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Contact Email: allergyfreealaska(at)gmail.com

Life Changes

It sometimes takes a life changing event like a medical diagnosis to make you realize you need to change your diet. That’s what happened to me. In January 2009, I was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease called psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA for short) is a chronic, systemic (whole body), inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects my skin, joints, connective and soft tissues, and even organs. With PsA, my immune system malfunctions and attacks its healthy tissues. I experience pain in my feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower back, spine, chest, shoulders, neck, and eyes (just to name a few).

I also suffer from Spondylitis, Hashimoto’s disease and secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon. Spondylitis is inflammation of the spine; the inflammation in my spine may lead to partial fusing of my lower spinal column and neck over time.

Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation (and sometimes failure) of the thyroid gland.

Raynaud’s phenomenon limits my body’s flow of blood to my hands and feet. It makes my fingers and toes feel cold and numb, turning them white, blue, or purple (even in 70 to 80 degree weather).

Invisible Illnesses

I am a relatively “healthy looking” 30 something year old. Just by looking at me you would never know I battle debilitating chronic illness, that’s why these types of diseases are also called “invisible illnesses.”

Unfortunately, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel some sort of pain, although my pain varies from annoying to very intense and painful, depending on weather, stress, and what I’ve eaten. Thankfully, my quality of life improved tremendously by simply changing my diet and I still haven’t suffered joint damage because of my PsA, which is such an incredible blessing!

When I was first diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis by a rheumatologist in 2009 I was prescribed different oral medications to alleviate my symptoms. They did not work and my arthritis continued to progress. My doctor wanted to then try TNF blockers (which are genetically engineered drugs given by injection and are very expensive), but after reading the list of side effects (suppressing the immune system, cancer, hepatitis B, etc.) I decided they weren’t for me.

Changing my diet gave me a quality of life

At that point in time, I was in so much pain I could hardly get out of bed in the morning to get my youngest daughter from her crib. It was awful. I remember lying in bed sobbing, in horrible pain, and feeling absolutely helpless and incapable of taking care of my own children. On a whim and a prayer, I made an appointment with a naturopathic physician I found online. I was so incredibly desperate for help when I walked into the physician’s clinic that I was prepared to do/give up whatever she wanted me to (coffee being my only exception). My naturopath put me on what’s called the “Anti-Inflammatory” diet. I went from eating anything and everything I wanted to becoming gluten, dairy, soy, corn, tomato, potato, orange/grapefruit, peanut, white rice, and refined sugar free overnight – totally cold turkey. It was a shock to my system to say the least, but I also loaded up on probiotics and other homeopathics to try to boost and balance out my system.

My body went through an intensive detox period, but after about two weeks, I gradually started feeling better and gaining more energy. Getting out of bed in the morning wasn’t such a chore. As more time went on, I continued to feel better. I still had pain and inflammation, but the pain wasn’t as great as what it was prior to starting my new “diet.” It wasn’t a cure, but it gave me the ability to function.

A history of IBS

Looking back on my life, there have always been obvious signs of gluten intolerance and other food sensitivities, but only now am I able to make the connection. In my pre-teens, I remember diarrhea and other IBS symptoms being an everyday occurrence. Psoriasis first made its appearance on the back of my scalp when I was 14 years old, symptoms of Raynaud’s appeared over the years (although I didn’t know what it was), and I was clinically diagnosed with moderate postpartum depression a year and a half after the birth of my first child in 2005.

IBS symptoms, autoimmune disease, depression… I contribute all of these to gluten sensitivity and overall poor gut health, although I also believe my own genetics had a hand in it too (my grandma and great grandma both had psoriasis). 

When I was diagnosed with Spondylitis in May 2012, I was so incredibly sick (I lost around 10 lbs in less than a month because the pain was so intense) that I decided to try one of the TNF blocker medications I so desperately wanted to avoid. I was on one nearly 3 months until I had to quit taking it as it made me horribly ill. I also tried a 2nd, different, TNF blocker and had the same type of reaction.

Fortunately, I eventually ended up in the care of Dr. Jill Valerius. She prescribed me Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), which has been a lifesaver. In short, I’ve now been on LDN for several years, have experienced zero side effects, and am thriving. I still have bad days, and aches and pains, but overall it’s been a Godsend. My quality of life has significantly improved. 

I don’t know what the future holds for my body, but I have peace in knowing I’m doing as much as I can to keep my body healthy and low in inflammation. Being gluten-free and dairy-free isn’t a diet for me anymore; it’s a lifestyle – something I will continue for the rest of my life.

It can be hard to consider a disease a blessing, but there have been so many positives due to my autoimmune diseases. My family eats clean, mostly organic, whole foods now instead of the processed, modified, sugar filled foods we were eating before. I’ve discovered my real passion in life – helping people eat well on restricted diets, which is something I would have never considered years ago. I enjoy developing recipes and hearing how they have blessed someone’s life. I wouldn’t give this journey up for anything; I am incredibly blessed!

May the recipes you find on this website bless your health and family as they have mine.

Bon Appétit!
Megan

 “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”  -Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Megan Ancheta. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog.  

The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. 

Charlotte

Tuesday 30th of March 2021

I need to know if your bagels are also free of sugar, grains and vinegar as I'm on a detox diet to get rid of parasites. No exceptions, so I need to know all the ingredients.

Mēgan

Monday 5th of April 2021

They are not free of sugar or grains.

Rachel

Friday 11th of December 2020

Dear Megan, I’m so lucky I came across your website about 6 months ago. After my son and my husband were diagnosed with celiac disease it was so hard for me to cook and especially bake for them. In the past we were always eating healthy foods and I dreaded the ingredients in the store bought gluten free flour mixes. When I saw your recipes I was crying with joy!!! You give me the chance to properly feed my family with the best tasting and healthy recipes I could imagine. You are such an inspiration to me and I thank you every day for what you do for us.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rachel

Tiffany

Thursday 5th of November 2020

Thank you for sharing your story, it is practically a mirror image of mine. Health crisis, overnight diet change, autoimmunity. It’s been a rough past year and I struggle with cooking because I could barely boil an egg before all this. Thank you for making it easier :)

Marjorie Carrie

Monday 2nd of July 2018

I see you have eliminated potato and tomato. You might want to consider eliminating all nightshades; ie peppers and zuchinni, eggplant, etc

Another group to investigate eliminating are salicylates or at least eating those in the low category.

I have found it very helpful to eat according to my D'Adamo geno type.

Tri-salts or Alka Seltzer GOLD work for cutting reactions for me.

John

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Megan thanks for your list.

My wife who is also living with an "invisible disease" was dramatically decreased her pain by removing gluten from her diet.

We found out that Evangelo's in Wasilla is extremely GF friendly. They have a GF pasta option, AND if it isn't super crazy they have made from scratch a GF version of the sauce for us! The waiters and waitresses seem to be well versed in GF; Just ask them to check with the Chef.

It has been wonderful to have another choice to choose from since The Loose Moose closed last month.

Thanks again for your site, it simplified my life. John