My 4 New Health Rules for Thriving with MS

beet green smoothie

File this under: getting out of my own head and doing the REAL work to support my body and soul...

Feeding. Eating. Nourishing. It's pretty much the most important thing ever and yet I feel like I got by for many years by not doing it very well.  

Even when I thought  I was because quality might have been okay--say, wen I stopped eating processed foods in 2005--but I was missing the quantity of nutrients.  And it was hard to notice because, quite frankly, not eating a lot is considered 'healthy' in society.  Skipping a meal, replaced by a coffee is 'OKAY', even when it's not okay at all. Caring more about our waistlines than and nutrient quotient is terrible trend.  I wasn't even doing this to lose weight- as a vegetarian, that happened in a flash.  

I just wasn't giving myself the time to eat. The time to cook regularly.  I wasn't placing importance on that act, and it became almost a luxury in my oh so "busy schedule" rather than realizing that this was a necessity as a human.  

Now, it feels like the "punishment fits the crime." From either side of the healing lens I look through, I am quite literally forced to feed myself.  

  • Holistically, I am feeding the whole.  Functional health views this as providing necessary nutrition to reach optimal levels within my body.  (Also using the help of supplements.) In The Wahls Protocol, Terry Wahls outlines the processes she put in place to heal herself when conventional medicines did nothing for her secondary progressive MS. This includes eating an anti-inflammatory diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables- she advocates nine cups of veggies daily, and I do my best to stick to that.  


  • And then Conventionally, I am taking a prescription medication that requires a substantive amount of food to be in my stomach twice a day. or else. ...flushing, rashes, diarrhea. Fun stuff. So I haaaaaaave to eat a lot.  And when the only things I'm really eating are organic meat, organic vegetables, organic eggs and nuts; that actually takes a conscious effort and attention to make sure I will have enough in my stomach at the time when I take my pills.  I'm not eating grains, so it's not just as easy as filling up on a bunch of bread with some other foods, and popping a pill.  This is a very clean, highly nourishing, high fat, high protein, high-veggie plan I'm on. (And by the way, it seems to be working fantastically).  

In addition to eating a large quantity of very clean food, I'm also eating in a way that supports, or is supported by, natural hormone flow.  

I'm seeing the whole self, with all of nature's very interesting interplay.  

After reading It Starts with Food, I came to understand how much more I was throwing my body off course by skipping meals at key times, thereby screwing up this divine hormone flow we were all blessed with at birth.... but where is mine hormone flow now?  By observing my intermittent periods and spastic sleep routine, I would say that it got off course.  

Why would I expect my body to perform correctly if I'm misdirecting or cutting off its natural flow daily. 

So now I finally understand that once I wake, I've got 30 minutes until my body/ hormones signal that it's time to eat (which is totally confusing for my poor body during bouts of insomnia).  

I've had to make rules for myself using knowledge from nutritional research, prescription warnings and good old common sense.  

Some rules I came up with: 

1. If m body is waking up and hungry, it's time to feed it. Not to take a shower, not to exercise, not to have tea or coffee. Food. If a baby screams when it's hungry, we feed it. When did I forget that? 

2. If I have to take a pill, I have to have a substantive amount of food in my stomach. 

3. Per Terry Wahls, I focus on getting 3 cups of various types of vegetables with each meal, paired with protein, using the serving size guidance from It Starts with Food (protein as big as the palm of my hand, veggies fill the rest of the plate).  [Breakfast is usually 2 eggs w a green smoothie :)]

So I've got protein, fat and vegetables to fill my stomach. Then I take my Techfidera. Vitamin D needs fat to absorb, so I take it then also. Along with a multivitamin, Omega 3 & 7, and vitamin C (all pharmacy grade, prescribed by a functional health nurse practitioner). 

4. One rule I TRY to adhere to, and this is the one I sometimes rebel against- no coffee on an empty stomach.  

  • A. because it can falsely signal that I'm full which leads me to delay the feeding that my hormones flow and medication needs.  
  • B. coffee has its own hormonal effects, it stimulates the adrenals, and that isn't entirely nice to do to my body.  STIMULATION(!!) shouldn't be coursing through my veins all day.  

Oh I think back to those busy days when I rushed to catch the 7:40am train from Grand Central to White Plains, NY.  Or speed walking to get to an entrepreneurial workspace, where no one cared what time I came or went. But always, the rush.  The priority of time at a certain place over food in my body. The feeding was secondary.  

And now it most certainly isn't.  This is my lesson. This is my education into true health care. Supporting the whole so it can support me back.