Multiple Sclerosis – can a diet help with symptoms?

In 2005/6 I was ill. I’d had a relapse in the summer of 2005 and it wasn’t getting any better.
We’d decided to go to Venice for Christmas and we had found a nice flat to stay in on the Lido. Things were fine to start with, but as the days went on, I was finding walking to be very difficult. First of all, I was moving more slowly and then I had to sit and rest every ten metres or so.
This wasn’t a great state of affairs and so in the New Year, I realised that things were going to have to change – I was going to have to try something to halt the decline.
I’d been watching a lot of television – it was easier than trying to walk around, as I felt completely drunk within ten minutes of home.
My eyes couldn’t cope with the enormous number of people and cars passing by and I’d feel nausea, vertigo and have problems with equilibrium.
One of the shows on the many channels was ‘The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses’ and this run of six shows focussed on raw food and the health benefits.
Somehow, this seemed to appeal to me, I thought ‘what if I try this?’
I bought some books – ‘Raw Food Real World’ and a few others and started to delve into the world of raw fooding and found it to be a thoroughly confusing experience.
Many people seemed to be grabbing onto this diet as a lifeline – a replacement for something they’d lost – such as drugs and quite a few were very anxious people indeed.
Rawfooding had become their whole focus – to live as Essenes or to only live on fruit and if they ‘cheated’ by eating some scrambled egg or some other type of cooked food, then they felt great guilt and even damnation.
This wasn’t for me. I had enough stresses in my life already thank you very much, so I backed away from the internet as a support mechanism with this way of eating.
I went back to the books and realised that I’d need the kit. At that time, money wasn’t a problem, but I was not going to pay the £400+ for each bit of kit and so I imported a Waring blender from the US at $100 and bought a step-up transformer for it to work. I found a second-hand Champion Juicer on eBay and and bought a dehydrator (not an essential bit of kit really).
I was ready to make green smoothies and transform my life.
Oh dear me, a ‘proper’ green smoothie is cabbage and celery and apple and it is absolutely awful. Cabbage is not nice as a juice. It is truly horrible.
In the end, I made my smoothies with spinach leaves and celery and apple and added carrot and ginger juice (juiced through the Champion).
Now, carrot and ginger (and apple) juice is energy heaven for me. I love it even now. The jolt you get from this mixture is quite delightful. It’s even better than Spanish coffee.
Mr P and I would make a salad for lunch, with seeds (sunflower) and nuts and chopped apple, with avocado and salmon – raw or smoked. This salad would take about 30 minutes to chomp through, but we felt really good afterwards.
I think the benefit for me, was that I regarded food in a completely different way.
Breakfast could be an avocado with a bit of Tabasco sauce and lemon and that would be enough until lunchtime. Food became a pleasure but also a fuel. I love avocados and they became my staple food.
I ate no bread, pasta or rice or sugar and felt great. No, I felt absolutely wonderful – as though someone was pouring cold water into my head, clarifying my thoughts and filling me with energy.
My neurologist was very surprised at my turn-around in health- he’d been about to prescribe Modafinal. I’d tried Amantadine for fatigue, but it hadn’t helped much.

The rawfooding lasted for about 5 months, until I couldn’t bear to eat another salad and then I moved onto a Paleolithic type of diet. I still don’t eat bread or pasta and foods containing gluten make me feel sluggish and increase my nerve pain (neuropathic pain).
I did try an experiment in the summer of 2007 – I ate wonderful Spanish bread for five days. At the end of the experiment, I couldn’t get out of bed, as my feet were on fire. I had no energy and dreadful constipation.
Even now, if I am tempted, which does happen, I pay a price. A friend came to lunch last week, bringing a jar of delicious home-made marmalade. Mr P bought a beautiful loaf of bread and I have been nibbling at it.
I should learn. I ate a piece of bread and a large blister formed on the side of my tongue – these were common when I was younger and they are filled with blood. You have to burst them and then gargle with salt water or bicarbonate of soda to help them heal.
This morning, I ate a small piece of toast with marmalade and had to deal with two more blood-filled blisters. No more.

So, back to the raw-food experiment. I would do this again if I felt as ill as I did in 2006. I still have the juicer, but the blender needs a new goblet, which I can’t afford to replace. Oh dear, no green smoothies!
The other last thought on this, is to prepare. If you are going to try this, you will need to change your shopping habits. Packets of spinach, celery, sunflower seeds and mixed nuts along with apples, avocados, oranges and of course, dark greens will be the most important part of your diet.
Good luck. It may change your life.

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