May 15

How Irina Overpowered Rheumatoid Arthritis with the Paddison Program

We discuss how:

– Irina was 24 when she got diagnosed with RA
– She started having severe pain in the hands and joints
– She was immediately prescribed prednisone, then methotrexate and Plaquenil were added
– The drug mix didn’t sort much effect, and it was suggested she started biological treatment
– At that point, she started searching for alternatives and found Clint’s TedX talk
– She started the Paddison Program and put herself on a plant-based diet
– It’s been two years now, and she’s now 100% drug-free
– It’s been eight months since her last methotrexate dose

Clint Thanks for tuning in today we have a guest all the way on the other side of the world, all the way in Romania. Her name is Irina, and she’s going to share with us today how she’s been able to have tremendous results with the Paddison Program in reversing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. So we’ve got a lot to learn from Irina, she’s going to talk about the reintroduction of foods and how she did that on the program. She’s going to talk about how she got off prednisone in a couple of other disease modifying drugs, and how that process was the steps that she took. And also talk about her physical side of things and how she improved her mobility and her physical strength. So welcome Irina.

Irina Hi, thank you for having me Clint. I just want to start by saying thank you for all the work that you do. I’ve been watching a lot of your videos and got inspired by the people following your program. So I really hope this video will be an inspiration for someone who wants to improve their health.

Clint Thank you.

Irina Be it rheumatoid arthritis or something else.

Irina You’ve said you’ve watched quite a lot of the podcasts haven’t you? You’ve been sort of bingeing on them.

Irina I have actually, that’s my routine in the morning while I do my makeup and everything I just turn on one of your videos and it turns out I learned so much from them. It’s just a bulk of really good information.

Clint Yeah, that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re hoping to be able to put out as much stuff for people to learn from so that they can just incrementally make changes, and tweak wherever they’re at. So if someone’s watching this like you do in the morning, making their breakfast maybe a screen smoothie or if they’re listening to it on iTunes on the way to work or on the bus or on the treadmill or something like that. Then we’re trying to improve the quality of life. So if you’re in that situation hello from Irina or and I and we have this episode it’s going to be fantastic. Give us a little snapshot. Give us the sort of before and after so we can grab a little clip and share this around, and get people pumped up about this episode.

Irina Sure. So two years ago when I started your program, I was on three severe medication methotrexate, plaquenil, and prednisone, and my only hope because I didn’t dare back then to hope too much. My only hope was to take off prednisone because my doctor wanted to put me on biological treatment. These three were not doing a very good job so I had to do that, and because I was scared to go on biological treatment. And I wanted to try to stay off prednisone I started at your program and discovered also the plant based diet. And two years after now, I am 100% medication free. Can’t believe I say this out loud. So I was able to stay off all medication it’s been eight months since my last methotrexate dose.

Clint Wow that’s awesome.

Irina In the process I lost 40 pounds, so that’s 18 kilograms, I cleaned my liver, I cleaned my skin, I had a very severe acne. And because I wanted to understand what was going on with my body I went into nutrition courses, and I’m now a certified nutritionist, and changed my career as well.

Clint How about that. That is absolutely wonderful. Yeah. My small couldn’t be bigger, I’m so so happy with this. I’m just is so happy to hear that. Wow.

Irina I just want to say it’s incredible how far you come just by you know baby steps. I was watching your videos with people doing the program, and I was thinking I could never do that because I was always you know a foodie and I was overweight ever since I was a kid, I was the fat kid of the family. So I was thinking I could never do that, but it’s just amazing how the taste bud change, and how you know all the body transforms when you just give it healing good food. And it’s just with the time, I don’t consider now that I’m on a diet. I just to eat healthy and I enjoy I’m still a foodie, I enjoy all the wonderful nutritious and colourful food that I make.

Clint That’s lovely. Interesting that you said that your family always saw you as the fatty.

Irina I was, I really was.

Clint They must be just amazed with you now. I mean we’re only shooting this from chest up, but you appear to like I’m guessing that you have maybe like a normal body weight now or like body the body index.

Irina No, I’m still I still have some to lose definitely, I’m in the process but I lost I think about 10 kilograms per year. So it wasn’t as fast as some people would you know think it’s amazing. I actually tried to lose faster but then I kind of relaxed and saw that I just eat the way I eat, and the weight goes off slowly but surely. And it’s the first time in my life that I don’t have a yo-yo effect, so I’ve been dieting a lot of course like every girl that wants to lose weight and you know fit in the clothes and everything. And it’s the first time that I don’t feel like I’m on a diet, I enjoy food and I think I just have a very good relationship with food now. And it all starts for me the biggest motivation was just to be healthy. It was not only to you know fit into some clothes, I’m not saying that’s not important I don’t want to minimize that. But the greatest motivation for me was that every kilogram, every pound that I take off my joints will be great. Because there will be less stress for my joints, I will be able to move easier. And now I see some bad foods that cause inflammation, I see them like enemies to my joints, and for me that’s what it works. So it was greater than any other motivation and I think I just it started with loving my body and wanting to give it good food you know, good fuel so to say.

Clint Yeah loving the body I like that. As a subscriber to a lot of our episodes and as a well-educated sort of person within the Paddison Program community, I bet that you’ve heard me talk about my beliefs around how this disease gets triggered. So what do you think triggered your condition? And was it obvious or one of these ones where we put it down pretty much just a Western diet, and stress, and lack of activity? Or do you think there was something more specific?

Irina That’s a difficult question I think regarding diet. In Romania the diet is not that bad as Western typical, diet but we’re not far either. We eat a lot of poor, there is a lot of traditional foods full of fat, and cheeses, and again a lot of pork. But I don’t think it was, I think it was only that. I think mentally there were some things that probably caused it, and just to mention something that one of my friend’s ex colleagues once told me I think it was like one year ago so I was already progressing a lot. He told me, no I read these books and I’m here with arthritis it says you should be more flexible. And I was like, who me I’m super flexible, I’m a very flexible person. And he was like, no no no you should be more flexible to yourself. And it kind of got me thinking that we’re trying always to put so much pressure on ourselves mentally and physically. We’re trying to fit in and all the you know society frames, and I think people that develop this kind of autoimmune diseases are mostly overachievers. People that want to do it all, and want to have a perfect career, and a perfect status in the family and that. And sometimes we just put too much pressure on our bodies, and on our minds. And I think when I started to just love myself more, and just be ok with being less perfect, and not trying to do it all, and please everyone. I think I was a little bit of a people pleaser you know, ashamed to say you know and all that. I think when that attitude started to change, I started to heal which leaves me thinking too maybe that was something that’s contributed to causing this.

Clint Yeah I can totally relate to that.

Irina I don’t know if that makes sense.

Clint Yeah absolutely. What stood out to me in that or what I related to the most was trying to please people. And it’s a constant battle once you’re trying to heal, to continue your healing path whilst the pressures of everybody else’s agenda on you all the time. And so whether it be just eating earlier than what the rest of the family want to do or whether it be having to go to yoga at a certain time even though that’s when you need to pick up the kids or when you know you’re at work. And it’s just really difficult to please yourself first and foremost, and then please other people. Sometimes some people want to go out at night and socialize with their friends, and they eat rich foods, and drink alcohol, and that’s their community and it’s trying to work out. Well how do I maintain that whilst trying to nail everything I’m doing with my health. And there’s friction there, and there’s work to be done there we all have to go through that.

Irina Exactly, I totally feel you and I agree with you. And the reason why for me it took so long to find this path and heal was because I was 24 when I was diagnosed. So I was really young and I wanted to go out, and I was a clubber, and I wanted to go out and drink with my friends. I used to smoke sometimes so I didn’t want to just stay home and be sick and go to bed at 10:00 I mean, and even though I felt tired. And first years were horrible I mean I had severe severe pain, and now I’m thinking that I didn’t protect myself more, I didn’t take the risks I needed, and I didn’t listen to my body because I was just trying to keep up. I thought it was just something okay, I was in the hospital and I got this disease but I’m just continuing with my life. But we really have to pay more attention to ourselves, and I think that’s the reason why it took me so long because I was comparing myself with my friends who don’t have to carry this weight on their shoulders you know. I mean everybody has their own story and you know problems I don’t want to be you know insensitive or something. But you have to learn to not compare yourself with someone who just wakes up in the morning, and needs five minutes to get dressed, I need an hour. I used to wake up in the morning and I needed like half an hour warming my hands so I can brush my teeth. It was that bad, so I cannot compare myself to a person that doesn’t go through this because we have different ways of living basically.

Clint Yeah and it’s hard not to be resentful too isn’t it when we have people who we surround ourselves with who are friends we went to university with or school with or whatever work with and they eat junk, they party hard, they seem to have a stomach of iron. And we have to do all these really really restrictive things and can virtually make no mistakes or we end up in pain. And it really is hard not to be resentful. And I’m speaking about this the other day with a friend of mine who has Crohn’s and he and I have often both we always talk about how we regret the antibiotic use. He did the antibiotics for acne as a teenager exactly as I did, and then years went later, years later you know the situation unfolded in a severe way. And that one mistake for us in our circumstances being mostly the cause for us both, very very long-term years of antibiotics. It’s hard not to feel a little resentful but instead of that we have to say well, this as you put it before the weight on our shoulders or that this is our cross to bear. What can we do about it? Let’s do something positive, and let’s try and to turn this somehow into a reasonable situation and something we can almost turn into a positive. It’s hard for most of us including myself to not want to it never to exist and can’t say it really is a positive. But we can do as much as we can to do that.

Irina You did turn it into something positive, look at all the work you do. And I think you and your wife because it was most of the time as far as I know a teamwork and you know look at all the people that you change. You know you basically changed their lives and that’s the main reason why I wanted to turn this into a positive thing and try to help others through my new career.

Clint And I think that, that is the only way we can find an equal and opposite amount of belief that it has been somewhat worth it or I mean whilst I’m doing it on a sort of a fairly big scale or at least getting to a bigger scale. I think that it only takes one life fear to impact to feel fantastic. And so if you can impact a family member, a parent or a brother sister or even bringing up children who are going to have very little risk of developing of serious disease in their life or if it can be someone in your case as a nutritionist someone that you work with or many people that you work with. It makes it worth or at least it makes it feel okay. That’s where we’re looking for, as long as it feels okay. So if people are wondering about how can this feel okay? Because the miseries there, the pains there, the drugs are there, how can I possibly turn this into something that you know it feels okay that I got this disease it would be to help someone else. It will be there to really help someone else and show them about how they can improve their life. Even if you’re not yourself where you want to be. It inspires you by teaching and educating. It’s so empowering and that’s where we can find peace and happiness.

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Irina Yeah and it gives you fuel, it gives you power to go on and move on with this. Yeah I totally get you. And I only had this thought recently because up until now with all the wisdom and everything that I learned in the process, if you would have asked me if I could turn back time? I would just rather be you know dumb and happy. I didn’t want this disease, no really. But recently when I started working with a few people. So at the beginning now I’m just working on my Website and everything, but I started working with a few people, and I started kind of realizing the knowledge and the power I have. And I really love working with people and seeing them grow and succeed. And I’m very confident that I just turned something painful into well-being, and something risible into a really great advantage. So yeah I’m on the same page with you.

Clint Yeah. And now I don’t want to discourage anyone who thinks well I can’t get into as a health practitioner or I don’t want to go and study nutrition because when not quite at that point yet with their journey. This is not a discouraging moment, this is a moment where you can look at just doing something small incremental. Whether it be just to make some notes and share a recipe with a family member or with someone who appears to be in need or have a chat on an aeroplane or a bus with someone if you find out that they’re not feeling too good and share some information that might help them. I mean just telling someone to stop oils for example to reduce inflammation or to tell them to eat more leafy greens. It feels good to share information that is absolutely sound, and proven, and reliable. You know I’m so confident about this sort of stuff, I say things like look if I would virtually put anything on the line as a bet to say that if someone comes to me with rheumatoid arthritis and they’re eating a Western style diet. That if they eliminate meat, dairy, and oils, and replace that with green smoothies and some buckwheat and quinoah for a few days, I mean you can’t lose that bet, you cannot lose that bet. It’s unloosable.

Irina The great thing about it especially from people coming from a really bad diet, you can see the difference in literally days. And with your program, I’m sometimes amazed because every time I feel like I’m you know not 100% OK, I just go back to the baseline of the program into the basic foods. I just know every time. Now I know that’s my comfort zone because nothing bad will happen, and I know inflammation will drop, and I’ll feel better if like almost immediately.

Clint Yeah that’s exactly it.

Irina Yeah, you cannot lose that bet.

Clint Yeah. So let’s talk more about that your story. I’ve not deliberately sought a delayed hearing about the details, I’ve just enjoyed chatting about some other things first and I think that it’s also breaks up from some of their other episodes which can be story heavy. We don’t need to get story heavy, but let’s just hear at least about the fundamentals. So that people can overlap them with their own situation. I’d like to hear about what the doctor prescribed for treatment medications that may have worked and may have not worked for you, and just ways in which you then also experienced those meds and then hey you got off them. So that whole start of medication journey and then off them again I’d like to hear that.

Irina It’s a pretty long story but I’ll try to make it as short as possible. So the first pain started like 10 and a half years ago, and it started in my hands, my joints, I couldn’t make a right fist, I didn’t have enough power. And I thought it’s just because of the mouse, because I was working in an office and a reservations department and I thought it’s maybe just because I use my hands too much and I ignore it. And then I had some severe shoulder pain when I went to the seaside with a part of my family, I was driving for a few good hours and then I woke up and I I couldn’t like lift my hand properly because my shoulder was hurting so bad. And I was the first time I kind of got a little bit scared because I was afraid, I couldn’t drive back, I remember I didn’t swim those days, so it was hurting really bad. But I just put some gel like cream on it, and I got some anti-inflammatory pills and ignored it again. And then I left just a couple of weeks after I left to the states, that was when I graduated from the University. I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend and left to America to live the dream basically. And I was back basically in a wheelchair and two months.

Clint A wheelchair, oh my gosh.

Irina That’s when it all started. I went there and my brother was actually he was in the army at that time, but he worked at a winery. So I was living with some friends of his and I worked at the winery, opening up a lot of bottles of wine and working at the bar so I was using my hands a lot. And then I started having like severe pain in my hands, in my shoulders, in my knees, and it was like one day I would wake up and I couldn’t lift my hand. It was like hard to take a shower basically, and the other day like the left shoulder started to hurt. So nothing that I could relate to, like OK maybe I slipped on a wrong physician or maybe I did you know those silly questions we ask ourselves why but why. And I was stuffing myself with a lot of medication because when you’re not at your home and you don’t have a good insurance and you’re basically living with some friends, that’s a very bad time to get a serious disease you know. So I was kind of trying, I didn’t ignored it because I didn’t care but I just didn’t want to bother people you know. So I went to a doctor there because my knee was very very swollen, like you could see it from the pants, bad swollen. And he told me it might be something internal, but maybe it could be a possible meniscus injury or something like that. But you know just from one consultation he couldn’t say much.

Irina So long story short I knew I had to come back home to get it fixed that’s what I thought, I was going to do it just to fix the problem and go back and live my life. But it went down so fast this started, it was all in like two or three months. And by the time I was back in the country I had to use a cane, I had like a special seat in the airplane because everything hurts. Like every part of the body were two bones were connecting felt like hurting. I was buying shoes that were bigger because my feet wouldn’t fit basically. And when I got into the hospital so I I landed like Sunday and Monday, I was trade into the hospital and I was there for a couple of weeks till they got me diagnosed. Funny story from the hospital, I know the director of the hospital came to kind of visit all the patients and the doctor who was responsible for me had to just tell him quickly you know what’s wrong. So she’s like the lady just came back from the states so we don’t know exactly what’s going on maybe an infection or something. She can’t move her feet and her hands and her, she’s basically not functional. So I was just lying in bed and I couldn’t even, I was talking to my mom at the phone and someone had to hold a phone for me because I couldn’t put my hand to my ear. So anyway it was that bad, and they got me diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and I think it was a couple of weeks that I stayed in the hospital. I remember the day when a doctor gave me three little white pills, it was Medrol, a type of prednisone only more yeah more severe it was 48 milligrams of Medrol. And that night I started to move, and I was able to go to the toilet by myself without two assistants holding me.

Irina So I started medication with 48 milligrams of Medrol, and with 5 milligrams of methotrexate, that’s what my rheumatologist at that time put me on. And as the time went by in a couple of weeks she of course decreased the steroids but she never increased the methotrexate, she left it only with 5 milligrams. Now methotrexate is basically a chemotherapy drug at a lower dose, and she probably didn’t want the side effects to affect me so much. But 5 milligrams was not enough for me to you know keep me, to get me moving and improving my health. And that’s why I was basically addicted to steroids because I couldn’t get better, I was dependent on steroids to get me start the day basically. I was waking up and I was living with a friend, one of my best friends at the time, and she had to help me put on my bra sometimes because my hands couldn’t reach my back. And I was just wearing all the Ugg boots like anything that is just easier to put my feet in, any coat that it was just easier to put on because you know those elderly people that take like 5 minutes to put on a jacket that was me and a morning.

Irina And so I was on these 5 milligrams of methotrexate, and then prednisone for I think 2 years. Yeah, you don’t even have to say it but I know. And then she started adding Plaquenil which is an entire rheumatic, but she never increased to this dose. Now I’m beginning to see other doctors, my mother was living in Italy at the time and she was every time I would go visit her as she would just you know take me to a better doctor because this idea that maybe somewhere you have better doctors and better treatment outside the country, but it’s basically the same everywhere. And the thing is I started after, so I was 4 and a half years with prednisone, Plaquenil, and these 5 milligrams of methotrexate. And then one doctor in Italy I saw really changed the doses. The reason why I didn’t change my doctor up until then was because I was so bad in the hospital, my condition was so bad that that doctor who gave me those three little white pills for me that was my savior, that was the angel that got me on my feet. And I was raised with this idea you know my mother always said hey be a good girl and do what the doctor says you know. So it took me a while to get off that mindset and say hey you know what, maybe there is something else better. Maybe I don’t have to live with it forever or maybe there is a better way, because I was told at the beginning Hey this is I didn’t know what rheumatoid arthritis is I had no idea about autoimmune diseases. I was 24 I didn’t even know what methotrexate is because they were doing the injections in the hospital every week, and then when I started to take it at home because I thought I could never do that myself. But then I got tired of going there every week, so I just learned how to do my own shots, and I was doing that and my hips. And when I saw the side effects when I got my own you know I bought the injections myself and I saw methotrexate and this is for this type of cancer, and then at the bottom somewhere I was rheumatoid arthritis. So I was like, what is this medicine you know, I didn’t even realize.

Clint Yeah you didn’t know because someone else was injecting it for you when you saw the labels you started to understand.

Irina The only thing they said when I got out of the hospital was don’t eat salt because I was on steroids, on prednisone so I would get swollen. You probably don’t know but because you haven’t taken steroids. But if you take prednisone you have to stay away from Salt because otherwise you get swollen. And I had a face like a moon, in the first year I was staying off. I didn’t stand to take photos, I didn’t want to see any friends or so because my face was literally like a moon or like a pumpkin. And they just said stay off so stay away from Salt and don’t get pregnant. That’s just the two advises I got, and I was like OK I’m not going to get pregnant but you know what’s the (inaudible) about it? And then I realized that this chemotherapy drug basically won’t allow me to ever get pregnant while I’m on it

Clint I think it allows you to get pregnant but the risk of having defects of your child are enormous.

Irina Yeah sorry, I shouldn’t get, It’s not that I cannot get pregnant. I shouldn’t because I would. I didn’t actually understand I was so young and I didn’t have any knowledge of like. Well what happens if I get pregnant? Well you would basically create monsters, because the defect of the baby wouldn’t be that severe. And I started thinking if my body is not healthy enough to develop a pregnancy, and I would have to wait 6 months to stay off it and then try to have a baby. Then how toxic is this medication to my body anyway? You know that’s when I started asking myself. And anyway this doctor in Italy increased my dose so that was four and a half years into my journey. And after the consultation he said you know what, I think you’re fighting the side effects of the drugs more than you’re fighting the disease itself. And I was like an aha moment for me because he seemed to be the only one who actually said what I was thinking. I was obsessed with prednisone, I was obsessed it became like an obsession for me.

Clint In what way? You mean if you didn’t have it with you and you weren’t able to take it then you would have massive anxiety.

Irina No not anxiety just pain, it was something. So for me Prednisone is the pure definition of a drug because an addiction. Because I hate it because of the side effects it gives me like overweight, I gained 20 kilograms in a few months after getting out of the hospital. 20 kgs a lot and I was already overweight, so you know it got me to an obese state. And I knew it was bad but at the same time when I was trying to decrease or stay off it, I had so severe pain that when I took my pill I just felt better, and within hours. It was like, I don’t know how cocaine is but this was probably similar. I don’t know.

Clint You still got that glint in your eye when you talk about it.

Irina Yeah. I had so many episodes where I just, I was trying to stay off it. I was telling to my doctor, hey I’m doing this homeopath thing and I’m going to fix the thing and my rheumatologist said OK let’s see how it goes. And then of course I was back, crawling, and asking for prednisone and within you know weeks or so. And I knew it’s bad but I kind of you know just want my dose so I can feel good and start moving.

Clint Well you’ve definitely set the scene for what I mean someone who is on such a connection with that drug. I can see why you really wanted to get off it, and that being the main goal from start now program. So I’m pretty excited to hear about how you’re able to do that because as you’ve said it’s extremely difficult to get off. And everyday I work with people who are trying to get from 2 mg down to one or from five to four, I mean it’s painstaking.

Irina Yeah. It’s just, it’s horrible. And after 4 and a half years the doctor in Italy increased my dose of methotrexate gradually, so I brought it up to 20 milligrams which is basically the dose recommended for arthritis. And I decreased the prednisone up to a point where I think after five years I was able to stay off prednisone. With the methotrexate 20 mg and with the Plaquenil.

Clint That’s perfect. That’s what every doctor should do in my opinion. What you’ve just described is the precise thing that I believe should be done. If you’re on like prednisone is not a long-term Rheumatic Drug, it’s an interim thing that should be taken I believe only in extreme circumstances to get someone from the hospital to home again and that’s about it. And then we should be using proper medications for a proper serious long-term condition.

Irina Exactly.

Clint Prednisone and non-steroidal inflammatory they’re meant for like very very short term use and then not a long term medication treatment. In my view.

Irina Yeah I know that’s why I changed my doctor after those years.

Clint The new one, the Italian was good.

Irina Yeah. The thing is, Oh I think my condition was pretty severe because I couldn’t. So the body got used to that dosage of methotrexate and it didn’t last for too long. It lasted for I think I was able to stay off it for a few months close to a year that was like the first time, and I was able to lose some weight as well. So I was very happy but then the pain started again, and the local rheumatologist in Romania had to you know give me prednisone. She was saying OK take this for like a month, and then after the episode is done we’ll be able to extract it to get it off.

Clint That’s just crazy talk as well. Like another friend, a different friend came to me the other day with a condition which was actually external lupus. So we’re talking about a skin condition not the classic internal Lupus and you know the more common version. And so he goes to his doctor and the doctor says, Okay well take the Medrol pack exactly what we’re talking about like feel what you were given right? And then so I speak to my friend he’s a very smart intelligent person and he said yeah. I said what are you taking? His like I don’t know what it is. How can you not know what it is? And he sent me a text message he’s like, this is what is. I said yes, that’s a steroid that I was telling about at dinner and this is how it works and everything and I’m like, at the end of taking it your symptoms are going to be exactly the same as what they were. But you’ll have then suffered whatever internal damage from 50 mg for example a starting dose you were on 48. On what planet does this make sense? At the end of taking steroids for a month, you then have the exact same condition because it’s just a big anti-inflammatory it doesn’t address the underlying cause or anything. It’s not like when the body gets rid of the inflammation for a month then it decides that oh I’m never going to have that inflammation ever again. It’s just going to resume exactly what it was doing beforehand. It’s just absurd.

Clint And so that situation is exactly what you’re just describing the doctors like, oh you’ve come to see me today. And if I were the doctor not knowing, if I didn’t have the skills of the nutritional side of things and someone comes with your situation. The only thing I could say was take steroids, because it gets them out of the office and gives them some pain relief and you feel like you’ve achieved something for taking someone’s money. But that’s just it’s crazy, absolutely crazy.

Irina It’s like covering suffering. Like oh there’s dirt there, let’s just cover it with a blanket and just pretend. And then you have to take your blanket, Oh the dirt is still there. Big surprise.

Clint Big surprise, exactly.

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Irina I didn’t know much but I knew I wanted to stay off it. But this is how it’s been going on for the next year so I was having an episode whatever I would call them. I was going to her and she would prescribe prednisone, and she actually suggested hey this is not working anymore there’s a trial for this new biological treatment. I didn’t know what biological is, but I kind of understood that the second level and it will get me even harder to exclude that once I get on. So I was kind of afraid of that, and this trial trying a new medicine. I didn’t want to be a rat lab, a guinea pig. And this is basically what happened in the next period. I was going to her every time, and every time I would try something new like this self-healing books and this new I know until alternative thing. And I was telling her I’m trying this homeopath pills and I think it’s going to heal and I’m doing this and that and she would just say ok. Never say Oh this is crap, but she would just say OK let’s see how you feel. And then I was you know just going back crawling in pain basically. There were times when I was bursting and crying in her office, and she sent me to a different psychiatrist. And I have been seeing therapists along the way and that was very helpful.

Clint And I completely understand. What I’m just curious about is, how come it took so long to find the plant-based solution? Why during all of these self-healing stuff had you overlooked for instance one of our podcasts on YouTube? Or the work of Dr. McDougal. I mean when I got diagnosed was 2006 and let me tell you it was a ghost town back then trying to find someone doing this sort of thing that I’m doing now. It’s a ghost town. In fact like I couldn’t find any I just found a couple of books on Amazon was the only full complete portfolio of help was 2 books on Amazon. So I’m just curious if you’ve got typing into Google, like how did you not sort of come across?

Irina I don’t know because I was actually struggling to find solutions. I know I was looking for a (inaudible). Within like 5, 6 years into this I was trying to find other solutions and I started thinking there might be something in the food. So I was always searching for diet and arthritis, and it’s all about the Mediterranean diet that is promoted as you know a good diet for arthritis. So I was basically doing the Mediterranean but that still has you know animal products and that still has dairy and oils and all that. And because of my you know foodie personality I liked baking cookies, and I actually had a blog and I wanted to make a business out of it. I made really delicious cheesecakes and muffins and all that. People still know me as you know what’s going on? What do you bake now? Well just plant-based goodies. So I was eating a lot of sugar as well which is really bad for inflammation. I started into green smoothies, I started into you know less sugar, less fat thing recipes but I was still eating dairy and sugar and all that.

Irina Yeah. So that was the only thing the Mediterranean diet that I was finding. I tried to exclude gluten and some point, only gluten which was very hard and I didn’t see any results in a few months. I tried to exclude dairy at some point because I wanted to get rid of my acne I had a really severe acne on my back and I took a lot of antibiotics for that ever since I was a teenager.

Clint Hang on a second. How did we overlook this before? How did we overlook that you took lots of antibiotics as a teenager?

Irina I took a lot of antibiotics since I was a kid actually because I was catching a cold very very easy and I actually I still do. So I catch a cold maybe every other month, and last year there were two situations where I had to take antibiotics actually. Because when I catch a cold I mean I do it you know I take the whole package. Like I have infections in my throat or my nose or it’s always pretty severe and I have a cough that lasts for like a month or two. And ever since I was a kid I took a lot of medicine for these flu’s, the colds I had. For my acne that I tried to fix in different ways. And also my menstrual pain is very severe and I took a lot of anti-inflammatory every month.

Clint This is where it’s at.

Irina So that’s why. Now I understand all about guts and I actually attend some courses of integrative medicine and we learn all about the microbiome. And now I understand that that starts actually when you were born, if you’re naturally born or through a C-section. It starts with breast feeding and that creates a very good environment for your gut. And it starts with all all the foods and the antibiotics actually are the first thing that causes imbalance in the gut.

Clint Absolutely.

Irina The first to out external thing that you can do. And the second one guess what, it’s meat and that’s what I learned at the courses. And actually it makes sense because when you put dead animals that are rotting in your stomach that can’t be good for the gut bacteria you know. So finally when I googled diet and arthritis, I somehow saw a video with you on YouTube doing the green juice.

Clint Yeah. That’s a classic. That was 10 years ago or something.

Irina So I was into smoothies already like green smoothies but never juice. So I saw your video and then of course I Googled everything about you and I bought your program. And I kind of prepared my body for about 2 weeks before that I excluded all the animal products, I try to reduce coffee and all that. And when I started it I didn’t have a professional juicer, I didn’t have a rice cooker I was just putting everything on a stove the quinoa and buckwheat. I remember the first day my mom was actually back in the country and she was living with me for a little while, and the first morning when I started and I juiced the whole bunch of celery with the cucumber. I didn’t like celery, I don’t like it now raw like this, just put it on my (inaudible). So I was thinking, Oh my God this is going to probably be horrible. And it was just, it was OK to drink it, It was just so drinkable. I was so happy that I can drink it because I was nervous, Oh my God this is gonna taste bad or something. But I was able to drink it, and the first day was OK. But then the second day I woke up and I was like I think I had withdrawals. Now luckily you describe everything very well in your book and I was not scared. So I just jumped into the third day directly because I was shaking, and I was like sweating a lot, and I was kind of afraid so I just jumped into the third day.

Irina And at the time when I started I forgot to mention this, I had just finished an episode with prednisone and so I took that for I think the last of 4 or 5 months. And my doctors said Okay we’ll stop it and then if things go bad we’ll try the biological treatment. Because she was probably 95% sure that I will be bad because this is how I was every time we stop the prednisone. And I know you say you shouldn’t start the program when just changing something in your medication. So but I was so desperate, and the thing was my goal as I mentioned if I can stay off it with this kind of a diet, then you know she won’t put me on biological and I’ll just stay with these two drugs the methotrexate and the Plaquenil. Now I didn’t and this is very important I’d like to mention this for the people watching. I saw the program, I was reading the book, I saw the videos with people that got through this. I was believing I didn’t know anything about gut health, so that was when I started searching about gut. But I just took it as a diet and because of my weight issues I was very used to dieting right? I just looked at it as I could do this for like a couple of weeks and then you know we’ll see how it goes. And it’s not because I didn’t believe in the program, but I didn’t believe I can do it, because I liked food, I was a foodie, because I liked baking and all that. And I never thought that I could give up all those and I saw this as you know something very extreme.

Irina But the thing is what happens with your program is that, the effect, the results are absolutely incredible and absolutely incredibly fast. And seeing how your body changes, it actually changes your whole perception on food. It gives you belief and hope and power that you can do this, and it changes your taste buds. I never thought I could drink coffee without milk or not drink coffee at all. I never thought I could give up you know cheese, everybody says cheese is so hard to exclude. And I’m now when I see cheese, I see inflammation and pain. I actually see that. There are times when I go to the supermarket and I’m sometimes hungry which I know I should never go shopping when I’m hungry. But sometimes I just grab like a croissant or something that I used to eat and think I’ll just get this one and you know I eat so well. And 95%t of the time I’ll just get this one in and then you know by the time I get to the Counter I put it back because I just cannot hurt my body. it’s something mentally like, OK I’m not going to hurt my body with this. It says there are gluten, dairy, chocolate, and all that. I don’t want to hurt my body this way. I don’t succeed 100% of the time, but I now succeed 99% of the time and that’s a huge progress.

Irina So when I started this coming back I did it for the whole 12 days or I think the first couple of weeks. And I was basically off the last prednisone though so I was only on Plaquenil and methotrexate. So I was basically OK with my joints but I never thought I could be even better, because within days I had like more flexibility in my joints. I could do things with my hands that I already have some damages to my right joint and I thought that that was the best I can do now, but it got even better with the food. And so what I started to include within a few weeks was, I actually started to include some fish and some poultry like once a week. Because the pressure from my family and everyone around was like, you can’t just not eat meat that’s not okay. And I didn’t know, I didn’t have the knowledge I have now. Now I’m like Oh yeah. Who show me the science. I’m so confident now. It’s not good, where’s your protein like oh Check. Here’s some science, I’ll just send you an email, go do your homework and then we’ll talk. I mean I’m much more confident because now I know.

Clint That’s awesome.

Irina But back then my mom was like, I made this really good soup with some veal don’t you at least want to try it? And I was like I don’t feel like eating meat. So my cravings were for sweets not for meaty foods. I was never like a big meat eater but thinking Oh my God I’m going to lose all this protein you know, these stupid ideas you get. I tried, it was like once a week not really much. But as long as I felt good, I kind of included that and I wanted to mention this. And what happened I went to my rheumatologist like three weeks after I started your program. And every time when I went to visit her I would do my tests, my blood tests before. So this was the first time since I ever got since I got arthritis when I had the inflammation in normal ranges. My ECR was 20 so right at the top but yeah basically normal, and I never had ECR over 20. When I started my ECR I was like 78, and I had it like 30 or 40 with all the medication but it was never in the normal ranges. So my doctor was probably expecting me to go swollen and in pain and you know asking for medicine, and I now remember the day I opened the door and she didn’t say hello. She said, what did you eat? What did you drink? Like because she saw the blood tests before I got into the appointment.

Clint And that’s what the first thing she said.

Irina Yeah. What did you eat? What did you drink? I was like Let me tell you, I found this book and this guy who rheumatoid arthritis. And he develop this I called it like a detox or a cleaning the gut I didn’t know much about the gut as I was saying. And I told her and you also have a thing paper exclusively for a rheumatologist in your program. So I gave her that and I just described you know written in an email what I have eaten and what I’ve done. And the first thing she did was to, she was very happy for me actually. The first thing she did it she decreased so the injections were now pills the methotrexate which is like a small decrease.

Clint That’s really interesting. I’ve not heard that before as an actual, as a tapering mechanism. That’s interesting.

Irina Because basically injectables are much more.

Clint Potent or absorbed.

Irina Absorbed, yeah exactly. They absorb better in the bodies so the pills it was more comfortable for me as well because I didn’t have to do my own injections every week. And then after two weeks she didn’t want to decrease or go farther because she wanted to make sure that I actually maintained the states.

Clint Oh absolutely. This is way too early to start lowering medications. Interestingly if it’s worth me saying if I were the doctor I would say well that’s fantastic but I want to see 2 or 3 consecutive months of these results. Which is what I recommend in my program I say look if you have wanting desperately to reduce medications then what I did with my doctor is this and it was to hit normal bloodwork for both C reactive protein and SED rate for 3 or 3 consecutive months, and then make a tiny reduction. And then another 2 or 3 months, and then another tiny reduction. And at any time if inflammation goes up or symptoms start to return to stay on that dose. So your doctor is actually a little bit more what’s the word adventuress than a lot.

Irina Well yeah, she was happy for me at the beginning but she was not happy at the end because she didn’t want to exclude everything. But anyway this was how she started and then my job was to because I saw the benefits. I tried to be as compliant as I can. So I was sticking, I was basically eating quinoa and buckwheat a lot like every lunch I would get my colleagues wrote. I had colleagues who said I feel bad when going to lunch with you cause you know you eat so healthy and I eat so junky food. And some called me like the quinoa Queen. And I had my green juice with me every (inaudible), everybody knows my green juice, I call it it’s my healthiest obsession. And if I go do my nails I have my green bottle(inaudible) with me. If I’m in a meeting, actually I was in a meeting once and I put my green juice in a Starbucks plastic cup no one can see what’s in there and it was like a really formal meeting. And a colleague of mine is just a small room with five or 6 people. And a colleague of mine was looking like you know doing the nose something smells like parsley or what is a cucumber in here. And I was like Oh well that’s my juice actually it’s I have a (inaudible). Really. Oh OK. That’s what is it? Well it’s a cucumber and celery actually. Really, so you juice that? OK. And to like huh. That said that’s interesting OK.

Irina Yeah I was trying to be as compliant as I can and just you know put all these nutritious and really good food into my body so I can maintain the low inflammation and of the low levels so she can decrease. I didn’t want to be adventurous. Now within like couple of months she took out the Plaquenil. So I was just on the methotrexate, and then she started decreasing the methotrexate. So within like 6 months I was already only on 10 milligrams of methotrexate.

Clint Within 6 months. Wow Fantastic.

Irina So that was for me. And you see when, when I saw things were going so well I was courageous. My goal now was to be 100% off medication because I saw the results and I said hey being off prednisone is now not enough because look I can do more and I can actually beat this thing. And this is what the program gives you, it gives you hope and you can see how things can improve very well. I remember I had to go to Germany for a business trip right after like a month starting their program, and I said I’m not going to go for a month there because I knew when travelling I travelled a lot for work and in my life and it can be really nice but when you’re on a strict diet at least at the beginning. Now I know my way around, I know where to go what to buy and what to take on with me. But at that time I remember, I said I’m going to be there for a maximum of two weeks or like ten days, I negotiated. And they sent me there and I was carrying like a little juicer with me it was so small I had to cut the cucumbers like vertically in half. And it was so noisy I mean that thing could woke up dead seriously, and I was juicing that at 5:30 in the morning in a five stars hotel right. The first thing I did when I landed in Germany it was I found a supermarket and bought my celery and cucumber.

Irina So anyway that’s that’s how I was keen on really you know doing this. And after after staying on 10 milligrams of methotrexate she didn’t want to decrease it. And she said OK let’s go through the winter, because I’m also a little bit weather dependent. When it’s very humid and when it’s very cold I can actually feel it in my joints. And that’s why Bucharest, being the capital of Romania is I think besides the pollution and all the crazy traffic, it has some advantages in the sense that you can get almost anything if you want to eat healthy or plant based. There is no restaurants that sell plant based burgers, quinoa, buckwheat, a (inaudible), and there is there’s a lot of stuff you can buy and juices and smoothies. So if you want to eat healthy you can really find it easy. And it’s also OK because in the mountain area where my family lives, every time I go there it’s really beautiful and fresh air. But I feel it in my joints almost within hours or a day. I just feel like a little something higher in the mountains.

Clint What weather conditions do you think triggers it? Is it the humidity? Do you think all the cool or what is it?

Irina These two combinations humidity and cold.

Clint Okay.

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Irina So that’s my conclusion. And after I’d gotten fairly well over the winter, my doctor said okay maybe if you’re so doing so well we’ll decrease it. But then every time I would go to a consultation she would not decrease it. She would say I know it’s better to just you know be on the safe zone, and have this 10 milligrams is just a small dose so you can you know we’ll just keep it there just in case. And I was doing so fine I was like well why should we keep it just in case. But I realized then or now there is no doctor who actually takes on the responsibility to remove the last dose of immuno-suppressive. I don’t know anybody who did that.

Clint Well she probably doesn’t have any other doctors as friends or colleagues who’ve ever done that. So she’s got no reference, there’s no reference point. If she hasn’t had a patient in the past who she’s ever taken off drugs, and I see what you’re saying and I completely agree is that there’s a responsibility that she feels and that’s a good sign of a good doctor. And she just feels Look she might not feel comfortable with you not being on a drug because if you were to come back to her in pain she feels like she’s done something that is considered medically inconsistent with the recommendations. Which are put people on as much drugs as necessary to squash the symptoms.

Irina Exactly. And I’m not blaming her 100% but this was a person that saw me at my worst. I mean there were days when I was just going to her and I would just cry, I mean she saw me at my worst and now when I was doing so well she was not even I mean I sent her all the documentation. She was not even curious to say this is my job as a doctor, this is my expertise and there is a person who has struggled for years and now she’s doing fine just like that. I would at least be curious to know what you know what is that? Maybe I can tell that to other patients. I mean if you’re at your job is, I used to work in procurement. We used to I don’t know do orders for people and approving them and checking all the details. And that usually depending on the value you will take I don’t know 3 days. If someone would do that just in one hour and I would at least if that’s my job, And it always takes 3 days to get an order approved, I would at least check to see hey how did this guy do it in one hour. Because that’s my job right?

Clint Yeah. You’d want to learn. There’s obviously a better way of doing it than the status quo. And if there’s a better way then shouldn’t we all shift across to that? And good doctors would good doctors, because Dr. Michael Klapper who’s been on the podcast a couple of times or we’ve had him a bunch in our support group. So I have monthly support calls and I’ve had him as a guest a few times to take questions from members. And he says, you learn the most from your patients. That’s he’s one of his quotes, you learn your most from your patients. So if you present with virtually no symptoms after being one of the worst cases, I mean it’s mind blowing how she wouldn’t want to take you out maybe not to dinner but take you just go for a walk or sit down at a cafe and hear everything you have to say.

Irina No, every time I would go in she would just make these weird faces like, are you still eating those greens? Are you still drinking that?

Clint Oh my God. As if please don’t do that because I’ve got medications for you.

Irina Yeah. She’s like Oh my God I don’t know how you can. I’ve been to the states a few times travelling for work and I told her I didn’t have any hamburgers because I don’t like them and I don’t eat hamburgers. Really? So you’ve been to those states and you didn’t have like a steak? No and she was like making these faces, Oh I got no meat, and no cheese. She would just check every thing possible in my blood. And I remember once in December when I went to her and she saw the blood everything everything was excellent. And she said you know what these blood tests are so well, I have never had a patient with this and I could just frame them and put them on a wall there that good. But she wouldn’t you know she wouldn’t. So she obviously saw the results but she wouldn’t do more like, Okay let’s have you talk to other patients or let’s see if other patients could just you know juice some cucumber and celery, there’s no side effect of eating healthy. There are no side effects of trying to eat healthy, you can just see the benefits. I mean yeah so that was very frustrating and towards the end she said you know the only reason why I wouldn’t get you off my methotrexate would be if you want to get pregnant. And I’m like Okay wait a minute, so if I want to get pregnant you’ll take me off the drug, but if I don’t you won’t. I mean how does that happen? And I said I went to her one of my last visits and I said I’d like to have a baby, so I don’t plan this right now. I mean I’d love to have a family one day but not planning at the moment. But I just I told that to her and she doesn’t know me personally that well but I don’t think she believed in me 100%. She’s like If you want to have a baby then we’ll take you off and you have to do all the preparation tests. So she actually prescribed all the tests that I have to do you know before I’m getting ready for a pregnancy.

Clint Hang on a second. When do we need to do tests before being able to have a baby. I mean surely you just can’t the drug and wait 6 months. Right?

Irina Yeah yeah. But there’s like some blood test you need to do you know just to test fertility and all that kind of stuff (inaudible) Gynecologists.

Clint If someone wants to make money out of you. Come on. Do you think in rural Africa there are people doing tests. Yeah.

Irina I know but in Romania it’s crazy. So there’s people who can’t afford like a proper medical insurance. I’ve always had like private medical insurance because I worked in multinational companies all the time I didn’t have this issue and now I’m getting I’m not working in multinational companies anymore but I’m getting a private insurance on my own. So there’s this big gap and there’s people who can afford a lot of stuff and they do, I mean it’s crazy how they can be tricked into genetic testing and all kinds of you know treatments or testing or intolerances and they pay like a lot of money for these things, they pay a lot of money for it. but you know it’s like they just think that maybe more expensive medical care will be better.

Clint Yeah we all think.

Irina When in fact the most healthy people on earth are actually the poorest.

Clint Yeah but because if we can only only eat potatoes and rice then you’re going to do fantastic.

Irina Exactly, if tomorrow you decide to eat potatoes, rice, and salad you (inaudible) huge benefits. I started with wanting to reduce my inflammation. I cleaned my liver I had a fatty liver because of the medicine for years I had acne. I mean there’s all kinds of transformation that happened and I call it a side effects of healthy eating because you get a lot of benefits which you don’t even think about. So what I did finally I told her I want to have a baby so she said she wants to see me in another month. And I got an infection in my throat, I had like a really severe cold and I had to take antibiotics and when you have a big infection you know you’re not allowed to take the methotrexate and that week because it interferes. So I didn’t take the methotrexate that week, I didn’t take it the following week and I said hey you know what this is my moment. I’ll just exclude it for good. And I went back to her and I saw I told her that I excluded it completely, and she was very very pissed off. She wrote on my report something like, she excluded the last medication on her own will or something like that so she can you know not be responsible for it.

Clint Exactly that’s all it is.

Irina And she said you’ll be crawling back in pain, and you’ll be swallowed, and you’ll be you know all this.

Clint She said that. Your doctor said you’ll be crawling back in pain and you’ll be.

Irina She was like describing how bad I will be. And I said you know this thing, this way of eating really changed my life. And I’m gonna be a nutritionist, I’m gonna get certified in a few months, and she said something like whatever. She said something in Romanian that I can’t translate exactly but it was like you know whatever. Not even you know hey good for you, you know I don’t agree with this but whatever works for you if you’re happy and healthy whatever not even that.

Clint Sometimes people will say to me that I’ve heard this more than once, and I think that the sentiment is summed up really nicely in this expression. Is that people have told me that when you get well or when you’re doing great without the need for medications rheumatologists have told my clients that they’re boring. And I’ve heard this on a number of occasions, so it tells me the sort of sentiment that’s going on. The patient becomes boring because they can’t try and solve a problem. The patient comes and everything looks normal and so there’s nothing to do, and it’s not because of their meds it’s because the patient is self improving right? Doing things to address the underlying cause. And doctors say look you know you’re actually boring, to be told that I think is the most weirdest backhanded compliment you could get but that’s what’s going on. But I think it can go beyond that in your situation where it almost becomes insulting for the doctors. She takes personal insult because she is now redundant and you are the smarter of the two human beings.

Irina Yeah well I never played smart and I was really humble all this time. I never pretend that I know better than a doctor and I still don’t pretend that. But I’ve obviously learned so much and I can see the results on myself, my friends, my family see the results. You cannot ignore that, you can just pretend that didn’t happen and you can just call it. It was not through this magical pill or this magical doctor or this healing one food or something. It was just through basic whole food you know and plant based, on expensive basic food.

Clint Humble food.

Irina Speaking of which you know your program was actually, the 50 bucks was less than my last rheumatologist appointment because that didn’t it wasn’t covered by my insurance I had at the time. And I was like she didn’t even touch my hands or make a proper consultation. And I was like listen you don’t have to be rich to be healthy and actually being sick can be very expensive. And I’m not talking about only the medicine but the whole lifestyle. You know I sometimes had someone helping me clean the house and I had friends like you’re paying a woman to clean your house. Yeah I need to I live alone and I sometimes need help. Now I can do it on my own but in the past I needed help for that and I had to get a car so I can drive easier and I had to get like an automatic car because so that I wouldn’t have to change the speeds all the time like a manual car. That’s expensive but it is significantly helped my joints, and all that kind of the whole lifestyle that is much more expensive when you’re sick.

Clint Absolutely.

Irina Yeah. What happened in the end? I have to say she was right and to some extent because the pain did come back. And within two months since I extracted all the medication, I had really severe pain. What I was doing at that time, I was eating maybe 90% compliant.

Clint There were some mistakes in there.

Irina Yeah. So at my work there was always chocolate, there was always someone’s birthday or someone was you know pregnant or someone that was celebrating something. And I must snack her I always have to know if I hear a bag opening I at least need to know it’s in there. I might not want to taste but you know all the colleagues were like this to me and they would just come in and ask me if I want something before opening the bag because they knew I would ask anyway. So being 90% compliant, and you know for many of the conditions is actually wonderful but for autoimmune conditions that there’s times that 90% is not enough.

Clint It’s the time, that’s all the time.

Irina Yeah. I just thought I could get away with it because I was doing good. You know I thought I got this, I know what to do and you know I can skip a little chocolate once in a while and I can do this but when I really.

Clint Yeah maybe if you had still been on that 10 mg methotrexate that might’ve been the case, but you are accepting 100% of the responsibility when you come off that drug. It is like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and if you go and mess around you’re going to feel it instantly.

Irina Yeah so that’s what happened I had probably the biggest flare in my life. I remember so that was like 6 months ago right? I had to work from home and my colleagues and managers were very supportive, because I didn’t want to drive and get dressed and do all that. My mother was living close and she would come every morning to cut my celery and cucumber and do all this for me, and do the dishes. I was going to the Beauty Shop to wash my hair because I didn’t have enough power in my hands to wash my hair. But what you did was I saw that this is going down like when the pain started it was like really fast, so I said OK I’m on my own now. And what I did was just went back to the baseline of your program the first day. And I prepared again, I started on the weekend and it’s just absolutely incredible Clint, after 24 hours I saw improvement. It was not 50% improvement, it was maybe 3%. Because without medication it’s harder. But I saw little improvement day by day and I stuck to it, I really was compliant this time 100 %. And I managed to gradually improve, and I was able to go to work again in a couple of weeks. And ever since i’m basically you know still not perfect, maybe I would say 99 %. I still have days when I feel like I’ve worked too much, or I you know clean the house a little bit too much or I exaggerated with exercising and that. I kind of know now what causes it but I manage it only with food, and that’s absolutely amazing. I never thought I could reach those points.

Clint Yeah nor do very few people feel that someone could reach that point. So with regards to time left can we just quickly get cover. Have you done any changes to your exercise routine since starting our program?

Irina I tried hot (inaudible) yoga, there was no bilram yoga studio in Bucharest. I think there is one now, very pricey but I will try it one day. I try to hot yoga and I have to say it didn’t really work for me, I tried actually several times. I tried personalized yoga with a teacher that does only with me. The thing is I feel good and flexible but it’s still a little bit painful.

Clint Right.

Irina And what really really works for me is swimming, and I love the feeling. I have a lot of swimming pools around me, I’m a member of a club that has a few and it’s just I call it my my friend zoned out because I feel so good every time. And swimming and sometimes just walking if I can’t go to the swim I try to do my daily 10000 steps. I try to do some gymnastics around the house, I have all kinds of you know little exercise balls that I try to work with. But for me swimming is definitely the best. I know Yoga works.

Clint I knew there had to be something right? I knew there had to be something that’s going on in addition to the food, because you I just don’t see it or at least it’s so rare to only have the food as the only chain. There has to be some swimming, there has to be some bike riding, or there has to be something cardiovascular activity. We have to move the lymphatic system to eliminate the waste that we’re clearing from the body. And so I knew there was something going on now.

Irina Exactly Yeah.

Clint Thank you for sharing. We know one thing that we wanted to cover just before we started, and you said this wonderful close quote. So I’d like to close with your quote which was actually I haven’t talked it down correctly but if you could if you could say for me but it’s the one about consistency. Can you tell me about that one?

Irina I always say that the key to being successful is not being perfect but is being constant in what you do, and that means you know baby steps. And if you can be 100 % compliant you know be 80 %. Try 50 %, try it for at least a period of time or try to do as much as you can but do it constantly. I’m not actually now 100 % if I can you know be very honest but I’m doing more every day, my cravings are less every day. My exercise is better every day, I try to improve and add a few rounds in my swimming all the time. And aiming and trying to be perfect is not the solution, but trying to make small or you know big improvements as big as you can but do it for good. Do it on a daily basis and be constant in what you do. That’s the secret I suppose. And as catchy or you know cliché as this may sound, I think hard work will get you there in the end. And when you build this kind of a success through your hard work and not through some magical quick fix, when you build it with your hard work you know no one can take it away from you. The power you gain through the process is just imaginable and there is nothing more important than health. If you can just get back your health what better in life can there be.

Clint That’s right. That sets everything else up, it’s the foundation isn’t it? Irina thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story. It’s been fascinating to listen about you through the ups and downs, and the challenges, and then the success. And like you say it’s a work in progress, it’s something that at whatever stage you’re at there’s always a degree of discipline that is required. And you have you have found that at times if you’re off the drugs, and you’re only doing 90 % of what you need. That might not be enough. If you are on the drugs and you’re doing 90 % well that might be a good balance and so is a big lesson in that for people if they’re thinking of trying to taper their medications realize that with that comes a lot of responsibility so we have to be way up the force and against. So thanks.

Irina At least you know that you have a choice.

Clint That’s it.

Irina I can eat whatever I want and go back to drugs but it’s my choice not to do it.

Clint And good luck with your future career. I’m sure you’re gonna do great especially with your corporate background and your ability to communicate both in your in your native language and also English. I mean you’re gonna just be able to reach a lot of people and have that feeling we talked about earlier on in the episode about how making it okay because now we can help other people. And so I certainly wishing you the best of that and looking forward to see how that how that business grows.

Irina Thank you so much Clint. Thank you for everything you do.


Methotrexate, Plant-based, Plaquenil, prednisone

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