Taking up the OMS diet has not by any means been an easy transition. Jettisoning meat and dairy has been particularly challenging for someone whose food porn pleasures included a byron burger and ice cold vanilla milkshake, a tub of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream and caramel lattes topped with cream – yum!
However, with the enjoyment of eating such indulgences lasting merely moments, compared to the average digestion time of food to pass through the body at 40 hours (according to the Mayo Clinic), the short term enjoyment garnered from food plays to Meryl Streep’s message ‘Instant gratification is not soon enough’. Given the transient nature of food and with the knowledge that observing such a diet as advocated at Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) can ward off the shadowy tentacles of multiple sclerosis for longer, it really has been a no brainer for me in taking the decision to “diet”. Testament to this is that I no longer see this as a “diet” anymore but now a way of life. Indeed embracing this veganesque lifestyle has even made me think of animal welfare in a way I was completely ambivalent to before.
The hardest part I have found of the whole lifestyle change has been the lack of readily available snacks, aside from staple fruits. Whilst I have always enjoyed eating a banana or kiwi fruit, being faced with these as my snacks for the rest of my life was quite disheartening. It took a while for me to uncover some of the naughtier snacks that were compatible with the OMS lifestyle but I got there in the end. On a long motorway drive, my wife and I stopped off at a service station, and whilst aimlessly scanning the sweet aisles not intending to find anything I could graze on, we found a tin of travel sweets that did not contravene the OMS diet. From there, with a little research by my wife, we’ve identified a number of snacks (see below) that can be found in the majority of high street convenience stores.
The sweet, dairy and meat aisles are still hard to navigate, not because of wanting to buy and consume the saturated fat delights, but more because they act as a reminder of my life before MS, as is the case when I look back at old photos, the smiling faces looking back at me are full of innocence and are completely unprepared for the change in life which is on the horizon.
Whilst the lifestyle remains challenging, the benefits it brings outweigh the short term instant gratifications of ‘junk food’ and it has helped me explore and appreciate the things in life I previously took for granted.
Here are some of my favourite OMS friendly snacks to date:
Smith Kendon Travel sweets – very flavoursome but can cause sores on the top of your pallet with over consumption
M&S Veggie Percy Pigs -the M&S is short for Marks and Spencer but it has now become synonymous with MS for me!
M&S Veggie Colin the caterpillar – not as good as the Percy Pigs, but nice for adding variety
Alpro Soya creamy vanilla dessert – one that gets tastier with time!
Foxes fruit glaciers – an alternative to the mint variety
Moofree Vegan Chocolate – this is great for cooking with too, plus they do christmas advent calendars
Pecan Nakd bars – viewers of my instagram feed @myjourneywithms will be familiar with these