My Multiple Sclerosis Diet- In regards to health, not just for people with Multiple Sclerosis, I strongly believe that diet is crucial. The unfortunate aspect for me is that I have struggled with my diet my entire life. Specifically, due to what I believe is addiction, I have struggled with:

  • Refined Sugars
  • Dairy and Gluten

I believe that these substances not only lead to health issues like diabetes and depression, they also have a link to inflammatory diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. When I was initially diagnosed with MS I was probably like most people and thought, ” just give me a pill and I’ll continue my life as normal.” While DMT (disease modifying therapies) are crucial, I have since realized that attitudes such as these are completely wrong and counter productive. The lifestyle you live and what you eat directly impacts your health. If you can’t accept that some of your choices, whether you were aware or not, could have negatively affected your health and accelerated your disease, you are in for a rough ride. You have to accept change and choose to get as healthy as possible. Period. Excuses, self pity, and a serious case of the ‘why me’s’ are a waste of energy and won’t get you anywhere. While I respect and follow my neurologist’s advice and take MS drugs (formally Copaxone, now Tecfidera), I also supplement my medication with supplements and dietary choices.

I can’t claim that dietary strategies will do anything for you, I can only report my own subjective experience. I also have to accept that I could just be one of the ‘lucky’ ones in which the course of my MS was always going to be easier than for most and that my dietary choices have had little to no impact on the disease. However, there does appear to be some pretty strong evidence that diet can play a very real role

Multiple Sclerosis Diet

After doing countless hours of research in the library and online, I finally found information that made sense and wasn’t a ‘miracle cure’. I came across Ashton Embry’s Direct-MS website which outlines nutritional strategies for the treatment and maintenance of Multiple Sclerosis. The recommendations on Direct-MS closely mirror the popular ‘Paleo Diet’ or ‘Caveman Diet’ that has been making news the past few years. Recently, I have become fascinated by Dr. Terry Wahls and her remarkable recovery from progressive MS using a ‘paleo like’ diet. Since about mid-2007, I have tried to follow the strategies outlined on this website as close as possible. I won’t lie, I have cheated- which brings me back to the addictive nature of some foods. I still cheat on diet more often than I’d like, but my goal is that with the launch of this website I’ll be able to stand my ground and permanently eliminate these foods. While I don’t follow the Direct-MS recommendations exactly, here are the basics of what I eliminate:

  • Gluten and grains
  • Dairy
  • Legumes (beans, soy, etc.)
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Refined Sugar (my non fruit/vegetable sugar sources are honey and maple syrup)
  • Fruit Juice (all I drink is water. I have the occasional cup of green or rooibos tea)
  • All artificial sweeteners

Foods not listed above that I avoid which cause inflammation:

  • Chips and snack foods
  • Coffee
  • Foods high in fructose/glucose/corn syrup
  • MSG
  • Processed foods of any sort
  • Omega 6 Heavy Vegetable Oils

I try to limit:

  • Red Meat
  • Pork

Spices I love spicy food and there are not any specific spices I avoid, however there are two I try to use whenever possible for their potential health benefits:

  • Turmeric (for more information on turmeric, go here)
  • Cinnamon (for more information on the potential benefits of cinnamon for people with MS, go here)

Other Guidlines In our house we also try to use cookware that is made from stainless steel, glass, or cast iron only. We don’t use anything with a ‘non-stick’ finnish or made from aluminium. In addition, we use non refined coconut oil for cooking and we are now experimenting with grain free baking with coconut flour. We don’t use Olive Oil to cook as it breaks down under intense heat. In addition, I try to eat foods which have healthy benefits like anti-inflammatory properties and high vitamin and nutrient content. Here is a list:

  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Foods high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids (ex. fish and nuts)
  • Lean protein sources like chicken and fish (ex. salmon)
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Berries
  • Broccoli & Cauliflower
  • Onions & Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Seaweed

(this is not a complete list, but rather a sample)

For paleo recipes click the ‘category’ button on the right and select ‘recipes’ from the drop down menu

Vegetarian versus Omnivores- which one is right? (blog post, click here)

 

Videos that have heavily influenced my Multiple Sclerosis Diet choices

Dr. Terry Wahls, “Minding your Mitochondria”


 

Dr. Loren Cordain, “Origin and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health implications for the 21st century”


 

Dr. Loren Cordain on the Paleo Diet and Multiple Sclerosis


 

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”


 

 

Vitamin D and MS

Vitamin D and MS

A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal reported that adults with higher levels of vitamin D were 61% less likely to develop Multiple Sclerosis that people with lower vitamin D levels. Considering vitamin D is primarily absorbed through sun exposure and there are “higher rates of MS in northern latitudes such as Canada and Scandinavia” with “far lower rates appearing in equatorial regions”, it is very convincing to me that vitamin D supplementation is crucial for people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Natural sunlight is best but where I live I am subjected to 6 months of winter, so the best I can do is plan an annual 7 day winter getaway to sunny climate and supplement with vitamin D the rest of the year.

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis blog post- click here!

Sunlight and Multiple Sclerosis

 
 

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