Food Fight: A Celebration of Decadence
Making merry is a big feature of the holiday season. A delightful part of making merry is nourishment, and I don’t mean swallowing anti-oxidant capsules and cod liver oil. Do you not long for a celebration of decadence? Do you not fantasize telling all those wannabe Paleo hunter-gatherers to go discover fire and chew on gazelle fat while the rest of us reacquaint ourselves with Karo syrup and lard?
For the majority of the year, we with multiple sclerosis are conscientious, mature people who strive to treat our bodies with reverent care and loving vigilance, loyal janitors maintaining our flesh and blood temples to the cosmic mysteries. But I’ve got to be honest. Around the middle of November, the dark angel on my other shoulder starts whispering dark angel stuff. Kale schmale, it says, let us not mind our mitochondria and instead spend the next few minutes fantasizing about the un-Terry Wahls diet. Let’s abuse and neglect the Swank diet and talk about eating more fat in six weeks than we did for all the previous ten months put together. Eating light during warm weather was a fine idea, but, hey, it’s winter! We need to stoke the furnace now, not burn off the tall grasses. I’m speaking of crass gluttony, ladies and gentlemen, the first of the seven deadly sins. I don’t know about you, but I’m all over this one.
An online MS friend recently recalled one of the highlights of her entire life in which she and a friend made dinner solely consisting of root beer floats and strawberry short cake. I’ve enjoyed one or the other, but never thought of putting them together. Now I can’t get it out of my head. The imagery alone would make Pixar turn green with envy; root beer and strawberries will forever linger in my taste imagination as being soulmates forever more.
May 11th is national Eat What You Want Day, but why wait? You’ll thank me and curse me all at once for daring to put this into words: Potato skins mac and cheese. It’s exactly what it sounds like. There’s enough cheese in this dish to bind up your bowel for two full weeks. Enjoy!1
The third and last object of fatal attraction is something much yummier than boiled rabbit: The breakfast Reuben!
You won’t find this on the McDonald’s breakfast menu! It’s pastrami and sauerkraut on a homemade pumpernickel English muffin with horseradish French dressing and a fried egg. If you want to make the bread from scratch, see the recipe in the reference section at the bottom of this page.2
But wait, there’s more! Did you think I’d be so irresponsible as to neglect the science? According to a prospective study described at the 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) by Kjetil Bjørnevik, MD, intake of plant-based polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may lower the risk of MS!3
That’s encouraging news. And, for shameless, gluttonous reasons, we could stretch that health benefit to include all PUFAs that include linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids which are found in all the foods we’ve been told to avoid: Dairy, eggs, cheese, mayonnaise, yeast breads, pasta, pizza, baked goods, breakfast cereal, cured meats, chicken, fish—fatty and otherwise, beef, et al. If you can pull the wool over your eyes as easily as I can pull it over my own, you could wolf down the above three meals completely guilt-free. To see a complete list of PUFA foods, see the reference section below.
Have you been worried that your children might develop MS? Put all your minds at ease by incorporating the above nutritional science into their MS education. If you’re at a loss for what to tell them, here’s a script:
“Kids, if you eat junk food containing polyunsaturated fatty acids, you’ll lower your risk of developing MS and not suffer like good old mom/dad has. You might develop heart disease or diabetes before you’re 30—but you won’t have MS! So, do the research, weigh the risks and benefits, and then decide what’s best for you—but since you’re too young to know what’s best for you, I’ll give you some guidance. Gorgonzola nachos for dinner tonight!”
How well do people around you understand MS?