It’s very tempting to think that a little bit of ice cream or a little bit of bacon or a little bit of any animal product can’t hurt. Right?
People with multiple sclerosis are allergic to animal protein - period. When ingested, any food derived from an animal causes an auto-immune response that can only be stopped when the food poisoning itself is stopped. While we don’t have an immediate reaction like anaphylactic shock, our reaction is delayed and can come in the form of numbness, loss of vision, muscle weakness, fatigue, etc. much later, in my case months later.
If I were to hand you a glass of crisp, cool, refreshing water with a teaspoon of cyanide in it, would you drink it? It’s just a little bit of cyanide, what’s the problem?
Bottom line, a little can hurt and it can have dire consequences for us.
I learned this lesson the hard way. Four years into this lifestyle, I got a little lax. I started frequenting some restaurants, always doing my due diligence by stating that I had food allergies, etc. Then came time for my yearly MRI, after four straight years of no activity at all, six new mini lesions popped up. They were so small on initial review, my neurologist missed them. When they were found, my neurologist dismissed them. His lack of concern didn’t calm my anger, distress, concern and every other emotion consuming me.
I was so faithful to the diet, what happened - why wasn’t it working?!? Four months later came the attack. By my previous attacks, a very minor attack, but let’s face it, when it comes to MS, an attack is an attack.
Little by little the truth started coming out. The restaurants I had been frequenting were slipping me animal products. Egg wash on veggie dumplings, milk in pizza crust, eel sauce on veggie sushi, etc. No one maliciously slipped me these things. They simply didn’t know how the food was prepared and my due diligence no matter how diligent simply wasn’t enough. So I did what any logical girl would do - I banned the restaurants.
We don’t have the luxury of an attack, any attack could lead to permanent disability. Now I ask you, do you think a little can’t hurt?
So this holiday season, when well-meaning friend or family member or your brain pushes you to just have a little; remember, that holiday ham or Christmas cookies won’t seem so great when you’re dealing with an attack and loss of some bodily function that you’ve come to rely on.
Keep it legal this holiday season!