Stand-up comic Clint Paddison has endured far greater challenges than the occasional tough crowd.
While bringing laughter and smiles to audiences on international stages and Australian television, Paddison was struggling to mask an immensely painful and debilitating autoimmune disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis wrought havoc on many of the major joints in his body. Only in his 30s, Paddison was reduced to a hobbling walk from his inflamed knee.
He was put through invasive surgery and stuck on a rehabilitation apparatus for 10 hours a day when his swollen elbow could no longer be straightened.
With every bite of food, pain seared through his jaw. With every breath, his chest rebelled in agony. From his fingers and wrists to his ankles and feet, Paddison faced a daily nightmare of compromised movement that doctors warned him was inevitably destined to get worse.
The standard chemotherapy-style drug treatment prescribed by specialist medical professionals was ineffective at keeping his symptoms at bay for long.
Paddison was informed that he was looking at a knee replacement and would be on medications for the rest of his life. Then came the worst news of all for this recently married man who was keen to start a family.
The comic was told he and his wife would unlikely to be able to conceive due to the severity of this condition and the toxicity of his medication requirements.
The cherry incident
He also tried every natural remedy, supplement and physical treatment he could find in a quest to heal this 'incurable' disease. And after 18 months of popping pills...
Paddison experienced what he now calls 'the cherry incident'. Following a snack of unwashed cherries, he underwent vomiting and diarrhoea that caused 24 hours of purging.
Incredibly, the side-effect of being free of all food in his system had eliminated most of his Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. This unanticipated bonus from an unpleasant day spent in the bathroom provided the 'a-ha' moment that plunged Paddison into researching digestive health.
The entertainer gives a TEDx talk on the condition
To kick start the lifestyle change, Paddison devoted himself to eight months of a strict raw food vegan diet, focusing on leafy greens. Meanwhile, he devoured the published evidence related to Rheumatoid Arthritis and diet.
The studies consistently showed that a whole-foods, low-fat, plant-based (vegan) approach to eating was the ideal protocol for a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
One of the rather unique causal factors in this fascinating link is the role of the microbiome. This was underpinned by the authors of a randomised control trial published in the British Journal of Rheumatology: "We conclude that a vegan diet changes the faecal microbial flora in RA patients, and changes in the faecal flora are associated with improvement in RA activity."
Applying the diet diligently, Paddison was able to clear up all of his swollen, painful joints and start to run again. He has been off all medications for five years and is able to sleep through the night without waking in pain.
Now, his blood CRP (C-reactive protein - the marker of inflammation in a blood test) is less than 1 mg/L (after being as high as 55mg/L). However, his proudest achievement is raising his two little girls Angelina and Arielle who are soon to be joined by a baby brother in July, 2018.
He knows these special gifts would not have been possible if he had not shifted to a plant-based diet.
Fully inspired by his path to recovery, Paddison has pioneered a health revolution within the worldwide Rheumatoid Arthritis and autoimmune disease community.
By sharing his story, and those of others who have similarly improved their conditions, Paddison wanted to help others find the solidarity, guidance and success that was not afforded to him through the conventional medical treatments and advice he was prescribed.
The Paddison Program approach is now recommended by many natural therapists and doctors around the world and has over 10,000 active participants.
A demonstration of how much interest there is in the topic is clear in the more than half a million people who have watched Paddison's YouTube videos and engaged with his other free online content.
Paddison also runs live plant-based health education events and recently hosted Dr. Michael Klaper in Florida.
He is pleased to announce to Plant Based News that he will be MCing the inaugural Australasian 'Nutrition in Healthcare' conference in Melbourne, Australia in February 2019.
Stay tuned to Plant Based News for further conference presenter announcements.