Auto-Immune / Ankylosing Spondylitis Six Month Health Review
On January 18th, 2012 I started, by faith, a diet that would not only eradicate my Ankylosing Spondylitis / Auto-immune disease, but start the process to 100 Percent Health (reaching the potential God has for my life). Included is a listing of all the things that happened from 1/18/12 – 7/18/12:
- 21-Day Reboot (January 18th) – 3 week start of the “no starch diet” (NSD) + transition to being a vegan. I lost over 10 pounds during the reboot and I ate the most food I’ve ever eaten in my life. NSD was the only diet I knew that would fix my auto-immune disease.
- Traveled to Venice on February 4th – April 12th .
- Last day I took Enbrel was on February 7th. This is the medication that stops the auto-immune disease from attacking the body. Lots of side effects and only takes care of the symptom, not the cause. The auto-immune diet was made to replace Enbrel & take care of the root cause of my condition.
- Autoimmune Disease and Inflammation Treatment Seminars on February 27th. Saw immediate improvement after taking Gut Repair 1 & Pyloricin.
- Height of my inflammation & unbearable pain was mid-March (click “next” to review each week of progressive pain). Compounding the issue was not going to the chiropractor enough.
- My 1st dessert from a restaurant was on March 16th.
- Added more meat (protein) to my diet, s witched to the “low starch diet” (LSD), and modified supplements after nutritional consultation on March 16th. MD suggested to add more meat due to muscle / weight loss on April 12th.
- 1st encounter with starch on April 22nd – no effects.
- Results (see “Off of Enbrel” blood test below) from my D.O. on May 2nd revealed high inflammation and elevated / depressed levels other other test markers (to him he was not concerned).
- Costa Rica! May 4th – 11th was able to zip line & act like Superman…for a minute and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle .
- Food Intolerance List from the Cyrex Test and balancing immune system (Th1 / Th2) on May 22nd. I’ve been eating eggs for 15+ years and learned they were damaging my body.
- Started Ibuprofen regimen instead of taking as-needed on June 7th. Without it, I could not control the inflammation & pain & do my work, sleep as much, and do daily activities.
- Anointed at church on June 10th.
- Started wearing Sole Support orthotics on June 13th.
- Metametrix Test and Hair Analysis results were in and on June 19th I discovered that I NEED STARCH . It took me 5 months to realize that my initial diet was over with and I changed. I made a daily journal to confirm switching form NSD / LSD to approved starches (rice & potatoes) from my Cyrex test on 6/18 – 6/26.
- Chiropractic X-Ray review on 6/19 showed my lower back (where Ankylosing Spondylitis starts fusion) disc spaces increased! This result is not typical and confirms what I am doing (chiropractor & nutrition) are on the right track.
- Lowest weight reported at 129.5 lbs. and BMI of 18.12 on 6/26. Before starting the diet I weighed 156 lbs./ BMI of 22.07 .
- Took a Segway Tour on 6/30 testing my physical limitations. Although fun, it took me 2 days to recover.
- Finally able to start an exercise regiment (chiropractor, swim, walk) on 7/2, details of 1st week results 7/10. It started allowing me to bend over and pick things off the floor with my fingers, not my feet.
- Added potatoes (my other big starch) to my diet , corn starch + adding variants of rice (rice pasta, rice milk, etc.) on 7/10.
Tests I Took
Out of all the tests I took, the ones that made the most difference in my life were the Cyrex and Metametrix tests. Click on the name of the test to see the company’s web page or click “SEE RESULTS” to see my test results.
- Comprehensive Blood Test While on Enbrel | Off of Enbrel – Note the high SED rate + C-Reactive Protein (both markers of inflammation).
- Cyrex Test (array 4) – measures gluten cross-reactive foods (food intolerance). SEE RESULTS
- Diagnostechs Test – Adrenal stress & cortisol levels. This test confirmed why I can’t sleep well at night. Tried the supplement Apex Energetics Proglyco-SP 90 (regulates hypoglycemia’s blood sugar & adrenal glands) & did not help. Slowly diet and exercise helping the situation. SEE RESULTS
- Heavy Metals Test – Confirmed medium levels of Mercury; all other heavy metals are low. SEE RESULTS
- Metametrix Test – Vitamin & nutrient deficiencies that need to be explained by your doctor. This was the main test that told me I need to stop the low-starch diet and eat starches; I saw immediate improvements. SEE RESULTS
- Spectracel Test – While not as in-depth and as good as the Metametrix vitamin deficiency test, it did help me see some vitamin deficiencies I had. In the end, the results did very little to improve my situation. SEE RESULTS
- Download All My Tests
Symptoms / Diagnosis
These past six months have been the hardest on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Listed below are most of the symptoms and diagnosis from the past six months.
What I’ve Learned
Live, eat & breathe nutrition / health and you pick up on some good information. Listed below is what I’ve learned and (in some cases) how it applied to my life over the past six months.
Where Do I Go From Here?
At this point, I cannot consider taking Enbrel again knowing what I know and feeling better each week. While my lifestyle is not 100 percent, I make gains each week. I will continue to report 2 to 3 times per month based on any new developments in my health and learning.
Simple phone call “check-ups” to diagnosing my conditions, I deeply thank those who have helped me from the bottom of my heart and spirit. If you know anyone with an auto-immune condition, please pass this blog post on to them. You might just save a life…
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What I Learned in Week 25
Overall: Introduced a new starch (potato) + adding more rice to my diet, Speedo glove pool exercises, and coping with the pain while my muscles gain.
Speedo Glove Pool Exercises
I recently purchased some Speedo exercise gloves to help resistance in the pool. Below are exercises suggested by Livestrong and Speedo:
Speedo Glove Poole Exercises – Lateral Raise & Body Rotation
- BICEPS CURL AND TRICEPS PRESS – This combination of two traditional weight training exercises targets all of the muscles in your arms. Stand in shoulder-deep water with your hands by your sides and your palms facing forward. Keep your elbows tucked into your ribs, and bend your arms. Keep your hands open and your fingers spread to maximize resistance through the water. Raise your hands to shoulder-level, and then turn your palms down, and press your hands back down to your sides. Continue bending and straightening your arms for the duration of your set.
- CHEST AND REAR FLIES – This exercise will strengthen your arms, front and rear shoulders, upper back, and chest muscles. Stand in shoulder-deep water with your arms extended out to your sides at shoulder height. Turn your palms forward, and spread your fingers. Sweep your arms forward until your hands meet. Turn your thumbs down, and then sweep your arms back to the starting position. Reset your hands and repeat. This exercise generates a lot of power, which may push you off balance. To avoid this, lean against the side of the pool or stand in a split stance for extra stability.
- SIDE RAISES – Side raises target your shoulders and are very similar to the traditional strength training exercise, side lateral raise, which is commonly performed using dumbbells. Stand in shoulder-deep water with your hands by your sides. Spread your fingers to maximize resistance. Raise your arms out to the side and up to shoulder level. Lower your arms back to your sides, and then repeat. You can also perform this exercise by raising your arms to the front. This variation also targets your shoulder muscles.
My Health in Week 25
- Overall: Adding rice & potato plus my 2nd week of getting into the exercise regime has it’s ups and downs. Listed below are the exercises and how I’m holding up.
- Chiropractor 3X per week: Neck warm-ups and wobble chair go usually well & depend on how I’m feeling that morning. Adjustments vary on light to heavy depending on how my neck and shoulders are doing + my energy levels. Head weights for 10 minutes are working out fine. Traction for 20 minutes is by far the hardest thing I’m going through. Now that I’m up to the maximum, my jaw and neck hurt and increasingly hurt as the week progresses. This is not to say what they are doing is wrong, it’s just that my neck and shoulder area is very weak and that exercise is very tough on it. It gets so bad that getting up out of bed has become even more difficult because my neck is so worn out I can’t pick it up easily as I lift myself out of bed. Traction against the wall for 10 minutes is fine and I get an ice pack during this time to help out my neck. This exercise is really great for pushing my shoulders back. On Monday, 7/9, I did this exercise lying down and it was much tougher to do (especially with a 6″ foam block on my back – I have back pain due to that on 7/10). Something tells me they won’t put me lying down again for awhile.
- Head weights 2X per day for 10 minutes each (1X in the evening if it’s a day at the chiropractor) – usually not a problem, but from Thursday on, I developed a mild groin / right hip problem due to sleeping incorrectly throughout one of the nights. So the head weights (usually the evening one) are tougher to do & I need to be more careful.
- Walking as far as I can outside (currently around 10-20 minutes). Same issue as head weights listed above.
- Pool exercises on days not at the chiropractor. Times range from 1/2 – 1 hour and consist of exercise gloves, walking / high-stepping, push-ups and pulling legs in/out / side-to-side to strengthen core. Pool exercises are really helping me out as they are the only time I can lift up my legs high and do ab exercises I normally cannot do.
- Potato, More Rice and Corn Starch: Added 1/2 a red skin potato on 7/5 & the other half on 7/6. Besides adding rice in the morning, I added it to my meal at Chipolte on 7/7 and ate frozen Yogurt – so far, so good. And, unlike the previous week, I’m not getting as many of those stabbing pains whenever gas travels through my intestines. 7/9 I attended a healthy food class over at Whole Foods. One of the dishes contained corn starch and I gave it a try. It’s only been one day, but it doesn’t seem to affect me either (at least in small doses).
- Sleep: I’m waking up 1-2 times a night, but dealing with pain from my right hip throughout the night (feels more like a mild groin injury) due to sleeping incorrectly (I had no idea until I woke up & felt the pain). I go to bed at 10pm, get up around 1am needing to go to the bathroom quickly (this has been happening for months) + I take 1 ibuprofen. Then around 4am I take 1 ibuprofen, 1 probiotic, and fish oil and finally get up at 6:30-7:30am. The 2nd time I wake up, I usually pass out and wake up around 5am.
- Supplements: Probiotics, Vitamin D3, Magnesium (Gluconate), HCL (1-2 times per week), digestive enzymes, and Maine Omega-3 fish oil are my standard. I’ve added Chromium Picolinate and Vitamin B-Complex – most of supplementation is done at breakfast time.
- Current Areas of Concern: Neck and shoulder pain from chiropractic exercises (pulls me back to proper alignment) & AS (pulls me forward out of alignment) battling each other, evening time crashes (tired, sore all over – feels like the flu each night), right hip / groin area hurts and makes it harder to sleep.
- Areas of Improvement: Exercising and most of my body keeping up with it, added more starches without an issue (hello potato!), and getting a few more hours each week for work.
- Enbrel: It has been 20 1/2 weeks since my last shot.
- My lowest weight was 130 lbs. and a BMI of 18.15.
Included below is the Ankylosing Spondylitis / Auto-Immune Diet Daily Health Routine I created for Month Three (3) to Five (5). For the latest version, please visit my daily routine.
My Daily Auto-Immune Diet from Month 3 – 5
- Supplements, Digestive Helpers, & Raw Food + NSD / LSD (at least until 8/8/2012)
- Chiropractor from Dec. 1st, 2011 to Jan. 31st, 2012. Back on program Mid-April 2012.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) + Other Vitamin Test (Look at “Allergy Tests”) after mid-April – make sure it’s done by LabCorp.
- Calories: Need 2220+ calories per day (Calculate BMR X Lifestyle)
- Fat: I need 49g – 86g of fat per day
- Protein: I need 70g of protein per day (1/2 my weight)
- Since the start of the 21-day reboot, the medication I take is Enbrel (last taken Feb. 7 – Day 21 of reboot) & NSAID-based products (masks pain + inflammation) as needed including Ibuprofen & Naprosen.
Lunchtime & Afternoon:
Dinner & Evening: