Food For Thought: Nutrition #MSLifeHacks to Help You and Your MS

Karen O’Shea
Written by
Karen O’Shea

Of all the changes I have made since my multiple sclerosis diagnosis, the most beneficial has been my diet. And seeing a nutritionist, although I was sceptical about it at first, helped immensely.

How many times have we heard that our bodies are temples—but then put that all aside hoping there is nutritional value in burgers and fries? And how many times have we told ourselves that sugar, dessert, and other calorie-laden goodies aren’t that bad for us? Right? Wrong!

What I learned from my nutritionist is that sugar can put stress on your immune system. That stress is not good for anyone with an autoimmune disease such as MS, lupus or fibromyalgia. But other foods can be beneficial to the body, and my nutritionist has helped me to completely change the way I think about nutrition for the better. She showed me that it’s not about having the perfect, healthy diet – it’s about making small, positive changes that can help you and your MS. While it was challenging to try new things at first, I have learned that a few simple dietary changes can make a world of difference.

Here are some of my favourite life hacks that make eating healthier much easier. Hopefully these tips will help you love nutritious foods as well!

Better Breakfast!

Add a squeeze: Warm water with lemon is a great way to start the day. Not only is it hydrating, but it is an easy way to get your digestive system going. If your lemon feels too firm, roll it on your kitchen counter to soften it up and make it easier to squeeze. Alternatively, try this MS Life Hack and zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Flavour naturally: Porridge or oatmeal are excellent, high-fibre breakfast choices, but packaged versions can be full of added sugar and empty calories. Try flavouring plain oatmeal the natural way instead. My favourite additions: one teaspoon of coconut oil, two teaspoons of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Tasty and nutritious!

Sweeten with fruit: Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are a delicious way to add sweetness to oatmeal, cereal or yoghurt, and adding fruit to breakfast is a great way to cut down on processed sugar while also increasing your fibre intake. They are also naturally delicious, so it feels like a treat every time you eat them!

Let’s Have Lunch!

Always make extra: When preparing lunch, make enough for a few meals. Big batches will ensure you have a nutritious option on hand even if you are feeling fatigued, and will prevent you from making unhealthy choices out of convenience.

Freeze the extras: Tired of eating leftovers? Freeze them in portioned out containers! I do this with soup, and whenever I want a comforting and healthy lunch, a warm cup of homemade soup is just a quick zap away!

Fish for Dinner!

Embrace Omega-3s: My nutritionist explained to me that Omega 3s may be beneficial for people with MS as they have been shown to help with concentration and general brain wellness. Try to eat fish at least twice a week to get the benefit of Omega-3s. I’ve tried a variety of fish. From tuna steak, trout and mackerel to non-oily fish like hake, sea bass, haddock and pollock, try them all until you find what you like.

Jazz it up: Confession – I used to hate fish. Then I discovered this delicious and healthy preparation: coat filets with honey, rolling in whole-wheat breadcrumbs, and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice before baking. Experimenting with different flavours helped turn something I once detested into one of my favourite meals!

Sweet Treats

Blend it up: Smoothies are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth while also being nutritious. I discovered that they don’t just have to be limited to fruit! Try blending in mild flavoured greens, like spinach or kale, to increase your vegetable intake – you can barely taste the difference! Another tip: I often add a big dollop of peanut or almond butter to add a filling protein boost. Delicious smoothies will make you forget that ice cream and milkshakes even exist!

Swap out the cream: Love treating yourself to hot chocolate? Try adding a teaspoon of coconut oil instead of cream – it adds both richness and delicious flavour the natural way! I thank my nutritionist for that little gem.

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you eat healthier? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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