Food And Arthritis

Add the RIGHT foods to your diet to REDUCE arthritic pain and inflammation.
Include the WRONG foods to your diet and INCREASE arthritic pain and inflammation.
My choice? A life-journey based on a low-oil whole-food plant based diet.
Whatever your current state of health, make yourself healthier - you deserve it. Start your plant based diet journey today.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Are NRAS fit for purpose?

Excuse me for making a controversial post.  Over some months I posted onto the NRAS forums on the HealthUnlocked website about my dietary changes and progress towards good health.  I even went to meet Ailsa Bosworth at NRAS headquarters to discuss the benefits of dietary improvements.  Ailsa was kind enough to take a paper from me to present to the NICE committee and came back with the feedback that the research supporting the Paddison Program was not "gold standard".

So good so far.

I continued to post that my health was continuing to improve.  Sadly my posts, both and after the meeting met with hostility from certain forum members.  Indeed I started one thread, "I feel sorry..." whose remit was again to help people begin to think that they might actually help themselves to better health with dietary interventions.  This was met with a barrage of hostility.

It's not that NRAS are against diet.

NRAS has always upheld the advantages of a Mediterranean diet. Whereas I have always challenged this position.   For me, anyone who puts meat in their mouth is putting a minimum of 30% fat, and often trans-fats, into their body.  Also almost everyone who seriously explores dietary options finds that dairy - milk, eggs and cheese - are big triggers for inflammation.  And so we are at odds.

But today NRAS goes too far.

Today one of NRAS staff posted arguing that the program I have benefited from has two issues.  The thread you can read at https://healthunlocked.com/nras/posts/135777663/ra-sufferer. All someone asked was has anyone tried the Clint Paddison program.  NRAS jumped in with the response, "absolutely no proven evidence to back up the claims of this programme" and also then went on to describe his program as a "money making scheme with no evidence base at all."

That is too far.  This is coming from an organisation who year after year takes money from drug companies!  After all Ailsa had already accepted that she had presented evidence from Clint Padisson to the NICE committee on Arthritis.  As to money-making, yes Clint charges for his program.  He has to live.  He does not get any money from drug companies.  He does not sell any supplements or tablets of any kind.  He advocates yoga as being 40% of his program and yet receives no financial reward for that promotion.

I realise that by posting this probably NRAS will do some kind of cleansing of its forums to remove my posts.  The organisation has had a history of doing this for other people, so I guess my posts will suffer the same fate.

Who cares?

Well, the only reason for ever posting anything is to change someone else's life.  In my case I do it to help people with arthritis think about improving their lives.  I would hope that NRAS had similar aspirations.  Apparently not.  Rather than encourage people to think about changing their diet for the better NRAS want to shut down that kind of debate.

A final note.  The first of July, a couple of days ago.  I finished tapering my methotrexate.  No more drugs.  A drug free life begins now.  I took almost six months of tapering to be safe in the knowledge I was not doing my body any harm.  Instead I have never felt healthier.  I wish I could say the same for people on the NRAS forums.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Respecting my Doctor and my Rheumatologist

Throughout my entire blog, and indeed anywhere else I have posted I have hardly touched on the subject of my doctor.  That is unfair, so I will correct it with this post.  I would not be as healthy as I am without the full support of my doctor and my Rheumatologist.  A big fear for anyone who thinks about going down the road of changing their diet is that somehow they may be going against their doctor's advice. This is especially true when the first likely response when the subject of diet is raised is that "diet has no effect."

But if you remember that all your doctor wants is for you to be well and healthy.  And in my case my doctor had repeatedly said, "lose some weight."  Mind you don't most doctors say that to most people!  Anyway I insisted that I was going to begin to explore dietary options, that was my choice.  Whatever and very importantly I also accepted the doctor's advice in what they are good at - that of medication.  And so I started my course of methotrexate, something my doctor thought I would be taking for the rest of my life.

June Meetup Next Monday

The next meetup for anyone interested in chatting about diet and arthritis will be in the Emporium next Monday 11-1pm.  I am usually sat at the oval table with a pile of books on the subject.

http://eynsham-pc.gov.uk/org.aspx?n=Diet-Arthritis-Chat-Time

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Please help me!

I have been struck recently by some people of my age who seem to give up on life.  They seem to think is is somehow normal that getting older means getting ill.  No-one wants to be ill.  Being ill is a horrible thing.  And yes, in today's modern society being ill is associated with being old.  Not only that the older you get the more ill people seem to expect to be.  These people want to avoid being ill and so their solution is to hope to die quickly when it happens.  They are hoping the die (dice) spins that way.

But they do not need to rely on the spin of a die.  From my experience over the last two years I am totally convinced that a most common illnesses (many life-threatening) of the older population can be  completely avoided with close attention to just two things: what you eat and what exercise you get.  Critically to be healthy is not just about exercise.  Exercise, however hard and regular, on its own will not stop stroke or cancer or a heart attack.  The answer begins with a very serious close look at personal dietary choices, and that's where I need help.

If people very seriously look at what they consume it is possible I will not be the only last men standing amongst my friends and family!  Do I really want them to have strokes (small or large), cancers, heart attacks and yes chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis?  No, I do not.  That's where I need help.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Where am I?

Over the last few months I have had two main challenges.  That of reducing my methotrexate and also adding back foods that previously caused me arthritis problems.  Along with this I have been continuing my yoga and in fact doing more.  But let me start with my medication.

Medication: Like many people I wanted to avoid the DMARD medication such as methotrexate.  Emotionally I simply could not handle it.  In fact after starting I found no noticeable side-effects and settled down to it.  That said I refused point blank to have the dosage increased, as advised by my doctor.  Had I done that I am sure my doctor would have doubled the medication level, possibly moved on to injected methotrexate and/or other drugs.  But I held out at 10g in four tablets at first and then reluctantly allowed an extra tablet to raise it to 12.5g.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Next Monday's Diet&RA chat at the Emporium cancelled

My apologies to anyone who wished to talk about diet & ra at my monthly meetup in the Eynsham Emporium.  I have to cancel this because of a local funeral.

If anyone wishes to contact me urgently I can talk to them outside the normal time, by arrangement.  Otherwise I will be at the Emporium in a month's time.  Again, many apologies to one and all for the short notice.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Thank You Ruth

This is a very big thank you to Ruth, who I met but once.

In my opinion, when you are afflicted with Rheumatoid Arthritis you would do well to look at every avenue open to you to reduce the crippling pain and inflammation that is your life, while you sleep and while you are awake.  I go on and on about the superb diet I was very fortunate to find.  I similarly go on and on about the superb exercise regime I am fortunate to have found.

Yesterday I heard about the sad, very sad death of Ruth, taken by cancer.

When I was at my worst a very dear friend told me about his cousin, Ruth and said, "why don't you send her a lock of your hair."  Ruth, you see is, or was, a dowser.  My friend argued that she professed to be able to tell me what foods would be good for me, and which ones were bad for me - all from a simple lock of my hair.

After a couple of months I gave in.

Come on I thought this is very much in the land of hogwash.  How could someone come up with a solution to my health problems from a lock of my hair.  But living in RA hell, I eventually acceded to my friends request, took a snip of my hair, sealed it in an envelope and posted it to Ruth.

Three days was all it took.

Three days later, by email, I received a recommendation of foods to eat and foods to avoid.  How on earth Ruth had come up with a list of foods that turned out to be the same diet that I eventually found through testing worked in my body I may never truly know.  Whatever she gave me hope.  Let me repeat that in case you didn't hear me.  Ruth gave me hope that I was embarking upon the right path for me and my body.

A coincidence of timing?

I started my Paddison Program elimination diet at almost the same moment as I took that cutting of my hair.  Despite recommendations from a whole universe of people that "diet has no effect on arthritis" I had started my journey.  Despite the medical fraternity, the government, our beloved NHS official recommendations, despite NICE guidelines I began the serious process of testing what foods had a beneficial effect on my body, and which ones hurt my body.

My own, my very own experiment falters.

It is not an easy thing going against all medical advice.  But when imperceptibly you find each day is just ever so slightly less painful, less full of inflammation.  That gives you the confidence to go on.  Ruth gave me that confidence.  But despite improvements my recovery faltered.

Who said it was going to be easy?

Looking back in my mind I knew that what triggered RA was to a large extent emotional issues.  And so at about three months after starting my journey of recovery I remembered that generous email from Ruth.  In it she offered a follow-up consultation.  She said if I came to visit her she could dowse me for emotional issues, or something like that.

And so I met Ruth just once.

On a nice sunny day one afternoon I met Ruth at her home.  She very kindly dowsed me over a three hour period.  At the end of this period she reckoned that many of my emotional issues were sorted, or on the road to recovery.  What, more hogwash?

Anyone who doubts that diet will affect arthritis will surely reject the idea my emotional issues were sorted.

Nevertheless as I walked away I felt a better person.  I am not going into the details of my session with Ruth.  That is very personal.  But afterwards I felt lighter emotionally, as she argued I would.

And so thank you to Ruth.

I can honestly say that without meeting Ruth I would not be as healthy as I am today.  She was, is, and will be someone who made a difference to my life.  She both gave me the confidence to fight my fight and then helped me troubleshoot some of the issues inside my brain.

Next week I will walk the Dorset Coast Path.

It is almost exactly a year ago today that I sent that clip of my hair in the post.  At that time I was in a wheelchair and simply unable walk any distance.  Even walking just three feet was done in excruciating pain.  A year ago, with friends and my much better half, Ruth's cousin walked the Dorset Coast Path without me.  This year will be very different.  With Ruth's cousin I will stride out and walk one of the tougher stretches of the UK coastline, without even a walking stick, with head held high and with my life, a happy healthful life ahead of me.

I dedicate this forthcoming walk to Ruth, who I met but once but will be in my thoughts forever.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Video showing dietary effects on my Rheumatoid Arthritis

Here is a video of a talk I gave recently to the Oxford Vegan Festival to help others understand the dramatic effect food can have on rheumatoid arthritis.  Some people who are cynical argue either I am a special case or some other excuse.  I am in no way special.  Also, apart from the fact I have so far had no surgery, my arthritis was as bad as it gets.  Had I accepted doctor's advice I would be in a mobility scooter today and probably be having changes made to my home to make it arthritis-friendly.

Other people argue that diets only work for some people, or that they have tried and failed - even tried the Paddison program and failed.  Well changing diet is not easy, that is a fact.  There are cultural reasons, family reasons, even your body is conditioned to sticking with the foods you have eaten regularly.

From people I have talked to, those who seem to fail on the Paddison program seem to have a particular medical history or a particular dietary history.  Beyond that doing the paddison program takes motivation, serious motivation.

The big question in my mind is, how much does someone want - and truly need - to get rid of their RA.  Some people are relatively happy on their medication, and that's fine by me.  For others who are very unhappy with medication, or have tried and failed on other diets then this fifteen minute video may be of interest.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Phew, my first real drop-in session on Diet & Arthritis

I have just returned from my Diet&RA meetup at the Eynsham Emporium.  I shared my story with about six people in total.  Not a lot of people perhaps, but quantity was not what I wanted.

At the outset I did not want people turning up who wanted to simply complain about their arthritis. Yes, we all need to express our pain and get some of it off our chest, so to speak.  After all at its core Rheumatoid Arthritis is about as awful an illness as there can be.  Talking out our own issues is very important, and I would not be able to understand people's issues if I did not listen to their stories.  However what I really needed was people who already had in their minds that somehow dietary changes might help them.  Further I wanted to inspire people through my experiences to try to do something more themselves.

If I may step back and take a second I'd like to share my inspiration for starting these sessions.  For some time, I posted about diet and arthritis on the HealthUnlocked NRAS forums.  Sadly amongst other vehement and many negative interpretations of what I wrote I was accused of actually selling the Paddison Program.  Yes, I personally have gained so much from the Paddison Program and it has inspired me to help others find it.  That's why I set up these meetups.  But if people come to my meetings and never ever hear the word paddison, that's fine by me also.

At these meetups the message I want to get out is to help people understand the benefits of making good choices in what they eat and drink. Since the second world war particularly this world is full of processed foods, and that includes oils!  Since the same war chronic diseases have escalated in all modern economies.  I argue that if people review and make good changes to their diet then they will get improved health outcomes.

Further, for some people just dropping one food and adding another may not be sufficient.  For these a great elimination process is needed.  Sadly some people say things like, "I have tried an eliminate diet and it didn't work." The fact is there are poor elimination processes and there are good ones.  A successful elimination process needs persistence, determination, a lot of support and most of all a very very good plan.

The Paddison Program I feel has an excellent elimination process.  And that's why I recommend it to anyone it is appropriate for.  Because of its elimination process they have a good chance at getting all the outcomes I have gained.

Thank you to the people who came and told me your stories and asked your questions. (And Pete, thank's for the Green Tea, I'll buy you one too some day!)

And to everyone else I'll be back at the Eynsham Emporium fourth Monday each month 11am-1pm.

Friday, 24 March 2017

I'm at the Oxford Vegan Festival

Tomorrow I shall be talking about my arthritis and my dietary and exercise changes at the Oxford Vegan Festival, in the Kassam Stadium probably around 4pm.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Just watched BBC's Carnage

I have watched quite a number of documentaries on the subject of vegan-related lifestyle options in recent months,  The latest, Carnage has just gone live on BBC iplayer, by Simon Anstell.  It has chosen the name carnage as an opposite concept to veganism, that of a minority lifestyle of people eating meat etc in a world full of people living a vegan lifestyle.

With all these documentaries I find myself in a difficult position.  My previous lifestyle as a vegetarian for forty years, in the end did not sustain my health.  In fact rather the opposite is true, in the end the dairy I consumed has without doubt been a significant contributor to the onset of my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

And here I am now living healthily without any dairy whatsoever.  My RA has all but gone, my bones are stronger and healthier than at any time in my life.  I have more energy and focus.  What more could I want from health?

Well such a film as Carnage presents me with a further challenge.  Yes it puts into clear focus the change inside me.  I have conquered several devils inside me over recent months, including my love of cheese.  Yes, I love the smell of cheese and I do not crave it anymore, however gooey and smelly it may be.

In chasing down my own personal good health I have come across countless documentaries arguing veganism as a global health solution.  These I can accept inside myself on humanitarian grounds.  My eyes have been opened to inhumanities of which I was previously unaware.

But.

But I cannot and do not lecture anyone else.  For each of us this is a very personal journey.  The media hype around "you need your protein", subtext "eat more meat" and "you need calcium for good bone health", subtext "drink more cows milk" are very powerful and deep going back to after WW2.  To defeat these subliminal messages means that each one of us has to accept these, what I consider, falsehoods in our own way in our own time.

There are many other sales and marketing messages that, had I paid attention to them my recovery would have been halted and I would have failed.  "Olive oil is necessary for whatever", pushes olive oil into a premium price cooking oil.  It took me a long time to break that one, but I have done it.

Carnage is another movie that helps people come closer to my reality by hypothesizing a vegan society in 2067, looking back at present day global and personal issues of eating meat and dairy.  I hope my friends and family in particular take the time to watch it, but to those who do be prepared - in some parts it is very tough viewing.

Whatever I don't have the right to judge anyone.  After all I am far from a perfect person. I have actually been very lucky to hit that almighty road-block of Rheumatoid Arthritis since it made me face up to my own health challenges and with a huge amount of effort I came out on top.

I wouldn't want anyone, even my worst enemy, to suffer RA or any other auto-immune disease.  But if you do then please consider the messages of films like carnage as part of your motivation for adopting a vegan and oil-free lifestyle.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Feeling Sorry...

I am very proud of my recovery from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  So very easily I could have simply taken the tablets, after all that was both my doctor and my rheumatologists recommendations. Taking the tablets is what most people do, so who am I to think I know any different?  After all I have no medical training, no nutrition training.  In fact I hardly even studied biology at school.

So who am I to dare that I can beat possibly the most debilitating disease on this planet.  I know it was debilitating because, like so many other people I suffered RA at its most vengeful.  At a recent meeting for people with RA, entitled "everything you always wanted to know about arthritis..." the word diet seemed like a dirty word.  Certainly the hosts of the meeting did not wish that word uttered.  In fact the first talk was a sideways attack on diet, arguing that anyone with any sense should treat dietary reports with total distrust.  I am exaggerating the point, but the audience was left in no doubt about the implications of daring to think that diet might help someone with RA.

The second talk was a showcase of what modern medicine was doing for RA.  "Aren't we lucky to be on the cusp of personal medication", was its main message.  Of course there was no mention of the fact that they had no actual solution to RA, just a promise of getting better at suppressing the symptoms.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Monthly Meetups in Eynsham

For anyone local to Oxford who is interested in talking about diet and arthritis there will be monthly meetups at the Eynsham Emporium, 4th Monday in the month at 11am.  So the next is the 27th March.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The diet and arthritis controversy

Because of my own experiences in resolving my rheumatoid arthritis I am very keen that others hear about my story and my theories of what works and what doesn't.   That means not only talking about my diet of choice but also the wider issues around diet.  Such a discussion can quickly become very controversial for various reasons, not least of which is there are many diets to choose from.  To further make life difficult some of these diets come from seemingly polarised positions.  However the biggest challenge comes from those who argue that diet has no effect.

Leading the cause arguing diet has no effect tend to be the charities, the doctors and the rheumatologists.  These are backed by pharmaceutical companies, copious gold standard research sponsored by the same.  And most of all government guidelines.

So how come such big players seem committed to denying what I consider a well researched and proven subject?  The starting point has to be that the leaky gut theory is the new kid on the block.   Big players always have considerable momentum on their side.  They can, by definition be highly influential in creating national and even international guidelines.  Such people tend to sit on the right committees and it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that they accept the status quo.

Also it is relatively easy to create a high-quality test when considering drugs and medication.  Placebo tablets that look identical to active medication is very cheap to design and run.  On the other hand creating a placebo that looks like a grass-fed cow of a standard size and weight, or a lettuce of a particular colour very quickly becomes a joke.  So instead creating meaningful results for dietary solutions can take years of collecting data on large populations.  Even then problems persist, for instance, one might challenge exactly how well diets were followed.

The good news is that those advocating diet are gaining strength and credibility.  The program I favour, the Paddison Program now argues that 19 our of 20 people who are committed to its program can gain considerable relief in just a few days, and that the remaining 1 in 20 often take longer because of long term damage done by certain drugs or combinations thereof.  If this claim is proved true then it cannot be too long before good verifiable statistics should be available.  I, for one, look forward to that day with great relish.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Remission Dawns

According to the website arthritis.org remission the American College of Rheumatology and the EULAR developed criteria defining remission from RA in 2011. These criteria are used by scientists when conducting clinical trials. They are:
  • One or fewer swollen joints 
  • One or fewer tender joints 
  • An assessment by the patient that on a 0–10 scale, arthritis activity is 1 or less 
  • A blood test showing little or no inflammation in levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation 
I am very glad to report that my latest blood test (just last Monday) showed my CRP coming in at just over 9 mg/L. At its worst in April 2016 my CRP was over 170, and just last month it was around 25.

Since the other criteria are largely true, accordingly I will very soon be in remission, possibly next month! I attribute my progress down to drugs to halt the problem, to diet and exercise to resolve the problem.

Apart from continually improving my health, I have two final goals regarding remission. The first is to remove myself from RA medication. The second is to re-introduce some foods back into my diet that I had restricted myself from. The latter I have already started with successfully eating "normal" potatoes (with no side-effects and some oils. I will continue with the latter by re-introducing foods back on a weekly basis, or thereabouts.

The medication reduction I will do after discussing the subject with my doctor. That will happen slowly because methotrexate is a seriously dangerous drug and is not to be treated lightly. But it will happen. I anticipate some blips of pain or inflammation as I reduce the methotrexate, but also anticipate these will be temporary.

We will see.