After suffering the physical changes brought on by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for nearly three decades, Curt Griffing did what many people with RA wish they could do: He found relief.

Sadly, the Arthritis Foundation estimates that approximately 1.3 million people in the United States have RA, which is nearly 1 percent of the nation’s adult population. The Arthritis Foundation explains that, while it’s most common among women (they’re three times more likely than men to get it), it’s not unheard of for men to develop RA. Griffing knows that all too well, experiencing the swelling and stiffness associated with the chronic condition. The changes in his body took away from the cycling and skiing lifestyle that he used to enjoy, draining his energy. But not for long.

Once told to “learn to live with” his debilitating joint inflammation, he’s now proud of the fact that he hasn’t set foot in a hospital in ages. The discouraging news that he had developed RA came over 30 years ago, but after making significant dietary changes, Griffing says he hasn’t “been to a doctor since.”

The dietary change that provides RA relief

So, what did this 57 year-old man do?

He traded in his meat and cheese-eating habits for a raw, plant-based diet, typically enjoying smoothies, salads with raw food dressings, and plenty of nuts. “I discovered raw vegan foods,” says Griffing, “and my health and energy have never been better!”

So successful was his transition that he was also able to trade in his television repair shop to create a business called Raw Food Central. There, he calls himself the CFO (Chief Flavour Officer), remaining active with the community as he teaches raw vegan courses, provides demonstrations and shares his personal stories about his victory in finding relief from his RA symptoms. At his store, he says people can enjoy “raw vegan snacks [that] really rock,” adding that there’s “absolutely no junk added.”

A raw, plant-based diet has been heralded by many people who say that the absence of meat and dairy in favour of non-heated, whole foods is key in relieving many health symptoms, from RA and asthma to diabetes and weight problems.