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Plant based diet and MS is an idea that has been around for quite some time now. If you've had multiple sclerosis for awhile, you may remember a doctor named Roy Swank. He was a neurologist who advocated for a low saturated fat diet for his patients and others who developed MS. According to him, 95% of those who followed the diet did not show any progression after 34 years. The diet restricted meat and dairy, so basically it was plant based.
We have just recently adopted a plant based type of diet to see if this will help with not only Cir's MS, but also our other health issues like chronic pain, high blood pressure, and digestive issues. To be honest, years ago, we were vegan for maybe a year or so, then we stepped back and were vegetarian, eating cheese and dairy. We then went backward even further to having a few meatless meals a week. We eventually went back to eating the way we always had, a standard American diet.
Since then, we've tried several diets, from keto, to paleo, and even the AIP, or autoimmune paleo diet. We noticed with both the keto and paleo diets, our cholesterol went way up and hasn't come back down to normal levels even after an initial significant weight loss. We strayed away from keto and the weight came back, my blood pressure stayed up and Cir's began to go up.
To make a long story short, we continued seeing the benefits to consuming a mostly plant based diet after watching several documentary's on the subject. We agree that the well-being of animals is a good reason to adopt this way of eating, however, we also agree that in the long run, our health will definitely improve and ultimately that is why we are trying it once again.
After only a few weeks, our weight has dropped and our blood pressure is heading towards the normal range. We've opted to eat 99-100% plant based, especially until we can find suitable options for coffee creamer and a few other things that don't quite cut it, lol.
Some other things, like plant-based meat products, are proving to be expensive, though not much more so than actual meat, especially since we were trying to eat healthier options, like grass-fed. We do eat tofu, tempeh, and have tried the Beyond Burger, however, I've been watching videos on how to create your own meat-like products from seitan (pronounced say-tan).
Some videos start with regular flour and wash away the starch until they end up with just the gluten, and others skip this step and use vital wheat gluten to shorten the process. I haven't made it yet, however, I've purchased a package of the Anthony's brand and will be trying my hand at vegan "chicken" soon. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I also plan to try my hand at making vegan cheese also. There are many videos out there for the more adventurous of us who can't live without meat and cheese, at least in the short term. I must admit, seeing a plate or bowl of colorful veggies, makes my mouth salivate every time.
Cir and I both feel that a plant based or vegan diet will be beneficial to our health and wish we had continued on this journey when we dabbled with it years ago. We're noticing more energy along with the weight loss. And Cir can't help but believe that his MS symptoms may also diminish the longer we eat this way.
We realize the people from Roy Swank's study adopted their diet early on in their health journey, so may not have progressed as much as Cir has, however, it can't we feel it definitely can't hurt his overall health.
We'd love to hear if you have tried any diets that have helped your MS symptoms. If you are vegan or have adopted a plant based diet, let us know. If you've tried another diet for several years and it has helped you, let us know that, too. We've tried so many different things, and know that one way of eating or exercising will be the answer for everyone.
We do know that beyond becoming healthier, a plant based diet can also help our current environmental concerns as well. Even modifying our diets to include more plants and less meat and dairy products will go a long way, not only for our health, but also for our world.
Here is a list of a few resources we've found helpful that might aid you in becoming familiar with this way of eating. We didn't jump into it overnight and don't actually look at it as a diet, per se. We think of it more as a lifestyle change. If we slip up once in awhile, it's not the end of the world, however, when we see the benefits and results of eating a certain way, it's easier to continue on that journey because it makes sense.
(Each link will open a new window)
As we continue our plant based journey, we plan to add a few recipes and other resources we come across so stay tuned. And again, we'd love to hear from you if you've started a similar journey in the comments section below.
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Cir & Akrista
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