Living the Paleo Lifestyle Has Put My RA in Remission AND Helped Me Drop 30 lbs!

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Testimonial written by: Michelle

One morning in January 2011 I woke with a nasty elbow pain. After a day or so with little range of motion the other elbow began to have the exact same pain. I went to my doctor and explained this bizarre symptom. She ordered blood work and a bone scan. Since I had not been doing anything different physically this pain did not make a whole lot of sense.
A few days after this appointment, my wrists began to stiffen, ache and hurt. Next came my hands and fingers. The pain was so bad that I could not open doors, jars or lift anything without using both hands. Having had a friend with Rheumatoid arthritis I had an unsettling feeling that this was what was going on.

My blood work results showed that my inflammation markers were through the roof. However I did not test positive for Rheumatoid factor. I was prescribed Naproxen for the pain. In the following days and weeks, pain seemed to engulf my body. I had joint pain EVERYWHERE. If I tried to go for a walk, it would literally take 3 days to feel normal again because my knees would ache so badly. It seemed to travel all over my body…knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, hands, jaw. Daily activities were a nightmare. I even had to get my students to erase the whiteboard in my classroom. I could not lift a pan out of the oven or cut my own meat.
I was referred to a specialist who ran several tests and more bloodwork. My inflammation markers were higher than before but still no positive Rheumatoid factor. I was prescribed Celebrex for the pain and inflammation. By May, 2011 I was prescribed Methotrexate. In August, 2011 I was officially diagnosed with RA and also prescribed Plaquenil. At this point I was on 3 medications.

I dealt with my new disease as best I could. I researched ways to cope, however, I could barely exercise, and I quit the gym where I loved to run and lift weights.
In December of 2011 I became terribly ill. I ended up with Pneumonia and was immediately taken off Methotrexate and put on steroids. My hemoglobin was dangerously low. I felt horrible.

Fast-forward to Spring of 2012. I decided that I might try to loose a little weight. Having tried low-carb diets before and having experienced some success I thought this might be a good plan. I still wanted my treats so I would do low-carb during the week days and have a nice sugary treat or maybe pizza or something on Saturday. I did this for a few weeks and what I noticed was truly phenomenal… and maddening all at the same time. I would feel pretty good during the week with little joint pain. Then on Sunday, Monday, and sometimes Tuesday I would be in agony. I started to make connections between food and how my joints felt. THEN…I started reading and researching. The first book I came across was ”The Wheat Belly Diet”…. I read it quickly and realized that it was likely the wheat that was causing so many joint problems and making my RA flare like crazy. Next I found ”The Paleo Solution” and all the blogs and everything that go along with it. I researched and I read until I knew enough to commit to the lifestyle.

In July of 2012 I committed to the Paleo lifestyle. I started to walk more. My husband got on board with me as well. We both started losing weight immediately. After consulting with my doctor I came off of Methotrexate and Celebrex. I lost 17lbs in just 2 months!
In December 2012 I came off of my last RA medication: Plaquenil and I joined the gym and hired a personal trainer. I walk A LOT!!!!! And I’ve started lifting weights again. I have officially lost 30lbs. For my height I would like to lose another 15-20. The best part of this journey is that I am no longer in pain. My inflammation markers are way down within normal ranges.
I feel like shouting from the rooftops: ”CHANGE YOUR FOOD, CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!”

I hope my story helps to inspire others. It makes so much sense that our bodies were not designed to eat 70% of the so-called food in the supermarkets. Just eat REAL food…it makes sense and your body will thank you for it!
Michelle

 

Find out how you too can improve your health with a paleo diet and lifestyle. Check out Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Total Transformation Ebook!

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  1. Kate Spanton
    February 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Michelle – you could be writing my story – mine started in my knees in June 2011 – I finally went gluten, diary, legume and nightshade free in November 2011 – started to come good in January/February. Finally felt on top of it in about July 2012.
    You think I would have it together by then really…. Went grain free and was even better.

    Then I risked it… a couple of weeks ago, during an amazing skiing trip in Austria I went the Austrian food route and had pasta with creamy sauce, cheese with bread, full 5 course meal in the restaurant. It too 4 days and I went to bed feeling fine and woke at 4am with knees like footballs. It is taking time, I have gone back to the exclusion diet now for about three weeks and knees are reducing – even went for an easy run this morning.

    As I said – you were writing my story!!! Thank you for sharing – it’s good to know there are others out there like me and we are getting on top of it together – with the help of Robb of course.!!!!
    Kate

  2. Gary
    February 19, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Good for you. Amazing results. Pity the MD’s didn’t think of food as the culprit . Rock on!

  3. bjjcaveman
    February 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Holy cow.. that’s a fantastic story. It really goes to show how powerful the effect the food we consume can have on our bodies!

  4. Mary Ellen
    March 8, 2013 at 3:02 am

    My story is similar but without the RA meds. I have bad knees. I was taking joint supplements daily for 10 years. The brand I took changed its formulation and I didn’t feel it was working. I tried a couple different brands and felt I was getting an RA type reaction. My knees got really bad. I refused to accept that I had just developed RA out of nowhere! I knew if I went to the doctor and they started running tests that I would end up in the medical hamster wheel. I went off of the supplements and detoxified my body. The withdrawal was excruciating! Months of pain and limited strength… my hands and wrists were the worst! It seemed like the pain would increase and decease at times. After 4 or 5 months, the pain was subsiding. However, I knew that my knees would eventually start getting bad without the supplements. Sure enough, at the 9 month mark (of being joint supplement free), my knee pain was getting to the point of making me nervous that it was going to start severely limiting my movements. This was not RA type pain. Though I believe joint supplements are unhealthy for a number of reasons, they actually do increase the cartilage. So, I knew that being off the joint supplements, my knees would start to hurt without the benefits the supplements provide. That’s exactly what happened.

    By sheer coincidence, I decided to start taking coconut oil for cholesteral effects. WITHIN 3 DAYS, my knees felt “lubricated” and my joint pain had mostly disappeared. I started reading articles about coconut oil which led me to articles about polyunsaturates (Ray Peat articles and Mary Enig’s “The Oiling of America”). The first month on coconut oil, I was still eating polyunsaturates. I started to pay attention to how my body felt. Prior to taking the coconut oil, I had been noticing increased pain after eating larger amounts of pufa’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and now I was really paying attention and can verify that I did, in fact, suffer more pain when I ate them. The articles had validated what I had suspected for months… PUFA seed oils were hurting me.

    I have given up seed oils. I primarily use organic virgin coconut oil. I use some extra virgin olive oil and some organic grass fed butter (for the CLA). I recently ordered some organic macadamia nut oil for those few things that the others don’t work well in… mainly homemade mayo. I was making it with EVOO but it has a strong taste. As far as nuts go, I am limiting myself to pistachios, cashews and macadamias until I get closer to my goal weight because they are all lower in PUFA’s. PUFA’s cause fat storage. My husband and I have both lost weight. I use only coconut flour (again, almond flour will wait until I’m closer to goal). While it is true that wheat may have been part of the problem, I believe the main reason paleo helps RA is the elimination of corn, soy, sunflower, safflower, canola, peanut oils, etc. Keep in mind, too, that the four main GMO crops are soy, corn, canola, & cottonseed (oil)… Good luck to all… keep spreading the word!

    http://coconutoil.com/

  5. Joy
    March 26, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I hope that happens for me..I have been paleo for some time..Paleo AIP for over 30 days ..working with an ND for the right supplements to heal my inflammation and gut..and I am still in so much pain :(

  6. Kim
    October 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Michelle,

    Thank you for your story. I started the paleo diet on October 1. However, I just came across this website and I see they suggest anyone with autoimmune disease to not take Eggs, Tomatoes, Eggplants, Peppers including bell peppers and hot peppers, Spices such as curries, paprika, and chili powder, and Nuts and seeds during the first 30 days. I am curious if you took those during your first 30 days, or if you eat them now? I was diagnosed with RA in 2002 and have been on methotrexate ever since. I was also on Plaquenil but no longer take that medication. I exercise regularly and have a pretty healthy lifestyle, but I do flare when I do too much and I have always noticed a difference in how I feel when I eat sweets. Thank you for posting your story.

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