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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Swank Diet And Multiple Sclerosis

I remember when I was a kid hearing people say, "you are what you eat." They usually didn't mean it in a nice way. Is there more to that saying then I realized when I was little? I've asked my neuros over the years if there is a preferred diet for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis. Most of the time they have told me to eat a balanced diet, not committing one way or the other. It was only recently that my current neuro at the U of Maryland Medical center brought up the Swank diet, but he was rather indifferent to if I needed to worry about it or not.

I had read about the Swank diet a long time ago, so it wasn't a new idea to me. What has been difficult is getting a firm recommendation about if it is needed. Dr Roy Swank developed the diet about 60 years ago to help people with MS. The diet itself consist of a low fat, very low in saturated fat, diet. You are supposed to eat under 15 grams of saturated, and between 20 and 50 grams of unsaturated fat a day. That's not too bad, just cut back on some things to make room for others. I mean it's not like I can't have a good prime rib or anything, well after the first year anyway.

It's no red meat for a year, and then only a little bit once a week or so after that. Wow! I adjusted to the shots, to the IV's, the numbness in my hands and feet, but this is serious! No red meat or pork, for that matter, for a year! I can do that, piece of cake, slice of gravy. None of those either, by the way. It is basically a low fat vegetarian diet, but for the white meat chicken and fish. Oh, and shell fish. I like all of those, especially the shell fish. If the grams of fat are what's important, why's it matter if it comes from an Avocado, or if it is tied on the back of rare piece of cow?

I am going to head to the library tomorrow to check out the Swank diet book so I can see what he has to say. I figure I can start out slow, kind of ease into it. If I give up the really bad stuff, the Geresbecks eclair's, and the really marbled beef, I have to be better off. I will at the least drop some weight. Anybody out there reading who has had any experience with the Swank? Is it an all or none job, or is there room for interpretation? I said it before, if I did chemo, I'm willing to eat a more healthy way, it just sounds so severe. Let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

I think you should definitely look into it. What's the worse that can happen? No matter what, you will loose some weight and that will make you feel better even if your legs don't get the message (but hopefully they will!). At least it might help to make you smile more and that would be great!

awb said...

I smile, look at the slide show to your right! I have plenty of reasons to bee happy.

Anonymous said...

Definately do the swank diet..better still log on to and see what Prof George Jelinek has to say. He has changed my life in terms of managing my MS. His diet is very similiar to Swank. Good luck.........nothing worthwhile is ever easy!

awb said...

Aint it the truth! Thanks for stopping in and leaving info, I will take any help I can get.