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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Can a Raw Food Diet help Your MS?
When Lucy Walter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2004, she was told she'd better start preparing for life in a wheelchair.
The 51-year-old had been suffering excruciating migraines and stomach cramps since her mid-30s, but despite constant trips to hospital, doctors couldn't work out what was wrong. They even tried removing her gall bladder, to no avail.
"I was terrified," Walter told MSN.
"I was being put on powerful pain relief but it wasn't working because MS is actually just the misfiring of the nerves -- it's not pain as your body normally recognises it."
A mother of three, she suddenly found herself being cared for by her husband and three children.
"It affected my optic nerve and sometimes I couldn't see so my teenage son had to carry me up the stairs," she said.
"One doctor implied I needed to see a psychologist because it was something in my head, but I knew that wasn't the case -- I wasn't doing it for attention."
It wasn't until she saw a different GP that she started to get some answers to the unexplained and seemingly unrelated symptoms she'd been suffering for five years.
"I was sent to a specialist and I was finally diagnosed with MS," she said.
"While it wasn't a good diagnosis, in some ways it was a relief to understand what was happening to my body. They suggested that within five years I would have no mobility."
Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system, interfering with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
Its symptoms are varying and unpredictable, which is why it took doctors a long time to diagnose Walter.
Walter was advised to start preparing for life in a wheelchair.
"I was already using a cane and we lived in a three-storey house," she said.
"We realised that our lifestyle wouldn't support a wheelchair so my husband and I sold our home in Brisbane to move to the Sunshine Coast hinterland to reduce the stress levels in our life and also live in a single level home where I could get around in a wheelchair easily."
From the outset, Walter was hesitant about taking drugs for MS.
"The drugs I had been given had made me chronically ill," she said.
"None of the drugs had been proven to help MS and I wanted to do something that would be holistic."
About six months after her diagnosis, Walter was introduced to the idea of eating plant-based foods to help her body cure itself.
"There is a lot of evidence that animal-based products tend to trigger things like cancer and it makes your body an acidic environment," she said.
"I started to do a lot of research and my husband and I decided to try going 100 percent raw."
To their surprise, her symptoms started reducing.
"We did some pretty radical things … once we did a 10-day water fast to rest my body," she recalls.
"It became very apparent that it was the raw food diet that was the catalyst for my improvement. It became a very easy process to stick to and before I knew it, I was planting a vegie garden and now I have a very fit and healthy life."
Now Walter is on a "high raw" diet, where the bulk of her diet is raw plant-based foods.
That means lots of green smoothies using produce from her vegetable garden, as well as fresh meals, such as marinated mushrooms, zucchini pasta and kale salads.
"If it comes in a packet, I tend not to eat it," she said.
"Cooking lowers the nutrition. The vitamin C and B vitamins die at a certain temperature when cooking, and the heat starts to change the nutritional structure of the food. If you are trying to heal, your body needs all the nutrition to start to recover."
These days, Walter's MS symptoms have all but disappeared. "Occasionally I might get a phantom pain but that is so rare," she said.