“Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that make him sick.” ~ Hippocrates
I started implementing The Wahls Protocol (more on that later on) the day after my diagnosis. Not completely, but I was tapering off the food I wasn’t supposed to be eating, and actually I had been adding in foods (like brussels sprouts and red cabbage) for a few weeks. Saturday night Mom & I made a big shopping trip to Trader Joe’s and PCC to get me more of the food I should have. 🙂
As I was starting the diet, I was also telling people about my diagnosis, and I was sending them texts like this one from November 3rd:
“I’m on a special diet which has helped a lot of MS patients, and even though I still have MS symptoms, I feel *great* on this new diet. It’s more meat than I want to be eating, but basically no sugar except fruit so it’s very healthy. LOTS of veggies, all different colors. 🙂 I have more energy already. 🙂”
I was feeling very upbeat, and I really did feel like I had more energy, and was able to get through my work day better. On my mom’s side of the family we struggle with hypoglycemia, so if I had a busy day at work and didn’t eat, I would often feel tired and a bit light headed. But now, I was mainly just hungry. 🙂
So, what is the Wahls Protocol? I found this handy video which I have sent to several friends and family members. It’s 18 minutes long, but I think it’s about as short as it can be to give a sufficient explanation of the program.
Of course there are also her books, and her website: https://terrywahls.com/
The diet is the largest part of the protocol, but there’s also stress reduction and exercise. 🙂
I think the real strength of the diet is the emphasis on vegetables. I’ve read about the importance of eating so many different vegetables before, in other books (such as Anticancer Living by Lorenzo Cohen), and I agree.
Also, there’s no processed food, and very little added sugar (fruit is fine), which I think is the main reason I’m feeling so good.
I’m not sure how I feel about giving up all gluten containing foods, all dairy, and all eggs, but after I do this for a year, I can slowly try adding those foods back in to see if I have a reaction. The reasoning behind eliminating those foods is that many people could have subtle food intolerances that they haven’t identified, and those are the most common culprits.
Actually, for an elimination diet, you don’t usually need to eliminate the foods for that long, but as many of you know, I’m going to be participating in a clinical trial (more about that in another post) so I need to stay off those foods for the entirety of the trial.
After this first year, I plan to experiment a bit with the protocol. Mainly trying to add those foods back in, at least in small quantities, and also trying to find ways to add in more legumes and grains so I can reduce the meat.
I’ve been mainly vegetarian (I would cheat occasionally, but I’m now realizing just how little meat I was really eating) for years now, so this is a big change for me to be eating meat about twice a day. So I’d like to reduce that if I can.
However, despite my ethical concerns about eating meat (which I am trying to lessen by buying humanely raised meat), I’m doing this for now because all these dietary changes are going to be tricky, and I don’t want to make it even more complicated right now. Also, Dr. Wahls really feels like meat is the best source of protein (she was previously vegetarian also, which is interesting to me) and so right now I’m doing it because I’m trying to heal my body. Plus, again, while I’m on the study there are going to be more restrictions on me.
Lastly, some of you have asked me if I’m really going to eat organ meats and seaweed. 😉 I thought there would be more pressure on me to eat those while I’m in the study, and I was actually really discouraged about the organ meats, but at this point, they are only being strict about NOT eating dairy, eggs, and gluten.
A few weeks ago, Mom cooked liver and onions for me, but I didn’t really like it. I was very appreciative that she went to the effort, and she wasn’t offended because she didn’t like it either. 😉 So I was sad thinking I might have to eat something like that twice a week for a year.
HOWEVER, apparently there are capsules I can take!
As for the seaweed, I’m less concerned about eating that. I haven’t bought anything yet, but there are powders that I can just mix in a little water and chug down, or I can try adding it to broth. There are several options. 🙂