Monday, July 6, 2015

Magazine Monday: On Diet

a past CSA share from my awesome CSA farm
Diet and its potential role in causing/treating MS is a controversial topic, and one that tends to make me somewhat angry. Why? The various diets are generally presented as amazing miracle cures, yet there are always plenty of people who try the diet and it does nothing for them. Also, the core aspects of many of the popular diets are EXACTLY HOW I'VE ALWAYS EATEN! Yet, along came MS anyway. Perhaps if I ate a typical American crappy diet full of processed foods and lots of meat my MS would be much worse? Or maybe diet doesn't have the HUGE role in MS that some of the devotees of various diets would have us believe. Don't get me wrong - I certainly believe diet plays a significant role in our overall health and well being, I just question how much of an impact it can have on MS in particular.

The Fall 2014 issue of MS Focus featured interviews with 2 of the popular MS diet leaders. The Wahls Protocol, led by Dr. Terry Wahls comes with a pretty remarkable story. Dr. Wahls gave a TEDs talk about how her extensive research and then overhaul of her diet took her from having to use a zero-gravity chair and dealing with severe fatigue and brain fog and being considered secondary-progressive to pretty much regaining all of her abilities. Her diet is based on the Paleo diet, but goes beyond it by adding and carefully tracking 36 vitamins, minerals, fats, and antioxidants. The diet consists largely of leafy greens, sulfurous veggies, deeply pigmented foods, grass-fed meat, wild fish, and seaweed. The fact that she is a doctor and did so much extensive research and continues to test her diet extensively gives this diet more credence. However, I'm skeptical about its powers. That she could go from point A to point B just from eating this way (though she also did other things, like neuromuscular electrical stimulation) seems pretty unbelievable. Not that it happened for her, exactly, but just the idea that the diet would produce this same kind of effect in others. I'll continue to follow this, and I am curious to read her book, but I need some convincing to jump on this bandwagon. I've got the veggie side more than covered, but I eat almost no meat and I'm also not a fan of most fish and seaweed. I also eat whole grains, which aren't a part of her plan. I'd be willing to give this diet a try, if I am convinced by the book and/or further research.

The second diet discussed is Dr. John McDougall's diet. I'm pretty sure that he is not an MS patient himself. This diet is in many ways the opposite of the Wahls Protocol, in that starches (beans, corn, sweet potatoes, rice) are hugely important. The diet is generally vegetarian, and also involves eating plenty of veggies and some fruits. He's also done plenty of research and has led over 10,000 patients in it. His studies show significant positive impact on reduction of fatigue, in particular. There is no evidence to support the idea that this diet reduces disability or shows changes on MRI. This is the interview that really pissed me off, because this diet is pretty much exactly how I eat and have eaten since before I got MS. McDougall goes so far as to basically suggest that eating poorly causes MS, calling it a disease of food poisoning! I can't even begin to tell you how upset this statement makes me!! This diet is great, and good for your overall health, yes. That this diet causes and can treat and "reverse" MS is total BS.

P.S. Posts 2 days in a row? Woah, will this trend continue?! Time will tell.

1 comment:

Garrett said...

Hey it's nice to see you posting stuff on here again.

I agree with your post, to say that the way people eat causes MS seems pretty silly to me.