So you’ve tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene, you’ve got sacroiliitis, you have flares, in short, you’ve got ankylosing spondylitis. Sucks, I know, I’ve been there and I totally get how you feel.
If you’re like me then you probably went to good old Dr. Google and started researching this disease the second your doctor gave you your test results. Was it just me or did you have an odd sense of relief upon finally getting your official diagnosis? Nothing worse than having massive bouts of pain for years on end with every effing doctor you talk to tell you that the pain is in your head. Anyway, here’s a list of helpful web resources and books that will fill in some gaps.
And hang in there, you can treat this disease. You do not have to be defined by this disease. Someday soon you may be lucky enough to forget for months or even years at a time that you even have this disease.
kickAS.org : Go here first. Register. Read the forums and ask questions. I promise that you’ll get a ton out of this site. This is a wonderful online community of AS sufferers from all over the globe who are very supportive and informative. This is the place where I first learned about The London AS Diet and Dr. Alan Ebringer. God freaking bless Dr. Alan Ebringer for his work on diet and ankylosing spondylitis. Though I’ve never met the man, I owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Cyberhug, doc. I’ll put some links to his research papers as I build out this site.
roadback.org: Another great alternative treatment option. This group advocates the use of antibiotics to treat AS. Sound crazy? Do some research before you make that judgment, there’s more to this disease than meets the eye.
Diet Related (paleo, primal, and low-carb diet)
Mark’s Daily Apple. Grok on, baby!
Free The Animal Richard is an original.
Denise Minger’s Raw Food SOS Blog. Denise may be one of the smartest people on the planet. Period. Don’t let your vegetarian friends talk smack and cite The China Study without sending them to Denise.
Robb Wolf’s blog. Science, paleo, good book, great podcast.
Paleo, Primal, and Low-Carb Diet Related
The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain. Basically, for 2 million years we humans lived in small hunter-gatherer groups who ate things like meat/fat, veggies, berries, nuts. Sound familiar? The genus homo evolved eating the exact diet that you’ll be doing to treat your disease. How cool is that. And think about the implications of using The Paleo Diet to treat your auto immune disease: is this a “modern” disease created, in essence, by eating foods we were never meant to eat? For 2.5 million years our ancestors never experienced wheat, rice, oats…starch, basically. It’s only in the last 10,000 years that we’ve added these foods into our diets. Read the book. Good stuff. Nuff said.
The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson. This might be ninja-level stuff in regards to diet, exercise, and lifestyle if you’re really hurting and in the middle of a huge flare. It took me almost 5 years to end up at The Primal Blueprint. And check out Mark Sisson’s blog Mark’s Daily Apple. I’m on there everyday. It’s an awesome website.
Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes. I love this book. Gary is massively smart and does a fantastic job explaining exactly what humans should be eating. This is not a diet book per se. It’s more of a sciency, debunking conventional wisdom book. You’ll be totally shocked to realize that the recommendations of the Food Pyramid are complete BS. Shocker, the government is lying and/or incompetent! Stop the presses! This puts another piece of the puzzle in place regarding AS and diet. You’ll really start to see a theme here: we were not meant to eat foods like grains, breads, starches. And sometimes (sit down, you may not believe this) it can make us really freaking sick.
The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Kieth. Lierre is too smart for words. I don’t really like the radical feminist garbage she drones on about, but it doesn’t really take away from the overall quality of this book. You’ll need to eat a lot of meat and animal products on this diet. Many of us have reservations for one reason or another when it comes to animal products, hell, I was even a vegetarian for 2 years back in the Nirvana 90’s. Lierre puts the most compelling and most common vegetarian arguments down like Kavorkian in an old-folks home.
You may have noticed that I’ve got a lot of diet-related books and websites in my list- a lot of Paleo/Primal/low-carb diet websites and books to be more specific. That’s because I firmly believe that you can benefit from connecting the dots between the true cause of AS (klebs), your diet (crappy starches/carbs), and the popular Paleo/Primal/low-carb movements. In a nutshell: AS and other inflammatory diseases may be relatively new conditions brought on by a massive change in the human diet after the onset of agrigulture. Chew on that.