I had been overweight for as long as I can remember. Wanting desperately to become one of the “skinny girls,” I tried every diet imaginable, but never to any avail. I played basketball, soccer, and was a track and field athlete throughout middle and high school, but this didn’t help either. I remember feeling immensely jealous of my friends because they could eat whatever they wanted without gaining a pound. Just the smell of food however, would make me gain weight. When I thought I had maxed out my body’s ability to store fat, I learned I was mistaken. In January 2006, I attended college half-way across the country and came to feel homesick and depressed. Ten months of finding comfort in daily fast food meals packed 100 pounds onto my frame and when I moved back home in October of that year, I had reached an astounding 300 pounds. I felt disgusted with myself, attempted portion control and a variety of fad diets. I was treading water and began to take anti-depressants. I also found that regardless of how many hours I slept, I always felt tired. I remember falling asleep while driving on many occasions. In October 2011 after months of testing for numerous causes and trying more than a handful of prescription drugs, a final diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was made.
May 2014 marked the beginning of my upward swing. I met a strange gentleman who informed me within the first hour of our first date that he follows a “strange eating plan”. He very rarely ate meat and adhered almost exclusively to a plant-based diet. While I only rarely told people of my MS, I decided to share this from the get-go as well, figuring that if it scared him off, I might as well take care of that early. But to my surprise, my MS had the opposite effect. He researched how diet and MS interplay and shared that a plant-based diet has been shown to work wonders for MS patients. My knee-jerk reaction was to reject such a diet as I loved meat, cheese, and ice cream far too much. Thankfully, he didn’t apply any pressure for me to make any big changes, and my eating habits slowly came to change. I would eat well when we were together, but after leaving his house, I would secretly eat fast food on my way back home. He referred me to an audiobook “Eat to Live” and told me that it would explain the underpinnings of his food choices. In August of 2014 I jumped in with both feet. Within six weeks of eating a plant-based diet, I lost 22 pounds! I felt proud and excited; so excited that I thought I deserved a treat. So after work, I dropped by Arby’s, my favorite fast food chain, and ordered my old favorites: a roast beef and cheddar sandwich, curly fries, and a large Mountain Dew. One bite of the sandwich and one sip of the soda was all it took. It tasted AWFUL, and into the trash it went. That wretched Arby’s meal crystalized just how much tastier, healthier, and more satisfying a plant-based meal felt. I’ve since followed the plan without wavering. In January 2017 I completed a 38 day therapeutic water only fast at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa California which felt FANTASTIC! My time at TrueNorth changed my outlook entirely and gave me tremendous strength, more so than I thought I had.
I never thought I could achieve something so monumental, but I have now halved my body weight, from my heaviest at 300 pounds down to 150 pounds. As with any potentially debilitating and unpredictable disease there are definitely bumps in the road and sometimes road blocks, but it’s all in how you handle those challenges. I feel better than ever and can’t convey how proud I feel! And that weird plant-eating guy I met? We got married. If it wasn’t for our fortuitous date back in 2014, who knows what condition I’d be in today. I owe my health to my husband Jason and from the bottom of my heart, I thank him for saving my life!
I asked Sarah about how a plant based diet affected her MS, she said:
“I’m not tired all the time like I used to be, I don’t fall asleep every time I’m behind the wheel driving, and I have more energy. I’m no longer on medications to help me sleep, keep me awake, or for nerve pain, migraines, & depression.”
Sarah and Jason have a wonderful Facebook page called ‘Real Food is the Cure’. https://www.facebook.com/SOSfreeVeganRecipes/
Jason’s Story is HERE.