Beyond Doctor’s Orders: Considering Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Healing

By Stacie Prada

Living with an illness with no proven cure leads me to treat myself as a guinea pig.  I read about the latest studies and breakthroughs for MS and auto-immune diseases. I seek recommendations from people that are managing their health well.  I compare what I’m doing to the treatment and see if it makes sense for me. If the risk is low and I’m not doing it already, I’ll give it a shot.  It’s a very unscientific approach. But given I’m bumping up against an unknown date when my MS could progress, I’m not willing to wait until all the studies are in when it could be too late for me. Continue reading

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The Underground World of MS: Part 2

By Alene Brennan

How to Navigate the Underground World of MS

Being the invisible disease that it is, multiple sclerosis can make you feel like you’re living in an underground world. So let me lay out a roadmap to help you navigate to better understanding and better health. Continue reading

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Nutrition and Multiple Sclerosis

rsz_family_eating_dinner_aerial_view

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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National Fruits and Veggies Month

veggiesJune is National Fruits and Vegetable month. While we should be eating fruits and vegetables every month out of the year, June is merely welcoming back the garden-fresh produce that we’ve missed all winter long. The biggest part of eating right for summer is listening to what your body tells you about what it wants to eat. As you approach these summer months, do it with fruits and vegetables in your belly and in your fridge. Stock up on vegetables rich in color. Maybe have a bowl of fruit for a snack instead of chips. Encourage your friends and family to join you in your venture towards a healthier lifestyle!

Cantaloupe, watermelon and tomatoes are great fruits to help you stay hydrated. Great summer vegetables include summer squash, sugar snap peas, corn, bell peppers and onions. Eggplant, zucchini and green beans make a great source of dietary fiber.

fruits and veggies

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse: It is full of vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A.
Carrots are a good source of fiber, which helps to maintain bowel health, and aid in weight maintenance.
Watermelon, which is especially terrific this time of year, offers a juicy, sweet taste and high water content, while packing in antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium.
Grapes aid in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure. Eating the whole fruit instead of consuming the juice contains the added benefit of fiber.

Tips for your wallet: Fresh produce is more affordable when it is in season. Also, look for weekly specials on fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and veggies. At a restaurant, always ask what vegetables, including salads, are available as substitutes.

What fruits and veggies will you be adding to your diet this June?

watermelon

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