This comes from someone who has serious MS compromises and has enthusiastically embraced the diet. He writes us on a regular basis and with his permission, allowed us to post this latest email. Note especially his discovery that fruit has been a big problem for him (sugars of all kinds) and that he has found out from listening to his own body feedback what his particular triggers are. A most welcome improvement has been the gradual relief from agonizingly painful leg spasms and reducing the amount of drug he used to take a lot of. Grain fed meats also used to set him off. Judi
Well it has been a long month but well worth it. I eat no fruit at all but I am eating loads of tomatoes and raw vegetable and my plumbing is working 100% better. I am extremely sensitive to many nuts and nut butters; wild salmon and sardines are ok. Your recipe for cauliflower bake is very nice. The other day my wife made some roast vegetables with roast turnip and can you believe? I got a spasm from what I think was the turnip as it was quite a sweet turnip. You get a very refined sense of taste after a while. I think it was the high-glycemic value that was setting off the cramps. They only lasted a little while but the next day I had some elimination troubles.
I think I am really starting to understand my body a lot better. It's the body that is giving clues but the brain is a victim of past appetites. I always want what I shouldn't have so I really have to be vigilant and not stray. I am feeling very good. I still feel the hot spots in my old injuries but they aren't so severe and the spasm intensity has gone down so much since I started that I know we are on the right track. I feel that the real key to my healing is giving up the sweets, i.e. the fruit. My gut starts to heal but feedback is very extreme if I stray from the plan.
I am so glad that I found your book as it's really changing my life. I feel so much more positive and I am almost off my Gabapenten. I only use 100mg and that is good for the night. I usually wake up around 5:30am needing to use the john, and I can even lay back down afterwards for a little while, until maybe 7:15am. Oh, life is great when you have a little hope and that's what your diet is giving me .
I was counseling someone with MS today and our exchange reminded me of something that it is of the utmost importance. No matter what form of exercise you choose, you need to let the instructor, trainer, coach, or teacher know what your limitations are. This client was going to check out a local gym and had no idea of what to expect. She is aware of the lack of endurance in her legs, and was hoping to find some equipment that could also challenge muscle groups in her upper body and still find some aerobic benefits. She had no idea that she would have a personal trainer assigned to her before she would be allowed on any of their machines.
I reminded her that it her job to explain to that trainer all of her limitations. Many trainers have no idea of what MS is all about, let alone that one person’s limitations do not match another’s. She must be clear about her lack of endurance- that she may appear to be strong for the first 15 minutes, but that she can suddenly go weak. For work on any equipment, this is critical information to give. No one wants her to get hurt.
Another anomaly of MS is that you may also get muscular feedback from a numb limb many minutes after you have completed an exercise. The cause and effect lag time can be erratic in both output and input. Value your need to stop and savor the sensation of a well used muscle. Shorter work out times may be better than longer ones. A properly executed exercise done twice can be more beneficial than 10 repetitions done incorrectly.
For many MSers, working out in hot and humid weather can be quite different than working out in the colder months. Add to this your own personal muscular habits, strengths and weaknesses and it is clear how important your information can be. Make sure that you feel heard by any teacher you find, and that they are open to feedback from you. It can make all the difference between an enjoyable sense of doing all you can to support your recovery process and preventing possible setbacks if you are in the wrong hands. Not all gyms or teachers are created equal- so choose carefully and do not be afraid of speaking out whenever you are unclear. It is your body and your health so take good care of them. Happy and safe exercising!
We are rescheduled for July 21st at 2:00pm instead. You can listen to a 1 hour live radio broadcast interview with Ann and Judi on Dr. Sherrill Sellman’s Radio Show “What Women MUST Know” You can listen in on www.prncomm.net.
All the shows are archived and can be listened to anywhere in the world! You can also receive it as a Podcast.
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD- HAPPY LISTENING
Hard times come to everyone. We who have MS are not special in that regard- our fellow MS sufferers around the world are in the millions- but everyone has hard times, whether that comes in the form of an illness or not. The darkest moments of ill health often become aligned with our fears. When our symptoms persist we begin to think, “Oh no! What am I doing wrong on this diet? This diet is too hard, it may work for others but never for me.” We start to speak to ourselves in absolute terms. “I’ll never get better, I’ll always be ill, I’ll never do __________ again. I’ll always be too _____________.
These fear-based black and white statements are often laden with anger, sorrow or despair. We all fall into gloomy places from which we think we will never rise again. Ann and I have devoted a whole chapter in our book to a discussion about depression. We hope that those of you who struggle with this parallel emotional paralysis can find yourselves helped by those pages or inspired by the stories of others in the book or on the website, to remember first and foremost that: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
To turn around this whale of a disease and guide it to the beach requires a sturdy soul, coaxing the mammoth jaws to open up and free you from these deep pits. If your symptoms are bad and you are in fear, sticking to the strictest aspect of the diet can be a helpful focus rather than an overwhelming chore. Eating your food as medicine and resting peacefully as much as possible is your new job. This very strict Soulmaster called MS requires major losses and letting go of your outer lives, even your identity. The bad news is that your life has been radically transformed. The good news is that you now have the opportunity to take care of yourself and heal. You have the time to become all that you can be.
MS is your closest friend. It both led you into the hard times and can now lead you into your empowered self, creating a delightful state of recovery. Eating simply-lots of fresh vegetables and a little fruit, lean proteins and healthy oils- is your medicine. Resting as much as possible is your prescription for healing. Following the diet into health is as good a teacher as any I know to come to know yourself, to test your capacity for patience, persistence and to discover that magical ingredient called healthy self love that is intrinsically healing.
“This new way of eating (I refuse to call it dieting!)”, a recent emailer wrote us, challenges the hard times. Food as medicine is your journey to learning times, experimental times, and unknown adventurous times. We wish you good luck and good health as you pass through the hard times.
I was diagnosed January 2001. I had actually diagnosed myself 15 months earlier - having had an awareness of MS through the diagnosis of a relative. I never had a big "exacerbation" - just symptoms such as irregular gait, heat intolerance, numbness in my hands, "small bladder." I said "good-bye" to the neurologist and proceeded to "unscientifically" investigate alternative therapies - some I can't even remember now. I had all the mercury in my mouth removed and stopped eating fish. I went to an integrative M.D. and was tested for metals and food allergies. I had already stopped eating gluten and dairy - though I did not read every label - I just avoided the obvious. I didn't go further with the food allergy thing because the rotation seemed so impossible. Have the food on Day 1 - skip it Days 2, 3 & 4. But, it wasn't just "the " food, it was all the foods in that group - ie: brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage among other things were in one group. I read Dr. Swank's book, but it did not sink in at the time. I was experiencing so much personal stress, that I was unable to think clearly and focus on myself.
My symptoms continued to worsen. July 2005 I went to a neurologist. I agreed to try Copaxone. I was on it for two 10-month periods (interrupted for financial reasons) - and stopped it completely October 2007. It just wasn't doing a thing for me.
January 5, 2008 I received THE MS RECOVERY DIET in the mail from a friend. I started the diet the next day. This was good timing, as there was some relief regarding the amount of stress in my life. I now could give myself some attention. I immediately eliminated gluten, eggs, dairy, and soy. (Besides the semi-elimination of gluten and dairy as noted above, I had been seriously soy-free for 17 months - or so I thought.) Anyway, soon after January 6, I eliminated all legumes and yeast. I didn't feel well after having cannellini beans - and then rice bread - only once each - and I've not had the desire to give them a second chance.
I've been very strict about what I've eliminated - very faithful as far as having at least 2 teaspoons of omega-3 oils and 8 teaspoons of omega-6 oils each day - using cod liver oil (which I've been taking for 5 years), flax oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and seeds, almonds and cashews. I was not good about rotating my grains - but got serious about that about April 15.
On February 22 (6 1/2 weeks from my initial start date), I noted in my journal that : "My thinking has been very clear. Mood better. More stable. I am definitely calmer. No anxiety. My physical symptoms seem to have stabilized, but not remitted."
I am concerned, because I recently learned that many of my supplements contain soy - of those I could get information about. Some, I cannot even get information on. I am currently experimenting with removing all supplements from my diet that I cannot confirm to be soy free.
I had been taking 5HTP for 5 1/2 yrs. It works similarly to drugs like Zoloft. I have been off of it now for almost 3 weeks - with no ill effects. I've tried to cut down on it before and was never successful - as my anxiety would dramatically increase.
Prior to January, I continuously felt "I'm getting worse....I'm getting worse." After stopping the Copaxone, still feeling that I was going downhill, I wondered if I had made a mistake. Since starting the diet though, I've not had the feeling that I am getting worse on a single day. I was hoping for some evidence of physical improvement - particularly in the areas of muscle strength (walking-of which I am able to do little) and bowel and bladder control. I've been wondering if the soy in the supplements is holding me back. I've been looking for a multiple vitamin with a guarantee of no soy - and have not found it. I take KAL Cal-Citrate+ - but have not been able to find out for sure if it is soy free.
Like everyone else, I am struggling to fine-tune things. I am continuing to be VERY faithful to this diet based on 2 things. First, the dramatic change in my anxiety level and my mood in general - without the help of the 5-HTP. And second, I no longer feel that my condition is worsening. Judi tells me that stabilization is the first step - that healing can only occur once the body is no longer overwhelmed by the illness. So, I am continuing on. I hope that my story can help someone out there - as the stories I have read and continue to read help me.
Sign me, Very Grateful