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 put in our mouths has a direct influence on our health and wellbeing. It should therefore be obvious that food can also prevent or reverse these chronic health conditions. Much of the evidence towards development of Multiple Sclerosis points towards inflammatory foods, in particular animal products and processed foods. Dairy is particulaly bad and acts as a catalyst in developing a chronic health condition like MS.
Roy Swanks work indicated that a low saturated fat diet helped prevent 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 and almost lost her eyesight. After reading the work by Swank and Jelinek, Rebecca adopted a whole food, plant-based diet with no added oils.
She is now symptom and relapse free.
There is so much we can do to prevent progression of MS and other chronic illnesses and to help take 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 turning off autoimmunity. She avoids gluten to reverse intestinal permeability, 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 cycle to work, hike, practice yoga and do strength training regularly. I'm doing whatever it takes to stay well.