A plant based diet is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
A 2013 Nutritional Update for Physicians stated, “Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.”And, “Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.
Why does this matter for MS? Well the diet is similar to the Swank diet. The idea being that MS patients following a diet that was low in saturated fats had fewer relapses and less disabilities. The diet with the lower saturated fat helps the body to have less inflammation.
Professor George Jelinek, was diagnosed with MS in 1999. He developed a program called OMS, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, a program of diet and lifestyle management to improve the health and lives of people with multiple sclerosis. He takes the idea of Dr. Swank’s diet and the plant based diet.
Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Recovery Program in Summary:
Diet and supplements
• A plant-based wholefood diet plus seafood, with no saturated fat, as far as is practical
• Omega-3 fatty acid supplements: Take 20-40mls of flaxseed oil daily; fish oil can be used instead if desired
• Optional B group vitamins or B12 supplement if needed
• Sunlight 15 minutes daily 3-5 times a week as close to all over as practical
• Vitamin D3 supplement of at least 5000IU daily, adjusted to blood level
• Aim to keep blood level of vitamin D high, that is between 150-225nmol/L (may require up to 10,000IU daily)
• 30 minutes daily
• 20-30 minutes around five times a week, preferably outdoors
• In consultation with your doctor, if a wait and see approach is not appropriate, take one of the disease-modifying drugs (many may not need a drug, and drug selection should be carefully weighed against side effects)
• Steroids for any acute relapse that is distressing
• One of the more potent drugs if the disease is rapidly progressive
I am planning on making a change to this lifestyle over the next few months I have to first empty my freezer of all the animal products still inhabiting the shelves. Why? The medicine isn’t stopping my progression. I am part secondary progressive MS and there is no medicine the market for this type of MS. I need to try anything that can help. If my diet can make a difference then I’m willing to make that change I’m not willing to just sit by and let the disease run its progressive damaging course without a fight.
You can find out more about a plant based diet at www.forksoverknives.com or www.overcomingms.org