Review: “The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine”
Avery sent me a free copy of Dr Terry Wahls new book, “The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine” to check it out.
The book starts with Dr Wahls health story, and how she got Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was a vegetarian, and an athlete, and yet, she became very ill in early 2000s. She tried various solutions, including taking huge amounts of vitamins, adding and removing foods, when she finally managed to almost reverse her illness after following a wholesome Paleo-like diet.
I’ve been doing various forms of Paleo for 2.5 years now, and I’m glad to see Dr Wahls recognizing the different needs that different patients have. In the book, she suggests three different diets, one more restrictive than the other, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The first one simply removes gluten, dairy, eggs, and processed foods, the second one additionally removes most grains and legumes (Paleo-like), and the third one is a strict Paleo-ketogenic diet (minus eggs). She went through all three diets herself while trying out things, and she’s currently in the Paleo-ketogenic regiment.
Throughout the book there are testimonials of other people with MS, who have tried the Paleo/Wahls-diet and have semi-reversed their condition (aka made their lives livable). The book is very easily read, everything is laid out in plain English for everybody to understand.
My favorite parts of the book (that in my opinion needed more expansion) were the hints that Dr Wahls was giving about non-native EMF radiation, infections, mold, and other environmental problems that can have as much impact in our health than eating bad food has. I also loved her suggestions on eating sea vegetables, and offal.
The only part that I really disliked in the book was her insistence on removing eggs from the diet. She is deathly allergic to eggs, but she’s trying to impose this restriction to others too. In a response to me she claimed that “egg allergies are actually dramatically under-diagnosed”, but I have my reservations on this. I also hold reservations on her dairy suggestions. In my experience, I found that often, dairy is a secondary intolerance, created by gluten intolerance. When gluten is taken out of the picture, and the gut is healed, after a few months fermented goat/sheep dairy could often be eaten again without ill effects. But even if dairy must be taken out, given the severity of MS, I think her no-eggs suggestion is still overblown. Sure, some people will be intolerant to eggs, but I don’t expect the majority to be so.
Another addition that should be made in this book is information about FODMAPs. In my dealings with the Paleo community in the last few years, I have witnessed a 5%-10% of dieters who didn’t get better on plain Paleo, but had to go Paleo+Fodmaps to finally have their gut healed.
Other than that, I think that this is one of the most important new Paleo books out there, and people with major health problems (not just MS), should have a good read of this book and follow its instructions. It’s a book that explains in very simple terms the whys and the hows, and in my own experience with my own health problems, it has worked.