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Reversing MS Through Dietary Changes

When Dr. Terry Wahls was diagnosed with MS, she did what any good doctor would do. She started the standard course of treatments recommended for MS by her peers. After 7 years of the best medicine had to offer for MS, she was for all intents and purposes a cripple. She couldn’t sit in a normal chair, but rather had to recline in a zero gravity chair at home and at work. She could walk only very short distances — and that using two canes! Then one day she decided to put her research acumen to the test.

She knew that in order to reverse her MS, she’d have to fuel her mitochondria and support the function of her brain cells. So, she dug into the research and discovered which nutrients were absolutely vital to accomplishing those two goals. Then she set about increasing her intake of those nutrients with food.

She ultimately opted for a hunter-gatherer (Paleo) diet with an emphasis on eating more of the foods that would fuel her mitochondria and nourish her myelin sheaths. Within months, she was walking without any canes. In less than a year, she was walking miles each day, riding her bike, and going on trail-rides. Today, she is completely free of MS.

That’s right. She’s cured.

Watch her story:

The most important parts of her diet?

  • eliminate all processed-food
  • eat a Paleo diet free of grain, sugar, and dairy
  • emphasize greens, sulfur-rich foods, and colorful fruits and veggies
  • eat organ meats from grass-fed animals at least once per week
  • eat wild-caught seafood at least three times a week
  • eat meat from grass-fed or wild animals, rather than industrial feed lots

Impressive, isn’t it?

She calls herself the canary in the coal mine for the rest of us. Let’s pay attention to her story. Let’s get motivated to remove the last of those convenience foods in favor of radically healthy, nutrient-dense, real food.

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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34 Responses to Reversing MS Through Dietary Changes
  1. Peter at Healing Center of Maine
    January 24, 2012 | 6:47 am

    What an amazing story! The power of real food. The video is so good. Fact filled but understandable and a riveting story.

  2. joy
    January 24, 2012 | 7:40 am

    very, very inspirational!!! and (another) damn wake up call!!

  3. Renee Harris
    January 24, 2012 | 3:11 pm

    I would love for my mom to get on board with this. She has MS.

  4. Primal Toad
    January 25, 2012 | 2:20 pm

    I loved this story. I showed it to my parents. My mothers best friends daughters husband has MC. My mother told her best friend about this video so hopefully the one who has MC will find out and take some action.

    Isn’t it amazing what real food can do for our bodies?

  5. Steve
    January 25, 2012 | 11:00 pm

    A very interesting read.

  6. Bryan - oz4caster
    January 28, 2012 | 12:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Her story is a great tribute to the power of a wise traditional diet to restore health and maintain health! We have the choice :)

  7. Soli @ I Believe in Butter
    January 28, 2012 | 8:57 pm

    I heard about her story last fall, and have also heard (though do not have sources to prove it) that she is not fully cured of the MS. There’s no doubt her quality of life has substantially improved though.

  8. Nichole
    January 28, 2012 | 9:05 pm

    When I lived in Iowa City and she would often give talks in the community (I’m sure she still does,we relocated out West). What is impressive is that even with her background in medicine, she looked to holistic ways for healing. Such a remarkable story-makes me want to make a kale salad right away (:

    • Hanna
      April 12, 2012 | 6:12 am

      Kale, full of vitamin K, please be careful to anyone on heart medications, mainly warfarin. (this was in my local organic gardening magazine)

  9. Nathan Buchanan
    January 29, 2012 | 5:29 pm

    I have a comment about real dairy vs common typical dairy.

    I fully agree with the view of typical dairy expressed above. However, I grew up in Minnesota where we drank raw unprocessed milk from my grandparents farm as kids. I look back and remember how all the farm kids who did the same were always stronger in sports and better in school than all the town kids. I was a powerful distance swimmer back then.

    20 years after not having access to that raw milk I had gained too much weight (for my body type) and suffered a lot from tiredness fatigue and lung congestion.

    But 5 months ago I found access to grass feed raw milk again here in New Zealand where I live now. Since starting to drink about 4 liters of raw milk a week I have noticed significant increase in alertness, strength and stamina. I have also experienced a significant and surprising decrease in illness (colds, flu, lung congestion) and skin problems. I also started loosing weight and am now in even better shape than I was 20 years ago!! A few of my friends here have also started drinking raw milk and have seen the same results. One has even been totally cured of lactose intolerance.

    I agree to stay away from processed dairy at all costs (pasteurized and homogenized) but I highly recommend trying to find raw milk from grass fed Jersey cows to replace any dairy you may now consume.

    • Ronald Webb
      January 30, 2012 | 4:34 pm

      I will be willing to bet that the farm boys superior physical skills were more due to the fact they had to work hard on the farm than what they ate, although I am sure they ate well.

  10. Anne Thistlethwaite
    January 30, 2012 | 2:34 pm

    What a bunch of crap. I have MS. Primary prossive. I can’t walk, can’t grocery shop, can’t use a pan on a burner (too heavy) can’t use the stove – too dangerous. I live by myself and have caregivers to help me do laundry, bathe, get out and in to bed and clean house. Who is going to cook for me? Changing my diet is going to cure me. Garbage! I hate these people who say exercise or diet or vitamins are going to cure an uncurable disease. I cannot afford a personal cook! Can hardly afford MS medicine. Stop putting online junk about changing your diet to cure MS. Don’t you think people with money would be on your stupid diet to cure MS? Makes my children bug me to make a life style change when they can’t help me.

    • Michelle
      February 2, 2012 | 6:38 pm

      I am sorry that your MS is so severe but I also share your frustration, that sometimes a nutrient dense diet just doesn’t seem to be enough. It will always help, but some of us seem to need even more help. Have you ever heard of the drug called low dose naltrexone? It works in the body homeopathically to heal the immune system and is changing the lives of many people with ms. You may wish to consider the. Book “honest medicine” by julia schopik or research ldn online.
      Hope Kristin doesn’t mind the comment; i just hear this woman’s desparation and wished to offer the information. This is not your typical pharmaceutical drug and

      • wendy
        February 3, 2012 | 2:51 am

        Yes, I have also heard of low-dose natrexon as a cure for ms and many other things. It is not well known – yet very well known. Naltrexon has been used for many years for other purposes. The ‘low dose’ is simply a small bit of the same drug. Therefore, it cannot be patented and so drug companies don’t advertise it. It’s still a prescription drug and a pharmacy must know how to divide it. I believe the LDN Homepage provides a list of such pharmacies. Worth a look for many reasons.

    • Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
      February 3, 2012 | 11:53 pm

      This is absolutely NOT crap, it’s NOT stupid, and MS is NOT incurable. My husband also has primary progressive MS, has been in a wheelchair for over two years, can’t walk (can’t even take one step). He got to a point where he couldn’t read a book because his eyes would “wiggle”, couldn’t sit up for more than a couple of hours at a time (and most of that would be spent sleeping in his wheelchair) because he felt like the room was spinning and he was constantly dizzy. He wouldn’t spend more than a total of about five hours sitting up in a day. He was practically confined to bed for most of every day, had to have help onto and off of the toilet and the bed. His speech would get terribly slurred and his voice would get very weak during parts of the day when he was exhausted and would lose all strength…I could go on and on.

      We have now been on this diet for 34 days. 34 DAYS!! His life has drastically improved. He has gained so much strength that he no longer needs help getting into and out of bed, or getting onto or off of the toilet. He can do all of that himself now. His dizziness has completely gone away. He’s now able to read books again, although he still has some trouble (but again, it’s only been 34 days). He is now sitting up an average of 10.5 hours every day, and the vast majority of that time he’s wide awake and energetic. His speech is no longer slurred, and his voice has gotten deep and strong once again.

      Again, let me repeat…THIRTY-FOUR DAYS!!

      Let me tell you something…attitude is incredibly important. You want to do something for yourself? Stop filling your body full of crap you call food and toxic chemicals you call medication, and start filling it with nutritious, living, life-giving nutrients. My husband is, and the results have been miraculous.

      • Meredith @ DareYouTo
        July 9, 2013 | 9:53 am

        This is SO wonderful and I am glad to hear he is improving so well!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your family’s experience. Keep spreading the good word so others can benefit, as well.

      • Preeti
        September 29, 2014 | 6:56 am

        Thanks for sharing your experience Kristi. It has been over a year since you wrote, I hope your husband is doing much better now :)
        I have been diagnosed with MS and Im only 28yrs old, just got married few months ago. My “new life” just begun and here I am surrounded by Neurologists telling me only Interferone can keep my health intact, no diet can help me. I have started following a very healthy diet, I have decided not to inject the interfone, I just hope the diet help me. Im so lost and cofused with everything Im reading online and hearing from the doctors i meet :(

  11. Tiffany
    January 30, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    A friend of mine has not cured but she controls her MS with her diet. She avoids, veggies grown in the ground, pototes, carrots, etc…, sugar, caffine, wheat, and who knows what else. When she gets lazy with her diet she does pay the price.

  12. Kathy (aka Mrs Dull)
    January 30, 2012 | 10:06 pm

    I’ve been thinking lately about the need to remove those last lingering bits of processed food from my diet to help with some lingering health issues. I find that every time I up the percentage of nutrient dense food and reduce processed food I feel a little better. Looking forward to finding out what happens when I can make it too 100%! Dr. Wahls story is definitely helps get me moving in that direction.

  13. Charles Kazer
    January 30, 2012 | 11:29 pm

    If you open your mind anything can happen my diet changed my life M/S 11years now!! most symptoms gone!! work 60hours a week!! Meditation& Pranic Healing also helped very much!! I;m 61 years old doing GREAT!! Juicing is great too!! Please try!Peace&Love Skip Hallelujah Diet!!!

  14. Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle)
    February 1, 2012 | 1:13 pm

    Amazing and yet unsurprising at the same time!

  15. Jim Bewilinf
    February 4, 2012 | 9:46 pm

    What do Dr. Wahls’ MRIs and blood chemistry tests show pre- and post-diet?

  16. george graf (retired MD)
    February 13, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    I have seen 50 years of cardiac disease in a practice of that time and am inclined to rely on the work of Esselstyn and Campell for dietary guidance. It is quite obvious that the Wahls diet is very similar and the truth lies in combining as needed and then individualizing as needed. Thrilled with this report by Dr Wahls!!!

  17. Laura
    February 21, 2012 | 9:28 am

    What does it mean to be cured of MS? Does it mean that all the damaged myelin sheath is regenerated? Does it mean that the “permanent neuropathy” is healed and I will be able to fully feel my toes, feet, and legs again? Does it mean that the “classic neurogenic bladder” is fixed and I will no longer experience symptoms of OAB, nor need to take meds to control it…and that I will be able to empty my bladder like normal and not need to self-cath “for the rest of your life”..?? Does it mean that all associated symptoms and secondary diagnosis are just…..gone? What does it really mean to be cured of MS??

  18. Hanna
    April 12, 2012 | 6:07 am

    Id love to know what her “before” diet was, cause I’ve heard of people being diagnosed with MS and wheelchair bound when it was actually poisioning from drinking a ridiculous amount of diet soft drink each day.
    If enough scarring has occurred on the myelin sheath, like any other part of the body the scar tissue will stay there and not regenerate normally :(
    What the article really needs to say is it may work for some people, and may reduce or stop further damage from the disease

    • Alyson
      January 3, 2013 | 12:06 pm

      I’m replying to that last comment even though it was several months ago, as people do come across these and read them even when they’re old.

      Her original diet was actually very healthy by most standards and she had already long cut out processed foods and was eating a well balanced diet. This was not a case of someone going from eating fast food every day to a highly nutritious diet. I believe – and on this point I am less certain – that she was already eating a paleo diet and then went from there to the specifics of her diet. And note, she does not claim to be cured of MS and in fact does still deal with some symptoms. But clearly her quality of life has been incredibly improved, and who knows if ultimately it will be a cure. I saw her in an interview where she said she imagined someone who had been severely ill might take 7-10 years to recover. Only time will tell…

      And btw – I find the only way I can reach the 9 cups of veggies is through juicing! I recommend trying that. I just started and am doing the Wahls diet for a different illness so I have no comment on results!

      • Kyle L.
        April 19, 2013 | 6:54 am

        Hi Alyson, thanks for the tip on juicing the veggies. It would definitely save me a lot of time. Could you recommend any veggie juicing recipe?

      • RS
        August 13, 2014 | 10:28 am

        In her recent book, Wahls Protocol, she makes a distinction between juicing and blending. She does not approve of juicing, but instead recommends blending. The reason is that blenders retain the entire vegetable, whereas juicing throws out the pulp. I too have started the Wahls Protocol, and can only achieve the 9 cups through blending. In her book, she specifically states that she does not recommend juicing, but points to blending as the preferred approach.

  19. Brian
    February 8, 2013 | 12:59 pm

    Holy Moly!!–just give the diet a serious try!–if anything you are taking charge and probably living longer. Look at the any medical curriculum, they only take 3 mths. of exercise and diet. Don’t be amongst the majority that are being played. Thank-you Dr. Wahls!!

  20. Meredith @ DareYouTo
    July 9, 2013 | 9:56 am

    Thank you for sharing this.

  21. kendra
    March 16, 2014 | 9:36 am

    This is very positive information. I was diagnosed with MS in 2012 when they thought I had some mini strokes, from there I went through a series of tests with a conclusion of MS. This year I am expertiencing numbness in my left arm and hand and cannot walk longer than a couple minutes with the use of a cane. I became a grandma and have been thinking of all that I stand to misout on. I need to do this!!! I refuse to thjink negetively that it may not work on me. I will use prayer along with this. I believe God led me to this as I’ve cried out to Him wanting to have a normal life again!!! I will make it through this!

    • Joan
      August 11, 2014 | 11:04 pm

      Wow, I read your post and my life and symptoms mirror yours. I too was diagnosed in 2012, became a grandma and have numbness in my hand and get tired after walking a few minutes. I will also try to change my diet and pray that I feel better and begin to heal.

  22. Randi
    May 23, 2014 | 7:26 am

    This IS crap. I am sick of diets being hawked as cures. I tried this diet for an entire year and it made me worse! Since adding moderate gluten back in, I have improved. What works for one might not work for another!

  23. Tina
    August 6, 2014 | 8:59 am

    Hi

    I agree that diet can reverse this disease. I disagree it is paleo, although paleo is still better than the standard American diet.

    The late Dr Roy Swank ( died age 99) worked on MS clinical trial for over fifty years with the university of oregon.All patients that he received with MS who followed his diet had no further mS symptoms and led a normal life. His work has been continued in further clinical trial by the amazing Dr John Mcdougall in partnership with the university of Oregon. Results are due to be released soon but again, a diet excluding any meat or diary or high fat refund foods. So in short, a low fat ( less than 10%) diet whole foods, whole grains plant based diet has reversed all MS symptoms. Same diet works on heart disease, breast cancer, all auto immune disease, arthritis, colitis many more. Check out Dr Roy Swank and Dr John Mcdougall, Deb Tasic, forks over knives documentary.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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