Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2 Weeks Down, The Rest of My Life To Go!

I've now been following the MS Recovery Diet for exactly two weeks.  I continue to feel better than I have in years and my MS symptoms are still slowly backing off.  I've got a tingling sensation in my left leg - which may sound annoying to some of you, but to anyone dealing with the numbness that can come with MS - to have the tingles is a wonderful feeling.  I can move the toes on my left foot more each day.  My girlfriend asked me if I was ready to walk around on tiptoes - maybe not just yet, but I am getting there.

I've had a lot of great feedback to this blog, heard from a lot of friends, family and even some people I haven't met yet.  I talk to anyone and everyone about my decision to recover from MS.  I noticed that the comments I get most are about the diet itself so I thought I'd spend the rest of this post talking about the nuts and bolts of the MS Recovery Diet.  There is so much I want to say about the diet but I'll try to just summarize it here.

One:  it isn't a 'diet'.  It isn't an 'Eat-Cabbage-Soup-For-40-Days' sort of weight loss thing.  The MS Recovery Diet is my guide to eating healthy and allowing my body to heal from the shit MS has put it through.  It has shown me what food sensitivities I have or, in other words, what foods will trigger an onset or worsening of my symptoms.  The theory is that by avoiding those trigger foods, I can allow my body to heal.

Two:  I have eliminated beef, pork, gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, soy, caffeine and alcohol from my diet. 

***Oh, but Joe - then what is left to eat??  I can't live without my TastyCakes and steaks and fast foods!"***

Three:  I eat three balanced meals and go heavy on the protein.  I pretty much graze my way from meal to meal because I've found that my symptoms get worse when I wait too long to eat something.

Four:  I eat great stuff - chicken picata, Shepherd's pie, scallops wrapped in turkey bacon, pasta with homemade putanesca sauce, meatloaf, chili.  Turkey and chicken are my meats of choice.  There's a great Amish farm market nearby - they  raise and process their own  turkey.  They have the best turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey bacon, turkey burgers, turkey hot dogs, turkey pizza, turkey gellato (kidding on the pizza and gellato - but you get the idea).  I snack on lots of  vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts (but not peanuts, because they're a legume, and a trigger food).

Five:  I eat sweets.  I love sweets.  So far my favorites have been apple almond scones, chocolate brownies and pineapple upside down cake.  There are a ton of cookbooks and recipes out there for gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free goodies.  You name a trigger food, and there is a way to make a sweet treat around it.

Six:  Raw Foods.  Look it up.

Seven:  I plan my meals.  Gone are the days of eating on the fly - just grabbing something quick and easy.  Now I look through recipes (the MS Recovery Diet book has a bunch of great ones), decide on a bunch that sound good, make sure I have the ingredients and then go to town making everything.  I make a lot in advance and now use my deep freezer for more than just tacquitos and ice cream.

Eight:  The key for me is that the food gets cooked in big batches and then frozen into smaller servings.  So yeah, it may take a few hours in the kitchen up front but then I've got a few weeks worth of amazing dinners and snacks.

That's about it.  Like I said at the beginning, there is so much more I plan to say about this diet and nutrition in general.  I'll save that for another post.

In the meantime, please continue to share my blog with anyone you think may benefit from my experiences.  Thank you in advance!

Also - feel free to ask questions.  If I don't like the question, I just won't answer.  But seriously, you can post a question here or send it via email and I will to get back to you with some sort of response. 

My leg is sparkles, my leg is pins
I better get my shit together, better gather my shit in
The National - Slow Show

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello, I'm Joseph Pinter

Hello.  I'm Joe Pinter and this is my new blog.  I want everyone to know that MS sucks - but it doesn't have to.   This blog will follow me and my experience with the MS Recovery Diet.  Hopefully it'll be a short blog, because that will mean I'll have recovered fast and don't have much to say. 

A bit of background:  I was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS about 8 years ago.  MS is a crappy disease that slowly sucks life away from you.  The term relapsing/remitting means that the MS symptoms come and go - sometimes lingering forever, sometimes going away completely.   If you are the sort that likes to know more, then I encourage you to visit webmd or another resource for more detailed medical/science info.

So anyway, I was diagnosed with MS.  My neurologist and I had been managing my MS pretty well until the beginning of 2011.  That very first week of 2011 changed my life forever - and for good.  And I mean GOOD.

My MS had been getting steadily worse over the fall months.  My eyesight became affected, the feeling in my left leg was totally gone, my right leg was beginning to go numb (not to mention the bajillion other symptoms - but my legs are the big ones for purposes of this post). 

Right after New Year's, my daughter and I both came down with the flu.  The flu exacerbated the MS symptoms to the point that I could no longer walk. 

I will never, never forget the night that my daughter called to me from her room - I barely made it down the hall, leaning on the walls and stairway railings.  I stood in her room, dizzy and weak and knowing something really bad was happening to me. 

I had to get out of her room - I couldn't let her see me fall to the floor.  I have no idea how I made it back down the hall, but when I got to my room I literally collapsed.  I couldn't walk another step.

I couldn't walk. 

I could not walk.

I'm a single Dad. 

I am self-employed.

I could not walk.

I have an awesome support team, and I made it though the flu and built up enough strength that I was able to lurch myself around the house.  But I knew it was just a matter of time before it happened again.  I knew that unless something drastically changed, it was just a matter of time before I'd be sitting my ass in a wheelchair.

So I finally picked up a book my sister-in-law bought me a few years ago, The MS Recovery Diet, and started reading.  The book lays out a simple lifestyle plan centered on healthy eating.  Both of the authors have MS - one has fully recovered and the other is out of her wheelchair and on her way to full recovery.  I called my girlfriend and asked if she'd be willing to try the MS Recovery Diet with me.  She said yes.  So we did.

We started the MS Recovery Diet on 1/11/11.  I'll save the details of the plan for another post (it's not a 'diet' - it's a way of eating) but will tell you this:

Holy Shit.  I can walk.  I even have a spring in my step (or maybe I'm just not lurching as much.  Whatever.)  Don't get me wrong - I am nowhere near complete recovery.  I'd say I'm at about 5% improvement.  My toes were completely numb and I couldn't move them at all - and now I can not only feel my toes but I can wiggle them too.  I'm sleeping better.  The fatigue isn't nearly as bad.  I'm told my skin glows and my eyes are brighter.

I know I have a long way to go.   But on an almost daily basis, my MS symptoms are abating.   I know that just by following the MS Recovery Diet, I am getting better.

I want to share my recovery journey with anyone and everyone who has been or is currently affected by MS.  MS just sucks and it doesn't have to. 

Making better food choices, knowing what to eat more of and what to avoid - that's all it takes to make your life with MS better.  Well, that plus exercise (I'm not there yet, but I hope that within a week or two I'm strong enough to make my first visit to the gym and meet with a personal trainer who is knowledgeable about MS) and a positive attitude and your doctor and your meds and yadda yadda yadda. 

****I'm not saying that anyone should go off their meds - I'm certainly not.  But I am saying that life with MS can be good.****

Please share my blog with anyone you know who is managing MS in their lives or the lives of people they love.  There is hope.  There is recovery. 

Life is Good.