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Another great story shows it’s never too late to start beating MS with ultra healthy living August 11, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS, Uncategorized.
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23 comments

Diagnosed with MS in 1986, Mona Sen spent 22 miserable years struggling with MS. Then she discovered neurology Professor Roy L. Swank, M.D., and her life turned around. She is another person whose story shows that it is never to late to start getting healthier with ultra healthy living. Whoa! Mona Sen is looking healthy, happy, fit and younger than her years too. Notice the great sparkle in her eyes!

Since I started writing this web site, individuals with MS from all over the world have written to me and told me how ultra healthy living has opened up a world of possibilities for them. Here’s another story from Mona Sen:

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My story I’m sure began like many other people’s. I was diagnosed in 1986 at age 20. What does a 20-year-old do but listen to the powers that be which in my case included my parents and Harvard medical school. I went along with huge doses of steroids, lithium, lumbar puncture and the whole bit. I really think I suffered needlessly for many years. My diet was ridiculous — standard fare including dairy, saturated fat and processed foods. Who knew?

I continuously got a little worse over the years. Went to graduate school got a master’s in occupational therapy of all things and continued to deteriorate. I had been on Betaseron since 1995 and had a “hypertensive” episode with stroke level blood pressure in 2005. I knew I never wanted to be in the ER again.

I survived all this and felt a change in thinking coming on. In 2008 I had another episode and in retrospect my diet consisted of lots of saturated fat. By this point I was on disability. I then discovered LDN by accident and my mobility was pretty much by scooter. I fought with my own neurologist and then found a doctor friend who gave me a script.

That was the beginning of my journey. After starting LDN in 2008, I discovered Dr. Swank. His book is a fixture in my kitchen. I stopped all toxic medication. Right now I take LDN, mind my food intolerances, use my WalkAide to build my muscle strength and wear a small but flexible brace which is more comfortable. I have gotten rid of that standard ankle foot orthosis (AFO) brace. My leg strength is better even with the foot drop and I’ve started walking again for exercise and fun.

A low-fat diet, LDN, a hell of a good attitude, a sensible schedule which includes rest, a multivitamin and a new zest for life is my recipe for success. I have been exacerbation free since 2008. Oh and everyone says I look great!
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When I asked Mona Sen if she would tell her story on this web site since it would be helpful to others, she wrote back: “Rebecca, of course my story can be used. I am exhausted trying to get others to listen, even people in my own MS group! I am not working anymore and my time is my own. I see this work as part of my ‘mission’ and life’s work!” Isn’t that true for many of us? Once we learn that eating right and the basics matters, we are out to save world! I love it! If we don’t change the world, who will?

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult your with doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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Right diet may be the best way to beat multiple sclerosis and sizzle too June 17, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat.
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24 comments

Drop dead georgeous from eating right.


If you have multiple sclerosis (MS) or know someone who does, there are many reasons to be optimistic. First, even members of Congress have had MS. Second, as each year passes, doctors and scientists learn more about what is needed to manage MS instead of having MS manage you. You may not be able to cure MS but most likely you can minimize it. Realistically, however, drugs are unlikely to make you well. To be as well as you can be, research shows an ultra healthy diet is needed.

Quite simply, the research shows that eating some foods is associated with the onset of MS and more MS symptoms and disability and other foods seem to help relieve MS symptoms. This is why a good MS diet is part of a modern science-based approach. And this ultra healthy MS diet will  even make you more attractive!

Numerous studies have shown a relationship between diet and MS and point the way to a healthy diet for those with MS. Dr. Roy Swank, for example, a professor and neurologist at a university’s medical school in Oregon, found that eating too much saturated fat helps cause MS and makes MS worse. Other studies have found, MS is more frequent where Vitamin D deficiencies are common, when too much animal fat is consumed and even when too many sweets are eaten. At the same time, one study shows that eating whole grains and fruits and vegetables helps protect against MS.

Most important for those with MS, Dr. Swank studied the impact of diet on MS patients. He found that those who followed a low-fat, ultra healthy diet he planned, often lived normal lives. In fact, he wrote that 95% of patients who started following his diet shortly after diagnosis never became disabled. In contrast, he reported those who did not eat a healthy low-fat diet, often became disabled and died at a relatively young age.

Dr. Swank carefully defined what a low-fat diet is because he was so concerned about the impact of saturated fats on those with MS. His diet prohibits eating of more than 15 grams of saturated fats each day and recommends eating of only 20 to 50 grams of unsaturated fats each day. Of course, Dr. Swank’s diet also prohibits eating of any transfats, monoglycerides and diglycerides because the health problems caused by these are well known.

I believe I have no visible symptoms today because way back in 1990’s, I found information on Swank’s theories about a low-fat, ultra-healthy diet and started following his advice. (I take no drugs.) Best of all, you can try his advice on the Swank MS Diet and for free. You can borrow his classic book from your local library using an interlibrary loan if necessary. Otherwise, you can buy is book at a modest price at Amazon.com. His book is entitled The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book by Roy Laver Swank. This book is so important for anyone with MS that it should be required reading. If you have MS, this is the first book to read. For refinements that update Swank’s work and will help you do even better, see Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery by George Jelinek, M.D.

If the opportunity for better health is not enough to get you to try Dr. Swank’s diet for a few months, please consider this: his diet will make you look better than you have ever looked. When you start eating the right fats, taking fish oil, taking a few low-cost supplements, and eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you are going to be surprised at the difference in your appearance in a few months. Dr. Swank’s diet is precise, though, so be prepared to be precise when following it. Cheating is not a good idea.

An excellent web site that includes important information, including dietary recommendations prepared by a doctor, is Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, prepared by Dr. George Jelinek who is also a professor of medicine. I love this web site and I highly recommend its use. Dr. Jelinek has MS himself and believes most can minimize MS symptoms with the right life style choices.

I also highly recommend Dr. Jelinek’s book on multiple sclerosis (mentioned above). A new version of this book, however, was published in February 2010 but was initially available only in Australia and New Zealand. Now, it is available in in much of the world. (Most book sellers are no longer stocking his previous book on multiple sclerosis which was called Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis). His new book is called Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery and is available on Amazon and other sites. Google books now provides a preview of this important book at: Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Recovery.

If you want to read Jelinek’s older book on multiple sclerosis, it is probably best to borrow it from your local library. Also, the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis web site is so thorough and informative that it includes the basic information you need.

Of the many books I have read on MS, I most highly recommend those by Dr. Swank and Dr. Jelinek. Please note, though, that the recommendations of Dr. Swank and Dr. Jelinek do differ somewhat. I use combination of ideas from both. For years I tended to follow Dr. Swank’s recommendations on diet and Dr. Jelinek’s recommendations on supplements. Now I lean more towards Jelinek’s recommendations and I primarily eat a whole plant food diet with fish such as salmon and sardines. (Please also note that I do not recommend the web site of the Swank Foundation that was founded by Dr. Swank. Dr. Swank is now deceased and, unfortunately, the web site of the Swank Foundation now includes recommendations that are not well-grounded in science.)

In summary, I’m not the only one who thinks the odds you can beat MS are good if you eat a healthy diet and follow the other advice included here. A couple of professors agree with much of what is included here. So, best wishes in changing your life style. Eat healthy to live healthy and look drop dead gorgeous!

I will include more information on how you can maximize your sizzle in upcoming blogs.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Is that veggie juice or what?  (Er, I do not think so.)

Is that veggie juice or what? (Er, I do not think so.)

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2010 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags: Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Diet – the right diet for MS, Fatigue, Fish Oil, Food, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Nutrition, Prevent, Rebif, Relapses, Sizzle, Tysabri