One of the difficult things about a disease like multiple sclerosis (at least in my limited experience) is that there isn’t a lot of black and white. Nobody can really say what causes MS. Determining the kind of MS a person has is basically a judgement call. There’s no way to tell what an individual’s experience is going to be with the disease. There are drugs, but they affect different people in different ways. Obviously, I’m still learning about this, but it seems like a whole lot of gray.
I think that might be one of the reasons that there are so many non-traditional treatment ideas out there. I’ve read about acupuncture, reflexology, diets, vitamins and massage, to name a few. In the absence of black and white, there is a case to be made for all kinds of alternatives.
Now, I’m traditionally a fan of drugs. When I have a headache, I take Advil. When I get a cold, I take Nyquil. When John was born, I took whatever they’d give me. I’ll certainly be doing whatever my neurologists tell me to do, but I’m looking at these non-traditional approaches with a more open mind than I have in the past. In this situation, I think a more creative approach may be required.
Which brings me to my point. After reading up on the effectiveness of specific diets for people with multiple sclerosis, I decided to give it a try. For the past month, I’ve been gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, legume-free, and egg-free. I’m basically everything-free. I eat a lot of rice and nuts, vegetables, fruits and lean protein.
At the same time, I stopped drinking wine, because it makes me stay awake all night. (And yes, I’ve tried just drinking more wine. That doesn’t work either.)
This was a major, major change for me. I’m a big fan of gluten, dairy and sugar. Most of my favorite foods involve at least two of those, if not all three. With a glass of wine. The first week of eating in this new way consisted mainly of me staring at the cabinet and the refrigerator and then walking away with empty hands. I didn’t even know where to start. I’m getting better at it slowly.
I’ve been thinking about writing a post about this, but I wanted settle in first. Give myself some time to adjust. I expected that my post would be about how I’m deprived, hungry and irritable. In fact, it’s really not that bad. I don’t have any way of judging how this is impacting my health, but I feel like it is a healthy way to eat and from that standpoint, it’s good. I have a disease I can’t control, but this is something I can do that’s good for my body every day. So that makes me happy, even though I would like a big fat chocolate croissant (gluten, dairy and sugar all wrapped up in a ball of delicious).
MS is something that I’ll have forever, but I try not to think about this diet in those terms. If I think to myself, “I will never have another pancake,” then there’s no way I’ll keep this up. Instead, I try to think of it as a daily choice: “This is something I can do that’s good for me today.” And that’s a commitment I’m willing to make.
And on the plus side, careful research indicates that bourbon is gluten-free.