Why are you doing this blog?
My friend, Lady, suggested that I write about my diet change when I told her I wanted to be healthier and manage my MS. I stewed on this idea for a while and thought it would be a great idea. While I am not doing anything particularly revolutionary, if I can chronicle my journey, maybe I’ll see a positive difference between where I started and where I am. And if I can share some of that inspiration with others, so much the better.
Why did you choose those particular diet changes?
The diet drops I’ve chosen do seem rather arbitrary, but there is a method to my madness. I have made those particular choices based on life experiences, personal research, and anecdotal evidence from others.
- Alcohol: personal prohibition and a chance to kick myself into high gear for the diet changes. Most big diet shifts eliminate alcohol and because I will be eating less alcohol absorbing foods in the weeks to come, it is a good place to start.
- Sugarcane: sugar is the current bad guy in Western diet and feeds the bad bacteria in our gut flora. Like many highly refined foods, sugar is addictive and bad for us in excess. Unfortunately, with the way foods are processed and packaged, it’s impossible not to consume in excess.
- Red Meat: this is less for MS reasons and more because I have issues with high-cholesterol. Since I am cleaning up my eating for my MS health, I figured I could also work on lowering my cholesterol. Additionally, I have noticed that when I ate vegan for extended periods of time that I had extra energy without needing caffeine supplementation, so I am looking at it as a second way to gain more natural energy.
- Fried Foods: this is also for the issues I’ve had with high cholesterol and a psychological dependance I have with eating unhealthy foods when I am not feeling well physically or emotionally. This is also meant to help rebalance my gut flora.
- Dairy: in initial studies, dairy has a protein that that MS attacks before and during flare ups. Dairy is a known inflammatory food and by dropping it I have the potential of overcoming the following: fatigue, mental fog, weight issues, and flare-ups.
- All other Meats: a continuation of why I no longer eat red meat, this is for my cholesterol. I also believe that it might be a great way for me to boost my energy.
- Gluten: Gluten can be inflammatory for those with autoimmune diseases and as someone with a disease that is closely tied to Celiac, removing or severely limiting my diet may help reduce flare-ups or contracting a secondary autoimmune disease.
- Preservatives: I am trying to adopt clean eating, therefore I want to control most of what I consume. While preservatives aren’t on the whole bad for you, they can contain higher concentrations of salt and sugar which might impact my gut biome and overall health.
I have MS and I hate it when people say ‘you should try this diet to cure your MS’ or ‘a friend of a friend changed their diet and solved all their MS issues.’ What makes your blog any different from those claims?
I am not advocating that this diet will cure or solve anyone’s MS/issues. I am doing this for me and documenting my experiences and results to share with others. This is supplementation to pharmaceutical help (though I am currently not taking anything due to breastfeeding), not a replacement. I don’t actually anticipate the changes I am making to make an appreciable difference to my MS, but the process of getting healthier is going to make a difference on my overall well-being.
I have RRMS, so I don’t know how this lifestyle will affect someone with SPMS or PPMS. I do recommend that readers take what is reasonable for them to do and try it out. Exercise may not be feasible, but being more mindful over what is consumed might be. If completely cutting out sugar is impossible, moving towards consuming a little less might be possible. Moderation and mindfulness is key and taking small steps can go a long way.
Ultimately, this is what is working for me and I would never push this lifestyle change on anyone. MS is hard enough, there is no reason to add any stress to the mix if what I am writing about doesn’t work for you.
I am not able to give any particular group of food completely. What do you recommend I do instead?
I recommend doing what works best for you. If lowering your intake is the only step you can take at this point in time, then you should do that. The purpose of these changes is to help get on the road to wellness. Hopefully when you see some results you will be able to try more difficult challenges to your diet and fitness.
I do recommend going easy on yourself. Each day is a step in your journey and not every step will be a solid one. If you stumble, there’s always tomorrow to pick it back up again. The key is to not let yourself get discourage or use excuses to backslide. Acknowledge and accept if you had a bad day, but reaffirm your commitment for tomorrow.
By doing this, it will be easier for you to attempt some of the diet shifts I am doing. Remember to be generous to yourself as you begin this process.
What makes you an expert on any of this stuff (Healthy Living, Parenting, and MS)?
I do not claim to be an expert on anything. In fact, I am not an expert. I am someone who loves to do research and make observations based on that research and my personal experiences. Being balanced and as unbiased as possible is extremely important to my personal ethos, so I will not take anything I post lightly without thorough vetting based on peer-reviewed studies and experts.
I am also new to healthy living, but I do know what I did in the past that didn’t work and made me feel bad while I was unhealthy. Because health is so important to our current culture, there are plenty of valid studies out there to draw my on in my posts.
I am a first time parent, so I do not have enough experience under my belt to know what is best for a teenager. That is why you won’t see me post anything about raising teenagers for at least eleven more years. But I do live with a toddler practically 24/7, so I am most likely going to write about what that’s like coupled with tried and true techniques already out there.
I am new in my diagnosis with MS, and my form is different than another person’s, so I can only speak to what works for me. These posts will be based either on my personal feelings and experiences on the matter or on peer-reviewed medical studies.
While I may not have certifications on each of these things, I do take my blog and content extremely seriously. When I am talking about something I am completely unfamiliar with or need a medical degree, I will make sure there are the necessary disclaimers within the post for everyone’s safety involved.
I don’t have a disability or a child, is this blog for me?
While the main focus of this blog is being a parent with a disability, there are plenty of things I will be posting that relates to neither: healthy recipes, exercise types, research on healthy living, etc. I encourage you to poke around and see if there’s anything that sparks your interest.
If not – you may know someone that this blog would be interesting to – so feel free to share it.