Welcome to Living Well with MS. In this episode, we are sharing the highlights from our webinar, ‘A guide to the Overcoming MS Diet’, with Gillian Robertson and Ashley Madden. Gillian and Ashley are both professional chefs who follow the Overcoming MS Program. In this webinar, they discuss how to adopt the diet, the benefits of a plant-based diet, dairy substitutes and much more.

Watch the original webinar here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and Gillian and Ashley’s bios.

Read the episode transcript

Topics and Timestamps

02:52 Practical ways to adopt the Overcoming MS Diet

08:56 What is a plant-based diet?

14:58 Meals and snacks that offer a complete protein.

22:32 Substituting cheese and ice cream.

27:13 Cooking without oil.

33:13 Meal planning equipment.

39:33 Plant-based meal planning on a budget.

Selected Key Takeaways

A whole food, plant-based diet is health-promoting.
11:00 Ashley Madden: “A plant-based diet is high in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It's overall anti-inflammatory because we're getting a lot of antioxidants from all those colourful plant foods. It's low in saturated fat, which is important for us, of course, and also has extensive health benefits that go beyond. A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers, it can help with weight loss or weight stabilisation, and it can also decrease the risks and sometimes reverse some of the modern-day chronic diseases that we're seeing in a lot of the developed countries.”

It’s easy to get enough complete protein on a plant-based diet.
14:27 Ashley Madden: “What modern science has taught us is that the amino acid gaps in one plant food are filled in by another plant food. The bottom line is that you don't need to strategically pair plant foods in specific meals to get the protein that you need. We now know that eating a variety of whole plant foods will get you all of the essential amino acids that are required. I have here listed just some simple meal and snack ideas that actually do offer you complete protein that you're probably already doing and don't even know it. So brown rice and beans, oatmeal, and nuts and seeds or soy milk, sprouted bread is a great one because it has a combination of legumes and grains and nuts and hummus on whole wheat toast.”

Plant based cooking can be done on a budget.
39:45 Gillian Robertson: “Organic now is a big trend. Obviously, it can be very expensive. Don't feel that you always have to buy organic. As long as you're washing your fruit and vegetables well, you're going to be okay. And it's okay to look at frozen fruit and vegetables as well as fresh ones, these are often cheaper, they're just as nutritious and they can help save time because they're often pre-prepared as well. Frozen fish can also be much more economical. If you start thinking about the inexpensive items in plant-based cooking, [such as] grains, pulses, seasonal vegetables, if you make those the base of your meals, then your meals really are not going to cost that much money.

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Ashley’s Bio:

Ashley Madden is a full-time food lover and health enthusiast. She’s a pharmacist, plant-based chef, certified holistic nutrition consultant and food photographer. Originally from Canada, Ashley has moved around the world over the last 10 years, from New York to the Netherlands, and currently she lives in Taiwan.

Ashley’s MS diagnosis

A diagnosis of MS in her early 20s triggered an overhaul of her personal and professional life and, ultimately, she traded prescriptions for plants!

Ashley’s passion for food

She shares her plant-based, gluten-free and oil-free recipes on her blog RiseShineCook.ca and creates recipes for health and wellness outlets like Forks Over Knives and Mind Body Green in addition to being the author of The Plant Based Cookbook and Plant Based Delicious. You can learn more about Ashley and her taste bud-tempting work here and here.

Gillian’s Bio:

Gillian’s MS diagnosis and Overcoming MS

In April 2016, Gillian began feeling numbness and pins and needles in her feet, which gradually spread causing problems with her walking and balance. After various tests and referrals, she was diagnosed with RRMS in January 2017.

Following physiotherapy, she started to take a disease-modifying drug and decided to follow the Overcoming MS Program, which she learned about after doing a lot of research on MS. She has since been able to return to her favourite sports: hiking, running, yoga, and skiing.

Gillian’s career as a chef

She also completed a two-year Diploma in cuisine and patisserie at the Cordon Bleu culinary school and has started a new career as a private chef. Gillian creates recipes for Overcoming MS by contributing and testing recipes.

Gillian’s personal life

Gillian Robertson has been living in the ski resort of Grimentz after relocating for work from the UK to Switzerland. She and her husband have three grown daughters and two grandchildren, all now living in England.