Health is not valued til sickness comes.
- Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732
I find myself thinking a lot these days. Thinking about Multiple Sclerosis and if I am doing the right things to manage my disease. Not just manage it to the point of being “ok,” – I want to be more than that. I want to live as though it doesn’t live in me. I want to not worry about the “what ifs” and the “should I”? I want to not have to think about, prepare, hold-back and not do. But that’s not my reality. So here’s what I’ve been exploring lately to help me prepare my body so I don’t have to hold back and I can do what those without MS do.
I’ve been a vegan for several years. I started after being introduced to Brendan Brazier’s book The Thrive Diet. Brazier is an accomplished Ironman tri-athlete and Ultra Marathon Champion. Early in his career he studied top performing athletes and discovered the difference between them wasn’t their training programs but rather their ability to recover. He cleverly developed a diet that made it possible to recover quicker. The diet works on two levels:
- It eliminates foods that cause stress to the body and
- it uses nutrient rich foods to help the body heal quickly from the physical strain of training, in particular foods that reduce inflammation.
The nutrition plan is one of plant-based whole foods.
In my simple ways, I thought, if Brazier can use this way of eating to be a super athlete then maybe I can use it to be normal. If I eliminate the food that is causing my body stress and add the foods that reduce inflammation, then just maybe I will be less tired and will recover from MS attacks faster.
Being a vegan, making sure you get all of the vitamins and nutrients you need, is a lot to keep track of, more than I felt comfortable doing on my own. So I picked up container of Brazier’s Vega and had one shake every morning ensuring I received all of the vitamins and minerals I needed for the day. Throughout the rest of the day I ate salad, fruit, nuts, legumes and grains. I eliminated meat, fish, dairy and junk – yep, junk. If I craved sugar I ate fruit and if I craved fat I ate avocados or olives.
After several years of success with veganism and several months of intense training ahead of me I’ve supercharged my food by going raw. A lot of what I have been reading about Multiple Sclerosis and nutrition as of late has pointed to a need to remove bad fats and sugar and increase antioxidants and omega-3s. This helps reduce oxidative stress which is believed by some to cause chronic inflammation in people with MS.
As a raw foodie my daily table now consists of mostly raw foods. This doesn’t mean I eat salads all day, in fact, some of my meals are even tastier and heartier than before. Here’s what a typical day looks like:
- Breakfast: Vega smoothie to take care of my daily vitamin and mineral needs
- Snack: piece of fruit with a homemade dehydrated granola bar (my choice what goes in!) and green tea
- Lunch: Avocado/veggie sandwich on dehydrated spelt toast and lots of water
- Snack: kale chips and lots of water
- Dinner: One whopper of a salad with my choice of veggies and nuts smothered in a lemon tahini dressing with a great big glass of water
- Snack: raw chocolate cashew cranberry cookies or dehydrated crackers with raw nut butter and lots of water
Since going raw I have found my energy levels have increased and some of the MS symptoms that have been creeping up on me seem to be subsiding. The really good news is that the food is super tasty and I feel nutritionally satisfied after my meals.
Thus far going raw rules!