Best Health - - EDITOR’S LETTER - BETH THOMP­SON Ed­i­tor-in-chief

…MY SON DREW BE­CAME SE­RI­OUSLY ILL. Within the span of a few weeks, much of his body had shut down. His brain be­came a tan­gled mess of mis­fired mes­sages that left him un­able to move. His doc­tors were stumped.

Even­tu­ally, a spinal tap and sev­eral MRIs con­firmed mul­ti­ple sclero­sis (MS) and, with that find­ing, he spent nine weeks in the hos­pi­tal – first to treat Drew's acute episode and sec­ond to teach Drew how to live again.

But this is not a story about MS – that is Drew’s to tell. This is a story about food.

The Satur­day be­fore Drew ended up in the hos­pi­tal, I made one of his favourite dishes: spaghetti pie. He couldn’t really leave his room, so we car­ried the kitchen ta­ble up­stairs, lit some can­dles, cued up a playlist and dined on spaghetti pie with a side of gar­lic bread and Caesar salad – just like any other Satur­day night.

And that was pre­cisely the point: We were all scared out of our minds, not know­ing what was wrong with Drew, but there was com­fort in the rit­ual of din­ner, with a recipe we knew and loved from less-com­pli­cated times. We rem­i­nisced, en­joyed sec­onds, left room for dessert and gen­er­ally let the en­ergy of the mo­ment hold us to­gether as our world fell apart.

The next morn­ing, Drew awoke with chest pain. We called 911 and, in a tor­nado of ac­tiv­ity, an EMS crew ar­rived, strapped my boy to a stretcher and car­ried him off into a wait­ing am­bu­lance.

It sounds silly to say that, in the face of such an ex­treme life event, a sim­ple sup­per could make any kind of dif­fer­ence, but it did. So many times dur­ing the en­su­ing nine weeks, our un­be­knownst “last din­ner” be­came a touch­stone – a sym­bol that, re­gard­less of the cir­cum­stances, we would be able to get through any­thing with a lot of love and a lit­tle pasta.

This is the power of food: It is the en­gine of life. Now, we are just over a year into liv­ing with this dis­ease. I still make spaghetti pie, but our meal plan­ning has be­come more strate­gic, with a fo­cus on meals that op­ti­mize health. Most im­por­tantly, we have never lost sight of the strength that comes from break­ing bread as a fam­ily.

I know life is crazy busy. Ev­ery­one has some­where else to be “right this minute.” Maybe we can’t make every meal count. That’s OK, but aim for a few.

Let us help. This is Best Health’s food is­sue. We have so­lu­tions for easy week­night din­ners in “Slow-Cooker Magic” (page 54) and fun ways to ex­per­i­ment with fruit in “Oh, Fig!” (page 48). For pre­ven­tive health, see “Meals that Heal” (page 60) for ideas to help thwart breast cancer and “Sec­ond Opin­ions” (page 16) for help with man­ag­ing di­a­betes. And if you need a lit­tle boost to deal with brain fog, low en­ergy or bad skin, turn to “Herbal Magic” (page 64).

There are lots of ways that food can im­prove your health and well-be­ing – you just need to start ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties on your plate.

Yours in Best Health,

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