Good morning, my fellow warriors! What a beautiful morning it is here in Monongah, West Virginia. After a rather rude announcement of winter weather, I find it refreshing to talk to you while looking out my window on the new fallen snow. And I know all those deer hunters out there are happy to see that natural tracking device that was thrown their way for the first day of doe season.
I admit that I do love the snow and was thrilled to see a virtual white out on my television screen Saturday night when I tuned in to the WVU football game. That was the only good thing about that game and I don't want to talk about it any further, so let's move on.
The point is: Winter is here. As far as the weather is concerned.
That means the eating season is on, boys and girls! This week is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. With Thanksgiving comes all those yummy dishes that I anticipate all year long. Many (most) of those food items are rather unhealthy, but I always over indulge, and of course regret it later.
Here is my checklist:
Mashed potatoes (okay)
Dressing (probably not healthy the way I eat it)
Broccoli casserole (ditto, but at least it is a vegetable)
Cranberry salad (Just a taste can't be too bad, right?)
Green beans (Jack pot on the healthy...unless you do it the good ol' Southern West Virginia way with load of bacon grease.)
Hot Rolls (Just one, please.)
Pumpkin pie (A small sliver is fine, I'm sure, but who ever heard of a small sliver of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day?)
Pecan Pie (Because my mother's goal is to please everyone, we always have two types of pie and it is my civic and moral responsibility to try both,)
Pumpkin White Chocolate cookies (These are my fault. I started making them a couple years ago and now they are an expected mainstay during the holidays. We have to have something to munch on while waiting for the main event.)
I will stop right there, because I know there are always more delectable available for pre and post dinner munchies. I just find myself salivating over the additional calories and really need to focus.
The holidays present many food choice decisions for us, no matter what our present health status might be. How does this affect our MS, though? How does diet affect MS or does it? As with all things multiple sclerosis, there are many fields of thought on the subject, none being clearly defined.
Common Sense tells us that too much of anything is not good. that's my rule of thumb and I do my best to stick to it.
My Inner Voice tells me that "Life is short. Indulge while you can." I do my best to listen to her as well. Since Common Sense has become Inner Voice's constant companion, if I listen to them both of them I am usually okay.
Enter Self Serving Sara. She's the one you need to watch. She makes TOTAL sense if yo are not careful. We all know her. She is disguised as Common Sense in drag.
According the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a proper diet (and Common Sense) contains a balance of grains, fruit, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products, while providing only as many calories as needed.
Kolb and Giesser give us a clearly stated check list in their MS for Dummies.
1. Calories count
2. Calcium protects your bones
3. Fluids fight urinary tract infections
4. EAT fiber
There are so many diets out there, but NMSS recognizes a few in their studies of diet and MS. The Paleolithic Diet, Mediterranean Diet, McDougall Diet, Gluten Free Diet, and Swank Diet are the ones I read most about in NMSS literature. I have never officially tried any of them. Honestly, any regimented diet is going to work IF YOU FOLLOW IT.
The MS Recovery Diet has been sitting on my desk (the book, not the actual diet) for over a year and I finally decided to crack the spine and give it a gander. Whether I follow this plan or not, I appreciate the author's contribution because they are real Warriors with a true sense of what living with MS is. And, face it folks, that is what living with the MonSter is all about. with all the medical research going on, we ultimately are in this alone. We may share similar symptoms and be labeled the as me, but at the end of the day, my MS is MY MS and your MS is Your MS. As warriors, we experiment and we share the results of those experiments.
Two years ago, I experimented with the then new drug Tecfidera. I really, really wanted Tec to work for me. It is a pill and not an injection. It is easy. and the commercial is SO encouraging. You know the one: The pretty lady dives into a swimming pool, swims the length, and then pulls herself out to dry off and later attend fair. All the while smiling and having fun. Read through my old posts and you will learn of my experience with Tecfidera.
I am not saying the drug is not good. My experience was NOT GOOD.
A fellow support group member has been on Tec for several months, though, and is living with well with her decision to experiment. It is working for her and I am very, very happy for her.
As with any MS decisions we make, though, our treatment (including diet) decisions are basically a leap of faith.
So leap wisely, my friends.I'm not telling you to commit to indepth research on the subject of MS, but give yourself the gift of knowledge. Know your disease. Because the MonSter is not going any where any time soon. You need to be armed and ready for the havoc caused by MS. We may not be able to totally control our disease, but we can offer a strategic battle with tools like diet, treatments, exercise choices, clothing decisions (Might sound strange, but if you have MS you know what I mean.), and even relationship choices. That old adage certainly is true.
Thank you, Mario Puzo, for that oldie, but goody.
Okay, I have rambled on long enough (and managed to consume the last caramel brownie left in the pan...So, it begins.)
Have a safe week of hunting and a safer week of eating.