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.
December 27, 2019
You’re confusing an ideology with a diet. A WFPB diet is only about health. It’s a vegan DIET, but it is NOT Veganism. Veganism is an ethical position that has nothing to do with health. It is about the animals and the environment. For the record, I am an ethical vegan, but I’m also trying to be WFPB. Since I’m vegan, I would never adopt a keto diet to heal disease.. however, someone who is WFPB wouldn’t feel conflicted to change to a keto diet because their only concern is health.
I understand that different diets work for different people, but there is nothing religious or dogmatic about a WFPB (vegan) DIET. However, if you’re vegan (as in the LIFESTYLE that extends beyond your plate), you wouldn’t be able to eat animals without sacrificing your ethics or morals..and that’s something no vegan would ever want to do.
July 17, 2019
I was diagnosed with MS in 2001. Before I was diagnosed, I stopped eating animals. Now on plant-based diet, it really helps!
February 26, 2019
I do not think plant based veganism is the cure all especially for a neurological disease like multiple sclerosis. If it works for you, then great. But I think it may actually harm others. Others have had success with Keto. Montel Williams for example. Not saying everyone with MS should go Keto, but if Plant Based Veganism is not working for you, you shouldn’t feel bad about trying something else. There is almost a religious dogmatic aspect of Veganism that some people feel guilt and shame if they stop eating Vegan even if they feel better.
December 8, 2019
I have also experienced remission in my MS since starting a plant based diet three years ago. MRI scans show no new lesion, I haven’t had a relapse for years. The change in diet has been so powerful that I’m wondering whether to continue with the expensive MS medication.
July 5, 2018
I want to know more about the plant-based diet.
April 24, 2018
I have recently been diagnosed with ms and i developed an eating disorder as a way of controlling my body and coping with my illness but am looking for other ways to channel my thoughts i have been transitioning to plant based diet for a while and looking for advise and guidence on vegan lifestyle thank you
April 17, 2018
I am currently on 6 different high blood pressure medicine. I just cannot see myself taking these pills for the rest of my life. Not knowing what the long term side effects of taking these pills are doing to my body.
Going on a plant base regimen I believe will be beneficial and allow me to get my body in the best shape possible.
December 7, 2017
Hello I recently became vegan. I have read so much about how it helps people with this issue. Have you been able to reduce or eliminate medication? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
August 18, 2017
What an inspiration! Thank you for posting!
Also switched to a plant based diet, and the energy and mental clarity and sense of happiness are incredible. I joked to my mom that I’m the vegan preacher man of the family!
December 12, 2016
An awesome story! I always thought MS as one of “those” diseases of unfortunate fate but through study and stories like these now know it’s predominantly just an uniformed choice. A great source I found that helped me learn to heal was NutritionFacts.org. Enjoy the “Learn”.
October 30, 2016
Thank you for sharing your story, Dr. Zagoren. People in general need to realize that the conventional doctors in practice today and for years, are not nutritionists. Their years of medical school were void of specialized training in nutrition; therefore , they commonly do not recognize or promote the direct link between diet and disease; nor do they utilize nutritional medicine in a preventive, proactive manner, by and large (in cases they do, typically it does not meet the standards proven to prevent or even reverse disease). It is up to us to conduct or own research and due diligence. The facts/data has long been available but it is up to us to access, review, and utilize it. There are countless studies which validate the primary role nutrition serves in good health. Unfortunately, the power of the meat/dairy industries paired with the incestuous relationships still existent with its governing organizations, in theory, which exist on behalf of the general public’s best interest (the USDA, et.al.), have managed to suppress or contest the facts… in instances there is media/press coverage to increase relative broad-based awareness. This is slowly changing for the better but not quick enough to save more lives and/or prevent diseases commonly found in developed countries. A widespread adoption of plant based diets stands to empower us and our planet longterm, in countless ways for the overall health of the human population.
October 27, 2016
As someone who has been living with MS for 27 years, I’m on my way to whole/food plant based life style change! My sister Lynn is my coach and inspiration for this change!!