Dystonia and Me: Transitioning to a Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarian Diet and Dystonia
Several years ago after I was diagnosed with Dystonia I decided to be proactive and try several diets in search for alternative therapies. I tried the PKU, Alkaline Ash, anti-inflammatory and gluten free diets and found myself in the same predicament over and over. Debilitating spasms increased with ferocity and for a brief time helplessness set in. Earlier this year I spent almost a month four hours away from my family in a hospital. Dystonia reared its ugly head again. I vowed that when I returned home I would do everything in my power to never be in this situation again. Having tried every available treatment for my condition, I began to search for a diet that would be beneficial. After much prayer and consideration, about a month ago I decided to gradually transition to a vegetarian diet. Here's what I learned during the transition.
Before going all out and delving into a lifestyle change, you must know why you are doing it. Whether it is for health concerns, ethical or religious reasons, be sure to do a lot of research. Decide what type of vegetarian you would like to be. Do you want to be a Pescatarian (only fish)? Flexetarian (mostly vegetarian diet)? Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian (Eggs and Dairy)? Vegan? I decided to aim for Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian diet.
Ease into it...
Initially, I decided to make a gradual transition to vegetarianism by eating vegetarian during the week and eating meat twice on the weekend. Summertime equals cookout around here and I found myself longing for a char-grilled hamburger on a pretzel roll all week. I gave in to my craving and although I thoroughly enjoyed my burger, my stomach wasn't so excited. Later that night, to my chagrin I noticed my legs began to cramp up. Muscle cramping is how my Dystonia manifests. So for me, it wasn't worth it. In the beginning I also noticed I was having terrible headaches, which I attributed to my dietary changes. I would definitely recommend to anyone transitioning, that they take their time and be prepared for the change.
Why are you considering a transition to a Vegetarian diet?
Where To Find Vegetarian Recipes
It is so important to get some awesome recipes into your repertoire. At first the salad bar was my friend, but I quickly became bored. One day while browsing in the produce section. I realized that there were tons of produce that I have never tried before. Expanding my palate has been the highlight of this whole transition. I get so excited when I find new veggies and take them home and roast them for dinner. I'm a nerd like that!
Pinterest: Create a Pinterest board with recipes you find on the web. Check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.
Library: Your local library has tons of books waiting to be checked out.
Invest in your own cookbooks. Here's what I recommend.
Creating homeostasis in my body has been my goal from the beginning. While researching one common recommendation was to take vitamin supplements. Check with your doctor for recommended dosages. Until then, try these natural ways to increase your vitamin intake.
Vitamin B-12: Cheese, Eggs, Whey Protein, yogurt
Calcium: Greens, figs, broccoli, nuts, legumes
Vitamin D: 15 minutes of sunlight daily, mushrooms
Iron: Cooking in cast iron pans, fortified cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Flax Seeds, walnuts, soybeans, olive oil, hemp oil, chia seeds, winter squash, seaweed
Going Vegetarian For Dystonia
So far so good! I have adjusted well to my new diet. Actually it's more than a diet it is a complete new way of thinking...a lifestyle change. Check back to see if it continues to help with my Dystonia. For those who suffer from Dystonia. Consider going vegetarian for Dystonia. Give it a try, You have nothing to lose....everything to gain.