Try it to know. Open your mind to try.
So all episodes have been re-posted for FREE until 12pm EST Sunday. Please check them out – they are really useful:
Free today please watch if you can…might explain a lot of things you hadn’t managed to relate to one another in your mind =allergy-autoimmune connection
Episode 1 is a general introduction but episodes are being uploaded and removed daily. Today’s is on gut health PLEASE watch it, you may know lots already but I feel this is a great resource to summarize the important bits. Episode 2 (today’s) is about how digestive issues are a warning sign for auto-immune disease. If you suffer from digestive issues this is for you:
Recently I have noticed that when I do not eat e.g. by waiting a while before eating breakfast in the morning, or through intermittent fasting: finishing dinner at 5 or 6 and then waiting a few hours in the morning before breakfast; I have no or much less MS symptoms. This has been a sum-what problematic discovery for me, as I consider myself to be under weight and am trying to gain not lose weight.
Terry Wahls, in her book has led me to a possible explanation for why fasting feels so good by introducing me to the notion of nutritional ketosis; the acceleration of the production of ketones through the reduction of dietary carbohydrates.
Ketone bodies are a by-product of burning fat. They are small molecules containing energy produced by the liver using fatty acids during periods of low food intake such as fasting or when on low carbohydrate diets. Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier where the brain cells’ mitrochondria can then burn them as fuel. The longer you are in nutritional ketosis, the more enzymes the body will make for burning ketones; the easier it is for it to use them.
Nutritional Ketosis is a mechanism the body has always used to heal and survive at times when food is less available, for our ancestors; this was during winter. During this time the body begins to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. Because modern diets are loaded with carbohydrates, our bodies burn sugar for fuel instead of fats. The latter is easier but not more beneficial. Glycolysis* takes place through fermentation, in the cell cytoplasm, outside of the mitochondria. Sugary, starchy diets cause inflammation. Burning fat is better for the brain and means our bodies go into the more efficient form of energy production that occurs when we go into ketosis*.
*Glycolysis: spliting of the sugar molecule
*Ketosis: the metabolic state in which the production of ketones is increased
Here is a brilliant video of Mark Mattson’s simple explanation of how neurons grow and synapses are strengthened during intermittent fasting – how it can help reduce inflammation and improve the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA:
Here is another good albeit quite long video on Nutritional ketosis:
Every year it’s the same. It’s getting boring now. You do too much – just one more thing – just one more and then I’ll rest – just this and then day off – and, before you know it, you can’t do anything anymore, for the next two or even three months. Sound familiar? You go to a wedding, to your boyfriend’s gig, to a baby shower. You’re doing loads, you feel like you again. Nothing crazy, no out-til-6am like the good old days; but maybe until midnight (woohooo) twice in a row (uh-oh). Two places to go in a day – MS Action (home for lunch) then to my sister’s house. Exhausting. Seriously. That’s how it is. I’m feeling tired just thinking about it, (right n0w it’s 8.30 and I’m ready for bed, teeth are clean and at 9 I will be in bed, I assure you. (I will probably finish this post tomorrow.)
As I was saying, you go to a wedding, do the shopping, work on your project. Go to a funeral. For me, grief is definitely the straw that breaks the camel’s back (fav expression of a friend I used to have). How can I describe it? Sadness is heavy. It is a load everyone struggles with. It is something you let yourself give into, in the moment, you stay in it a while longer than your body is telling you you can.
I have been thinking about this relapse problem. I need to learn my lesson, and slow down – especially in winter, when my body is weaker. I need to break the chain, and I am determined not to relapse next year. I will lay low and sit this one out as I must, but next winter I will take it easy until the weather gets warmer, and hopefully, I won’t relapse.
June? Already??!! We are half way through 2014, and I was asked to reflect on it, but do find it a strange time of year to already be doing so. Usually June is busy, not reflective. By June we are all fixed in our routines, and (in Britain at least) dreaming of the promised sunshine. Thinking back on the year gone by usually happens for me all of a sudden somewhere in the middle of November. Now that I think of it, this always happens in November, I don’t really know why. Perhaps because the end of the year is looming and I am thinking about all the things I didn’t quite get round to doing. Looking back through my diaries I can see several ‘November Again’ entries. It is always November that gets me. But perhaps it isn’t a bad idea to look back on the first half of the year, now; that we still have a 6-month-shot at carrying out any plans we had in the New Year.
Now that I look back on the first half of 2014, I realise that something important has changed this year. Something important that I might not have been able to place in time had I not looked back until my customary November panic. As I sit at my desk writing, I am aware of a scruffy list I have placed on top of a messy, and surprisingly high, pile of other lists. In the past, my endless lists, (which are nothing new) would have been a reason to stop writing and get back to work as it were, running and completing errands; reasserting goals, making them more realistic…if not crossing them out altogether! As I sit and reflect on the last six months, I realise that this year has been a bit different to the last few. Although it has raced by, like the last five years or so; faster even, I have felt able to do things in my own time, and for once, not been getting annoyed at myself for not fulfilling my January, February, April goals on time.
Since my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis in late 2009, my perception of time has been constantly changing. At first, it was all about doing as much as I could in the time I had left – MS kind of reminded me that we are not here forever. I sort of panicked and decided I needed to focus on things I really wanted to do. I started learning German, took up drawing lessons, learnt to use a sewing machine, really got into yoga, took up the bass guitar, started singing lessons, decided to write a book, all this on top of a new healthy lifestyle, all at roughly the same time (!) Soon I started to work as a teacher full-time, and still had most of these other plans in the back of my mind, picking up one then the other on weekends or holidays and after hours of marking homework!
MS has been a wonderful eye-opener. Although initially I rushed in all directions trying to do everything, it has also made me learn to enjoy the moment, and to reject unnecessary stress and distress. And, gradually, as I have learnt to maintain my health – both physical and mental, it has also made me realise that if I am going to live well for as long as I can, I need to slow down when I have symptoms/relapses – or rather, before they begin at all.
2014, for me has been putting this last, important realisation, into practice. I have lots of goals and lots of things I was expecting to have started this year, that I have not yet been able to. But there is one thing that has really started to change; I have slowed down, and learnt to stop when I need to rest, before reaching the point of no return, the point I always reach; where I have overdone things, again. This, for me, has been a tremendous achievement, and I am working each day to remind myself, that although time is whizzing away, there is no point in doing everything, if it eventually means I will reach a point where I can no longer do anything anymore. I am also very pleased to have stopped like this; mid-year, to notice this change, which I have known for some time now; was a necessary one.
A close friend of mine turned 30 this year, and as I thought about useful things to tell her in this significant year; the year that I too will turn 30; I came across a very wise piece of advice for 30-somethings: You can’t have everything; Focus On Doing a Few Things Really Well. This made a lot of sense to me. Instead of spreading yourself thinly, trying a bit of everything; the key is to try to do fewer things, well, in-depth and whole heartedly.
I feel like the universe has been trying to tell me this since the death of both of my grandmas in late 2013. When my grandmothers of 95 and 89 who had lived 4456 KM away from one another their entire lives, never meeting; died within a month of each other; I felt they were both sending me the same message: that I am not going to live forever, that no one is immortal. In my reading I have come across a similar message. I am currently reading the books of Carlos Castaneda. He relates the teachings of Don Juan, who argues that the only life worth living is that of a warrior; someone who performs every act as if it were their last on earth. The universe is telling me that I will not be here forever and so I’d better get on with my plans, and do them well!
Although I have decided on a few things to focus on, my main personal goal is to stay well, and to do this, I need to continue to take things slowly. So I am not worrying about not accomplishing too much this year; I have already achieved perhaps one of the most important life goals for myself, as part of my management of MS. I hope that you too will have decided on a few important things to focus on; and if you haven’t yet decided/started working on it – you still have six glorious months in which to do so.
Sprouts are very good for the nervous system. During sprouting, minerals bind to protein making it easier for the body to use them, helping the body extract more amino acids, essential fats, minerals and vitamins from the rest of the food you eat.
Seeds and beans become even healthier foods when sprouted before using. Sprouted sunflower seeds are full of iron and chlorophyll – which helps detoxify the liver and blood. Pea and alfalfa* sprouts are also renowned for their excellent properties.
*although Alfalfa seeds are said to be very good for you, they have very high levels of canavanine, an amino acid. Some studies have linked canavanine to the worsening of inflammatory conditions. For this reason, people with MS should sprout other seeds instead.
But why are they so good for our health? When sprouting, seeds convert some of their sugar into vitamin C to use as an antioxidant as it sprouts into the new open air environment. They have more vitamin C at the sprouting stage than later when they mature. They also start synthesizing a range of new enzymes, in order to deal with oxygen metabolism as they sprout above the soil.
Doctors in Germany experimented with around 100 MS patients. The patients were given sprouts and green juices as the main part of each meal. Each of them improved, 15 of them recovering completely.
Sprouts are also rich in silicon, which is good for the skin.
Seeds, beans, chick peas and many other foods are very easy to sprout. Beans and chickpeas can be soaked in water for a few days and they will sprout. Put seeds in a wet glass jar, and leave by the window, in sunlight to sprout. Here is a useful video for sprouting sunflower seeds. After 12 hours of soaking, seeds sprout slightly and become much easier to digest.
In Conclusion: eat more sprouts!!!!
I’ve just been reading about how our skin absorbs most things from the environment very efficiently; sometimes better than the digestive system, if the latter is impaired. This is not new information to me, I know the skin is often referred to as the second liver – because of the filtering it needs to do of toxins. But apparently it doesn’t act as a very good barrier. Unlike toxins passing through the digestive system, those passing through the skin go straight into the blood stream.
I already use an aluminium-free natural deodorant because cells removed from cancerous breasts are often packed with aluminium and it is very likely that all this aluminium comes from deodorants which are of course used pretty close to the breasts. But I think it is also important to use chemical free shampoos and soap. Skin brushing is also advisable, to remove dead cells and any pollutants you have not yet absorbed before you shower.
It is important to shower before you go to bed to remove any pollutants you accumulated during the day. The thing which is most concerning as a result of skin being such a good absorbent of our environment though is that swimming in chlorinated water is a terrible idea.
That throws my exercise programme out the window, now I need to either swim in a natural lake or take up another sport. I am thinking about walking, as I know that any exercise which heats up my body makes me feel bad, as it does many people with MS.
Yes folks, it ain’t pretty, I had a blister on my foot, and it hurt so the GP cried ANTIBIOTICS! She wasn’t even sure that it was infected! After a few days I was in so much pain I actually considered taking them, but in a desperate attempt to find an alternative, I stumbled upon the idea of tea tree oil online. As I already had some at home, I thought I’d try it out before giving in to the evil antibiotics. Two drops twice a day, directly onto the blister (after cleaning it with soap and hot water followed by a salt foot bath once a day) and hurrah, my blister is no longer painful and although and can see it, I no longer feel it and can walk again!!!!
So one of my best friends; Rose baby Rose (who is amazing) has made it her mission to create cakes that I can eat..! Obviously these are for special occasions and can’t be eaten every day due to the amount of eggs in them, (maximum 4 a week/1 a day if you are following the MS diet) but they are so much safer for people with MS to eat than traditional cakes and treats.
Here is a selection of Rose’s finest finds so far, I will be updating the recipes page as she continues to experiment with MS-diet-friendly treats 🙂
Chocolate Brownies (makes approx 16) 2 cups cooked black beans drained, 4 organic eggs, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1 cup honey, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 8×8 baking tray
Preheat oven to 350F Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth Scrape batter into greased baking tray Bake for 25 to 30mins
And not forgetting the classic Tea Loaf, thanks Moom!
500g dried fruit, earl grey tea, 350g (3oz)organic wholegrain spelt flour*, 3 tbsp honey, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 organic egg
Put dried fruit in a basin & cover with hot strong earl grey tea. Leave to soak overnight if possible Put spelt flour , mixed spice, honey & egg into a bowl mix, add fruit & some of liquid, mix If a bit dry, add more liquid Put into cake tin and bake for 45mins If you want a lighter texture add 2 tsp baking powder.
Sweet Potato Muffins (makes approx 12)
4 oz oats, 4 oz organic wholegrain spelt flour*, ½ tsp bicarbonate, 1 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp nutmeg, ¾ tsp cinnamon, 8 oz sweet potato – boiled & mashed, ½ cup agave syrup/honey (125ml), 3 tbsp olive oil,/rapeseed oil, 2 tbsp raisins, ¼ cup almond milk(60ml), 1 organic egg – beaten, muffin cases/tin
Preheat oven to 180C (375F) Mix oats, flour, bicarb, baking powder, & spices Add sweet potato, honey, oil, raisins, milk and egg – mix together so all dry ingredients are moisture – don’t over mix Spoon into muffin cases/muffin tin Bake until firm and golden (15-20mins)
*Spelt is not gluten free but has much less gluten in it than wheat does: http://thespeltbakers.ca/what-is-spelt/
Thank you Rose!!!! All together now: #Rose baby Rose#
And while we’re at it, why don’t we listen to another of my best friends? The fabulous Jesuton?!!! Shake it lady 🙂
My acupuncturist always tells me that I suffer from damp, that I am damp inside. She is right, when I went on holiday to my gran’s, a lot of my symptoms disappeared completely. When I came back, after one night in my damp flat, they all came back! I felt sick and faint in the middle of the night and found it so difficult to get up again in the morning. So I decided to look into this damp problem.
It seems that there are two basic patterns of MS:
1) Damp-Phlegm with Spleen Deficiency
2) Liver and Kidney Deficiency
According to Chinese medicine these are easy enough to treat with acupuncture and by avoiding the foods contributing to your condition. Find out more about the ‘patterns’ of MS to tackle the one most affecting you.
It seems this all depends on ying or yang deficiencies, it would be best to see an acupuncturist to be sure exactly what your condition is.
If you are damp like me, a good place to start would be not living in a damp home! My acupuncturist tells me to avoid damp foods like bananas. I looked into these foods and unfortunately they include avocados 😦 but I am willing to make this tiny sacrifice for my health.
Damp foods to avoid:
Foods to eat more of:
organic lightly cooked vegetables, corn, celery, watercress, turnip, pumpkin, alfalfa sprouts, button mushrooms, radish, caper
Luckily for those of us with MS, most of these adhere to the MS diet rules anyway.
I have been reading about how Omega 3 slows down inflammation and discourages the growth of tumours while omega 6 works to help with inflammation, encouraging tumours. These findings are presented clearly in Artemis Simopoulos’ book The Omega Plan, where she explains that the chemicals produced in the body from Omega 3s work in opposite ways to those produced using Omega 6s. In recent years it has been proven that although omega 6 is not as harmful as saturated fats are, it is important to make sure your EFAs are mostly omega 3 sources. This means that if like me, you have been taking Evening Primrose Oil supplements, which contains only omega 6, you need to reconsider.
A high dosage of omega-3 fatty acids is necessary to reduce inflammation: 1-3g of EPA and DHA daily (check your fish oil/omega-3 tablets for these figures before you buy them) is what is recommended in Professor Jelinek’s book. I will make modifications to the diet on this blog ASAP. According to Simopoulos omega-3 helps to protect the body from not only auto-immune diseases, but coronary heart disease as well as cancer. The Journal of the American Medical Association published information in 2007 highlighting how omega-3 helped reduce risks of type 1 diabetes by over 50% in children at risk of developing the disease.
There are good plant sources of omega 3 such as linseed and its oil. According to Jelinek’s book canola and rapeseed oil as well as walnuts and pecans and their oils are also excellent sources. Just be careful to follow the good oil rules when choosing one.
Omega-6 like omega-3 however does help work against the degeneration in MS. Also helpful against degeneration are monounsaturated fats which have no affect on the immune system.
It is sunny, but not too hot, and there is a perfect breeze. A couple of days ago I realised that there is a spot round the back of the communal garden I share with my neighbour, under some trees which is just perfect. My neighbours don’t really come out into the garden, and so I am able to have it all to myself on a beautiful day like today. It is peaceful and inspiring, with a lovely piece of sky to watch the clouds go by. I sat down to write a few days back and found that is was really ideal.
Having felt the healing nature of the earth I always read about, I decided I would try a bit of yoga this morning as I walked barefoot across the grass. I sat in my new favourite spot and found it so easy to become hypnotised by my breathing. What a wonderful yoga session. I really recommend walking barefoot on the grass first thing in the morning if you are lucky enough to have a garden, or a park/forest nearby. It truly is healing, I can feel it, and if you try it, I’m sure you will too.
So it’s been a couple of weeks now and the Vitamix has become a big part of my meal times. I have a green smoothie at least once a day (greens with fruit) and use it to make very healthy raw sauces for my pasta, rice, fish, you name it! My partner is also ever impressed with the sauces I come up with, and is also eating really well at the moment. I am also enjoying the delicious soups I have come up with just from combining whatever vegetables I had in my kitchen. I find that adding a tbsp of linseed oil to most soups works really well.
Because I am trying to stick to organic fruit and veg, I have decided that whatever I blend using the Vitamix is worth two of my ten a day. I figure that as I am absorbing the portions completely due to their being blended so well, it is better than eating two portions unblended, and certainly better than eating more non-organic veg. I am of course not limiting myself to ten a day under these rules – I often go over, but it is a way to make it more affordable. I have also stopped taking as many vitamins as I was before because my body should be absorbing these better from the vegetables I blend. I will be having a blood test soon to check on my progress, but I am generally feeling well and my digestion is fantastic at the moment.
Now a days, if you live in a city; the answer is no. Have you noticed how pure the air you breathe feels in the countryside or by the sea? It is quite different to the air we are used to breathing in the city. Of the city air we breathe in, only about 30% is oxygen. Oxygen makes up 80% of our bodies so it is extremely important. Not only does it lift your mood, but it is needed in every aspect of your body’s functioning, including the nervous system, to keep you healthy. How can we city-dwellers get more oxygen? Here are a few of our options:
HBO (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) can help, during which you breathe about 90% pure oxygen and this is good for everyone!
Learn to breathe correctly – most of us use only a third of our lungs’ capacity when breathing. A good way to improve your breathing is by doing exercise such as swimming where you need to breathe harder. Practicing yoga and meditation will also help you learn to breathe correctly, as well as de-stressing you in the process.
Pranayama breathing practices can teach you to breathe correctly. We should inhale through our nostrils, expanding our belly and then chest and then exhale with the mouth, as our chest and belly relax. Exhalation should last twice as long as inhalation – but this should not be forced, and will be perfected with pranayama breathing exercises. The body has been breathing wrongly for too long to just change it suddenly. It is a gradual yet extremely worthwhile process. I have started practicing these breathing exercises during yoga first thing in the morning.
According to Stancak A jr, alternating breathing through the left and right nostril can influence our brain activity. Wood C. Mood wrote that we can also use such exercises to make ourselves feel more alert, enthusiastic and to improve our overall mood.
“Breathing through the left nostril stimulates the right brain hemisphere and intensifies the functions of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is connected with a slowing-down of the heart rate and consequently greater stroke volume of the heart (greater amount of blood is pressed out of the heart per beat, as a consequence of lower heart rate)”
“Breathing through the right nostril stimulates the left brain hemisphere and the sympathetic nervous system. This results in accelerated heart rate, higher blood pressure, greater consumption of oxygen by the body cells and constriction of the blood vessels of the skin, thus preserving body temperature (which explains how some yogis can be totally oblivious to extreme weather conditions).”
The benefits of breathing correctly are overwhelmingly important, a few of which are:
Strengthening of the heart and lungs, through quicker blood flow towards them
Strengthening of the nervous system and supplying it with more oxygen
Increased brain function and clarity
Significant reduction of the quantity of free radicals in the system
Reducing the number of asthma attacks in asthmatics as well as reducing the dosage of anti-asthmatic drugs needed
Lowering the intensity of shortness of breath in chronic bronchitis
Adapt better to cold and heat
Once we have mastered Pranayama we can move onto Kumbhaka which involves holding your breath. It has been discovered that, when practiced correctly, Kumbhaka can reduce the body’s metabolic processes and thus its oxygen consumption. With this practice we can influence the parasympathetic nervous system lowering both heart rate and blood pressure. (Bhargava R, Gogate MG, Mascarenhas JF.)
Now that I am practicing pranayama with yoga, am I enjoying the yoga postures so much more. I find it helps to imagine I am breathing in sea air, it reminds me of la Manzanilla, a Mexican beach I used to wake up and do yoga on, bliss! I inhale and exhale as the sea ebbs and flows. I also keep finding myself breathing properly during the day – unconsciously. It just feels better. I am so sure that it is doing me good. So come on people, let’s get breathing correctly!
I often find myself daydreaming about la Manzanilla…
So, my Vitamix arrived a few days ago and the tastiest green smoothie I have so far discovered is spinach leaves with banana. It is much easier to eat a lot of green leaves if they are mixed with a fruit. Banana works well, blackcurrant not so well. It is important to note that the green tops of vegetables such as carrots and beetroot are the most valuable part! Don’t throw them away, blend them instead with other greens and fruit to make a deliciously nutritious smoothie. Even just green leaves on their own with a bit of lime is quite tasty – obviously don’t try this with bitter ones such as watercress, speaking from a very recent experience! Apple works well with every type of green leafy vegetable I have tried so far, including carrot tops which are actually quite nice.
I have also used the Vitamix to make great sauces to go with vegetables or fish using very little ingredients such as garlic, red pepper, lime and pumpkin seed oil, no cooking necessary. It is so quick and easy to experiment with the Vitamix that I am already getting quite good at knowing what goes well together. I made a Gerson carrot/apple juice yesterday and it was much nicer than I expected. I didn’t use a green apple however, because I couldn’t find any organic green ones, so it wasn’t really a Gerson juice…I’m sure it was good for me anyway. I have found that celery gives a smoothie a nice kick. I am trying to eat only organic fruit and veg but finding it very expensive. If you are trying to do the same, look for a local organic growing scheme, the closest to me is organicalea in Waltham Forest, but there is also one in Hackney and I imagine that it is easier outside of London, wherever you are in the world, have a look on the internet for a scheme near you.
This new blender is incredible. I made some delicious peanut butter with just dry roasted peanuts! Obviously I have to be careful about how much I have due to the saturated fat content, but it was so satisfying to make my own. I will try sunflower seed butter today, which will be slightly healthier!
According to Dr Max Gerson, the causes of all degenerative diseases are toxicity and nutritional deficiency. That’s why in 1930 he created The Gerson Therapy: a natural treatment involving an organic vegetarian diet combined with raw juices; a logical detox combination. It also involves coffee enemas, which I had never heard of before, but which Dr Gerson thought was very important. This natural therapy is aimed at activating the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Patients following it were to drink fresh organic raw juices every hour up to thirteen times a day.
It is thought to work by breaking down the fruit and vegetables enough to make their nutrients vitamins and enzymes much more digestible. Victoria Boutenko highlights the importance of this in her book in terms of green plant leaves which are made of tough cellulose and which we do not chew well enough to make the most out of. In MS the body is not absorbing nutrients as well as it should and so the process of blending raw fruit and vegetables is all the more important. I read today that vitamins in capsule forms are also difficult to absorb for those with degenerative diseases due to digestive weaknesses which are often present. So, perhaps it is worth investing in more organic vegetables, and a good Vitamix blender rather than vitamins which you may not absorb properly.
It is highly recommended to avoid non-organic fruit and vegetables, especially root vegetables which absorb toxins in the soil. Non-organic fruit and veg should never be blended because this would concentrate the chemical fertilisers and herbicides which would be very harmful, and work against your body’s curative process. Having learnt this today, I had a good think about what I eat. It is mostly organic, but with some non-organic produce too. It is going to be expensive, but I think it will be a worthwhile investment to go 100% organic, so I have decided to, from today…I’ll let you know how it goes!
One of Dr Gerson’s most famous recipes is Hippocrates Soup which strengthens and repairs the immune system; pretty useful if you have MS, don’t you think?
His therapy involves four main juices;
Green juice – must be taken straight away due to its active nature
Carrot Juice: 4-5 carrots – can be kept refrigerated for up to four hours
Apple/Carrot Juice: three small carrots and one medium green apple (apparently the combination makes a magical healing potion)
Orange (or Grapefruit) Juice – no skin, just the whole fruit
After all the reading I have done around MS, I think that fish,liver and the right oils are essential materials for the regeneration of myelin sheath, and as a result should not be removed from your diet. The rest of one’s diet however should be focused on detoxification and fixing other nutritional deficiencies.
Before I was diagnosed with MS, I suffered quite badly from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I remember being in pain for hours after eating, especially after dinner, for about a year. I didn’t understand why I was having so much trouble, as I thought I ate quite well, relatively speaking; vegetables as well as a lot of fruit. It was getting really bad. I was living in Mexico at the time and as well as the fruit and veg, eating quite a lot of meat and cheese. Cheese was something which I had never liked (I know, there are not many of us cheese haters out there!) but found a taste for when melted on pizza, in vampiros (the most delicious Mexican taco type snack), quesadillas (melted cheese in tortilla). I also ate a lot of greasy delicious Mexican food, a lot more fat basically, than my body had ever been subjected to before.
On a visit back to the UK I had an endoscopy to see if there was anything serious going on; after which I was diagnosed with IBS and told to use peppermint tea and oil to ease symptoms. I had realised that perhaps the heavy food I was eating was not so good for me, but didn’t really make a change to my diet until I was diagnosed with MS. (Saturated fats need to be reduced drastically in MS to reduce the risk of deterioration, I am also dairy intolerant and allergies are important to avoid if you have MS – see foods to avoid and other diet pages on this blog for more info.) A friend of mine had been on an alternative MS therapy which involved diet and exercise and so I immediately started his diet, took up yoga again as well as swimming, which I had not done for years!
A few months into my MS, after a yoga class my yoga teacher gave us a talk about the digestive system and how problems begun there and spread to other areas of the body. I approached her after the class to ask further questions and she told me about an amazing alternative doctor who gave medical talks and examinations for free every Wednesday evening in Guadalajara, where I was living. So, one Wednesday I went along to see if he had anything to say that could help. He gave you medical advice in front of his thirty or more followers who gathered in a room at his sister’s house once a week. First he explained that all illnesses started in the head – with the way we think. Through constant stress, self criticism, depression and so on, our bodies eventually develop problems with the digestive system. After which, more serious problems took place elsewhere in the body. In my case, the nervous system. His reasoning seemed very logical to me, and on dealing with my case directly he showed me, and his loyal followers the external signs which pointed to disease, as well as talking me through events in my past that may have triggered the problems in my head, how they then manifested themselves in my IBS and eventually MS. This doctor’s answer was “stop taking the steroids and fix the problems in your head”. This was the push I had been waiting for; already suffering from horrible Interferon side effects and having already decided to stop taking them.
As for the problem with the way we think, the thing that actually helped me make a big positive change was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. However, I think that diet is also an extremely important part of the curing process and one you must consider in dealing with MS.
A problem that most of us have with the digestion of food is the elimination of what our body does not need: “poor bowel management lies at the root of most people’s health problems.” Dr Bernard Jensen (Green for Life – Victoria Boutenko)
Ideally we should have bowel movements at least twice a day. Who can say that they go as regularly as that? The toxins that build up in the colon come from so many sources. They build up from dust in the air, and food we have not digested properly, as well as metals and pollutants that we ingest. They also come from our dead cells: “70-100 pounds of dead cells per year, or more, should be passing out of our system. If they don’t [they] can be one of the most toxic kinds of waste because they begin to rot right away” (Green for Life – Victoria Boutenko). Boutenko explains that when your body cannot eliminate the way it is supposed to, it does so less efficiently through the skin which becomes rough and bumpy, through mucus in our eyes, throat and nose.
It is impossible to eliminate without fiber – this is missing from a lot of people’s diets. There are two types of fiber – soluble (pectin in apples, guar gums in chia seeds, oatmeal, legumes and mangos*) and insoluble (greens, peels, nuts, seeds, beans skins of grain) Soluble fiber sticks to cholesterol in the small intenstines to take it out of the body. Insoluble fiber is able to absorb much more toxin than its own volume and remove it from the body. Linseed is both soluable and insoluble fiber: I recommend adding it to you diet, especially if you have MS. It is important to ensure that you are giving your body the right amount. Victoria Boutenko has come to the conclusion that 50 to 70 grams a day or more are what we need, but that we shouldn’t suddenly increase it drastically, but gradually.
Fiber is magical, it can:
fight diabetes, high cholesterol, bowel problems, excess estrogen
prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, gallstones ulcers, stabilise blood-sugar levels
maintain the immune system, heart health, promote intestinal bacteria, help with weight loss
*The soluble fibers mentioned slow the release of sugar in food, reducing the risk of diabetes.
I am not doing too well at the moment as I overdid it again. I tried to take on more than I should have because I was feeling energetic, and basically forgot I had MS altogether! I stopped going to bed early, didn’t sleep enough hours, skipped HBO therapy and stopped swimming and it has left me exhausted. Still, at least I know why I feel like this. My body has given me a serious wake-up call and I am already on the road to recovery.
Anyway, during one of my long rests, I read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. It is about the importance of greens in our diet. She explains that not all green vegetables can be considered ‘greens’. Greens contain amino acids – they are proteins as well as antioxidants, and so make a pretty complete food. The human jaw is no longer able to break them down sufficiently and so she recommends blending them into a smoothie, combined with fruit for a nice taste. Not just any blender though, she swears by Vitamix because of its high speed motor. A normal blender will blend the greens down only while its blades are sharp. Because of the speed of this specific blender, the sharpness of its blades are unimportant.
So, as if by fate, the second I mentioned to my partner that I’d done a search on amazon and it was so expensive he checked ebay and found a new one for much cheaper in the last two minutes of bidding! Now this wasn’t so much an impulse buy as it sounds as good friends of mine have been raving about this blender and telling me I should get one. Victoria Boutenko’s book pushed me to do it for real. I really recommend you read her book, it is eye-opening. She tells of how she, her family and many others have cured themselves of their illnesses with a green smoothie everyday. If you are thinking about going on a raw diet, or just trying to improve your health, this book will be very helpful. I who thought my diet was perfect, am about to make it even better!
So here begins my journey with green smoothies, I am just waiting for the arrival of my Vitamix to start. I might gradually stop taking the vitamins I take in the hope that my body is going to absorb them easily through these smoothies. I will keep you updated on how I get on as I go.