When we think about treating MS, food isn’t usually the first thing to pop into many peoples minds. Medication usually comes first, then maybe exercise, then possibly stress reduction techniques. But what if I told you that what is on the end of your fork will have a drastic impact on how you feel?
So what should you eat when you have MS? Depending on who we ask, this question has many different answers. If we asked Dr. Swank, Dr. Wahls, Dr. Ballantyne and our own personal doctor I’m sure we would get four different answers to that question, so no wonder it seems quite confusing!
In my opinion, there are things we should be eating and things we definitely should not be eating. We should be maximizing whole, nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods that will help our body heal and fight inflammation. We should also be eliminating foods that are inflammatory to our system or are specifically aggravating our system in someway, which only adds to the instability in our bodies.
Foods to include/avoid:
Specifically speaking, the foods to include are vegetables of all colors, fruits of all colors, shellfish, healthy fats, herbs, meat and organ meat too. The foods to avoid are gluten, soy, dairy, grains legumes, eggs, nuts/seeds, and nightshades. This is also known as Paleo, and when nightshades, eggs, nuts and seeds are eliminated as well it is called the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
AIP is a way of eating and living that was created by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. It starts by eliminating all of the inflammatory foods that an individual may react to, and by re-introducing each food one by one we find out the specific foods that are hurting us.
Now, I know you’re thinking:
“but I don’t react to any foods!”
That’s just what I thought as well, until I went through the elimination phase. I discovered that the tomatoes, peppers and spices I had been eating my whole entire life (daily ketchup habit) were actually hurting my body and something that I reacted to. It took going without them for three months for me to realize that was a major source of my stomach pain and bloating. I also know what you’re thinking right now,
“but I don’t want to give up all my favorite foods!!” (in a slightly more panicked voice).
My answer to that is, this isn’t meant to be forever.
This is meant to be only temporary, until you are able to calm your body of the systemic inflammation and heal your gut (more on that in a later post). Once our bodies are less inflamed, reintroducing foods can start! This doesn’t mean go eat all the pizza, doughnuts and french fries our little hearts desire, there’s definitely a organized process to re-introductions as well. But if they are done in a slow and deliberate way, many can be very successful.
So why go through all of this? What is the benefit here? When our bodies no longer are inflamed internally, healing can begin. Many people who begin Paleo or the autoimmune protocol see drastic improvement in their symptoms and report an increase in their satisfaction with daily life. I know I noticed I had way more energy, my numbness in tingling was gone and the pain I felt on an almost daily basis was eliminated. I even noticed a difference after just going gluten-free several years ago!
Food is incredibly powerful to our bodies, as Hypocrates said ‘Food is medicine’. I truly believe that and have witnessed the power of that statement in my own life. I have something coming just around the corner that will help you recognize the power of it in your own life as well!
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