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First big flare was 7 years ago - took 9 months to even guess at what it was, but then it went into remission. It slowly started to creep back over the last few years, until this winter it got out of control and I was starting to lose functionality. Everything became very difficult, whether getting out of bed, a chair, a car... Even breathing hurt sometimes. I spent months reading everything I could about AS and the treatments that people have used. I tried all kinds of stuff to no avail, but was aware that the NSD should do some good. Initially I went on NSD with little success because it turned out I was popping all kinds of starchy supplements and didn't know it! Later I doscovered that things like beef and eggs, which I was allergic too as a child, also seemed to set of the AS monster, at least in a mild way. Sooo- 6 months NSD later, with no eggs or beef, very little dairy other than butter, and I am almost pain free!
I have lost weight and am more active than before and honestly feel better physically than before the diet began.
I no longer take any pills at ALL for AS - it was tough but I finally got off NSAIDS which really seem to make the disease worse, IMHO.
I feel lucky to have found this site and the people on it - I have my life back in a big way and I plan on kicking AS for a long time to come. It still lingers in the wings, waiting to bite me if I stray from the diet but I know what to do now.
One piece of advice I can give to people trying the NSD: Be very very strict about it. It may not work at all unless you do - sometimes even small things like spices (most of which are starchy) and garlic can set you off and then it will seem like NSD does you no good. It sounds nuts, but I would suggest trying something like nothing but bacon and eggs(no pepper!) for 2 weeks...And cut out everything else, even supplements! Just drink water. You will get used to the lack of carbs after a few days and it will be a much more fair test of how food affects the AS. (it will also be easy to plan, and even though it seems like its unhealthy, a few weeks wont hurt you) - its important to have some success in the beginning so you will know you are on the right track. Then you can add more to your diet and you will *know* how to get back on track if something goes wrong.
Go out and kick some!
Really Feel life. Every second. One breath and one sound at a time. Joy is always there, waiting on the other side of your mind.