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In my dietary research, I continually came across references and blogs from people using GAPS Diet to get their AS into remission. I hadn’t felt interested in it because it basically suggested… “Hey, instead of merely removing every imaginable form of starch and lactose from your diet, why not remove a few of the remaining things as well? Doesn’t that sound swell?” And I was like…um…no actually. But the grand design of GAPS is to put your autoimmune condition (whichever one it may be) into remission by correcting it at its very most fundamental root cause: your flawed gut.


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On the first week of February, 2018, I had the fortune of being invited to spend a couple weeks in Delray Beach, Florida with some friends. I’m a big fan of the holidays, largely because of all the baking I typically do, but shortly after New Year’s Eve I’m ready for winter to be over…every year. In north Iowa it drags on in such a way that by February I’m desperately longing for any faint hint of greenery.

A late winter trip to Florida is like injecting my brain with excessive amounts of serotonin and dopamine, and topping that off…

A couple years before my arthritis began, I’d gone online and purchased a hula hoop. I’d seen people hooping in Fairfield, IA some years before, doing all manner of extraordinary tricks. Some of them were truly world class fire dancers who’d moved to town from Chicago. Naturally, I was mesmerized by their every movement.

I didn’t have a stable social circle at the time, or any real connection to the hoopers. But I went to Walmart and tested their hoops in hopes of buying one to mess around with on my own. They were very small and lightweight, and I…

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When I was a little girl my Grandmother taught me how to bake. She taught me the difference between soft peaks, firms peaks, and dry, how to tell whether sugar’s been boiled long enough for syrup or for candy, how to mix wet and dry ingredients without lumpiness, how to beat eggs by hand when your beaters are broken, how to delicately fold in whites, how to perfectly whip cream, and the fine art of making a tender and flaky piecrust. Generally she taught me how to make homemade desserts come out to be spectacular, just like hers did.


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As the pain began receding, I immediately sought some new careful movements to add to my roster of stretches. A very important detail that differentiates my AS case from some others: it did begin with an injury.

No, my right psoas was not yanked out by the roots or overextended to the point of scarring. And ‘injury proneness’ is not a symptom I’ve seen listed on Ankylosing Spondylitis info sites. But, autoimmune arthritis patients…let this be a lesson. Your body does not respond to injury, nor recover from it the way a person with a normal immune response would! …

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I cannot exaggerate how quickly my starch and lactose-free diet began to work. For the first time in 3 ½ years I could turn over in bed with minimal help from my hands. I could get through some nights without searing rib pain, and in the morning I could carefully rise and just walk out of the room without hobbling.

I had the good fortune of coming across an ultra-firm foam bed that a friend couldn’t use, so I was able to end the madness of toggling back and forth between our too-soft luxury mattress and the hard-as-a-brick topper on…

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I love to have a mission in life, to have goals, a good challenge, and a clear path forward that I have formulated. Naïve as it may have been, I felt excited about starting my new diet. When your only other option is becoming dependent on heavy painkillers and biologics that do not stop disease progression but may in some cases slow it down at best, beginning a depressingly restrictive diet doesn’t seem too intimidating.

The whole, ugly truth about Ankylosing Spondylitis is…it typically starts as painful inflammation in the Sacroiliac Joints, but usually develops to also effect some combination…

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Ever since my illness took over, 6 years ago, surely Jeremy’s friends and family have marveled over my ‘delicate health’. For most of my life I’ve lived in a new age spiritual community in south Iowa. There I’ve had a number of friends with substantial health issues (mostly gut related) that restrict their diets, energy levels, and lifestyles in many ways. One may ask why all these people eating organic food, eliminating chemicals from their toiletries and households, avoiding sugar and fried foods, etc. are turning up with limiting and sickly conditions. Having always been a sojourner for quality multivitamins…

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Upon finding that western medicine has no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, and that it’s minimally controlled through the use of powerful biologics (which shut down your entire immune system leaving you at the mercy of Tuberculosis, various cancers, and every cold and flu that comes your way), along with powerful pain killers (something I’ve never taken and can’t with stomach ulcers), I did quite a bit of research on natural remedies. You know…for just in case.

I didn’t say much to anyone about the gene that had been discovered in my blood. I knew how low the odds were of…

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Within a week or two of going in for my blood draw, I received a phone call from the nurse. “All of your test results came back negative,” she said. “Yesssss!” I exclaimed. “Except for one.”

Why any human being would phrase a sentence like that, I cannot tell you. Did she think I’d been expecting her to call me with multiple positive results?? They say that most nurses and doctors never get used to breaking bad news, and that many are awful at it. Well…I can believe it.

The positive test result? Simply that I possess the gene HLA-B27.

Rachael Wendell

This is the ongoing story of my experience with a crippling autoimmune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, that I’m putting in remission with diet and stem cells!

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