October 8

Reversing Psoriatic Arthritis Naturally with Nicole

This episode is about reversing psoriatic arthritis naturally with diet and exercise – Nicole shares her story with Clint Paddison

Disclaimer -the information on this site is not medical advice. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise, drug or supplement routines you must first discuss the changes with a licensed professional. 

Clint: Thanks for joining us today on this episode of the Paddison Podcast. And let me start this by saying one of the most common questions I get from people who are thinking about doing this program is “does it work for psoriatic arthritis?” It seems that the people with psoriatic arthritis are very indicated for with a program that works and the program that provides tremendous and long-lasting relief. And I’ve had several testimonials come back from clients who’ve purchased the Paddison Program for psoriatic arthritis, but none have been forthcoming to jump on a podcast.

Well, that’s about to change because although our guest today hasn’t strictly done the Paddison Program, she has followed a similar approach with a low-fat plant-based diet to get it through the tougher times and is now in an incredible position where she is pain-free and has extraordinary results to share with us. And so Nicole, thank you for coming on this episode.

Nicole: Well, thank you so much for having me.

Clint: I’m really excited, you know, because it’s one of those things where we like to compartmentalize our diseases based on the diagnosis, what the doctor tells us. But it’s my strong belief that if you have an autoimmune condition, we all have a very similar underlying cause. And so I think we’re going to feel that that is more and more the case after we go through your journey and the processes that you use today, sorry, that you’re going to share with us today.

So why don’t we start with where it all started to go a little haywire with your health? I believe we talked before we started that you had psoriasis even when you are a toddler, so why don’t we start back when you were a little one?

Nicole: Way back? Way back?

Clint: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. I don’t even really remember when not having psoriasis. I think my parents told me that, sometime during my transition to eating foods, I developed it and there’s very distinct patches on my ankles and on my elbows. And that was just something that would kind of get bigger or smaller as things went on in life. There was a stress-related component, for sure. My whole life, I remember a couple of times things happening, like our house got broken into and I got all these rashes on my arms because they took a lot of my stuff. I don’t know why, but they did. And…

Clint: Maybe the thieves had a lot of children.

Nicole: I suspect they were going to sell it on the street for drugs and they just took whatever was easiest, yeah.

Clint: Right, yeah, things…yeah, sure, sure, sure.

Nicole: And, sorry, I just browse the table. And then I would say, over the years, I always had that going up and down, and I had some weird things happen that I would look back now and say it might be autoimmune, like I was always getting injured, always. If I didn’t get lots of exercise, like lots of exercise, I would just not feel good, like less good to other people, more tired, just kind of “off” in a way that I recognize now as just being, like, mildly inflamed probably.

Clint: Right. And the exercise would always give you a sense of relief?

Nicole: It would, it was necessary.

Clint: Yeah.

Nicole: It was like I was a different person.

Clint: I love that.

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: “Exercise is necessary.” That’s going in a [inaudible 00:03:30], yeah.

Nicole: [inaudible 00:03:31] Yeah, that’s great. And even my family would notice, they’d be like, “We like you much better when you exercise,” because I would be really be grumpy because I just didn’t feel good, you know? Walking around like… And I got really sick in sometime in, like, high school. For, like, a month, like, my glands roll up on my throat really big and I were so tired. And they figured it must be like mono or Epstein-Barr or something, but I couldn’t ever get a definitive diagnosis on that, so it was sort of unclear. And then that would happen, like, over and over, like if something weird or vague would happen in my life, you know, disturbing kind of things, not just like, “Hey, hurray, I got into college,” but big things.

Clint: Right.

Nicole: I would have a period of just like…I could sleep for 15 hours, no problem, day and days in a row.

Clint: Wow.

Nicole: It wasn’t necessarily painful, but it was sort of just like deep exhaustion. And then, I don’t know, I just kept getting weird injuries, you know, like, “Oh, I somehow hurt my shoulder” or “I somehow did this.” But it wasn’t severe enough or long enough to really do anything about or I was young enough to be like “whatever it will go away,” not really thinking about it. So that was like my 20s, you know, with that. And at some point in my 20s I actually hurt myself enough so that I couldn’t exercise to the degree that I used to be able to. That went on for a while, and as I transitioned into my 30s I guess, which I remember…

Clint: What were you…how were your symptoms for your psoriasis when you…and also for your fatigue levels when you went through a period where you couldn’t exercise?

Nicole: Yeah, my psoriasis I never really…I didn’t pay attention to it. It was more of a vanity thing, I guess you would say, like if it was in the summer and I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted, I’d be upset if it was bothering me or if it was itching a lot I might notice it, but I didn’t think about it too much [inaudible 00:05:35] so I don’t remember.

Clint: And how bad was it? I have, you know, friends who have some degrees of condition and…I mean, are you talking like big welts on your back or are you talking about mild patchy stuff?

Nicole: Pretty mild.

Clint: Yeah.

Nicole: I mean, it was, it was noticeable enough for people to be like, “What is that?” But it was…you know, right, they do. But it wasn’t like palmar posture or anything like that. It wasn’t any of the really extreme stuff. I have relatives who have what I have and also psoriasis and they have, like, the psoriasis part way worse than I ever did.

Clint: Okay.

Nicole: So it was always relatively mild, but very consistently there.

Clint: Okay, so the fatigue was probably more of a severe lifestyle-impacting thing.

Nicole: Yeah, exactly.

Clint: And then you had the psoriasis as a vanity problem.

Nicole: Definitely.

Clint: And then we got through… All that sort of continued through until psoriatic arthritis also presented its ugly head in, what, around 2010 you said before we started?

Nicole: Well, I got diagnosed in 2010, but I would say that I think some people might remember that in 2008 there was this big market crash, financial collapse and everything, and my husband and I were in this period of moving across country to a new job that he therefore then subsequently lost. And I was in New York and he was in California, and we had left our apartment and left our jobs and were like “what are we gonna do?” So that was a pretty big stressor and that’s when joint pain symptoms started to show up. So there was a good eight months of transition from that.

Clint: Wow.

Nicole: And I started to get…my knee would just like swell up, like, you know, what that’s like, and it would be painful, always painful. And that was the primary symptom and then as that went on I guess you would say, it never really resolved itself. Like, I went to a doctor, a regular doctor and he was like, “What do you want me to do? I’m not a joint doctor,” you know, and I was like, “Thanks a lot, okay, great.” And so I kept looking around for, like, an orthopedic person and they were like, “Oh, you have a Baker’s cyst. It looks fine otherwise.” “Okay.”

And then my… I woke up one morning and my shoulder, like I couldn’t move my shoulder, like, past, you know, at some point. And I figured it was just, like, the way I slept, but then that didn’t go away. So I’m, like, accumulating…like I got a knee brace, I have a shoulder brace, I have, like, a sling. And then one day I was just, like, drinking a glass of water, and something in my wrist just went pop and I could not move my wrist. And that went on for months. So then I was just seeking some kind of diagnosis and I went to doctors and they thought that I was addicted to pain meds and I just wanted, like, Vicodin and stuff. So they were like “you want some Percocet, you want some Vicodin.” And I was like, “No, I really want to resolve whatever the heck is going on with my body.”

Clint: Right, maybe the people who come in looking for those drugs like the actual sort of drug-seekers think it’s a good idea to just put a bandage around their knee and shoulder to make it look like they’re in pain, right?

Nicole: Right.

Clint: And you walked in with the same outfit.

Nicole: Yes, yes, and I was like…but I had swelling so I was kind of like, “Dude, you know, what do you think I’m doing here?” And then, let’s see. What happened next? So… Go ahead.

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Clint: Yeah, so when did you go and see a specialist like a rheumatologist who was able to give you a diagnosis and start talking drugs?

Nicole: Okay. So I had a period of time where… I’m just gonna interject this little commentary. It might be because I’m female, but everybody thought I just wanted attention and that I was kind of, like, playing. So I went to several different doctors and I got the same, like, run-around. And then finally, my husband’s boss has, I think, rheumatoid arthritis, I’m not sure – my husband’s boss at that time – and he said, “Maybe she should go to my doctor, my rheumatologist.” So I just made an appointment with him, like upper plan, you know, just no referral. I just went, and, like, in five minutes, he was like, “Oh, you have psoriatic arthritis.”

And I was like, “Oh, great.” At first I was like, “Great, I know what it is.” And then I did more research and I was like, “Oh, this is no, not great, I don’t like this at all.”

Clint: That’s it.

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, and what was his recommendations?

Nicole: Let’s see, so at this point I was intermittently using a wheelchair.

Clint: Oh, my god.

Nicole: Like, not all the time but there were days when I had to, and there were definitely days when I couldn’t dress myself or take a shower or do really anything to function. I had to drink out with straws, you know, when you can’t hold stuff.

Clint: Yeah.

Nicole: And so he recommended that I go on Imuran, which probably has another name, Azathioprine, that’s what that’s called. And I think it’s a sulfur drug that’s similar to like 6-MP, and similar also to methotrexate except for a little, it’s different, it’s not the same class of drug I think but…

Clint: So it’s a disease-modifying antirheumatic?

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: Okay.

Nicole: It’s not exact the same process but it is that.

Clint: Yup.

Nicole: And I went on that. So I started really super small dose and slowly bringing it up, and I didn’t really have much symptomatic changes on that, but I did have a lot of side effects. At least this call’s still going all right.

Clint: So it was like a lose-lose. So you were getting no symptomatic relief, but you are now getting side effects from this drug?

Nicole: Oh, yes, they were bad. I mean, one of the things that it…it suppresses your bone marrow production. I’m not sure if that’s what methotrexate does, I don’t remember. I was never on that, so my white blood cell count sorted to go super low sort of in the…

Clint: Very dangerous.

Nicole: Yes, very dangerous, and I started getting all sorts of infections. I would have a canker sores in my mouth all the time, and my teeth, my gums were bleeding, and my teeth started to bother me, terrible headaches, terrible headaches, and…yeah. And the doctor just kept being like “You’re doing great. Here’s more. Let’s bump it up a little bit,” you know? And I remember saying like, “Well, I don’t feel better, I feel worse.” And he’s like, “Oh, you’re gonna feel like this on this drug.” And it was like, “Well, okay.”

Clint: Yup.

Nicole: And we know that, and I guess it’s what there is, so I then go on to the Internet.

Clint: Yeah, thank God for the Internet. I’ll tell you just as an interlude, thank God for the Internet for people in third world countries, too, because a lot of our clients who do our program have zero health, zero doctors that they can go and see, and they’re able to do a modified version. They might not be able to find some of the things that are a little bit creative that I recommend, like seaweed for instance. Like, it’s hard to find that in some of the more underdeveloped countries. But, boy, if they can just cut back on some of the foods that they think is even in their culture standard and emphasize a lot of things that our listeners know that I recommend all the time. I mean, yeah, that’s what makes me feel greatest about being able to share all this information, is to the people who have no help from anyone and it’s a…they’re the people that I get the most joy of helping, okay. I just wanted to add that.

Okay, so you went on the Internet. And tell us, who did you find? Who did you follow? What did you do?

Nicole: Okay. Yeah, well, and so I went on the Internet, and one one of the first things that came up was Dr. McDougall’s article, Arthritis In Diet or Diet In Arthritis, something like that.

Clint: Yup.

Nicole: And he has a website and it’s all this information and it’s totally free. And like what you were saying with the third world countries, it’s a really easy, cheap way to eat, to eat like basically, plants.

Clint: Yes.

Nicole: You know, so it seemed like one of those things where I was like, “Well, what can it hurt? I’ll try this.” You know, like I was already kind of trying to avoid animal products because the general word around was that they’re probably not helpful, anti-inflammatory kind of stuff. And I remember, though… I found out sometime in maybe November, I found his website, but it was coming up in the holidays and I was like, “I don’t want to do this yet. You know, I’m just gonna wait…I’m gonna wait until after January 1st.”

Clint: This is common, yeah.

Nicole: So I’m just gonna keep taking this ibuprofen or whatever. What’s that called? I don’t remember the, you know…

Clint: Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, yeah?

Nicole: I think those and, you know, like candy and then just function.

Clint: Right, yeah.

Nicole: And so I started doing pretty much his program with some extra eliminations right away. So I stayed away from, I guess you would say, like [inaudible 00:15:26], citrus and wheat on top of the animal product, oil kind of stuff.

Clint: Yeah, kind of like he’s got an…he’s got his own elimination process. So it sounds like you kind of either stumbled upon it or you did something on your own accord very similar to it anyway.

Nicole: Yeah. I mean, I think I looked around and there was some book I found. Like, Barbara Allan has some book that’s on Kindle, and I look at some of what she did. And then there’s some other book I found that was, like, by a functional medicine doctor that had all these ideas for stuff. So I kind of did a mishmash of those things. And, what happened? Oh yes, so I started, like, January 10th, I think, pretty sure, January 10th after New Year’s, and I am still taking the Imuran. And then after I switched the diet, I started to have terrible side effects like heart palpitations, trouble breathing, I got this huge rash all over my torso. And these were listed as the side effects that you have to call your doctor right away and, like, go to hospital.

Clint: Wow.

Nicole: So I called the rheumatologist, who did not get back to me right away.

Clint: Right.

Nicole: He didn’t get back to me until I called four times and my husband called twice, and then finally he gets back to me.

Clint: Wow.

Nicole: Yes, we’ll take you off the drug, and once these pass, we’ll put you back on. So I said, “Okay, we’ll take me off the drug, but you’re fired, and I’m not going back on that. Like, I’m really going for another rheumatologist because…

Clint: Yeah, good for you.

Nicole: …this is really insane.”

Clint: That’s dangerous stuff, yeah.

Nicole: It is scary.

Clint: Yeah, very scary. Okay, so this is getting interesting now because you’ve now gone into a drug-free zone and trying to rely on the dietary side of things, and this is a territory that doctors start throwing their pen across the room and stuff.

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: So let’s… I want to hear what happened.

Nicole: Well, so that doctor, of course, I tried to…I stopped going to him, but I needed to get my files. And he gave me a bit of a hassle for that, but it’s legally…you have to. So I managed to get them and I found another rheumatologist, and that is maybe two months later, like I’m off charge for two months. And so right away after I just even went to sort of a different diet then was even a semi-vegan, healthy-ish diet, I would say within two weeks my fatigue went away pretty fast. The psoriasis went away already, like, within two weeks, just gone. It was crazy.

Clint: From having it…from when you were a toddler…

Nicole: Yes, my whole life.

Clint: …until when you started this approach with the plant-based diet.

Nicole: Exactly, it’s crazy.

Clint: You had psoriasis your whole life…

Nicole: Pretty much, yeah.

Clint: …and then you shifted on to a low-fat, plant-based and you eliminated it in weeks.

Nicole: In weeks, in weeks, two weeks. And I know that that was the thing that I was like, “okay, I may not have all my joint pain resolved, but this is definitely something, definitely something.” And then, you know, I take pictures of it to send to my parents who still lived across the country, because they were sort of like, “What is this crazy thing you’re doing? You’re sick and you’re not eating well, like we’re worried. You know, like what are you doing?”

Clint: I love how it’s totally crazy to change your diet to something that’s healthy compared to totally normal to take an almost inpronounceable drug that’ll give you eight side effects and nearly kill you.

Nicole: Poison.

Clint: Yeah you’ve got to be normal to take, yeah, I mean…

Nicole: We’re safe.

Clint: The world’s all messed up, so… Okay.

Nicole: The world is still messed up.

Clint: Yeah, go ahead. This is fascinating.

Nicole: Right. Okay, so that happened real fast. And there was a reduction in swelling and a reduction in pain. Like, it wasn’t gone but it was a large percentage reduced.

Clint: Yeah. And our listeners need to also know that, you know, there is a period of maybe three or four weeks with these disease-modifying drugs where the drug is still in the system. So you’ve probably got, like you’ve got that long tail of drag-off there as the body, you know, starts to clear the drug out of the system where there’s still some activity going on. I know you said it didn’t do much or if any symptom relief anyway but, yeah. So you’re going through that period, you’re in the middle of almost, like, the eye of the cyclone here between drugs. I’m not sure…I’m about to learn from you in a second if you went back on drugs, but… So the other drug has left the body, your psoriasis has gone, and now you’re noticing a somewhat reduction in the arthritic pain, okay. Over to you.

Nicole: Okay, all right. So yeah, my new rheumatologist said what you basically just said. He was like, “Oh, well, you feel better because the drug is working still.” And I was kind of like, “Maybe, maybe, we’ll see. We’ll see.” But I did have that in mind, and I was like, “Okay, well, I guess I just have to wait and see.” I mean, my psoriasis is gone and it was like getting worse on the drugs, so… I didn’t mention that. I forgot to mention that. I was very inflamed on the drug, in general. So I never went back on any other drugs since then. I’ve taken ibuprofen probably less than six times a year, too, even starting at that point. I was really… I guess you could say I’m kind of like an all or nothing person, so I just was like, “Well, it’s probably bad for me, you know, like there maybe something to do with leaky gut,” like, “I don’t know if that’s real or not, but people seem to say that it hurts it, so I shouldn’t take that.”

Clint: The ibuprofen. Absolutely, and it certainly does hurt that, yeah. So here’s the big problem: when you go off a drug and you’ve still got some inflammation and you’re still trying to find that magic set of low-inflammatory foods and exercise programs to keep it all at the absolute minimum, and this is a challenge for some of our forum members who are determined to try and stay off medications.

Nicole: Right.

Clint: The reality is although, you know – and that is possible – but the reality is you have to have low inflammation levels because the inflammation itself is a source of more inflammation in the body. So it’s the snowball effect, it’s a cascading effect. And so what I had to do is whenever my pain level started to rise a little bit, I had to immediately reset, go back to the most basic of foods to drop the inflammation levels quickly and effectively, because if I tried to sort of push through the pain and just hang in there and pretend that I was going to just lower it with the same set of foods and the same set of exercise, I was kidding myself, absolutely kidding myself. You have to take the plug out of the inflammation bath and let it totally drain back to zero before then commencing your normal range of foods again.

So now how did you do that? How did you…if your inflammation is still there, I know from my experience, that you’re in still a problematic zone. So how did you get it from, say, there down to there?

Nicole: Yeah, it took some time. Well, for me, there was definitely, like, a hormonal cycle to the pain levels that I noticed like pretty much right away. So that became something that I would expect, that, like, leading up to menstruation, my pain would go up and then it would just drop afterwards. And so I would just kind of be like, “Well, this is happening and it’s gonna go away.” So I didn’t do much for that, like I just was like…

Clint: Awful that, yeah.

Nicole: …”this is happening here and this is predictable, and I can handle two days of this and then… Great!” And then it would always feel a little better after, so I felt like “something’s happening.” But for me it seemed to go in kind of a different pattern than that, where I had fluctuations of inflammation, but it seemed to me – and this is just, like, my observation or maybe my opinion – I was heavier. I lost a lot of weight. I gained a lot of weight before I got sick, and then I was losing weight as I [inaudible 00:24:26]

Clint: Was healing.

Nicole: Really, yeah, and was healing, and it seemed when there was a period of where I had lost kind of a few pounds, there would tend to be more inflammation as I was losing weight. And then when I would sort of level off, it would go down. And I heard this explained to me by a plant-based doctor that I worked with that sometimes your fat stores can store things that you react to, and then as you process them, then that can be a, you know, higher period of inflammation.

Clint: Well, I also subscribe to that theory. I don’t know if it’s more than a theory, so at the moment I’m not… Yeah, but I’ve heard that through Dr. McDougall talking about people with gout. So he talks about with gout clients, when their acid’s stored in the fat cells. And so with gout, you’re very much dealing with an overacidity situation or a chronic acidosis. And so when…and a lot of people with gout tend to be overweight. And so as they lose the weight, folks with gout can see an increase in symptoms. And I recall that from Dr. McDougall’s teachings. So I would, you know, not be surprised if the same thing may happen in, you know, with other conditions where acidosis plays a role, which inflammatory arthritis is certainly one.

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Nicole: Yeah. So I noticed that, but in terms of, like, the baseline fluid stuff, you know, like those… I never veered off that, like I haven’t… Meh, a couple times. But I didn’t ever regularly go off things. I was pretty, very strict.

Clint: That’s interesting.

Nicole: And I still was… Yeah, it was…

Clint: Can you tell me what some of those, during the toughest times, what became your baseline foods?

Nicole: My baseline foods at that time were sweet potatoes, squashes, like winter squashes, you know, like butternut or acorn, yum. And green vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits. Some fruit, not all fruit.

Clint: Do you remember which ones were generally your safe zone?

Nicole: Blueberries, raspberries, apples. I ate a lot of bananas, but actually bananas I discovered now are a problem for me, so they could have been part of the problem.

Clint: And me, they were always a problem for me.

Nicole: Oh, really?

Clint: Yup, yup, yup.

Nicole: Yeah, I agree.

Clint: Blueberries, raspberries were never a problem for me either.

Nicole: Yeah, no, they were always great.

Clint: Mm-hmm.

Nicole: My teeth were purple all the time.

Clint: Yeah, and so high in antioxidants that I think, you know, I’ve gone a bit grey since I’ve not taken as many of them. I just started to eat them again not from any other reason than I’m trying to lower the gray hair. Because I tell you, as a total aside, I created a video one time which, I’m sure when I mention this, people are gonna want to see it because it is actually hilarious. But when I was on my raw food diet, I created a video because I discovered that my hairs were going from gray back to black again, or dark again.

Nicole: Yup, me too.

Clint: You saw that too?

Nicole: Yup.

Clint: Wow, it’s insane, isn’t it? Now…

Nicole: And my vision got better, like I used to wear glasses, but my vision was improved too.

Clint: Well, so you actually require a less of a graded…less of a prescription on your glasses, yeah?

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: It’s crazy isn’t it? So for me, that happened during the raw food with the hair. When I shifted back to completely cooked and only, like, salads and a little bit of fruits as opposed to getting it all from raw foods, then my hair…I had not seen that again. I’ve only seen more gray as I aged, you know what I mean? But anyway, that’s interesting. Okay, so your baseline is very baseline, and so most of your calories I guess were coming from the sweet potatoes, and because the fruits I found when I eat them, no matter… One day I… Over a period of a week or so, I ate, like, 3000 calories a day just from raw foods, and I was still losing weight. It seems, like, there has to be a degree of the starchiness in your diet to maintain your weight.

So did you lose a lot of weight on that base…you must have had a lot of weight loss on that baseline.

Nicole: I was losing lots of weight on the baseline for sure, but it wasn’t super quick. I mean, I think, like, I think there may be a slight difference with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis and that people with psoriatic arthritis tend to be on the heavier side…

Clint: Right.

Nicole: …and tend to hold weight a little bit. This isn’t scientific. It’s just like there’s all sorts of comorbidities and a lot of them are, like, diabetes and, like, heart attacks and things like that, and they’re related to obesity, and obesity is like a comorbidity, so…man, I don’t know what that is about. But I was losing weight steadily, and I think I started – I can’t remember – like 160-170 something like that, which is pounds, I don’t know how to translate that to other things.

Clint: It’s all right, yeah.

Nicole: And then after about eight months of eating plant-based, I was 30 pounds lighter, let’s say.

Clint: Okay, I mean, it’s not…we see a lot more of that sometimes amongst people with rheumatoid…

Nicole: But that did change, actually, when I did some modifications of the diet that I was eating, and I started to include a lot more raw food and then I got down to 112 pounds, which was way too thin.

Clint: Yeah, the raw food will do it to you. I’ve got some pictures where I took ’em myself where just, like, I did not look well on the raw food and it was very hard because the results were outstanding, but I couldn’t stand my physical appearance. I’ve always been thin. I weigh the same amount now that I did before I got sick. I’m a skinny guy, I’ve always been a thin person, but I became very, very thin on the raw food diet and it was actually the biggest thing that eventually led me to get off it. I could handle the foods, I became used to it, I love the connection with feeling well. But, boy, I just didn’t like my face in the mirror, and I didn’t like my body. It was just…and people would say to me, or like they’d have that look in their face like “this guy is in trouble” – do you know what I mean? – Even though I was feeling healthier than what I was on the drugs and on the crappy diet.

Nicole: So like stick man.

Clint: Yeah. So all right, well this is fascinating because it really does overlap with my past as well. I had to do a tremendous amount of raw and I also stuck with a very baseline diet for 12 months. I was eating just pseudograins like buckwheat and quinoa, my seaweeds and tons of greens.

Nicole: Quinoa, I used to eat a lot of quinoa, I forgot.

Clint: I used to eat that as well. Fabulous, wow. Okay, so we have…there is so much in common with what we’re doing here. I mean…

Nicole: Lovely.

Clint: Yeah, I hope people are really kind of piecing the puzzles together like we are in this conversation. Okay, so very excited about how you’re going with this. And then when did you really start to be able to tolerate more foods? And how did you bring them back in? And did you test them one at a time? Or did you just…yeah, and then how long did it take and all that?

Nicole: Okay, all that. So let’s see, so I was doing kind of a starch-based McDougall-ish diet for about five months, and I decided that things were happening fast enough for me, and I had heard about water fasting, so I was like “I’m gonna do that,” because like I said, I’m kind of an all or nothing person. So I did on my own… I just want to say, as I say this, please, nobody do what I did. Don’t do it like this. It’s crazy. It’s not totally unsafe, but it isn’t recommended and there are ways…

Clint: You mean an “unsupervised water fasting”?

Nicole: Exactly.

Clint: That’s the key isn’t it?

Nicole: On my own, at my house, yeah.

Clint: Yup.

Nicole: I wouldn’t recommend doing that, so I’m telling you what happened and I want to just make sure that’s a big caveat there.

Clint: Thank you, yup.

Nicole: So and it was…I’ll tell you, water fasting is interesting. So it was horrible in that I had terrible headaches, I felt awful, I felt like, I mean dizzy, light-headed, tired but also ill. I got a fever, I got some uveitis, which is one of the things that psoriatic arthritis can attack, is the eyes.

Clint: Yeah, one of our clients in the forum has that and is working with that. It complicates things so much because she’s on methotrexate, so she’s trying to balance the doses of methotrexate to keep her eyes in check, even though her body feels better. And, you know, it’s hard to, at the same time, have both things perfect so that she can lower the drug. But anyway, I’m familiar with it. It’s a frustrating thing.

Nicole: Right. So some of that came up during the fast, but then also went away during the fast.

Clint: How long was this?

Nicole: And I did it for five days.

Clint: Five days, okay.

Nicole: Like I said, I just do things. And it was great because the pain went away. I mean, the pain was, like, gone by probably the second day.

Clint: Gone, yup.

Nicole: Yeah, totally gone, I remember, like, lying in bed being like, “If only I didn’t feel so awful every other way, like I would just never eat,” like, “this is great. “

Clint: Totally, that’s right, that’s right.

Nicole: Yeah. So when I started eating again, though, inflammation came back like almost, like, within 20 minutes of that first amount of food.

Clint: Twenty minutes, wow.

Nicole: I started with carrot juice, and I find out now I have a problem with carrots. So I don’t know.

Clint: Well, also everyone really shouldn’t be just drinking carrot juice. It’s not health food, it’s just pure sugar.

Nicole: No, yeah, or beet juice, just straight beet juice.

Clint: Straight beet juice? Not only will that, you know, make you think that you’ve done a blood stool the next day because it..you know, and you start panicking. “What the hell is this coming out of me? Honey, I gotta get to the hospital!” But you also, you know, I used to get dizzy on that stuff and it was…again, it’s just pure sugar.

Nicole: Hey, crazy stuff.

Clint: Dizzy man, like drinking that…yeah.

Nicole: Sure.

Clint: Okay, so for those people thinking about doing a shorter version or unsupervised version of a fast, what I recommend, and is a part of our program is the first two days is a two days’ cleanse, it’s a two-day fast. Now, what I do in that is encourage people to drink celery and cucumber juice instead of the water. And I think celery and cucumber juice is the only thing that’s better for the body than water because it’s pretty much just water, but it has nutrients and they’re alkalizing for the body. So it can’t get much better than celery and cucumber juice. So I encourage people to drink as much of that as possible.

And the second part of it – and this is a bit unique to me and what I experience and what I recommend – is I tell people to just eat raw leafy green, so like baby spinach and collard greens and just snack like you would if you were a giraffe or something on these things without oil, without any, just…and what I find is that it allows just maybe a small bowel movement during the two days. It just does a little bit of putting a little bit of fiber through the body so that we might be able to nudge a little bit of matter out the other end. Some people don’t see any movement during the two days and other people get a little. But the main thing for people is exactly what you’ve experienced, and this was life-transformative for me when I had the experience, is when you know that if you stop eating you feel perfect, it changes your life. It opens you up to a whole paradigm of thinking that you never had before. And virtually everyone – there is a footnote on that – but virtually everyone who stops eating with inflammatory arthritic condition feels perfect within a few days and so one of the reasons I include the two-day plan is not because it does actually scientifically help with leaky gut, but – and this is actually the main reason – is because I want people to see that world through the eyes of having no pain, and then they know that the gut is the cause of their disease.

Nicole: Yeah, it’s good. I mean, this is a long-haul kind of way to treat yourself, so it’s good to get that starting point and be like, “I’m doing the right thing.” Like, if I didn’t have psoriasis, I don’t know what I would have thought. Like, I got that feedback right away, so that really helped me to stick with it. But, yeah, [inaudible 00:37:54] cucumber juice is delicious, like it’s so tasty.

Clint: Yes, it is. And here’s what’s interesting, is the people who say to me, like, some…these people email me often, like wanna share their feedback, which is great, I wanna hear that. But the people who say, “Oh, my god, I almost vomited.” Some people actually have vomited drinking celery and cucumber juice, but…and I don’t say this exactly in these words, but like, the truth is, in my mind I’m thinking, “good for you. You are going to benefit in this program more than anyone else out there because you are seriously messed up.” I mean, if you are nauseous from drinking pretty much 95% water and some alkalizing minerals, you are in a messed up situation. You’re gonna get the greatest benefits. Good for you, you’re lucky. Spew it up and drink it again until you can handle it. It might take a while, but I mean it couldn’t be more natural for the body.” So you know, it just tells you how toxic and messed up people become if they can’t handle some juice from a cucumber.

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: So anyway, there’s my little rant.

Nicole: There’s your two cents.

Clint: Yeah. That’s my two cents. I’m having a great time chatting to you because we got so many, so many dovetailing opinions on these things. Okay.

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Nicole: That’s why I contacted you, actually, because I became aware of your program way after all of this, and I was like… I’ve seen a lot of testimonials about different autoimmune diseases and different programs for it, but they all seemed to happen like lickety-split, like people are like, “within three days, I was perfect!” They’re running a marathon. I’m like, “Nope, that wasn’t me.” And it’s like this is the first…well, this is one of the first things, right, I’ve encountered, like the kind of like, “Oh, this can take a while,” but also the way that you did things and the way that what worked for me when I experimented are so close, like they’re really surprisingly close to what happened. It’s pretty interesting.

Clint: The foods themselves… in fact, everything. I mean, you could have actually with this food group have done our program and it would all be exactly the same. The only thing would have been potentially the blueberries and raspberries. But see, after 12 days I encourage people…there are a group of foods that I encourage people to test, so you could have just randomly tested those foods next and everything else is the same because you did the quinoa, you did the sweet potatoes. They’re my baseline foods. I mean, this is literally, like, surreal, right?

Nicole: I know, yeah, totally.

Clint: Okay, all right, and the fasting as well. I tell people, “Look, if you are absolutely determined to try and keep off the medications, first of all the doctor needs to be on board, because no one should be staying off medications just because they’re strong-minded and don’t want to be on them.” Your joints are getting worse, they’re deteriorating, it can affect other parts of your body, eventually organs all sorts of things, right? So we don’t want to deny drugs if you don’t have another path and alternative, right?

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: If nothing else is working, you got to do drugs because it’s an essential to have low inflammation. That’s nonnegotiable. But you’ve chosen to do the fasting, and I say to people, “Why not just once a week eat the baseline foods? Just one day,” or if that’s not even getting there, if you’re really, really super, super committed, then just do one day where you just do the juices and then just see how this goes for a while especially if you’ve got some white to lose if people are lucky. I consider people with arthritic conditions lucky if they have some extra kilos or some extra pounds, because we all lose that eventually when we’re healing, and it’s good to start with a bit of credit, you know?

Nicole: Yeah. It makes it easier. It softens the blow, so-to-speak, yeah.

Clint: That’s right. So how often did you do the fasting? And was it something that was on a systematic basis?

Nicole: Well, first I just did that five-day fast and it was very interesting because right after the fast, the inflammation came back, so I was like, “Oh, well, that’s too bad. I did this big thing and nothing happened.” But in the subsequent weeks, I come to eating well. Obviously, I didn’t change how I ate. And then things started to really change, like I still had some wrist pain, I still had some knee pain, I still had some shoulder pain. The wrist pain went away, and I can almost, like, feel it going away, like there was this way I would move my hand that used to be bad and it would almost feel like spider webs were breaking along the muscle, but in, like, a good way. So that was very heartening, and that felt very positive. So I had a good result after that fast, but since the fast stuff was so hard, I was kind of like, “I don’t really know what I’m gonna do but, great, this helped.”

Clint: Yeah.

Nicole: And around that period, I felt better enough that I got a little bit full of hubris, I guess you could say, and I was like… Because me and my husband has this idea when I started that, like, one day I was gonna go back to eating like a normal person and, you know, maybe now is the time. So I had this thing where, like, nothing crazy, but I was still vegan, but it was more processed. And I think I accidentally had dairy and something…like somebody gave me something that had dairy that I didn’t know about. And I woke up in the worst pain ever, like total body, like I was in, like, a cast and my whole body couldn’t move – stiff, so much pain – and that was the day that I realized, “Oh, I’m always gonna eat this way, like this is it, like this is it! Like, I can’t get in this fantasy that I’m gonna stop it. This is what helps and this is what I have to do.”

So I still wasn’t planning on fasting, but it kind of tightened up the diet, I guess you could say, and primarily did that. So I’ve been doing more research and read other things by different people, and I decided that leafy greens and cruciferous greens had to play a more major part in what I was eating.

Clint: Hallelujah.

Nicole: So this is related to what you were saying about people who vomit after the celery and cucumber juice. So I made a green smoothie, my first ever green smoothie. I live in Los Angeles, I should have been drinking it, but no I wasn’t. And it was like kale and blueberries and collards, and I drank it…and arugula or something, I don’t remember, pomegranate juice. I don’t know. And I drink it and I felt like, instantly, totally bizarre, like my whole body was burning, like my skin was burning. And at fat first I thought like, “Oh, I can’t do this,” right? So I cut back a little bit. But as I ate them more, I began to tolerate them better. And like in my mind, you know, my little rationalization of that whole situation was like, “They were working their magic!,” you know, like I could feel the magic happening, but it was pretty fascinating.

So when I added more greens into my diet that’s when I started to lose a lot of weight, lots of weight. So I’d gotten down real low, down to, like, 112 pounds, which was super skinny and everybody was freaking out, and I was a little bit concerned that maybe I wasn’t absorbing food well, you know, because I just didn’t know what was going on. And I still wasn’t feeling perfectly well. In fact, as I lost the weight, like I was saying before, I started to have these periods of just, like, crappiness, like inflammation. But then it would, like, peak and then it would go lower than it was, and then it would peak and then it would go lower than it was. So it was this fascinating trajectory, and so I just kinda kept at it, and maybe six months later I tried more of a modified, like, vegetable juice fast and had similar results as the first fast. So I just keep doing that periodically.

Clint: Yeah. So “periodically” meaning what? Every couple of months you would do a fast?

Nicole: Longer, probably six, every six months or so, six to eight months, yeah.

Clint: Okay, gee, I think, you know, it’s just a reminder of how long this takes. If someone is hoping that there is a quick fix to this disease, they’re absolutely kidding themselves. Sometimes I’m even surprised when, you know, sometimes people can get rid of all these symptoms and feel tremendous and get off their drugs with rheumatoid in about, say, 6 to 12 months, but that’s quick. That’s quick, that was way quicker than me, way quicker than me. So when I read the feedback from people, I’m like, “Wow, you know, I think some people just have an extreme intolerance to, say, dairy, right?” Or, like, one category for them is off the charts, and then other than that they’re not too bad, and they are the people that respond quick, and by “quick,” I mean, like that amount of time.

And then the rest of us, it’s just a total mess. So you know, I always, when I give talks about this, like, at conferences and stuff, I say that, you know, I always refer to the study that showed that people with digestive disease, right, people whose digestive system are like all messed up have a better digestive system than people with rheumatoid arthritis. Okay, so people whose condition is digestive disease… Sorry, I, forget the exact name. I’ve got to pull the study up and I’ll put it in the show notes for people, okay?

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: Because I can’t think of it right now, but I’ll link to the actual study. And, you know, it’s like, yeah, the people with rheumatoid, they were by far the worst of anyone we’ve looked at. So we don’t…so we, yeah, this is the degree of problems that we’re dealing with. So you know, it just takes so long and that’s just really sort of really so evident to me listening to your testimony here. It’s just a reminder of how much patience and determination you have to have over such a long period of time.

Nicole: Time and adherence, time and adherence. Just keep at it. Do the Dory thing, just keep swimming. It’s interesting that you mentioned that, I was thinking about this. I read a study yesterday or an abstract of a study that was in an article that a scientist wrote it, right? And it was about how… So I tested positive for the gene HLA-B27, which is related to…there’s a family of diseases – psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, spondylar-…I don’t know how to say it – and apparently in the gut of people who – and Crohn’s disease – and all are a similar gene. And apparently, in the gut of people with that, there is some specific organism, bacteria that’s distinct that may or may not be a problem. It’s just, it’s all so interesting that the gut is such a huge part of what’s going on.

Clint: Yup, absolutely.

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: So let’s move towards a close, tell us how are you now. What does your diet and lifestyle look like, including any supplements and your exercise? So could you kind of give us a bit of an overview there?

Nicole: Yeah. So my diet is more expanded than it was, than it used to be when I started. I would say after a couple of years of eating really strict, I got to a point where I was like, “you know, I feel good,” and then I started testing more foods. So I ate a wide range of foods, but they’re all whole foods and plant-based. I don’t cook things, like, in the oven, because I’m sensitive to acrylamides, which are like the toasting things, whatever the process of sugars and heat that creates that brown stuff on cooked things.

Clint: Okay, I’ve not come across that before, so I’m glad you shared that.

Nicole: Yeah, I mean I’ve heard about them as being sort of carcinogenic, and I just wonder if for whatever reason, how I process stuff, I just don’t…I don’t process things well, so if anything is mildly harmful, it’s extra for me or something.

Clint: Yeah, that extra work for your body that’s been through a lot.

Nicole: Something like that, right. So I eat a large degree of green vegetables and lots of salads, lots of salads always. I eat starch foods, and I eat beans and I don’t really eat grains much. I find they don’t quite work for me.

Clint: Are you still doing the pseudograins like quinoa from time to time or…?

Nicole: I can do those. Yeah, those don’t have the problem. I think they were like…

Clint: It’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s very interesting, because this is one of the arguments that the poor people that end up on a paleo diet say, “Oh, we read that cereal grains are bad for us.” What they don’t understand is that that’s not in the program that I recommend. It’s not what you ate. See, this is the narrow path to success that exists for people is that you don’t…you can’t be eating the meats if you want to get well. You cannot get to a point that you are at in your life with zero pain with, you know, no psoriasis anymore if you’re still putting animal proteins and animal fat into your diet.

Like, people write books and become bestselling authors because they’ve improved a lot on the paleo diet. We don’t want to be just improved a lot, we want to be like you are, do you know want I mean?

Nicole: Right, yes, totally.

Clint: So you know, this is the mindset. So yeah, I just find that really, like, a key point.

Nicole: Yeah. You know, it’s fascinating. I’ve met a lot of people in my journey online, because I don’t know anybody in person, actually, who does this. And I’ve met lots of people who do lots of different things. You know, bone broth is a big thing that a lot of people do, and you know, paleo is a big thing and people…it seems like the people, I mean, who do stuff like more paleo, they improve for sure, and that is definitely good, but there’s a point where it stops, you know, and it’s like… I feel like there’s a point where it stops for everybody, you know, like “I’m always kind of managing this disease, this is how I managed this disease.” And so that’s fair, but it is kind of like, “I mean, come on, don’t you want to be even better?”

Clint: Yeah, that’s the thing.

Nicole: I can’t speak for [inaudible 00:52:45] you know?

Clint: I think you’ve actually given it more of a, you know, a glowing report than what I see, because when people do about 12 months on paleo, they start to turn a corner in the wrong direction. You see, anyone can stop eating dairy and oils and improve instantly. You bring me a hundred people with rheumatoid, you take them off dairy oils, instantly improved. But that’s a no-brainer. No one should be eating that crap.

Nicole: Yeah.

Clint: Okay, like, everyone that you see… I’d see cars driving by, everyone sitting in their car is gonna eat dairy and oils today. They’re all gonna get fat and sick, okay? So but then the hard part for people is this concept, the association with the meat, because they don’t know what else to eat. And so as I said, there’s a narrow path because when you’ve got inflammatory arthritis, then the cereal grains are gonna upset you, and that brings in the trouble things like the oats and things with wheat in it, like bread. So you start panicking. What do you eat? People don’t know that something like quinoa and buckwheat…and you can eat so many of the sweet potatoes. These things, there are a narrow range of foods that you’re left with that support the gut, don’t inflame you, and provide you with calories and very good, quality food as well.

So look, it took me years, Nicole, to work this out! Years! I was beating my head against the wall for so long, having surgeries, I couldn’t walk. I mean, boy, there is a shortcut available with what you’ve just shared and what I do and share with people. And if people don’t take that shortcut and want to go the long way around and stick with their meats, then I don’t feel sorry for them. I mean, you know, how many podcasts do we need?

Nicole: Yeah. Well, you know, I mean it’s interesting that you mention that. And when I think about it I don’t hear, I don’t hear the beginning parts, I don’t hear 12 months later. And a couple of people, yeah, it did start to go worst. But you know, yeah. It’s really, I think it’s really great that you have both the like, the set of different talents, you know, like, you have the science background and you, I think, also to some degree having a performance background makes you much more suited to this whole situation than the average person, like, that you can…and the experience of actually going through it that you could share this with people, because all I wanted when I started looking for solutions was someone who was like, “Oh, psoriatic arthritis and diet, here’s what happened, here’s what happens next, here’s what you do, ” like a path that there was. Even at the places where they do stuff, there’s a lot more on rheumatoid arthritis than there is in psoriatic arthritis.

Clint: There is a lot more, yup.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. And so psoriatic arthritis is almost, like, lumped in with it, but there’s difference or then it’s not. And so it’s just very cool that you’re doing this. And like you said, the Internet, you’re sharing it, like, all over the world, I think that’s really great. It’s really just cool.

Clint: Oh, thanks, Nicole.

Nicole: Thank you! I listen to your podcast when I work, so it’s super fun.

Clint: I’m sorry, what’s that?

Nicole: I often listen to your podcast when I’m working. I work for myself in my own home, so I, you know, like company. But also, it’s really a rare circumstance to interact with people on any level that’s not, like, typing who know what is going on and everybody has such interesting stories. And, like, you’ve really, you mentioned things that are fascinating to me, too, that I hadn’t thought of that I might, like, implement now, you know. So it’s all very interesting and exciting to listen to, you know, so I appreciate that so much.

Clint: Yeah, well, I’m sure…I know that people, I know that this episode with you and you sharing your stories and what you’ve been through and what you’ve had to do will play a big role as well and be fascinating to a lot of people. But what I’m super excited about is that I’m gonna create a page on our site specifically for psoriatic arthritis and this video will be kind of the backbone of that information. So people can watch this, they’ve got, like, whatever this is, like an hour of, like, in-depth questioning on someone who’s been through it all, and then people can get a really good sense of what’s involved. Sure, it’s probably overwhelming for a lot of people if they’re thinking what’s ahead of them if they’re gonna make these changes. But look, even in implementing half of what you have done will transform their life, keep their medications at lower levels, give them more energy…

Nicole: Yeah, definitely.

Clint: …prevent them from getting other diseases in the future, at least minimize the risk of getting other diseases in the future, and give them that empowerment that they have, like a puppeteer of their own life, control over this disease to a large extent. And that gives people hope again, and you’ve done that, so thank you.

Nicole: Yup, you’re welcome.

Clint: Yay! Okay, electronic high five for Nicole.

Nicole: Oh yeah, right back at ya.

Clint: Yeah, all right, so I think… Thank you so much. I think I’ve expressed my gratitude in the last few things that I’ve said for coming on this episode. And as I said up on paddisonprogram.com/psoriatic-arthritis or maybe psoriatic arthritis – it’ll be easy to find – I will put this and a bunch of other testimonials for people who have been through plant-based low-fat approach. You know, I believe it is the way forward because I believe we all have the same underlying cause when we have an autoimmune disease. So thank you very much, Nicole.

Nicole: Thank you so much, Clint. Nice meeting you.

Clint: You too.


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