A Bout With Gout

A Bout With Gout

When I was young, my dad had a very severe case of gout.  As I grew older, I

Gout: the disease of kings

Gout: the disease of kings (Photo credit: DanCentury)

saw him suffer more and more with the crippling disease.  He not only had it in his feet, but he got it in his hands and elbows as well.  As a matter of fact, his doctor told him that he had the most severe case he had ever treated. Of course, I’m sure everyone who has ever suffered with gout would say they feel they have the worst case.  I actually had my first “flare-up” of the despicable ailment in December of 2004.  Thankfully, I now no longer suffer with the disorder. Sadly, my father died at age 59 from renal failure brought on by diabetes.

What is Gout?  According to the National Arthritis Data Workgroup, an estimated 6 million people in the United States report having experienced gout at some point in their lives. In fact, gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men over the age of 40.

So, we know that it’s a form of arthritis, but there’s a lot more to it. Gout is a painful form of arthritis that is caused by high uric acid levels in your blood. Gout attacks occur when excess uric acid forms crystals, causing inflammation in your joints that leads to swelling and pain. As your uric acid level rises, so does the potential for gout and gout flares. Over time, gout attacks can become more severe, last longer, and occur more often. Decreasing your uric acid to the recommended level (less than 6 mg/dL) can reduce the risk of gout attacks over the long term. And there are options that may help get you there.

Gout Signs & Symptoms  Gout flares usually strike suddenly, at night, and without any warning. During the attack, the affected area becomes hot, red, swollen, and extremely tender. Having gout may sometimes feel like your toe is a volcano erupting into a hot, fiery flare.

Gout may be best known for causing harsh pain in the toe. While most gout attacks do occur in the big toe, they can occur in other parts of the body as well. As I mentioned, my dad had attacks in his hands and elbow as well.

What Can One Do?  Healthy Choices!  A lot of people misunderstand the role of diet in gout, but here are some good tips that you can discuss with your family doctor:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, like water.  Fluids like water help remove uric acid from the body. Alkaline ionized water is a great choice. Avoid beer and other alcoholic beverages!
  • Add low-fat dairy products to your diet. Eating more of these dairy products is associated with a decreased risk of gout.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight, and get plenty of exercise.
  • Limit your intake of high purine foods (beef, pork, and lamb)
  • Avoid spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms

The foods you eat aren’t necessarily the cause of gout. To best address gout, you need a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses healthy lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, pain management for gout flares, and the long-term treatment of high uric acid that causes gout.

Part of coming up with this plan is having an honest discussion with your doctor about what you are doing right now.

What is your daily diet like?

Are you taking herbal supplements or eating a lot of particular foods that you heard might help? One of the best supplements I discovered that helped my gout is Re:Flex.  It can’t be found in stores, but can be ordered online at https://store.myvollara.com/%28raines%29/Site/ReFlex

What kind of exercise are you doing and how frequently?

Are you taking your medication as prescribed?

Your doctor can tell you whether or not you are on the right track. I mentioned in the beginning that I no longer agonize from gout.  I had my last flare in 2004.  I found relief by losing weight, avoiding or decreasing the amount of high purine foods I take in. I also drink alkaline ionized water on a daily bases, and I take Re:Flex as mentioned previously.  My doctor insisted on prescribing a medication for me, and he did for a while; however, I saw what the long-term use of some of the medications did for my father and I didn’t want to follow that path.

Hopefully, this information has been helpful and if you suffer from “bouts of gout”, you get some relief.

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Brian Raines is not a healthcare provider, and does not render medical advice or services, and the information in this blog should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare provider. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a disease or health problem. You should instead always consult your physician or other healthcare provider for such medical advice or services. 






How Important is Hydration?

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A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

Drinking the equivalent of 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% and drinking ½ your body weight in water per day decreases the risk of breast cancer by 79%

I think the reason why we often don’t give enough importance to hydration is that it is so simple. It is hard for our brain to connect such a profound effect with something as simple as drinking a proper amount of water each day.

So I am not going to argue the point too much – I think 99% of you will agree that drinking enough water on a daily basis is absolutely a good thing. So let’s get into the good stuff: how you can start to directly change the quality of your life with water!

The benefits of hydration

Drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of quality water per day will transform your health and dramatically improve the way you think and feel.

These are the Top 5 Benefits to staying hydrated!

1. Energy! As mentioned above, when we are dehydrated by just 5% most of us will experience a 25-30% loss of energy. And to be honest, I estimate that 90% of us are more than 5% dehydrated.  When was the last time you truly drank enough water during the day?  And when you did, how good did you feel?!

When we are dehydrated we get headaches, foggy thinking, fatigue in our mind and our body, mood swings, we overeat, our metabolism grinds to a halt, we underachieve and we lose motivation.

Water is needed for almost every body metabolic function – it is simply vital that we stay hydrated. When we are dehydrated our body just cannot do it’s job and our energy and mental state will suffer as a result.

Fatigue is a hydration problem. If you’re feeling tired drink several glasses of water over the next 90 minutes and see how you feel then!


2.  Weight Loss! Our brain literally does not distinguish between the sensations of thirst and hunger. Both are derived from the same place – low energy levels (linking it to point 1, above). When we experience these low energy levels the sensations of thirst and hunger are generated at the same time, and we instinctively assume that regardless of the driver, both of these sensations are ‘the need to eat’. In other words we eat food even when the body needs water.


By staying hydrated we separate these two messages and often eat a lot less – the right amount.


3. Clear Skin! When you start to stay hydrated and consume ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day you will also begin to notice some dramatic changes to your skin.


Problems such as acne, dryness, eczema, psoriasis and more will start to disappear. Why?  When dehydrated, the body preserves the water supply to critical organs, such as the brain and the heart, but “cuts off water” to peripheral organs such as skin.


Being hydrated also ensures that your body’s cells are able to function effectively, for nutrient absorption, blood building and circulating and to help the body remove toxins.


4. Alkalinity & pH Balance! When you drink clean, filtered water with a pH of at least 8.5+ you will notice that you begin to feel a surge of health, energy and vitality. Our body is designed to be alkaline,

maintaining a pH level of approximately 7.365 in our cells, particularly the blood.


When we eat and drink too many acid-forming foods and drinks such as colas, sugars, breads, sweets, pizza, chips, alcohol, white rice & pasta, trans-fats, fast food, refined food, sauces & condiments, dairy, meats and more we put our body under an incredible strain to maintain this pH balance at 7.365.


By hydrating our body with high pH water we help maintain this alkalinity, flush toxins & acids from the body (such as yeasts/candida and bacteria growths) and our energy and vitality will go through the roof!


Being over-weight is also an acid problem, so when you start to hydrate & alkalize you will also start to see the weight fall away. Seriously, just by drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of alkaline water per day you will begin to see huge improvements with your weight.


5. Anti-Aging! The cause of premature aging is an over acid, dehydrated body. Aging occurs when we do not dispose of the internally generated wastes and toxins in our body. This is the process of getting old.

Because this accumulation of waste products inside the body is the aging process, supporting the body to remove these old, acid wastes is the anti aging process.


Antioxidants are often referred to as a way to prevent anti-aging because they help to detoxify the body from these wastes – and so drinking alkaline, antioxidant-rich water is a fantastic way to slow and reverse the aging process.


When we are hydrated, our cells function optimally, our digestive system works wonderfully and we can remove these aging toxins easily!


Below are unpaid endorsements from professional athletic teams that use our Vollara products, including the Living Water.  Just click on the team to read their letter.

James Clendenin


PDF icon imageLetters of Endorsment

·         St. Louis Cardinals

·         Miami Marlins

·         Detroit Tigers

·         Cincinnati Reds

·         Colorado Rockies

·         Arkansas Naturals

·         Joey Greany – Strength and Conditioning Coach

·         Kansas City Royals

·         Ryan Stoneberg – Minor League Strength & Conditioning Coordinator

·         Kansas City Royals

·         Ty Hill – Strength & Conditioning Coach

·         Texas Rangers

·         Toronto Blue Jays

·         Pittsburgh Pirates

·         Washington Nationals


Introducing PHP Financial

1. Who is PHP Financial? PHPLogo

PHP Financial is a division of The Raines Organization, Inc. and was founded by Brian Raines. Brian was a Senior Financial Advisor for fourteen years with an international firm.  Brian sold his financial planning practice in 2009. 

2. What does PHP do?

PHP Financial teaches and counsels God’s biblical principles of finances to people in the southeastern United States. We also provide Christian marriage and family counseling. We work with our clients via face-to-face sessions. All personal and financial information is strictly confidential. 

3. Where is PHP  located?

Our home office is located in the upstate of South Carolina. 

4. How can PHP help me with my finances?

We have trained counselors who can help you set up a budget and get your finances in order. We offer materials for small groups developed by various financial ministry organizations. We also have materials on many other areas of finances. Although Mr. Raines was formerly a licensed financial planner, PHP does not offer investing, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. Family Counseling is provided by Joyce H. Raines, M.Ed., LPC. 

5. Does PHP give financial assistance?

We receive many requests for financial support from organizations and individuals, and will give each request individual consideration; however, our primary donations go to our local church. 

6. How does PHP operate?
PHP Financial operates on a cash basis (i.e., it does not borrow money.) PHP believes that one of the ways God can give direction is through the provision (or withholding) of funds. Therefore, PHP Financial moves forward on a project only when it has the funds on hand to do so. PHP Financial, a division of The Raines Organization, Inc.,  is recognized as an S-Corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Clients pay PHP on a sliding scale based upon the level of need and personal ability. Those with a severe financial need will be counseled on a no-cost basis. 

7. Is PHP affiliated with any religious denomination?

No, PHP is a non-denominational organization. 

For more information, or to schedule a no cost,  initial consultation, e-mail brianraines@bellsouth.net


Peace               Hope               Prosperity

Never Complain About Being Overweight if You Permit It!

Obesity Campaign Poster

Obesity Campaign Poster (Photo credit: Pressbound)

Since the beginning of the year, I have been writing about my personal struggle with obesity.  I still  have a long journey ahead; but, I am taking the trip day-by-day.  I didn’t get this problem overnight, and I won’t lose it overnight.  I acknowledge right up front, my topic today isn’t going to sit well with most people — especially my friends who share a weight problem.

I disagree with most people who say that addictions are illnesses.  I was born overweight at 10 pounds 8 ounces; however, that does not mean I was born to “always be obese.”  From childhood through adulthood, I made choices. I made choices about what I ate, what kind and how much activity I received, and how I spent my time.  By this I mean, did I spend my time being outside and active, or did I choose to be inside watching television or being idle. I have not always made the right choices. I’m sure I won’t always make the right choices in the future.  I firmly believe if one continues to do what they have always done, then one will always get what they have always gotten.

My circumstances are not permanent. My current weight is not permanent. While I realize there are those who have health issues that cause them to be obese, the vast majority do not. You and I have permitted our present circumstances or they would not exist.  My friend, Dr. Mike Murdock says, “What you tolerate, you authorize to exist.”  Are you tolerating your obesity? If so, you have authorized it to exist in your life.  Now, this brings us back to choices…

Either accept the present obesity without complaint or make a decision to use your strength, your faith, whatever you must use, and make a change. One can accept a miracle from God — the miracle of life, health, and prosperity.

If you are overweight like me, you can start today to make permanent changes in your life.  Most of the time, very small changes can make large differences and impact in and on our lives.  Will you make the necessary changes? Will you make the right choices? Will you make that change?

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth,” (Mark 9:23).

Let me hear from you. Love and blessings to each of you.

Brian Raines

P.S. I use the nutrition products made available from Vollara in my daily health and weight loss regimine. For more information, or to order Vollara nutrition or green technology products, visit their website.


2004 – in excess of 555 pounds and a size 74 waist and a BMI of 75+

Most addictions whether they be alcohol, sex, drugs, or in my case food, usually have some degree of secrecy.  I personally feel that those with food addictions tend to have more secrecy.  Alcoholics for example can go to a bar and feed their addiction right in public with their friends. Sure, food addicts can go to restaurants and eat with friends; however, usually in this setting, food addicts will not eat as much food as they would in private. Alcoholics usually get noticed for their addiction – they are loud, obnoxious, get in trouble with the law, and God forbid, some even kill others.  Food addicts to some degree go unnoticed.  I always tried to make people feel I was strong and “all-together.” I can assure you when I weighed close to 600 pounds, I was NOT all together. I was falling apart!

In their book, The Don’t Diet Live It! Workbook, Wachter and Marcus say, “At the core of food, weight, and body issues is a deep well of shame.”  Shame is what you feel when you believe that you are a failure as a person or that something is fundamentally wrong with you. When you feel shame, there is a tendency to isolate yourself (or your true feelings) from others. You may believe that you don’t deserve support, so you keep your problems to yourself. Or you think your pain will “bring people down” so you hide it where others won’t see it. The more secretive you become, the more alone you feel. The more alone you feel, the more your feelings of shame seem confirmed.
According to my wife, family therapist Joyce Raines,  “reaching out to others is essential to recovery, it is important that the people you reach out to are Safe People.” Joyce describes safe people as those who respect you and are good listeners. They don’t try to fix you. Safe people welcome you and all your feelings, no matter what your feelings happen to be at the time. For me personally, when I talk with Joyce, I feel heard and cared about.
On the other hand, unsafe people are those who criticize, interrupt, try to “fix” you, give unsolicited advice, relate everything you say to themselves, or reveal your confidences. Sadly, most people turn to unsafe people due to a fear of intimacy. We tend to go to unsafe people because their rejection and criticism, though painful, is familiar.
I urge you to find a safe person to reach out to. It will mean being honest. It will mean calling them or being with them when you are in pain or feeling bad about yourself. It means telling the truth when you are angry or hurt. It means asking for help when you don’t know what to do. It means trusting people who are trustworthy.
Joyce and I will be your safe people. I know the pain you experience being overweight. Joyce is trained to help you deal with the underlying feelings and emotions that are causing you to react by over-eating.  I urge you to contact us. I am thankful I found Vollara. Vollara has one of the absolute best weight loss and nutritional programs in the country. They have a medical advisory board that is unmatched anywhere.  As I’ve said before, Vollara’s RE:PLACE is at the core of my successful weight loss, along with other key nutritionals.
Thank you for reading today. I’ve lost 35 pounds in 40 days, and I would love to help you get on the same path. Let me hear from you.
 Your friend,
Brian Raines


With Vollara, You're Headed in the Right Direction

Good afternoon to my fellow “losers!”  Of course, we all know I am referring to those of you who are losing their excess weight with me on the Vollara Uncompromising Health Weight Loss Challenge.  I hope you are a smaller person today than you were yesterday.  Today started day 36 for me.  The biggest hurdle is over – I have almost lost 10% of my body weight, and that was an initial goal for me, on this my second leg of weight loss.

I’ll bring you up-to-date on where I stand.  I have lost 30 pounds in 35 days.  I am really starting to feel some great energy and positive feelings coming into play. Yesterday, I had to go visit my internist for a check-up, and he was pleased with my over-all health.  My heart has always been strong and healthy, even when I weighed my heaviest of 555 pounds. Yesterday was no exception.  To my doctor’s surprise, my blood pressure was 118/80.  Here again, hard to believe, but my blood pressure has always been normal. 

I have truly been blessed to stay healthy in spite of my weight. I just turned 49 in December. My father died when he was 59. He had diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure…you name it, he had it. I lost my maternal grandmother to diabetes, and my paternal grandmother to diabetes. My dad’s mom lost her leg to the disease, prior to her death.  I have always been overweight; however, I have always been healthy. That has always been my problem! Each time my doctor would tell me to lose weight or die, I brushed it off because I was so healthy. The only issue the doctor’s could point at me and show me was my cholesterol levels, and at my heaviest weight, my level was 232.  You see, I was in denial. As long as all my medical tests were good, I never worried. When the doctor said, “you are going to die,” I always said, “I’m not dead yet, and I am healthy.”  Is that insane or what? There I was at 555 pounds arguing with the doctor.  When my dad died at age 59, it was like cold water in my face. That was the turning point for me. 

If you need to lose weight, please listen to me! DO NOT delay another day…start getting your weight off now!  There isn’t one excuse you can tell me that I haven’t used. You cannot convince me you are happy being overweight, you cannot convince me you are healthy being overweight, you cannot convince me of one thing, except you are heading down a dead-end street. Literally!

My wife, Joyce, has been a true help-mate to me. Joyce is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  I figured it was cheaper for me to marry a therapist than to pay for one.  She always told me, “honey, you are insane. You are doing the same thing daily, and expecting a different result.” Naturally, I never wanted to hear it. If you won’t listen to anyone else, please listen to me. I am you. I am overweight. I know the pain and discrimination you live in every day. I can help you. I will lose the weight with you. I will encourage you. Will you do it?

In closing, I have been telling myself I wanted to lose down to 180 pounds. Yesterday, my internist told me he felt it would be more appropriate for me to get down to 200 or so. Hey, I liked that! I am trying to be smart and listen to my doctor now. I have revised my goal to 200 pounds.  Now, all I have to do is lose approximately .41 pounds each day, and on my birthday this year (December 29th), I should be at my goal weight.

I use Vollara nutritional weight loss products. If you want to get on the challenge with me, visit my website and place your order today. Re:Place is the core product in my program. I also use Re:Activate, Re:Duce, Re:Cleanse, as well as my daily nutritional supplement, Re:Fuel.  Feel free to make comments below, and subscribe to this blog so we can keep up with each other.  If you would like to correspond with me confidentially, feel free to send me an e-mail at rainesorganization@myvollara.com

Come on…join me…be a loser!



weight loss tracker week 2

Image by The Shed1 via Flickr

Oh what a beautiful morning it is here in the piedmont of South Carolina.  It is cool, but I’m beginning to think winter has forgotten to make an appearance this year.  Bring on the snow!

So, how are you coming along with your own weight loss challenge?  Have you had one or two of those days yet, as I did last week, when the scales made you mad and you wanted to just crush them?  Two days last week, I actually gained weight; however, over the weekend, I got mad, and serious, and decided that greater is He who is in me, than he that is in those scales!

As you know, I started my weight loss journey at 555 pounds several years ago.  I have pictures posted of me “before” in a previous blog. My goal is to hit 180 by my birthday on December 29th.  Drum roll…..this morning I weighed in at 338.2  I was very excited, because that is a loss of over 1.5 pounds yesterday.  This brings my total to 26.8 pounds lost in the past 32 days.

You know what I want to do? I want to see if I can actually get my weight loss total higher than the actual number of days I’ve been on the challenge.  I want to see something like 40 pounds lost in 35 days. Wouldn’t that be a BOOM?  I know I can do it, and you can as well.

Please join me on my challenge.  I still have 158.2 pounds to go in order to reach my target weight. My BMI needs to be 24.4  I want to hear from you guys. Tell me what struggles you’re having. Tell me about your success.

Exercise is my weakness…I don’t like it, and I don’t enjoy it; but, I know I’ve got to get a program going. Remember, when your motivation leaves you, your discipline kicks in. Take your supplements, drink the correct amount of water, preferably LivingWater, it is SO much healthier for you. The health benefits are amazing.

Go out and make it a great day. Subscribe to my blog so we can keep up and share our success together.  It’s much easier to lose weight when you have others doing it with you, and I need you…that’s why I’m putting my personal information out here, because I need encouragement too.

Let me know if you would like to have a free copy of my January Healthy Living Newsletter. Have a blessed day.

To Your Weight Loss Success!


P.S.  If you find you are running low on energy, I have found RE:VIVE to be a great energy boost.  You can watch a short video on the product here, and you can order at this website.