I had the pleasure of attending the film “Living Proof” at the Calgary Film Festival on last Saturday afternoon. This was a documentary produced by Matt Embry and Spotlight Productions. He has made a brilliant film. He travels to other parts of the world to discover how Multiple Sclerosis is being treated so he can make effective decisions regarding his own treatment. He, himself, was diagnosed at the age of 19 hence his urgency in managing an incurable disorder where progressive decline is the norm. His father who holds a Ph.D. in geology started researching all about M.S., looking at science based information and the role that nutritional factors play in M.S. This research led to a charity (Direct-MS) that his father founded and the Best bet treatment diet, one which Matt has followed for years which he believes has been instrumental in keeping him in remission.
I am on a very restrictive diet also and have written about my diet before in other posts which I know has kept me in remission for the last ten years. My diet is very similar to the Best bet treatment diet. The Best bet diet excludes gluten and dairy products and sugar, limits animal protein to largely poultry and seafood, eliminate eggs, eliminates legumes and minimizes saturated fat. The only thing that I have kept in my diet up to this point is organic unsweetened peanut butter and organic unsweetened soy milk. I have never felt bothered by either and I argue that I am peri-menopausal and benefit from phytoestrogens; plus peanuts and soy are recommended for blood type A which I am. However after watching his film, I may exclude those two items to see if I feel even better. Other legumes I definitely notice if I eat too much so I am happy to keep them all out of my diet. I will occasionally eat egg whites and do not find they bother me. Following a strict diet has definitely given me profound hope in life long management of M.S.
Another reason the film resonated with me was Matt was really able to portray the vulnerability that affects each of us as individuals as well as our families when we are diagnosed with M.S. One moment that really stuck with me was when he flew to London to talk to Judy Graham. She had written books on managing M.S. with diet in her younger years and was someone who had lived a long time with M.S. (35 years?) In her older age, she revealed that she had been less strict with her diet than before and had noticed that her strength had diminished and she could not walk as well now. Matt was visibly affected by her decline and so was I, watching her from my theatre seat in Eau Claire. The unfortunate thing is that we will all have to remain highly disciplined for the rest of our lives to live in balance with this condition. But it is possible! I loved to see Matt running in the film, looking strong. That is my next goal to get back in better shape. I have run on and off over the years but this film reignited my passion to get in better running shape and strengthen my muscles again.
Matt has taken the MS Society of Canada to task on how they allocate their revenue and where specifically their resources go. He is a passionate individual with an important message. I won’t go into detail about that aspect of the film but I will say it is definitely thought-provoking. Matt’s website is MSHope.com To read more research behind the diet and the charity started by his father called Direct-MS.org in 1998, go to http://www.direct-ms.org/bestbet.html. If you can go see “Living Proof”, please do so.