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Plant-Based Diet Could Limit MS Symptoms

March 15, 2017

An internist who changed her career and turned around her health after discovering the peer-reviewed power of a plant-based diet, Dr. Saray Stancic comes to Maine next month to deliver the keynote address at the annual Maine Nutrition Council conference. Her speech will focus on her personal journey and the shift she says needs to happen in health care.

“What I speak to is evidence-based,” Stancic told me by phone from her practice in Ridgewood, New Jersey. “We need to get this message out to everyone. We need to get this into the curricula of U.S. medical schools. This is going to require society to change.”

In addition to the keynote address, Stancic will deliver a talk on managing autoimmune disease with diet, which led to her entering the field of plant-based medicine. It happened years after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 28 while working an overnight shift at the hospital.

By 2003, Stancic had been suffering from MS for years, needed a cane or crutch to walk and was taking a dozen medications a day to manage the condition. One day, she came across a study that found a blueberry-rich diet helped reduce fatigue in MS patients. She was skeptical – “In all my training, never did any mentors or professors mention a connection between diet and disease,” Stancic said – but the idea that they might be linked persisted.

“I started to read the peer-reviewed medical literature, and I found that diet was the most important variable in preventing disease and treating chronic disease,” Stancic said.

She adopted a plant-based, vegan diet herself, and even though MS is considered an incurable, degenerative disease, her symptoms gradually faded. Soon she no longer needed a crutch to walk. She stopped talking her medications. Six years after she became a vegan, she was able to run a marathon.

Meanwhile, she was working as an infectious disease specialist and often consulted with patients who had diabetes and other chronic conditions. She began to share information with them about the impact of a plant-based diet, and she saw that their own conditions improved when they changed their own diets.

READ MORE Via Portland Press Herald