People who have just heard of the book write to us, skeptical (as they should be), that the diet has any merit. They are afraid they are being taken advantage of when offered hope for this dreadful disease.
Skepticism is appropriate. It is healthy to question miracle cures for such a complex problem as MS. As we have often said- ‘multiple’ is the operative word here. MS has multiple pathways, and multiple pathogenic origins and multiple symptomatic presentations. For that reason, we all respond differently to different protocols of dealing with our illness.
The diet is not a miracle cure. It is initially hard work and an ongoing exploration in food detection for most of us. There are varying degrees of success on the diet that we know of from the hundreds of diet explorers that have contacted us from all over the world - from total remission of all symptoms to ongoing subtle or vast improvements. We wish we knew why there is any variation at all but we don’t as of yet. We are always open to more suggestions, new theories and ways to simplify and improve the MS Recovery Diet.
The recent discoveries and subsequent urgency that has arisen around the CCSVI protocol by patients with MS has taken the conservative drug oriented organizations of MS by surprise. CCSVI also helps many, but not all MS patients and until it is recognized by the medical establishment as a viable means of recovery, insurance companies will not yet endorse it. FDA approval is a lengthy, expensive and arduous process.
The diet is also not yet a medically recognized alternative to drugs and even fewer people are aware that it can bring huge benefits to most people with MS. Fortunately, you do not have to wait for the FDA to get on board with the healthy food choices you make! We appreciate the responses you all have given us and the invaluable support and personal experiences you offer to those who seek help on this website. Please keep spreading the word and embracing your roles as ambassadors of hope in the face of any skepticism that may come your way.
Thank you. True independence is available to us all, no matter how or where we live, in the choices we make every day.
Growing mint means you eventually have armies of it. What to do with it all? Here is a both a savory and a sweet pesto (for those that can tolerate some agave nectar) using mint.
Greek Style Meatloaf with Savory Mint Pesto
Preheat oven to 350 degrees: serves 2-3 people
Savory Pesto Ingredients:
1 large clove garlic (or 2 or 3 small)
½ cup of mixed nuts/seeds (pine nuts and pistachios are traditional but is delicious with any mix- such as sunflower seeds and walnuts)
½ cup parsley and mixed fresh herbs- including at least 4 leaves of mint, and/or oregano, basil, summer savory, and rosemary
Meat Loaf Ingredients:
1 lb ground meat- (game meats like elk, venison, rabbit or ground dark meat turkey)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp allspice or cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
vinegar (any kind)
Make the savory mint pesto first by grinding all nuts and fresh herbs together in mill, pestle or food processor. Set aside.
Knead ground meat with dry spices in a bowl and flatten it out on a piece of wax paper the length of a small baking dish. Make rows of the pesto on the meat surface and roll up into a log by peeling off the wax paper as you go. Put loaf into small baking dish (make your log as long as the dish - it will shrink overall in baking) and pour over it a half cup mix of 1/8 cup vinegar (any kind) mixed with 3/8 cup of water. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until meat shrinks back and looks brown and done.
(Note: all meats have a different fat content and juiciness- so look in on the baking about half way through and either baste the loaf with the vinegar water it if looks too dry or drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top to prevent burning.)
Delicious served with chicken rice soup with squeezed fresh lemon to taste. Or try dolmas; grape leaves stuffed with rice. Serve with a green salad with cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, and more fresh mint! Or tabouli (pg 251) made with quinoa that uses a little bit more mint in the making.
Sweet Mint Pesto: about 1 cup
Use a tablespoon of this sweet pesto to top off individual bowls of fruit salad for dessert. Or use a tablespoon in a fruit smoothie. Or if you are having a special treat night, swirl ¼ cup or more into the batter when using the recipe in the book for chocolate cake. You can also put a few tablespoons into the blender when making the chocolate mousse recipe for a frosting or as a pudding.
½ cup cashews or other nuts
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup agave nectar
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract + 1½ teaspoons mint extract- or you can use all vanilla of you don’t have mint.
In a food processor, using the steel blade, chop the nuts and then add remaining ingredients. Puree into a paste. If not using right away, transfer to a glass container, lay plastic wrap over the top so it is completely touching the surface of the paste to keep the air from entering the pesto. Otherwise it will turn quite brown- it is still perfectly edible but looks less minty and appealing. Store in refrigerator for up to a month.
I would like to share a little of Jeff's experience with the MS REcovery Diet, for which I have his permission. He contaced us by e-mail over a year ago with questions about the diet. We next heard from him just lately. His concern was that he had gotten too thin and wanted to know how he could gain weight.
I discovered that like many people on the diet, Jeff had done well and experienced a good recovery from his symptoms. He stuck to the conservative version of the diet religiously, afraid to vary for fear he would lose his progress. Now this is good to an extent, but he was limited in foods, perhaps more than he need to be. He needed to test foods to see if he could expand his diet to include some more calorie rich foods. He is a very tall man, 6'5", so he needs to eat a lot to maintain a good weight. The diet challenges him more than others in this respect.
I suggested that he experiment to see if he could expand his repetoire of foods. He did, eating steak one night and eggs the next. Some symptoms returned and he panicked. I reassured him that if he went back on the diet, these too would subside. After five days, he had returned to his previous level of health. It was an important lesson to him that he can go off the diet and experiement to see exactly which foods are his triggers and perhaps be able to expand his diet.
So, again, I am suggesting that after you have shown improvement and know your body, try foods out. Legumes are not as often triggers, so try those as they are calorie and protein rich. Don't be afraid, by experimenting and testing foods, you can most likely expand your diet and you will learn more about your body and how MS works in you.
Kale is high in vitamins A and C, has calcium, iron, good fiber, and some protein. This recipe works with collard and mustard greens and any greens at all. If you are someone who doesn’t like kale because of the slightly bitter taste- try this. Even your kids will love them.
Wash and spin very dry, a bunch of kale or other greens. Fold each kale leaf in half and slice out the tough stem running down the middle. Tear up four large handfuls of the leaves and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put on tray in oven. If using a convection oven set it to 325 degrees and check in 12 minutes. Using a regular oven, set it at 350 degrees and check at 15 minutes. You want the leaves to be bright green, crackly and to shatter at your touch. If you let them get brown, the slightly bitter taste returns although some people like them better this way. Salt them AFTER you remove them from the oven as using salt beforehand tends to draw out the moisture and keeps the leaves soggy.
If you have a dehydrator, you can dispense with any oil and simply salt them when dry. Set the temperature to a low setting and experiment to see when they are crisp and ready.
Any way you make them this is a delicious snack- enjoy!
I have an abundance of strawberries in my garden this year. As they first ripened, there were just enough every day for a small bowl that sat on the counter. My family snacked on them whenever they passed by with a passion for the first summer fruits, tart and sweet. By each evening there are now large bowlfuls and they keep on coming. We have eaten them in pancakes, pies, fruit salads (last night with Marion’s Chocolate Mousse recipe from the book for a special treat), and green salads. I am going to freeze a batch to use for Christmas flavor and color in a sauce or salad or dessert or whatever moves me in that distant cold time. I may also dehydrate some as an experiment, to use in baked goods or to add to home-made granola.
Summer Salad with Strawberries:
Any green salad can benefit from the addition of strawberries. Lemon and oil dressings can use a sprinkle of sweetener (like stevia, xylitol or agave nectar) and balsamic vinegar is already a little bit sweet to enhance the berry flavor. Using a tablespoon of poppy seeds is a lovely extra, and some orange sections or shredded apple can take the place of adding extra glucose if you are eating only fructose for sweeteners these days.
Strawberries also stand up well in vinegar and oil dressed pasta or potato salad made with crispy turkey bacon pieces- simply add the berries at the very end and fold in gently. The sweet/salt flavor of the bacon and the sweet/tart flavor of the berries complement each other very nicely.