Nursie Mel told me that people with MS get to know their own body. I’d agree with that and suggest that, when it comes to diet, you listen to your body and experiment a bit – change a few things and see if you feel any better. I’ve Googled around and found diets and testimonials aplenty. I’ve never been keen on diets or following a strict regime. I think I eat fairly healthily (fruit, vegetables, cereals, fish, chicken etc) but I also like red meat and don’t mind a bit of pork crackling, bacon and eggs or crisp lamb fat either.
I found one MS diet online that recommended no more than three eggs a week (with no more than one per serving), no margarine, no bread containing preservatives, no tomatoes, no full-cream milk, no red meat, no alcohol and no hope of me following this one.
There is an MS diet that has been around for over 60 years and the person who came up with it (Dr Swank) lived to over 100. So did my Aunt Laura and she enjoyed a good steak, a gin & tonic white wine and Guinness until that age. She also ate raw potato and walnut with Vegemite sandwiches, so 100% of centenarians I have surveyed have that recipe for longevity. One good bit of advice from dear Laura – “Life is too short for tepid food or tepid people”.
You will also read online that things like saturated fats, preservatives and lots of other things have contributed to an increase in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and possibly even MS. Yes, and the life expectancy has increased dramatically, as have the ability to diagnose and treat illness. So while there are more people dying, they are dying older. A century ago lots of people just ‘died’ of ‘natural causes’ because no one knew what they had and/or couldn’t treat it. I’m sure there is a huge increase in the number of people suffering from dementia – some cases might be attributed to diet/lifestyle but my theory is that their allocated use-by date has been prolonged by medical advancements, sometimes cruelly and unduly.
Here’s a link to the Dr Swank MS diet – you may find it useful but, for mine, the ‘S’ in the good doctor’s surname is silent – http://swankmsdiet.charityfinders.org/About%20The%20Diet.
For those who don’t wish to click through, here is Dr Swank’s Quick Reference on what to avoid and embrace:
- Saturated fat should not exceed 15 grams per day.
- Unsaturated fat (oils) should be kept to 20-50 grams per day.
- No red meat for the first year.
- After the first year, 3 oz. of red meat is allowed once per week.
- Dairy products must contain 1% or less butterfat unless otherwise noted.
- No processed foods containing saturated fat.
- Cod liver oil (1 tsp. or equivalent capsules) and a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement are recommended daily.
Okay, some of that makes sense, but I’m not going to hang out for a year for my next juicy steak! But I do take the fish oil tablets (one with each meal, when I remember) – they have no side effects and they might be doing some good. And I do want to support those people who are paid a pittance for wringing out the fish. The list of possible benefits from fish oil is extensive – here’s a link: http://www.fishoilbenefits.com.au/.
At the time of writing, my advice is to use common sense – try to have three meals a day – cereal and/or toast for breakfast, a sandwich (at least) for lunch, and a good meal at night. Or, if you have a substantial meal for lunch, have a light meal at night.
As I have said, this is not a medical site, but logic tells me that an obese person with MS has a lot more to carry around with weakened foundations, so losing weight can’t be a bad thing. I have also noticed that most people serving behind the counter in health food shops don’t look that healthy. So beware radical changes in your diet. We have all been given teeth that are designed to chew meat and guts that can usually deal with that. And I would like to know if there are any vegetarians out there who have MS. That could be a pointer! Love to hear what dietary changes have worked for you…
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