On a cold January morning in 2012, I woke up with numb feet. It was winter and it was cold; numb feet didn’t seem too alarming. But the numbness didn’t go away, and by the afternoon, both my legs were numb past my knees. The day before I had been to the gym. So I figured the numbness was exercise-related. I had something similar happen maybe a year before, but after a new pair of shoes and a lot of denial, it simply went away, and I went on with my busy life and busy family.
This time, the numbness kept getting worse. Over the next week and a half, it spread throughout the entire right side of my body. I could barely walk, and I couldn’t use my right hand or arm at all. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and quickly began the few treatments that were offered, including IV steroids. Nothing was slowing my deterioration and a month later, I ended up in the hospital with half my body paralyzed and in a wheelchair. They told my husband and I to prepare ourselves for my continued loss of function, that there were drugs that could slow the progress, but that nothing would reverse the damage already done.
Refusing to passively accept my diagnosis, my husband and I began to read everything we could about treating M.S. There is a lot of research and even more varying opinions out there. We found that despite what doctors had said, there are cases where recovered function and reversed damage had been achieved through lifestyle changes, especially to changes in diet and nutrition.
So we began a long journey of experimenting with all types of diets — adding and removing foods based on how I seemed to react. Through a lot of trial and error, we learned that what works best for me and the management of my disease is to eliminate sugar and eat as many nutrient-dense vegetables as possible.
Slowly, we started to see that these changes were successfully managing the symptoms of my disease. And that changing what we ate was making the whole family healthier. Within 6 months, I had recovered enough to resume a relatively normal life. I had always known that eating healthy was important, but the impact that I was seeing from mine and my husband’s food choices was incredible.
Changing our diet wasn’t always easy, but instead of seeing the changes we made as restrictions or deprivation, we started to get inspired. We started to cook more, to learn more about our health and our food, to get more creative. We found that eating healthfully and leading a healthy life is more decadent, delicious and wonderful than we ever could have imagined.
I felt so grateful for my recovery, for my health; I wanted to document my experience, and to share it in hopes that what I went through might help to inspire other people. So I created Green Leaf Kitchen.
Green Leaf Kitchen now has three dedicated creators who have each traveled their own journey to seek the healthiest life for them. Lori through a debilitating disease, Noah through the discovery that his seemingly healthful existence could be so much more, and Emily through her own experience with the impact of nutrition on treating anxiety and depression.
Here at Green Leaf Kitchen, we believe that each body is unique. That information and education is key. That knowing about your food will inform better choices. That if you know how to cook, you will be empowered to make yourself healthier. That a diet packed with vegetables does not mean a diet of deprivation, but one of deliciousness and delight. That not only will traveling a healthier path help you to feel better, but that in order to stay on that path you have to have a fun time doing it!