Faced with an autoimmune disease it was clear that something was going terribly wrong in my body. It was mistakenly attacking itself and the most direct path for immune-compromising toxins to enter our system is through the foods we eat. I have a newfound appreciation for life and a deep reverence for the healing ally which graces my dinner plate.
There was nothing subtle about my first encounter with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It crippled me from the waist down with painful pins-and-needles and forced me to use a wheelchair to get around. By the time I recovered, I was struck down with another episode and introduced to overwhelming fatigue, which was invisible, indomitable, and pervasive. I was a barely functioning body back then, unable to lift my head some days, constantly nauseated, socially isolated, and unable to see anything through the fog of disease. That was, of course, until I found a simple and powerful method of recovery: FOOD!
I’m embarrassed to admit that diet was last on my intuitive list of remedies for MS. My early self-healing approaches were dominated by my psychological training and I was completely unaware of the true dangers lurking in my fridge and pantry. I was a good home cook who made most things from scratch. I prided myself on baking with real ingredients rather than buying packaged goods full of preservatives and additives. However, I don’t think I truly questioned whether my home-baked treats crammed with refined sugar, butter, and bound in white flour were remotely nutritious. I was also shocked to discover that I had little idea about where my food came from, how it was produced, and what impact it had on my body.
The link between diet and disease was impossible to ignore and my conclusion was to immediately embrace a whole food, plant-based diet. I have not experienced a single MS relapse or new lesion since!
I was fortunate to have access to university databases at this time and I spent many long nights poring over medical journals. The link between diet and disease was impossible to ignore and my conclusion was to immediately embrace a whole food, plant-based diet. I have not experienced a single MS relapse or new lesion since!
My new lifestyle of eating has not only helped me to recover from MS but has yielded a multitude of positive physiological changes. I now weigh less than I did in high school when I was an athlete, and I love that I can wear skinny jeans and bikinis without even a pang of self-consciousness. I look younger, too, and recently had a university student refer to me as “a young lady”. Okay, he was wearing glasses and squinting into the sun but I’ll take it, as that’s not a bad achievement for someone on the wrong side of 35!
My doctor raves about my cholesterol and blood work, which is apparently the best he has seen. And I also have energy to burn. Sometimes when I encounter stairs I just want to run up them. Why? Because I can! I feel light, unencumbered, and stronger than I ever have in my life. Incredibly, my last MRI test revealed a completely normal brain and spinal cord image, with no new lesions and an inability to detect the old ones. This is an atypical presentation of MS degeneration.
The greatest gift that this diet has brought me, however, has been my reconnection with my husband and sons. I am now a participant in their lives rather than an observer. I can care for them again instead of being cared for. I never fail to be overwhelmed with gratitude when I can lift my boys over my head, play “hide and seek” in the backyard, and take them on outings to the beach. I have a newfound appreciation for life and a deep reverence for the healing ally which graces my dinner plate.