Being Good to Your Body: Diet Tips From MPN Patients

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Topics include: Living With Myeloloproliferative Neoplasms

How does the food myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients eat impact overall health? Can diet help patients feel more in control? During this MPN Partners segment, MPN patient advocates Samantha Trahan and Julia Olff share changes they have made to their diet since diagnosis to maintain health, moderate weight and feel good. The patient panel discusses different diet styles, foods that are easy for the body to process and explains why Julia says eating is “very much like investing”. Watch now to find out more.

This program is sponsored by Incyte Corporation.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:               

So, do you do anything special in your diet? We talked about walking the dog, and going to the gym, and really living in the moment. What about diet?

Samantha Trahan:          

Well, I was always a pretty healthy eater, but I would say there are some definite things that I do. I flat-out don’t eat fast food. If I’m traveling and I’m starving, I will stop at the next-door gas station and get peanuts and a bottle of water. I do not eat fast food. It’s hard for your body to process. I also generally follow a plant-based diet. I’m not perfect at it, and cheese is delicious, and sometimes, so is a sliced turkey sandwich. But I do feel like I want to give my body what’s easiest to process in terms of food that makes me feel the healthiest and makes me feel the best.

And for me, I tried a couple of different things—Mediterranean style, just a—what is it, like a rainbow-style diet where you eat all the most colorful foods. But I find that following a pretty straightforward plant-based diet, mostly roots vegetables, beans, legumes, other sorts of plant-based proteins, I feel the best. And so, that’s what I follow. I do think it’s a very individualized course that you have to—that everybody has to find. What is it that makes you feel the healthiest? But for me, making that shift onto that type of diet made me feel the best. And, after coming off of one of the trial drugs, momelotinib, where I gained a pretty healthy chunk of weight, it’s also been what’s helped me best moderate my weight.

Andrew Schorr:               

So, Samantha, do you think beyond feeling better, it’s also feeling more in control, that you’re doing what you can do?

Samantha Trahan:          

Yeah, Andrew, I think that’s absolutely part of it. I mean, I can’t do anything about what is going on in my bone marrow. I can’t stop the scarring. I can’t stop the random blasts that are popping out. There’s nothing that I can do to fix that problem. I can, though, fix how I approach my daily life, and treat my body as well as I can so that it’ll work harder for me. And that’s how I envision it. So, when I give my body junk, it has to work hard to overcome what I’ve just done to it, and it’s combating against this PV slide into myelofibrosis. So, if I eat well, then I’m doing my part. And now I’m counting on my body to do the rest of it. I’m 43 years old, was diagnosed 17 or so years ago, and I – which was before JAK2 was even found or published, right? So, I came into the MPN world with a complete dearth of knowledge. We’ve learned so much since then. It’s been 17 years.

I’m hanging in there for the next 17 years. And to do that, I really do feel like this bit, I can control. I can control how well I treat my body. That’s it.

Andrew Schorr:               

Wow. Well-said. Julia, you’d probably say – echo that, right?

Julia Olff:                            

I would. I guess I would add to it, I was diagnosed in my forties when I was very thin and otherwise very healthily. Similarly, I’ve been a foodie all my life. Food is, to me—like, a day without good food is not a day worth living. So, taste drives my joy and my choices. But now that I am in my mid to late fifties, my body’s changed a little bit. I think I’ve been healthiest, and I’ve talked about this in the past, when I was following a Weight Watchers diet, because it is essentially pumping up the fruits and the vegetables and reducing the fatty foods. I, though, feel like for long-term success, I need to give myself the joyful foods.

So, that includes the croissant and the cheese. And I’m going to France again in February, and I’m going to eat and enjoy myself. But I also hope to walk a lot. So, I do think it’s like investing. And when I was diagnosed with ET initially, I couldn’t understand—very much like what Dr. Mesa was saying. I was healthy otherwise. I was one of those people that never took a sick day. Like, how did I get this illness? And it took time to even process that. But now I think that maybe I—my otherwise healthy immune system and a lifetime of my mother introducing meals that always included fruits and vegetables is paying off in the sense that it’s helping me be healthier with myelofibrosis.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on September 9, 2019