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Real men eat vegan . . . plus seafood April 21, 2010

Posted by manonamsion in multiple sclerosis, swank diet, Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,

It wasn’t too long ago that I thought a meal meant meat.  While that didn’t always mean red meat, it frequently did.  Kind of like that old commercial from the beef industry: “Beef, it’s whats for dinner.”  Although I could have added “and lunch too.”  I didn’t think that vegetables and grains were a complete meal. 

That all changed when I learned about the Swank diet, as modified by Dr. Jelinek.  I haven’t had a steak, hamburger, lamb chop or piece of bacon since that day last September.  And to be honest, I don’t miss them at all!  Once you learn to eat a wide variety of vegetables and whole grains, you’ll wonder how you ate that other stuff.  I also gave up all dairy, based on Dr. Jelinek’s recommendations.  He is right that once you’ve had pizza without cheese, you’ll wonder how you ate that glop in the first place.  (For those of you with access to a Pepe’s Pizza in Connecticut or Yonkers, NY, get the clam pie without any cheese – tell them to even hold the sprinkle of romano – you won’t believe how good it is.) 

I still eat some white meat chicken occasionally; generally when there isn’t a reasonable alternative.  But you will be amazed how accommodating your friends and family will be – they may learn that they enjoy eating better, too.  And the health benefits of eating less animal protein are extraordinary – not just for people with MS, but to prevent cancer and heart disease, too.  Take a look at the terrific book, The China Study.  Read the book, and  you’ll be passing it along to friends and family.  (Yes, I suppose I do risk annoying my friends and family . . . )   

My family enjoys eating out frequently, and I often need to eat out on business.  Here are some tips: 

  • If you get to choose the place, sushi is a great choice.

  • Chinese restaurants will happily steam your food (shrimp plus you choice of veges) and serve the sauce on the side. Go with the brown rice, too.

  • At Italian restaurants, I usually get the zuppa de pesce – a great selection of seafood in a red sauce.   Italian restaurants cook primarily with olive oil and can cook for you without butter, just remember to ask.  And watch out for cheese!

  • Salads are a great choice – just watch the cheese and be careful with your choice of dressing.

  • Better restaurants will accommodate you.  Just speak up.  I always start by telling my server that I don’t eat dairy, including butter, or red meat.  They are generally very accommodating.

  • Remember that dining out is about the atmosphere, service and the company, not just the food.
  • Learning to cook differently at home is important, too.  There are great vegan cookbooks out there; I highly recommend those by Dreena Burton.  Try a few recipes on her blog – and see how great vegan food can be.  Her vegan caeser dressing is so amazing that we serve it at parties and people ask for the recipe.  I also bake my own almost fat-free biscotti; I’ll post the recipe sometime (people ask for that all the time, too). 

    Give it a try; you’ve got nothing to lose and your health to gain.  Nothing tastes as good as knowing you will be able to keep on walking feels!
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    1. Renee - October 13, 2011

    Hi! I am 29 and newly diagnosed with probable MS. This is a lovely post – thank you! I read the Overcoming MS website a few weeks ago and literally overnight without any planning stopped eating meat, dairy and saturated fat! I’ve since read Jelinek’s book and it just cemented my resolve. I really love your tips about eating out! It is so easy to eat this way at home and I am loving it. I ventured out to my first restaurant this week but it was “vegan night” and the lady made sure she understood my requirements about oil. Tomorrow will be a regular place … so armed with your suggestions – I hope I’ll do ok! Thank you so much, Renee.

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