I realised this week, with disappointment, that I completely missed the five year anniversary of starting my MS diet! I feel like I should have had a big party to mark this milestone. May 2011 was the date I started this way of eating. I was three months pregnant at the time and had been diagnosed with MS six months earlier. It was a huge step for me to give up most of the foods I had eaten all my life. All of a sudden I couldn't eat brie cheese on crusty bread (my absolute fav). Grabbing a quick chocolate while I was out and about just wasn't an option anymore. Meals and snacks had to be carefully thought through and planned. It was difficult and restrictive but I wanted to get better and stay well so badly. This is was my motivation to keep going.
It wasn't long before the sugar, gluten and dairy cravings went away and I started to relish the new flavours and textures I was eating. I felt like I had stepped out of a grey, gloomy land and into a whole new world of vibrant colours, energy and health. The realisation was joyous and I knew that I had found my path to healing. It wasn't all easy going and the road was still fraught with challenges. I rebelled a few times and ate something I shouldn't have but after paying heavily, I vowed never again! Now it's easy to say no to a piece of cake or an ice-cream. I just don't want it, plain and simple.
The past five years have been truly extraordinary and, to be honest, I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, I do have a disease but I have also been given a gift and a new appreciation of the preciousness of life. MS has given me purpose, vision and reason to live my best life. If I had managed to dodge MS somehow, I'm sure I would be well on my way to developing another condition right about now. I thought I was relatively healthy pre MS diet but actually my way of eating needed a huge revamp.
I'm happy to report that I have had no new major symptoms for five years. Yes, I have had the odd patch of numbness but it disappears within a week or two. I have some residual symptoms from a relapse that I had just before I started the MS diet. My right arm and hand were affected. There was numbness and a strange stiff feeling that affected my coordination and writing ability. It improved after two weeks but since then, things just haven't felt quite the same. My arm and hand will often feel achy or stiff. Recently, however, I haven't noticed it at all. My hand and arm have felt almost normal. I'm hoping that a repair process has taken place. It can take a while but the body gets there eventually!
On the down side, I have been suffering with more frequent colds and chest infections recently. I went through a period of about 2-3 years where I just didn't get sick. It seems that I have either just been exposed to more germs or they're getting nastier or my immune system isn't handling them as well as. Either way, I need to work this out. I have been extremely cautious of germs and am even considering wearing a mask when I'm around sick children! I'm also pumping the probiotics, vitamin C and olive leaf extract.
My Food & Lifestyle
I love my food and have found so many ways to make this way of eating interesting and delicious. I do stick to a few basics though. I always have my green smoothie in the morning. I'll have a lighter lunch of avocado and corn cakes or salad and then my rice and veg or fish and veg in the evening. Eating early is a key for me and I feel that this habit alone has done wonders for my body. I don't eat between the hours of 6pm and 10am. This is my fasting period and my body has responded very well to having a rest from digesting food.
There are so many healing benefits to fasting and I actually want to amp this up a little, I'm planning to do two half days of fasting a week. It's going to take a few weeks to get my head around but I feel that this is a key strategy to take my health to the next level. I'm also exploring the benefits of fermented food and made my first batch of sauerkraut this week. I'll keep you posted on that!
I wanted to leave you with a quick recipe that I made last night. I was craving sushi! I LOVE sushi and am happy to eat it anytime. The problem is that I often don't have all the necessary ingredients. I had especially ordered the nori sheets so at least I had those. I wanted to use something less refined than sushi rice for the filling and had the idea to use red rice which is high in fibre and antioxidants. I was happy to go vegan and just add some slices of avocado and cucumber. The result was pretty good and I gobbled my little nori rolls very quickly. They were obviously a little more crumbly than usual because red rice is not as sticky as sushi rice but it still worked! You can also do this with quinoa. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Red Rice Sushi
Ready in: 20min
2 nori/seaweed sheets
a cup cooked red rice/quinoa
1 avocado, sliced in long strips
1 cucumber, sliced in long strips
extra-virign olive oil
Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
Lay your sushi mat on a copping board. You can also use wax paper if you don't have the mat.
Lay your nori sheet on top of your mat.
Press your newly cooked red rice onto your nori sheet so that it is completely covered by a thin layer of rice. it's better if the rice is still hot as this will moisten the nori sheet.
Drizzle some olive oil over the rice and sprinkle a little salt over.
Place your avocado and cucumber strips in a line on top of your rice. It can be thick or thin - doesn't really matter.
Start the big roll! Roll your sushi matt until you have a lovely fat sausage in front of you. Squeeze it a little as you're rolling to make sure the nori sheet and it's contents are nice and snug.
Cut the big roll into 8 pieces and dig in! I like to dip my rolls into a tiny bit of Tamari - just for a treat.