Lifestyle

Healthy With Multiple Sclerosis Series: Why Diet and Lifestyle Matter

Food as medicine. Mind-body medicine. Complimentary medicine. Alternative medicine. Can any of this really help those living with multiple sclerosis thrive?

Absolutely.

Since being diagnosed with MS in 2009, I have delved into the science of complimentary MS treatments, and practiced various methods beyond the disease-modifying drugs. Don’t get me wrong. While it took me a few weeks to get up the courage to take a daily injection of Copaxone, I do follow the medically accepted approach.

But I didn’t stop there. I was 42 and still had lots of things I wanted to do with my life. My story was still being written.

Part of that story was to share with others the things I discovered on my journey. They are things that have worked for me and others, and may work for you. They are things that are backed by science, not just some crazy opinion of mine. There is a lot, so I’m breaking this down into a series.

Before I get into the specific elements in future installments, I want to provide an overview of why diet and lifestyle changes are so important.

First, your doctor probably told you it was important not to forget that you can still get sick from other things. You can still get cancer. You can still get diabetes. MS does not make you immune to other conditions. In fact, with your immune system going a bit haywire, and maybe even being suppressed depending on the MS drug you are using, it is critical that you take care of yourself.

Seriously, no one needs a doubly whammy of MS and _____________ [insert other condition no one wants]. And do you really need to be injecting yourself with a disease modifying drug AND insulin?

That means a diagnosis is wake up call to lose the weight you have tried to lose for years. It means reducing the stress that is taxing your adrenals. That means getting 8 hours of sleep a night. And of course, that means moving your body in any way you can and which you enjoy. You will find that I abhor the word exercise; but moving your body, that’s something I can get into.

Second, a poor diet, stressful lifestyle and non-existent self-care wear your body down. Yet the stronger you are, the better able you can rebound from an exacerbation.

Finally, being healthy and relaxed makes you happy. You feel great. You get some if not all of your life back. Who doesn’t want that?

Next time, I’ll talk about the MS diets and try to make sense of the different theories.

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