Swank Recipe Ideas

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

Daily totals: 2 servings of dairy, 3 tsp saturated fat, 4-10 tsp unsaturated fats

(depending on lifestyle)

Breakfast

Muesli, serves 6 to 8

unsaturated fats: 1 tsp/serving

saturated fats: 1/2 tsp/serving

dairy: 1/2 serving

3 cups / 101/2 oz / 300 g rolled oats

1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g chopped almonds

1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30 g golden raisins, plus more

to serve

1/4 cup / .5 oz / 15 g raw wheat or oat germ

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

3 to 4 cups non-fat plain yogurt

water

maple syrup, to taste

In a large bow, toss together the oats,

almonds, raisins, wheat germ and salt.

Transfer to a airtight glass jar until you are

ready to use it.

For each serving, spoon 1/2 / 4 oz / 115g

cup yogurt into a bowl, thin with 1/4 cup / 60 ml

water, and sweeten with a smidgen of maple

syrup. Stir in 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g muesli and let

in in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or

preferable overnight. Top with a small handful

of raisins and serve.

Oatmeal, serves 4

dairy: 1/16 serving

unsaturated: 1/2 tsp/serving

saturated: less than 1/4 tsp/ serving

3 cups / 700 ml water

11/2 cups / 5 oz / 140 g rolled oats

1/2 tsp fine-grain seal salt

1/4 cup / 2 oz / 60 g plain non-fat yogurt

8 prunes

2 Tb maple syrup, or to taste

20 hazelnuts

Note: When I need to bake or roast a small amount of

ingredients, I use my toaster oven. If your toaster oven

has a “Bake” setting, and a appropriately sized baking

tray, use it to toast nuts, make small batches of cookies,

and roast vegetables. Preheat it like you would your

regular oven.

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Bring

water to boil in a small saucepan. Stir in oats

and salt. Turn down heat and simmer until

oatmeal has thickened and the oats are

tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, put hazelnuts on rimmed

baking sheet, and toast until they start to

darken and get fragrant. This usually takes

just a few minutes. The nuts near the edges of

the pan will brown faster, so give the pan a stir

or two during roasting. Remove from oven, let

cool, and chop.

Chop prunes, and fold most of them,

with the yogurt into the oatmeal. Taste for

sweetness, and add maple syrup if desired.

Divide oatmeal into four bowls and top

with remaining prunes and hazelnuts.

Fruit Salad, serves 4 to 6

dairy: none

fats: none

1 Tb mint

2 small apples, or pears

6 small fresh figs, quartered

1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g raspberries, cut in half

1 large nectarine

2 cups / 10 oz / 280 g seedless grapes

big squeeze of fresh orange juice

drizzle of honey.

Chop mint. Core apples or pears, cut

into 1” cubes. Keep them covered in lemon

water until ready to use. Quarter figs, halve

raspberries, pit and cube nectarine. Drain

apples well, just before combining fruit. Add

orange juice, mint, and honey. Toss very

gently, avoid bruising the fruit. Serve

immediately.

Lunch

White Beans and Cabbage, serves 4

dairy: less than 1/4 serving

unsaturated fats: 1 tsp/serving

saturated fats: 1/4 tsp/serving

2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil

4 oz / 115 g potatoes, unpeeled

fine-grain sea salt

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g cooked and cooled

white beans, or 1(15 oz) can white beans

3 cups / 8 oz / 225 g very finely shredded

green cabbage

a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Scrub and cut potatoes into tiny cubes.

Add olive oil, potatoes, and a large pinch of

salt to a skillet over medium-high heat. Toss,

cover, and cook until potatoes are cooked

through, 5 to 8 minutes. Toss the potatoes

twice while cooking, scraping the pan as you

go.

Slice the shallot thinly, and rinse and

drain the beans well. Stir both into the

potatoes, letting everything brown in a single

layer for a couple minutes. Scrape the pan,

and toss everything together. Cook until the

beans are nicely browned, and crispy on all

sides.

Stir in the cabbage and cook for another

minute, or until the cabbage loses a bit of its

structure. Serve dusted with Parmesan.

Miso-Curry Delicata Squash, serves 4

dairy: none

unsaturated fats: 3 tsp/serving, 4 with chicken

saturated fats: 1/2 tsp/serving, 11/2 with chicken

12 oz / 340 g delicata squash

1/4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tb white miso paste

1 Tb red Thai curry paste

4 medium new potatoes, unpeeled

2 Tb fresh lemon juice

11/2 cups / 11/2 oz / 45 g chopped kale, stems

removed

1/4 cup/ 11/2 oz / 45 g toasted sunflower seeds

3/4 cup / 1 oz / 30 g chopped fresh cilantro

Note: This recipe goes very well with roast chicken. Use

about a pound of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts.

Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of

sugar in 2 cups cold water. Soak chicken in brine for at

least half in hour, preferably for a full hour. I put the

everything in a gallon ziplock in the fridge overnight.

Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before

beginning. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in cast iron skillet,

until shimmering. Remove chicken from brine, and

sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place breasts, smooth

side down, in hot cast iron for five minutes, or until

browning. Remove from heat, flip chicken, and transfer

skillet to oven to roast with vegetables for 20-25

minutes, or until chicken has an internal temperature of

165°F/74°C. Let cool slightly, slice, and toss with

roasted vegetables and toppings.

Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and

remove seeds with a metal spoon. Cut into 1/2”/

1cm thick semi-circles. Scrub potatoes and cut

into chunks.

Whisk together olive oil, miso, and curry

paste. Combine potatoes and squash in a

large bowl with 1/4 cup / 60 ml of the miso-curry

paste. Toss well, and spread into a single layer

on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, on middle

rack, until everything is tender and browned.

Toss twice, once browning has started. Watch

carefully starting at 20 minutes, you want

everything browned, but not burned.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice into

remaining miso-curry paste, and stir in the kale

until coated. Toss the roasted vegetables

gently with the kale, seeds, and cilantro. Serve

in a large bowl or platter.

More-Than-Potato Salad, serves 4 to 6

dairy: none

unsaturated fat: 1 tsp/serving

saturated fat: less than 1/4 tsp/serving

4 small waxy potatoes, unpeeled

a big handful of green beans

2 Tb whole grain mustard

2 Tb red wine vinegar

1 Tb and 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp honey

fine-grain sea salt

1/4 cup / 1/4 oz / 10 g finely chopped dill

1 small leek, white and tender green parts

6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced

1 cucumber, unpeeled

1 Tb fresh chives

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt

generously. Scrub and quarter potatoes, and

add to water. Cook until tender, about 10

minutes.

Trim and slice green beens into 1”

pieces, and add to pot 30 seconds before the

potatoes are

done cooking. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk together mustard,

vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, honey, and 1/4

tsp salt. Set aside.

Trim and chop leek, and rinse well in

cold water. Drain and set aside. In a large

skillet, saute the dill in a teaspoon of olive oil

over medium-high heat. Add a few pinches of

salt, stir in the leek, and saute until golden, 4

to 5 minutes.

Trim and dice celery. Slice cucumber in

half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and dice into

tiny cubes. Chop chives.

In a large bowl, gently toss the

potatoes, green beans, celery, cucumber,

chives and half of the leek with most of the

dressing. Taste, add salt if needed. Turn into

serving platter, and drizzle with remaining

dressing and leeks. Serve chilled or at room

temperature.

Finding a Balance on a Roller Coaster Ride

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by Paula-Noel Macfie, PhD

When I was diagnosed in 2001, I was a single woman and had just graduated with a PhD, having spent the previous six years traveling the world with tribal elders and surrounding myself with an academically alternative community. I was 31 years old at the time, and just beginning my brief teaching stint at Portland State University.

Currently, I am 43 years old, a single mother of two young children and have recently become a first-time homeowner. I have lived with the MS diagnosis for 12 years now. I have a completely different life than when I started this unpredictable journey with MS. I have a huge amount of responsibility (compared to my early thirties) and two children who depend fully on my care. Now that I look back, even with the mounted stress and my fair share of physical symptoms, I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. Now I am thinking to myself, how is this possible? Deep inside I know the answer.

In this moment when I reflect on living a Swank lifestyle, I look at my life and realize that my mind has “come to rest” with the middle road. For 12 years, I have incorporated Dr. Swanks’ protocols of proper diet, adequate rest and daily exercise. Every single day looks different based on how I feel, my moods, fatigue and the most influential part of my day – my children’s needs.

In this moment when I reflect on living a Swank lifestyle, I look at my life and realize that my mind has “come to rest” with the middle road. For 12 years, I have incorporated Dr. Swanks’ protocols of proper diet, adequate rest and daily exercise. Every single day looks different based on how I feel, my moods, fatigue and the most influential part of my day – my children’s needs.

I have entered a time in life where my daily practice is to not plan beyond the day. This excludes making appointments and going on trips. On a daily basis I tell my children (which is telling myself) to be in the present moment…try not to jump ahead to an hour from now or several hours from now. I constantly tell my eldest daughter to “be in the moment”. This helps me immensely to check in with everyone’s needs.

As a parent, I am baffled at the mystery of children. There have been countless instances when they are misbehaving, having a tantrum or really unhappy. Many times I have missed the basic cues of the need for food, rest and exercise. It turns out, after having a second child and recognizing the signs, that nine times out of ten – when one of them is unhappy, they need to eat, they need to rest or they need a walk to the park. If these basics are not fulfilled on a daily basis, after a day or two – they start to act up, get more frustrated (or annoying to me) and have more frequent meltdowns. When I get the routine re-established after a few days – we are all back into a good rhythm. If I deviate from it in the slightest, the stress and negative moods return. It’s our rollercoaster. I feel it’s my responsibility to navigate so there are fewer ups and downs – and more balance, more neutral. This happens when we eat well, take naps and exercise as a family.

I have learned to approach multiple sclerosis the same way. It’s a rollercoaster ride that has moment-to-moment ups and downs. My body has tantrums, feels moody and is really uncomfortable and unhappy some of the time. I notice it the most when my mind wakes up from sleep and I become aware of my body first thing in the morning. My body aches and hurts the most when I wake up. Throughout the day, I have different experiences and not one is predictable. I don’t know when my right hand will give out. I am never prepared for the electrical currents that run up and down my arms and legs…and the fatigue. The fatigue is the worst. Waking up in the morning with what feels like heavy amour and having two young children demanding me to get up and feed them is the most difficult part of all. There are days I want to lay in bed and not get up, yet unless I am ridiculously ill, I have to override my body’s discomfort and take care of my children. Some days are easier than others.

I have posted on my fridge: diet, rest and exercise, along with a picture of Dr. Swank. I have to incorporate these three things in my day or I pay for it…..the rollercoaster goes up really high and comes down super fast if I don’t. It’s a fine balance and each day is as unpredictable as the next. What gives me the confidence to continue treating multiple sclerosis with Dr. Swank’s protocols is knowing that I am living a lifestyle of beneficial choices that not only effect my life but also the life of my children and those around me. I remember clearly Dr. Swank telling me, “You can have a long and fulfilling life if you follow these protocols.”

Twelve years into my experience of multiple sclerosis, his words ring true. It is a lifestyle change that will allows my body to heal and regenerate. I am thankful for the wise words of Dr. Swank who treated hundreds of patients - who lived and continue to live a life worth living, even with the challenges of multiple sclerosis. With a life that is steeped in cultivating a healthy mindset and being in the present moment as much as possible, I see that many of the challenges of MS are only obstacles showing me where to make lifestyle changes. When I make the changes (sometimes slowly over time), I experience an inner peace and find another level of acceptance of living with multiple sclerosis. I am learning to be at peace with my body and with myself; knowing and trusting that I am following the wise words of Dr. Swank, which have reminded me a full and enriching life is all around me every moment.

My deepest aloha, Paula Noël Macfie

I am a proud mama of two daughters and a philosopher who loves research. I spent several years with indigenous elders and healers developing a psychological process for western mind decolonization called “Remembering Our Ancestors”. My passions are dark leafy greens, backyard habitat, gardening and nutritional healing for multiple sclerosis. I “live the research” of Dr. Roy Swank and fully support everyone doing it too. I can be reached at: info@swankmsdiet.org



What Are You Hungry For?

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

I’m ravenous, and craving strange things, specifically peanut M&Ms. I don’t think I’ve eaten an M&M since I was 16, but I can’t stop thinking about them. I want salty AND sweet AND crunchy, all at the same time, and my usual fix of dried apricots and almonds isn’t cutting it.

Today I ate early breakfast, late breakfast, a huge lunch, a snack, a yummy dinner, and a cup of tea, and now it’s 10:00pm and I want peanut M&Ms. I consider walking to the 24-hour grocery store, but thankfully, it starts raining, and I’m forced to sit down and THINK about this instead of eating myself into a stupor.

You have to imagine me sitting on the floor, facing myself. Less-Conscious Me has her arms crossed-and is sulking. This is what the conversation sounds like:

Conscious Me: So, Lil. Why are you so hungry? Where do these cravings come from?

Less-Conscious Me: I’M STARVED.

C: You’ve had so much food today, though. What are you hungry for?

L: I want something delicious. I want to be blown away by how delicious my life is.

C: Everything you’ve eaten today was so delicious! What more can you want?

L: It’s more than eating! I want my whole life to be delicious.

C: So the cravings for sweet, crunchy, spicy, salty….they aren’t for food.

L: Right! I want my life to be sweet! And crunchy! And spicy! And salty!

C: Okay…okay. So what does that look like? How can you make your life more sweet and crunchy?

L: I WANT NOAH TO COME HOME NOW!!!

C: Aha!! So that’s it. You are hungry for Noah.

L: Yeah! I want to have kisses and hand-holding, I want to have adventures, I want someone to cook for, to ask me the hard questions, and listen to my wild dreams!!!

C: So these cravings aren’t for food, they are for qualities of life?

L: Sigh…yes.

A little context: Noah is my traveling musician law-student boyfriend. His band is on tour for two weeks, and then law school starts up again, and I have an ugly feeling that our summer full of bike rides and picnic lunches might be over. This insatiable hunger isn’t for food, and I don’t have a nutrient deficiency, I just need a hug. Several hugs, actually, about about two weeks worth of hugs condensed into forty five minutes would be good.

This is great news! I’ve figured out the root cause of my cravings. Except, Noah is still out of town for another week. How do I deal with theses cravings in the meantime?

Call your brother and ask if you can make him dinner tomorrow night. He will say, call your yoga partner, make plans to go to class tomorrow morning. Hug her when you see her!

Call your neighbor with three kids under 8, and ask if she needs a babysitter. Wrestle with the six year-old, let the baby fall asleep in your arms, and sit with the oldest while he reads. Hold their hands. Make them yummy healthy snacks.

Plan bike rides and picnics with your friends, watch old western movies, work in your garden, get up early and go running up the canyon, see a baby deer and get stung by a bee.

That’s a crunchy, spicy, sweet life!

The night Noah is coming home, notice how many things you didn’t get a chance to do while he was gone. Notice that law school is not the end of the world, it’s just a change in lifestyle. Be willing to continue the conversation with yourself, and listen to your own needs. Even when your life is full of love, there will still be cravings that confuse you. Be courageous, dig into them, discover what you are hungry for.

The Power of Positive Thought

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

There will be always moments when the world goes in a different direction than I thought it would. I catch myself saying “That’s not the way it is supposed to be!” Someone has thrown a wrench in my master plan! Suddenly, I have no idea what life will be like tomorrow, and the unknown is terrifying. 

This is where hope comes in. Hope means responding to these moments with love instead of fear. Feel the fear, but do not identify with it. Figure out what it is, give it a name and recognize it, and then replace it with love. A powerful time to practice this exercise is when you feel a symptom flaring up, or an attack coming on. Sit quietly, notice your symptoms, separate from the fear, and name it. Respond out of love to your body, breathe and be gentle with yourself. Let go of resentment. Forgive yourself and your body.

Our thoughts and words have immense power over our lives. If we attack ourselves emotionally, our cells simply follow orders. Every time we think to ourselves, “You are so crummy, you aren’t strong/good/beautiful enough,” our body hears us and acts accordingly. The truth is that you are good enough, and you are worthy. We are all perfect exactly as we are. Once we understand that, on a deep and cellular level, the attacks can stop. It takes practice to both improve your diet and your thoughts about yourself. Â Be patient and loving with yourself as you go through the process of healing.

Try this powerful writing exercise around fear. Write down “If I weren’t afraid, I would…” and then fill in the blank with everything you can think of. I would sing on the street, I would wear lipstick everyday, I would express my love, I would ride my bike from here to San Francisco… Keep going, and get ridiculous. You are totally safe here on this piece of paper, so be big and wild with your dreams. 

Keep your list taped inside your calendar or on the wall of your office, to remind you of what is possible when you act out of love instead of fear. Talk a lot about what your whole healthy body will feel like. Take time everyday to visualize what it will be like to be healthy and whole. Be positive, and enjoy the joy and love that you will experience when you are healthy. 

The process of naming is important when talking about your disease. Practice saying “I am living with this disease, but I am not it. I acknowledge it, but do not identify with it.” Your disease is a guest in your body, just like your spirit. The guest and the host treat each other with respect. We have come to think that if we change our outsides, our insides will feel better. In fact, it is a mutually beneficial relationship; take care of yourself inside and out, and both your body and your spirit will take care of you. 

Your spirit knows your life’s purpose. Listen to who you really are. Recognize the gifts and values that you posses. See your authentic self and embrace a path to healing. Find what you love, what makes you curious, what gets you excited, and go do it. That is what makes you the beautiful human that you are. 

Please share how this work is going for you on the Swank Foundation Message Board, and As always, please email me at info@swankmsdiet.org for additional support. 

Stress: Stop Fighting

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

What poison we allow into our bodies every day?  The answer is simple: stress. In our society stress seems like part of our lives, there is no way to avoid it. There are many different kinds of stress, some of which are avoidable. Some stress we recognize, like anxiety about finances, perfectionism around our work, or relationship troubles. Stressors like food allergies, loneliness, or chronic caffeine intake can go unrecognized, and cause more trouble over time. Let’s minimize the effect these have on your life.

Having a disease that is described as “incurable” can be a huge stress in and of itself. Instead of fighting it, develop a symbiotic relationship with your body. Take good care of your body and ask it to take good care of you. Before you go to sleep, ask your body to heal, and thank it for everything it has done that day.

Let’s talk about three ways to minimize your reaction to stress. Our first line of defense is quality sleep. Do you wake up feeling rested? Eight hours of sleep is highly recommended, but many people have trouble falling or staying asleep. To reset your sleep schedule, go to sleep in the evening when you feel tired, and wake up at the same time every morning. Whether it is 6 PM or 2 AM, this trick will help your body realign to it’s natural schedule. After a few days you will start getting sleepy around the same time every night. Getting fifteen to twenty minutes of midday sun will help you sleep better, as will daily exercise. 

Exercise is also a great way to keep stress from ruining you day. Explore yoga classes and walking, or whatever your body is asking for. I recommend a book called Yoga for Wellness by Gary Kraftsow, pages 281-285 are especially for MS. Strike a balance between effort and ease. After appropriate exercise, you should feel tired but good. 

The final pieces are breathing and meditation. In yoga, breathing practices are called pranayama, which is loosely translated as “the extension of the life force.” Practice extending your life force daily with this exercise.

Draw in a big breath, and then exhale, drawing your belly back towards your spine. Push all the air out, all the way up to your throat. Take a big deep breath; all the way up your lungs, take little sips of breath until you are full. Exhale, all the way out, until your lungs feel flat and you are totally empty. Practice this two or three times, and then return to normal breathing and notice what changes in your body. 

Pranayama can be done on it’s own, any time when you are sitting still. If you choose, follow the breathing exercise with ten minutes of meditation, by sitting still and emptying the mind. I find this most useful if done first thing in the morning and before bed, but experiment with what works for you. I also recommend researching EFT for MS symptoms. There are lots of videos on YouTube to walk you through it. 

Which of these habits sound attractive to you? There are many ways to heal, so choose the practices that you are drawn to and start incorporating them into your life today. Which suggestions sound more difficult? Connect on the message board, and get support to make the small steps that will transform your life. Get in touch with Maura Youle at jmyoule@msn.com for support around physical activity and it’s effects on MS.

Support, Self-Care, and Supplements

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

Food alone is not enough to make us healthy. To have a healthy body, we have to work on healing our heart and mind. Having a support system and understanding how to support yourself are two huge step towards overall wellbeing. 

There are all kinds of people in this world. Find the ones who fit with who you are, and who you want to be. Bless and let go of those who do not fit with the life you want to live. Nourish the healthy relationships in your life, and make time for the people who lift you up. Practice asking for help from your support system, even if it’s only with the small things. Ask your doctors and healers questions, and make sure you are clear on the answers. I am giving you permission to ask more questions, until you understand. Commit to learning about how youheal. 

It’s important to feel support even when we are physically alone. This is where self-care and spirituality comes in to play. Ask yourself what you need, and then ask the Universe for help and guidance. Spend a few minutes everyday being still and listening carefully to yourself and the world around you. Help often shows up in disguise.

Just like you, every diet can use a little outside support. The fastest way to make the biggest difference in your diet it to take cod liver oil every day. If you experience fish burps, try taking your it with food. A list of high quality fish oils can be found at www.ifosprogram.com/consumer-reports

Vitamin D is also very important, especially to those living with Multiple Sclerosis. I highly recommend having a blood test done for vitamin deficiencies. If you are not deficient, then  2000 IU of Vitamin D every day is a good maintenance amount. If you are, take 10,000 IU every day until your levels regulate. Calcium is also important, and can be found in most dark leafy greens, as well as sesame seeds. Try sprinkling sesame seeds on your salad after you dress it.

Water is another piece that I cannot recommend strongly enough. When clients come to me for their initial intake, I ask them what kind of liquids they drink over the course of the day. Coffee, juice, diet soda, alcohol and milk are the most popular. The first couple are diuretics (they make you pee more) and you know how I feel about sitting down to a glass of milk. Eight glasses of water every day may seem like a lot, but it is what we are aiming for. Start off with five: when you wake up, before breakfast, lunch, and  dinner, and in the evening. Work your way up to eight a day. Staying hydrated can relieve all kinds of symptoms, from headaches and fatigue to constipation. 

Use these tips to support yourself and your diet while you reach your optimum health. Which of my suggestions can you implement today? Which ones are you committed to introducing by this time next week? Share your goals with your support network and ask them for exactly what you need. Connect on the Swank Foundation message board; share with us what is working, and what you are having trouble with. As always, please email me at info@swankmsdiet.org for additional support. 

Food and MS

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

This journey towards health is like putting together puzzle pieces, and discovering what works with your unique body chemistry. This week, we are going to talk about what doesn’t work, and replacing with what does. I encourage you to try something called the elimination diet and find out what makes you feel amazing. While eliminating certain foods, especially dairy and gluten, may seem like taking the fun out of life, explore these diets and find delicious alternatives that you love.

An elimination diet involves completely eliminating dairy, gluten, and refined sugar for at least ten days and noticing and recording which symptoms change. Since food allergies can play a role in the development and exacerbation of MS, we eliminate those foods that might be causing additional symptoms. After ten days, slowly introduce gluten back into your diet. Have toast with breakfast and see how you feel the rest of the day and into the next. As long as none of your symptoms worsen, continue slowly adding wheat products back into the diet while avoiding dairy and refined sugar. After another ten days, if none of your symptoms have been aggravated, you can continue to eat gluten as part of your daily diet. 

Most nutritionists would recommend continuing to food-test by reintroducing dairy at this point. I am a little biased, because I don’t process dairy very well myself. Even if you are not lactose intolerant, there are very few humans who benefit from eating dairy, especially the ultra-pasteurized variety we eat in the United States. If you are very attached to your milk and cheese, continue the elimination diet by slowly reintroducing low fat dairy products. If none of your symptoms are aggravated, then you have my blessing: continue eating dairy. The Swank MS Foundation recommends no more than two cups of 1% dairy per day. But, please be honest with yourself and if it turns out that dairy is not for you, there are lots of delicious alternatives. More on that later…

I recommend that you continue to avoid refined sugars.Even outside of MS, sugar aggravates almost every symptom that human beings experience.  Replacing it can be seen as a tiresome task or an exciting exploration of sweet. When I stopped eating sugar, I was blown away by how many delicious fruits I had been ignoring when I was eating candy and pastries.  Humans have evolved to crave sweets because up until two thousand years ago, the only sweets around was fruit, which are packed with vital minerals and vitamins. Keeping berries and citrus around make kicking your sugar habit a delicious task. Try keeping a bag of frozen organic berries in your freezer, and a bowl of oranges on the kitchen table. When the sugar craving hit, go for the good stuff.

Write down what steps in this article spoke to you, and schedule them into your calendar. Share what has been easy for you, and what is more frustrating, on the Swank Foundation’s Message Board. Remember to get support while you make these changes. Congratulate yourself on every accomplishment. If you need more information, or just someone to hold you accountable, please email me at info@swankmsdiet.org.

Make Permanent Improvements Through Small Changes

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by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

Are you ready to transform your life? Ready to discover the diet and lifestyle that will help you lead a life full of joy and ease? You can make a world of difference, you can build and sustain a life of health, peace, and ease. While this may seem like a huge undertaking, let’s break it down into manageable steps. With every article that you read, take a note of which suggestions you can implement in your life right away. Choose one or two things that you will start doing today, right now, and one or two things that you will implement by next week. Scheduling these steps into your calendar and writing down everything you need to take action will help make these small goals reality. Then, check back in a week. What steps were easy for you to implement? What steps didn’t make it into your daily routine? What would it take to have these happen? Where can you get support? Please connect on the Swank Foundation Message Board and/or email me at info@swankmsdiet.org for more support.

Experiment with viewing the changes you make in your diet as treats for yourself, instead of something you have to do. Communicate with your body, tell it all of the things you are doing to help it heal, encourage it to get on board. Remember to be soft with yourself while you are making these changes. Just like you would with a child learning to walk, congratulate yourself on your achievements, no matter how small. When you fall down or mess up, take a deep breath, acknowledge yourself for the effort you are making, and keep trying. Again, ask yourself what you need to make this change and then go find it.

My father has a favorite saying, “How do you eat a truckload of watermelons? One bite at a time.” Transforming your health may seem as daunting as a living room full of watermelons. There’s no way to get around it, you have some work to do! The only alternative to living with all these watermelons is to deal with them, one bite at a time. Each of the changes that I will encourage you to make are just small bites. If you get overwhelmed, take a step back and ask for help.

The first thing we are going to explore is fat. The Swank Diet focuses on limiting saturated fats to three teaspoons per day.  The easiest way to do this, and to find a good balance of quality fats, is to switch to cooking with olive oil. Just this small change can dramatically transform the quality of the food you are eating. Notice what foods you cook in oil or butter, and consider reducing the amount of fat you use. Try steaming vegetables until they are just underdone, and then saute for the last few minutes in half a teaspoon of olive oil.

Another small addition that can transform your health is high quality cod liver oil. The Swank Foundation recommends a teaspoon every day. These days, cod liver oil comes in manageable capsules that usually don’t have an unpleasant aftertaste. If you do experience fish burps, try taking your cod liver oil with a meal, rather than before or after you eat. A list of high quality fish oils can be found at www.ifosprogram.com/consumer-reports.

These two small changes are the first step towards managing your symptoms, and living a life of health and ease. Pick a step that you can commit to this week, and schedule it into your calendar.

Living a Swank Lifestyle

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by Paula-Noel Macfie, PhD

In my life, especially before and during graduate school, there were many times I had personal experiences with humans who are extremely influential: philanthropists, philosophers, public speakers, elders and scientists. The most meaningful and most profound meeting of such a person in my life was when I met Dr. Roy L. Swank.

During the summer of 2001, I had just finished graduate school and found myself in the hospital getting an MRI, due to a collision. Three months later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After several pin pricks and neurological testing, a neurologist pulled my parents and me into his office and told me he was going to talk to us about “therapies” for MS. I was not really clear on what MS was or what the therapies would be, yet I knew with my seven years of graduate school and my education from indigenous elders and healers, that I would be able to handle what was given to me.

Shortly after my diagnosis, when I was sitting in the circle of newly diagnosed MS sufferers, it began to sink in what this disease looked like. Not one person had the same set of complaints and there were varying degrees of obvious disability with canes and wheelchairs, to people like myself who looked “normal”. When it was time for questions, I asked the same questions to the group that I did my very first neurologist: what about lifestyle? diet? exercise? a cure?

One person mentioned yoga and a man named Eric Small who had adapted yoga for MS and had written a good book about it. Another woman said something about a doctor named Dr. Swank and his diet was the only diet they knew of for treating the disease. After the workshop, I began to realize that the information I was seeking would be found within the people who had MS. Medical doctors began to seem more and more ridiculous to me. People who have the disease have the capability to navigate how to heal it. A woman came up to me as we started to leave the workshop. She told me, “If you are going to approach MS with nutrition and lifestyle, you must meet Dr. Swank. Here is his phone number.” A couple of people overheard out conversation and said that they followed Dr. Swanks’ diet. Then the rest of the group joined in and we had a conversation about their experiences on his diet. I knew I needed to meet him.

I called his wife Leanna the next day and set up a time to meet Dr. Swank. I ended up spending the next two years of my life meeting with Dr. Roy Swank. I met with him as a fellow researcher, a patient, and a wise elder on the subject of blood circulation, vascular conditions, neurology and multiple sclerosis. He understood multiple sclerosis and other diseases such a heart disease, diabetes and stroke – as nutritional disease. To this day, 12 years later, I attribute my quality of life and my well-being to the research and selfless wisdom of Dr. Roy L. Swank.

I am honored to be a part of the Swank Foundation as an Advisory Board Member, and a writer for the Swank Foundation website. It is my continued self-discipline and respect for the legacy of the research Dr. Swank and his memory that inspires me to write about ‘Living a Swank Lifestyle’. For twelve years, I have managed multiple sclerosis primarily with Dr. Swanks’ MS Diet Book. It is my intention that writing about my life, incorporating Dr. Swanks’ lifestyle recommendations, sharing recipes and contributing to nutritional healing, I will inspire others to find a balance in their life with diet, rest and exercise. This is also for those who have friends of family with multiple sclerosis. It is my hope that they will be inspired to encourage a lifestyle of well-being for those touched or devastated by the disease. This disease includes everyone. The cause and the cure for multiple sclerosis lie in the hands of each person who has it and the support of each sufferer. It’s a choice to treat MS solely with lifestyle changes and/or prescription drugs. With multiple sclerosis, there is every possibility of how people with MS treat their disease. I hope that by sharing my choice for a Swank lifestyle, that other may be inspired to live a life of wellbeing.

I am a single mother of two young children, ages two and six. I am a homeowner, a householder, a gardener and a cook. I have a daily life that is challenging, lesson-learning and a blessing all in one. I live with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and other health challenges. I am thankful beyond words for the human beings in my life, like Dr. Roy Swank, who have listened to me in such a deep way, that it catalyzed finding a profound acceptance of living with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Swanks’ research, writing and support of his patients is a gift to a disease that affects millions of people daily. It is my hope that sharing my version of a Swank lifestyle, I will be encouraged to stay focused on a path that brings me balance.

Living a Swank Lifestyle is my way of opening my life, from the day-to-day routine of parenting and self-care to the philosophically profound. To write about Dr. Swank and a lifestyle he insisted upon, is a purpose in my life that is meant to inspire others with multiple sclerosis that changes to a create a lifelong lifestyle does heal the body. There are many times I feel isolated in my daily life, yet writing my experiences of a Swank lifestyle, heals my mind because I know that there are others reading this and saying, “Yes, I choose to incorporate a lifestyle of proper nutrition, rest and exercise.” Thank you for finding this website and thank you for reading. Aloha, Paula Noel Macfie, PhD

I am a proud mama of two daughters and a philosopher who loves research. I spent several years with indigenous elders and healers developing a psychological process for western mind decolonization called “Remembering Our Ancestors”. My passions are dark leafy greens, backyard habitat, gardening and nutritional healing for multiple sclerosis. I “live the research” of Dr. Roy Swank and fully support everyone doing it too. I can be reached at: info@swankmsdiet.org



George Jelinek MS Study News

This news just in from George Jelinek. We invite you to check it out and participate if you like. We are pretty excited about it!

"We are recruiting for a large international study into the association between lifestyle factors and MS. It only requires simple completion of an online survey and we do the rest. We hoped you could post something about it on the Swank site, especially as it  has the potential to provide strong evidence about the role of the Swank diet in MS activity and progression."

Click here to view the study.