Having MS is sh*t. There is no two ways about it and no one will convince me otherwise. Has it made me (mentally) stronger? Perhaps. But I would happily trade a ‘strong’ MS mentality for a weak, blancmange-like one, if is meant that I didn’t have to deal with this.
One of my biggest worries is the idea of my kids getting it. One of my earliest symptoms (though I didn’t know it at the time) was the feeling of water dripping down my back, when nothing was there. So, when my daughter talks about pins and needles, or my son appears tired and exhausted, I panic. My sensible brain tells me it is normal kids’ stuff; my neurotically worried mother brain tells me that it is just a matter of time before one or both of them are diagnosed. My son is 5 years away from the age I was when I had my first symptom…
I am willing to do absolutely anything if it means it reduces my kids’ risk. Did you know that children who have a parent with MS are 30-40% more likely than the general population to develop MS?
I envy those people who follow the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) lifestyle, whose families also eat the same foods. According to the OMS website:
Several long-term studies show a close connection between saturated fats and the development and progression of MS. People with MS who avoid saturated fats (such as meat or dairy fat) but consume unsaturated fats (such as those from fish and flax) typically have reduced progression of the disease – and in many cases experience minimal effects from it.
There is also a link between MS and consumption of dairy, along with a massive link to Vitamin D – in that people who live in countries closer to the equator are less likely to get the disease.
Dr Roy Swank found that family members of people with MS who stuck to a low saturated fat diet did not go on to develop the disease, despite their increased risk in comparison to the general population.
So, because of all this research, I try and adjust the children’s level of risk as far as possible – they have a mixture of cows’ milk and dairy free milk on their cereal (as they say they don’t like the taste of almond milk on its own). They happily eat soy yoghurts and I have found that they really, really like my dairy free chocolate mousse, made from avocados. But, ultimately, if they could choose, they would have toad in the hole, burgers and real ice-cream over falafel and my banana ‘nice cream’. Add children’s birthday parties and well meaning grandparents giving ‘treats’ into the mix and it is pretty hard to stick to, particularly outside the home.
So, I keep plugging away, trying new meals and OMS friendly cakes and adding vitamin D to their drinks. I try not to let my son’s complaints of ‘can’t we just have a normal cake, with loads of icing on it?!’ get to me… in the hope that as they get older they will understand why I am so determined, and thank me for it.
For any OMSers out there – have you found any clever tips and tricks to keeping your family OMS friendly? If so, I would love to hear about them!