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The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine Hardcover – March 13, 2014
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Praise for The Wahls Protocol
“In The Wahls Protocol, Dr. Wahls provides elegant first hand validation that diet truly represents the most powerful medicine. This book is totally supported by the most leading edge research and provides a beacon of hope when compared to the ever changing landscape of pharmaceutical recommendations for multiple sclerosis.”
—David Perlmutter, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain
“Groundbreaking! Once you understand why you need to eat for health, Dr. Wahls delivers a detailed road map, guiding you step by step. This will be life changing for many. “
—Robb Wolf, New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Solution
“Using clear language, Dr. Wahls teaches how our food and lifestyle choices create health or disease depending on our choices. For anyone suffering from autoimmune or other chronic health problems, this book will be life changing.”
—Mark Hyman, M.D. #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Blood Sugar Solution.
“Whether or not you struggle with autoimmune diseases, I can't recommend The Wahls Protcol highly enough. Dr. Wahls provides a clear, in-depth, copiously researched dietary and lifestyle protocol to help you take charge of your health and your life. An absolute must-read book.
—JJ Virgin, New York Times bestselling author of The Virgin Diet
“Terry Wahls is a hero to many for her discovery that a nourishing ancestral diet can heal multiple sclerosis. In The Wahls Protocol, Terry sets forth a straightforward plan for achieving good health through good food. Not just for MS patients, The Wahls Protocol is a fascinating tale that proves the wisdom of Hippocrates: ‘Let food be thy medicine.’ Try it, it works!”
—Paul Jaminet, Ph.D., author of Perfect Health Diet and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Evolution and Health
“Dr. Wahls teaches you how to eat and live so that you can upgrade dramatically your brain and body.”
—Sara Gottfried M.D., New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure
“Terry Wahls' new book is one of the most important books on health ever written. That's not a hyperbolic statement, just plain fact. If doctors would take this incredible information to heart (and into their practices), the health crisis in this world would be over--the cancer industry crushed and the rise in autoimmune conditions would fall. True health reform is contained within these pages. I cannot recommend a book any more highly. Bravo Dr. Wahls!”
—Leanne Ely, C.N.C., New York Times bestsellling author of Saving Dinner
“I've long recommended that anyone diagnosed with MS who is also interested in health and healing research the work of Dr. Wahls online, but the game has now changed. The Wahls Protocol will be the go-to resource for anyone suffering from MS or another autoimmune condition who is ready to fight back. Dr. Wahls outlines a clear-cut, stepped approach to dietary and lifestyle changes--supported by her extensive research and testing of the plans--that will put anyone on a path to better health. Whether you have MS or not, The Wahls Protocol is a goldmine of easy-to-follow, real-food nutritional guidelines that will leave you feeling so amazing it'll make you wonder how you ever ate any other way.”
—Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC, New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo
“The Wahls Protocol is one 'ah-ha' after another of how Terry Wahls’ realizations may help you in your health journey. Not only will you be captivated by what you read, you'll also learn how to be healthier. Highly recommended.” --Dr. Tom O'Bryan, creator of “A Grain of Truth: The Gluten e-Summit”
“Terry Wahls does an amazing job at highlighting the importance of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and essential fats) as an integral part in preventing and reversing disease. Her story is incredible and brings hope to millions needlessly suffering. The Wahls Protocol is a must read for anyone looking to reverse autoimmune conditions naturally.”
—Mira Calton, CN and Jayson Calton, Ph.D., authors of Rich Food, Poor Food
“The best treatment for multiple sclerosis, autoimmunity, and chronic disease is teaching people how and why to eat and live for optimal health. By combining the latest science with the all-important factors of nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle, The Wahls Protocol goes beyond conventional treatments and empowers you with real solutions."
—Ann Boroch, C.N.C., author of Healing Multiple Sclerosis: Diet, Detox & Nutritional Makeover for Total Recovery
“Dr. Wahls engages us with her personal story of triumph over multiple sclerosis while educating us on the importance of a nutrient-dense diet for our cellular health. You will find yourself drawn in and inspired to take control of your own health as Dr. Wahls shares her experiences, knowledge, and compassion. The three levels of The Wahls Protocol provide a concrete plan—including both feasible diet and lifestyle changes—to help you on your road to recovery.” --Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D., author of The Paleo Approach
“The Wahls Protocol is essential reading for anyone suffering from a chronic disease and wanting to regain their health. All the therapies which restored Dr Wahls to well-being are described in detail and are succinctly summarized in the appendices. The huge amount of scientific information, clear explanations, and practical advice makes this book an invaluable resource and indispensable reference.”
—Ashton Embry, Ph.D., president of Direct-MS
"Only Terry Wahls, M.D. could have written a book as important as The Wahls Protocol. Her discovery of a path to recovery from disabling multiple sclerosis after failing to respond to the traditional medical approach is not only a story of great personal triumph, but a manifesto of hope for many others with various chronic illnesses for which drug therapy has not worked. This is a book that provides a program that can be applied by anyone who is searching for solutions to health challenges."
—Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., president of the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute
About the Author
Terry L. Wahls, M.D., is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City. She has made it her mission to spread the word about The Wahls Protocol through the book, her lectures, her website, and Food as Medicine classes. She lives in Iowa City with her wife and daughter. Her son, Zach Wahls, is the author of the New York Times bestseller My Two Moms.
Top customer reviews
I started following an early, basic version of the Wahls Protocol the day after watching Dr. Wahls' TEDx Talk last October. I explored her website, read and listened to countless interviews, and read her first book Minding my Mitochondria- and in November 2013 I started a more strict approach to diet and lifestyle based on her recommendations. It was hard for my wife to live with these changes and have to put up with my new dietary limitations, but I did it anyway. I have to admit I did NOT really feel anything different at this point.
In March 2014 everything changed. The Wahls Protocol was finally released (I had pre-ordered since November). I gave the book a first read in less than 24 hrs and immediately had ten times more information. In this book, Dr Wahls goes into detail about every aspect of the dietary and lifestyle changes she recommends, which includes supplements, exercise, electrical stimulation, meditation, etc., and she details three different versions of the Wahls diet so anyone can find a level they can learn to live with.
This is where it gets interesting. I actually convinced my wife and my mother to read the book and follow different levels of the protocol with me for one month. Just to give it a test drive. It has been three weeks today, and the results have been noticeable:
- I have RRMS, and am still in early stages of the disease so when I'm in remission, which is 90% of the time, I have no symptoms. Or so I thought! It turns out, I actually DID have fatigue issues and brain fog! These things have probably been developing slowly inside me for years so I didn't even notice them until I they were gone! In ONLY three weeks I have felt a real change and am honestly amazed of how different I feel. I know it sounds hard to believe, but you have to try before you judge. I have been on the Wahls Paleo (i.e. intermediate level of the diet).
- My wife is a perfectly healthy 27-year-old woman. She is slim, she goes to the gym, and she does yoga on a regular basis. She never gets sick and seems as healthy as one can be except for the occasional headache. She also started on a strict version of the Wahls Paleo. She uses a Polar Loop Activity Tracker all the time, and this has showed results already. My wife went from an average sleep efficiency of 78% to 96% during the first two weeks, and stayed there ever since. She feels a lot more rested and the Polar Loop is actually measuring and showing these results as concrete data. Additionally, she used to get headaches at work about once a week, and hasn't had a single one since following the Wahls Paleo. And she also claims to feel more energetic, which is probably due to the more balanced diet and deeper sleep.
- My mother is 54 years old. She has been on the Wahls Diet (i.e. Level 1 version) for three weeks. She is also slim and works out some. She has felt differences in the quality of her sleep (non-measurable though because she has no tracking device), BUT, she has always had sinus problems and has sinusitis on a very regular basis, and always gets headaches (I'm talking two or three times a week), and these have been gone. Not reduced; gone. For the past week and a half she hasn't had one headache or one sinus problem. This is the first time she has gone ten days straight with no headaches in decades. It sounds ridiculous to say this happened because of modifying her diet for three weeks, but I swear it's the truth!
Again these are preliminary results as we have only been on the diet for three weeks. And only I have been doing the electrical stimulation, meditating, exercises, etc. But I am convinced this book can change anyone's life if you're willing to give it a try. What have you got to lose? Just give it a one-month trial to see if you feel different. I guarantee you won't regret it.
I will update this review as time passes to comment on any other progress that may occur...
----- Update March 20, 2015 -----
So after roughly a year of following the ideas in this book, I have learned a lot and really perfected my diet and lifestyle. I have now read many other books by Sarah Ballantyne, Dr. Perlmutter, Amy Myers, Jimmy Moore, etc., I have found countless Blogs and Cookbooks, and I even have iOS Apps that make my life way easier (MyPaleoPal is excellent for tracking and ideas, for example).
I started following Dr. Wahls' ideas and recommendations a year ago, and have strictly been on her Wahls Paleo Plus for a while now. I supplement with many products, and have now totally gotten used to eating only twice a day, as well as eliminated my sweet tooth! (I admit doing the 21-day Sugar Detox last year probably helped this last part). I now enjoy eating and even cooking more than I ever had before, and my entire family is still reaping the benefits from all this knowledge.
Just to detail a bit more: I follow the Wahls Paleo Plus diet, mixed together with the AIP just to make it a little more challenging. This means no nuts, seeds, nightshades, or coffee, on top of Dr Wahls' strictest protocol. I also swim every other day, meditate and work my core muscles daily, and sleep 7.5-8.5 hours every night.
Is it worth it? You be the judge: my last relapse was over a year ago, I can now bike for 45minutes and totally withstand heat sensitivity, I can swim for as long as I want to, I walked over 120,000 steps in a week last december during Christmas break (used a pedometer to keep track), I'm sleeping like a baby, and, MOST IMPORTANT: I stopped my MS medication two weeks ago (under my neurologist's supervision of course, and having sworn to go back on it if my status changes negatively). Today I feel better than ever, and that injection I used to hate and use every week hasn't been missed for one second.
Dr Wahls, through this book, gave me my life back. I don't care what other people say or think about this book, I am living proof that these ideas can work. Like I said a year ago: try it, what have you got to lose? And you can gain SO MUCH, you have no idea.
This book is a huge improvement over the first book, which was amazing, and was exactly what I needed when I was desperate and with no hope left. Dr. Wahls' first book, Minding My Mitochondria, changed my life dramatically. This new book is an easier read, but still full of Dr. Wahls passion for sharing this vital information, and getting it right. Her life is at stake, and she wants to help as many people as she can - in my opinion, it is obvious that this book is a true labor of love for her. It is a good place to start if you are new to a Paleo lifestyle, as well as those who have started in the past but felt confused over details. It is also perfect for people like me, who are committed to it and want to go even farther into their healing process, tweaking their diet, exercise, and including more electrical stimulation, meditation - whatever they can do that can have a real impact on their health, if they are willing to commit to taking responsibility for their choices.
I have progressive MS and had spiraled down over the last 14 years. Three years of self-injections of Betaseron, Avonex, and Copaxone did nothing to help me; they made me feel worse. I suffered from severe, debilitating fatigue, 24/7/365. I fell frequently because my balance was totally shot. I could barely walk without assistance, or even lift my arms to brush my hair or teeth. I slept on the couch because I was too exhausted to drag my body upstairs to sleep, or shower. I rarely left the house, except for appointments that I couldn't put off any longer, or family celebrations with the our grown kids. I finally got rid of my car because my reflexes had slowed so much that I felt I could potentially be a danger to myself and others.
Getting rid of my car was the lowest point: loss of independence with absolutely no hope for the future. If I had been suicidal I would have gladly ended my life, because I had no energy left to live. I actually have a positive attitude most of the time, but I knew I would never ski again, or hike, bike, or camp. Gardening was out of the question. I didn't cook, shop, or ever clean the house. My husband, whose busy career took much of his time, did the best he could, which meant my diet was mostly easy processed food or take-out. I had become totally isolated. It was a sad way to live. I was simply waiting to die.
A few weeks after I sold/gave my beloved Prius to my son, my daughter urged me to look into some doctor that had MS and wrote a book about how she healed herself with diet. Sigh. Yet another diet. Yeah, right. But I love my daughter, so I searched online. I found Dr. Wahls TEDx talk - and I was inspired so much I ordered her first book. This was over two years ago.
My life started to change within 3 days of reducing grains and sugars and eating more produce. I had a slight increase in energy, and cleaned a tiny spot of kitchen counter between the sink and the coffee maker. Did I just do that? Even my husband noticed. It was different, and just that little bit was enough to motivate me to keep going. Within a month I noticed my balance was slightly improving. More motivation to step it up. I reduced dairy, and started juicing and making smoothies to get my veggies and berries in. I had stopped eating white potatoes, and soon started avoiding soy, legumes all processed and packaged foods. I tried to buy all organic produce, and eat only high quality wild or organic, grass-fed seafood, poultry and meats. I was moving more and more, cooking my healing foods, and shopping with an automatic cart, so I could sit. Eventually I graduated to my walker (with a seat), because it felt good to move again.
After a year, a friend offered to drive me to the gym again, so I started working out a bit, and she helped me move between machines. Finally I started taking my walker, and then made my husband buy a car so I could have his Prius - I needed my independence back, and I was ready. I also realized more and more how I had to be strict and consistent with the foods I ate. I avoided eating ALL grains, sugars, dairy, processed/packaged foods, soy/legumes, rice. I only ate my 9-12 cups of organic produce and well-sourced animal protein - fish, poultry and meats and their organs, fats and bone broth, plus some seaweed/dulse, nuts/seeds (and their milks, oils and butters). Coconut became a favorite, as did avocados.
My gym workouts were good for a while but I began to hurt myself; I could barely remember how to walk, because my body was so messed up. I started working with a personal trainer at the gym, after he actually convinced me that he could wake up my severely weakened muscles, when giving me a free hour-long evaluation where I could not even do a squat, or get up from the floor. I signed up for hour-long sessions, 3 times a week, which I still do to this day (about 10 months now). This also has been life-changing for me. I can now walk unassisted, I don't fall and I only use my walker at the gym where I work myself to exhaustion, but I recover very quickly. I can now do a deadlift with 115 pound weight, I can squat, carry bags of groceries upstairs, and take many different classes at the gym, with modifications, such as Zumba, spinning, step, yoga, Pilates, and I love to walk outside to get the fresh air and sunshine. Treadmills are okay in bad weather, as long as I have my music.
I finally bought a Vitamix (I stopped juicing - I want the nutrients in my body) and I still use it every single day for getting a huge amount of veggies and berries. I will do anything within my power to improve my health even more. I even wear Vibram FiveFingers Womens Bikila Evo (toe shoes) and avoid wearing any other shoes (my first trainer urged me to try them, I thought they were hideous looking, but then I tried a pair on - wow ). I fell in love with them. and I have at least 10 pair that I wear everywhere: to the gym, shopping, even to weddings. I have some numbness in my feet (less now than a few years ago), and now I can feel the ground, instead of feeling like I am walking on blocks of styrofoam. This has also helped to improve my balance. I have come a long way in the last two years, and I will continue with what works for me. Failure is not an option. I choose my health ... and my family wins as well.
I intend to get back into meditation, and doing more e-stim, and see if I can improve my workouts and diet even a little. I have a positive attitude, I have hope, and I am my own best friend now. I take full responsibility for my healing. I love my life. I believe in Dr. Wahls. I am a true Wahls Warrior!
APRIL 2015 UPDATE: My body loves eating the Wahls Paleo Plus way. I had been on weight loss diets all my life, and that was a struggle, because I could never shake my addiction to sweets, carbs, etc. I have lost 90 pounds in the last 3 years since discovering Terry Wahls. I weigh less than I did the 8th grade, amazingly. That is a nice side effect of eating the delicious foods my body needs (plenty of good fats, lots of organic produce, and moderate amounts of animal protein, plus lots of amazing spices and herbs. Oh, so good!)
Terry also talks about the importance of moving our bodies and having strong emotional bonds with the people in our lives. That last one has been harder for me in the last year, and the stress of it taught me a lot about how my body reacts to negative thoughts in my mind. Healing the body, mind and soul is all tied together, and it is a wonderful journey. I need to also thank Eckhart Tolle, author of 'The Power of Now', 'A New Earth', and his videos, for helping me. Life is amazing, if we open ourselves to all the possibilities.