This post is a modified version of a newsletter that I wrote. In this weekly newsletter I share nutrition insights and tips, along with a recipe and recommendations for things to read, listen to, or try. Sign up here.
Here’s the thing: I actually believe that food can heal you. Food, exercise, sleep…it’s all healing.have you ever felt really bad after a meal? Or really good after a great night’s rest?
Those are some of the small ways your body naturally tells you if you’re giving it what it needs…or not. But, with time these little things can add up, both in good ways and bad.
Instead of thinking this way, we’re usually taught that whatever issues we have should be solved using medication…
That’s not always wrong, but it’s certainly not always right…
I recently experienced this when I went to the doctor for a problem I was having with my throat, ”go on xyz medication for 2 months and come back. If it works you’ll be on that for the rest of your life.” That was the gist of it, and that’s not for me.
Healing using nutrition is not the easy route, but it may be the best long term solution. Often it should even be paired with some traditional medical treatment for a period of time, but the way we’re nourishing our bodies should be a primary concern.
We all need some inspiration sometimes to get started, that’s why today I’m going to dig into one particular story on how this doctor overcame challenging MS symptoms using nutrition.
P.S. So far y’all want to learn more about nutrition and healthy recipes. I’ll do my best to deliver. The 1-minute survey is still open, let me know how I can make this newsletter amazing for you.
Deep dive on how the body can heal itself
TL;DR Terry Wahls is using and researching a modified paleo diet (and much more) to heal MS and other autoimmune diseases. She used this diet (including eating 9 servings of veggies/day!) to reverse her own MS symptoms. An example of using nutrition and personalized medicine to heal! Dive in deeper by watching her original Ted Talk or listening / watching this much more recent podcast. We’re already making our salads bigger to get more veggies every day.
Here’s the short version of the story: Terry Wahls put herself on a modified version of the paleolithic (paleo) diet and reversed her MS symptoms.
Doctors said she wouldn’t get better, only slow the decline...Yet, she went from a wheelchair to riding a bike after introducing this diet…
(Terry was on other medications at the time, but was getting progressively worse until she introduced this new diet.)
The diet is really a way to ensure that your body is getting the right nutrients:
- Removing ultra-processed foods
- Removing some foods you might remove on a typical Paleo diet
- Eating a ton of vegetables and fruits every day
More specific food recommendations:
- 3 servings of green leafy vegetables / day (kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc.)
- 3 servings of sulfur rich vegetables / day (cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, onions and garlic)
- 3 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables / day (berries, beets, carrots, peppers, etc)
- Wild caught, omega-3 rich fish (like Salmon)
- Grass fed meats, in particular organ meat (like liver, once / week)
- Seaweed (for the iodine)
The fact is that we’re not getting the vitamins and minerals we need, and these recommendations are trying to remedy that….
So these are the general guidelines, but no one is the same. This may work for you as is, but it may not. I was actually reading through the amazon reviews for the book to see how people felt, and there are some great stories and also people it didn’t work for. (book link)
I found this particularly interesting from the podcast:
- These plans should be personalized!
- Take it on in manageable chunks so that it is sustainable.
- Get a wide variety of vegetables. Terry mentioned getting 200 species of vegetables per year. Rotate your veggies day to day if you can.
- You may not need to eliminate everything long term. Once you find what works you may be able to add things back in over time.
- Add mild stress to your body if possible: Intermittent fasting, sauna, cold showers / baths.
- There is more to the protocol than just diet. Terry talks about movement (exercise), gut health, and mediation for example as a part of the overall protocol.
We will be digging so much more into all of this in future newsletters. So much great stuff here.
There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence, and a lot of patients working with Terry and her team. But, there has been limited research so far.
This research paper was published by Terry and her team comparing the Wahls protocol with the Swank (low saturated fat) protocol in a randomized study.
Wahls diet showed measurable, statistically significant improvements in fatigue, Mental MSQoL (MS Quality of Life) and physical MSQoL.
This study involved less than 100 people, and I know there is more research planned, but to put this into widespread use it will need more.
The evidence is clear that we are undernourished and our bodies are stressed with chronic inflammation. These things lead to and worsen disease.
Terry Wahls protocol isn’t the only diet to fix this, but there are so many great elements here that I would even want to incorporate into my own life: getting more Omega 3’s, more vegetables, more colorful fruits and vegetables.
These are just lessons in getting the nutrients you need even if you’re not suffering from an autoimmune condition.
What do you think? Shoot me an email back or hit me up on the socials.
I love to make salads for lunch, and we’re always looking for new ways to make salads interesting. Some of the ways we do that is by changing up the base.
In this salad, the base is cauliflower instead of lettuce. Cauliflower, garbanzo beans, avocado, cucumber, and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing.
This is a simple salad w/ no cooking required. You can put it together in 5 minutes and it’s pretty hearty.
- App: Cronometer app: This is a meal tracking app I’ve been using for the last week, but what I love about it is that it automatically tracks your macro AND micronutrients, and let’s you know if you’re getting the nutrients you need.
- Read: How eating ‘healthy’ can make you tired. Pay attention to your body, maybe it needs more calories, more water, or the right vitamins.
- Read: Is it time to rethink food dyes? Studies have linked food dyes to hyperactivity in kids, but there has not been thorough enough research or oversight from the FDA. You also might want to read my four food additives to avoid to eat healthier.