My name is Kari, and I hate when people are picky eaters.
Okay. Now that that’s out on the table.
I don’t hate that you want to eat healthy, or not.
I hate when you order something with 5 different accommodations.
And for the last 5 months, I have been the pot calling the kettle black.
Rewind to about 7 months ago.
I follow a MS group on Facebook, and once a week they post these random questions. It asked, “New to MS? What questions do you have? Long time diagnosed? What advice could you give?”
For some reason, I was a little intrigued. So, I start trolling the advice..
(Now I should preface this article with the fact that many people had suggested this before. I’ve been sent the link to Dr. Wahls many times. I talked it through a few times with my PT, and we both decided that I just wasn’t ready to add in one more change at the time. There was so much going on, newly diagnosed, learning to walk again, getting my left side fine motors back, getting back to work, etc. a diet change would have been too much then. I still stand by that idea.)
So the advice…
Do yoga! Your body can’t thank you enough! .. Check! Yoga every morning!
Work out on the regular! Keep those muscles active! .. Check! Possibly a little obsessive about a gym routine.
Watch your sugar intake! Bad food can make symptoms flare! .. Umm, mostly check. I think I eat pretty decent.
Eat paleo! No processed foods! .. Kind of check? I try to not eat processed foods, but paleo? That shit’s a little intense, right?
Gluten free is the way to go! .. Now I’m just getting pissed!!
So pissed in fact, I start doing a little research.
And I’ll spare you all the information that I found during this research process (but really if you, or someone you know has MS or another autoimmune disorder, do the research!), but whoa!
Now all that research suggested some really wacky things! The wackiest being:
No cheese! (Ahh!)
No beans! (What about my daily canned green beans snack?!)
No sugar! (Dessert?! I love dessert!)
So I thought about it for a bit. And with the suggestion from Derek, I decided to give it a go. His advice made tons of sense, “obviously you feel better when you eat better, right? So what’s to hurt just trying it? Worst case, there is no difference.”
That made sense to me.
Even though I was still real pissed at myself for becoming one of those eaters.
Humbled and pride dented (story of my life for the last 12 months! But that’s a whole nother blog post!) I decided to give myself two months of paleo eating, and see how things went.
Long story short, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I hated everything for the first three weeks.
But I also wouldn’t be lying if I said that my body felt the best it had since September 30, 2013.
So, here I am a few more months along. I have quite a few new cookbooks, some good recipe ideas from family and friends and am feeling really good.
So. There it is. A big secret I’ve been keeping, because “judgey wudgey was a bear.” Right, Stanford? I want to scrutinize my decisions sometimes too. I know what you are thinking, and remember, I think about what other people think. I get it.
Here’s what I get the most:
Did it cure everything? Absolutely not. But I have noticed a considerable decrease in my MS fatigue. Decrease meaning it’s non existent. And the restless pain in my legs is practically gone as well.
Do I follow paleo strictly, 100% of the time? No. That would be too hard for me. I would say I follow the idea of paleo about 90% of the time. My most consistent non paleo foods are sushi when we are out, natural popcorn every now and then, a beer, or two, on the weekend and some pizza every once in awhile.
What have I noticed making the most impact? Without a doubt, processed sugar. It kills me. Which is sad, y’all. Cause sugar is in everything! I thought I would be giving up just desserts. But it’s in everything! And I notice right when it sneaks its way in somewhere. (And by sneaks, I mean when you are whining to your husband about your day, and in your moment of weakness you decide a Thelma’s ice cream sandwich will rid the day of shittiness. It won’t, by the way. It only makes things worse when you can’t get your body stretched out or comfortable that nite.)
Isn’t paleo a ton of meat? Don’t you hate meat? Yes and no. Yes, a lot of the recipes are meat dishes. But you know I love any kind of fish. And fortunately there are some great paleo fish recipes. And no, I’m trying not to hate meat anymore. (I’ll let that sink in for a minute.) Weird, I know. It is for me too. I’ve tried a few meat things recently (mostly just a few bites of Derek’s meat entrees). I certainly don’t love any of it. But I’m trying to be a little more open minded about it.
What about drinking? You love beer and vodka! Now you know I love me some adult beverages. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I felt so insanely terrible after drinking for the last year. Turns out, alcohol (and adult drinks in general) involve quite a bit of sugar. Sad news. Even sadder than trying meat. The truth is, it really isn’t worth feeling like you want to crawl out of your skin. Don’t you worry though, one Bloody Mary is still alright with me!
What do you eat? Really, I eat tons of things! Tons of veggies, fish, fruit (I didn’t cut natural sugar like fruit) or things made with those products. And let me tell you, people are real creative with natural ingredients! I made paleo pumpkin pancakes the other nite, and they were awesome!
And the million dollar question:
Do you really know why you are doing this? Mostly a question I have asked myself. So yeah, I’m a psychology major. The real reason is obviously control. Deep in my gut I know that having MS creates the potential for lots of situations involving my body and brain that I can’t control. And that’s hard for me. But knowing what makes me feel better, and being able to manage that in my own way (through my diet) offers me a little control over the disease, and right now I can’t pass that up.
That’s the honest, unprocessed, non sugar coated truth.