Nutrition and Multiple Sclerosis

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As we wrap up this month focusing on reaching out to supportive professionals, there is one other group of professionals that plays an important role in the overall health of individuals with MS. One of the top questions asked in regards to MS care is around the idea of a diet for MS, or which foods to avoid for individuals with MS. Unfortunately, this is a difficult question to answer as there has been no hard science that indicates that any particular food groups are specifically beneficial or not to those with MS.

With MS being a very individualized disease, meaning that it affects each person in a different way, it is difficult to say that one thing will work for everyone.

Just as MS is a very individualized disease, understanding and creating a nutritional plan must be individualized as well. Meeting with a dietitian or a nutritionist may help to better understand the foods and nutrients that your body needs in order to work properly. By working with a professional, he or she can help to safely monitor the changes occurring in your body based on the foods that you add or withdraw, depending on your plan.

Talk to your doctor about a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist in your area. You may also wish to reach out to your insurance provider to learn about insurance coverage for these visits. Licensing and education can vary between those in the nutritional field, it is important to do some research on the professional and their background and beliefs about nutrition. Some nutritionists may have a belief in herbal supplements and other forms of natural healing while others may not. Knowing what you are comfortable with in regards to your treatment and matching that with the appropriate practitioner can aid in the overall process of crafting a healthy regimen for you.

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3 Simple Steps to Better Food Choices

For many, the New Year brings along new promises and new goals for healthy living.  Making better choices and eating healthier come hand-in-hand.  Over the years, I have adapted some techniques that I think have helped my family to make better food choices, and I wanted to share them all in this blog.

First, in order to make healthy food choices, you have to surround yourself with healthy options.  If you don’t buy junk food, or have it in the house, you are more likely to make better choices.  Let’s be honest, if it comes down to a cookie or an apple, I am pretty sure I’ll choose the cookie.  But if it’s between an apple and some strawberries, it’s a win-win situation! By planning what is available to you, you are setting yourself up to make good choices.

The grocery store can be very intimidating and stressful, especially if you are hungry, which brings me to my next point:  always have a snack or a full meal before shopping.  This will prevent the cravings purchases, and you won’t be distracted by your stomach.  It helps to have a grocery list with you and to only purchase what is on your list.  I like to look at the store circulars beforehand and make note of the sales and write these items down on my list.  Only purchasing the items on my list helps me to make better choices, as well as helps with my food budget.

Speaking of food budget, one thing that I have found helpful over the past couple of months is creating a weekly “menu” for my family.  Usually on Sunday, I will pull together my local circulars and look at the sale items.  The majority of my food budget goes towards purchasing meats, so this is where I start building my meals.  I have my “go-to” recipes and start from there.  Maybe chicken with vegetables one night, some form of pasta another.  Eventually I have formulated a “menu” for the week.  Now looking at my menu, I will create a list of the ingredients I will need for those items, and place them on my grocery list.  This helps to ensure that I purchase everything in one trip, for all the meals I will be making that week.

The food menu has helped my family make better decisions when it comes to eating.  Knowing what is for dinner and knowing that I have the ingredients to make it prevents the “oh no, what should we do for dinner” scenario-which often leads to bad choices!

It took a while for this to become a practice in my house, and this may not work for everyone.  I encourage you to take a look at your food purchases and try to make some changes that will work for you.

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