Mid 2018 I decided to limit my intake of meat products. I no longer purchased meat to cook myself but would still eat it if someone else was cooking to avoid being a pain in the back side. When eating out, I’d make my food choice by first seeing if I wanted any of the veggie options. If that was a no, I’d move to the pescatarian (fish) options. If I still didn’t want it, I’d look at the meat options as an absolute late resort.
At this stage in my life I had spent most of my 20s yo-yo and fad dieting but had vowed to give up abusing my body in this way when I was diagnosed with MS. So, I totally forgave a close friend asking me “is this not just another diet in disguise?”
No. It wasn’t. Because this time I wasn’t doing it to lose weight. I wasn’t doing it for my health on a superficial level. Shit had got real.
By mid-January 2019 I hadn’t eaten any meat products since the start of the year and was finding it relatively easy. Then I completed my Reiki 2 attunement around that time and suddenly it wasn’t just a case of not eating meat for my health – ethics became important to me too. Once you’ve given up meat and don’t find it too difficult, it becomes much easier to face up to the ethics around the meat industry. We very much bury our head in the sand because the reality of how animals are treated can be too horrific to face up to.
But I digress. And perhaps I need to back-track a little. How did I know that giving up meat products was good for my “MS health?”
Upon diagnosis one of the first questions I asked was whether there was something I could do food-wise to help myself. Slow it down. Reduce day-to-day symptoms. That’s when I stumbled upon Professor George Jelinek’s book, Overcoming MS (OMS).
OMS isn’t just a diet. It’s a seven–step recovery programme with proven results. These steps are outlined throughout the book. Which I never made it through. Yep. I said it. Didn’t even get past page 47. In all honesty though, at the time I don’t think I was ready to make as dramatic a change in my life as my diet given the news of the enormous change that is MS.
Following the launch of my recent podcast episode, I had some lovely feedback from @healthy_living_gem on Instagram. We had a bit of a conversation about “MS stuff” and we ended up discussing diet. She explained to me how she more or less follows the OMS diet now and how it’s helped her. She also told me she follows it roughly 80% of the time. This makes me feel a whole lot better about halloumi. Not going to lie – the thought of quitting halloumi is a heavy part of my reluctance to go plant based! Also, I’m so “all or nothing” about stuff that it scares me that I’ll set myself up for failure.
But now I’m ready to face it. Essentially, from the point of view of the diet, I’m becoming a fish-eating vegan. I want to make this a slow-(ish) transition. I plan to start by switching my milk from dairy to almond right away. I’ll start trying to have just one plant and fish–based day a week until I find my feet with new recipes and finding something I can work with that doesn’t compromise on rest time. Because food prep is exhausting! I’d be thrilled if in six months’ time, I’m following Gem in a healthy 80/20 balance and eating fish and plant based at least six days of the week.
So today, I’ll start reading my OMS book again. And in coming blogs, I’ll talk about the different stages of the plan and how I’m getting on with it.
Do you follow OMS? How do you find it?
***If you have a diagnosis of MS a really kind person made a donation to allow people to get the book for free! It does depend on the country you’re in but for the UK, Ireland, NZ and Australia can get a hard copy of the book and for those in the US you can get an ebook version by clicking here.***