I’m No Superman

As I write this post at 4:50am, I am reminded of the pain and suffering I continue to go through during my rehabilitation.  I have an auto-immune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and have been medicated with an auto-immune suppresor called Enbrel since 2003.  While Enbrel has carried me through these 9 years, it has only masked the symptoms, but never treated the cause.

In January of 2012 I discovered a holistic way of treating the cause by not eating starches, or commonly known as the Low Starch Diet (LSD).  I’ve sought out multiple nutritionists and focused mainly on fruits, veggies and nuts.  Additional research lead me to understand supplements to heal the areas of my body that have been severely damaged by AS.  A little over a month into the program, I stopped taking Enbrel completely, but I paid the price.

I have been on the LSD diet for 2 1/2 months while being off Enbrel 1 1/2 months.  During that time, I have fought pains, stiffness, and swelling in areas I’ve never dealt with before.  I’ve relied on my parents helping me out of bed when I could not do it myself.  I’ve come out of the chiropractor’s office shaking and bewildered due to (much needed) the spinal and neck adjustments.  And my sleep continues to be intermittent – I wake up 2-3 times per night knowing that my body is desperate for full nights of sleep.  I put up with a lot, but I’m no Superman.

As of last week I’ve decided to improve my quality of life and become more functional by allowing Ibuprofen into my diet and use as much as I need to get me through the rest of the days/weeks/months until my body heals itself.  Up until this point, I’ve always convinced myself that any time of medication will somehow stop the process of healing my body.  Only a few days into this regiment, I found out how much I was wrong.  When healing the body from AS, you need to always be moving, sleep as much as you can, and take in quality whole foods (no processed junk!).  With Ibuprofen, I take my normal draining days and reduce the pain & inflammation by 80%.  In turn, I sleep longer.  I move more.  I function.  And now I’m taking less naps during the day, I’m able to bend and be more flexible, and I’m getting longer nights of sleep.  So the recovery time the body needs is getting met whereas before I couldn’t due to all the pain and inflammation.  And when the body gets enough days to recover, I will ween off my Ibuprofen as it only stays in the body for a short period of time with no major side-effects.

If you’re ever feeling guilty of taking low-dose NSAIDs like aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil, etc., consider your recovery time over your fear of medication.  While we’d all like to be Supermen and kick AS ASAP, we need to remember that pain and inflammation don’t need to follow you while you’re fixing your body.  Keep up the good fight and God bless you on your journey to 100% health.

Autoimmune Disease and Inflammation Treatment Seminars

During the end of the 6th week on my Ankylosing Spondylitis / Autoimmune Disease Diet (2/27/12), I went to two autoimmune treatment seminars that should help eradicate this disease and reduce my inflammation.

Autoimmune Disease Class (Joseph Family Chiropractic)

When:  Monday, 2/27/12
Dr. Jeremiah Joseph
12479 S. Access Rd
Port Charlotte, FL 33981
Phone: (941) 473-7900
Fax:     (941) 473-7877
Email:  frontdesk@myjfc.com

Why Does Autoimmune Disease Happen?

This can happen as early as childbirth.  First, if you were not fed as a baby with breast milk, you lose powerful immune-fighting Colostrum.  Another reason is if you had a C-Section and was not birthed through the normal vaginal wall that contains other immunity helpers.  When a baby is born, the passage through the vaginal canal introduces the baby to billions of healthy bacteria, or microflora. It is absorbed by the gut and jump-starts a new baby`s immune system.

What Foods Decrease Your Immune System

  • Milk & Dairy Products (including Cheese)
  • Soy
  • Feta Cheese from U.S. (Cow).
  • Gluten which is in all wheat products.  Take allergy blood tests for any gluten-free products.
  • Foods high in Iodine

Alternatives to the Food Listed Above

  • Almond, rice, & hemp milk
  • Goat cheese
  • Almond and coconut yogurt
  • Feta cheese from Europe is fine (Sheep)

Detoxification to Boost Immune System (In Order of Importance)

Each taken once per day unless noted

  1. Vitamin D3 – 5,000 – 10,000 i.u.
  2. Magnesium Glycumate – 6-800mg
  3. Green Vibrance (1 Tbsp in 4 oz. water)
  4. Fish Oil (liquid form) – 3 Tbsp. per day
  5. Vitamin B12 Drops or Spray (under tongue, 900 micrograms)
  6. DMG – 125mg
  7. Probiotics – 30 – 100 billion with a minimum of 3 strains.
Other supplements suggested for me

Allergy Tests


Whole Body Class – Fight Inflammation (Whole Foods, Sarasota Florida)

When:  Saturday, 2/25/12
Teacher:  Lauren Rathvon, AP, DOM
Nationally Board Certified (NCCAOM)
@ Midtown Medical Park
1219 East Avenue South, Suite 104
Sarasota, Florida 34239
P: 941/951.1119
Turmeric Root
How much curcumin is in an actual turmeric root (or culinary turmeric powder).  Although the numbers vary, it’s primarily between 3-5% (some sources say as little as 0.6%, some as high as 6%).  That pales in comparison to the 95% found in supplements!  So, unless you REALLLLLLY like the taste of turmeric (in EVERYTHING you eat!), you may want to stick to the supplements.  By supplements, I will be taking Zyflamend.  

NSAIDS Long-Term

  • Increase 3X the risk for ulcers and upper GI issues.
  • 50% higher risk of heart disease taking Alleve 2X per day for 2 years

Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Papaya, pineapple, ginger, berries, turmeric, green tea, broccoli, avocados, sweet potatoes, salmon, & fresh produce

Agave:  In some cases, contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

Suggested Supplements

  • Turmeric (especially when paired with biopene – good & bad)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • GLA (Borage or Evening Primrose oils)
  • Enyzmes (on an empty stomach) – I use Digest Gold
  • Zyflamend
  • Traumeel (orally)

My Conclusion:

As with anything you take, do your own research and take supplements that will compliment your lifestyle.  The good news is that are very rare (if any) issues with taking too many supplements.  I’ve encountered numerous chiropractors, doctors, and other physicians taking much more than I currently do and then turn around & recommend them to the general public.

I also suggest taking the more expensive tests once you have managed your symptoms.  It’s much easier to live a life of knowing which starchy foods to avoid than avoiding all starches the rest of your life.  But the only way to know this is to test & experiment.  The more comprehensive the test, the less likely you’ll have a flare-up when testing these foods out on your own body.

Day 21 Food Reboot

“Uniqueness” of the Day:  What I thought was a flare-up, turned out to be getting worse. On day 19, the coconut water & coconut meat may have activated it or not.  This time I honestly thought that the food would come in & start to reverse some of the shooting pains & inflammation.  In reality (for now), AS flares up and won’t let go until I take the Enbrel and when I start to get this kind of pain, I need to get  back on Enbrel as soon as I can.  Instead of cycling it 1X / 2 weeks, I will start using it as-needed while my body heals itself through healthy food. If I don’t, my body continues to degrade the longer I delay taking Enbrel after the initial shooting pains arrive.  Even after the Advil wore off, the inflammation continued to be reduced.  For now, combinations of Enbrel and eating healthy are working.

UPDATE 12/2/12:  February 7th is the last time I took Enbrel.

Waking Up:  Went to bed at 10:30 and got up at  3:30am and the inflammation and shooting pains are unbearable at this point.  Although I did not want to, I ended up taking an Advil for the immediate pain and took my Enbrel at 4am.  I went back to bed at 4:45am and got up at 7:45am with much less pain (but still some shooting pains coming out of bed).

Breakfast:  Green Smoothie
  • 2 cups red grapes
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 large pear, cored
  • 1 cup wild frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of dulse flakes
  • 6 to 8 ounces filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon bee pollen
  • 1 small slice of turmeric (look at #11) & ginger root – both reduce pain & inflammation
Directions:  Blend together water, banana and grapes. Then, add blueberries and blend. Add remaining ingredients and blend on high for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Synopsis of Breakfast: Definitely one of the better smoothies of the bunch.  Nice even taste & the texture is a little chunky.

Lunch Menu: Avocado-Lime Soup
  • 2 green apples, cored
  • 2 large cucumbers, chopped
  • ½ lime, peeled
  • ½ medium avocado, peeled and pitted
  • about ¼ cup water

Directions:  Chop 1 apple, 1 cucumber and the lime. Add the chopped ingredients the avocado and water to your blender. Blend until creamy. Add more water for a thinner consistency. Next, finely chop the remaining apple and cucumber and mix into soup base right before serving.

Synopsis of Lunch:  Tasted better than I thought & I did eat it unheated.  The soup’s consistency is thick enough to make as a light dip for other vegetables too.  This recipe made for two bowls and in the future I would suggest making 1/2 this recipe + adding some collard green wraps and/or something else to balance the dish out with enough variety.

Dinner Menu:  Green Smoothie

  • 5 oranges, peeled and deseeded
  • 3 cups kale, chopped (subbed swiss chard – all out of kale)
  • 2 bananas, peeled (subbed 1)
Directions:  Blend the fruit together. Add kale and blend on high for 30 seconds.
…and I decided to combine this as a side meal with parts of my “snack” they suggested:
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Brazil nut
  • 4 medium carrots, carrots (subbed 2)
  • Added raisins
  • 1 large apple, cored
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 to 8 ounces filtered
Carrot Soup Directions:  Blend together the water and apple. Add remaining ingredients and blend on high for 1 minute.

Synopsis of Dinner: Just before dinner I felt full due to drinking the water + fiber supplement + whatever else I had today.  But I know I’m hungry because I’m feeling light-headed.  During the meal I was able to eat the carrots, raisins, & nuts & 1/2 the smoothie and it took me 2 1/2 hours to finish the other glassful of smoothie.  Although I don’t feel shooting pains, I’m feeling kind of woozy.  I’m pretty sure it’s the excessive amount of food I had.  As a sidenote, I found the drink to be warm which I was told was due to the chemical reaction in the smoothie or the way that oranges get blended makes it combustive.

Evening inflammation check:  Inflammation is a 2 out of 10 vs. yesterday which was more like an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale.

Gas / Bloating Check:  Standard day during the food reboot & had some BMs due to large amounts of food.  The bloating & gas was there, but minimal compared to the rest of the days.

We Made It!:  Hopefully by now you can tell that my intentions were helping others as I’ve been helped.  If you’ve just finished, send me a comment & let me know your experience.