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If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Terry Wahls, you should be — she is a doctor who healed herself from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis using a combination of dietary modifications and functional medicine. She has one of the most inspiring stories in this community, and if you haven’t yet, please check out her Ted Talk to get your mind blown — I personally owe the motivation to start my healing journey, in part to her willingness to share her story recovering from illness!
Terry is the author of The Wahls Protocol, a science-based book about her recommendations for those with multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease, and chronic illness. This month, her second offering has been released, called The Wahls Protocol Cooking For Life, a cookbook with over 150 recipes that are compliant with her dietary recommendations. This book is full of creative, nutrient-dense recipes and templates using the best quality, real-food ingredients.
How does the Wahls Protocol compare with the Autoimmune Protocol? It overlaps considerably, as the Wahls Protocol was a major inspiration for the development of AIP. The biggest difference is that instead of focusing on eliminations, it places primary concern on additions — most notably, the addition of 9 cups a day of colorful fruits and vegetables, high quality meats, and fermented foods. If you find yourself in the elimination phase of AIP, especially with nut and seed reintroductions going successfully for you, there is a ton of overlap. The only category of food that would be problematic is nightshades, which Terry writes about as problematic for some, and gives a handy substitution guide for the recipes in the book. Three things I love about The Wahls Protocol Cooking For Life:
- It focuses on templates. Many of the recipes in this book are in the form of flexible and adaptable templates, instead of the typical written recipe. I love this because often, I don’t have all of the exact ingredients to make a recipe, and that can be a big barrier to make it. In this book, Terry gives us more general and adaptable instructions, which leave some room for experimentation and flexibility depending on what ingredients are preferred or on hand (see the Basic Salad Dressing Template on p. 155 or the Basic Soup Template on p. 341).
- It includes creative solutions to complex needs. Her information on blenderizing, which involves blending an entire recipe for those who have difficulties swallowing or are on a feeding tube, is the most thorough I’ve seen thus far on this topic. She also covers household and personal care products, with recipes for homemade, non-toxic items to be used in the home and on the skin.
- It is full of inspiration. Peppered throughout the book are incredible stories of healing from the community of folks who have recovered using Terry’s nutritional advice. While her story alone is compelling, combining little anecdotes and stories from her wider community shows the impact her work has had on the lives of many, and shows you the true healing power of food!
I am incredibly grateful to Terry Wahls for her role in this community, as well as for motivating me to get started with dietary and lifestyle changes and inspiring me when I was in the middle of my health crisis. Right now she is working on clinical research on the impact of diet and lifestyle interventions on the progression of multiple sclerosis. If you’d like to stay up to date with what Terry is up to, please visit The Wahls Foundation.