The are so many diets out there that claim to heal multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, most have conflicting dietary recommendations. Find me a vegan that’s kicking MS’s ass, and I’ll find you a paleo lover, convinced that steak and eggs got their body back on track.
Since there is no one right diet, there is no one right diet regimen to create health. It’s your job to determine your relationship to animal proteins, dairy, gluten, sugar, and fat.
Should you play with portions, fasting, and different types of cuisines? Probably.
How do you react to raw versus cooked foods? You should definitely figure that out.
Should you juice or only drink smoothies? I have no idea. Experiment.
What foods should you ingest to start your day?
Seriously. These are the questions that you need to ask yourself and the work you need to do if you want to heal yourself with food. (And Newsflash: Non-sick people should be asking these questions as well.)
You owe it to yourself to determine your own personal, nourishment rules. It’s your body so it’s your job to do the work and figure out which foods keep you at optimum levels mentally, physically and emotionally.
I had done my nutritional due diligence about a decade before I was diagnosed. However, once I began to decline, I found that my diet regimen stopped working for me and I had a rough time figuring out what worked post diagnosis. So I turned to the following MS specific diets to see if any of them would be helpful:
- The Wahl’s Protocol
- Anti-Inflammatory / Whole Foods Eating
- Gluten, Dairy, & Sugar-Free Diet
- Ketogenic Diet
- McDougall Plant Based Diet
- Low-Fat Swank Diet
The short version is that none of the above made a significant difference with regard to my disability but some of them made me feel better in general.
My favorite way to eat is a whole food, Mediterranean diet. It’s always better to eat foods from nature as opposed to foods from factories. That used to be the best way for me to stay trim yet energized. However, I have found as I push fifty, being insulin deficient is better for my waistline as well as my daily vigor. Yet once I got my DBS and started moving more, carbs weren’t as evil.
That’s the thing about diets – they change as you change. They change depending on your health, lifestyle, activity levels, hormones, and age. Don’t be surprised when you have to tweak the way that you eat or the amount that you consume.
If you’re going to go the nutritional route to treat your MS take copious notes and speak with your doctor. Note changes in:
- Physical activities / Participation abilities
- Brain fog
- Sleep patterns
- Aches / Pains
Before you begin, take note of what you already know about yourself:
- Ancestry. You come from a long line of people that ate the same foods for centuries. If you’re of Russian descent it might not be smart to start out on a Japanese influenced Macrobiotic diet. Just saying.
- Current energy levels. You can’t cook from scratch if you’re bedridden.
- Finances. Coconut oil is more expensive than olive oil. Figure out what you can afford.
- Food before supplements. Broccoli is cheaper than buying bottles of B complex, folate and psyllium supplements.
- Your lifestyle. Do you eat out often for work? Do you need to make time to prep meals for the week? Do you even know how to cook?
- How do your food cravings change as the seasons change? You might eat more animal foods in the winter and only enjoy fruit when it’s hot outside. Be flexible with your food choices throughout the year.
Give yourself time to experiment with different diets and methodologies. Don’t expect overnight success and allow yourself the freedom to tweak your regimen. I think this is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to diet. Perfection isn’t required.
In other words, if you start out vegan but crave meat, consider learning from Mark Bittman and try his Vegan Before 6:00 program. He’s a food writer for God’s sake. Being a full-time vegan would make it difficult to do his job yet his diet had made him overweight and pre-diabetic. So he decided to only be vegan during the day and it worked. He found a balance between his health, his lifestyle and his palate.
Always be flexible with yourself and your nourishment options.
Finally, talk to your doctor about diets followed by those with a similar diagnosis. Note which has been successful or disastrous. My P.A. told me that she’s seen an increase in MS relapses whenever her patients give up all carbohydrates so no matter what regimens I’m experimenting with, I make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and play with dairy when I take away processed foods and grains.
Although medicine can’t definitely tell you which diets work, it can give you insight so ask questions while you play with your food.