My NSD success story:
I'll give you the entire story from beginning to end because I feel that it sheds light on the disease process.
I started feeling pain initially during December of 2004. I was taking Accutane (for acne) at the time. I awoke a few times due to severe back pain during my 5 months of Accutane treatment. I told my doctor about the pain, because I thought it might be a side effect of the medication, but she said not to worry about the pain.
Then, in July of 2005, I started feeling the severe back pain (in my middle to upper back) each and every night. It was waking me up after 3-6 hours of sleep.
I saw a few doctors and went through physical therapy. They all thought that I had pulled a muscle, and their treatments did nothing. In January 2006, I finally realized that I have AS....my dad has AS and my symptoms matched the symptoms listed online. I self-diagnosed AS in January 2006 before having a rheumotologist's confirmation of the AS diagnosis in May 2006.
In the meantime, at the end of February 2006, I found the NSD and started to try it out. I was a little skeptical at first, and I felt guilty/embarassed that I might have fallen prey to an internet scheme because my initial knowledge of the NSD came from Joel Godin's e-book, which I had purchased online. And I was scared because he instructed to eat salads and that was about it!! I wasn't sure how I could manage this for the long term.
Anyway, soon after starting the diet, I found this website and it offered much needed advice during the first few weeks of the NSD. I started by eliminating both starch and dairy. I saw 95-100% reduction in pain levels by week 6. (but, mind you, eating over at friends' houses or eating out at restaurants sometimes caused a relapse with significant pain)
Now, after 7 months on the diet, my current pain levels are reduced by 95-100% if I avoid starch and dairy and 80-85% if I avoid starch only. I'm so happy with these results. When I saw the rheumatologist, he did give me the AS diagnosis, but he did not feel the need to prescribe any medication. After being on the strong medicine Accutane, I was hesitant to be on heavy drugs again. PLUS, I really feel that being on a heavy medication (Accutane) contributed to my development of AS because it acted as a toxin. I believe this toxin (along with high levels of stress during the past couple of years) overwhelmed my immune system which then initiated my disease process.
I'm still trying to find better and better ways to live on this diet. There are peaks of extreme hope, such as, I've found that I can tolerate Indian/Nepalese food from a certain restaurant (I avoid the rice, of course). I never would have imagined that I could eat this food 4 months ago. However, I would be just a happy not eating the scrumptious Indian food for the rest of my life if avoiding it allowed me to live normally without pain and medication.
I recommend that anyone trying this diet buy Carol Sinclair's book (which can only be purchased in the US online), the Specific Carbohydrate Diet book by Elaine Gottschall, and the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Arthritis by Zampieron.
I do have a significant piece of advice, now that I think of it. Elaine Gottschall mentions in her book that one must follow the diet prescribed in her book with fanaticism. And it's true. I have followed the NSD with fanaticism, which has yielded great results. I don't miss bread or pasta or any other starch because I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and I feel as if my current actions are making me healthier in the long run. I don't dread going to sleep anymore because of fear of the AS monster hitting me at 3am. And, another piece of advice, be very careful with the supplements that you buy. It would be a shame to mask the good results of the diet by taking a starchy supplement.
Please ask lots of questions, and feel free to send me a personal message if you have any questions. I don't check my inbox all of the time, but I do check it periodically.