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  • MS_Navigators

    Maintaining good health is very important for people with multiple sclerosis. A well-balanced and planned diet can help achieve this goal, but with so many to choose from, and differing opinions on which are most effective, it can be a challenge to know where to start, let alone how to stick with one long enough to know if it’s helping.

    Join us for a conversation about diet and nutrition. Share your thoughts, tips and questions below. And then check back later this month as we chat with Denise Nowack, RD, and Ellen Mowry, MD, about your burning questions.


    ** Scroll down to see responses from Dr. Mowry and Ms. Nowack, and read their blog interviews here. **


  • cahill54

    I have tried to find a diet specifically for MS, all i hear is to eat right, eat healthy...well if i knew what worked, i would give it a try. I'm on a limited income, no food stamps or government assistance, so organic is out of my income level. Any help?

  • flatbush78
    cahill54 wrote:

    I have tried to find a diet specifically for MS, all i hear is to eat right, eat healthy...well if i knew what worked, i would give it a try. I'm on a limited income, no food stamps or government assistance, so organic is out of my income level. Any help?

    Limit the intake of breads, pastas, potatoes and sugars. Eat lean meats, get rid of soda, drink things like Gatorade, Light V8 Fusion, water and other juices that are low in sugar, eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. You don't have to go organic to eat well. Also exercise, walk as much as you can, if you have a bike, ride when the weather permits. I use the trail close to my home and I walk twice a week. I bought a cheap bike and I ride when I can. If you are eligible for Medicare, look into Silver Sneakers. The diet for MS is a basic diet, no processed food, eat clean and cut down on the bad carbs like sugars and white flours.
  • MS_Navigators

    cahill54 wrote:

    I have tried to find a diet specifically for MS, all i hear is to eat right, eat healthy...well if i knew what worked, i would give it a try. I'm on a limited income, no food stamps or government assistance, so organic is out of my income level. Any help?


    Ellen Mowry, MD:

    At this point in time, there isn’t enough research to support one specific diet for people with MS. For my patients who are interested in pursuing dietary modifications, I usually suggest diets that may benefit their overall health and may impact their risk of developing other diseases, which in turn can make the MS worse.

    One diet that has been shown to be beneficial for overall health is a Mediterranean-style diet that includes less red meat, fewer refined sugars, healthier types of oils (such as extra virgin olive oil), lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and more fish.

    Denise Nowack, RD:

    Eating well doesn't have to take a bite into your budget, either. A little work up front can save you time and money down the road. Here are some tips to keep a few pennies in your pocket without compromising your health.

    Have a plan. 

    Look for healthy recipe ideas using budget-conscious ingredients.  (Search the internet using the ingredient as the key word.)   Create a master shopping list to keep your refrigerator and pantry filled with staples that are quick and easy to cook, and kind to your wallet. These can include:

    • Pastas
    • Quick-cooking grains (like quinoa, couscous, brown rice)
    • Canned beans (a great source of fiber and protein)
    • Soups (choose reduced-sodium varieties)
    • Canned & frozen fish
    • Canned & frozen varieties of fruits and vegetables
    • Nonfat powdered milk (use when milk is needed as an ingredient in cooking)


    Shop smart. 

    • Clip coupons…or go online to look for discounts on the products you use most. 
    • Check your list and stick to it!  Resist the urge to pick up “extra” items from end-of-aisle displays or at the checkout counter.
    • Buy in bulk and store in ready-to-use portions.  If storage space is limited consider splitting packages with a friend to take advantage of volume savings.
    • Look for specials. Stock up on staples when they go on sale.
    • Take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables in season.  For other produce, frozen and canned products can be good choices and just as nutritious as fresh.  Opt for low-salt products and avoid those prepared in sauces or with added sugar. 
    • Go generic.  Buying the store's brand of canned, frozen or bagged foods can provide great savings without compromising nutritional value.


    Make the most out of meals. 

    When you have the energy to cook, double up on recipes! Freeze the extra in oven-ready containers, or use later in the week for lunches or quick dinners. Leftovers from a roasted chicken at dinner can be reinvented the next night in as chicken pesto pasta or for lunch in a chicken salad.  Leftover vegetables can give canned soups, rice or pasta a nutritional boost.

    While precleaned and precut produce can save time and energy in the kitchen they can be more expensive than their standard counterparts.  Go for whole fruits and vegetables and cut them up yourself. Chop and package them in common portion sizes for the recipes you use most, or slice and store them for an easy snack. 

    Be a savvy snacker

    Healthy snacking can be your best friend in managing fatigue.  However, single-serving snack foods can be costly.  Save money and watch your waistline by making your own 100-calorie snack packs. Buy in bulk, pack in sealable bags or reusable containers and you’ll have a nutritious snack you can throw in your lunch bag. Here are a few suggestions:

    • 12-15 almonds
    • 7 walnuts
    • 25 pistachios
    • 11 cashews
    • 16 peanuts
    • 40 pretzel sticks
    • 10 walnut halves
    • 1/3 cup of whole-grain granola
    • 1 ¾ cup reduced-fat popcorn
    • 6 dried apricots
    • 12 mini-cheddar rice cakes
    • 15 chocolate-covered raisins
    • 10 baked corn chips


  • fight4yourlife

    I am making a cheap kale smoothie 2 times a day.  I keep it cheap by growing my own kale in a large bucket.  I supliment by buying kale in bulk.  I just mix kale with an Apple and a banana in a blender.  This is cheaper the about anything.  I hope this helps.


  • fight4yourlife

    cahill54 wrote:

    I have tried to find a diet specifically for MS, all i hear is to eat right, eat healthy...well if i knew what worked, i would give it a try. I'm on a limited income, no food stamps or government assistance, so organic is out of my income level. Any help?


  • kateryna_s
    I've been doing Paleo for the last 2 years, following Terry Wahls protocol. Most of my MS symptoms disappeared within the first 3 months. I don't issues with fatigues, energy, spasticity anymore, facial numbness is gone. Still have a little bit of difficulties walking for long distances and some balance difficulties come up. I highly recommend this diet, there are plenty of resources online to look up what Paleo diet is and there are tones of recipes to cook with healthy ingredients. 
  • Carol207

    I thought I was the only one experiencing the "eat right eat less" comment from my Dr.

    To add to Cahill' s request, I have PPMS in a wheelchair independent and have one good hand, unfortunately not the one I favored over my life span, anyway cooking is difficult. It would be great to have an MS pre-cooked made meal plan delivered or for pickup.

  • gingi

    Fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh wholesome meats don't "have" to be organic,  I buy meat from the butcher.  There is just 2 of us so I save money buying only what I need.  Also, the meat itself is less expensive per pund and it is fresh. Farfmers markets are a great place for fresh fruits adn veggies as is te produce department in your local grocery store.  I also buy from the bulk bins and it cust my cost significantly.  I only need a hald cup of cous cous or a quarter cup of quinoa and a hald pound of pasts so buying in the bins the proce per pound is much less plus I am not having a cupboard of things to go bad. I also shop the ads for my local grocery stores and see who has the best deals.  Another way to eat healthy and not break the bank is to plan your menus two weeks at a time. Websites like has a shopping list and menu tracker as well as letting you konw in your area what ingredients are on sale plus loads of healthhy recipes and menu ideas with nutritional information.  By doing these things I have cut our grocery budget in half and we don't starve.  Fresh made is always healther than processed.  I also use left over coffee and the water from steamed vegetables as well as chicken stock for sauteeing instead of oils.  WE use olive oil foe almost everything no butter and certianlyh NO MARGERINE.  Plain yougurt (full fat version) is just as delicious and useful as greek yogurt and sour cream and much less costly.  I also advocate coupons if and only iff it is something you are already purchasing. I hope you find this helpful.

  • clparker13
    I am with you. I eat what I think is healthy. And as fatigued as I get, I have started to work out. I feel NutriThin helps my energy immensely!
  • vivianegauvin

    Farmer's markets in your area may be able to offer you with high quality produce (even sometimes meats and eggs) without the higher priced of organic food from the grocery store.

  • Enrique
    Yeah probably i have the samelittle issue about the money but you can try you can do candida diet and read the book healing multiple sclerosis by Ann Boroch
  • mallyn
    Or family went gluten free a couple years ago and my husband who has Ms found it helping his spasms a lot. If he cheats and has gluten his spasms start up within a half hour.
  • starsky1
    So sorry to hear your going through this... I would suggest you try a gluten free diet. Gluten is the source of many immune reactions for many disorders including Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis. Basically, you stop eating: Wheat (eat rice bread or corn tortillas for sandwiches which can be warmed up by placing on the rack of a toaster oven and toasted). Dairy (rice or almond milk are good substitutes) and... Legumes (beans of all kinds which includes peas and peanuts... all other nuts are ok to eat) Soy is the worst thing a person with an immune, or brain disorder, can eat!! (Dr Oz is trying to get this message out to the public). That includes Teriyaki which is made from soy beans. Soy is a cheep filler and is used in many food products...Read labels when you go shopping... For instance, Mayonnaise is made with soybean oil... By Canola Mayonnaise... Almost all BBQ sauces have it. Bulls Eye does not... A lot of chips are cooked in it. Read your labels!!! When eating out, many restaurants now have gluten free menus... order sandwiches in a lettuce wrap or simply discard the bread. Snacks: Eat celery with Almond Butter... Bake chicken breast and slowly tear apart and dip in your favorite hot sauce... have lots of raw vegetables... Cook a small pot of Grits, use Land O Lakes butter (has very little Dairy so it's ok to use) and poach or hard boil an egg and put it on top. Filling and warms the belly... If you don't like Grits then use mashed potatoes... Dip Fritos in guacamole, eat lunch meat with Almond Cheese on Rice Crackers. On this diet you will need to eat often but the bonus is that you'll lose weight on it AND helps your immune system by reducing inflammation in your body. Here's a great resource for the diet: Includes education and recipes. This diet is also used in conjunction with the CCSVI procedure and is highly recommended by those doctors who do this procedure including the doctor who did Montel Williams procedure. I know this because I had the CCSVI procedure done at the same facility in California that he did which is why this site also talks about funding research on CCSVI. Just click on the nutritional info and that will get you started. I talked with this doctor who created the diet and he said that you will start feeling better within a few months but it takes a year before you feel the full benefits and he was right... The difference is amazing!! All of the info is free... So this isn't a scam... It works for me. I always feel much better if I stick close to this diet and can feel symptoms more when I don't. Especially if I eat anything containing Soy... That's stuff us AWEFUL!! I hope you will give this a try. It's a commitment but you may start feeling relief of symptoms in just a few months.
  • natalie95

    Read : The Wahl's Protocol


    By: Dr. Terry Wahl's


    She reversed her MS. Not cured it. There is no cure. But, she went from a wheelchair to walking.


    You can see her of Youtube(TEDx).



  • carinadolci

    no gluten, no grain, no corn, no rice.  whatever you need, ask and you shall receive,  God takes care of us so if you need to eat properly for your health, ask for help and God will make it possible.  I will pray for you.  You should apply for food stamps.  I eat eggs, egg whites, fish, meat, veggies and fruit.  It's a great start even if you cant afford fresh not farm raised fish and grass fed beef.  but it makes you feel so much better.

  • natalie95


    You might want to watch Dr. Terry Whal's on Youtube. She did a TEDx video about her "Whal's Protocol" diet and her book.

  • angelsoul2

    cahill54 wrote:

    I have tried to find a diet specifically for MS, all i hear is to eat right, eat healthy...well if i knew what worked, i would give it a try. I'm on a limited income, no food stamps or government assistance, so organic is out of my income level. Any help?

    I am completely in the same understand these circumstances...I too may need to find my own way alone and I have no idea how I will when disability foodst/cash which equals the is very frightening.....much less pay for healthy food!!!!

  • travisgreen
    I've been dealing with a new symptom lately(spasticity) and it's got me changing a number of things and one being diet. My wife gave me the book "the Wahls Protocol" which seems to suggest a no gluten diet.... Has anyone else read this? And if so how's it working?
  • AuntieB
    I tried this diet. After attending an MS society exercise program for 12 weeks, the scale didn't budge. I decided to try a gluten free, (mostly) dairy free diet, knowing that I probably wouldn't be able to maintain it for an extended amount of time. I managed to lose about 10 lbs in 3 weeks. Felt pretty good and was actually sleeping better, which is one of my major problems. Then came my birthday, other celebrations, and blew the gluten free thing (I like cake lol!). I'm hoping to try it again after the 4th of July barbecues are over. The full-on Wahl's diet includes no gluten, no grains of any kind, no dairy, and wants you to eat organ meats (liver and heart - yuck!). I think one of the premises of the Wahl's book is that there is no real option for "cheating". The author implies that she loses all accumulated benefits if she cheats a bit. I think it (the gluten free option) might be something I can do for a while, but it isn't really going to be a permanent thing for me. The idea of permanently eliminating grains and dairy for my diet just doesn't seem feasible. Could this be an unhealthy "fad" diet? Sure, but I'm willing to give it a shot knowing that if my body needs grains or dairy, I will probably crave it. I'm not going to permanently deny myself any food group, but figure if I use it as a weight loss kick start, it won't hurt me.