ellen: It’s like 100% turnaround, and I’ve done 173 classes. I’m never going to stop going, I don’t think. I don’t care, I’m not going to stop. I’m about the same age as the yoga teacher John. I’m like two years older, so we’re both going to get there.
Clint: It’s amazing, because I remember when you started to go, and then your momentum was keeping you there, and then it was around about 90 classes, and you did those in maybe only four or five months. I mean it was [inaudible 00:23:57]
Ellen: Yeah, four times a week was my goal, which is what I did most of the time.
Clint: And you went from having these swollen knees that you’d had what probably for a decade?
Ellen: Six months. Oh no, they’d come and go, but this time it was six months.
Clint: Right, right and now you haven’t had…how long has it been since you’ve noticed swelling in your knees?
Ellen: Oh my God. Well, it’s been quite a while. The swelling went way I think it was day 102. Well here it is, day 361 or something, 362. I mean it’s been a really long time.
Clint: Right, yeah, yep. So good part of a year and yeah, and what was fascinating if anyone’s sort of thinking, “Oh, but maybe it’s going to come back.” Now listen to what actually happened, and I shouldn’t step on your story too much, but we witnessed, as people who were paying attention to your journal, and commenting on your journal in the forum, and watching your updates and stuff, that the swelling went down bit by bit, by bit, by bit, by bit.
It wasn’t that…it happened in a way that you would expect the body to heal, but going through a healing process, slight improvements week to week, incremental reductions in swelling after another class, and then another class. And I remember you were saying, “Look, I’ve woken up this morning. The swelling’s not there but I’ve just gone…I’m just about to do yoga, and it’s just starting come back a bit, but then the yoga got rid of it again,” and then it felt like that the yoga got on top of it, and never allowed it to…
Ellen: It did.
Clint: …reappear before the next class, and then it was just gone.
Ellen: Totally accelerated. It must be like 100% acceleration, and now Catherine is doing that. Catherine on our forum. I mean she is like just like me, that’s exactly what happened to me. I’m just hoping that just continues her…
Clint: I’m sure she will and I’m sure she listens to this episode, and hears your story. So we’re going to cover a lot about bikram yoga in the next part of this two part series. We’re going to have you back, and we’re going to get John, your yoga teacher whatever you call him. That’s going to be a lot of fun, and he’s going to give us a teacher’s perspective of bikram.
And I don’t care if people think they’ve already heard the bikram message, and they think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but there’s not one near me,” or something. Because we just gotta make sure that people understand the power of that particular class, and that particular exercise. In fact, you mentioned earlier that you said you don’t know if you would have got to where you are now without the bikram.
Ellen: Oh no. I don’t think I would have. I really don’t.
Clint: I’m certain I would not have. No. It saved my life. I told someone yesterday who’s limping, limping out of class…
Ellen: Yeah, saved my, you’re right. It saved my life, too.
Clint: Yep. Someone’s listening…
Ellen: That’s what Dr. Clapper said to me. Dr. Klaper said, “It saved your life.” I mean it did. I mean I think that’s what I remember.
Clint: Because we all suffer from exercise deficiency, and when you do bikram yoga, it’s not just doing a little bit. It’s basically saying, “I’m like a super athlete,” or something. And you don’t have to actually go and schedule training, and if you’re disabled, you can go into the class. I remember when you first, when you did the class I recall you were working with a chair, weren’t you?
Ellen: I still am.
Clint: Right. You still are?
Ellen: They don’t care. Oh just during the bow, the standing bow.
Clint: For some balancing.
Ellen: And just if I need to put my hand there, and sometimes during a couple of other poses, like the one where you put your arms like this. I use it and sometimes I might like waver, I lose my balance…
Ellen: Yeah. And then yeah, there’s a couple of them I use it. And he doesn’t care. I don’t care. Other places though will not allow chairs, I know that.
Clint: Yeah, they do. It can be a little…
Ellen: They think of me as their miracle, I think.
Clint: Yeah, well you are, you are. Well let’s save the rest of that for our next call. I want to talk about, you’ve covered Dr. Klaper. I wanted to cover a discussion about him in our chat, because I wanted to make sure people understood that he’s your go-to doctor, and that other people can have him as their go-to doctor.
And there is no greater opportunity right now, from as far as I can tell, than seeking out Dr. Klaper as your doctor, from wherever you are in the world. And then we’re learning from you to get to get to Bikram yoga, so that’s a great combination. Now how did you go with all of the foods? You had some food sensitivities to some of the basic items in my elimination process. So I just want you to talk about any stumbling blocks that you might have had with our program, and if so, how you worked around them.
So if people are feeling discouraged, because they maybe are not feeling perfect after a month or two, were some things that you sort of felt were a stumbling block, and how did you work around them?
Ellen: Well, I started with that two day fast, the celery, and the cucumber. That was kind of tough and I got so nauseated by the end of the second day, that I contacted you and you said, “It’s okay. You can move on.” So I moved on just to the food. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I think I would have done better on water, I think maybe.
Clint: Okay, it’s very detoxing to [inaudible 00:29:43]
Ellen: Just from my own personal experience, but I did the best I could, so that’s the beginning, people. The best you can do is what you can do. And then I had the…I never mixed the quinoa and the buckwheat. I ate them separately, and then I felt like the buckwheat somehow was bothering me, and I never, I still can’t put my finger on it.
I’m going to retest it again in the future, but I finally just took it out. I thought I don’t know what it is but it’s like I went by gut feeling a lot. How I felt, and I watched, like the other day I mentioned, like a hawk, but you’re relaxed. You just watch. You like notice, little whatever, when you eat something. And then I didn’t quite do your vegetable thing, because I’d already been eating two pounds of non starchy veggies a day, because I was like hooked up with chef AJ.
And I didn’t want to stop that, so you said I could do that, so that was kind of my way around it. I did not want to give that up, because it helped me so much with my brain chemistry. It’s like it reduces cravings like for sugar, and whatever else you’re addicted to.
Clint: Yeah, tell us about it. Explain it a little bit more, because we’ve not covered it in any other episodes. It’s something that you do. I don’t know anyone else doing it.
Ellen: Yeah, well chef AJ believes that sugar, oil and salt are the evil trinity. So they cause…you can become addicted to them, and she was addicted to all three, so she started this program, Ultimate Weight Loss, which I joined like two months before I found you, because I just loved her. I followed her, and she was just, she’d lost bunch of weight, and she was so healthy.
And I just really liked who she was, so I was doing the, I was already doing the two pounds of…and the course, I was doing, Dr. Klaper said two cups of steamed kale a night, and I had you two cups. I couldn’t do one cup, I needed two. So I didn’t want to give that up. So you let me work around that I mailed you, said, “Well, I don’t want to give this up.”
And you said, “That’s fine.” And I was really appreciated that because that has…I mean the more vegetables you can eat, the better you’re going to feel. It’s like they do something your body. They make you…you’re not then you forget about your cravings for sugar, and I know there’s people on the forum that have cravings. I don’t have those. I just don’t.
I mean I think maybe I get them because you guys on the forum are talking about it, then I kind of think, “Well, maybe.” But then I let that go. Then I knew I ought to get back to what I was doing. I did that 12 days, I did the 12 days, and I…and one thing about me is I’m like rock solid.
I do not waver. I do not eat a piece of chocolate. I do not eat sugar. I do not eat…the only thing I do is have a little pinch of salt on my food, because Dr. Klaper said I could.
Clint: That’s what I do, too.
Ellen: Here I am talking about the beginning of the program, so I followed your thing. And then day 13, I wanted something else. So I tried oranges, which were fine. Then day 17, potatoes. I just love potatoes and I know, I think you’re worried about the nightshade family, but they don’t do anything to me.
Clint: They don’t
do anything [inaudible 00:33:13]
Ellen: I love them. Dr. McDougall loves them. It’s like they’re very satisfying.
Clint: Potatoes are the greatest, especially the…
Ellen: Here I went around your thing there a little bit. I was like I put my boat around that one, and then you kept saying, “Try the brown rice.” Is it me-soh, or my-soh?
Clint: Me-sah. I say me-sah. Yep.
Ellen: Yeah okay. Well, I failed on that one, because I just felt so bad. I cannot eat soy. It just does something to me, and I just had…it’s like I plummet, I ate it, and then that night I plummeted down in my mind, it’s something…I just can’t tolerate it, so I think other people out there can’t tolerate certain things, well mine is soy. I just said, “Okay, I can’t do that one.”
Clint: For concerned listeners, that normally, that miso, even if it comes from a soy base, I encourage people to get brown rice miso, but most of the time, the brown rice misos also have a soy component to them. And normally, even people who are sensitive to soy can handle the miso, because it’s been fermented for so long. I mean most of the structures of the food have been broken down into their small constituents that normally don’t upset the body in the same way that if you ate soy in its unfermented state do. But, you reacted just to that, and that’s great that your body gave instant feedback, so you know to avoid that, and that’s fine.
Ellen: Yeah, then I went on to basmati rice, but then I just thought, “I want to get some more nutrition.” So I found the organic white sushi rice, which I love that, so I did that for quite a long time. So then I seemed to do well with all the, pretty much all fruit, except for pineapple. Both my knees swelled up.
Clint: That’s amazing.
Ellen: So I have to try that again in the future, and then you know…yeah.
Clint: The message here, because your experience…everyone’s experience is unique. That’s the thing here. You’re fine with potatoes, I was fine with potatoes after a long time, when I reintroduced it after maybe 12 months after I had already introduced white rice, and potatoes were a long time later.
But it is, this is why it’s a reintroduction process. There is no two people that have the exact same gut, the same history with their medications, the same stress response in their gut, the same exercise regimes, the same environmental pollutions where they live, the same amount of sleep each night. And so, no two people have the same exact dysbiosis in the gut and therefore have the same exact food solution.
So I think your experience is excellent, because you got great feedback instantly from foods that you couldn’t eat, and that was very powerful. For me, I used to find the reactions happened within about eight hours. Were you something like that as well?
Ellen: Well, you know I had trouble with seeing what was doing…if it was causing my swelling or not, and I couldn’t figure it out really. I mean I really, I mean I just kind of went on gut instinct about the buckwheat, and onions, I felt like something was funny about onions in my mind. I couldn’t figure it out, but they just didn’t, I couldn’t seem to…they weren’t working for me, so I left them out.
Clint: Sure, sure.
Ellen: But then I just, go off the subject a little bit, it’s like I tried oats at a certain point, and then I couldn’t tolerate them but now I can eat them. I tried brown rice at a certain point and couldn’t tolerate them at first, and now I can eat that. I mean, so see there’s like a big change.
Clint: Let’s talk about that.
Ellen: With the food.
Clint: No, no, no. What that is, and Andréa and I were just discussing this, and I don’t know if we discussed it on or off the call on our last podcast. I hope we did it on the call, because it’s really important point. So there’s a period at which your body graduates beyond the basic foods, and then has an ability to handle those a little bit more challenging foods. So we know from the scientific studies that cereal grains are one of the most aggravating things for people with RA.
Which is why people go off and try absolutely absurd diets like paleo, and just eat lots of meat and fat, because they hear, “Oh, grains are bad for arthritis.” Well, they can be, but the meats and the dairies equally or doubly as worse. So it’s not a matter of avoiding plant foods, just because cereals are implicated. It’s about healing the gut, so that at a later point a healthy food like oats can be then tolerated by the gut.
It’s the same with the brown rice. Now with the brown rice, it’s less of an immediate offensive food for people with the rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s more acidifying for the body than the white or the basmati rice, which is one of the…I must be the only person who works in trying to heal people with plant based nutrition who thinks that you should be using white or basmati, instead of brown for your program.
But I’ll defend that for the rest of my life, unless I learn something different, but right now it’s because the body is very overly acidic when you’ve got rheumatoid arthritis, the synovial fluid has a lower pH, or high acid level, and we’ve got metabolic acidosis.
And we are not able to tolerate the brown rice, which is more acidifying than the white, but less acidifying than meats and dairy, until a later point, until we graduate to that, and our gut has healed more, and our acid-alkaline levels have found their balance. And then it’s a food that we can enjoy from that point on. And I said to Dr. Klaper, I explained this to him as well, and he laughed, because you can see the level of detail that I’ve given this.
I mean, yeah. He’s just like, “You have put so much into this.” I said, “This was my life. This is my life.”
Ellen: That’s how I feel about me. I feel that about myself. It’s like I have put so much into this. I’m not giving up. It’s like I’m gonna keep going.
Clint: And it’s exciting, because progress is motivating, and then you find that people are motivated because of you, and you influence positively people around you, and there’s a knock-on effect that’s very rewarding when we give ourselves a greater purpose than just trying to reduce some pain. We’re on a mission. This is a hobby that has benefits.
Ellen: I feel like I’m on a mission. It’s true.
Clint: I love what you said earlier on, you said a gigantic desire to get well. I love that and we might…
Ellen: I do. I still have that.
Clint: We might make that the title of this episode.
Ellen: It’s like it’s so strong but I won’t make…I’m not making the mistakes with the food at all. I’m not going to do it. The only way I can make a mistake is if the restaurant screws me up, which they don’t. They haven’t yet, except for the recent one where they I think maybe they had something I didn’t want in broccoli and the mushrooms.
Clint: Yeah, we do become those people at the restaurant that has the funny demands that the chef has to put up with, but it’s worth it, because who wants to have any repercussions when you’re doing bikram yoga on the second day, and you’re eating…it’s not worth it. So, let’s…
Ellen: People don’t realize this disease is so difficult, and it’s lonely and so I so appreciate we have this forum to talk to people that have…other people that have this, because this is not an easy thing to have. I mean it’s like no one understands, no one gets what we’re…what I’m going through. I mean they can sympathize.
But I’m telling you now when people look at me they say, “You look good.” Or they say, “You’re doing something right.” It’s like they go, “You’re looking good, Ellen.” And it’s all I hear. I don’t hear, “Oh, what’s wrong? You don’t look so good blah, blah, blah.” I don’t hear that anymore.
Clint: Yeah, you do look good all right.
Ellen: I’m on a roll right now.
Clint: I always laugh because your postures in class now are getting better than some of the young people aren’t they?
Ellen: Oh, I know. It’s funny, isn’t it?
Clint: That is just so good.
Ellen: The teacher thinks that’s funny.
Clint: Let’s just wrap this up. We’ve covered your story, and I’m glad that we’ve gone into a lot of depth with your story, because I think there were some bits of information in there that we wanted to explore a bit more, and I think listeners have heard a lot of stuff from us in previous episodes. And it’s good just to go over some of the more finer detail of some of the things that you covered, so we’ve done that.
I wanted just to check, where are you at now with your medications that are required? Yeah, where are you at with what you need?
Ellen: Well, let’s see, when I got on the Paddison program, and then the inflammation you know…what happened was I had that inflammation in December 2014, and then I didn’t get the lab til like February 2015, which was, the inflammation was way up. So, went back on methotrexate 18…no, I think it’s, I was on 20 milligrams once a week, and then sulfasalazine, four pills, which are 500 milligrams each, and then folic acid for the methotrexate side effects.
And that was what I was on, and it started to work immediately. I’m a fast responder with methotrexate, and I’ve heard other people aren’t, but it works well for me, so, but I talked to my doctor, and this time I said, “Let me get off the sulfasalazine this time. Last time I tried to get off the methotrexate, and I bombed out. It didn’t work. This time, I’m gonna to get off the sulfasalazine. I don’t think it’s doing anything.”
And sure enough, it wasn’t doing anything, because I got off now…soon I got off two pills, and then I got off all of it. Like maybe I don’t know, three or four months ago. I got off all the sulfasalazine, I thought, “God, it’s been so long, 14 years of that drug or whatever it was, I’m off it. I’m on the right track.”
So then my lab continued
to be okay, plus I have no anemia, which is pretty fantastic considering I’ve had borderline anemia the whole time pretty much. So now I’m down to 15 milligrams of methotrexate, so I’m due to go down again May 25 if my lab is okay, which I’ll get soon, and which…I’m feeling so good, I don’t to see how it couldn’t be okay.
And then now I do get these bouts of fatigue. After looking at Mark’s journal entries, he gets the fatigue too, I think maybe it goes with bikram yoga, I don’t know.
Clint: It does. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it does.
Ellen: But I combat it with one fourth teaspoon of turmeric, just mixed with potato or rice, and it usually works. It usually…or sometimes I have to do two times one quarter teaspoon of turmeric, but it brings me back. The fatigue goes away, and also it worked on my hand swelling, because I had like a swelling like right here that sometimes comes and goes.
And turmeric immediately, I’m talking, I eat it, it’s gone. It’s that quick.
Ellen: So I’m glad I have that remedy.
Clint: Do you put it with the black pepper?
Ellen: No, I don’t do black pepper yet.
Clint: Just turmeric in with the meal.
Ellen: It’s a little bitter, but I just eat it. It’s not that bad.
Clint: Good, good. Okay well you’re…
Ellen: So now I’m headed toward getting off all the medication again, and this time I’m following Hanna. She told me for a year now she’s been on, I don’t know…
Clint: Two point five.
Ellen: …maybe five, or 2.5 milligrams or something. I’m going to do that to, to see if I can beat this this time. It took you three years to get well, well now it’s already been three years for me so, pretty much, so…
Clint: True, but I didn’t have the disease as long as you.
Ellen: Yeah, I think that’s probably it.
Clint: And I was on more of an elementary diet for a longer period of time. I just kept on those baseline foods, and didn’t expand on those for a long time. There’s probably a lot other factors going on. So don’t compare yourself. I’ve found throughout my life whether it be…
Ellen: No, but you’re hero. Of course I’m going to compare myself to you.
Clint: We’re colleagues, we’re colleagues. I’ve always found that comparison is the quickest way to feeling upset about yourself, and especially with…
Ellen: Maybe it’s a different word than, you’re like a ins-
Clint: Inspiration, maybe?
Ellen: Such an inspiration to me. Like a huge inspiration. If he’s done it, I’ve got, there’s hope for me, I can do it. And people out there, you have to have faith this program’s going to work. It’s working for me, it’s worked for Hannah, it’s worked for Danny, it worked for Andrea, it’s working.
And yeah you’re at the beginning of the program, but you just gotta stick with it. If you don’t stick with it, you’re not gonna get the results. That’s my pitch.
Clint: And you’ve got to move that body. The body is designed to move.
Ellen: Oh yes. Exercise, yeah, bikram yoga, you gotta go try it at least once. See if you can stand it.
Clint: All right. Well, thanks so much, Ellen. It’s been a great chat, and I know that a lot of people would have gotten a lot out of this. If I could describe you to someone else, and if people haven’t already gotten this from you, Ellen has an ability to stick with something, and to apply actually really good scientific common sense, and an elimination mindset that means if something’s not working, she’s changed it, and if something’s improved, she sticks with it.
And the improvements that you’ve made with your diet, you’ve continually tweaked over the about a year, year and a half that we’ve known each other, so that you’ve made your own slight modifications here, you’ve discovered a few things here that are working for you as you said like the veggies, and it’s just an attitude of never give up, and your ability to go to yoga every second day or four days a week, as you’ve said, is outstanding.
I mean that’s the level of commitment that you’ve mentioned, like for instance Danny earlier, and Andrea did a 30 day challenge. She did 30 classes in a row. What I want as you’re listening to this now in your car, or walking, or at home or whatever. The message is that it’s up to you to get out of the couch, or to get into the gym, or to get to…but you must apply your body to this project.
You must move the body, you must get exercise, and you must get a ton of it. So that’s the…
Ellen: Yeah, sometimes I don’t want to go to bikram yoga. I don’t want to go at all, and I think, “Well, you better go, otherwise you’re not going to get well.” I mean I have those thoughts like to try to hold me back, or I don’t want to see the lady teacher or whatever. One time I drove through the parking lot because I saw her car, because she likes it so hot, hoping she wouldn’t see me.
I mean you have to just get past some of these mind games that happen in your mind. And then other times when I’m too fatigued, I don’t go. I just, I go a different day. Like I’m going to go tomorrow morning, I’m going to go the next two mornings, because I had fatigue Wednesday, couldn’t go, or no, it was last night I think.
So you have to kind of work around your body…sometimes doesn’t, won’t let you do it, but you find a way to get there anyway.
Clint: Yeah, that’s right. And how’s life now, like overall you’ve got, you’re great with your grandkids aren’t you, and now as you said, you can pick them up. Tell us what life’s like now that you’ve implemented all of the work that you’ve done over the last couple of years.
Ellen: Well, life, I’m very busy. A lot of it’s dedicated to cooking the food with my pressure cooker, or I steam my veggies. In the morning I wake up and I start my oatmeal, and my instant oatmeal with my grated apple, and then I go on to making my brown rice, and some raisins in the pressure cooker, and I just, I spend a morning kind of cooking somewhat. And then get that out of the way, and then I, on the forum having fun with listening to people’s problems, and seeing if I can help them, and then I’m just…and I help my mother, my 93 year old mother Celia.
Clint: How about that.
Ellen: A couple times a week. And I’m just…and I’m a very busy Grammy. I see them Monday through Friday, for like from 4:00 to 6:30 at night or whatever, and so…and I love those kids. I’m just happy. I’m a happy person now.
And I feel better about myself. I’m standing up straighter, and I have more confidence. I was pretty pathetic before really my first bikram yoga class. They said I, they could not believe that I would come back.
The lady teacher says, “I can’t believe you…” she said, “I don’t know what you’re doing here. I didn’t think you’re coming back.” She thought I didn’t hear her, but I…
Clint: That’s funny. Well, we’re going to chat again very soon. We’ve got another time scheduled with yourself, and the now famous John the yoga teacher, who I’m really looking forward to chatting to. So we’re going to have you again on another episode shortly. We’re going to talk all about bikram yoga.
We’re going to learn about how you manage to keep going each day, the transformation that you had through the process. We’re going to hear your journey from start to now, both in your version and his version, and get all the insight from John, because John actually learnt directly from Bikram himself.
Ellen: Yeah, he sure did. He was one of the first students.
Clint: So it’s going to be exciting for me, and we’re going to have a bit of a laugh in that one as well.
Ellen: Oh, I’m sure you will.
Clint: So thanks very much, Ellen.
Ellen: Thank you for everything. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help. It’s been a godsend to me, and I know you’re helping all these other people. Just have to embrace all your knowledge. Thank you.
Clint: No, thank you very much. I appreciate that.