OMS · Spoonie Parenting

It’s a Family Affair

Having MS is sh*t.  There is no two ways about it and no one will convince me otherwise. Has it made me (mentally) stronger? Perhaps.  But I would happily trade a ‘strong’ MS mentality for a weak, blancmange-like one, if is meant that I didn’t have to deal with this.

One of my biggest worries is the idea of my kids getting it.  One of my earliest symptoms (though I didn’t know it at the time) was the feeling of water dripping down my back, when nothing was there.  So, when my daughter talks about pins and needles, or my son appears tired and exhausted, I panic.  My sensible brain tells me it is normal kids’ stuff; my neurotically worried mother brain tells me that it is just a matter of time before one or both of them are diagnosed.  My son is 5 years away from the age I was when I had my first symptom…

Kids holding hands

I am willing to do absolutely anything if it means it reduces my kids’ risk.  Did you know that children who have a parent with MS are 30-40% more likely than the general population to develop MS?

I envy those people who follow the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) lifestyle, whose families also eat the same foods.  According to the OMS website:

Several long-term studies show a close connection between saturated fats and the development and progression of MS. People with MS who avoid saturated fats (such as meat or dairy fat) but consume unsaturated fats (such as those from fish and flax) typicaAva beachlly have reduced progression of the disease – and in many cases experience minimal effects from it.

There is also a link between MS and consumption of dairy, along with a massive link to Vitamin D – in that people who live in countries closer to the equator are less likely to get the disease.

Dr Roy Swank found that family members of people with MS who stuck to a low saturated fat diet did not go on to develop the disease, despite their increased risk in comparison to the general population.

So, because of all this research, I try and adjust the children’s level of risk as far as possible – they have a mixture of cows’ milk and dairy free milk on their cereal (as they say they don’t like the taste of almond milk on its own).  They happily eat soy yoghurts and I have found that they really, really like my dairy free chocolate mousse, made from avocados.  But, ultimately, if they could choose, they would have toad in the hole, burgers and real ice-cream over falafel and my banana ‘nice cream’.  Add children’s birthday parties and well meaning grandparents giving ‘treats’ into the mix and it is pretty hard to stick to, particularly outside the home.

Alex climbing

So, I keep plugging away, trying new meals and OMS friendly cakes and adding vitamin D to their drinks.  I try not to let my son’s complaints of ‘can’t we just have a normal cake, with loads of icing on it?!’ get to me… in the hope that as they get older they will understand why I am so determined, and thank me for it.

For any OMSers out there – have you found any clever tips and tricks to keeping your family OMS friendly?  If so, I would love to hear about them!

Jen 2




8 thoughts on “It’s a Family Affair

  1. I have *exactly* the same thoughts, fears and problem. My youngest is getting pickier and pickier…& her repertoire of food smaller and smaller. And of course all her Favourites are totally non OMS like sausage… And cheese! But I know the more I push the more she resists. So I long for a day when she. An understand more logically..but that frightens me too.!
    I follow OMS as u know. My kids tips are Vitamin D supplement (drops or sweets), fish,m. Mine have goats milk which like u I warned them onto gradually.. Avoid too cheese as much as u can. Use quorn mince and quorn chicken, and green lentils as much as u can get away with. Mine like the chocolate alp to soya puds. Also try them with Choc or strawb alpro milk, they love that! I had to make a big psychological leap away from that parental urge to include meat in each of their meals as if it was the only source of protein. That was a big hurdle as it makes most meals plantbased instantly! 😉 I am relaxed like you with parties and other family but I wish all the time people could experience what it’s like to be in my head, with all the worries (and information I have gathered). Achieving a healthy balance in it all can feel so hard. But on the other hand, I have worked with people with eating disorders for a long time and I don’t eat to make food a stressful issue for my kids. I hope that they learn healthy choices from me and my partner.m, but like you I find it overwhelming at times… Keep us posted and do share ur successes!!


    1. Thank you so much for the ideas 🙂 We had quorn chilli tonight and that was a success and I am definitely going to try them with the flavoured alpro milk. They love the choc desserts too. Luckily, although my daughter loves cheese, she has started using the nutritional yeast like it is parmesan, and is loving it, so she mainly only has cheese on her pizza. It really helps to know others are going through the same!


  2. I’m revisiting this and wondering if you have any tips to pass on? I struggle with this and can forget (minimise?) the risks to the kids. Probably because it scares the pants off me. I’m more obsessive about them growing up with a good attitude toward exercising, and we have just made a massive life change to live by the sea in a small town -entirely so that they can grow up somewhere we can have a better lifestyle. Be outside more. Hop on their bikes. It’s working out exactly as we hoped… Food is my final frontier. I would love to share with them the risks and benefits but don’t want to scare them.. It’s really hard and I do get frustrated with family n friends who don’t always make it easy. Thanks for sharing this again. X


  3. I shared it again for my benefit too! I am so pleased to hear that your move is helping. We live in a small town so the kids walk everywhere and they both swim/have active after school activities so exercise is covered for us too. To be honest I’m still struggling with the kids’ food. I am honest with them about why I eat the way I do and *have* said that I want to reduce their chances of getting MS and that I do that by reducing dairy and limiting ‘treats’… i feel guilty though as, like you said, I don’t want them to worry. I think the biggest change we have made is switching to dairy free alternatives. They also eat meat-free 3 times a week, whilst I stick to OMS. But they do still have cheese on their pizza, and trying to encourage others to give them ‘treats’ that are not chocolate based is hard. It stresses me out a lot… but then I worry that they see me stress out about their food and it is making a big deal about it.

    We do buy reduced fat cheese, and and use quorn instead of meat for bolognese/chilli and they both love quorn meatballs. I make dairy-free cheese sauce that they enjoy and soldier on trying different recipes that are OMS friendly. Alex is good at eating everything (though is happiest eating meat) but Ava is fussy. I think that I am going to have to keep going on this way until they are at an age when they can truly understand why I am doing it I guess….Sorry not not have any real advice, just wanted you know that you definitely are not alone!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s