Luke Magda and I first met online in a Facebook group called “Low/No Starch Lifestyle Group for Ankylosing Spondylitis.” There, thousands have discovered that making changes to their diet by removing starches, especially highly processed ones, and saying no to other inflammatory foods, can drastically reduce inflammation in the body and spine. These changes also significantly reduce the painful symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Luke is currently a volunteer moderator of the group, where over 10,000 AS Warriors connect, share starch-free meal ideas, and support one another.
He is an AS Warrior who truly inspires me. At 41, he’s certainly not letting ankylosing spondylitis get in the way of his various activities, which include competing in extreme endurance Spartan races (grueling obstacle courses in natural settings), traveling and backpacking with his fiancée, Heather Beste, and kicking AS with high energy.
If you ask Luke about his secret to “Kicking AS,” you might be surprised when he tells you it’s the carnivore diet, which consists mostly of eating meat, fats, and proteins.
I first learned about the carnivore diet from a 2013 article in Vice titled, “This Guy’s Eaten Nothing But Raw Meat for Five Years.” It discusses a guy who was so ill that he puked up everything he ate until he started eating only raw meat. Miraculously, he felt better after switching.
I had the opportunity to chat more with Luke about his carnivore diet. Excerpts follow. Keep in mind when thinking about possible dietary changes that what works for one person might not work for another. It’s always important to discuss any dietary plans or changes with your healthcare team first.
AW: Luke, please share a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve had ankylosing spondylitis.
LM: I’m 41 years old, and I’ve had AS for four years now. It started with sacrum area and buttocks pain and pain down my legs. I thought it was a soccer injury at first, but it wasn’t going away, and eventually, I was diagnosed with AS. I work in IT (information technology), and my hobbies include soccer, Spartan races, fishing, and traveling.
How have you been treating your AS? Workouts, supplements, doctors’ appointments, pharmaceuticals?
I do not see a doctor. I went to see a rheumatologist at one point, and he wanted me to take Humira (adalimumab), and that’s all he was interested in. I mainly eat a carnivore diet (meat, eggs, and avocados). I take vitamin C, D3, K2, magnesium malate, potassium citrate, and a few other supplements for allergies, which are not really for AS.
I don’t do any alternate therapies right now due to COVID-19 mostly, but I did do massages and cryotherapy when everything was open, and I think they helped a lot. I work out daily, … about two hours a day, which includes planks for core and stretching.
I feel that AS can be really mentally draining, so I try to focus on the positives and not on the negatives. I have this disease and I accepted it, now I just do my best to manage it and live a normal life.
What do you eat in a typical day for breakfast, lunch, etc.?
Breakfast: 5 eggs, beef liver, avocado
Lunch: chicken or turkey, eggs
Dinner: chicken, fish or beef, avocado, and more eggs
Oh yeah, bacon on weekends and burgers and steak.
I also snack on pecans and macadamia nuts sometimes, but not very often.
Where can we learn more about the carnivore diet? Any websites or books you recommend?
Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
I would strongly suggest visiting the KickAS.org website and our low-starch group on Facebook. I think the carnivore diet is the easiest because it’s just meat, … but the elimination diet video also is in our group, and it is very good.
I would encourage people to not give up. Healing may take some time, but it will be worth it.
To learn more about Luke’s inspiring journey, check out this interesting piece on the Living Well with AS blog.
Note: Ankylosing Spondylitis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ankylosing Spondylitis News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ankylosing spondylitis.
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