Category Archives: Our Diet

Notes From The Journal, Part 2

Hello all!  Tonight I wanted to continue with our Notes From The Journal.  If you missed Part 1, you can click here to see that.

After only 17 days on our diet, we were both losing weight, and we were also seeing incredible improvements in Matt’s health.  I’ll pick up where we left off last time…

January 18th:

Matt has slept through the night two nights in a row now without taking any sleep aids.  Instead, he turns off his laptop computer about 1.5 to 2 hours before bedtime and listens to an audio book on his Kindle.  His hands feel “looser”.  For the third day in a row, he has transferred from the bed to the wheelchair in one motion [rather than having to scoot over in several motions] with no struggle.  He says he feels like his body is “running clean”.  He’s not struggling with his speech.

January 19th:

Matt feels like toxins are leaving his body again.  His bowel movements are becoming more regular.  [Sorry if that’s TMI…this is a very common and incredibly frustrating problem with people with MS].  This has been a MAJOR source of frustration, with him sometimes going days with no bowel movement.  He’s currently going every other day.  Still not good or normal by any means, but definitely an improvement.  He hasn’t needed help getting from his wheelchair to the toilet or vise versa in several days.  Seems to now be completely independent in this area.  His sleep patterns are becoming normal with no sleep aids.  He’s still turning off his computer 2 hours before bedtime and listening to is audio book.  This seems to be the key for good sleep for him.

January 20th:

Matt had a bowel movement for the second day in a row.  As tired as he was, he generally would not have had strength to get from his wheelchair to the toilet and back by himself, but he had to problem today.  Again, says he just feels like his body is running “cleaner”.

January 26th:

Matt’s dizziness has been greatly reduced.  He no longer feels like the room is constantly spinning.  He sat up for 9 hours today.  His previous best was five hours before having to lie down.  He never lost strength today, and his legs and back didn’t hurt today.  He only had minor speech issues after lunch, but greatly improved over previous weeks and days.  He says he’s sleeping more soundly lately.  Didn’t take any naps at all today–not even cat naps sitting up.  His right arm didn’t start bothering him until about 7:00pm (during video game playing).  That usually happens around 3:00pm.  Matt says he’s thinking more clearly.  He seems to be in a better mood more consistently–it’s becoming the norm instead of the exception.  He’s starting to get feeling back in his fingers.

February 5:

I started helping Matt stretch today.  [Matt’s tendons and muscles are incredibly tight.]  His dizziness is completely gone today and he has tremendous strength increase.  He was able to take off and put on his own shorts in the bathroom today.  He no longer needs any help in the bathroom or getting to the bed.

Matt sat up for 13 hours straight through, and had energy and was awake for most of the day.  His right hand is doing much better–increased strength and motion.  He played video games all day yesterday until 8:00pm last night.  Before, he could only play for a short time because his right hand would lost strength and give out completely.

He was able to get to the bed himself even after 13 hours of sitting up.  He was also able to use his computer using both eyes (i.e., without using his eye patch over his right eye).

Matt stood up in the bathroom pretty close to perfectly straight up (instead of knees bent, butt sticking out, and back hunched over).  He was able to read a magazine with small print using both eyes.  (Hasn’t been able to read a book in 4 years due to eyes “wiggling”.)  He still had some trouble [reading], but was able to read it…after only 35 days on the diet.

When he closes his eyes, he no longer feels like the room is spinning.  Before, he would feel like the room was spinning with his eyes closed.

Matt says that his “bad” days now are 10 times better than his “good” days were before we started our diet.

The gurgling in his throat when he talks when lying down is gone.  His speech has greatly improved.  I don’t notice hardly any slurred speech anymore–even at his most exhausted times.  His right arm seems to be more “responsive” and getting stronger.

He went and got the mail by himself!!  He was almost able to get back into the condo by himself when he got back [it’s a pretty steep incline to get into the door, and he has trouble getting himself inside].  I did have to give him a little push, but he almost made it himself.

Amazing stuff, right? And that’s just from changing our diet. Matt doesn’t take any pharmaceutical medications for his MS, so every improvement that we’re seeing can only be attributed to diet and supplements that he’s taking.

Sadly, that was the last entry in our journal. Shortly after that, Matt kind of hit a plateau. Only in recent days has he started to improve once again. I don’t really know why that happened, but I assume it’s similar to losing weight. When you’re on a diet, you can lose weight steadily for a while, and then the weight plateaus. Those plateaus are frustrating, but we’re still thankful for any little bit of progress we see!

My Battle With Gallbladder Issues

From time to time in my journey of dealing with MS, my gallbladder has caused some pretty serious issues. But for the longest time, we had no idea it was my gallbladder.

I remember visiting my in-laws one time, and not being able to get up off the floor after I had fallen. We had no clue as to what was happening to me. I was losing strength, and found myself having to rush to the bathroom.

At this point we had not accepted embraced that I had M.S. We thought that I had just mistreated my body so badly in the past that it caused me my symptoms, and later we have decided that it caused the MS. I have done a lot of rotten things in my life: drugs, alcohol, eating fast food on every meal, drinking tons of soda, steroid use in my younger years, and smoking for 14 years.

The fact that my life took a downhill spiral was no real surprise to me. Now to Kristi it has been quite a shock. When she thought about my past, it really did not bother her. We still did not understand why I was having so much strength issues following each meal. It started out that we thought it was Bush’s Chicken, one of our past favorite fast food (fried food) restaurants.

Every time I ate there, I would get weaker. We thought that maybe the food had MSG’s in it which it probably did, but that was not the immediate cause of my problems. In fact, we went back after months of not eating there, which means we were eating a lot of Taco Bell, and the strength issues did not show up for a few visits. It seemed to happen again when we visited a Burger King. Yeah it is no surprise that we both got so fat.

I had just started seeing a chiropractor that my mother-in-law was so generous to send me too. He was really into this natural healing stuff, and I told him about my issue. He walked over to my right side while I was laying on my back, and pressed on my stomach two inches down below my rib cage on my right side. I felt a horrendous pain shoot up my entire body. That is when he announced the problem to me. It was a clogged gall bladder.

This began my realization of how sugar effects my body. I ignored his warnings and continued slurping down my 96 oz of Dr. Pepper per day. We tried diets on and off, from the Atkins diet, to just eating at home, to only salads from Schlotzky’s. All of those diets ended up with us crashing due to our sugar cravings. The reason our bodies craved sugar was because I had candida issues and sugar feeds candida.

Candida and clogged gall bladders tend to go hand in hand. The candida makes you crave sugar which then clogs up your gall bladder. It is a vicious cycle that is very hard to break away from.

At the beginning of this year, we were able to break free from our sugar addiction. But within the last two days, the problem has returned. No, we haven’t started eating processed sugar or fast food. I was eating something that I thought was perfectly healthy. I was eating honey. The problem wasn’t really that I was eating honey, but I started eating quite a bit of it.

After the problems returned (including the muscle weakness), we decided that we need to get me back on our plan. This means no more honey for me. Not even a little with lemon and water.

Sugar has such an addiction in this household for far too long, but after this year, we know how to break its grasp on our lives. I have been away from honey, and added it to my “do not eat” list, which is a bummer since I have a fantastic all-natural, dairy-free ice cream recipe that we created a week or so ago. I am still planning on sharing that recipe with you soon, as the ingredients really are a great alternative to the processed stuff you get in store-bought ice cream. But sadly for me, I won’t be able to have any. At least not any time in the near future.

From Fast Food To Nutrition…Our Overnight Diet Transformation

In December 2011, Matt and I knew that we had to do something to get healthy.  My weight had gotten so completely out of control that a trip to the dumpster at our condo complex with a garbage bag in hand would leave me breathless and cause my back to ache to the point that I would have to sit down and take a break just from that simple task.  Matt’s MS was spiraling out of control.  It was severely affecting his strength to the point that he couldn’t even sit up in his wheelchair for more than five hours per day, and even during that time, he felt like the room was spinning, he was completely exhausted, his eyes would “vibrate” (that’s how he describes the feeling), and he would spend most of the time napping in his chair.

We really had gotten to a place where not only were we in horrible physical shape, but mentally and emotionally we were spent as well.  Both of us really wanted to give up.  And we wallowed there together, in our misery and self-pity, until one day we came across this video…

 

That video sparked a hope in us that we hadn’t felt in months…maybe even years.  It was like a light went off in our heads, and suddenly both had the urge to fight for our lives and our health.

At that point, even with our renewed hope and our determination, our addiction to fast food still had a strong hold.  We decided to give ourselves until January 1, 2012, to eat whatever we wanted, but on January 1st, fast food would be a thing of the past for us.

It’s now been 66 days, and we’ve stuck to it.  Since December 31st, we haven’t eaten at a restaurant–fast food or otherwise.  We haven’t had even one single Dr. Pepper.  Our diet was quite literally changed overnight.  And the interesting thing?  We don’t even crave fast food, junk food, or Dr. Pepper. That’s nothing short of a miracle!

 

So what did we start eating? Here are the details…

We cut out anything with sugar and flour/gluten. We basically got rid of any and all processed foods, as well as most dairy products.

 

We filled our refrigerator with fresh fruits and veggies (organic if we could find them), grass-fed beef, and free range chicken and eggs. We made sure that the beef and chicken that we ate were hormone- and antibiotic-free, and were NOT fed GMO (genetically-modified organism) foods. While we still kept a small bit of dairy products (such as cheddar and Parmesan cheese) in our diet, they were drastically reduced. At the beginning of this month, we decided to cut those out completely for Matt.

Here are the specifics of how we started eating…

Breakfast

For breakfast each morning, I started making a farmers omelet with four eggs (two eggs for each of us), mushrooms, green onions, red and green bell peppers, and tomatoes. I top the omelet with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a spoonful of fresh guacamole. Matt also adds hot sauce to his omelet. (He likes a bit of eggs with his hot sauce… :-D )

Lunch

Lunch each day consists of a large salad (piled high on a dinner plate) with green leafy lettuce, Romaine lettuce, spinach, green and red bell peppers, cabbage, green onions, broccoli, and radishes. If we use salad dressings, I make them from scratch so that I know what goes into them (no preservatives, no MSG, etc.). Then we also have four ounces of either a seasoned ground beef patty or a seasoned ground chicken patty.

Dinner

Dinner each day is a freshly made juice drink that includes red cabbage, cilantro, apples, carrots, broccoli, Swiss chard, pineapple, and celery.

Evening Snack

We end our day with a snack of fruit. What we eat varies depending on what we have, but in the past we’ve had grapes, apples, and cherries.

So that’s our new diet in a nutshell. We thought it would be really difficult, but in reality, it’s been quite easy for us. I think we were both just so ready for a change, and our bodies were begging for nutrition. And with our new diet, it didn’t take long before we started seeing dramatic changes in Matt’s health. More on that later.