I’ve read a few recent posts over on my favorite ankylosing spondylitis support website where the questioners seem to have a massive case of analysis paralysis. A few folks even seem defeated before they start on the no-starch diet. Ridiculous. Folks, you’re making this too complicated.
Stick with the big picture and I promise all the little details will fall into place as you gain experience. The big picture is that you need to cut starch from your diet right away. Don’t wait for the next holiday, or until after your inlaws visit you next month, or until you really, really, really feel like you can handle the change. Start now. Right now. Here’s my quick start guide to beginning the most effective dietary treatment of ankylosing spondylitis on the planet:
- Make a list of safe foods that will get you through the next 3 days. Go shopping and buy those foods.
- Buy some iodine
- Buy a notebook and start keeping a food journal.
1. Make a list of safe foods
You can look at Ebringer’s list on kickas.org ( or look here on my website) and generally come up with a list of safe foods to eat. Here’s my list:
- beef, chicken, fish, eggs
- leafy green vegetables (raw spinach, red-leaf lettuce, arugula, etc)
- broccoli, raw carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados, celery, cucumber, green onions
- raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, melons
- walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts (all raw, all unsalted)
- coconut oil, olive oil, salt, pepper
- red wine
That list should get you through the first few days while you continue to research and add a few other items to your list. A general rule of thumb for your new life on the NSD is: You WILL cook all of your own food. Don’t like to cook? That’s nice. Start cooking. Not enough time to cook? How sad. Start cooking. You cannot trust restaurant or otherwise prepared food until you get more experience on this diet. Period.
2. Buy Some Iodine
Don’t you dare make this difficult. Just go down to Walgreen’s or any other drug store, walk into the first aid aisle and buy some effing iodine. You’ll use this to test various food items for the presence of starch. Read up on kickas.org about this, or here as well.
3. Buy a Notebook and Keep Food Journal
You absolutely must do this. The purpose behind keeping food journal is twofold:
- So you can learn which foods trigger reactions in your body
- So you can keep track of your progress on the NSD
Don’t be lazy. Write down how you feel right now. Do it at least twice a day. If you get a flare then you’ll be able to look back in your food journal and figure out what caused the pain. If I eat starch I will feel the pain within about 4 or 5 hours.
This diet is an ongoing process. You will always be learning and you’ll never completely master this diet. I’ve been doing it for 6 years and am still learning. Just keep tweaking your diet…adding and subtracting foods as your body tells you. You’ll discover recipe websites, new go-to favorite foods, new trigger foods, etc. along the way. Just keep an open mind and listen to your body. You can do this, but you have to stop thinking and just start already.