For the first year after my diagnosis I followed a strict vegan plus fish diet but a relapse in early July 2013 that landed me in the emergency room with chest pain, throat spasms and trigeminal neuralgia (stabbing facial pain) led me to seek professional help in formulating a diet to combat MS. Several people had recommended Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist in Naples, FL, who is an internationally recognized leader in nutritional influences on neurological disorders. After a physical examination, two hour discussion of my medical and personal history, study of recent and past MRIs and a host of bloodwork which revealed previously unknown wheat sensitivities among other issues, Dr. Perlmutter placed me on a high fat/low carbohydrate (grain free) anti-inflammatory diet and revamped my already complicated supplement regiment.
The first few weeks of this diet were extremely difficult and required a huge amount of discipline. After a while though, as my body adapted to the absence of massive amounts of carbohydrates, I felt great and no longer craved my favorite bagels, pretzels, rice, and gummy bears. Two months into the diet I noticed that I had more energy, was noticeably less hungry, felt leaner and lighter, and my skin was brighter and softer. I also noticed the disappearance of the bursitis and tendonitis that had plagued my knee while training for and running the Marathon des Sables(MdS) in April 2013.
Deciding to run the MdS again in April 2014 (yup- you read that correctly ), I am anxious to test how my new diet will impact athletic performance. Years of endurance racing has firmly ingrained in me the need to continually fuel my body with both fast and slow release carbohydrates to avoid bonking. Yet, I remembered during the MdS that as my body broke down over successive daily endurance efforts, the sugary carb-laden foods I had brought to fuel me started to nauseate me and I dreamed of salty bacon dripping with grease (clearly a completely primal craving because I would never have considering eating bacon at any other time in my life unless held at gunpoint).
There is not much literature that focuses on the impact of a high fat/low carbohydrate diet on athletic performance. What little information that I could find suggested that lowering carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day to achieve a state of ketosis (where the body runs on fatty acids as an alternative source of energy than stored glycogen from carbohydrates) was the optimal state for achieving improvements in athletic performance. I decided to lower my carbohydrate intake even further and, with the help of my neurologist and nutritionist, have adopted a KETOGENIC DIET over the past couple of weeks. I accomplished this by further limiting fruit and eliminating starchy vegetables from my already strict diet.
My diet basically fits within the following formula: 9.2% Carbohydrate, 20.5% Protein and 70.3% fat.
Carbohydrate Sources (Organic): Non- Starchy Vegetables and very limited Fruit
Protein Sources: Organic, Grass Fed, Free Range Animal Sources and Wild Caught Fish
Fat Sources (Organic): MCT Oil (medium chain triglyceride oil), Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil, Coconut Butter, Olives, Olive Oil, Advocado, Extremely Dark Chocolate (88% or higher), Nuts and Nut Butters in moderation
Note: Liberal Use of Sea Salt and Electrolyte Enhanced Water to replenish minerals lost during training
DHA 450 mg
Vitamin D3 10,000 mg
Vitamin C 2,000 mg
Neuro Formula (formulated by Perlmutter Health and designed to enhance brain performance and promote brain health by improving the energy production of brain mitochondria and providing antioxidant support to combat damage caused by excess free radicals in the brain)
NRF2 Formula (formulated by Perlmutter Health and designed to activate the NRF2 genetic pathway which regulates the production of important molecules that stimulate antioxidant activity)
CALM Magnesium Citrate 350 mg
Glutamine Protect (formulated by Perlmutter Health with l-glutamine and immunoglobulin G and to enhance immune function by boosting immunoglobulin levels in the gastrointestinal tract and support intestinal mucosal barrier integrity)
B-12 1 ml
Glutathione 15 ml
Coffee blended with 1 Tbsp of MCT oil and 2 tsp Ghee
2 Eggs scrambled in 1 tsp Bacon Fat with 1 oz Goat Cheese and ½ cup Broccoli
3 oz Salmon
2 cups Arugula w/ ½ Tbsp Flax Seeds, 1 tsp MCT oil, 1 tsp Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
½ Apple with 2 Tbsp Cashew Butter
4 oz Grilled Buffalo R
1 cup Steamed Spinach w/1 Tbsp Chopped Pistachios and 1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup Chopped Raw Peppers and Carrots w/ Lime Juice and Sea Salt
Coffee blended with 3/4 Tbsp of MCT oil, 1 tsp whipped butter and .5 oz dark chocolate 2 oz Bacon .5 cup Blackberries
Salad- 4 oz Grilled Shrimp, 1 oz Goat Cheese, 2 cups Kale, 1 cup Grilled Zucchini, 1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds, 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, 1 tsp Coconut Oil, Lime Juice
3 oz Roasted Chicken Breast w/2 Tbsp Chopped Almonds
2 cups Chopped Cucumber and Tomato with 1 tsp. MCT oil, Lemon Juice and Sea Salt
Over the next 6 months, as I train for the MdS 2014, I will strictly observe my daily food intake, my training, test twice daily for the presence of ketones in urine and blood, and monitor my body fat and also athletic performance through VO2 Max testing. As always, my doctor will monitor my health and perform blood tests, including kidney function.