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Greatest Kick AS Method
John Merchant

For the AS web members, a portion of my autobiographical account follows with my latest AS program appended to it. Both are from a work in progress, and any suggestions will be appreciated. I am sorry I have had to cut it down to only about 14 pages, but this is a beginning, and, if you have the success I am experiencing, you should not need the cures for stuff like kidney stones, etc, excised from this text.

I wish the best and fastest healing for all of those who suffer. Know that you are in the best company: We are AS KICKERS!!


I'm on the board as John--Calif, and as of 1999, I have suffered with ankylosing spondylitis for 28 years; the disease became noticeable when I was twenty and one-half. At first the pains were manifest as some kind of sciatica, often changing legs from one flare-up to the next. The sciatic nerves are the largest in the body and measure over .25 inches where they exit the spinal processes; sciatica can make you crazy. I had been quite active and played tennis and handball to stay in shape, as I had been overweight for a portion of my childhood. When in high school, I played center in football, which is the slow, heavy, wide fellow's position. For some time I considered that the antics associated with that sport had caused my pains: We were required to launch ourselves and land prone on our bellies, hit 'sleds,' hit each other, and run. I was in pretty good shape and began to enjoy it, even. Later, I lost weight and became quite reasonable at tennis and handball and had developed considerable endurance.

During the year 1971, what I had figured would be a brief respite from college turned into a job and family. Willing to work and attend school, which was a provision of my employment as the company had a great reimbursement package, I settled into a very bad routine: Sedentary job, crummy diet, and major responsibilities. The first to go was my studies. In fact the campus was quite hilly, and all too often I was unable to walk to the classes, and the semiconductor industry was growing quite rapidly, so I took on way too much responsibility at work and my marriage was affected. By 1975, the pains had become so bad, so constant, and so undiagnosed (and therefore untreatable) that I was contemplating suicide. What I thought must have been the best doctors in the world-between Stanford and the Palo Alto Medical Clinic-had not diagnosed me in four years; it would take another three years for an associate of theirs to make the definitive, ultimate conclusion of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When considering the possibility of death, I attempted to discover whatever might come after this experience-if, indeed, anything at all. Mostly, however, I tried to work out the mechanics of making it look accidental; for the insurance, since by then I had the important responsibility of a daughter, whom I could not really leave in such a circumstance. The fraudulent nature of this once prevented the act; every other time it was the thought of my family in nearly as much torment as I had been suffering in the physical. The frustration of living that way caused me to reevaluate my lifestyle. I was associated with a Bible church, and well-meaning members told me that Jesus could heal me. A Christian doctor I was seeing speculated that my condition could be due to sin in my life; he ran out of good ideas all too soon. In my own estimation, I was about 2000 years too late for Jesus' help, and I was skeptical about that sin comment, but willing to change my evil ways-whatever they might be at age 24. Certainly, the pain was making me crazy and I was not my normal self at all after months turned to years of chronic, torturous pain and the hopes that it might, in fact, be terminal. Many things I did were totally out of character; I can only look back in my own perplexed frustration with the certain knowledge that I could not ever live through this again.

When I realized that divorce was inevitable, and that there was to be a bitter property and custody fight, I retreated into my work and even took on a side job. A friend at work suggested that I join a health club. I fasted and not only lost weight, but found that my pains decreased during such abstinence from food. People I met at the club reintroduced me to the Edgar Cayce material: I had read his biography at about age 11, since my mother was from Kentucky, also, and had read and heard about the American mystic while she was growing up. My grandmother, too, was a believer in Cayce and occult things because she had worked in the capacity of a type of social worker during the Great Depression and met many people with odd abilities. One lady in particular was quite accurate telling her fortune, unsolicited as it was. Even after much study and meditation, I did not then realize the full implications of my relation to Cayce's body of work.

The considerable strain of losing not only property, but mainly the ability to see my daughter, exacerbated my condition, and I was again in constant crisis for over a year until I one day just gave up. My estranged wife had been harassing me each time I attempted my rightful visitations. I stopped even trying. I want to explain that although she was not able to understand my chronic physical problems enough to help the relationship succeed in any way, I, likewise, was not very understanding with her problems. One of which was a sure case of hypoglycemia which led to depression and 'Betty Ford Syndrome:' Valium and alcohol. She had prescriptions from at least 3 doctors, and I once took out the garbage and heard an odd sound where empty wine bottles had been neatly stacked encircling the bottom of the can, with trash only on top.

She called me within a few months and asked why I was no longer trying to see my daughter. I told her that I would soon be seeing more of her, because I would have custody when she was dead of her drug habit. She realized that my attitude was not one of spite and that I had nothing to gain by making such a statement. Soon she changed and became, I believe, drug-free. My weekend parenting commenced within a month of this conversation, and we have been cordial and even friendly since that time. My daughter has grown to become a fine young woman, and never caused any abnormal trouble, and we are further thankful that she doesn't have the HLA B-27 AS indicator.

Chiropractic treatments helped, and the worst chiropractor I have ever been to did me some good. I can't say that about allopathic doctors. Acupuncture did not seem to help, but it was not covered by any insurance plan at that time, so I did not really give it much of a chance. There was something to the Cayce material, and my overall condition began to improve somewhat more. I took a position at another company, started aggressively seeking new medical opinions, and began dating. Everything helped. Straightway, I met a wonderful girl who became my companion for 17 years. I knew that endorphins were essential to me, and my mental attitude was improved greatly by having a new mate.

Soon, the correct diagnosis came in and I read just about everything then available on the subject of arthritis, and health in general. I became a vegetarian, gave up refined sugar and sodas, and continued visiting the health club and chiropractors. I began running, and took up racquetball. I completed a grueling 20 mile backpacking loop at Point Reyes one weekend, and resumed an old sport-bodysurfing. I had been able to finally enter the cold water at Santa Cruz after being raised in Southern California. Yes, I did 'The Wedge' and remember days when the ambulances were called there for broken backs and necks. The closest I came to harm was a sand-burned nose and belly, and running out of air while a wave held me under for a protracted span of moments. The sea did me good, but giving up meat was the single most important advancement I have ever made in the mitigation of this horrific disease.

The original drugs which were prescribed for me did not seem to help at first, then, when there were signs that they were beginning to work, I quit the program. I had read the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) and decided the weight of contraindications was too great, and stopped taking the drugs (I should not reveal the name of these drugs, except each is a common Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID)). Ten years later, the primary drug was pulled off the market in Europe due to carcinogenic claims. I was glad not to have stayed that course

One of the first people I worked for in electronics was a fellow from India, and I thought it was nice working with people from many different lands. I studied the foods from these places and found many peoples did not consider meat to be a staple at all and, in fact, there are many of these 'ethnic' main courses which are completely fulfilling and suitably piquant, if not downright exotic. In China, most people eat very little meat due to their impoverished condition, but they are healthier for it. Lebanese food is really my favorite, but Indian cuisine is king. Most Indians are Hindu and are typically of a non-meat tradition. That usually changes when they come to America; if they are single when they arrive. Often they revert to vegetarianism upon marriage, if the girl is also from India. Now there is little excuse for not maintaining their culture, for there are many good Indian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. In England the restaurants are usually Punjabi and Pakistani, but the Bay Area has many South Indian restaurants, which is a lighter, hot and spicier fare with more emphasis on vegetarianism.

Yes, to be sure, there were spiritual reasons I gave up meat, but, certainly, I would eat just about anything if it were a cure. I did eat raw sea cucumber when a doctor provided me with a positive article on the subject. My acupuncturist used more needles on me than on anyone else and the maximum settings on the electro-stimulation generators. I wanted to build stronger machines, but was informed that I would probably be one of the few to use the extended ranges. On the subject of vegetarianism, I want to make absolutely clear my own goals and reasoning. In the first place, I come from a meat consuming culture. My father was a cowboy, raised on a large ranch in New Mexico. My uncle returned to New Mexico in the late 1950s; I have the proverbial set of 'Country Cousins'-especially since they later moved to Arkansas! Life on the range as a child was enough incentive for my father to get the best education possible and he became an aerospace engineer. When I was growing up, everyone ate meat at least three times per day. When I was growing up nearly every adult I knew smoked, too. Many are, of course, long dead.

For some reason the meat culture has endured, even if the people have not. With the absolute knowledge that humans are just a more attractive form of great ape (unless you are unfortunate enough to live in Kansas), it is patently obvious that the human diet should contain almost no meat. Not only do outward observations of the natural world, but so too the minute technical details support vegetarianism. What does it mean that our DNA matches almost completely with great apes who do not consume meat? They (and we) do not even possess the proper digestive mechanism to process meats in general, and especially to the extent most people indulge. Humans are trying to adapt to an extremely unnatural diet. When there are no berries on the bush and snow covers the ground, it is appropriate to take some game meat. This is a last resort. Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell, the talented thinker, mathematician, author, and vegetarian, once commented to the effect that carnivores pounce on their live prey and tear their bloody flesh with prominent canine incisor teeth (which humans, outside of the movie sets, do not in fact possess). The human body is an incredibly resilient mechanism, and damage from extreme over consumption of meat can be ameliorated. Probably by the time I was nine years old I had consumed enough meat for a single lifetime. Unfortunately, I did not start becoming a vegetarian until I was 27. I have since reevaluated my position on the subject in light of my dietary predicament, and believe that some meat should be consumed for optimal health. The problem is that I am having real trouble reintroducing meat into my own diet. Probably just a psychological problem.

One of my chiropractors, Doctor Max Garten, was a proponent of vegetarianism and fasting, and wrote several books. A true doctor, he encouraged people to learn and follow a healthy lifestyle. I grew friendly with him over the years, and like him, also had interests in mineralogy and prospecting. After his retirement we were able to travel to Egypt, Israel, and The Philippines together. I was saddened, upon returning from India, to hear of his death. He was only 97, I believe. He had been the youngest German soldier in the Great War, and had pursued a typical 'German' diet, his father owning a butcher shop. By 1936 he had a devastating heart attack, and ended up in Florida for his final few months-he thought. There, he was introduced to Bernarr MacFadden, a fasting guru, author, and columnist. He fasted until his arteries were cleared, and did not replace much of that plaque over the next 60-plus years. During this time, he became a great contributor and talented practitioner of the chiropractic discipline. One of his books, "Civilized Diseases and Their Circumvention," has been used as a textbook at the august Max Planck Institute. I once recommended him to friends who's daughter had been a gymnast, but started having extreme pains and had to cease her sport altogether. Max found that she had recent dental work, and all of the amalgam was then removed from her mouth. Soon the young gymnast was again at the bars.

The American Dental Association was going to bring a lawsuit against him after he had published his views on the harm caused by the mercury contained in amalgam. After several years of review, a veritable team of lawyers advised the ADA not to pursue such a case, since there was so much evidence against the use of the heavy metal. Garten read all the European journals, and kept current on accepted medical practice there, and in every country for the comparative dietary information. I met Max Garten in 1978, as a recommendation from my office mate who's wife was a reporter sent to cover the amalgam issue. She, in fact, had suffered a severe form of 'facial psoriasis' for many years until her amalgam was pulled.

I had already discovered fasting when I started seeing Dr Garten; he merely reinforced my opinion. Fasting can be very useful in losing weight. Not because of the caloric restriction afforded, but because your stomach shrinks and, more importantly, you reevaluate your diet and crave mostly good foods. When on a fast the body goes into a state of hypoglycemia. It is dangerous to eat anything sweet. I know this from my own experience, since I 'crashed' at my health club once; it was very embarrassing. To prepare for the fast, not many changes are required-I often do a fruit-only day, but breaking the fast is very difficult. My routine is to just take steamed rice for the first day: No sugars, no fiber, no raw foods at all. I know this from an extremely tough experience in which I developed diverticulitis, which is an inflammation of the lower intestine. No peristaltic activity happened for four days, and it was very uncomfortable and extremely dangerous. Dr Garten used to say that if fasting were a pill, it would be the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States. Actually, no allopathic doctor would ever tell anyone to fast, since it is too radically different, and can be dangerous. I'm not a doctor: So please do fast. I was doing so well, that my other chiropractor, a dear lady from Germany, tried to tell one of her other patients with arthritis to try fasting. The patient had a bad reaction to this suggestion and told the chiropractor that she was crazy for trying to starve her. In characteristic Teutonic indignation, she inflected: "Zot fot fot vooman! Aach-she could go MONTS wit out eating-and she should!" I opined that: "She just doesn't hurt enough--yet."

As my disease progressed, I developed severe shoulder pain not unlike bursitis, and was unable to continue playing racquetball. A feather-tap on just the right point on my shoulder would bring me to my knees. More or less, this lasted for about six years, and was mitigated by NSAIDs, and acupuncture. The characteristic of AS is that it starts with calcification of the spine at the sacrum, or lowest section, and proceeds up through the neck with collateral damages and pains as widely variant as: Iritis, which I got into the 24th year of the disease, kidney stones, which started about year 17, irritable bowel syndrome, which I probably had the entire time, knee problems in year 21, jaw involvement in year 22, and more active psoriasis in year 26. I complicated things in year 23 by falling very hard on my right hip due to some oil a kind soul left on the parking lot of an auto parts store.

At first I just went to the spa and soaked, but soon this event had precipitated a severe episode, and I became bedridden for five months. During this time my girlfriend decided she did not want to remain with me, and managed to find somewhere else to stay. My business partner had managed to embezzle about $60K from a side business I had invested in, and I was not able to work. My taxes, due to the consistently inconsistent Internal Revenue Service further crippled me financially, and I was less than broke and more than broken. I had to avail myself of Social Security, which was not contested at first submission; apparently most are. My X-rays are pretty strange...

I remained in my empty house for another year to recuperate, and decided to go to India to determine whether a project could be done there. I had planned to move in with my father for a couple of months prior to going there; he had been divorced for ten years. I asked if this would be all right, and got back the news that he was about to remarry. With all of my possessions packed into storage, and nowhere better to go, I stayed with my father and would have left upon his nuptials, but his new spouse is very kind and they decided I could stay, even with the long delays and postponements before I left. Upon arriving in India, I traveled all over with my best friend's sister, who had just become a swami, which is not really an occupation which women in India pursue. I was able to view the project site, and attend a wedding before returning to the USA. Before I left India, my friends tried to get me to stay and see 'The Hakim.' Unfortunately, time did not permit-I was open to this suggestion, but it would have to wait.

I was able to do more research for the project back in the States, and stayed with a good friend in the San Francisco Bay Area. My old friend, Doctor Garten, contacted me to escort him on several trips he wanted to take. His wife would not let him travel alone-and for good reason, since he had been robbed and beaten the previous year in Panama City. We first went to Egypt and took a bus across, yes, the Israeli border and ended up in Jerusalem. Doctor Garten was a gold dowser, and became very excited in Jerusalem, as we walked along a narrow street and he was pointing to a house across a field. I thought to myself that this was just another inaccessible jar of coins in a wall or something. He yelled that there was a BILLION dollars worth of gold beneath our feet, which were now well past the house and down in a little valley. Recent digging to provide for some construction had exposed tell-tale gossan. This is nearly a perfect marker for geothermal metallic deposits, and just about all of the mines I had visited in California and Colorado are associated with this characteristic rock with both red and green colorations. The people I contacted in the government were not helpful, and this resource-which at least I am convinced is quite real-will probably never be rediscovered. Israel has a goldmine already; it's called the United States and its corrupt politicians. Several months later, we went to The Philippines, and traveled north to a place called Hundred Islands. He seemed to go in all directions, for many galleons were shipwrecked there, and he claimed that there were about eleven ships with decent amounts of gold awaiting recovery.

I know that Garten had some talent for this odd preoccupation, since I had walked over, and taken samples from a vast glacial moraine area located in Colorado which he had dowsed from the air. That placer contained values so high that the assayer thought that we had given him very bad concentrate; over an ounce per ton from several sites along the 2-1/2 miles I evaluated for him. Environmental laws prevented us from developing the placer: If we spent $150K on Environmental Impact Reports we MIGHT have obtained a mining permit.

In a previous year, we found that another in-water treasure lies just off the California coast. I had to hire a boat and took friends along who were able to SCUBA; before I got my own certification. Originally, I was under the impression that Garten used electronic methods to 'dowse,' but I discussed this with Eva, his wife, and she said that they abandoned their instruments in favor of Max's better talent as a conventional dowser. To my embarrassment, he dowsed as the boat progressed along and once he yelled out "we're over the anchor" followed by "we're over the hold!" The boat could not really stop on a dime, and we had to circle, bob and weave back to the location. As we once again were over the sunken ship's hold, Garten had us stop. Garten was in the back of the boat, and I was near him, but my comrades were looking at the LORAN and were heartened by the fact that the location at which Max had reported we were directly over the hold the first time exactly matched the location on the second pass. Upon diving, there was too much detritus in the water and the wreck was probably covered over too well to be detected by my friends, who had been professional divers and are pretty keen, generally. If California decides to ever enact sane marine reclaim laws, I will consider returning to this area with my magnetometer and more divers, otherwise it is just another wet dream.

Upon returning to Delhi, I was fortunate enough to be examined by "The Hakim." The wonderful Hakim Hamdard is a saintly healer who uses an old Muslim discipline. Every Sunday, there is a very long line of people in 'Hamdard Nagar,' waiting for the Hakim's free office visit. We were ushered past these patient patients, and right into the presence of the great Hamdard himself. In India, Moslems are not, in general, well treated. I am sure a great moderating force for peace is the respect and reverence the Indian people of New Delhi feel for this Hakim, for he is the embodiment of the best aspects of his faith. He is said to be one of the richest men in the world, yet lives a very humble existence, satisfied with his practice; helping the needy through his knowledge of Unani medicine. I was little aware of this odd discipline, which means 'Greek,' and is mostly concerned with body 'humors;' an outgrowth of old Arabic healing knowledge. Many Hakims use bleeding and cupping, but Hamdard has concentrated his therapies on the materia medica; herbal preparations. This 92 year old head of Aligarth University (the prestigious Moslem school in Delhi) took my pulse for about five minutes, and started talking to my hosts in Urdu, and wrote a prescription in Arabic. We said goodbye and on our way to the pharmacy section, Kuljit (they are Sikh) said:

"John, do you know what he has told us?"
"Kuljit, I don't speak Punjabi..."
"John, The Hakim has said that you have an older sister and a younger brother!"
"Yes, he is correct."
"But John! You have never made mention to us of your brother."
"I never speak of him or to him-he is not sane; damaged brain--paranoid schizophrenic."

They were offended that I had not mentioned my poor brother, more than astounded at the pronouncement by The Hakim that I even had a brother. The 'chemist' we spoke to wanted to be clear with me that this was no palliative, temporary treatment: "It is a CURE!" There was also some special oil to massage into my spine, but the three varieties of pills seemed to help very much with my condition. Some of the instructions Hamdard gave to my hosts were dietary: Fresh garlic, fenugreek, and bitter gourd. Bitter gourd is almost a punishment, and eventually one develops a taste for it, as in the case of Indian pickle. Indians pickle everything except cucumbers, usually in a bizarre brine composed of mustard seed oil with plenty of citric acid, salt, and turmeric. It tastes like paint at first, then it tastes like really good paint as you finish off several bottles of mixed pickle over paratha, poorie, or straight from the bottle.

Returning from India permanently; once the project failed, I tried for a time to help a friend whose business was in trouble. It was a real tar baby, and I was not able to extract myself from it, but rode it all the way down. During this time, I reconnected with an old friend who had developed cancers from smoking for so many years. He was 49 when he died. Just three months later a close, dear friend died totally unexpectedly. He had been a recalcitrant meat eater, and thought my vegetarianism was weird. He was 58. I retreated to my chaparral-covered hills in Southern California; far away from cities and traffic and people. As I was moving here with plans to help another friend on some varied projects, he died while traveling in The Philippines. Finally, another good friend died while we were out together on Mission Bay in a rowboat. He had just turned 70, and was a pilot frustrated because, in his most recent endeavors, had to pay to work, instead of actually getting paid; we had much in common. I suppose all this death served as a reminder that I should divulge some of the things which I have learned before I, too, die. Perhaps to, if not comfort those remaining, then at least serve as useful instruction.

Useful as the cure for AS, which is really a compromise, and the several other conditions to which flesh is heir, and I have stumbled over in my health quest, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of mental attitude. Not for the power of any placebo effect, but for the opportunity of growth that these conditions necessarily provide. When our bodies are rudely cut down while our minds are still active, we are being communicated with in a way we need to learn to understand. The drugs will lie to us, and allow us to remain ignorant of the root cause of our individual conditions.


Further book excerpt:

Curing Ankylosing Spondylitis By the Clock and By the Spoon

I believe that now, since AS is really just a form of food poisoning, and that poisoning is simply the putrefaction or multiplication of the wrong type of bacteria, I can "cure" (read "control") this disease.

Once a friend gave me a bottle containing some kind of intestinal cleansing mud; it was the mineral clay Bentonite in a solution of water. Now this seems very odd on the surface. Of what consequence could there be in taking such a concoction? It has become apparent to me, and the use is simple and simply wonderful: It acts as an internal 'poultice,' absorbing the poisons from the lower bowel directly. Perhaps it is possible to use such a substance in an effective fight against AS and other autoimmune conditions which may have root in the digestive tract.

One key to AS diagnosis is "morning stiffness." Yes, when we are immobile for long periods, we have a tendency to freeze into position, and moving out of that position is very painful; working against the inflammation and swelling.

Suppose that nasty Klebsiella multiply during the long night fast, and most easily make it across the intestinal barriers into the blood and lymph systems where can trigger the antibodies which cause the damage. Suppose further that it were possible to expel all the nutritive food contents of the digestive tract before retiring. Now that is the trick.

Subsequent to a fast of between ten and twenty days to heal the ulcerations and ulcers (if present), we break the fast and concentrate on a simple eating regimen: We might eat a reasonable breakfast, a hearty lunch ending with fruit for dessert, and an early and ultra light dinner of innocuous vegetable matter, followed by a bunch of inorganic clay, even containing carbon as a marker and absorber, maybe some few minerals, and a bit of myrrh or other peristaltic 'encouragement.' Followed by more of the same with some healthy stuff; maybe some colloidal silver or even a biological drug to kill Klebsiella. Eating dinner many hours before retiring, and not succumbing to the midnight snack. Suppose the last meal of the day is taken at least 5 hours before retiring, and it is possible to notice some carbon marker when we visit the toilet before retiring. I would like to find a zeolitic clay in which to trap the Klebsiella, but perhaps the absorbent clays will be adequate.

My understanding was that meats slow the digestive process, so it might be good to avoid meat in general, but especially very heavy, red meats, although I have more recent information from Carol Sinclair that meats do not really have a large effect on speed of digestion. As I said, becoming a vegetarian was the best thing that I did to overcome this disease, at least to the degree that I was able to do so. I suppose mixing bread and heavy meats together could slow digestion and cause a geometric multiplication of the offending germs, leading to a proportional increase in those which make it across the permeable intestines. The meat-and-potatoes mentality should be discarded entirely.

I have been on a routine similar to the above with very encouraging results, although at my own advanced stage of AS, I am not a very good subject by which to adjudge the effectiveness of such a program. My trouble is consistency, and taking breakfast in the early morning; I usually do not feel like eating upon arising, and put off breakfast until past reasonable hours. This throws my schedule off, but I am a late night person, so often do not retire until 3:30aM.


The Latest Antibiotic Program

In the early days of my suffering, a friend suggested that I was just like any other horse who was a bit 'lame in the withers.' She suggested that I go and get some horse liniment and have it rubbed into me, and gave me various names of horse lathering stuff; it usually contained Di MethylSulfOxide, which is a skin penetrating chemical studied by the CIA in trying to deliver doses of LSD to the enemy (whoever that may be...). It is a byproduct of the paper manufacturing industry, and was available as a 'cleaning agent' after some athletes had touted its benefits. I tried some, but don't really think it helped.

What was to help me much later, which I had considered, but discarded because I was hindered by my own faulty logic: I would have been better off going to the veterinarian than to the doctor! I actually thought that the body of work which certain physicians and researchers created first benefited human subjects, then trickled down to help the farmers with their vital livestock, and pet owners with their vital loving creatures.

Not even close! Economic factors keep the mega-business of animal husbandry, especially, but not limited to the bovine variety, closely tied to veterinary medicine. I was always amazed that my uncle would treat most diseases of his own animals himself. He did not need to have the vet come out for most things, but would just talk to people down at the feed store. In fact, they usually had just the right medicines down at the feed store.

I wondered whether eating was much fun for animals. We got to eat all kinds of different stuff like lima beans (which I used to butter up well to swallow whole), fried chicken, apple pie, and ice cream bars. Animals had no food fun, except the dog and a few cats who stole potato chips. The horses loved to be given apples, carrots, and even sugar cubes sometimes, but would never eat certain things no matter how hard we tried to encourage them. Animals don't automatically have discernment, and some will even eat until poisoned, if so allowed. The feed store held all the answers. You could go to those guys and ask them exactly what to feed your animals, and they would likely give you the best and most honest answer, based upon your specific animal. Sometimes they would be able to even solve medical problems by altering diets or adding something to a particular feed mix.

As a human, growing up in twentieth century America, animal diets were not particularly instructive, since most of the problems animals experienced were due to deficiencies. Americans have the opposite problem; diseases of excess. Well, this is not exactly true, as it turns out, and although we do express many diseases of over consumption, the reasons for these dietary excesses are usually some kind of deficiency, but it turns into a condition attributable to over eating. People used to die of 'consumption,' but now they die of over consumption.

Many years passed, and I finally heard a recording of a talk by Doctor Joel Wallach, who had been a veterinarian and become a doctor. His now famous talk is entitled "Dead Doctors Don't Lie," owing to the quite valid assertion that we probably have no business listening to some clown try and direct our nutritional activities, when he will likely die much too soon of a nutritional deficiency. His down-to-earth, down-home style is compelling, and he mentions just about every major disease, if only in passing. In a later talk he calls "Trust Me...I'm a Doctor," he even names Ankylosing Spondylitis!

I think his company is called American Longevity, and he does have profit as a motive, and, in my own opinion, they are selling stuff which is way overpriced. I think this is due to the health consumer industry which existed at the time the American Longevity products entered the market; they probably did not want to rock the boat. Some of the hype which is associated with these companies involves selling the NUMBER of trace minerals, which even include such "trace" minerals as cadmium and mercury. Also counted are such weird species as nitrogen and aluminum. I try and avoid certain of these so called trace minerals, but do recognize the need for the beneficial trace minerals from selenium and vanadium to hafnium, chromium, copper, and silver. So I take the trace elements, good with the bad, along with some extra vitamin C to hopefully wash out some of the bad minerals.

AS is a disease which I have successfully treated in my own body using several methods, but too late with this latest and most effective program, which I believe could have saved me from becoming a hunchback. I was able to actually trigger severe episodes of rheumatic involvement by eating the wrong things, usually heavily fried foods. When I would eat starch in excess or take NSAIDs, I would notice tell-tale blood (red blood) on my toilet paper. Occasionally there would be some characteristic pains, but mostly just some blood. Avoiding NSAIDs helped lessen this, but once I began the micronutrient colloidal minerals, nearly all bleeding stopped. Somehow, the health of my lining had improved, and I envision that much has to do with the electrochemical balance within my intestinal tract, which might exclude the Klebsiellae, or impede their activity to some degree.

I reasoned long ago that, since my own body was tearing down its own cartilage, I should be taking in stuff which would help rebuild it. Since I am adding bone material to the faces of my vertebrae, and manufacturing kidney stones apace, it seems weird to take in calcium, but that is just what I did. There are what I call co-factors which apply to every nutrient, and calcium's co-factors are vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamin D, which I usually manufacture from beta carotene instead of taking the animal variety. If this gets a bit complex, perhaps it would be easier to understand in the context of the fact that vitamins and minerals are just incomplete foods, and each require other components to help another do its job. I had always wondered whether taking too much of one normally benign element might actually cause harm due to a missing co-factor. Some of this is covered in the talks by Dr. Wallach, but he encourages kidney stone sufferers to take supplemental calcium; bearing out what I had reasoned long ago.

Recently, I have heard that taking zinc without copper can damage the heart. I take zinc to help my prostate (I think), so I hope the micronutrients and colloidal minerals can give me enough copper to offset any damage to my heart. These are the kind of things I think about; probably too much, but I really want to get and stay healthy, and with Ankylosing Spondylitis, this quest is much more difficult than if I had a "normal" body.

As mentioned, I have been a vegetarian for many years, but have not found that I am more prone to injury or lack the stamina of my carnivorous counterparts. I have felt, however, that a fat vegetarian is just as prone to circulatory problems as anyone else. Although I fast, it is possible that I replace some of the cholesterols lining my veins, arteries, and capillaries by eating enough fat. Some fats are good, and there are several which are essential. My adipose is enough to keep me concerned, and I try to work out enough to keep it at a reasonable level, although I still yo-yo diet. At times, I have been almost vegan (no dairy products, either), and I admit that, for spiritual reasons, have at times not even taken food from plates which contain meat. I will not elaborate on this matter now, but there are actual reasons for even avoiding being in the same room with certain kinds of meats at certain times. I will admit that the very character of my personality has changed over the many years of avoiding meat.

One of the factors mentioned by Doctor Wallach is the chicken cartilage, cum Knox gelatin for arthritis. Apparently the vitamin hockers have been busy extracting the useful factors from gelatin and have come up with glucosamine and chondoritin sulfates. Further, they now use the US Recommended Daily Allowances as actual guidelines, so today's vitamins have about 20% of their former potency, but still cost more than they used to. If we were not able to get a modicum of sustenance from our foods, we would go broke trying to get the necessary factors for life from our vitamin suppliers. Suppose that our autonomic nervous systems worked the same way: All of our mental energies would be dissipated by contracting the proper heart quadrants in the proper sequence and snaking our food along by requiring concentration about the peristaltic activities, etc.

We go to the supermarket, pharmacy, or health food store and are confronted by individual dietary factors labeled A, B, C, D, E, etc and recently even the essential amino acids are separated and we pay for the producer to separate and package the stuff for us! Then, if we take it separately, we take on unexpected health risks, and get fat because our bodies crave the one ingredient we left out-which probably isn't yet available as a separate food factor.

What I knew before I learned about the no-starch diet, was that most vitamins were available in reasonable amounts from foods, and that we could obtain the eight essential amino acids from peanut butter and rice. As a vegetarian, the pillars of my diet were rice and beans with plenty of greens and four fruits daily. These were usually bananas or canned pears. No doubt we are lied to by doctors who slept during the one half hour of nutritional instruction required during their training. Certainly, they die themselves due to nutritional deficiencies for not taking the proper dietary adjunctive. Further, they kill us in untold quantities by their abuse of drugs on both themselves and us. I have known for many years that whenever they go on strike, the death rates decline: Israel, England, and Los Angeles. According to Dr. Wallach, Ralph Nader claims that doctors kill from 150,000 to 300,000 Americans annually. Both are really big numbers. I wonder how many people they actually help!

So, being a vegetarian has hindered me, since I was not able to eat Knox gelatin, or even M&Ms candies, for the special coating contains animal fat (they do not mention this anywhere on the package). I probably will not be able to continue my vegetarianism on the starch-free regimen, but so far the new pillars of my diet are eggs and green salads, and I have allowed myself to start eating chocolate and even take milk shakes (from McDonald's, since they have no starch), albeit I have strong aversion to sugar and a slight aversion to milk products. In Dr. Wallach's later tape, "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor," he points out a study of centenarians in Colorado, none of whom happened to be vegetarian. What he forgot to say was that few people in Colorado are vegetarian, especially in that generation and at least one subsequent generation. He does, however, refer to another rodent study which suggests that adding a bit of meat into the diet will prolong life, due to some undefined factor. I agree that humans are omnivores, and, at times, should take a bit of lean meats, but so many are dying of over consumption of meat fats in this country today that we should be embarrassed by our lack of education and resource stewardship.

The argument for long life has some logical concepts. The basic idea for shooting for longevity is not longevity itself, but the quality of life while we are suffering through it. I have talked to people who say that their great-aunt Sara is ninety-seven and eats bacon in the morning and steak for dinner with plenty of sausages in between. There is a light bulb hanging in front of the fire station in Niles, California, which has been in continuous operation since 1912, I think. Few people really understand statistics well enough to realize just why all of great-aunt Sara's young friends are dead.

If human vegetarians die too young, in that they do not reach the age of 120 to 140, which age Dr. Wallach believes should be the average age of mortality for humans, it is certain that they outlive their omnivorous counterparts by many years, and the quality of their lives is almost never adversely affected by the more common conditions of aging.

I have buried many friends, closest and favorite was Namon, who probably had to have a hamburger every day of his life. I think he had a mitral valve problem, which means that his heart could not fight the back pressure of his circulatory system, and, after one last fat-laden meal he added the amount of cholesterol to the lining of his circulatory system just required to stop blood from flowing. It was a peaceful death one early morning just after turning 58, the mean age of mortality for doctors, according to Dr. Wallach.

Since I always reserve the right to change my mind, I have started taking the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates as outlined in the book "The Arthritis Cure." I may try and begin eating meats on a limited basis, as the starch-free diet begins to take hold more fully, and I become extremely sensitive to starches, as is claimed by adherents.

I have vanquished the AS from my body to the extent that I'm optimistic that I could maintain an effectively "cured" status, but only three months have elapsed, and I don't want to be fooled again. Often, with AS, and arthritis in general, a flare-up can come right out of the blue and knock us on our backs; I will tempt fate by increasing my level of exercise and general physical activities.

The fact is that I feel much better than I have even dreamed of in many years. This have I accomplished by first taking quantities of supplemental vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C, beta carotene, some B complex, vitamin E, calcium, folic acid, zinc, iron, and iodine. Later, introduced to the colloidal minerals, I started taking these trace minerals. About the same time, I heard about the no-starch regimen, and began to eliminate starches. Wow! This is a fun-food killer if ever there was one. It was very difficult in the early stages, but eventually I was able to stick to it for three weeks prior to obtaining some levofloxacin in Matamoros, Mexico. It was quite expensive, and the trade name was Elequine. I priced Cipro there, too. The same price; about $6 per pill. I only bought seven, and started the programme at an appropriate time, deciding upon one pill of 500mg strength daily. Now, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, the colloidal micronutrients, the antibiotic, and avoiding all starch, I should be able to get a "baseline" on just about how good I could ever feel at this stage of my illness.

Since I was able to later go to Tijuana and obtain Cipro for less than $1 per pill, I have switched to Cipro after a very brief crossover period. I have decided to continue starch avoidance, since I believe that I could be creating a strain of biologically "resistant" Klebsiella, which should not be encouraged to multiply by consuming starches. At some later time, when it "feels right," I might attempt to eat some starch, but will probably keep ingestion of this known cause of AS to a minimum in the future, even if there are no discernible negative results from eating starch while taking the antibiotics.

Although I have beaten the AS with absolute certainty, I have only been on my program for about three months, and I do not feel that I am the best test subject, due to my advanced age and stage of illness. The way to fight this illness is to kill outright or starve the K. pneumoniae bacterium, not to knock out our immune systems using powerful liver-killing, poisonous drugs, or use palliative NSAIDs, which tear up the very lining which should keep the K. Pneumoniae sequestered within the intestinal tract. I don't know whether the COX-2 inhibitors are less offensive to our tracts (they should be), but I almost don't care anymore. If Celebrex costs even less than Cipro, I will still take the Cipro. I can save the difference by eliminating starch from my diet.

Remember, dear reader, you will never be as young as you are right now: Procrastinate just like there is no tomorrow!

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