Book Review: The Wahls Protocol

TerryWahlsKale

The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine.
By Terry Wahls, M.D.

This is an extraordinary book. More specifically, what Dr. Wahls has done is extraordinary. She has confronted a degenerative, incurable disease and discovered a way to reverse its course, first for herself, and now for her patients and research participants. She went from being confined to a reclining wheelchair, to being able to go on long bike rides with her family, and she has helped her patients make similar recoveries. I would highly recommend The Wahls Protocol, especially to people affected by multiple sclerosis, other autoimmune diseases, or indeed any chronic condition.

Early on in the book Dr. Wahls makes a guiding point: “What your cells use to fuel the chemistry of life comes directly from what you feed yourself.” She points out that the designation of “healthy” foods is not an abstract idea, rather, what makes something healthy is that it contains the substances that your cells literally need for the chemical reactions that make up life. If your cells cannot function properly, your body cannot function properly, which means that it cannot resist nor recover from disease.

Another related insight that Dr. Wahls describes is that our conventional medical system is much more focused on fighting symptoms than on actually getting to the root cause of disease. Diseases are described not based on the unseen biochemical workings that have gone awry, but rather on symptoms, which are readily apparent. Billions are spent on medical research to find drugs that control symptoms, but very little money or attention is paid to how to actually restore the underlying biochemistry, which is the actual foundation of health. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system, whose role is to attack invading dangers such as viruses, begins to attack the body itself instead. Conventional Western medicine deals with this by prescribing drugs which weaken the immune system, so it cannot attack the body as aggressively. However, in doing so the drugs weaken or harm other parts of the body as well, leading to often severe side effects. In addition, blocking the immune system does nothing to address WHY it is attacking the body in the first place, and so it cannot truly solve the problem. As Dr. Wahls’s MS continued to worsen, even as she pursued the best conventional medical care, she realized that she needed a better solution. Continue reading

Rethinking fat. (It’s actually healthy, really!)

Donald-Brun_Beurre There’s been a lot in the news lately about fat, and a lot of it has been contrary to standard beliefs. Our government, organizations such as the American Heart Association, and our medical professionals have drummed into all of our heads that:

  1.  saturated fat should be avoided, and replaced with “heart-healthy” polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and
  2. that cutting dietary fat will keep us from being fat.

The trouble is, these are based on strikingly outdated theories. The problems with our ideas about fat, as well as the fascinating, largely political stories behind their development, have been thoroughly described, for example by journalist Michael Pollan. The good news is, it seems like public opinion is shifting, and these long clung-to ideas may slowly be crumbling.

  • NPR reported on a couple of studies about full-fat dairy in February. They both found that higher dairy fat consumption was associated with a lower risk of becoming obese.
  • In March, a major meta-analysis reviewing dietary fat studies was met with both happiness and head-scratching in the media; the study found that saturated fat is not associated with increased heart disease risk, while polyunsaturated fat is not shown to decrease risk.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported on multiple recent studies about the health benefits of (highly saturated) coconut oil.

So what’s going on? Continue reading

Kenyan Fruit Salad

001

Elephant munching grass.

Years ago I had the wonderful experience of going to Kenya on a school trip. One moment that for some reason has always stuck with me is one of our particularly whimsical Kenyan teachers sharing with us a song to the tune of the French nursery rhyme “Frère Jacques”, a.k.a. “Are You Sleeping”. It actually had a little dance that went with it, and went like so:

Avocado, Avocado

Papaya, Papaya

Lemons and oranges, lemons and oranges

Fruit salad, Fruit salad

I never found out whether this was a common song, or if he had just come up with it himself, but I was intrigued by the combination of fruits and curious to try it. Also the song would always get stuck in my head… so recently, I finally made it, and it is delicious! The mild creaminess of the avocado and papaya is perfectly offset by the citrus, making a salad that has a lot more texture, richness, and contrast than most fruit salads. And of course it’s super easy- just four ingredients to chop up and mix together! You can do whatever proportions seem good to you, but don’t be afraid to use a lot of lemon: the avocado and papaya temper its tartness.

 

Kenyan fruit salad

This salad is not only delicious but is also super nutritious… it has lots of potassium, magnesium, copper, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. Papaya has enzymes in it which are known to support digestion. Avocado is full of awesome monounsaturated fats, balancing the sugars in the other fruits. Citrus such as lemon and orange are not only a great source of vitamin C, but also of disease-fighting flavonoids…

Inaladha = YUMMY in Swahili… Enjoy!

Bygone Farms: Milk for the Cats

Here is a fantastic photograph of a woman milking a cow and giving a bit to a tabby cat:

1921 Colorado State

This is a pretty incredible image, so I was surprised to find there are actually many similar pictures to be found…

It’s hard to think of anything as delightful happening in today’s milk production. And it’s amazing to think that not too long ago this was how Americans got their milk…

Love it… ❤