As soon as I found out I was one of the 2.3 Million people who suffer from mystery of Multiple Sclerosis I started plunging into educating myself on what I could do to slow down the progression of my new life. I went online, YouTube, listened to people's testimonies of how they are handling their new life, what they eat, how they exercise and how they cope and fight this. I have never been one for pharmaceutical enforcement. I'm still one of those people who thought a flu shot was the governments way of implanting whatever they wanted into our bodies and then 4 years down the road we are all growing a 5th limb or something. Natural was how I had always done things. But not to the extent that food was benefiting me. Up until a few months ago I was still eating little a peeved off teenage boy. Bagel Bites were a normal delicacy for me. Gotta love em!
The more I read the more I was hearing about Dr. Terry Wahls who had completly changed her diagnosis with...wait for it...FOOD. It was so easy...not so much. First of all it still baffles me that it's cheaper to go through the drive through at Taco Bell than it is to get a salad at your local grocery store. Your options are pretty limited even if you are trying to run through a drive through or "Choke and Puke" as me and Mother call them. It's all junk.
Back to Dr. Terry Wahls. She wrote a book "Wahls Protocal" where she broke down exactly how to use food to fight this chronic illness. Eating anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is MS's worse enemy. There's different levels of "Wahls" you can. Wahls Paleo, Straight Paleo, there was so many different options. I started very basic. Cutting out all processed foods. This meant when I went grocery shopping I basically never went into the actual aisles. I stayed on the 4 outer walls of the grocery store, meat, produce, dairy etc. So long bagel bites. Sad day.
I took it further after more research of cutting out all red meats, only eating Fish and lean meats like chicken and turkey. For an Italian girl this was basically like giving up my heritage. I took it further again. Cutting out all full fat dairy. Sticking to only low fat dairy and even non dairy products all together. Mozzarella isn't the same but it worked for my home made gluten free pizza. Cauliflower pizza crust is amazing but you just have to cook it twice as long first and then throw on your toppings.
I started juicing daily. Wahls diet recommended having around 9 cups of fruits and veggies daily. How can anyone do this without sucking on kale leaves all day? It's impossible. Blend baby blend! I started juicing/blending two to three times a day. Spinach, kale, ginger, turmeric, berries, chard, almond milk and pomegranate seeds. Blend away and presto! Green juice at home without spending $10 a pop at a Nektar or local juice shop. I do still frequent Nektar because come on...its like green magic and I just can't make it the same at home.
I cut out all fruits that are basically sugar. You wouldn't believe how many fruits are not necessary in your diet. Apples and bananas. These are basics in fruit eating. Are not actually that great for you? You better believe it. I was inhaling all the berries I could eat. Blackberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds (which are like natures "Nerd's" candies to me. I only used coconut milk or almond milk and was eating as much fish as a dang mermaid. Do they even eat fish? Well I assumed as much.
Without 2 weeks I noticed my body was craving greens like never before. I was the woman that had a salad about twice a month...not in 9-10 cups a day quantities. I had more energy and was really feeling a difference. With MS we want an anti-inflammatory diet. This helps our symptoms tremendously. I used to judge my Mother thinking to myself how can anyone enjoy juicing this much? How does she do it and REALLY enjoy it? It is 100% a life style change that you have to start and start off slow or you will set yourself up for failure.
Eating healthy was never a HUGE priority for me, but now that I know that hey if I don't take care of my body the best to my ability there may come a day where I can't use one of my limbs or see out of one eye. True story from my Father that has Primary Progressive MS or PPMS. Who was not eating healthily and not taking the best care of his body as he could and woke up one day blind out of his left eye. Reeses are not a bed time snack Dad! But since he's made huge changes and I'm super proud of him for this!
Look, i'll be honest and I never sugar coat anything. It's not going to be easy. However there's more at risk here than not fitting into your skinny jeans or risking a heart attack even. A bad diet will only worsen our future as MS warriors. Don't clip your wings, don't hinder your ability. Food is fuel, not love. Even I can't believe I'm saying this. I used to be over 200 lbs and I'm only 5 foot 3 inches. Mama was big. I feel better physically and know that what I put into my body is BENEFITING me and my MS. This is the change that will make you thrive. Start small, don't give and remember why you are doing this...because we have MS and we are going to kick it's YOU KNOW WHAT!
Food photo credits- True Food Kitchen- Newport Beach, CA