Recently I started working with a physician at University Hospitals Center for Integrative health.
At age 58 in September of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, my body was falling apart. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and of course Multiple Sclerosis, only to name a few of my issues. The all over body pain had me taking high doses of gabapentin and NSAIDS.
While I was hardly overweight and I really "thought" that I was eating healthy, I was encouraged by my physician to try a whole foods plant based diet. Of course the first book she recommended that I get is "Forks over Knives" This "idea" and plethora of follow up books really did not nudge me in the right direction, I hate to say. I just don't like reading books that have a lot of personal accounts and studies. I read it anyway but just not my style.
The next book she recommended to me was called "What the Health: The Startling Truth Behind the Foods We Eat, Plus 50 Plant-Rich Recipes to Get You Feeling Your Best" by Kip Anderson. This book spoke to me and watching the companion documentary that can be found on Netflix or Amazon sealed the deal. Another video about a girl with MS you should check out is called "Code Blue." Proof that eating what I call a "mostly plant based diet" (MPBD henceforth) was not only something I had to do but something that most of the population should "probably" be doing.
This has nothing to do with the whole "vegetarian craze" and "oooh I just can't eat anything that has a face"(I can not tell you how many times I have heard that one lol). No, it has everything to do with how corporate America has fooled us into believing that meat and dairy products are not only good for you but necessary "staples" for us. It simply is not true. The book/documentary film goes through step by step of what is really in the meat and dairy that we consume and how the antibiotics and meds in farm meat and poultry are outright overused. It was enough to convince me that a MPBD was the diet that was best for me.
So i started eating only fruits and vegetables(NO MEAT OR DAIRY), I didn't much miss the meat because I really only was eating mostly chicken and an occasional burger or steak. When I say occasional I mean once a week. I REALLY missed cream in my coffee and switched to Almond Milk. I followed this diet strictly and then the physician told me to remove all oils from my diet. That meant goodbye to my favorite House Italian salad dressing! And I have salad every night for dinner! I did not much like that suggestion but I gave it a try for a few months. Well after about 4 months of this diet I did lose about 20 pounds and was feeling much better, mentally at least. I was able to back down my night time insulin I took for my diabetes even. Then I had to have a round of steroids and my blood sugar went up and so did my night time insulin I needed. I was never able to get it back down again after that.
I feel like on a MPBD that my MS symptoms did not EVER subside, nor did the pain I deal with go away. So after 5 months I went back to having my favorite salad dressing, and having very small bits of chicken or turkey every so often. I still haven't had a steak on the new diet but I have had a hamburger or two, which I immediately regret.
I can honestly say that for the last 11 years I have heard people tell me "Oh you should do this diet...or that diet". They are wrong of course. As I can tell you that there really is no diet that "cures" Multiple Sclerosis. There are diets that supposedly help reduce inflammation, but I have not found one. Truth be told in fact some diets can be downright harmful.
The best diet is one that keeps your body healthy. The best diet uses as much fruits and vegetables and natural ingredients as you can find. The best diet is a reduction in dairy products (yes I mean Milk and Cheese). The best diet is one that avoids processed meats. The best diet is one that keeps you healthy enough to maintain a good healthy weight. At least for myself at this point in my life that is what I strive for. It clearly is not the best diet for everyone and you are on your own...seriously.
If you ever come across the "best" diet for you though,(as I clearly have not done here at least when it comes to relieving pain goes, lol) keep it to yourself because those of us with Multiple Sclerosis really don't care to know! Our life is tough enough and we do what we can to make ourselves feel better. If we need advice we go to the professionals! We are happy one diet or another works for you, but it will not work for us! Seriously, NOT A TOPIC FOR CONVERSATION, EVER!
In conclusion I personally can safely say that the MPBD I have chosen for myself works for me and one I plan to stick with.
DISCLAIMER: Kenzig.MS or Jim Kenzig do not recommend starting or stopping ANY diet without the consultation of a trained medical professional. This information is not meant to suggest one diet over another as a layperson should never suggest a diet to someone with a chronic disease. Period.
Cheers! - Jim Kenzig