Memories are a weird thing. They can invoke this sense of nostalgia and transport you to a time when you were a pirate sailing the seas and pillaging villages from the comfort of your backyard. Or remind you why you avoid scary movies thanks to that aunt who made you watch Child’s Play. When you were a kid… alone… in the dark (I still don’t forgive you!). But memories are tricky. We can find ourselves either remembering something as better or worse than it actually is Continue reading
Doctors are smart. They have gone through years and years of study, had hands on experience, seen the good bad and ugly, and want the best for their patients. We’ve been told over the years to trust them because they know what they’re doing, but in today’s day and time, we have access to vast amounts of information that many times even doctors haven’t researched for themselves which gives us more choices and options in how we manage our own health.
My first neurologist, the one that diagnosed me after MRI’s and a spinal tap, wasn’t Continue reading
By Scott Cremeans
Some of my doctors have been confusing, to say the least. My recent doctor appointment was one of those perfectly perplexing pop-ins. When I recently saw this new neurologist things started off as most initial doctor visits do. It was just like every appointment for a new doctor that most of us have experienced. They cut off the blood circulation in your arm while testing your blood pressure. Then a thermometer is slipped under your tongue, and a pulse oximeter is simultaneously popped onto your finger.
They check where you are on the depression scale by asking Continue reading
I remember how fun it was to sit with my grandmother and watch her make meatballs for Sunday dinner. She would really love to be in the kitchen preparing food to serve to our large Italian family. I can remember how the kitchen would smell while the meatballs were cooking in the oven till this day! My grandmother would remind me that it was easy to make homemade meatballs while singing “Not your Ma Ma’s meatballs” to me and I would laugh and laugh.
I thought I would share this recipe with all of you to remind you how memorable and fun cooking can be, especially with family.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup ketchup
- Dash of oregano
- Dash of parsley
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and set aside.
- Place all ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands, careful not to over-mix. Just till blended.
- Once mixed, use your hands to divide meat mixture into desired size meatballs.
- Place uncooked meatballs on baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, depending on the size. Be sure to check center to determine if they are cooked.
Makes 18-24 meatballs.
By Alene Brennan
“Eat whatever you want, it’s not going to make a difference.”
I had heard the line from doctors before but this time it was different. This time there was so much more on the line.
I had just heard the words “you have multiple sclerosis.”
I needed something within my control to begin to reclaim my health.
As a nutrition coach, food was the obvious choice.
It was also the obvious choice because Dr. Terry Wahls – a physician diagnosed with progressive MS – created a nutrition protocol that was reversing the effects of the disease for her and many participants in her clinical trial.
Why then was I being discouraged to improve the quality of foods on my plate by the doctor who’s supposed to support me in feeling my best? It didn’t make sense and if this was his message to me, it meant that others were likely being told the same thing.
I pursued the conversation and my doctor began to pack peddle saying that nutrition wasn’t going to hurt me but I just wasn’t going to cure MS.
This is a conversation that many of us having with our medical care team and I’ve found it incredibly important to approach the conversation in the right way.
The following are strategies in talking to healthcare professionals that I’ve found to be helpful and share with many of my nutrition clients to do the same.
Do your homework.
Before you go to your appointment, do some research to understand the various nutritional approaches that may be helpful for your diagnosis.You don’t have to look up scientific studies – although if you have access to that, it’ll be a tremendous help – but simply be informed about how others are finding success through dietary changes.
Doing your homework can consist of:
- Reading a book
- Listening to a podcast
- Talking with respected friends in the industry
- Reviewing credible websites/blogs
You’ll likely discover that there are two main dietary approaches being studied for MS – the Swank diet (low-fat, minimal animal products) and the Wahls Protocol (organized paleo approach). This background enables you to have a more specific and productive conversation with your healthcare professionals now.
Ask the right questions
This step is key!
“What do you think about nutrition?” is way too broad of a question for even the savviest of physicians to answer. It’s also the type of question that will deliver the response that I received in that nutrition doesn’t make a difference.
Consider the outcome you want to achieve and ask targeted questions accordingly.
Do you want to try a nutrition plan before starting medication?
Ask: “I’m seeing a lot of information on the benefits of nutrition in managing MS, based on my diagnosis and recent test results, would you be agreeable to me starting with this plan for three to six months before starting on a medication?”
Do you want to ensure your desire nutrition plan doesn’t conflict with your medical care?
Ask: “I’d like to follow this nutrition plan to help reduce my symptoms – fatigue, brain fog, etc. – given my overall health and medical plan, do you have any concerns or foresee any contraindications?”
These questions are far more specific and will yield clearer direction on next steps for you. It also lets your healthcare professionals know that you’re taking it seriously.
Keep in mind, medical school still doesn’t include much beyond one or two classes on nutrition. They’re trained in hard science and using standardized medications to treat patients. We cannot always fault them for not speaking to something they’re not trained in.
Understand the context of the conversation and ask questions accordingly.
Decide what resonates best with you
Continue to gather information until you feel confident in a plan that resonates best with you.
- Get a second opinion
- Continue your research
- Explore your options in functional medicine
- Schedule a consultation with a nutrition coach
At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with your approach. And know that you don’t have to do it on your own. Making dietary changes can he hard. If engaging the support of a health or nutrition coach will help you in succeeding, go for it. You and your health are worth it.
*Alene Brennan works with individuals living with MS and other autoimmune diseases to create a diet and lifestyle that will support their healing and disease management. She holds four certifications: nutrition coach, yoga instructor, personal trainer, and natural food chef. You can learn more about her work and follow her blog, recipes, and more at www.alenebrennan.com. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook, too!
“If there is something that I really want to express to my doctor I always keep a journal, but add to it printouts of my research. Last fall, I was Continue reading
Working on the MSAA helpline we often hear different types of client experiences when it comes to working with one’s healthcare team. Some rave about their doctors and specialists and cannot say enough good things about the care they receive. Others don’t have quite the same positive reviews in their circumstances. Continue reading
When I think of all the health care professionals I’ve seen in the last thirty years, it overwhelms me. When I look at how I interact with them and how it’s changed with time, I think changes in my confidence level and perspective have contributed to much better interactions and level of care.
Thinking of the number of health care providers I’ve seen since reaching adulthood Continue reading
Going to the doctor’s office – whether to figure out a diagnosis, determine a treatment regimen, or for a routine check-up – can be rewarding or frustrating, depending on your experience. Here are few tips to help you make the most of your next doctor’s appointment: Continue reading
MSAA is very proud to present our 2018-19 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of an artist affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the new submissions.
|Karen Bloom – Kendallville, IN