Dr. Terry Wahls: How to Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine

Did you know that approximately 50 million Americans, 20 percent of the population or one in five people, suffer from autoimmune diseases? 

And women are more likely than men to be affected; some estimates say that 75 percent of those affected–some 30 million people–are women.

That's why on today's episode I have a special guest, Dr. Terry Wahls, author of the popular book The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine. 

She and I delve into her early childhood and the health issues that led to Terry's progressive illness, along with Terry's big "ah-ha!" moment that led to her creating the Wahls Protocol.

There is just so much in this episode, I hope you have pen and paper ready.

In today's episode, you'll learn...

  • Why Dr. Wahls prefers ketones derived from medium chain triglycerides versus dairy products;
  • The problems with cesarean birth, our gut microbiome, and ketosis;
  • Terry's #1 tip for optimal health, and...
  • Much, much more.

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Episode Breakdown

  • Terry shares stories of her early childhood and the health issues that led to her progressive illness

  • Why Terry says she stopped reading medical material for five years 

  • How a simple supplement cocktail allowed Terry to get out of bed and go to work

  • What the current teaching of progressive MS is and what you'd typically expect

  • Terry's radical change to eating Paleo in 2002

  • Why Terry wanted to grow more muscle on her legs through electrical stimulation

  • The struggles of taking a course on neuro-protection from the Institute for Functional Medicine

  • Terry's big "ah-ha!" moment (10:38)

  • How the University of Google helped Terry find a list of 20 foods that would then lead to what we now know as The Wahls Protocol

  • How The Wahls Protocol is different than the typical paleo diet

  • Why its important to shift our environment into a habitat that's more closely aligned to our hunter-gatherer kin

  • Why Terry tells people to, "Think about where your ancestors came from."

  • Terry reviews the history of life on our planet

  • Why Dr. Wahls says our health declines as we lose the diversity of our gut microbiome

  • Why Terry is more fond of the medium chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic diet rather than the dairy-based ketogenic diet

  • Dr. Wahls favorite source for MCT

  • Why Terry doesn't use red palm oil

  • Why Terry says she only eats once a day, or, every other day

  • Why those with ApoE4 gene expression do not want to use coconut oil or saturated fats (and what to use instead)

  • Why Dr. Wahls prefers a diet that is higher in resistance starch and fiber

  • Terry contrasts the diets of typical sugar burners versus that of a primal fat burner

  • The therapeutic use of ketogenic diets in the early 1900's

  • Why Dr. Wahls says you should consume ketone bodies from MCT rather than from dairy

  • Why Terry says if you're wanting to become a mom or dad, why you may not want to be in ketosis

  • What is "metabolic flexibility?"

  • What might happen if Dr. Wahls were to eat even a small amount of bread or dairy

  • Why Dr. Wahls practices cold thermogenesis and spends time in the sauna

  • The types of movement Terry likes to engage with

  • The differences between being born vaginally versus being born via c-section

  • Issues with going low-carb high-fat

  • Why Terry is confident that the MCT oil-based keto diet is less stressful than the dairy-based keto diet

  • Why Terry adds seaweed to her diet but cautions against eating too much

  • James gets the personal opinion of Dr. Wahls on his own eating strategy and what that exactly looks like

  • Why Terry has a goal of eating 200 different plant species a year (and why you should, too)

  • Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing

  • Terry gives practical tips on how to begin healing yourself of chronic autoimmune disorders with the power of whole foods

  • Why Terry says that as soon as you begin to think you have the corner on the truth, you are now completely wrong.

  • The one piece of advice Terry says everyone, including myself, should be doing on a consistent basis for better health

Questions I Ask

  1. “Maybe you want to open that up with a little bit of your story.”

  2. "Before this, there had been no cases or studies of anyone that had miraculously somehow turned their life around with a progressive disorder like that?"

  3. "What did you do next?"

  4. "Where these nutrients specific for the brain?"

  5. "And that's why it's important also for people to understand where they come from, right?" 

  6. "So you are a fan of fasting or intermittent fasting?"

  7. "What exactly is the ketogenic diet and what does that look like versus what most people today on the SAD diet eat?" 

  8. "The dietary guidelines for fat are changing?"

  9. "Is there a reason why you would choose getting your ketones bodies or ketones exogenously from medium chain triglycerides rather than from dairy? What is the biggest difference between the two?"

  10. "Going very low-carb high-fat, there can be some issues with the thyroid... is that correct?"

  11. "What are some practical tips that you might want to give to the audience with autoimmune issues?"

  12. "If you could give one piece of advice to our audience for better health, what would that be?"

Mentioned Resources

"The word is out on the street that diet really does matter." Dr. Terry Wahls

Who is Dr. Terry Wahls?

Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine and the cookbook The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions. You can learn more about her work from her website, www.terrywahls.com. She hosts the Wahls Protocol Seminar every August where anyone can learn how to implement the Protocol with ease and success.

Contact Dr. Wahls, Here:

Website: www.terrywahls.com

Social media: Facebook and Twitter

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James Broderick