Life After Whole30: Nutrition and MS

Life After Whole30: Nutrition and MS

Jennifer Silver Linings

Last month, I challenged myself to conquer Whole30: 30 days of no gluten, grain, dairy, sugar, or sulfites. Forty days later, I am proud to say I not only survived, I thrived.

I am still thriving.

Friends have long been touting the merits of adopting a synonymous eating plan. I would hear personal accounts of triumph and transformation before retreating to the safety of my pantry. Oh, how I loved the pantry. Everything that was anything good lived there, and so did I. The path of least resistance, the road to denial, and freeway to feeling good began and ended at the pantry. Until May 15, 2018. I dared to believe in myself and the possibility that I could exact change.

And I did just that.

Thirty days without my pantry. Thirty days of fresh, nutritious, and wholesome food. Thirty days of three meals, zero snacking, and strict adherence. Thirty days without Starbucks. Thirty days of journaling what I ate, how I felt, what went well each day, and what I could improve upon. Thirty days of living without opening the pantry door. Not even once.

Life is about doing what scares you. Overcoming challenges builds confidence and opens your mind to future possibilities you may not have otherwise considered.

I am on day 40 and have decided to permanently eliminate dairy, artificial sweeteners, and gluten. There are trace amounts of sugar in many seemingly innocuous foods, but I will stay away from sugary foods as a whole.

After day 30, it is encouraged to reintroduce one previously eliminated food at a time to see how your body reacts. I introduced soy this week because I missed my Starbucks soy latte (priorities). Choosing not to include the usual sugar-infused syrup and Splenda was liberating. I like it better! One month without both retrained my palate to enjoy things naturally.

Join our MS News Today forums and share your favorite diet plans.

I know many of you are wondering how I feel. Answering this is a challenge, as I have a substantial degree of pain and fatigue all day, every day. Nevertheless, I feel confident and clear-headed. More importantly, my blood pressure went from midrange to textbook and I have lost 14 pounds. I have noticed that swelling around my joints has also diminished. I had always attributed it to osteoarthritis. While this may be true, my eating habits exacerbated it. My skin tone is better, and I look healthier. I am motivated, incentivized, and encouraged by these and look forward to more health benefits as I continue eating clean.

Momentum is an interesting phenomenon, and one that builds upon itself. The more I stay on track, the more I want to continue. I have since chosen to stay with a paleo-type plan, one that incorporates tenants of Whole30 I have now adopted as a lifestyle.

A lifestyle. I’m still mind-blown at who I have become as a result of finally believing in myself. Faith in ourselves must sometimes begin with a physical step in the direction of our dreams. Behavior modification follows action-steps, and you have the ability to make your dreams a reality.

I look forward to seeing how my newfound habits positively affect disease manifestation. I choose to believe they will.

My clothes are becoming looser with each passing day. I look forward to replenishing my wardrobe with fun, flattering alternatives, but my closet might not be big enough.

Perhaps I can use that pantry after all.

***

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.

21 comments

  1. Katherine says:

    WOW what an inspirational message to us all !! Inspired is what I am !! I too am a sugar fiend even though sugar is known to feed the pain and degrades healthiness.. I have begun eating the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day I take a multi-vitamin and Vitamin D along with Biotin (to help combat the drug treatments side affects) and have found it’s working – but I can see it’s time to take this to the next level … I can do this !!! Thank you for sharing and inspiring it is encouraging to know we can fight back!! xoxo

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      It is always eye-opening to discover that which we can do to better ourselves. Good for you on eating more fruits and vegetables m, it’s amazing whT we can to to manage this disease.

      Thanks so much for your kind words,jenn

  2. Dave Mitri says:

    I’m impressed that you stuck to this plan. Good for you. Maybe I will do the same thing. Thanks for the article.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Thanks so much, it was eye opening. Hopefully the benefits will continue and will be replicated for you.

      Kindly,
      Jenn

  3. Brenda says:

    Cutting out such nutrients as gluten when you have no problem is nonsense. We grab at anything to help when we suffer from ms. Just cutting out sugar will help inflammation which helps ms
    If the drug companies didn’t insist in charging enough to buy themselves new expensive cars, etc. Etc. And did genetic modification we would be cured. They don’t want to cure ms. It’s a money grab.
    Look at cancer, those scientists are motivated by a different ideology.cure.ms not so much that’s why your dr says if you want to try a diet, they look at it and say it won’t hurt you.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Thanks so much for your input.

      My doctor did not recommend this, I decided to get healthier and it’s helping me attain that goal.

      I’m happy you found something that works for you.

      All the best,
      Jenn

  4. Lena Kikukawa says:

    Ok, please tell me what the Whole 30 is! I have MS and would love to try this. Yes please!

    Lena Kikukawa

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      It would be helpful to check out their website at whole30.com – it’s a 30 day nutritional reset. No sugar, grains, dairy, gluten or sulfites.

      Thanks!
      Jenn

  5. Jeff says:

    I’m firmly (fanatically?) in the camp that the modern western diet is the most significant perpetuation of our modern ills; MS in my case. About four years ago I decided to take control of what went into me. I even went so far as trying the Whals diet (shudder), and I even tried gluten free.

    Quickly accepting that this was not the panacea for my issues I simply adopted the basic Mediterranean diet. I cut out ALL sugar, and all fast food, and all the chemical laden prepackaged foods and antibiotic saturated animal products the stores are so happy to sell. (When you realize that all of that food is sold in the only interest of making a profit for someone else you have to accept that you are selling your well being for convenience.)

    I improved my cooking skills; I learned to taste what I liked, not what some comercial tried to convince me tasted good. Ask yourself if anything ever lives up to its TV advertisement? Or is it just eye candy after your hard earned cash?

    It took a little while, but it slowly crept up on me that I just felt good! And feeling good is great! Saved a ton of money too!

    PS My Internist has also adopted the Med diet and he says he feels better also! What a concept!

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Fantastic!! What an enormous undertaking with wonderful results!

      I have now moved to a Mediterranean/paleo type diet and it has been truly eye opening. I have learned to prep and cook and educate myself on all things nutrition.

      Stay well!
      Jenn

  6. Sue Stout says:

    I have had MS since 2008 and have recently went to progressive MS. I was wondering if you could give me an idea of some of the stuff you ate. Thank you. Have a blessed day

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Hi Sue!

      Gosh, it’s more about what I didn’t eat. Check out whole30.com for the parameters.

      I ate fattest vegetables, meat, fruits and eliminated anything processed, gluten, grain, dairy, sugar and sulfites. Sulfites are in many foods and create inflammation.

      Hope this helps!
      Jenn

  7. Mark says:

    Not surprising, there has been lots of research on this topic over the last 10 years that explains why the immune system improves when inflammatory foods are avoided. Glad you tried it and kept on it!

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      I refused for so long, until I really had to pull my own weight (no pun intended).

      Thanks so much!
      Jenn

  8. LuAnn says:

    I am pleased to see that others are finding improvement in MS symptoms with dietary changes. It takes determination to maintain a rigid restricted diet, but the benefits make it worth it all. I have been on a diet (written by Terry Wahls MD) for 1 year 6 months now and I will never go back to eating an unhealthy diet or foods that cause an inflammatory response. Terry Wahls had PPMS and self treated with diet (successfully). She wrote a book “The Wahls Protocol” which explains why the diet works and gives you three levels of diet restrictions. You can buy this book on Amazon.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      I’m so grateful the Wahls Protocol has been effective, it’s incredible how dietary changes can affect inflammation. I will definitely keep this this up!

      Thanks for reading your feed back,
      Jenn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *