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  • Writer's pictureDearbhla

Vegan Cheese Makes Me Sad

Being healthy is exhausting when you live on rabbit food and joyless cheese immitations.

A few months after I was diagnosed, I began to believe that if I overhauled my system with an anti-inflammatory diet, became a yogi, meditated and exercised, my MS would just go back whence it came. Apparently not.

One of the first things I did was completely eliminate dairy and gluten from my diet, which has meant giving up movie carbfests, wine and cheese nights and cheesy, cheesy pizza. I didn’t dine out on any of the aforementioned that often, nevertheless they do say you want what you can’t have. So now I want to eat it all. No matter what the advocates may argue to the contrary, vegan cheese is not delicious. Although, in fairness to the humble cashew nut, it does make for a good soft cheese alternative. However, hard, vegan cheeses from companies like Violife taste as if they have been processed in a plastic factory and look suspiciously radioactive.

Slop this synthetic glob of cheese atop a soggy gluten-free base made of salt and peppered cardboard and you have a taste bud extravaganza straight from Hades himself. I can usually be found enviously coveting the crispy, glutenous, mozzarella-laden pizzas around me as I pull at melted cheese with the consistency of PVA glue. Vegan pizza makes me sad.

Sad vegan pizza aside, I’ve also been chomping turmeric and ginger like a combine harvester and am popping so many supplements, I could rival the hungry hippo. My pasttimes now include munching chia and flaxseeds, downing spoonful’s of high-grade Manuka honey, and gulping hot water and lemon each morning. What a larf.

For the onslaught of spasms I have acquired since my relapse, I’m dousing myself with CBD and magnesium oil, and sleeping with cold packs. I have tried my hand at meditation, although attempts at this are erratic at best. It’s utterly exhausting being ‘healthy’.

Despite my earnest efforts, I still ended up in A&E three times this month with a variety of fun ailments ranging from heat exhaustion and dehydration to muscle spasms and peripheral dysaesthesia. Chronic fatigue is so monotonous and doesn’t exactly buoy the social life.

In the beginning, I followed positive stories from many people like Terry Wahls and others who claim to have stopped their MS in its tracks through diet and lifestyle changes. Initially, this gave me hope that I may not be forced to remain on strong medication for the rest of my life. According to some MS bloggers, they are also no longer taking medication after changing to the plant-based diet I have more or less been on for the past eight years. This was mildly irritating as the tweaks I have made to my diet have made zero impact on my life. Except now I can no longer enjoy pizza. Joy.

Maintaining some semblance of control has proven somewhat difficult as MS is very uncooperative. This mildly neurotic tendency of mine makes for an incredibly impatient patient. One size doesn’t fit all with MS and what works for one person, may not work for another. As I have discovered, sometimes you can be doing everything right and it doesn’t always work for whatever reason. I’m beginning to realise that instead of following what has helped others, I need to create my own path for what works for me. I surmise that reducing stress is the only thing that is going to help me maintain my MS at manageable levels. Overcoming my overactive, self-destructive mind is going to be a long road. But it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. Apparently.


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