Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

One Of Our Own Needs Help...Please Share

Original Facebook Post by Michael Guastella

My friend’s dad with MS had his handicap-accessible van stolen, and you can help by sharing this post.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I wanted to share this story with the Internet with the hopes that you’ll share it to your friends and family. I know it’s a long shot, but I’ve seen some incredible things happen because of the Internet, and I know a family that desperately needs our help.

Mike and Theresa Durbin have lived in Shaker Heights, OH for nearly 25 years. They are the parents of two of my closest friends, and have become as good as family to me over the years. Mike has had Multiple Sclerosis since 1989, but has never let it get in the way of his positive outlook on life.  Confined to a wheelchair, there are a few simple joys that fill his day. Cleveland sports, going to church, and taking great pride in the successes of his children. Theresa is one of the strongest women I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. As the main caretaker of Mike, she is also the backbone of the Durbin family.

On the night of December 23rd, thieves broke into their home, and robbed them. They stole Theresa’s purse, Mike’s backpack (right off the back of his electric wheelchair), and then made off with the family’s handicap van. Mike is dependent on this van for ANY sort of means of transportation.  Doctor appointments, emergencies, and anything in-between.

My group of friends knows the Durbin family to be synonymous with generosity and selflessness. For as long as I’ve known them, they have consistently put others before themselves, even in the face of dealing with one of the most debilitating diseases on a daily basis. So, they are the last people on Earth that should have had this happen to them.

Our local news crews were quick to capture the story. In fact, in an absolutely amazing display of generosity, a woman saw the story on the news and donated her family’s old van to the Durbins. She is even an MS patient herself. It was an incredible gesture, and one that Mike and Theresa are very thankful for. While the donated van is a very temporary fix, their stolen van is still missing.

I am hoping that you share this post for visibility, and if you care, copy the link and share it on as much social media as you see fit. I just really want to help this family, and if you’re reading this, I am asking for your help specifically.

The van is a 2013 white Dodge Caravan. Ohio license plate GML 9591. There is a wheelchair ramp that is accessible through the trunk. It was stolen from their home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and is likely to be somewhere in the Greater Cleveland area. If you, or anyone you know, has any tips as to the whereabouts of this van, please call the Shaker Heights Police Department at (216) 491-1220. As well, I set up an email for this purpose. It is Thank you.

Please share this Facebook post in a effort to help the Durbin family.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dairy Alternatives

As I explained in What is WFPBOF WOE?, dairy needs to go if you want to Beat MS.

My advice, do a clean sweep of your kitchen and throw out anything containing milk, cheese, butter and eggs.  I know you spent good money on these things, but they are robbing you of your health - no amount of money is worth that.  As Nike says, "Just do it."

Here's a few brand/item suggestions to help you with overhauling your kitchen with legal dairy alternatives:

Milk (Plain, Vanilla, Chocolate)

Always opt for unsweetened, no-oil and no carrageenan



The following items should be considered transitional foods - foods that help you transition from the dairy world to the vegan world and then as special occasion or treats after that as they most likely contain oil and are a processed food. 


Artisanal Cheese

I only break these out for special occasions as they can be pricey and very high in fat

Ice Cream



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hoff's Pumpkin Curry

Hoff's Pumpkin Curry
Yields: 5-6 servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1 15 oz. can diced Potatoes (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can Chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain Plant Milk
  • 1 15 oz. can Pumpkin
  • 1 Sweet Onion (half moon slices)
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Brown Sugar 
  • 1 tsp. Curry
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Season with Sea Salt

  1. Bring Water to a boil in a large pot, reduce to simmer, add Rice and cover
  2. Cook for 15 minutes, set aside
  3. Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, saute Onions until translucent
  4. Stir in Potatoes & Chickpeas
  5. Add Seasonings and stir to evenly distribute
  6. Pour in Milk & Pumpkin Puree and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cook for additional 5 minutes
  7. Stir in Lemon Juice
  8. Serve over Rice

Hoff Thoughts:  If you like a spicy Curry, up the Curry to 1 tbsp.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


This abbreviation stands for Whole Food, Plant Based, Oil-free Way of Eating and is the number one reason I have been in remission for 6 years (drug-free).  I feel it is imperative for anyone living with multiple sclerosis to research and adopt this lifestyle whether they want to go the drug route or not, alternative therapy route or not.

I did not figure this out on my own.  I got really lucky.

Immediately after my diagnosis, I did the opposite of what the doctors told me and hit the Internet for answers, solutions, anything.  Intuitively I wanted a diet that would allow my body to fight the MS on its own.  Or rather, I wanted to get out of my own way.  From what little nutrition knowledge I had at the time, I knew that our body's number daily goal is to achieve wellness and it will pursue that goal until we take our last breath.  We however, derail that initiative on a daily basis through our food choices, stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, pollution etc.  From just going vegetarian a few years prior, I experienced massive weight loss, about 30 lbs. and a resolution of some physical ailments that I thought was the natural progression of aging (I was in my 20's!).  That coupled with the fact that my dad had a major transformation after adopting the DASH diet for hypertension, I knew that diet was going to be key in my recovery - I just had no idea how major it was going to be.

My initial research led me to Dr. Roy Swank, author of the Multiple Sclerosis Diet book.  I immediately adopted his diet, during the recovery period of the attack that led to my diagnosis.  But Dr. Swank died at age 99 (despite not having MS, he followed his own diet recommendations) in 2008 and I wanted the latest and greatest info and that led me to Dr. John McDougall, who would later become my doctor and reveal just how key a vegan diet is for MS among other chronic and non-chronic illnesses. 

So let's break this down:

Whole Foods

Whole foods means eating foods in their whole form - whole grain cereals, whole-wheat pastas, brown rice and naturally whole fruits and vegetables.

Whole foods means a limited reliance on processed foods, you'll come to find there are very few "legal" convenience foods out there although the food market is changing, just not fast enough.

Whole foods also means avoiding "frankenfoods" - meaning if it takes a factory to make it and you can't make it in your kitchen, you don't need it.

Centering your diet on whole foods, will require you to cook mostly from scratch, although I do take short cuts with such things as canned beans.  Don't worry, I'm no Martha Stewart, I take as many short cuts as possible when cooking as long as they are legal and I will share those with you in time.

Lastly, whole foods means shopping just got simpler.  You're going to find that you'll mainly shop the perimeter of the grocery store and that the aisles hold very little legal foods with the exception of some dry-good staples such as cereals, rice, pasta and canned produce.


Plant-based means no animal products or ingredients derived from an animal.
  • No meat, chicken, pork or fish
  • No milk, cheese, eggs or butter

Now, I do take exception with honey.  An ethical vegan will tell you to stay clear of honey because of the exploitation of bees for profit but as a health vegan, I have no qualms with honey.  Just be sure to support your local beekeepers - we need them more now than ever due to the colony collapse disorder.  You'll get a higher quality product than what you find at the grocery store, most of which is cut with water and 76%1 of what's on the shelves doesn't contain pollen.

Suffer from seasonal allergies?

Seek out locally produced honey and work one teaspoon into your diet daily.  As the bees pollinate the plants and flowers within the area you live, you will slowly build up a resistance from the pollens that plague you.  It's best to start this treatment a few months prior to the start of pollen season to give your body time to build up this resistance.  There is also anecdotal evidence to support that local honey can aid with asthma symptoms.

Now, plant-based does mean:

  • Unlimited vegetables
  • Unlimited starches
  • Unlimited fruits
  • Unlimited beans/lentils/legumes
  • Limited nuts, seeds & avocados


Last but certainly not least, oil-free.  For me, this is the toughest one to adhere.

Going oil-free means, you avoid oil as much as possible.  You don't cook with oil, you avoid fried foods and you seek out oil-free convenience foods such as pasta sauce and salad dressings.  This means you have to read labels very carefully.  You'll start to notice products tend to contain more than one type of oil or list various oils it may contain - that's because at the time the product is produced, the company uses the cheapest oil on the market - makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn't it.

Oil-free is the stickler, it's why you'll find most processed foods are off limits.  Sure, there is a ton of vegan products out there, but few that are oil-free. 

I myself get into trouble with this one because I like to hit restaurants, I like vegan bakery and from time to time I life those fake meat products.  As McDougall says in The Starch Solution, "The fat you eat is the fat you wear."  I for one can attest to the trueness in that statement.

Beating MS!