Firstly, what is a plant-based wholefood diet, plus seafood, minimizing saturated fat?
- Plant-based diets are based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; excluding all meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs. (Plant-based diets are mostly vegan, but vegan diets are not necessarily plant-based).
- Wholefood diets include foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible. Highly refined foods like bleached flour and refined sugar, are discouraged but not completely excluded. Instead, you are encouraged to eat wholegrains and steer away from additives.
- Seafood – the OMS diet differs from a vegan or plant-based diet as it allows you to eat seafood if you choose to. We do, however, recommend moderating your consumption of oily fish due to its fat content (eat up to three times per week).
- Minimizing saturated fat – the saturated fat content is why animal fats are excluded on the diet (meat, dairy and egg yolks), along with coconut products, and oils excluding non-heated extra virgin olive oil.
Foods to try & include more of in your OMS Diet
Note: this is not a complete list of what you can and can’t eat – just a guide to get you started
- Protein: fish, seafood, beans, tofu, avocado, egg white (only), nuts, seeds
- Helpful hint: Nuts and nut butter should be consumed in moderation
- Plant-based milks: soya, oat, hemp, pea
- Helpful hint: Read labels carefully – store bought dairy alternatives can contain unhealthy vegetables oils
- Carbohydrates: rice, potatoes, pasta, rice noodles, quinoa, couscous, bread, pearl barley, etc
- Vegetables and fruits
- Helpful hint: Coconut is not included due to its high saturated fat content
- Spices, herbs, garlic, onion
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What recipes can I make?
There are lots of recipes on our website and in the OMS cookbook. Check out our list of cookbooks recommended by OMSers. You can adapt vegan recipes by excluding oil or coconut products.
Examples of some delicious recipes you can easily make OMS friendly: ramen noodle soups, pastas, salads, baked potatoes, rice dishes, sushi, egg white omelettes, risottos, flat bread, mezze dips, Buddha bowls, grilled fish, cheese free pizza, homemade veggie burgers, veggie chillis, soups, cauliflower rice, vegetables stews, breakfast cereals, overnight oats, homemade granola, dahls, vegetable or fish curries, smoothies and bean burritos.
There are plenty of websites out there with OMS compliant recipes. Edit vegan or pescetarian recipes to make them OMS compliant. Try searching for ‘fat free’ and ‘wholefoods’ along with ‘pescetarian’ and ‘vegan’ recipes.
- Read the OMS website (free) – forum section and recipe section
- Follow Overcoming MS on social media and What We Eat (run by OMSers)
- Also find inspiration from fellow OMSers in the OMS Lifestyle support group
- Fat Free Vegan
- Forks Over Knives
- OMSer blogs: Almost Vegan Aussie
Hashtags: #omsfriendly #overcomingms
Top Tips for following the OMS Diet
- Cook by grilling, baking, boiling, poaching or steaming to avoid frying in oil. You can also fry dry in a non-stick pan or cook with a tiny amount water, stock or even tea to prevent sticking.
- Batch cook. By making meals in advance and keeping them in the fridge or freezer you can save money and time. Get into the habit of having delicious food options available at all times, which will stop the temptation of unhealthy foods.
- Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great, inexpensive option to add more fruit and veg to your diet. Frozen when fresh, they have great nutritional value and can be kept for a longer reducing food waste. Find lots of good tinned options including pre-cooked beans, chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn etc at your local supermarket.
- Order a veg box delivery – locally sourced and deliciously fresh boxes provide great nutritional value. Having a fridge that is already stocked with delicious fresh produce will help you to make healthy choices.
- Eat seasonally to save money.
Currently in season (January)
Europe: Apples, Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Pears, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Squash, Swedes, Turnips.
US/ Canada: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, kale, leeks, lemons, oranges, parsnips, rutabagas, tangelos, tangerines, and turnips.
Australia/New Zealand: Asparagus, Beans: Green, Beans: Flat, Beans: Butter, Capsicums, Celery, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Okra, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Sweetcorn, Spinach, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cherries, Grapes, Limes, Lychees, Mangoes, Melons, Nectarines, Oranges: Valencia, Passionfruit, Peaches, Pears: , Pineapple, Plums, Rambutans
6. Join your local OMS Circle for encouragement.
7. Meat and cheese contain ‘umami’ flavours which you might crave when changing your diet. Add these flavours to recipes using: miso, mushroom (particularity shiitake), soy sauce, nutritional yeast, fish sauce, marmite or vegemite, celery, ripe tomatoes, darker-fleshed fish (eat in moderation), sea vegetables (e.g. nori), black olives, toasted nuts and seeds and green tea.
Following the OMS diet when out and about
8. When eating out, check The Happy Cow which has a list of vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants. Contact restaurants in advance to lay out your requirements. Ask for vegan with fish, excluding oils (except Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and excluding coconut products.
9. Japanese cuisine is a good option for low fat, dairy-free food with lots of seafood. Indian, Thai, Lebanese and Ethiopian cuisines also have good options filled with vegetables and flavour but be careful of the oils.
10. When flying, ask for a Raw Vegetable Meal to ensure that it’s OMS compliant. This is a vegan meal consisting exclusively of raw vegetables and salads.
What are your tips for sticking to the OMS diet?
You can read a full study about practical tips for preparing healthy and delicious plant-based meals here