Multiple Sclerosis and Red Meat

“He is a heavy eater of beef. Methinks it doth harm to his wit.”

-Shakespeare in “Twelfth Night”

We often hear the phrase “all things in moderation”. Meat, especially red meat, is an exception to this rule. Even what most would consider a “moderate” amount of red meat can produce intolerable autoimmune symptoms.

The Swank Diet calls for giving up red meat for one year. Then, after the first year, allowing yourself four ounces of red meat per week. This diet has made a significant improvement in the lives of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Dr. Swank studied more than 150 of his patients with MS for a thirty-four year period of time. Those who followed the diet died at the rate of 5%, while patients not following his diet had a death rate of about 85% during the same time period.

However, reducing meat intake isn’t just about living longer, it is about living well! This recommendation is for everyone, not just those whose collection of autoimmune symptoms are called MS. Eating red meat increases inflammation period. The way that meat is prepared also makes a difference. Charbroiled and grilled meats of any kind are much worse for you and should be completely avoided.

My family eats meat once per week, but we never eat beef. We often eat a vegetable dish, which most people would consider a “side dish,” for our main dish. Almonds are our favorite protein source (meat substitute) and we like to eat a handful as a side dish.

Fish is the exception to the meat rule. Fish does not cause inflammation. It actually reduces it. The problem is that much of our fish is contaminated with toxic mercury. Unless you are sure that your fish source is mercury free, you should limit your fish intake to one serving per week and use fish oil supplements instead. Some people will even be sensitive to one contaminated serving of fish. Check your local health food stores for fish farmed in “mercury-free” tested water.

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