Welcome, all those who found their way here from Dr Terry Wahls’ Facebook mention of my post on the metabolic hypothesis of MS from three years ago.
Two brief clarifications about Dr Corthals’ paper:
- It does not say that the immune system is not involved in MS—it is—but that the root of the problem is in the metabolism of lipids.
- It does not suggest that all animal fat is bad or that changing one’s diet will cure any individual’s MS.
In my opinion, diet will not cure anyone of multiple sclerosis. But I do think that it’s a vital part of our MS treatment.
My diet, which is eccentric and tailored to my individual food sensitivities, is neither perfect nor medically supervised:
- low on carbohydrates (I avoid grains, for example—especially corn/maize—and only eat very high (85%) cocoa chocolate which is relatively low in sucrose, and then only once a day, and only a bit, immediately after lunch)
- low on dairy (butter and cream are fine for high days and holidays; cultured dairy—cheese, sour cream, yoghurt —upsets my internal economy horribly so I don’t touch it). Though weirdly, crème fraiche in small amounts seems to be okay, as is lightly-cultured butter. Why? No idea.
- medium-low on legumes and pulses; I like them but they don’t really agree with me
- low on fruit (I eat a bit of apple in salad, and berries sometimes after dinner—always fresh, never dried—and I avoid those fruits I know I have a problem with: bananas, strawberries, melons etc)
- eggs less than once a day (they’re mostly okay but I’ve learnt to not go overboard)
- very low on omega-6 containing foods
- very high on omega-3 containing foods (I make sure they’re also low in omega-6; I choose my nuts carefully, for instance: macadamia or pistachio)
- high on animal protein—grass-fed rather than grain-fed (lamb and beef), or free-range (chickens that eat insects etc rather than grains) or wild (salmon, trout, mackerel); and, oh, it’s got to be fresh!
- high on leafy vegetables (cabbage and brussel sprouts, cauliflower, salad greens)
- once a day (dinner, usually) for brightly-coloured starchy vegetables (carrots, rutabaga, beets)
- zero high-fructose corn syrup
- zero tomatoes—this is a personal sensitivity like fermented dairy and may or may not apply to you; at first I thought it was all nightshades but, nope, mainly tomato
- zero coconut oil/butter—it makes me seriously unwell
- two cups of caffeinated tea (no milk, no sugar) a day
- lots of herb teas (and one decaffeinated Irish breakfast tea after dinner)
- beer and wine before dinner every day, usually (but not nearly always!) in moderate amounts; but, oh, it better not be new red wine
Everyone tells me that this last is a Very Bad Idea for someone with MS. I’m sure they’re right. Every now and again I spend a few weeks without alcohol, and it’s, y’know, okay, but I’m simply happier when I’m able to drink. So that’s my vice.
Generally, if I have to have sugar, I privilege sucrose over fructose (and in terms of fruit, the whole is better than juice). I aim for an overwhelming omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. And I avoid tomato, coconut oil, and cheese like the plague.
I eat three meals a day. When I snack, I try to eat nuts (macadamia when I can get them, pistachio otherwise).
I’ll talk about exercise and dietary supplements and pharmaceutical treatment another time.