Making diet and lifestyle changes to manage chronic illnesses like MS can be challenging, but with the right mindset, anything is possible.
Life saving dietary changes
It's been known by experts in the field of nutrition for a long time that the food we eat has a direct influence on our health and wellbeing. It should therefore be obvious that food can also prevent or even reverse these chronic health conditions. Much of the evidence towards the development of Multiple Sclerosis points towards inflammatory foods, in particular animal products and processed foods. Dairy is particularly bad and acts as a catalyst in the development of a chronic health condition like MS.
Roy Swanks work indicated that a low saturated fat diet helped to prevent the progression of MS, which gives people immense hope that they can take control of the disease. George Jelinek took his work further and developed Overcoming MS (OMS), a total lifestyle approach to managing the disease.
Fear is a great motivator for change. It can motivate you to change your lifestyle completely. Rebecca ate a standard Australian diet for 40 years, then was diagnosed with a potentially debilitating condition. After reading the work by Swank, Jelinek and other leading researchers in the field of MS, Rebecca adopted a low fat, whole food, plant-based diet.
There is so much we can do to prevent the progression of MS and other chronic illnesses and to help take the necessary steps to recovery.
There is more than one diet promoted as being beneficial for people with MS. One underlying factor of them all is that they encourage people to eat large amounts of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and high in essential plant nutrients. These foods benefit people with MS as they are anti-inflammatory. Much of the scientific evidence to date suggests that avoiding all processed foods, meat, fish, eggs and dairy is essential to reducing inflammation and staying well.
Rebecca used her background in science and discovered that a whole food, plant-based diet, low in saturated fat is the best option for healing and reducing autoimmunity. She avoids, dairy to suppress molecular mimicry in the body and all animal products to reduce chronic inflammation.
Exercise for neuroplasticity
Moving our body is imperative to good physical health and mental wellbeing. It can promote neuroplasticity, meaning it can help to grow new brain cells. The OMS program recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times per week, moderate meaning breaking a sweat and increasing heart rate.
Prof. Valter Longo, an expert in longevity, suggests that 150 to 300 minutes of vigorous exercise promotes good health, reduces inflammation and helps us live longer.
Developing MS was the motivation I needed to increase my fitness levels. Prior to this I was overweight, had 2 small children and didn't take much time for my own wellbeing. I now walk,, practice yoga and do strength training regularly. I'm doing whatever it takes to stay well.
Weight loss naturally
I was always overweight and found it difficult to shift the extra kilos, especially after having two kids. Once I changed my diet to eating whole plant foods without added oils the weight just naturally came off. I lost 22kg (about 50 pounds) and have been at my ideal weight for the last 5 years.
Eating plants foods close to their whole form means they are naturally low in calories and high in nutrients. It is difficult to overeat when you are just eating plants! Eating an abundance of fruits, vegetable, legumes and whole grains, while avoiding too many high fat nuts and seeds, will allow your body to reach a weight that is best for our health in the long term.