No MS Diet Miracles for Me, Thank You

No MS Diet Miracles for Me, Thank You


I’ve spent a lot of time lately around people following special diets. They’re either voluntarily cutting carbs, counting calories, following a diet plan, or fasting, but not because they have a medical condition. Mostly they diet to feel better, lose some weight, or reset their metabolism. I wish them well, even as I wish they’d keep their diets to themselves.

MS is not cured by diet

One of the first things people assume when they discover I have MS is that my condition is somehow diet-related. Either food is the root cause of MS, or diet is its first-line treatment, or what one eats can cure MS. All this, despite the fact that MS is not a metabolic disorder. Even though it’s an immune system disorder, there’s little evidence supporting restrictive diets as a way to reverse its course. Eating healthy may relieve our symptoms, but let me be frank; this is not the same as a cure.

Poor diet doesn’t cause MS; healthy eating can’t prevent MS

At my initial post-diagnosis visit, I asked my neurologist whether I needed a special “MS diet.” She only recommended that I eat healthy foods and practice healthy habits (i.e., drinking lots of water and avoiding junk food). It’s common sense stuff, really, that I’ve done my whole life. I grew up on back-yard garden vegetables. I’m a gourmet home cook, and make most things from scratch, or as close to it as I can. I grow herbs right outside my kitchen window.

I had my food sensitivities tested. The nutritionist confirmed that, except for some cow’s milk items, I’m not allergic or sensitive to food. I was cleared to eat healthy whole foods. That included breads, lean meats, and other so-called “bad foods.”

Then I started Tecfidera, and I discovered what other Tec users found — that I needed to consume a high-fat, high-protein meal with each dose to tolerate it best.

Even now, if I just have a quick bowl of oats in the morning (rather than a couple of eggs,) I pay a price for it later with GI distress and something called “flushing,” which is when the capillaries beneath the skin flush with blood. Flushing gives me a bright red complexion that lasts up to 30 minutes, with tingling, itching sensations along the tops of my feet, around my eyes, and inside my ear canals. Needless to say, I don’t enjoy these adverse effects, so I make sure I eat a robust meal with each dose.

Food may be your enemy, but it’s not mine

Food has become the “enemy” for so many. For those who’ve confirmed (through lab analysis) certain allergies, celiac disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, and other metabolic problems, I offer my sympathies. But food is not my enemy. I will eat a banana, even though it has carbs, because it prevents muscle cramps. And the eggs I eat for breakfast aren’t the enemy; they help metabolize my medications so I literally don’t spend the day on the toilet.

My brain and I thank those carbs, eggs and other so-called “problem” foods (peanut butter and kefir have been saviors) for making it possible to live a normal life.

For some reason, everyone wants to put me on a diet — either some mythic MS “cure,” or the diet they’re on currently. If it makes them feel better, then certainly it also will make me feel better.

“Wait,” I want to tell them, “I’ve been in remission for years. I already do feel better.” 

No miracle diets for me, thanks

I recently lunched with friends. Our group was joined by a new acquaintance. When she learned I had MS, she immediately scorned my choices. “Coffee is giving you adrenal fatigue,” she said, “and everyone knows wheat belly saps your energy.”

What fatigues me is not the food I’m eating; it’s the effort and energy it takes to educate others. It’s one reason why I stopped being a teacher.

Politely, I asked her, “Do you have brain damage?”

She gave a disconcerted blink.

I explained. A healthy brain burns tons of glucose. MS causes brain damage. A damaged brain requires even more glucose to maintain function. When the glucose is spent, fatigue results.

“But your diet still makes you tired,” she defended.

“Do you see a nutritionist?” I asked.

She shook her head no.

“I suggest you take up your argument with mine, then,” I said. And I sipped my coffee, and buttered a roll to go with my vegetable chili. That’s all the glucose I was willing to spend.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

32 comments

  1. Alex says:

    it’s critical to remember that different things work for different people because everyone has a unique biochemical makeup. while you don’t believe diet works for you, it may work to help put other people’s MS in remission. the recent ACRIMS conference this past weekend dedicated considerable time to investigating the role of the microbiome on disease progression — gut bacteria seems to matter and it’s directly affected by the food we eat (among other things). while it might not matter for you, gut health matters for others. i don’t think everyone needs to prove each other right or wrong bc treatment is a deeply personal choice, not a one size fits all. thanks for your perspective.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      I think if you read my commentary, you will see that I’m doing two things:

      1. I’m referring to people who DO NOT HAVE chronic illness, but who are promoting their own voluntary fad diet as a cure for my MS
      2. I’m basically saying that eating healthy makes everybody feel better (whether you have MS or not). But eating better to give yourself relief from some symptoms is not the same thing as a cure

      I would add that there is no scientific evidence that any particular diet for a person with MS will result in a cure; I would cast doubt on your assumption that special diets can even put MSers in remission.

      As a professional health educator, I am aware of both the ACTRIMS conference study and the advances being made in microbiome research, but until there are solid results over the long-term, we cannot put the cart before the horse. This research is young and needs time to prove itself out.

      Of course, it goes without saying that different things work for different people. I also don’t feel like anyone should have to defend their decision to diet (or not) because I agree that it is a tremendously personal decision. But that’s not how it happens in the real world. Having MS can make many of us the unwitting target of (well meaning?) healthy people.

      My commentary is in response to repeated efforts on people who are not doctors, nor do they suffer from chronic illness, forcing some regimen on others.

      These same people may, in fact, be doing damage to their health by following these diets blind. This is my nutritionist’s attitude about most low-carb diets, for instance.

      Sure, many people in our society eat way too many sugary foods (I am happy to report I have never been one of them). This does not mean that they will do better by casting aspersions on ALL carbs. Oatmeal, for instance, is an excellent whole grain food, providing fiber, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to overall health and wellness. People on low-carb diets, by eliminating an entire category from their diet, including oatmeal–and not just the obvious bad choices like cookies, soda, and doughnuts– may lose weight, but they may also miss out on the benefits of this very healthy food.

      My point is this: It’s, at the very least, bad manners for a casual acquaintance with zero health problems to make medical recommendations to someone who is chronically ill; at the very worst, this can be dangerous advice for those patients who do not have a full understanding of their disease course and cause.

      Many people with MS go on these restrictive diets because they are desperate and will opt for the magic bullet because they feel they have no other options. When it doesn’t work, they become more depressed and feel even more like a victim of their condition for having failed. That’s equally problematic, don’t you think?

        • Tamara Sellman says:

          Beth, first of all, THANK YOU for reading it! LOL, blogging is always a shot in the dark and we often don’t even know if people are reading what we write!

          I’m glad that, by speaking my mind, I am able to speak for yours, too. <3 That said, I don't mind critical comments and disagreements either because these are foundational to real human dialog, something to strive for constantly in the digital environs.

          Be well and keep up the fight against MS, however that looks like for you! Pax,

          Tamara

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Hi Kim
      Actually, I have. And my neurologist and nutritionist said there was no reason for me to go on either diet. I’ve been in remission for 4 years. Gofigger.
      Tamara

  2. Susan says:

    There is evidence supporting a restrictive diet for MS. The diet is the Swank MS Diet and was developed by Assoc. Professor in Harvard Neurology Dept. when he left to do clinical research for McGill Univ. in Montreal, CA. The results showed that the main thrust of the diet, reducing saturated fats to 15mg or less a day (and adding good fats in its place), could slow or halt the symptoms of MS. The study was stopped after five years because it was clear that it worked and did not need to be continued to prove it affects. Dr. Swank then worked in the clinical field of Neurology caring for MS patients for 30 years, following 3000 patients, and showed that patients following it can live a normal lifespan with mild or no disability. The diet does not reverse disability that occurred before the diet is begun.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Thanks for the info, though I’m not new to the idea of Swank (or any of the other diets). Besides having MS, I am a healthcare journalist, and have done my research.

      As for there being an official MS diet, I still can’t find anything truly endorsed by the NMSS. Despite what you’ve shared about Swank, let’s be fair: 5 years in one study that has not been replicated (except anecdotally, as far as I’m aware) is not enough to scientifically prove out a diet as effective in halting or slowing disease progression. As a healthcare journalist, I want to see the evidence, so until then, I’m going to remain skeptical. This is the only “position paper” I have on file that’s related to dietary recommendations from the NMSS:

      https://www.nationalmssociety.org/NationalMSSociety/media/MSNationalFiles/Documents/Momentum/momentum_fall08_msdiet.pdf

      Please remember that this post was not about MS diets as much as it was a post about healthy people burdening PWMS with their misinformed ideas about how to treat a disease they don’t even have.

      I actually discussed going on restrictive diets (including Swank, MacDougall, and Wahls) with both my neurologist and nutritionist (who are both part of my MS team). This was 4 years ago.

      Neither of them would recommended *anything* restrictive. In a Saturday brown-bag seminar for new patients, that position was echoed by them before the patients and their families after someone else raised the discussion.

      I suspect I was steered away from a restrictive diet because I’m already eating a diet low in saturated fat as well as the good fats (have done this my whole life). I’ve only needed to cut out a few choice cow’s milk products, but that’s because I have a slight milk allergy.

      It was their shared opinion that it was too restrictive a diet for someone with a milder case of RRMS (me). I do not have disability or issues with gait or ambulation; most of my problems are cognitive or otherwise “invisible.” From their perspective, they felt it would create more stress for the payoff than it would be worth. If I were “sicker” or progressing more quickly, maybe their advice would be different. Or maybe not.

      That is probably the bigger factor to weigh in all this: just how much will one gain from a restrictive diet? Will it be worth it?

      4 years later, I’m still in remission. (shrug)

  3. Eden says:

    Thank you Susan!!! Yes I definitely agree with you!! Swank diet is the best. Living a healthy for the most part normal life for ten years on swank diet. Also on colpaxion. I might have MS but it doesn’t own me. Please be as positive as much as you can. Thank goodness we live in 2017 where MS wasn’t what is was 30 years ago. Good luck everyone ?

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      I’m glad that it works for you, Eden.

      And thank goodness, indeed! MS has many better treatment options today than it did 30 years ago. It’s likely I had my first symptoms at age 10, which was in 1975. Back then, they didn’t even really have a name for it!

  4. Chris says:

    But why do healthy individuals, that have nothing better to do (or cook), insist that their tasteless meals would help with autoimmune?

    Do they promote their stuff to psoriasis or arthritics? To type 1 diabetic children?

    Why don’t they have the common sense to shut up?

    Why don’t they shame talk to very obese, sedentary, type 2 diabetic couch potatoes?

    PS: are these people the same that argue against insulin use, just because the “heard” it’s bad for hyperglycemic people?

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Good question, Chris. The behavior’s not just directed toward people with autoimmune disorders, but to people living with all kinds of chronic illness, cancer, allergies. You name it. I know the same shame talk *DOES* happen to people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. I think that for some people, it is their way of being helpful… it may make them feel better to believe they are helping. Others are just ignorant and were not taught good manners 🙂

  5. Julie says:

    Very helpful article. I too have MS and have been in remission for almost 7 years and am not on a special diet other than eating healthy. YES, regulating what you eat can help SOME people with their SYMPTOMS but it doesn’t cure MS and it doesn’t work (or need to work) for everyone. I find it amusing that people after reading this article take the time to explain to the writer that just b/c it doesn’t work for her doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for others. YES, she knows that, this is what she is telling YOU! She doesn’t need your special MS diets and is asking you to respect her choices just like she respects yours. She knows her body best and it’s just plain rude to insert yourself into someones personal choices. Why is it so hard for people to give what they demand of others?

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      You’re a gem, Julie. Thanks for writing.

      I do think that, for some, eating healthy really has been such a lifesaver in terms of symptom relief that people can’t help but want to evangelize what has worked for them. I’m down with sharing that, but you’re question at the end is really spot on. I don’t think most people really enjoy getting unrequested advice or being told there is only one right way to do something, regardless the situation.

      Congrats on 7 years of remission! Here’s to at least 7 more!

      Tamara

    • Lorri Redmon says:

      Amen! We know our bodies and ability/willingness to stick to some of these very restrictive and difficult food regimes! Thank you Tamara for this article and saying what a lot of us are afraid to say “out there”.

      • Tamara Sellman says:

        Thanks for writing, Lorri. In general, I think many MS docs don’t subscribe to restrictive/difficult dietary regimens because they add a considerable layer of stress to one’s life… and stress is something people with MS are supposed to avoid, right?

        Best wishes,
        Tamara

  6. Gwen Hamer says:

    I was told by someone that the diet coke I was drinking probably cause my MS. Never mind that I didn’t taste diet coke until I was in my teens and MS is thought to be triggered by a virus or similar in childhood.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Hi Gwen
      I know, crazy, right? The urban legend/conspiracy theory part of diets and illness is an ongoing barrier, as so many people are still so gullible about what they read and hear. Diet Coke has been the cause of virtually every major health problem, if one were to believe the rumors. I was also told that it was not the DC in the US but the stuff manufactured in China! For these people (if they are strangers, anyway), I tend to politely thank them for their concern and let it drop. Some people aren’t interested in being educated and as a PWMS I only have so many spoons, as they say…
      Have a great day Gwen!
      Tamara

  7. Marianne Chumbris says:

    I feel the same way about the medication for MS. I opted not to take the medication. I’ve had MS for over 30 yrs…officially diagnosed in 1999! I eat healthy and feel healthier than I’ve ever felt! There are those people who claim that I’ve made the wrong choice.. I’ve had neurologists tell me I’m wasting their time because I chose not to take the drugs. If they ever come out with one that actually cures MS then I will consider it!

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Thanks for your comment, Marianne.

      This is a really good point that supports the idea that what works for one might not work for another.

      One of my dearest friends is someone who was DXed with MS in the early 1980s (the days of “Diagnose, then Adios,” as the saying goes). She has gone on to become a wildcrafter and herbalist as well as a scratch cook. In addition, she’s a lightworker, clergy, and hospice/caregiver all rolled into one. She’s doing great, though I know she’s also experienced periods of fatigue. Whether that is due to her MS or to the challenges of her work, who can say?

      I would never tell her that she should take medications, and when I was diagnosed, she never once suggested I NOT take them (I use Tecfidera plus a cocktail of supplements that I worked out with my nutritionist).

      When she was DXed, they didn’t even really have anything to offer her, so of course, her path to wellness was one she worked very hard to carve out for herself.

      As for me, I’m a healthcare journalist and tend to cleave to science-based evidence because that is my nature. And that is working for me.

      We both have similar ideas about what constitutes healthy food, too, so we mostly follow a similar regime that’s consistent with whole foods, organic whenever possible, etc.

      I do also think that, because she’s an avid meditator, that has also served her supremely well.

      All this to say that each journey is unique and individual and that it would be more supportive for all of us with MS (or chronic illness in general) if we were to simply listen and choose without feeling pressure to do this or that or the other. There can be many different right approaches but they depend on us being intentional and open-minded.

      That’s unfortunate that you have neuros who would say that you are wasting their time. That’s hardly a best practice designated by the Hippocratic Oath… Although in their defense, they tend to want to pull out all the artillery because insurance demands proof of improved patient outcomes and using drugs is the easiest approach to achieve that. Doctors, these days, don’t really get a chance to practice medicine without insurance companies and Medicare second-guessing every decision they make. I worked in a healthcare setting for a couple of years recently and this was hugely evident.

      Anyway, good to hear you are doing well, Marianne, keep up the good work!

      Tamara

    • Mary Holmstrand says:

      Amen Marianne!! D.C. A year ago and I could not wrap my scientific clinician mind around these drugs that have no clearly defined mechanisms of action except to alter my defense system from doing their job!! I did try Copaxone for 1 month and it was the worst month since dx. So I stopped and continued my faith, healthy eating and fitness. I had sudden rt side paralysis from a tumerfactive MS lesion-large Like a tumor! But I had not been dx ever before and no symptoms. My gut instinct is to follow my plan. And I know it’s working because I get better every day and lesion smaller. Only time will tell but it’s a better quality of life than drugs and side effects. Every neurology doc practices fear mongering. They just don’t want to hear an alternative approach that can’t be cited in a research journal. Besides, they will discover in another 10 yrs this is pathogen triggered. I’m making my metabolic internal environment less pathogen inhabitable!!ll.

      • Tamara Sellman says:

        Hi Mary
        You wrote “Every neurology doc practices fear mongering. They just don’t want to hear an alternative approach that can’t be cited in a research journal.” Just wanted to say that this probably isn’t a fair statement, but more of a sweeping generalization. My MS specialist has a naturopath and a nutritionist on her team, and she has never said anything bad about diets, just that I probably didn’t need to go there. There probably not enough MS doctors out there who are comfortable in that in-between space, but they do exist.

        Tamara

  8. Nicci says:

    I and my mother have MS. I tried being on the Swank diet and got very depressed and lots of guilt feelings because I have had multiple relapses and it wasn’t working thought it must be me! However, my mother has had MS for 30 years, and her only treatment has been 5 lots of steroids. She eats lots of ‘all the wrong foods’ – if she had been on the OMS/Swank diets she would of said ‘see, the diet is stopping me from having bad relapses etc…’ however, she has just had a reasonably benign course to her disease anyway. Good luck to her! I have been on several medications, and I am more disabled in 2 years than she is in 30. I have been eating a very healthy diet, but I am no longer doing OMS as it upsets other problems. I also found it near impossible to be on with Tecfidera as far as symptoms go, I suffered a lot, unnecessarily. I mean if you want to and can do OMS and feel it helps, fine, but don’t make the rest of us feel guilty and like we ‘want’ to be really sick everyone is doing there best. The research is scant and poor about that diet, its not been rigorous academically. The pool of people from the lastest ‘research’ were all on the diet voluntarily. I think you would find that if you could ask every person who has MS if they had been on the diet and if it had helped them, you would find people with more active MS are no longer on it as they realise it doesn’t work, and people with more benign MS are on it because they think its the diet thats doing it for them. Who knows. We can only play poker with our own cards not everyone elses – and at the end of the day, nobody will ever know if their choices helped their MS or whether it was just how it was going to be.I thought this was a really well balanced article thanks.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Nicci
      I’m sorry your have two cases of MS in your family! At least you have a built-in support system with each other. And you understand, first hand, how each case is different. You make some great points here that underline the reality that there are so many factors that go into treatment for a snowflake disease like MS that it’s really useless to impose a one-size-fits-all approach. You are right, we can only play poker with our own cards. I appreciate your support and thanks for sharing your story. Good luck to you and your mother!

      Tamara

  9. Freya says:

    Thank you for this article, it expresses what I feel perfectly! I was diagnosed with RRMS and was instantly told by two neurologists that I didn’t need to follow any specific diet other than a healthy one. But the endless comments about diets that have helped others / I should follow from well meaning friends and strangers made me feel depressed and like I must have done something wrong up to now to trigger my MS. I too take Tecfidera and it is great to read your experience of having to eat decent meals with fats and proteins; precisely my experience! I’m happy that others have found diets that work for them but like you, I think the advice from non-MSers is unhelpful and maybe even damaging.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Freya,
      Thanks for your comment! We are not alone in this predicament, I see. Just… don’t be depressed about it. You can’t trigger MS by eating a certain food, regardless what people think. What we choose to eat can either make us feel worse (not the same as a flareup) or it can make us feel better (not the same as a cure). I find that when I eat Halloween candy I am pretty sorry about it the next day, so I don’t do that except at Halloween. And I find that when I eat lots of broccoli or oatmeal or nuts, I feel WAYYYY better… even more so if I drink all the water I’m supposed to. We all have foods that make us feel better or worse, and these are going to be different for every person. Like anything else, it’s about honoring what works for you, which would be simple if people didn’t try to disrupt that with their (usually) unrequested advice.

      I hope the Tec keeps treating you well! Best wishes,
      Tamara

  10. Stephen McChrystal says:

    This shows how we are all different. I have PPMS and do not appear to be affected by any sort of diet. I choose healthy low carb foods because it gives me control. But with my condition, I think I deserve to have whatever I feel like so bacon butties can sometimes enter the fold although the bread and brown sauce are both homemade. There is also the issue of weight gain. Being slimmer helps me feel better about myself. I think it’s important for everyone to talk or write about what makes them feel better. We need all the positives against this condition.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Thanks for writing Stephen.

      We need all the positives against this condition.

      EXACTLY. Which is hard to achieve when people seem to think one’s chronic illness is an invitation for them to give you their super special healthcare advice based entirely on nothing relevant to me. 😉

      Eating smart for overall good health is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, and as far as I know, that means using common sense, not extreme restrictions.

      Tonight, I am looking forward to a pot of navy beans and greens with pork knuckle and homemade cornbread. It’s much too cold this March for anything else, and I’ll go to bed feeling warm and cozy and cared for. I usually reserve this for when I’m sick (in the ordinary, colds-and-flu sense of the term). Yet I have survived this season thus far without any viruses, which is miraculous (knock on wood). So I’m going to do it for the sheer comfort and restoration.

      There are folks who would tell me this dinner menu is wrought with bad choices, all the same. I’ve got nothing for them except a bowl of goodness, as there are bound to be leftovers!

      Best,
      Tamara

  11. Kacie says:

    Amen to this: ‘The urban legend/conspiracy theory part of diets and illness is an ongoing barrier, as so many people are still so gullible about what they read and hear.’ I’m tired of defending myself against advise from people around me that are ‘trying to help’. Some of them seem to want to be ‘the one’ that finds a cure for me rather than really having the right intentions. One of the worst was a friend who kept badgering me to take ‘bee venom’ because she read it would cure M.S. No matter how many times I told her that I have a deadly allergy to bee venom, she persisted. I’ve also had people preach the McDougall diet and similar diets ad nauseum.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      I wish there was more that could be done about it, Kacie. But I think it would require a huge systemic improvement in both media literacy and health literacy, and just where does one begin to do this, and how long will it take? It’s exhausting to think about how much work it would take to adequately educate so many, which is, I suppose, the reason why our jobs as PWMS really depend on us to educate those around us. Not that we don’t have enough to do already… but it does seem like people with chronic illness also have the additional burdens of practicing self advocacy to survive the system, as well as the task of enlightening others. But I hear you and hope I’ve empowered you in some way.

      Stay strong!
      Tamara

  12. BillD999 says:

    While I share your frustration with the smugness of some people who offer their unwelcome expertise on dietary matters, I have to say that your article is slightly tainted with what I call the smugness of those in remission. I am happy for you and hopefully your MS remains in remission, but if it doesn’t and you find yourself on Amazon looking at walkers (rollators?) your perspective may change on the issue of diet and you may find yourself more open minded.
    I know that you correctly pay lip service to the principle “what works for one might not work for another,” but you also seem dismissive of a dietary approach because it is not a “cure.” As you know that there is no cure for MS, all the available treatments are either disease modifying therapies or they treat symptoms. Should we be as dismissive of exercise, simply because it is not a “cure?”
    As a healthcare journalist, you should know the difficulty of designing and verifying clinical studies related to diet. This, in addition to the extreme variety of MS symptoms from one individual to another make it very difficult to determine scientifically one particular diet. And there may not be one. I think there is sufficient evidence that certain diets have helped some people to take it seriously. It may not work for everyone, just as medications do not work for everyone. But I would never advise someone not to take their med just because it didn’t work for me.
    Having said all that I should say that I have been impressed by Dr Wahls’ research and I have followed her diet fairly strictly for over a year and I believe it has helped slow the progression of my SPMS, although it is no cure and she does not present it as such. My neurologist supports me and is not at all dismissive of diet. His view is that more people might benefit from dietary and lifestyle change but most just don’t stick with them and find them too difficult.
    In this day and age we want a pill for everything that ails us, and food as medicine is slow, painstaking, with no guarantee of success.

    • Tamara Sellman says:

      Hi Bill

      Sorry you feel this way.

      Please keep in mind (and maybe reread the article to confirm) that my comments aren’t pointed at other people with MS, but at people without MS at all. That might help you better understand the point of the post. Sometimes you can read a headline and miscalculate the content. You seemed to have missed my main points.

      I’m sorry you have SPMS but please don’t level your anger at me for calling out others on this important subject. I’d invite you to hold your own POV in check. I’m fully aware that not everybody is in remission, and that some people have much more mild or more severe cases than I do. You seem to be pretty angry with me that I am in remission, and that isn’t exactly a healthy way to be part of a community where everyone’s case is so extremely different from the other. It’s not a competition to see who has it best or worst, after all. It’s not a competition at all, except for the race to remyelinate or otherwise halt this disease in its tracks.

      Also, please remember that I have RRMS. Because you and I have different kinds of MS, you may be comparing apples to oranges here. That’s like comparing a cyclist with a vanpool driver and saying they share the same road maintenance schedules. I’ve probably had MS for over 40 years, and I still have RRMS, so my prognosis is also going to be different from yours. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It just makes me different than you.

      If you read the article… my neuro and naturopath both agreed my diet at time of diagnosis was just fine. In fact, they are not “dismissive of diet” as you assume. I went to see a nutritionist who is part of my MS team. That is hardly being dismissive. They just felt that, in my particular case, it was not something to labor over because I was already doing my part.

      Finally, I have not advised anybody to NOT go on any diet in this piece. Did you read the article? I also do not advise for or against exercise, for or against DMDs. If you read my words as smug, I can’t help that, but I’ve hardly dismissed anybody or anything beyond the nonMS person foisting their dietary experiments unfairly my way.

      Yes, I am aware that there is very little research on diet and MS because it is absolutely impossible to get replicable results. This is why Wahls etc will never be more than an ongoing personal experiment for all who partake. Which is ironic, because many who choose to only use diet as treatment and eschew DMDs accuse those people of being guinea pigs. We’re all just guessing, truthfully. But science does have one benefit: it can show results over time. While diets leave us, really, with just anecdotes to support claims, medications at least have a track record in clinical research that’s objective and quantifiable. I wish we could do the same with nutrition supplements, frankly.

      Ultimately, my post comes down to this: When someone WITHOUT MS tries to shame me over a lunch choice at a social gathering, I’m going to call it out. And I’m going to write about it here because I am not alone in the dietary shaming of people with chronic illness.

      I remain firm that diets aren’t ever going to “cure” MS, nor is exercise. This presumes that MS is caused by some kind of lifestyle choice that we could have prevented. I know lifelong vegans who have MS, how can anybody explain that?

      Listen, we should all be ambassadors for the approaches that work for us, but that means also respecting a wide variety of approaches for easing symptoms. I advocate for doing what works for you, of course. But your mileage may vary. Diet (and exercise) will most certainly make some people feel much better, as well as medications. And as I’ve already said in my article, if that’s the case, then go for it! But don’t hold it over someone’s head if they aren’t urged in that direction. It might simply be due to the fact they are already eating right.

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