Making The SMart Choice & Why Should You Care About It

What happens when you get diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis? Your mind begins to shift. Either you make a turn for the better or one for the worse, you are never the same person. You just had a life altering experience. And you are faced with a lot of responsibility and choices or with denial and continuing as before.

How It All Started
Last year I had a head full of questions regarding the lifestyle choices I needed to make. Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shifts your point of view more than a little. It was clear to me that spending my life the way I was spending it before, was no longer an option.

New choices were needed. New ways of living so that my body and mind would be in their best shape and health possible, and as free of inflammation as I possibly could.

And so began a long process of educating and changing myself on the topic. I have always felt empowered by information and knowledge. I began searching infomation on MS, nutrition, exercise, diagnosis tools, lifestyle hacks and so, so much more. It was and still is the one thing I do on a daily basis: staying on top of it all and taking charge of my life. I consider it to be mandatory. Only then we have the right to complain.

You Have To Help Yourself
I know I might sound ruthless to some people, but that’s how life works: you have to be assertive and fight for yourself. Nobody else cares. You have to take charge, make changes and help yourself first. 

People tend to pay attention more to people who fight against the odds, and for a better life. If you stay there and do nothing but complain, get angry at the world and expect others to cater for your needs, you are in for a big dissapointment.

Nobody is gonna save you. Nobody but yourself!

Life is rarely fair. Life is rarely easy. Things don’t just happen as money does not grow on trees (except it has fallen off from a helicopter right onto one, but that’s just Sci-Fi stuff :)) ). We all have struggles in this world. We all fight battles that nobody else knows about.

We might seem as picture-perfect and as happy as can be when we are out in public. But late at night, when we lay our heads on the pillow, we all have dreams, pains, wishes and hurts. We all feel, suffer, and have our own issues. So don’t judge a person. You don’t know what it takes for that smile you see or for the words you read.

If today I have the SMart Choice blog and you read all these stories full of metaphors and positivity, know that it has been a long way to get here. The journey is still going.

Behind all of this there are endless hours of research, endless planning and ideas, ongoing drafting and organizing. 

There are countless moments when I feel fear for my future, when I felt out of place, when I felt this blog had no purpose and then found it again. There are moments when I struggle to get in front of you and deliver the best article I can, to deliver positivity and encouragements. There are moments when I struggle through cog-fog and fatigue. There are moments when I panic as numbness suddenly starts or my eye getts blurry.

It's All About The Mindshift
But you know what? I breathe in and out profoundly, and repeat to myself that this too shall pass, and I get strong again. I push through, I get up and brush the dust off, and I move on with my day.

SMart Choice is one of my purposes in life. It is my way of lending a helping hand and making my mind heard and my ideas encourage someone. 

If only just one person feels better after reading SMart Choice, my day is a success. The aim is to make people face the truth: yes, life is hard. 

Life with MS is harder still. But what do you do? Give up or fight?

It’s not easy, it’s not pretty, it doesn’t matter if you have treatment or not. It’s all in the mindset. In the way you push through each and every day to move onwards, always onwards.

You have been given a life. Make smart choices. Make the choices good for you, the ones that suit your life. Design your own lifestyle around MS. Keep it boxed in or it will box you in.

Designing A Diet
I began eliminating all harmful items. I gave up smoking ever since I had the first neurological consult, as I did not feel up to it any more. I felt that I should not do it until my situation was clear. That day, when I came back from the clinic, I had my last ciggarette. I’ve never touched them since.

The next rational choice was giving up coffee, coke and all the sodas I had been drinking so far. Water and tea became my new best friends.

Gluten came next. All white flours: bread, pasta, pizzas… they were all gone from my diet. I made the choice to be healthy, and not to feel bloated.

Sugar and dairy were a bit more difficult to let go. Bread and carbs were never my favourite things to eat, so the choice was easy. Chocolate and yoghurt were a different issue. They’ve been on and off my diet untill about 2 months ago. I let them go for good. I made the choice to get rid of all possible inflammation in my body.

My diet is made up out of simple foods. Food that is as close to its natural form as possible. No frying, just baking, grilling and steaming. Chicken, turkey, beef, fish and seafood. Organ meats, seeds and nuts. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Limitting the starches to only two servings per week, if any (potatoes, rice).

No refined or hydrogenated oils/fats like sunflower oil or margarine. Only avocados, olives, olive oil and coconut oil. Of course, consumed in moderation, as they are still fats.

The only sugar I consume is raw honey. I found a beekeeper and I buy locally, not from the supermarket. Mix three tablespoons of raw honey and coconut oil with six tablespoons of raw cocoa, add a few drops of your favourite aroma (vanilla, rum), a pinck of salt and maybe a few pistachios, and you have the best sugar free and safe home-made chocolate!

Designing An Exercise Routine
After constant trying and testing, I found that my body thrives on gentle movements and cardio. Every morning I get up and exercise my strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Every day! 

Every day I get up on my stationary bike and pedal as much as my body allows me. I do 30 to 60 minutes of yoga to stretch and flex my muscles and joints. I work with my dumbells and raise my body’s resistance. 

It’s an ongoing process. I do as much as my body allows me but I show up every single day. I choose this lifestyle. 

I prepare for war. If my MS wakes up someday, I will be here to face it, as strong as I can be.

Designing Peace of Mind & Relaxation
Don’t forget your mind. If left alone, it can become your worst enemy. Fear, anger and depression could creep up any time. 

Take time to relax, unwind and just be still. For 10-15 minutes stop whatever you’re doing and just stand still and do nothing. Think nothing. Pay attention to your breath. Pay attention to what’s going on inside your body.

I found journaling helps. Five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening are enough to write down what are you grateful for this day, what your mindset it and how are you feeling overall. Make up your own main points you’ll want to write about. Personalize it.

This too is an ongoing process. It takes practice and determination. I can tell you from my own experience: it is hard to do this! The mind is a crazy monkey! But with time and practice, it does shut up. Trust me! 

Take time to rest. Nap when possible. Do some stretches throughout the day. Take it easy. Work hard, at your job and at your life. 

It is not given to you. You must work for it. Little by little. Day by day.

SMart Purpose
This blog is where I talk about my struggles. It’s where I give advice, it’s where I share knowledge and keep you accountable for designing your healthy new lifestyle. 

You have to make choices. You have to make smart choices that help you on your MS journey. Living with MS is not easy, but with the right mindset, it can be done.


P.S.: If you want to know more about the SMart Choice journey, send me your questions via message over the Contact page or via email I would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, join the SMart community on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for the visit!