For those of you on Swank, I can imagine your shock while reading this.  I have been on the Swank Diet for 6.5 years, and can honestly say that I have cheated less times than I can count on one hand.  I have been dedicated! Even the thought of being off of it is weird to me.  Being a "Swanker" has been part of my identity for a while now.  

Although I have no idea how my body would have felt the last 6.5 years if I wasn't on Swank, the record has shown that this diet has not prevented my flare ups.  I have had consistent flare ups every six months to a year for the last 7 years.  I had to leave my career as a teacher and have barely been able to hold a part time job.  In my opinion, that's proof alone that this diet isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing.  

I have had more than one doctor tell me that the results of the 35+ year study on the diet are inconsistent and prove that the diet is not a reliable treatment for MS. I recently had my new doctor tell me this again, and I finally decided that the enormous effort I put in to keep up with this strict diet is simply not worth it.  I already have enough to deal with on a daily basis, why limit myself if it's unnecessary? 

That being said, being healthy IS extremely important for everyone and especially for people with MS. Many elements of the Swank diet are rules that everyone should follow.  For example, I still will not eat any hydrogenated oils, MSG, mono and diglycerides, trans fats, or anything from a fast food restaurant at any time. That stuff is poison, people!  I will still eat organic foods as much as possible, and avoid eating anything that is processed, deep fried, or has a lot of saturated fat.  My diet will still mainly consist of white meat poultry and fish/shellfish.  Most of my future recipes will still be "Swank Friendly" and I plan on making a new tag in my blog for those recipes.  Overall, my blog will still be a low fat and healthy blog. 

So, what is going to change? Here's the list for those of you that are really interested: 
  • I'm not going to eat fat free cheese again. From now on I'll eat part skim or 2% cheese
  • I'm going to introduce some parmesan into my diet (oh the recipe possibilities!)  
  • I'm going to eat Neufchatel cream cheese, which has 1/3 the fat of regular cream cheese
  • Red meat won't be a staple in our household, but it will probably make an appearance every couple of months.    
  • Butter will be used for some baking.  I absolutely love to bake and I am so restricted because of butter.  I plan on baking with it for special occasions and holidays.    
  • Cream/Half & Half/Butter will be introduced to some recipes in small quantities.  Sometimes you just need to thicken a sauce or soup and it's just impossible to do with skim or 1% milk. 
  • I'll eat low fat turkey bacon, not fat free.    
  • Eating out won't be so strict.  If I am at a party I won't necessarily have to bring my own food or have people cook separate meals for me.  I'll avoid the most unhealthiest options of course, but I won't be so limited. 
Well, that's all I can think of for now.  Those of you that are Swankers and follow my blog will definitely be able to cook future recipes.  You may have to make some simple substitutions in some recipes, and I'll point those out for you.  

So far, I am happy with my decision and excited about it.  We'll see how I do and how I feel in the next few months with my new doctor's plan. 

Oh and I almost forgot....

I had pizza last night for the first time in almost 7 years.  It was absolutely amazing and everything I dreamed it would be.  And I didn't get sick afterwards either. :)
9/6/2010 07:13:40 am

Hi Michi, After reading todays entry I am so completely torn. I have been a "Swanker" since 6/1/10, and I honestly stated to feel the benefits within 2 weeks. I am slightly broken hearted that you will not b e doing SWANK and tamd said that you have not enjoyed the benefits from all of your hard work. However, i do understand your decision, and wish you much luck and health!

9/6/2010 08:53:50 am

Hi Jamie!

I really hope my blog entry does not discourage you from sticking to the diet. I know that it does work with some people and I do feel it's worth a good try. I just feel that my track record hasn't been the greatest while on the diet. I do remember feeling better after starting on it as well, which is why I am not going to make any drastic changes.

I still plan on keeping the diet 98% of the time. The changes I am making are mainly going to affect special occasions/parties and holidays. Even then, I'm not going to go back and add fattening ingredients to recipes I already love.

Good luck and I hope it works well for you!


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12/10/2010 05:22:26 am

I have been following your blog since I first experienced MS-like symptoms in March 2009. I have been loosely following the Swank Diet since May 2009, and fortunately I seem to be doing well without having to actually count grams of fat (my 9 month pregnancy probably also helped). I am really sorry to hear that the Swank Diet hasn't prevented your flare ups. I can't imagine being as committed as you were and not experiencing all of the benefits of the diet.

I've never posted on a blog before, but I feel compelled to now for some reason. I am curious, do you know what your blood type is? I ask because when I was first researching the Swank Diet, and the effects of diet on MS, I came across this story on the internet, in which a woman with MS says that the "Blood Type Diet" helped with her MS symptoms:

The thing I found really interesting was that because the woman's blood type is O, she was encouraged to eat some things that are "no nos" on the Swank diet (e.g., beef), and to not eat some things that are Swank-friendly (e.g., wheat). This seemed like it might be consistent with what I'd read in the MS Recovery Diet book (by Sawyer & Bachrach), which suggests that each person with MS has unique food triggers (including wheat). My own blood type is Type A, and conveniently the Type A diet is consistent with the Swank Diet (it is "difficult for Type As to digest and metabolize animal protein and fat"). I always wondered if this is why the Swank Diet seems to be helping me.

This comment is not meant to be an advertisement for the Blood Type Diet, nor am I criticizing your decision to stop strictly following any diet. In fact, I totally understand and support your decision to simply focus on eating healthy and enjoying life. For me, the best part about the Swank Diet is feeling like I have a tiny bit of control over my health. That's why I just wanted to put this information out there in case you ever want to look into some other options.

Best wishes! - KM

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I have a girlfriend who has had MS for 5 years now. We've both just started on the swank diet. We too haven't seen any good results yet but are not discouraged. I have to ask, after reading so many other peoples post on other sites and their great recovery, don't you wonder about why you're not getting better as well? Maybe it isn't the diet itself. We went and tried several different avenues; Atlas adjustment, rehab therapy, bee stings, ccsvi... but honestly, the diet seems the best. We're even going to do the food sensitiviy test to narrow the problems. Maybe there's just one little thing that you've been overlooking the whole time that's really the only thing holding you back from getting better. Afterall, food's just here to keep us going so we can live and do things. Society live's for food too much these days and forgets about the actual physical things we want out of life. Look at China... no MS there! North America, feasting on fat and chemical laced foods. Of course we're not health here! Don't give up!!!

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What are you doing now Michi? I just started the swank diet and have been loving readin your recipes. I also found you on fb but you don't seem to be on anything anymore. Just doing a check up to see how you are doing?

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