When the Wahls Protocol book was coming out I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! This was a woman living with multiple sclerosis (MS) who used food as her medicine, she was able to get out of her wheelchair and was now living a normal life! Dr. Terry Wahls, M.D. is an Assistant Chief of Staff at Iowa City VA Health Care and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. She was also diagnosed with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).
As most of us living with MS have discovered, conventional medicine most likely won’t stop the disease from progressing. The drugs are basically a band-aid, only slowing the disease down.
My neurologist encouraged me to start taking Avonex, he told me “If it works, it works 30% of the time.” IF it works?
I didn’t like the sound of that, MS drugs are some of the most toxic drugs used in the field of medicine. Common side effects are chills, muscle aches, flu-like symptoms, severe depression, and even death.
As Dr. Wahls’s health continued to decline she ended up in a tilt/recline wheelchair which weakened her back muscles, atrophy set in and she spent most of her time in bed.
Instead of letting MS win she began to fight back, she discovered Dr. Loren Cordain and the Paleo diet. She began researching which foods were the most nutrient dense for the brain and body and it worked!
After six months she could walk the entire hospital without the use of a cane and within a year was able to complete an 18-mile bicycle tour. As for me, I had already stopped all medications and was currently on the Paleo diet, I had been using food as my medicine for about 10 years.
Unfortunately, I went through several years of chronic daily stress and it took it’s toll on my MS and my gait suffered. After falling and breaking my elbow I started using a cane to help prevent further falls.
Research has shown that a stressful life event plays a huge factor in the onset of MS and on MS exacerbations. I figured if Dr. Wahls was able to get out of her wheelchair, then I would be able to put my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) into complete remission.
The Wahls Protocol
My book showed up and I read most of it in one night! There were three different levels, Level 1 is for those who are just starting and new to the Paleo diet. Level 2 is the Paleo diet, and Level 3 is a strict Paleo diet also known as the Wahls Paleo Plus (WPP).
The WPP is the level Dr. Wahls was using and since I was already on the Paleo diet, I decided I would also start on WPP. WPP is a ketogenic diet which means fewer carbohydrates, only eating twice a day, reduce meat intake, and eating more good fats like coconut oil or full-fat coconut milk.
I was excited and couldn’t wait to see an improvement, like Dr. Wahls I was hoping to see improvements after 6 months. I fell into ketosis immediately and staying there wasn’t a problem for me either. I thought this diet is going to be a piece-of-cake (paleo cake that is – ha, ha)!
I started having problems within the first month! It wasn’t the diet or staying in ketosis that was causing the problem, it was my weight.
One side effect of the Paleo diet is weight-loss, this is a great side effect if you need to lose weight. However, I can’t afford to lose weight. I’ve always been thin, my weight was always right where it was supposed to be even after two pregnancies.
A few years ago I fell and broke my elbow, doctors made me wait an entire week before I had surgery. I was in extreme pain and couldn’t move, just getting up to go to the bathroom I was in extreme agony. My husband helped me as much as possible but he had to go to work, so I just laid on the couch not moving and losing more weight. I can’t believe doctors made me suffer an entire week!!!
I lost 15 pounds during that horrible ordeal, fortunately, after many months, I did gain 10 pounds back.
After two months on the WPP, I wasn’t feeling any difference and I was fighting to keep my weight up. Getting discouraged I decided to “go for it” and not worry about my weight.
That was a huge mistake, I lost another 15 pounds! I was now 20 pounds underweight, WPP wasn’t working, I was feeling discouraged and hopeless.
Okay, I’ve brushed myself off and I’m done feeling sorry for myself!
I decided WPP isn’t for me, I didn’t quit the Wahls Protocol entirely. I follow the Wahls Paleo Plus except I add more carbohydrates and stay out of ketosis to keep my weight up. I guess you could say I’m on level 2.5.
You Have the Power to Heal Yourself
Multiple sclerosis is different for every single person, you need to find what works for you. Pay attention to your body as to what works and what doesn’t work.
Don’t give up hope, and stay positive!
I’ve been doing very well on level 2.5 so that’s where I’m going to stay. I’m still a work in progress, this isn’t a diet it’s a lifestyle change for the better.
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