On to the next endeavor

I have officially abandoned the diet-test.  While on it I experienced marginal improvements, in the end I was expecting to see more after 1-1/2 years.  As shallow as it may sound, I’ve decided to risk losing these improvements in favor of the increased quality of life of being able to eat traditional pizza, burritos and ice cream. 

So, a take-away I have added to “Lorna’s Rules for Battling MS" is Rule #37, Rotate foods to avoid food sensitivities.

My attention has now veered to my digestion, more precisely the… er, finale of the process.  Since I stopped relying on the diet to manage my bladder and started taking medication for it, the boat show that I was already experiencing and understood to be my norm, has gotten worse.  For example, today marks day 4 without a boat.

I have been eating even more salad and fruit and taking fiber supplements three times a day and lately even added some herbs recommended by my acupuncturist.  As I have recounted, it is typical for me to have a boat every couple of days.  From time to time, in casual conversation, I became aware that others expect more frequency–like daily.

Might this be a factor in my M? A daily boat is my new project.

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Adhering to ‘the diet’

I haven't mentioned it in awhile but I am still following my own, unique "diet," avoiding those foods to which I tested as "food sensitive."

A few of the things that I have been eating:

  • Celery stalks with almond butter
  • Spelt tortillas (from Trader Joe's)
  • Pork loin
  • Plain baked potatoes
  • Quinoa 'pudding' (thanks, D.)
  • Hot apple juice with cinnamon
  • Rolled spelt with dried cranberries (instead of oatmeal in the a.m.)
  • Laughing Cow cheese (the French "American cheese")
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Steamed broccoli and mushrooms
  • Raw carrots

I can't have salt (think any kind of broth) so soups are out, no legumes (lentils and hummus), no sugar, and no soy (tofu and edamame).  And I can't have rice, so a lot of items for celiac disease (wheat allergy) sufferers are out.

I've been warned that it may be a long time before I see any improvement: "Symptoms often appear as the last stage of any disease's progression, so too, much healing might need to take place before symptoms finally disappear: the last to arrive and the last to leave…Nothing will happen overnight and improvement often comes in almost imperceptible steps." (Sawyer and Bachrach, p. 35)

I think I can commit to a year of this, and I'll get my food sensitivities retested in 3 ot 6 months so I may be able to add some things back. I've also got a list of additional foods I want tested as well.

It's definitely been a challenge, but it hasn't become unbearable yet.

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I try another MS Diet

I was diagnosed in 1991.  Shortly after that I bought and committed to follow The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book by Roy Swank. The book maintains that a chronic disease like M.S. requires a permanent "adjustment of everyday patterns of living," which at the time of my diagnosis seemed like a no-brainer.  Sadly, I only lasted about a year, and I took to retorting "A life without cheese is no life at all."

In addition, the medical community consistently pooh-poohs diet as having anything to do with M.S.  So I wasn't really going against prevailing theories.  And I like cheese; the Swank diet is low-fat for the rest of your life: no cheating, no exceptions.

But in the last couple of years, my health has started to get noticeably worse: my vision is unsteady as is my balance. My writing is gone, and my walking is very limited.  And I have started to question, would this be different if I had given up cheese for the rest of my life?

So in this mindset, I came across a new book The M.S. Recovery Diet by Sawyer and Bachrach.  They praise the low fat approach of Swank, but they conclude that the real problem is the food sensitivities of each individual so there is no one diet for everybody.  They define food sensitivities as the "reaction of the immune system to antigens," that the body produces antibodies in response to a perceived antigen.

I am skeptical, but they don't suggest I will have to give up anything permanently.  Just to start to identify, by watching my reactions even as soon as after the most recent meal, and eliminate foods that trigger symptoms. Then, they maintain, as symptoms fade and disappear, the disease itself slows or halts and recovery begins.  Once recovery starts taking place, the immune cells "forget" an antigen, which allows foods to be returned to your diet.

I'll keep you posted.

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