This week our guest is Terry Wahls, MD, a physician and scientific researcher best known for her groundbreaking work reversing autoimmune diseases — including her own disabling case of multiple sclerosis, which for a time had her confined to a tilt-recline wheelchair with very little hope of recovery.
But recover she did, and what produced her recovery was an experimental, systems-based approach that Dr. Wahls developed for herself.
It combined a specialized paleo-inspired nutrition program with other functional medicine and lifestyle interventions — all aimed at healing her brain and nervous system, nourishing her mitochondria and rebuilding her physical resilience.
Today that approach is known as the Wahls Protocol, and it’s being used to reverse a wide variety of autoimmune diseases, as well as a number of other supposedly incurable chronic health conditions.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wahls’ research and clinical success is gaining worldwide respect and excitement — even from those who once considered her work heretical.
Here, Pilar talks with Dr. Wahls about the early life experiences that prepared her to deviate from conventional medical practice, even when that deviation invited criticism, ridicule and rebuke.
We explore how Dr. Wahls’ personal healing journey and her professional accomplishments reflect the stages of what Pilar calls the Healthy Deviant Hero’s Journey.
We look at how our view of human health has been shaped by unhealthy systems and assumptions — and why no amount of “healthcare reform” can hope to fix our national health crisis until we relearn how health is created — and degraded — in the first place. That includes a clearer understanding of evolutionary mismatch, and a re-embracing of the time-tested life patterns essential to human vitality.
Dr. Wahls shares some exciting news about the release of an updated and revised edition of her now-classic book, The Wahls Protocol, and about the unprecedented research she is embarking on with the help of mission-driven philanthropic support.
Finally, we leave you with some experiments to help you integrate a little of Dr. Wahls’ revolutionary healing wisdom into your own life.
“Autoimmunity with Dr. Terry Wahls” Episode Highlights
- Dr. Wahls’ journey from MS diagnosis and continued decline to her discovery of the dietary and lifestyle interventions that resulted in a dramatic transformation and eventual remission of her illness
- The physical, chemical and emotional triggers that may have contributed to the onset of her disease
- Why her attempts to share her protocol were initially met with skepticism and scorn by other professionals and organizations
- The outpouring of grassroots acceptance and gratitude she received from people whose lives were transformed by her work
- The growing receptiveness of “mainstream” professional communities to the importance of diet and lifestyle interventions
- Why our declining health as a nation — and the rise of infectious diseases like COVID-19 — mirrors the deterioration of our food, water and eco-systems as well as our social fabric
- The encouraging trend of more experts promoting and practicing health creation and more people demanding alternative disease treatments — this, not the government, will transform our healthcare system
- The importance of evolutionary biology in developing modern disease interventions
- How to influence the health of the people you care about — be an example of a healthy person
Dr. Wahls’ Experiment of the Week
If you eat sugar- and grain-based foods, swap those out with more vegetables and protein — gluten-free grains and legumes if you’re a vegetarian, meat if you’re not. Eat as many vegetables and proteins as you need to not feel hungry. Try this for a month and notice how you feel.
Pilar’s Experiment of the Week
Try one or both of these experiments:
Read Dr. Wahls’ book, The Wahls Protocol — even if you don’t have a chronic disease. Notice how it shifts your perception of conventional disease treatments and the power you have to heal your own body.
Try the SUPER-simple boiled cabbage dish that Pilar’s partner, Forager Chef Alan Bergo put together as a go-to side.
- Dr. Wahls’ website
- Her books:
- Published research (this page also contains a link and contact information for the Dietary Approaches to Treating MS Related Fatigue study referenced by Dr. Wahls at the end of the episode)
- Wahls’ “Minding Your Mitochondria” TEDx talk
- Contribute to the Wahls Therapeutic Lifestyle Research Fund
- Pilar’s Facebook Live video interview with Dr. Wahls (recorded during the first days of COVID-19 lockdown) in which Dr. Wahls sheds light on the importance of safeguarding and bolstering our immune systems during times of contagious disease outbreaks — especially for those with autoimmune conditions
- From Experience Life magazine:
Have You Read Pilar’s and Dallas’s New Books?
You’ve heard us talking about them for years. Wouldn’t you like to read them? Both are on shelves now and getting rave reviews!
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