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05 March 2021

“OMS was never easy – and that’s a good thing”

"If I could go back six years — with the knowledge I have now — and take a pill with the same outcome but without the effort, it would be a hard no. Why? My health journey on this protocol has forced me to confront many delusional behaviors around my own health and take serious inventory of my life."

Recently, I was asked to join the Living Well With MS podcast as a guest. I said yes — with great enthusiasm — but after I realized there was much I had to say that we couldnʼt cram in with the compressed format. So I offered to expand on a few points here. This week will be eight years post-diagnosis for me, and about six years on the OMS protocol. I think I can offer some insight as a pwMS on the protocol and as someone who works in the wellness industry, which is a word I emphatically use here.

When I first got sick I experienced the familiar ‘my life will never be the same’ trauma that will often accompany a serious condition like MS. To be sure, the messaging has changed a bit for the positive, but back then, at least here in the US, the messaging I received was not “youʼll be fine”; the message I actually literally received was “if youʼre training for the Olympics, Iʼd stop now”. I wasnʼt training for the Olympics.

A message to the newly diagnosed

To the newly diagnosed — and I think this will resonate with most people here — the internet can be a terrifying place. And in those first many months I spent a lot of time there: on websites, forums, sometimes dark corners where people hawked cures. When youʼre desperate, as I was, itʼs easy to cling onto anything that promises some hope, even when it involves remortgages and betrays your best judgement. But I absolutely needed to do more beyond the “first line” drugs.

Learning about OMS

When I finally learned of OMS my health was worsening, though no one would know by looking at me. But by then I was more accepting — or at least resigned — of having MS, and all that entailed. I can remember the scene: my partner walked into the room and handed me something she said looked promising. Sheʼs a Stanford-trained scientist, not prone to hyperbole, and in a world full of dubious claims about disease her calling something “promising” left me, for once, actually hopeful. She encouraged me to try. “There is no downside to this,” she said.

What struck me immediately about OMS was that it didnʼt promise to heal me or make me better, but suggested it was only possible. Whatʼs more, there were no paywalls, designer products, or anyone telling me I could learn more for “just” $39.99/month. I realize there are many great services that cost money that seek to improve health outcomes, and Iʼm not here to dismiss them, but I was not going to risk my future on programs that required my credit card number first.

So I put all my chips on the table, vowing to follow the OMS path. It wasnʼt without rough spots — learning corn chips were forever gone from my diet was painful — but I managed to keep an even keel, eventually finding full compliance within a year.

Even so, it took a full two years for me to “turn the battleship” from worsening symptoms to actually improving; and that is a lot of time to question your path (maybe thereʼs a better option?). I noticed — very gradually — improvements in areas I wasnʼt even aware of before: heat sensitivity and fatigue. Then my left arm and hand function began to improve where I could do complex tasks again. But there was no real magic day, only incremental improvements.

Now, six years in, I feel Iʼm fully recovered and able to pursue my life as it was before, and I say this with the complete awareness that this isnʼt everyoneʼs experience or journey. Gratitude is an insufficient word here.

Approaching the OMS program

I said this in the podcast but it bears repeating: if I could go back six years — with the knowledge I have now — and take a pill with the same outcome but without the effort, it would be a hard no. Why? My health journey on this protocol has forced me to confront many delusional behaviors around my own health and take serious inventory of my life.

Day one itʼs nixing dairy, and then bad oils, but later Iʼm examining my relationship to stress, work, and money; I have also looked critically at friendships: which ones add value and which donʼt. Iʼm drinking much less, if at all, and I look at sleep as we evolved to: a time for recovery. Iʼve considered, for the first time, the critical importance of service. And thereʼs so much more, but none of this would have happened for me had there been a quick fix. To paraphrase a famous author, “the road narrows, but in the end it expands”.

Following the OMS path

If you made it this far, then you probably know this already: there are no shortcuts to getting your health back. Thatʼs science fiction, the kind of narrative pedaled by marketing gurus. At least in the US, we are steeped in the culture of quick-fixes, Prime deliveries, and 3-day cleanses — we want everything immediately.

In comparison, a path like OMS will be frustrating, require hard work and patience; it is a kind of radical change for almost everyone. Have reasonable exceptions: it can take years to feel better. I work in the land of “New Years resolutions” and if thereʼs one thing Iʼve learned working with people: if your goals are reasonable, you are much more likely to stick with it. Those who press for unrealistic goals, where thereʼs no room for compassion, slip-ups, and being human, invariably quit. But, again, the reward truly is the hard work.

Finally, maybe youʼre exploring OMS as an option or have been on awhile but having doubts. I was once there too — a lot. But, in time, I realized there was no real drawback: best case my MS outcomes improve and worst case Iʼm on a diet thatʼs incredibly healthy so my inflammation markers, cancer risk, gut health, etc, improve. But seriously: scientific opinion among MDs and nutritionists are nearing consensus that a diet like OMS is the optimal diet for humans.

It is not a fringe diet; we are not eating only green things or consuming forty bananas a day (this exists — look it up). Every year I read something like “butter is back” and everyone is excited and then one year later they say butter is gone. It can be absolutely mind-boggling, but that is marketing and itʼs meant to confuse and force a change in preferences. Donʼt put your faith in marketing, I say. Just ask the professional tennis and soccer players, Olympic weightlifters, and people whoʼve reversed their diabetes and heart diseases following a diet like ours. Their voices are never the loudest because they are seldom trying to sell you anything, but theyʼre out there if you listen.

The choice is yours. I hope to see you on the path.