Battling MS... and Dairy Milk
I was diagnosed in 1998 and I have, on the whole, been extremely lucky with my MS (an odd notion in itself).
But in 2011 my luck changed dramatically. I had two serious relapses and lost all power in my legs. In the space of two months I had gone from almost forgetting I had MS to, "Will I be able to walk to the toilet on my own again?"
It seemed to me that diet was a plausible way to make a difference to my health, so in January 2012 I started my version of the MS diet (loosely based on the research of the Swank foundation). This means I try (with varying degrees of success) to eat more fruit, veg, fish and wholegrain foods and less meat and fatty dairy products, in order to limit my saturated fat intake.
My primary aim is to try and ensure my body is as healthy, and therefore resilient, as possible. But please don’t judge me when I say the fact I’ve lost a stone and can fit into my old jeans is the thing I'm most pleased about!
The problem I’ve had with past diets is that as soon as I’m told not to eat something it becomes a mental battle which I ultimately lose (the Dairy Milk always wins!). This time it’s different: for the first time I'm properly motivated by something other than vanity. It’s amazing how a week in a wheelchair can focus your mind.
I’m a committed carnivore. My idea of heaven is a rib-eye steak followed by a lump of cheese and big glass of red wine - so this was never going to be easy for me. Strictly speaking, I shouldn’t be eating any meat, but I know avoiding it totally is the path to disaster. I’m weak and will give up because it becomes too much of a challenge, too big, too boring. I have always admired people who can go down the total abstinence route – I’m just not one of them.
I know I have to keep my saturated fat levels low, and this is where I find an online food diary useful. My eating habits are ruthlessly laid bare, cheating is pointless (believe me, I've tried) and it reminds me of the 15g saturated fat per day limit I have set myself.
Dr Swank is probably turning in his grave at my interpretation of the diet plan, but I'm trying my best and I think even he would be proud of the fact I’m willing to try Quorn in the name of healthy living.
I live in the North West of England and run a street theatre company with my husband. I blog at familylifewithms.blogspot.co.uk.