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New Year, Healthy Eating

Fitted

Thursday January 08 2015 10:02 AM

Each New Year sees me making a list of resolutions that I end up forgetting about after a week. Usually things like “I’ll make my bed as soon as I get up”, “I’ll get to the bottom of the laundry basket”, and (the old favourite) “I’ll stop eating crisps and biscuits and stick to healthy, nutritious meals”. It’s usually a half-hearted attempt, I am a lazy lump when it comes to housework and love nothing more than sitting on the couch with a packet (or two) of crisps.

Over the last few months however, I’ve become more interested in eating healthier. If you Google “MS and diet” a lot of results pop up linking what we eat to symptom management and progression. It can be overwhelming to see all the different websites, and knowing where to start, but I spent some time going through it.

To be honest, the large amount of information was off-putting to me. So much so that I nearly avoided it altogether. It seemed that not only would I have to cut down on the junk I was eating, I’d have to learn a lot about fats and oils and supplements. It was easier for me to carry on eating as I was than try to get to grips with such an overhaul of my diet. I know a lot of people with MS have seen results from following a more restricted diet, and I can’t discredit their experiences, but it just wasn’t for me.

I took some time away from it and had a little think about what I wanted to achieve. I had to look at my overall health and wellbeing, not just my MS. Am I not always saying, “I am more than MS”? By that same reckoning, shouldn’t my diet also be about more than MS?

I figured that I needed to eat better to live better. Lose a bit of weight, look after my entire body. Just because I have MS doesn’t exclude me from developing other illnesses. After a bit of pondering, I decided I’d improve my diet for me and not for my MS and, if my symptoms became more manageable as a result, it would be a bonus.

So from November I followed a simple eating plan. I made an effort to cut back on processed foods and started making more from scratch. Nothing fancy now - I can rustle up a stir-fry or bolognaise or soup, but you won’t be getting a three-course homemade meal if you call for your dinner. I won’t pretend that I stuck to the diet every day, but I was determined to do my best.

I also did a detox for a week and cleared my system. I got into a routine of sticking to three meals a day, and not picking in between. In the run up to Christmas I felt good, had lost a bit of weight and liked what I was eating. I relaxed over my time off work and overindulged a bit (a LOT). I thoroughly enjoyed myself but by the new year I was ready to get back to my diet.

Eating well makes me feel well and when I feel well I am able to get through the harder MS days. I have many plans for 2015, some for myself and some with friends and family. I intend to be as healthy and fit as I can be so I can experience everything I have planned to do. If that means fewer crisps on the sofa and more strolls with the dog, I think I can live with that. I don’t think I’ll ever get all the laundry done, though!

I can’t claim to have this diet thing cracked, I am sure I am doing certain things “wrong”, but I know I am looking after myself better than I was before. Thanks for reading, I look forward to your comments.

Niamh

Author: Niamh McCarron

Tags: niammccarron, msandme, healthyeating, newyear

Comments

Declan

Thursday January 08 2015 11:44

Great read. I tried a few MS diets and only succeeded in losing weight. Your're right, do it for you not the MS.

Julie

Thursday January 08 2015 21:40

Thanks, this is really interesting, Niamh. It's a really personal decision, and so important not to feel you're depriving yourself of anything. MS dominates our decisions enough as it is.

I follow what I'd describe as OMS (from Overcoming MS by George Jelinek) Lite. I basically obey the rules, but allow myself to eat some vegan chocolate, the odd chip and the occasional waffle (I'm currently living in Belgium, so these are compulsory), along with my mum's mince pies and Christmas pudding (also compulsory). I'm gradually following the OMS approach more and more, mainly because I feel so healthy on it, but it's been at my own pace.

My neurologist advised me to eat healthily, but didn't advocate any particular diet, take Vitamin D and exercise as much as possible, as a complement to any decision to take medication. I think diet definitely plays a role, but MS is so unique for everyone that we all have to find our own way. Your way sounds pretty good!

Joan Jordan

Wednesday January 14 2015 09:24

Great read Niamh. You have a great approach. When can I call for dinner?

breda.merity

Monday January 26 2015 23:33

Niamh a balanced holistic read, I too focus on healthier living yes what we put into our bodies affects our total well-being not only M.S
significant in terms of health/well-being is the total ban on all refined sugar (still eat a lot of fruit) and i began studying Trad. Chinese Medicine which provides a rethink on health matters and using acupuncture for ailments is a wow factor and has wonderful outcomes.
Stay Well and you are a great tonic for applying focus not fads well done.

Cheers,
Breda

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