Good morning, and Happy 2013!!
Diets are funny things. I don’t mean the ‘lose weight’ type of diet, I mean the ‘food we eat to survive’ type of diet. In a previous life, I tried and failed to be a vegetarian. I just loved meat too much, and at the time, didn’t know how to supplement. Having MS has certainly taught me about supplementing, that’s for sure.
As I was going over my goals for 2013 the other day, it occurred to me that I should have a closer look at my eating habits, as they have gotten a bit lax over the past year and I definitely need to remember what I’m doing on that front, and why. Due to my disease, there are certain things I’m suggested I shouldn’t eat. On top of that, there are specific food allergies that I have. So it’s important that I’m eating well, and what I should, on multiple fronts.
Years ago, after I was first diagnosed with MS, I was turned towards research suggesting that MS patients do better once they drop gluten and dairy from their diets, due to the specific types of protein found in those foods. I agree with this completely, although I have noticed in my OWN life that my digestive system can handle the bleached white flour wonder-bread style of gluten MUCH better than whole wheat and grains. Which is hysterical when you consider that most ‘healthy’ diets consist of ONLY whole grains, and nothing bleached. Funny, our body chemistry…
I’ve mostly stuck to those rules, with a few breaks in sanity along the way. There are many different versions of diets for MS patients, most notably Swank and MacDougall. There are others past those as well, and they all say pretty similar things: drop red meat, stay away from saturated fats, don’t cook oils, etc.
So I went online this morning, a morning like any other: I’m the only one awake for a few hours yet… time to do the research! I wanted to look into some things I’ve held on to, and to look up some things I’ve been interested in.
I was wondering what people were saying about Green Tea and Copaxone (my MS drug of choice, which works fine), as I was under the impression that one shouldn’t mix an immuno-booster like Green Tea with an immuno-suppressant (Copaxone is this). It turns out that most MS patients taking Copaxone have NOT dropped the Green Tea. And honestly, now I’m interested to try going back to it, as Green Tea was one of my favorite teas before the diagnosis.
I was also interested to see how Blood Type dietary suggestions matched up to the anti-gluten, anti-milk parts of the MS patient recommendations. As it turns out, Gluten and Dairy aren’t recommended for those with Type A blood, either… so, score? In fact, the blood type dietary suggestions for Type A match most of what I’m already doing, with a few odd caveats: crustaceans, tomatoes and olives… These are three things that I have never had issues digesting, most likely because I was raised on them and have Italian roots. Aside from these items, everything on that ‘eat’ list is already what I eat, and most things on the ‘avoid’ list are already off limits!
Interestingly enough, Soy isn’t recommended for those with MS… and on the Type A listings, (all of them!) it’s only sometimes mentioned to avoid OR enjoy… so I might as well leave well enough alone, although I do really miss soy products. Especially those Morningstar breakfast sausages… I guess in moderation, it’s all ok enough.
The reason I looked into the blood type diet in the first place was because I wanted to see how it all matched up to the MS dietary restrictions. I’ve been having arthritis-like symptoms for almost a year now, and I’ve tested as totally healthy and arthritis-free… so I figured maybe it was something I was eating.
I’m not usually one to try ‘diets’ of any kind, except for being healthy in general. But with this series of lists, there is nothing to be sold, or bought… it’s just suggestions, and mostly things I’m already eating. Clearly, every body is different and will react differently to specific things. So I figured, it couldn’t hurt to try these restrictions in the new year and see how I feel. I’ve been feeling silly amounts of pain for so long now, it makes sense to try something new.
The Swank diet suggests dropping eggs, which is something I was told to do earlier, and refused. Swank says egg whites are allowed, and I think I might be able to live with that. So I’ll be trying egg whites for now, just to see. Other things that appear to be suggested accross the board: staying away from anything pre-made, potato chips (I am very sad about this) and fried foods… these things are going to be the tough ones for me, but I’m willing to try!
My idea is to spend the next month excluding EVERYTHING that is suggested on the lists, and then in February, I’ll try to reintroduce the things I’m recommended to avoid, and see what, if anything, is giving me trouble. If I stick to one item at a time, any allergies or negative reactions should show themselves pretty quickly, if (as I hope) at the end of the first month, I’m back to feeling no pain?
I love doing experiments on myself. I’ll definitely be keeping you posted!