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5 Things You Can Do Today to Ease Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

5 min read

I halted my Multiple Sclerosis disease progression through diet, exercise, and mindset—not medication. Let me explain…

I was diagnosed with MS in February of 2016, and it came pretty unexpectedly. I was getting MRIs done for some chronic lower back pain and they found a lesion on my spine instead. Further MRIs would show more lesions in my brain. I ended up refusing medication because I did not think the side effects were worth it, and I hoped for the best. The following summer came the extreme fatigue and hand/feet tingling/numbness. A stressful day at work resulted in Optic Neuritis. If I didn’t believe I had MS when I got diagnosed, I believed it then.

My husband came home one day and mentioned his interest in going vegan. I immediately jumped on board. We cleaned out our cupboards and went “cold turkey” (pun intended). My mental mindset from going vegan was so great—I felt peace, like I was contributing positive change to the world. I felt so great mentally, that I wondered if being vegan could help me physically. I Googled, “MS and vegan” and up popped the Swank Diet. The Swank Diet is based on a 50+ year study of MS patients following a low saturated fat diet. The results found that this kind of diet had a 94 percent success rate of halting the disease.

I began following a plant-based version of Swank literally overnight, and by November 2016, when I got my follow-up MRIs done, all of my lesions had either disappeared or greatly diminished. By the new year, my physical symptoms were completely gone. The tremendous shift that my life took in the course of that rollercoaster of a first year of diagnosis was incredible. Food was truly my medicine.

Today, I feel healthier than I have ever felt. I still follow a plant-based version of Swank (as well as Overcoming MS, which is based on Swank). You can find me in the gym at 4 a.m. six days a week lifting weights and doing cardio. I also have truly found my passion: Helping others discover these diets and coaching them through the process lights my fire. I know how great you can feel—I just need to show you!

So, here are five tips for you to start doing today to begin the process of feeling better. Remember, all great change doesn’t happen overnight. But, the more you practice these tips in your own life, the more you will notice a transformation of your own brewing.

5 Things You Can Do Today to Ease Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

  1. Change your diet. This is by far the biggest and most important part of feeling better while living with MS. Food is fuel for your body, and it is also your medicine. Cut out completely (or limit) all animal products—they cause inflammation, which is our enemy. Keep your saturated fat count below 15g per day and eat as many whole foods as possible (ditch the processed stuff).
  2. Move. Recent research suggests that exercise helps those with MS heal. So, exercise in a way that you find enjoyable. This will allow two things to occur: You will be helping your body physically, but you will also be helping yourself mentally. The strength you gain both inside and out will transform you more than you realize.
  3. Reduce stress. As anyone living with MS knows, stress is a huge trigger for symptoms and flare ups, so reduce it in any way you can. Maybe you like to meditate in the morning to get your headspace right before beginning your day. Maybe you like to take a leisurely walk at night to wind down from the events of the past eight to 12 hours. Or maybe you need to learn different modalities to bring yourself back to center in the midst of momentary chaos. Whatever it is, find it, and utilize it.
  4. Radiate good vibes. The power of positivity is real. Have you ever noticed that when you tend to get down about a certain event or a certain thought, that you can sometimes feel like a magnet for other negative situations? Negativity can poison healing, plain and simple. If you believe today will be a good day, then it will be. If you believe that the changes you make today will impact you tomorrow, then they will. If you believe that you can impact your health, you will.
  5. Be your own advocate. No one wants healing for you more than yourself. Absorb as much knowledge as you can on all aspects of healing this disease. Ask the uncomfortable questions, read articles, talk to other MS Warriors. Buy The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book by Dr. Roy Laver Swank and read about his groundbreaking study and diet. Also buy Overcoming MS by Dr. George Jelinek, so you can read their more updated version of the Swank Diet, which includes several other modalities to healing. Learn anything and everything you can. It can only empower you.

One thing I have come to realize in my own journey with MS is that although I had no control over getting diagnosed with MS, I do have control over how it will affect my life. I’ve found my voice. Now you find yours.

Want more personal wellness stories? Read how Jessica Murnane helped curb her endometriosis with diet changes, and how Phoebe Lapine helped mange her Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with food.

*Note from the editors: This contributor is not a doctor. She shares her personal experience with using food to help manage her illness, but it is not intended as medical advice. Before beginning any diet or exercise plan, consult your doctor to ensure you get the best treatment for you.

About The Author

Lindsay Bileau

Lindsay Bileau

Lindsay Bileau is a certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant for her plant-based nutrition consulting company, BrassRootsNutrition.com. She holds additional certifications in Multiple Sclerosis Fitness and Wellness as well as Vegan Sports Nutrition. Her eBook, My New Standard, which chronicles her journey with MS as well as provides a summary for MS diets, is available on Amazon Kindle. Aside from leading people to nutritional changes, Lindsay is also a blogger and overall good vibe spreader via her website, LindsayMakesLemonade.com. You can follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/lindsaymakeslemonade) or Instagram (@lindsaymakeslemonade).