By Briany Howe
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 urgency 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 which 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.
NOTE: The below short video clip, Treating Multiple Sclerosis With Diet, 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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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 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 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!
Note: Dr. John McDougall’s Forums are a great place to find support and encouragement.
Other Great Success Stories
- I Was Going to Die, and I Don’t Know if I Really Cared–FatMan’s Rant
- From Diabetes and Stroke to Healthy & Medication-Free
- Learning to Find Happiness in Things Other Than Food–Kasse Harrington
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