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By Lila Thullen
Dr. Terry Wahls is a conventionally-trained medical doctor, so when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, she started conventional treatment. By 2007, she was essentially confined to a zero-gravity chair — unable to run marathons and climb mountains, as she once had, or even play with her children in the backyard. The conventional route was not working for her, so she decided to experiment. This experiment led to the reversal of her MS progression and a drastic change in how she approaches health and disease for herself and her patients.
Dr. Wahls’ experiment involved changing her diet and lifestyle. It sounds simple, but the results were extraordinary.
She first heard about a link between diet and MS from Dr. Ashton Embry, whose own afflicted son had reformed his diet and improved his condition significantly. Dr. Wahls found hard science backing up the information on Dr. Embry’s website (www.direct-ms.org), which prompted her to delve into research.
She then discovered the work of Dr. Loren Cordain, who discusses how changes in the human diet are linked to the increased development of chronic disease in Western society. Based on this new information, she switched to a Paleo Diet, in which you only eat foods available to our pre-agricultural ancestors, yet her decline continued. She continued to research until she learned about functional medicine.
Functional medicine, or FM, looks at how the interaction between genetics, diet, hormone balance, toxin exposures, infections, and psychological factors contribute to the development of disease or the improvement of one’s health and vitality. Dr. Wahls took a course at the Institute for Functional Medicine about treating neurological syndromes from an FM approach, and she learned that she needed to be getting many more nutrients in higher doses than she was from her Paleo Diet. Instead of taking a mountain of supplements, she decided to research which foods contain the nutrients she needed and added them to her daily diet. She also added meditation, simple massage, and e-stim exercises. Three months later, she could walk between exam rooms, and six months later, she could walk through the hospital without a cane.
The amazing turnaround in her MS not only changed Dr. Wahls’ approach to her own health, but also the way she approaches the practice of medicine. She now teaches her patients and residents about how to use diet and other simple lifestyle changes to improve many different health conditions.
Dr. Wahls will be speaking at the first annual CoMo Wellness Conference on May 6, 2017, where she will provide details about improving her own health and how her practice as a physician has changed since discovering the impact of diet on health. Learn more at www.comowellnessconference.com.
References: All information in this blog is taken from the Introduction to The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, by Dr. Terry Wahls.