An array of mediterranean diet food items including fresh vegetables, fish, and nuts.

Keegan’s Experience With the Mediterranean Diet

My husband Keegan finally hit the point where his AS was stable. The last few years brought lots of challenges that impacted his AS: 2 babies, 2 total hip replacements, and the stress of a pandemic. He recently got help from a dietician who recommended trying the Mediterranean Diet to reduce his overall inflammation. So far, he’s found himself with more energy, less inflammation and pain, and overall feeling more healthy.

What’s the Mediterranean Diet?

Based on the diets of countries living around the Mediterranean Sea like Italy and Spain, the Mediterranean Diet comprises of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds, with olive oil as the main source of fat. It’s a bit easier for us as a family of 4 with 2 young kids to follow, as it’s focused on whole foods from a variety of sources. We cook a lot at home, so it was easy for us to also switch out recipes to follow the diet. His dietician didn’t start him on an elimination diet, which surprised me. Instead, she recommended starting with the Mediterranean Diet while he’s not in a flare-up. It’d be difficult to determine what foods caused inflammation when his inflammation is already so low.

I’ll note that overall, the diet is a little more expensive. But we’ve found shopping at places like Aldi and Costco helps us mitigate some of the cost. (We just got a 24-pack of sardines at Costco.) Also, we’ve been visiting farmer’s markets this summer and that helps bring down some fruit and veggie costs. The toughest change overall is reducing our processed foods. We bought so much processed food with having 2 young kids, but now, we just pre-cut veggies and fruit to easily grab something on the go.

What do meals typically look like?

  • Breakfast: Keegan eats either cottage cheese, fruit, and whole grain toast or overnight oats that I make for him with chia seeds, oat milk, yogurt, honey, and caramelized apples.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwiches, veggies and hummus, sardines, and crackers. It’s more of a mishmash of whatever he feels like eating that we have in our kitchen.
  • Dinner: There are tons of Pinterest recipes for Mediterranean Diet dinners. Some of our favorites include sheet pan fish with roasted potatoes and broccoli, Mediterranean bowls with quinoa, chickpeas, and other toppings, and corn tacos with ground turkey, beans, veggies, and salsa.
  • Snacks: Keegan snacks a lot. If you come to our house, you’ll see the largest mixed nut containers, lots of cans of sardines, and bags of precut vegetables in the fridge. He’s found that because he’s eating healthier, he needed to eat more often to stay full.

How has Keegan noticed changes in his body?

  • Less inflammatory pain: Most of Keegan’s joints ache at this point in his AS journey. Since changing his diet, he’s noticed all his joints feeling less painful.
  • More energy: Keegan’s always struggled with low energy levels and AS. Overall, he’s noticed a big improvement. And he’s happy to not be relying on refined sugar for energy boosts anymore.
  • Less brain fog: This is definitely one big place I’ve noticed improvement. Keegan seems more alert, able to keep track of more in his memory, and quicker to respond since changing his diet.

Have you ever tried the Mediterranean Diet? What was your experience like?

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