Swank diet discussion

A board to discuss various diet-centered approaches to treating or controlling Multiple Sclerosis, e.g., the Swank Diet

Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby jimmylegs » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:53 pm

question: once the red meat is out of the picture, what do most people choose to ensure optimal dietary zinc on the swank diet?
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby Kronk » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:24 pm

LibbyA wrote:Kronk: you may have answered my question that I just posted to the forum. I'm newly diagnosed, just beginning the journey. Interested in the Swank diet. So, as long as you stay under 15 grams of saturated fat, you eat what you like? You mention the "forbidden list", by this do you mean red meat, regular cheese/milk, butter etc?


If your interested I would say just buy the book. It is not expensive and would be a good reference tool in future. There are a few other things to note in the diet which I do not follow. The forbidden list is made up of hydrogenated oils such as palm oil and some other highly inflammatory offenders... being that this diet is about 60 years old I think the main purpose of the list was to highlight some main problem foods for his patients. Now every food we buy has a nutrition label on it and we can track very well. One other resource that is valuable is the SwankMSDiet website. It was the first experience i had to the online communities and has recipes if your interested. My meals are rather simple, protein, carb, veg. I eat a lot of chicken, turkey, fish, and shrimp.

Jimmy, its entirely possible Zinc is overlooked. I eat a lot of seafood, along with limited quantities of almonds, walnuts, pecans, spinach daily. I have a pretty well rounded diet. That being said i did lose almost 40lbs (from a lean frame) in 5 months when starting Swank and Wahls so I was missing some of my nutritional requirements. Since I reduced the diet restrictions I feel and look much healthier.
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby jimmylegs » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:26 pm

thanks for the reply, k. glad you are feeling better lately :)
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby LibbyA » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:41 am

Thanks so much Kronk for the reply. The book is on it's way and hopefully will arrive this week. I just feel like I need to make some kind (any kind!) of proactive move and the only thing I feel like I CAN control is my diet. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now with everything, so your response was extremely helpful. I'm so glad I found this forum. I'll wait for the book and if I have anymore questions, will post. :-D
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby ElliotB » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:46 am

"once the red meat is out of the picture"

I think it is important to understand that you do not need to eliminate red meat from your diet, but rather you want to eliminate saturated fat. Meats you purchase at a supermarket are loaded with saturated fat because of the grain diet fed to the animals. 100% Grass fed meats are naturally low in fat, loaded with omega 3 fat and are as healthy for you as wild salmon and other wild fishes that are high in omega 3 fat, which are foods most experts agree are excellent for everyone, especially those of us with MS.
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby jimmylegs » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:21 am

I agree. if ppl eliminate red meat without realizing why they're doing it, or what's at stake, or ensuring their nutrient status is looked after, they can run into trouble. seafood can be a useful source of dietary zinc. and the best bet diet recommends INCREASING red meats (of the wild game persuasion).
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby erinc14 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:21 am

what does the swank diet entail ?
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby Jimpsull » Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:01 am

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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby Jimpsull » Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:04 am

There are plenty of great foods that we are OK to eat on Swank. It is a great way of living. The data is simply too compelling to ignore. 200 patients, 34 years. Those that stayed on the diet lead full lives and were still walking. Those that didn't were bedridden or dead. Would you eat that cheese if doing so meant you had to spend the rest of the day in a wheelchair? What about your life? The consequence is less immediate but just as drastic.
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Re: Swank diet discussion

Postby jerrygallow » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:37 pm

I started the Swank diet in 2007. At first I lost weight. Then I started eating loads of sugary foods, carbs, but cutting all the oils and fats. I have since incorporated more modern diet understanding to my approach and seem to be doing pretty well. I don't think Swank understood as much about Omega6 versus 3, so the overall limit approach worked pretty well. Perhaps one could argue that the problem with MS lies in fat digestion, in which case total fat restriction would make sense. But John McDougall tried that and could not confirm Swank's findings.

There is a good book (not affiliated with me in any way) called clean cuisine. The author also started on a Swank style diet and eventually made changes. She does quite well and explains the reasoning behind her choices.

So basically the changes I incorporated are more toward a whole food approach. I also want to maximize good fats versus cutting all fats. So I do not limit seafood (he instructs people to measure out salmon and such), I do not restrict nuts, avocados or oil. I take flaxseed oil instead of cod liver oil since Dr. Jelinek found it to be more effective in his study. I cook in avocado oil or might use olive oil for cold things, and I don't count or limit it. I still avoid deep fried foods, I avoid all cottonseed, soybean or corn oil, and avoid commercial pastries/junk food. I avoid all dairy fat (I think that is crucial) and all dairy period, despite Swank saying it is ok. I avoid most red meat and I have found pork of any kind makes me feel worse. Of course no trans fat.

I try to increase my greens despite Swank not emphasizing that. I am working on cutting high glycemic foods and minimizing sugar. I don't think the limitless carb approach of the Swank diet is ideal. I have switched my rice to brown rice or quinoa. sweet potatoes instead of white. But carbs do give me energy, so I don't go for the Paleo extreme either. I think all extremes can be dangerous. I have cut out the super sweet "health" bars like cliff bars. I don't eat corn and I am minimizing beans. But I do eat nut bars pretty often.

And despite Swanks instructions to always rest and take it easy, I do hit the gym several times per week. I think the evidence shows that we need to exercise. I was getting too lethargic and after several years on Swank, my body was adjusting and I started packing on body fat. I became "skinny fat" on the diet and did not feel healthy. I think healthy fats, healthy exercise and all crucial.

Interesting to note a recent study linked here stated that scientists had linked MS to a problem in blood clotting, and a certain enzyme was unusually high during relapse. Interestingly enough, Swank theorized this very thing decades ago, and that was why he cut fat to begin with--to thin the blood. Also interesting was the often overlooked finding that blood sludged just as much after a high oil diet as it did a high hard fat (sat fat) diet. So maybe it is better to cut overall fat. But on the other hand, people with MS tend to have much higher Sat fat in their brains, and low levels of poly unsaturated fat. Basically I try to switch that back by avoiding sat fat and preferring polys. I am still not sure what to think about coconut oil and coco butter. Is the problem animal fats or hard fats?
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