I have been on my healthy eating anti-MS diet since January 2012. Now I want to make it very clear that my primary aim in doing this is to try and reduce my risk of further MS attacks and to ensure that my body is as healthy and therefore resilient as possible. So please don’t judge me when I say…the fact that I have lost a stone and can now fit into my old jeans, is thing I am most pleased about. The weight has come off very slowly and this is largely due to occasional relapses involving pork crackling, dauphinoise potatoes and full english breakfasts, but the point is, the weight is coming off and 80% of the time I am really very well behaved.
The problem I have had in the past with any kind of diet is that as soon as I am told not to eat something, I immediately fixate on that thing and it becomes a mental battle, which I ultimately lose (the Dairy Milk always wins!) This time it is different because for the first time I am properly motivated by something other than vanity. It’s amazing how a week in a wheelchair can focus your mind.
These are my daily aims:
To eat less than 15g of saturated fat per day.
To eat a healthy breakfast – my new mantra is - if you start the day well then the rest of the day follows (a bit like that Bran Flakes advert with the big Scottish cycling man - Chris Hoy?)
To eat more fruit and veg
To eat little or no meat.
Eat more fish and shellfish
To eat more wholegrain foods
To avoid fatty dairy products like butter and cheese.
Now as everyone who knows me will tell you, I am a committed carnivore whose idea of heaven is a rib-eye steak followed by a lump of cheese and big glass of red wine, so this was never going to be easy for me, but I am, hand on heart, trying my best.
Strictly speaking I shouldn’t be eating any meat but I know avoiding it totally is the path to disaster. As soon as I say no more meat forever – I will fail. I am weak and I will give up because it becomes too much of a challenge, too big, too boring. I have always admired people who can go down the total abstinence route – I am just not one of them.
Having said that, I know that I have to keep my saturated fat levels low and this is where my online food diary comes in. I put in what I am eating and it calculates calories, protein carbs, fat and saturated fat as well as vitamins etc. It would be pointless to lie to it (believe me I have tried) but it reminds me of the 15g saturated fat per day boundary I have set myself. It even gives me a grade at the end of the day (if I get an “A” I feel absurdly proud!) I usually keep to about 10g per day in the week and then probably go a bit above this at weekends when all the lovely, bad things are around.
Dr Swank, the man who pioneered this diet plan, is probably turning in his grave at my interpretation of it but I think even he would be proud of the fact that I am willing to try Quorn in the name of healthy living.