10.28.2016

Modified Wahls Protocol Diet


(This is a slightly modified and revised version of a post I put up earlier this year.)


The Wahls Protocol diet has been pretty hot in the alternative-leaning MS community for a while now, as it's the next thing in treating multiple sclerosis from a non-pharmaceutical perspective. Wahls certainly offers an alternative to traditional forms of treatment, which typically involve taking pharmaceutical medications. The "big thing" before Wahls came along was the Swank low-fat diet. And there have been other books focused on MS and diet, as well. All of these books are not entirely out of sync, though Wahls's project certainly has its own features and points of emphasis.

Most would agree that one reason the Wahls diet has gained popularity is because of her astounding TED talk. Even if you don't have MS or any other autoimmune disease, the TED talk is powerful and persuasive. The woman could barely walk before starting on her diet, and her approach to eating seems to have enacted a miracle for her. This is an era when talking well in the TED style goes a long way, and Wahls does a great job.

Before talking a bit about how I've modified the Wahls diet(s) for myself, as someone with multiple sclerosis, I should also say that I've written a detailed review of The Wahls Protocol over on Amazon.com. In that review, I attempt to represent the main themes in the book and cover what I see as her main ideas. I try to be measured in the review, though some of Wahls's rhetoric really drove me nuts while reading the book.

Note that Wahls herself doesn't really encourage modification of her diets, as she's pretty firm on the three stages/tiers of her diet plan. However, I'm in the midst of tweaking her suggestions and those of others to make my diet work for me, my health, and my version of the disease.

Here's My Modified Wahls Diet

Supplements, taken in the morning: Omega-rich fish-oil pills, B-complex, D3 supplement (now 5k units; will likely taper down on that soon), probiotic

Breakfast: Quinoa, homemade granola, berries, fruit, flax meal, hemp meal, cacao nibs, bee pollen, sometimes some coconut or almond milk

Morning Juice: Every other day (roughly), homemade juice made of 1 apple, several carrots, some celery, and miscellaneous greens (UPDATE: I'm not doing this much anymore, but would like to get back to it ... so am leaving this up as a reminder for myself to get back to juicing)

Morning Snacks: fresh fruit

Lunch 1: copious salad of dark greens, cabbage, avocado, colored veggies, onion, nuts, tofu, brewers yeast, oils (hemp, flax, olive), and homemade salsa

Lunch 2: same as lunch #1, but with salmon or tuna instead of tofu

Afternoon Snacks: more fresh fruit

Dinners: A lot like lunch, but often includes such things as roasted veggies, homemade humus, lentils, homemade soup, sweet potatoes, squash, and the usual array of oils (hemp, olive, flax)

After dinner snack: fruit (melon if we can find it) and/or chia in coconut milk

~ ~ ~

So, you can see that it's not exactly any one of the three Wahls Protocols. Her diets are all based on blended breakfasts, which I haven't really gotten into. She's also a staunch advocate of large-scale carnivorousness, and I'm very new to eating meat of any kind (having been vegetarian/vegan for the past 25 years). Integrating salmon and tuna into my lunches every other day has been a big step for me.

Wahls is also very measured in her eating: all of her staged diets include very specific volumes of dark greens, sulfurous veggies, fruit, etc. I'm not much of a measurer just yet, so I'm just eating quantities that feel right and conform a bit to previous eating habits for me. I want to eat what makes sense, but also what feeds me. I'll post in the future about my reflections/reactions to this new diet.

Having been eating this way for [several months] now, it's too early to say how it feels to me in a physical way. For me, what I'd described here is not a huge divergence from what and how I've been eating for the past 25 years. (I'm now 45.) However, there are some tangible differences in what I'm eating now when compared to my past eating habits, so I'm hopeful that there may be some positive results in terms of my health -- even if that means that things aren't getting worse.

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