Why can’t they all agree?! Terry Wahls follows Paleo principles, but Wahls’ high-fat diet is basically the opposite of Swank’s low-fat diet. I don’t think I agree with her paleo principles any more than Christina Warinner does:
Dr Mcdougal – who, like Dr Terry Wahls has MS and got himself out of a wheelchair using diet has a message quite different to Wahls’ ; that starch is important! His book is definitely worth a read. In this video he is encouraging us to live on starch:
The thing is also that we are all different; so maybe we all need to be much more individual about diets. What do you think? Please let me know your views, I am interested.
Recently I have noticed that when I do not eat e.g. by waiting a while before eating breakfast in the morning, or through intermittent fasting: finishing dinner at 5 or 6 and then waiting a few hours in the morning before breakfast; I have no or much less MS symptoms. This has been a sum-what problematic discovery for me, as I consider myself to be under weight and am trying to gain not lose weight.
Terry Wahls, in her book has led me to a possible explanation for why fasting feels so good by introducing me to the notion of nutritional ketosis; the acceleration of the production of ketones through the reduction of dietary carbohydrates.
Ketone bodies are a by-product of burning fat. They are small molecules containing energy produced by the liver using fatty acids during periods of low food intake such as fasting or when on low carbohydrate diets. Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier where the brain cells’ mitrochondria can then burn them as fuel. The longer you are in nutritional ketosis, the more enzymes the body will make for burning ketones; the easier it is for it to use them.
Nutritional Ketosis is a mechanism the body has always used to heal and survive at times when food is less available, for our ancestors; this was during winter. During this time the body begins to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. Because modern diets are loaded with carbohydrates, our bodies burn sugar for fuel instead of fats. The latter is easier but not more beneficial. Glycolysis* takes place through fermentation, in the cell cytoplasm, outside of the mitochondria. Sugary, starchy diets cause inflammation. Burning fat is better for the brain and means our bodies go into the more efficient form of energy production that occurs when we go into ketosis*.
*Glycolysis: spliting of the sugar molecule
*Ketosis: the metabolic state in which the production of ketones is increased
Here is a brilliant video of Mark Mattson’s simple explanation of how neurons grow and synapses are strengthened during intermittent fasting – how it can help reduce inflammation and improve the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA:
Here is another good albeit quite long video on Nutritional ketosis:
I am reading Terry Wahls’ book on the treatment of autoimmune diseases with a high fat diet. I have adopted her mega veg/fruit intake and am aiming at 9 cups a day (3 green leafy veg, 3 bright colours and 3 sulfur-rich). I have also cut out all grains and legumes as well as started to eat meat again…following the Swank diet rules as described by Judy Graham in her book Multiple Sclerosis – A Self-Help Guide to its Management and which I summarise here.
I think that the high-fat content prescribed on the Wahls Protocol is too contradictory to the Swank low-fat diet. I am still awaiting a response from Dr Wahls on Twitter about the contradiction between high/low fat – but can see from her webpage that it will not come without money changing hands first.
I think that people with MS (or any illness for that matter) should help one another with their findings instead of charging others for the knowledge. Anyway – that is my view; Dr Wahls obviously has her own.
Roy Swank introduced his diet in 1948 and so many have benefited from following it ever since. In comparison, Wahls’ diet is quite new. Although a high-fat diet has helped her tremendously, according to Swank; following a low-fat diet is essential in order to stop the progression of MS. Seeing as Dr Wahls was unwilling to comment on the differences between the two diets, and given the greater time period covered by Swank’s research; I think it is safer to stick to Swank.
If there had never been a Swank or Wahls… there are still facts to support a low fat diet for the treatment of MS. The illness is most common in the wealthier countries of the world, and less so in less affluent ones. The exception to this rule is Japan. What do the poorer countries of the world and Japan have in common? A diet less reliant on animal foods than the countries where MS is prevalent. The heavy consumption of animal fat in richer countries has a direct correlation with a higher incidence of MS.
I do however believe that you must believe 100% in whatever you decide to do to improve your health. The mind is our most powerful tool; what we believe is of utmost importance.
Dr Wahls’ book has been helpful nonetheless. It has reminded me of the importance of vegetables – I am eating LOTS more now by following the 9 cup rule. It has also encouraged me to give up all grains – not just gluten ones and I feel better as a result. I am still bloated and need to work out what in my diet is causing this, but I am feeling very positive about these new changes in my diet.
Finally Wahls has introduced me to the notion of nutritional ketosis which provides an explanation to why I feel better when I do not eat.
After a very long relapse, I have been reprogramming my brain with physio therapy in water and the use of Nordic Walking Poles on land :). The walking poles helped me remain upright and keep my balance when I had trouble walking. Now that I no longer need them I can see that as well as improving my walking they have also corrected my posture. The physio is ongoing in the water with my lovely auntie.
I also had a break in the sunshine in May which was extremely helpful 😀
I LOVE WALKING IT IS A JOY TO BE IN REMISSION WOOOHOOOO!!
I will not be sitting through the cold next winter! Sun sun sun 🙂