Healing Multiple Sclerosis with Diet

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plant-based diet weight loss. vegan weight loss before and after

By Briany Howe

Healing Multiple Sclerosis with Diet

In 2014, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I learned about Dr. Roy Swanks‘ work way back then when I was diagnosed but, unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to fully accept my diagnosis and make the necessary changes. My symptoms were mild at that time and easy to ignore for the most part.

In May 2017, I had a bad relapse that affected my walking to the point I needed a crutch to walk more than 30+ feet (10 meters). My entire body went numb including my mouth which made it difficult to eat without choking.

I had urgent issues with my bladder, and my fatigue was through the roof. I was terrified because my job required that I be able to move about, and I was worried that my income and general independence and freedom were on the verge of being lost.

My neurologists were pushing me to go on Tysabri – a very intensive drug that suppresses the immune system. I was not keen at all. I remembered back to learning about Swank.

My neurologist told me that ‘Eating healthy was good but not a treatment.’  I wasn’t convinced and went back to YouTube to do some research.

Treating Multiple Sclerosis With Diet

NOTE: The below short video clip,  from NutritionFacts.org is an excellent resource.

I studied everything I could and finally settled on following Dr. John McDougall’s way of eating as described in his book, The Starch Solution. Plus I added some lifestyle stuff from Dr. Swank’s recommendations.

Diving into plant-based nutrition

On June 13th, 2017 I went full-tilt into plant-based eating. The oil was quite difficult I found just because it is in everything! I managed to remove about 95% of it within the first month or so.

I immediately started noticing changes in terms of my MS symptoms. I had a full reversal of the body numbness in about a month. I had a symptom called lermittes which I had been experiencing for about a year, and that went away.

The MS ‘hug’ I had also had for around a year went away within three-five months. My bladder urgency reduced significantly. My walking improved from 30 feet (10 meters) and needing a crutch to a city block (300 meters) or more. All that within the first 6 months!

plant-based diet weight loss. vegan weight loss before and after

I was very excited! I also discovered that my skin and hair were much less oily, and I had lost the small bumps on the backs of my upper arms that I had ever since I could remember.  I experienced less acne, less anxiety, my mood improved, and I lost more than 53 lbs (24 kgs) and counting.

I am beyond ecstatic about the changes the Mcdougall way of eating has brought me over the past 8 months. My life is so different from where it was a year ago. My body moves so much better, and I can relax and feel content knowing that I am healing myself every day.

I have found this way of life really easy in many ways. I never feel like I am dieting, never feel deprived or like I am missing out. I don’t worry that I will go back to the old sick and fat me from before.

Staying on track

There can still be struggles at times to always make the right choices. I relapsed with smoking a couple of months ago. It flared up my MS symptoms within a week and that scared me enough to stop again within 2 weeks.

I occasionally eat things with oil in them. I am a work in progress. More than thirty-years of ingrained habits can take some time to break.  I am not worried. I know this plan is for life, and I have plenty of time to get to the 100% compliance I am working towards.

For now, even with the occasional slip-up, I am reaping the benefits of following Dr. McDougall and changing my eating. I am so grateful to all the plant-based doctors I continue to learn from. They have helped save my life.

Saving my life

Multiple Sclerosis helped save my life too. I am grateful for the journey and the lessons and blessings it has to offer me. I am grateful to the online community groups I belong to that help me keep on track and learn new information all the time. I appreciate all the support and encouragement!

I want to encourage others by being a voice to remind them that they can heal themselves by eating a whole foods plant-based diet. For those just starting out, trust that this way of life does really work! It takes time. It’s a long-term game and I, for one, am in it to win it!

MS Resources

Note: Dr. John McDougall’s Forums are a great place to find support and encouragement. From Scared School Boy with MS to Doctor of Nutrition is also an inspiring recovery story from the Center for Nutrition Studies.

Our plant-based starter kits are a great way to begin this new healthy lifestyle because they include a book, a set of DVD lectures from Dr. Neal Barnard, and a folder full of helpful literature from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Other great success stories

Want more amazing encouragement? Check out these other Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) Success Stories.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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  1. This is a very nice post. I also learned what to do to stop my MS by meeting Dr McDougall. After making the changes 100% it only took one year to stop falling. I also had the hug when I increased my fat intake so I learned to keep my fat intake below 19 grams total for the day. After 4 years my brain came back to working like it did before I had MS. I’m off of 13 prescriptions and have lost about 55 pounds. It was truly a life saving choice. Thank you for sharing your story and these other links.

  2. First of all, congratulations on achieving a healthy lifestyle! You must feel so proud. I am aware that your change to a healthier and pain free life was because of your willpower and determination. I always say that if you are not ready for a change then your pain is tolerable. I love reading the success stories from our saviour, Dr. McDougall.

    Your story stood out as I have some family member that has MS and did not go the full route to a plant based lifestyle but did make lots of changes. Because of her choices, she is now off drugs and although her mobility is not great she is coping. But I applaud her as this is all she feels she can do. I have family members that could also use a change because of health issues but are hesitant to commit. Unfortunately they continue to live a poor quality of life. I was diagnosed with lupus in 2004 and have been plant based since 2005. Off 32 drugs per day and cannot compare my life to how I was living back then! Life is amazing when you make the right choices!

    I would like your permission to share your story with my facebook friends. I am still hoping that I can make a difference in someone’s life by spreading how you can actually heal without drugs but by foods from the earth!

    You are an inspiration to many out there…keep going and never look back!! Congrats again! ?

    1. Hi Dora- Thanks so much for reaching out! I would be very happy for you to share on Facebook with your friends and family. We are hoping it will make a difference in many lives. Wishing you all the best, and thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

  3. You are quite an inspiration.You did the right thing.Whole plant base diet is the way to go.I am on it for more than 30 years now.Keep it up as you are an example to many who are suffering now to follow your steps.
    Thank you for posting it & May the Almighty God always be with you.

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