The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight, and Get Rid of the Bloat

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9780147516411: The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight, and Get Rid of the Bloat

“Kathie Swift [is] a leader in the functional nutrition and functional medicine revolution.” —Susan S. Blum, MD, MPH, author of The Immune System Recovery Plan

The latest research on the gut microbiome, the bacteria that lives in the gut, confirms what Kathie Madonna Swift has known for years: when we eat in a way that soothes our digestive problems, we address weight issues at the same time. A leading holistic dietitian/nutritionist, Swift noticed that women who want to lose weight generally suffer from a host of annoying digestive issues—and seemingly unrelated ailments such as joint pain and troublesome skin. Changing their gut bacteria by changing their diet, Swift has helped thousands of women lose weight without going hungry. In The Swift Diet, she shares the meal plans, recipes, and lifestyle changes that will help readers shed those stubborn pounds—and improve their overall health.

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About the Author:

KATHIE SWIFT is one of the country’s most influential holistic nutritionists. She lives in Massachusetts.

JOSEPH HOOPER lives in New York.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Published by the Penguin Group

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First published by Hudson Street Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Kathie Madonna Swift and Joseph Hooper

Foreword copyright © 2014 by Mark Hyman

Illustrations by Donna Mehalko

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

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eBook ISBN 978-0-698-16999-9

While the authors have made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers, Internet addresses, md other contact information at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the authors assume any responsibility for errors or for changes that occur after publication. Further, publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

Some names and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

FOREWORD

Ten years ago, Kathie Swift, our nurse partner Nina Silver and I holed up in my red-shingled house in western Massachusetts and together became the UltraWellness Center. For those first few months, I was working in my office upstairs, Nina was in the living room and Kathie, as befitting my head of nutrition, was in the dining room, just off the kitchen. Today, the functional medicine center that Kathie, Nina and I built employs a staff of thirty working out of a well-equipped building set against the Berkshires woods. Kathie, of course, played an important role in that growth and success. In fact it was she who first pointed me toward what we now call functional medicine, an approach that seeks to uncover the root causes of disease, always with the emphasis on healthy diet and lifestyle.

When we were both working at the Canyon Ranch spa in the Berkshires in the nineties, Kathie introduced cutting-edge nutritional medicine concepts to the doctors and nutritionists there. And she introduced me to Dr. Jeffrey Bland, the father of functional medicine, who became a mentor to so many of us. At Canyon Ranch, where I was co–medical director and Kathie the nutrition director, we were able develop and apply these functional medicine ideas in a clinical setting. Although I was that rare doctor who had actually studied nutrition in a serious way, it was Kathie who really taught me to think rigorously about the role of nutrition in health. In contrast to the “pill for every ill” mentality that almost every doctor absorbs in medical training, with Kathie’s help I came to see how food itself could be powerful medicine with which to treat and actually reverse disease. She was so open and enthusiastic about partnering with me at the Ranch, and together we refined an approach that was effective for thousands of clients there. When I left Canyon Ranch, to build the UltraWellness Center, she was the first person I called to join me. Since then, she’s helped me with several of my books, including UltraMetabolism, to which she contributed the recipes. (As you’ll see in The Swift Diet, Kathie is an accomplished and creative home cook.)

It’s no accident that Kathie and I share this quest to push beyond conventional medical wisdom. We both had to figure out how to heal ourselves before we could fully help our patients. I’ve written about my struggle with chronic fatigue and mercury poisoning in a number of my books. Here in The Swift Diet, Kathie opens up for the first time about her battle with chronic fatigue syndrome brought on by an undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten. Her success in healing herself with a high-fiber, mostly plant-based diet fuels her passion to find the right answers for clients and readers with gut and weight issues. And she never stops. She has the ability to synthesize enormous amounts of data in order to connect the dots, to create meaning where there was none. In The Swift Diet she draws on the latest research on the role of gut bacteria to distill a practical step-by-step guide to health and healthy weight loss.

I think the microbiome is an enormously important emerging story. We’re seeing that the bacteria that live in the gut help regulate the interlocking systems in the body, including the immune system and insulin metabolism. I’ve seen it in the research literature and I’ve seen it in clinical practice: different diets can have different effects on weight, even though they may contain the same number of calories, because of how they affect the gut bacteria. Kathie has been at the forefront of this field, giving talks around the country to general audiences and to her professional peers. She’s been the driving force behind the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, she’s a founding member of the Institute for Functional Medicine’s nutrition advisory board and, for the past decade, she’s organized an influential annual conference on health and nutrition, Food As Medicine, sponsored by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC, where I’ve been honored to serve on the faculty and board of directors. Kathie has become something close to a one-woman bridge between the worlds of functional medicine and mainstream nutrition.

She’s also adept at making the connection between body and spirit. Over the past seven years, as she’s developed and led workshops on weight loss, digestion and detox at the Kripalu Center in the Berkshires, she’s integrated mind-body techniques into her nutrition work, addressing the stress piece of the health and weight-loss puzzle. Just as I started out my career as a yoga instructor, Kathie is now a certified qigong teacher!

My friend and colleague Kathie Swift is one of the leading innovators in nutrition in this country. She has devoted her life to discovering how we can heal ourselves through food, and she’s inspired a host of others to do the same. If you’ve bought The Swift Diet, you’re about to join that select but growing group.

—Mark Hyman, MD

Chapter 1

SCIENCE, WISDOM AND STORY

SELF-INQUIRY BOX

1. Have you noticed that when you’re having digestive problems, it’s difficult to manage your weight? That there is a connection between “Irritable Bowel” and “Irritable Weight”?

2. Have you noticed that a week of high stress can have a similar effect on your belly as a course of antibiotics? That both can seem to throw your entire digestive system off?

3. Have you noticed that when you’re eating more vegetables and fruits, and less meat and processed foods, you feel lighter and more energetic?

If you’ve picked up this book, there’s an excellent chance that you’re frustrated with your weight. Maybe you’re carrying around an extra ten or twenty or fifty pounds that you can’t seem to keep off. Odds are you’ve gone on diets before and you may have had success, for a while, but you couldn’t handle the feeling of deprivation, of being hungry over the long haul, and the unwanted weight came back. Or the diet was one of those complicated multiphase productions and after a while you lost the patience or the will to precisely track your calorie intake or the ratio of carbs/fats/protein you were supposed to be eating in any given week.

But there’s an easier and a better way. It happens to be supported by what has become very possibly the most significant and compelling scientific story to unfold in this century—the impact of the bacteria that live in our gut on most every facet of our lives: our weight, our digestive health, our immune system response, our emotions, virtually every aspect of our being. For instance, these gut bacteria can produce toxins that leak into the bloodstream, creating a system-wide inflammation that pushes the body to store calories as fat rather than burning them as energy, and it can drive food cravings. (Researchers now recognize this “metabolic endotoxemia,” literally a poisoning from within, as a likely under-the-radar driver of obesity in this country.) Amazingly, these same bacteria can influence the production of gut hormones that speak directly to the brain, signaling either fullness or hunger. The good news is that by paying attention to what you eat and how you live—chronic stress causes major dysfunction in the gut—you can exert control over the process. Take care of your gut bacteria and they’ll take care of you!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s return to weight gain, which for many women is the most distressing sign that all is not right with the belly and the body.

The Belly Blues

The weight of the average American woman has gone up twenty pounds since the early seventies. Today, 33 percent of American adults are considered overweight (a body mass index of 25 to 30) and 35 percent obese (a BMI over 30). Over the past twenty years, the obese group has increased in number by 60 percent, giving us a new label, the “obesity epidemic,” and fears about crushing rates of heart disease and type 2 diabetes in the future. What hasn’t been talked about as much is that during this same period of time, the nation has experienced a second epidemic, one that has been taking place, out of sight, but not out of mind, in the bellies of American women.

Consider: While men and women have suffered that weight gain in roughly equal measure, women are twice as likely as men to have the chronic, low-grade digestive complaints that get lumped together as irritable bowel syndrome, affecting an estimated 30 percent of American women. Digestive problems are compounded by food allergies and sensitivities, especially to the family of proteins found in gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye and barley. Conservatively estimated, 1 percent of the American population is afflicted with celiac disease, a severe intolerance to gluten. Six times that number have a less severe sensitivity to gluten, which can still result in serious digestive problems as well as all-over fatigue and depression. (Again, a conservative estimate. I, and many nutritionists, find that many of our female clients feel better without gluten.) And it doesn’t stop there. Clinical evidence is piling up that huge swaths of the population are suffering from gut-disturbing, and likely weight-frustrating, sensitivities to common dietary elements like lactose in dairy products, fructose in high-fructose corn syrup and related compounds found in some legumes and vegetables.

The belly of the American woman has become the proverbial canary in the coal mine. It’s letting us know that something has gone very wrong.

As a clinical nutritionist, over the past three decades I’ve worked with thousands of clients, mostly women, to effectively manage both their weight and their digestive issues. But it wasn’t until 2011, when I cowrote The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Digestive Health with Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin, that the connection between digestion and healthy weight became crystal clear to me. That book brought a parade of women with digestive issues to my private nutrition practice, most of whom had been trying unsuccessfully for years to drop those stubborn pounds. Sometimes it was the unruly gut that was their biggest complaint, typically, a not-so-merry-go-round of constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating given the all-purpose label of irritable bowel syndrome. (You can take an IBS self-diagnosis test offered by the American College of Gastroenterology at http://gi.org/acg-institute/ibs-test/.) Sometimes it was just the weight. What was staring me in the face was that Irritable Bowel and what I now call Irritable Weight were usually two faces of the same underlying problem. With some of these clients, I’m working to overcome a serious chronic condition. But for most of them, and for probably the majority of people reading this book, the digestive symptoms come and go. They’re a hassle, to be sure, but they’re also telling us, screaming at us sometimes, that the body is not being properly nourished by the right foods in the right ways. Your digestion and your weight are coconspirators, chipping away at your wellness.

SWIFT DIET DICTIONARY

Microbiome: The total collection of genes belonging to the bacteria that live inside our bodies and on our skin. These single-cell bacteria are at least ten times as numerous as human cells and most of them reside in the human gut.

Microbiota: The name given to the population of bacteria that live in the human gut, mostly in the colon or large intestine. In the past twenty or so years, we’ve discovered that the microbiota plays a major role in digestion, gut health and overall health, including weight control.

Gut Flora or Microflora: Same meaning as “microbiota” above. In the outside world, “flora” refers to plant life. Inside our gut, it refers to our resident gut bacteria.

Dysbiosis: A change in the composition of the gut bacteria that harms digestion or overall health. It might be brought on by a bad diet, a stressful lifestyle, an infection or a food allergy or sensitivity. Common gut symptoms of dysbiosis include bloating, excess gas, constipation and diarrhea.

The Swift Diet is the fruit of my work at three landmark centers of health and wellness in the Berkshires foothills of western Massachusetts. First, as the former director of nutrition at the famous Canyon Ranch health resort, then at my friend and colleague Dr. Mark Hyman’s UltraWellness Center and more recently at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, I’ve refined an approach that emphasizes delicious whole foods. It’s “flexitarian,” mostly veggies with both plant and lean animal protein and a limited amount of whole grains, fruit and anti-inflammatory fats and oils. Over and over again, I’ve seen a laundry list of debilitating symptoms cleared up—bloated bellies, constipated bellies, joint pain, troublesome skin—and my clients lose the weight. Weight gain and weight loss are influenced by a number of factors—all of which I’ll discuss in this book—but what I’ve learned, and what I incorporate into the Swift Diet, is that when we eat to heal the gut, and we make some basic gut-friendly lifestyle and stress-reduction adjustments, we address virtually all of them. The road to healing runs through the gut. Heal the gut, lose the weight—that’s been my experience and my credo for a long time. Only now, thanks to the res...

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