12 Tips to help you get started and stay on track on OMS

I've had my blog and Instagram going for over a year now and one thing I always get asked about is OMS. People say they wish they could change their diet and lifestyle but find it hard and eventually wind up giving up. But having seen the changes in my body since starting OMS about 18 months ago I just want everyone to jump onboard. I thought I was a pretty healthy person before my diagnosis so after I was diagnosed OMS was almost a natural progression, but I still found it hard in the beginning and it can be challenging at times. However as my body started healing and my symptoms slowly started to disappear I've never looked back.

There are a number of things I've learnt along the way that have helped me stay on track.  Here are 12 tips or words of advice to help you get started and stay on track on OMS.

Next week I'll be sharing some of the amazing positives that you'll see in your body and life in giving it a go.


1. clean out your pantry & restock with OMS friendly foods

Start to clean out your pantry and fridge and throw away anything non OMS (unless your partner eats it) then order an OMS compliant grocery shop. This was the first thing I did when I started OMS which really helped me wipe the slate clean. I did a big OMS compliant grocery shop so I had lots of healthy foods to re-stock my pantry with. If you need support I created this What I Eat page with all the foods we can eat on OMS, and also another post on the regular foods we buy in My OMS Pantry Staples.

By cleaning out my pantry I knew that most of what was in my pantry was now OMS compliant, which saved me from questioning every food. It also meant I had a good idea of what was in my pantry and what I could make for meals, plus no temptations. Mentally it was refreshing and helped me make a clean transition from one chapter in my life to the next.

At this stage your probably still feeling a little confused about meals and what you can eat. I have a number of recipes on my blog to help get you started here.

Once your pantry is cleaned out and your feeling organised then you can start to do the following…

2. be as healthy as you can while Easing into it

Practise makes perfect, sounds cliche but it really does. My biggest piece of advice to get started on OMS is to EASE into it whilst still being as healthy as possible. Your now about to get challenged with old foods at every turn until you master OMS and know it inside out so this is more about being kind to yourself and doing your best. Things like going to your friends place for dinner, eating at cafes, supermarket shopping, work shouts, bbq’s, or going to your parents or in-laws for dinner. Even though you’ve cleaned out your pantry you still might have some slips ups when your cooking at home, especially during the first few months.

I know in the first few months their were definitely things I thought were okay to eat like margarine of all things!. I still had it on toast for about a month till I realised it’s basically bicycle grease! that’s how brainwashed I was about oils back then. There was also something deep fried in my favourite sushi that I thought was healthy which I ate for a year before I realised. It will naturally take time for you and your body to adjust. Don't beat yourself up if you eat the wrong thing by accident, just get back on track and keep tapping away at it slowly.

If you wanted you could go week by week, the first week you reduce your dairy intake, then the next you say no to meat, then the next its sweets, cakes and packaged food. Then you start to introduce flaxseed oil till little by little, week by week, month by month, you're 100% OMS. Obviously do your best whenever you can by asking questions and reading labels.

Over time you start to form new healthier habits and the old ones slip away. You also loose your yearning for sweet things, this happened to me to my surprise and I had a real sweet tooth. Once you get going and start feeling amazing you'll hopefully never look back like me. A really good quote to remember is "Nothing tastes as good as walking feels", write this somewhere in your kitchen that will remind you daily. I said this to myself a lot in the first year and it really helps re-align yourself with your long term vision.


3. Stay inspired

This is a big one. Inspiration is key. If you don't stay inspired you'll easily get sick of eating the same thing over and over again and risk slipping back into old ways. There are so many great apps now for you to stay inspired everyday at the click of a button. Pinterest and instagram have endless inspiration and food ideas. I suggest you create an account on both and like, follow and pin all the things you want to eat and try. There is a real healthy, raw food revolution going on so there is no-end of healthy instagram accounts, blogs or pinterest posts. There are also some fantastic people doing amazing things in the world of fighting illness with diet. Deliciously Ella and Lola Berry are both great. And bloggers like sobeautfullyreal and becomingness are awesome too. The Raw Kitchen Cookbook is also a fantastic recipe book from NZ. If you find someone you love be sure to subscribe to their blogs so you get emails every time they post a new recipe or inspiration. These emails will pop up every now and then and offer you some fresh meal ideas.


4. Learn about the food your eating

I naturally love learning about the health benefits of food so thats something I've decided to share on my blog and instagram and what I've realised through doing my blog is I get a real deep understanding of a food once I've done some in-depth research. This actually further compels me to eat better because I know exactly what nutrients are in these foods and what will benefit my brain, my body and my MS. This wont be for everyone I understand not everyone would be into this, but I think for the sake of OMS at the least follow some healthy Dr's like Dr Axe or your favourite healthy food expert, so you get some reliable info nuggets in your email every now and then to keep you inspired about healthy eating. 

Another great way to stay educated is podcasts. You can listen to them on the go, while your cooking dinner, on the bus, anywhere really, and you can learn SO. MUCH. I'm finding a lot of podcasts are talking about autoimmune diseases at the moment. I'm hearing lots of functional medicine doctors, naturopaths etc being interviewed and learning so much about gut and brain health and wellness. I highly recommend them!

Acai smoothie bowls

Acai smoothie bowls

5. Embrace the kitchen - cooking & meal times

When I first started OMS I really didn't do this mainly because I was quite sick, however as I got better I had an epiphany, I thought if i'm going to thrive on OMS I really need to embrace the kitchen, cooking and meal times, it's the only way I'm going to give it the best chance of working. Once you make this shift you'll really start to thrive. You'll be more organised, start planning meals and becoming more inspired, you'll therefore start to eat better as you become more fully focused on feeding your brain with a variety of delicious foods. Once I did this we discovered a few firm favourites that we always cook now. And there's the added benefit of minimising food wastage because your planning your meals. I also invested in a good quality food processor and blender which I use everyday.


6. Create healthy alternatives to the foods you use to love

In my experience the most effective way to get satiety from these cravings and stay on track is to create healthy versions of the foods you use to love. This doesn't apply to meat, but you'd actually be surprised how great plant based healthy versions of your old foods are. I do this a lot now, some of my go-to's are

  • Edamame with sea salt when I'm craving salty chips

  • Sourdough with flaxseed oil and marmite when I'm wanting savoury (actually tastes like something deep fried)

  • Kombucha as an alcohol replacement

  • My OMS vegan paddle pops instead of ice-cream.

  • I also have a great jaime oliver vegan shepherd's pie I do almost weekly with lentils and chickpeas that my boyfriend LOVES

  • And a great vegan lasagne with basil cashew cheese that is pretty awesome to

Once you establish the foods your missing from your old diet do the following

Plant based chocolate cake

Plant based chocolate cake

7. USE google & descriptive words

What I tend to do is google search what I'm looking for or craving and I more often than not get a healthy version eg. "Healthy Vegan Lasagne" or "Plant Based Nachos" or "Raw Salted Caramel Bliss Balls" or "The best vegan, gluten free chocolate self saucing pudding". Always put descriptive words like "delicious" or "the best" in your searches as this will always return the best recipes. Once you discover these alternatives it just makes life so much easier on OMS, and you've also added another fav recipe to your collection.


8. Get creative with flaxseed oil

When I first started on OMS flaxseed oil seemed like such a challenge. I was having a smoothie Every. Single. Day. and it was getting really boring. As the months progressed I've learnt more and more creative ways of using it which have made a HUGE difference.

I now use it in smoothie bowls most mornings and find it fantastic, it not only makes them thick and creamy but because you can make so many different flavour combinations with smoothie bowls it keeps life much more interesting. If your looking for some smoothie bowl recipes I have plenty in my instagram feed linked below and I also have a post coming up on how to create them perfect and creamy every time.

Another great one I learnt off the OMS site is drizzling it over sourdough toast with marmite which is DELICIOUS!!, and lately I've discovered its a great softener in vegan ice-cream. I've seen people mix it into their porridge and my mum uses it as her salad dressing.  Get creative with it and see what you come up with, it doesn't have to be boring or monotonous, as long as its not heated and it can even be frozen.


9. Always be prepared

Whenever we go away now I always look at where we're staying and research what supermarkets and health food stores are close-by so I can always grab supplies. If we're going to a bbq I make sure that I have food to take that I can eat OR I make sure I've eaten enough before hand. If your hitting the shops for the day do your research before so you can grab some lunch or take a packed lunch with plenty of healthy snacks like fruit, raw bliss balls, carrot and cucumber sticks, banana etc so you can eat on the run. For car trips I always have water, a home made raw nut mix, a piece of fruit or raw slice of some kind and that keeps me going. Service stations do not cater for us at all.

On weekend trips away try and think about the foods you'll be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, on the go food and drinks. This will help you plan enough food to take and make meal times easier as you already know what to eat and when. On long distance trips I always take my Nutri Bullet with me and pre prepared bags of superfood powders so I can make a quick filling smoothie. And I research places to get flaxseed oil close by if I can't take it myself. A little prep can make a world of difference.

Being on the road or travelling can be challenging on OMS and thankfully healthy food is making its way to the mainstream in some places. But their are ways around it so you don't starve. I now take food on the plane and to the airport with me so I have the right foods to eat as you can be stuck in airports for hours at a time. Also, last year we went to Singapore for 6 weeks and I knew our apartment had limited cooking facilities so I did some research and took over a pot to make porridge and steam and boil veges and my nutri bullet to make smoothies, along with some foods I usually eat. Having food options straight away in a foreign country really made the world of difference. 


10. Meditate around the same time everyday

Meditation can be a hard thing to commit to at first but i've found by doing it at the same time every day my body began to remember that this certain allocated time is for relaxation and I began to crave it. I usually do mine before I start dinner and before Ben gets home from work which I find perfect for a relaxing evening. Now 18 months in i'm an avid meditator.


11. Exercise with the sun

Getting your vitamin D and your exercise done in one go not only saves time it also feels really good. I'm a morning exerciser and I love getting up and out the door for a morning walk or gym session. I find it sets me up for the day, makes me happier, more productive and better at life in general, and I can relax for the rest of the day knowing my exercise is done. 


12. create a vitamin D3 ritual

I've had days in the past where I was literally like "have I taken my vitamin D3 today?" I just couldn't remember for the life of me. I've since discovered this is quite common among people with MS - our beautiful short term memories just love messing with us. This is something i've noticed improve lately too which is a great feeling. But if you make it part of your morning or evening ritual like with your morning glass of water, with breakfast or dinner, then you know its done and you don't need to worry about it.

in a nutshell

1. Clean out your pantry & restock with OMS friendly foods

2. Be as healthy as possible while easing into it

3. Stay inspired

4. Learn about the foods your eating

5. Embrace the kitchen - cooking and meal times

6. Create healthy alternatives to the foods you use to love

7. Use google and descriptive words

8. Get creative with flaxseed oil

9. Always be prepared

10. Meditate around the same time every day

11. Exercise with the sun

12. Create a vitamin D3 ritual

Hopefully thats helped you start to think that it might be easier than you thought. And i'm looking forward to sharing the amazing positives that you'll see in your body and life after giving it a go in next weeks post!

Also let me know if you have any tips or tricks in the comments below, i'd love to hear them!!

Much love!