Listening to My Body as I Experiment With a New Diet

Jamie Hughes avatar

by Jamie Hughes |

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For the last year and a half, my husband and I had been following the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet with some success. I lost 25 pounds, and my spouse (as is often the way with men) lost double that.

However, a few months ago, I noticed that I was beginning to hate my food. I was tired of shopping for it, cooking it, and even chewing it. I didn’t want to clean it up or pack away leftovers ever again. I knew it was time for a change. If there’s one thing living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has taught me, it’s the importance of listening to my body.

I’d been toying with the idea of going vegetarian for a while, and it seemed the time had come to try it. I didn’t choose this diet for any single reason, rather several things led me to it.

The first reason may sound odd, but I’ll just say it: I was tired of chewing meat. Seriously. Whether it was beef, chicken, pork, or turkey, I was sick of it. Bacon was no longer beguiling, salami no longer scintillating. Turkey was tedious, and chicken breasts banal. OK, OK, I’ll stop with the alliterative food jokes, but you get the idea. I just didn’t want to let another bite of it cross my lips.

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The second reason was environmental. Countless studies have shown the damage that raising large amounts of livestock does to the earth, the water, and even the air we breathe. Also, many animals in our system are not well-treated before they’re harvested and sent to grocery stores in neat Styrofoam trays. It just didn’t strike me as ethical to continue to consume something that wasn’t given a chance at a full life, especially since I’d had no hand in its raising, care, or death.

And the third reason is the one for which most people lovingly mock me: I think animals experience joy. It’s easy to see it in the face of a dog or hear it in the purring of a cat. Those animals live in our homes, and we share our lives with them. But other animals share their pleasure, too. We’re just not around them enough to discern it.

A year ago, I watched a video of a cow playing with a Pilates ball, and something in me snapped. Now, rather than simply eating a pork chop or a hamburger without a second thought, I’m agreeing with Mr. Rogers more and more. He often said he didn’t “want to eat anything that has a mother.”

I’ve been a practicing vegetarian for about a month now, and I don’t miss meat at all. I’ve been doing a lot of research into plant-based substitutes and trying out novel recipes. And guess what? Food is actually kind of fun again since I’ve been able to try new things (tempeh and halloumi come to mind) and give things I didn’t like another try (especially mushrooms).

While there’s no evidence that eating vegetarian has any particular benefits for MS patients, I find myself feeling better as of late, and more in charge of my own health and well-being. However, if you are interested in diets to help with MS symptoms, there are several out there, including the McDougall diet, the MIND diet, and the OMS diet.

Maybe going meatless isn’t for you, and that’s totally OK. We all have different bodies, and each one of these glorious creations our souls call home has different needs. Listen to yours. Give it what it needs to be nourished — whether that comes in the form of a good steak, a lush green salad, a cool glass of water, a brisk walk with a friend, or even a Sunday afternoon nap. Good health comes in many different forms. Find yours and embrace it!

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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Duarte avatar

Duarte

To digest meat, our body needs to rotten it first. Only than it can digest it.
You are what you eat.
Cows are just a middleman between the vegetable protein and us. Just cut the middleman.
We only need vitamin K2 supplement if ever.

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Ellen avatar

Ellen

I liked your article. I lost more than 25 pounds quickly about maybe 10 years ago on a low carb diet. It is funny,I read different articles all the time and get all kinds of different points of view. One of them recently from an MS site says no proof diets do anything for MS. Doesn't mean some diets are better than others in general-everyone is different. I feel better cutting out some carbs or limiting portions of carbs but I get bored as well. I miss a lot of the desserts I no longer eat. I eat minimal amount of bread except for lower carb ones. If I go out to eat I'll get eggs and no bread, no fries, I take one bun off my hamburger or just eat the meat only. I get impossible burger now and then but it has a few more carbs. I never go overboard with meat or chicken but my husband loses weight and he didn't need to b/c of my keeping carb sources low in the house. I still keep carbs down but I do not need to lose anymore weight. Vegetables are great but become boring after a while too. When I do not eat meat or fatty dishes, I do not feel full and tend to snack more. I do eat fish. I just read how one guy pushing his book, says meat is necessary for good memory and brain health. He says when lo fat diet and vegan or vegetable based diets became popular in the late 70s, the amount of alzheimer patients increased. Can He prove it? I don't know. I do think the large amount of carbs Americans eat are not healthy. I do eat carbs but I always want more (especially if they are sweet) so as long as I keep carbs down, ( 60 to 100 or so net carbs per day,} I don't crave them as much but wanting them never totally goes away. I also don't enjoy cooking anymore. Vegetarian dishes often require more ingredients and more preparation. I am glad the writer is happy with her choice of diet and continues to do well.

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