Multiple Sclerlosis is a heartbreaking disease which ravages the body and is evenutally quite debilitating. It starts when internal inflammation damages the protective covering surrounding the nerve cells; the malfunctioning myelin sheath then causes the nerve signals to slow down or stop, while the body's own immune system then begins attacking the nervous system in the brain, optic nerve and/or spinal cord. However, the good news is that we can treat it with powerful medicine: what we put on our plates! Dr. Terry Wahls dramatically beat back her MS just by eating the right foods, reversing a steady decline to the point where she could barely hobble short distances using two canes and couldn't even sit in a regular chair but had to recline in a zero-gravity chair. By eating to rebuild & protect her brain & mitochondria, within 8 months to a year she not only got out of her wheelchair, but could ride her bike 18 miles and even go horseback riding! (Be sure to check out the 15-20 minute video of her TED presentation, Minding Your Mitochondria.) Andrew Larson, M.D. was similarly determined to fight back against when his wife's health was threatened by MS, and like Dr. Wahls, he put all those years of med school training to work creating a nutrition plan that fights inflammation, heals, and as a bonus, promotes a healthy weight and is anti-aging
Both doctors stress how important it is to eat nutrient-dense, mostly-unprocessed foods.
(1) Leafy Greens - especially collards & kale (here's a yummy & easy recipe for kale chips you can try).
(2) Sulphur-rich Veggies - kale & collards, again, cabbage, mushrooms, asparagus, radishes, onions & onion-y family members like leeks & shallots & chives, turnips, rutabagas.
(3) Colorful Polyphenol-rich Fruit & Veggies - berries, purple cabbage, carrots, yellow & red bell peppers.
She also recommends eating high-quality protein daily (wild-caught fish; grass-fed lamb or beef), iodine a few times weekly (like seaweed salad you get with your sushi), and a weekly serving of an organ meat (liver & onions, kidney pie, tongue, sweetbreads, etc.).
Larson and his wife, Ivy, have slightly more veggie-based recommendations. Daily aim to have:
- at least one large serving of vegetables with lunch and dinner
- one "green" drink
- one large raw vegetable salad made with dark leafy greens
- at least two pieces of fruit per day
- one serving of beans or legumes each day
- no more than one or two servings of animal foods
However, just like Wahls, the Larsons discovered that eating well rewarded them with energy and vitality - and reversed Ivy's MS for over a decade - a way of eating they now call Clean Cuisine. "Clean Cuisine bridges the gap between what we should eat, what tastes good, what is scientifically proven to be best for our bodies and what is actually doable in the real world," says Ivy. "It centers around a philosophy of healthy eating that transforms traditional dishes into guilt-free, flavor-forward food. Everybody benefits, whether you have health problems or not." Eating "clean" involves replacing processed-oils and sugar with herbs & spices, and enjoying life...their program includes the occasional glass of wine and daily sweet "cheat" - like Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (pictured above).
What their way of eating does not include: a lot of time spent counting of what you eat. "Once you supply your body with the nutrients it needs you can put an end to excess hunger and food cravings," explains Dr. Larson. "The only way to lose weight long term is to find a way of eating that is both enjoyable and that doesn’t leave you hungry - which is what Clean Cuisine does." It's also been shown to reverse diabetes, lower bad LDL cholesterol and blood pressure and ease the symptoms of other inflammatory diseases such as fibromyalgia, asthma, allergies and arthritis. "Because Clean Cuisine is ultra-rich in anti-aging phytonutrients and antioxidants," adds Ivy, "it helps slow the aging process, prevent disease and maintain better health."
- Lesley Scott