The Swift Diet is a comprehensive examination of what we know about healthy eating today, especially as it relates to women. Discussing everything from fats to carbs, microbiomes, digestion issues, wheat and other food intolerances, and more, author Swift puts all the science into perspective but also doesn’t dumb it down. A bit more holistic than other diets in that it also incorporates yoga and exercise, the focus really is on toxins and detoxifying rather than portion control or denial. But also equally important is flexibility – which in this book comes from understanding what foods will do for you (or against you) when consumed. There is a four week plan that focuses on various foods, eliminating certain types to see which ones might be causing the weight gain/inflammation/chronic problems. The focus is on feeling better and with more energy, less ailments.
The book breaks down as follows: Science, wisdom, and story; Mind your digestion; Eliminate the problem foods; Nourish the body and the belly; Dietary supplements; Sustaining practices; The 4-week sift plan, Recipes, FAQs, Notes, Resources, Index. The resources and notes sections are particularly good, with Swift footnoting her sources and also providing a long list of places to get the best foods possible.
The recipes are fairly typical – what you will see in many books with this type of detoxifying regimen. The formatting on them, however, is rather rudimentary and they are not separated page by page. But the recipes are simple, steps are broken down by numbers and paragraphs, serving and prep time are given, and there are copious tips for variations and substitutions throughout. Examples include lemon dill shrimp with sesame bok choy, slow cooker beef stew, chocolate avocado playtime pudding, and eggs un-benedict. None of the recipes have odd or hard to find ingredients.
Where this book excels is in a thorough discussion about everything from supplements to gut bacteria. Although I have read a lot on many of the subjects, there were still many nuggets here to appreciate. Most of the book is an examination of current health so there is quite a bit to go through; the meat of the book is knowledge and information, not the diet or recipes.
The main exclusions to the diet are, of course, sugars and processed foods. There is a long examination of reactive foods such as legumes or high fructose fruits, but those are suggested to be used in moderation, not excluded. Even grains are included as long as they are whole and gluten free (though testing for other allergens in the grain except gluten is suggested).
Where the book fails for me is twofold. First, Swift recommends a wide battery of tests to detect intolerance or other medical conditions. While this is a great idea in theory (and covers the author legally), it’s not realistic that anyone can afford to walk in and get everything from blood sugar to vitamin D levels (15+ tests!). When recommendations are made on something that is so very expensive as medical care, I would have liked the author to explore options or tips on how this can be done financially for the average person. Second, her name is applied to nearly everything in the book – from the diet plan to the recipes (e.g., “Swift smoothie”). After awhile, it felt like some bizarre egregious subliminal conditioning attempt to get her name in your mind forever (or Dr. Hymen envy).
Those considerations aside, there really is a lot of great information in there well presented. Although not graphical at all (there are a few line drawings of certain scientific things), it at least has a friendly tone. And certainly, with no pictures with the recipes, this is no where near as good a cookbook as with the Doctor’s Diet Cookbook.
So yes, absolutely worth reading and with a very flexible, well thought out, thorough, but effective diet and health plan (yoga, sleep, etc.). There’s still a lot to learn about our health.
Reviewed from a digital copy provided by the publisher.