First came the diagnosis; which was terrifying enough. I had multiple sclerosis. That information was overwhelming. Then I was told something that was meant to be encouraging but instead, added more horror to my world.
I could help control the severity of my fatigue and other MS symptoms, as well as my overall health, by committing to a healthy diet.
I am shaking right now just thinking about it.
You see, my name is Yvonne and I am a Junk-a-holic. Sweets, meats, salty things, starchy things, and all things processed were my main food groups.
Monday’s meal plan, drive-through.
Tuesday’s meal plan, dinner with my best buds, Ben and Jerry.
Wednesday, a healthy night- frozen dinner.
Thursday, processed pasta, the cheesier the better.
Friday, a social outing, dinner out with friends.
Saturday, takeout pizza of course.
Sunday, combo night, leftover takeout pizza and leftover takeout from Friday.
I was not completely hopeless. I knew that my five food groups were not the food pyramid the experts recommended, but it worked for me. But the people in the know, (everyone), insisted that I get serious about my diet.
I am, but it has been a long and bumpy road, fraught with many nutritional errors and setbacks. I thought maybe I should share some of the shocking things I learned along the way to help all of you on your path to a healthier diet. If you are struggling with the same issue of incorporating a healthy diet into your world, please learn from the following mistakes I made.
1. Reading Shape magazine is not enough. You actually have to do what the articles tell you to do.
2. Reeses Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkins are not actually made from pumpkins and thus, are not good for you.
3. Similarly, a Mounds candy bar does not count as two servings of fruit. If you get the king size bar however, and eat the whole thing, it does count as half of one fruit serving.
4. This one is really confusing. Just because you buy something at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market, it does not mean it is 100% healthy. Some of their items may actually be only 60% healthy. I know right, what’s the point?
5. Also frustrating, not everything in the yogurt section of the grocery store is good for you. For some reason, adding flavors, candy and cookies to various yogurts greatly diminishes their nutritional value. Doesn’t seem fair but there it is.
6. Some spices can add health benefits to your diet. Cinnamon is a classic example. Cinnamon is good for you. Yet, the experts don’t suggest sprinkling cinnamon on ice cream and puddings as the best way to reap the cinnamon benefits.
7. You need protein in your diet and hamburger has protein. But big, fat juicy hamburgers are not that good for you.
8. You need dairy in your diet and ice cream is full of dairy. Yet a big, fat ice cream sundae is not good for you.
9. You need grains in your diet and bread is made from grains. But for some insane reason, fried bread dough is not good for you.
10. Finally, it turns out, and this one broke my heart, raw cookie dough is bad for you and the calories do count. I thought the calories didn’t register until you actually baked the cookies. It is a cruel, cruel world we live in friends.
Try not to be too overwhelmed with these lessons. Basically, what I have had to train my Junk-a-holic brain to do is accept that if doesn’t look super delicious, it is likely good for you.
To offer some encouragement to my MS friends, allow me to end on a positive note. Once you start eating the not so good looking things, you do start to feel a little better. And before you know it, they aren’t that bad…