Health

The MS Diet – Day to Day

I have advocated a low saturated fat diet on this blog to beat Multiple Sclerosis, and most of my posts have been about the ‘best case scenario’. Meaning that you had a ‘good’ day where you consumed as little saturated fat as possible.

I have been on this lifestyle change for nearly a year now, and I want to talk about what it has really been like, to especially, eat this way.

There is no doubt that it is one of the most healthful ways of eating out there. In my personal experience, it hasn’t been hard, but it has been frustrating. There is a difference there, and I will elaborate on it.

In my mind, for the most part, the food I eat comes down to a choice between being able to walk or not. So making the literal choice of whether or not to eat chocolate hasn’t been hard. It’s actually never been easier. And this is after I have been the biggest chocolate addict. Dairy was like my lifeline, and I don’t even give it a second look anymore.

The frustration sets in when I need to eat out, at a restaurant. I usually tell waiters/staff that I have a dairy allergy. But the only thing I can come up with about limiting oil intake is that I would like to have minimum oil used in preparation of my food. And I don’t think anyone ever gets that.

So most of the time I avoid eating out. Which means I need to be pretty meticulous about preparing food ahead of time. I end up cooking every day, and that can get tiring. My husband helps out a lot, God bless him!

I don’t like explaining my eating habits to anyone, but sometimes people ask, and they assume I am trying to lose weight. I don’t like offering information about my having MS. It tends to draw awkward responses so I avoid talking about it.

I’ve had my friends mock the way I eat, even after knowing I eat that way because I am trying to beat MS. That led me into some soul searching, where I examined why I accepted and didn’t question such behaviour from others towards myself.

Here in Boston, ethnic restaurants don’t even fully understand what encompasses ‘dairy’. So eating there is always tricky.

A few months ago I was visiting my Mom and she insisted that I could consume mustard oil because it is really healthy. I had to explain to her that, everyone’s body is different. She has the best intentions, and I love her but the intricacies of what’s acceptable and what’s not are hard to explain. I am still figuring out what’s OK to eat and what’s not.

We grew up eating ‘chyawanprash’ and it’s supposed to be a superfood in India. I consumed it without checking the label, because well, it’s supposed to be healthy. At some point I happened to read the label and I realised it contains dairy. At times we have these ingrained beliefs and we may overlook foods that we never questioned ever before.

Coconut oil is the latest superfood, and while it may be all it claims to be, someone that has a chronic illness, had better best avoid it.

To a large extent, I think my taste buds have made a ‘switch’. I don’t find oily food delicious anymore. On occasion I’ve taken a bite of frosted cake, and it did not appeal to me the way it used to. I used to worship cake. I imagine it’s not just the taste buds. It’s also the mental makeup that has changed. I feel like my mind is blocking out food that will damage my body.

I think it’s important to not stress over food choices. Eating the ‘wrong’ food once in a while won’t kill me. The stress might! 😉

There’s a community of people that have MS and are on the OMS diet. If you’re looking for help, visit www.overcomingms.org

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