Jennifer Jackson

I was first diagnosed with arthritis in my early twenties when the joints in my fingers became very painful and swollen and eventually disfigured.  In later years, it developed in my spine and my GP prescribed Naprosin which helped manage the pain and I took these for several years.  By my mid forties I was suffering severe pain, stiffness and discomfort and there were days when I could not straighten up and the only relief was to lie flat on the floor.  I found household chores, gardening and  walking my dogs very difficult.  I have always been wary of the adverse effects of long-term medication and eventually started visiting a chiropractor.  Although this helped for a while, after about 18 months it became apparent that my condition had worsened and I realised that I needed to try something new.  Two years prior to this a friend had lent me a book entitled “Curing Arthritis the Drug Free Way” by Margaret Hills and I found her story so inspiring and the regime she had developed to cure herself of arthritis made such good sense.  I read the book again, contacted the Margaret Hills Clinic, received my supplements and embarked upon the diet in earnest in April 2003.  Within weeks, I began to feel and look better and (rather naively) thought I had “cracked it”.  I can only describe the five years that followed as a rollercoaster.  Some days I felt so much better and was full of hope and then there were days when pain and depression got the better of me, but even on the bad days I was certain that I was doing the right thing and was determined to get better.  My recovery came in bursts (2 steps forward and one back) but gradually the flare-ups became less severe and less frequent.  Often when I felt down I would read Margaret’s story again and it would get me back on track.  For the past seven years I have been virtually pain-free and am able to run, dig the garden and enjoy walking my dog.  I can now run upstairs and jump out of bed in the morning, things I hadn’t been able to do for years.  It has changed my life and my only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.  It took me a long time to get properly better (I know that many people have seen amazing results in just months) but I think my arthritis was very deeply entrenched.  I now allow myself occasional “diet –free” days and even weeks (holidays and Christmas) but I think for me it has to be a diet for life.  When I drift away from the diet for any length of time, I find that I do get “flare-ups”, so I know that I need to keep to the diet as much as possible, but also it makes me realise that it works.  I think it’s important, when learning to cut out certain foods, not to dwell upon the foods you can’t eat but to focus on the things you can.  There is a lot of scope and you can often adapt old recipes by tinkering around with the ingredients, ie cider vinegar instead of wine, olive spread instead of butter, fat-free yoghurt instead of cream and it’s strange how your taste changes.  But you also need to allow yourself the occasional treat, especially when eating out with friends and family as it can be difficult for other people to accommodate your dietary needs. 


I shall be forever grateful to Margaret for her vision and determination and hope that my story will help in some small way.  The medical profession state that there is no cure for arthritis and the NHS wastes valuable resources dealing with the consequences of this debilitating disease, with expensive drugs and operations, to say nothing of the unnecessary suffering of their patients, when the solution is so much simpler.


Jennifer Jackson, Birmingham