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 intestines 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 soluble 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.