Healing Multiple Sclerosis with Food

Can you heal multiple sclerosis with food? Well, this doctor did. (I use the words, “heal”  in the sense that she no longer has the symptoms of said disease). (Update: A reader alerted me that Dr. Wahls feels that it will take more time to completely reverse her MS, so she prefers to say that she is “reversing” her MS. Thanks, Eileen, for that update!

You know from my writing that I don’t try to push any very specific diet recommendations for the general populace, other than eating a nourishing, whole food, based diet. I think that what works the very best for us and our bodies can vary greatly. My influences for how I cook have been from Dr. Price (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Gonzalez (a doctor who treats cancer naturally, interviewed in Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer–And How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place), Julia Ross (The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure) among others.

But I also think that it is worth sharing specific people who used specific diets to find healing for themselves. These types of stories are so inspiring and helpful.

So, let me introduce you to Dr. Terry Wahls. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000, she pursued the very best conventional help to be had for this incurable disease with little success. In 2007 She found herself in a wheelchair, losing hope.

But she wasn’t willing to give up. She started researching what nutrients could make a difference in helping protect her brain and body from the devastating effects of MS. She started taking supplements, but then she realized that food is a living thing that can’t be reproduced in a lab easily. We don’t know all of the substances, the undiscovered elements that make food healing. So she decided to work up a diet for herself that would incorporate the vitamins and minerals she needed to help fight against her disease.

She basically started with a hunter/gatherer diet, and tweaked it to her needs. Everyday she consumes…
3 cups of green leafy vegetables (such as kale), 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables (found in the cabbage and onion families, mushrooms and asparagus), and 3 cups of brightly colored vegetables.

She gets protein from grassfed meats, organ meats (once a week), wild fish, and also eats seaweed once a week for iodine.

Within a month of this diet, she was experiencing change for the better. In five months she got on a bike and pedaled around the block. Yes, the lady in a wheelchair was riding a bike. Her success was incredibly rapid, and the photos she shows of herself in the following TEDtalk are very moving as you see her go from being almost completely immobile to active and well.

When I first watched this clip, I immediately thought of Julia Ross’s books, The Diet Cure
and The Mood Cure, which mirror some of these recommendations, such as eating a high amount of produce, and plenty of protein. Julia has had amazing results in helping people not only lose weight, but also overcome a variety of health issues, including depression, as well as overcome severe addictions. But Dr. Wahls also includes some of the elements that Dr. Price thought important, such as organ meats.

The power of food to heal is simply amazing. Watch this clip for a gripping story that demonstrates that well.

Since this video was filmed, she has also started working on a book based on her protocol and has a website devoted to her story, and her further research here.  Now there are others who can say that her protocol helped them as well.

*Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for helping to support the work of this blog! I appreciate it. 

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. kd Skaggs says

    Food is very powerful! I suffered with fibromyalgia for many years and overcame it through diet changes and the addition of supplements. Where modern medicine failed me, food cured me. I have been symptom free for over 20 years.

    • Brooke says

      That brought tears to my eyes! How wonderful!
      I need to figure out how to help myself. It’s been a struggle. Thank you for sharing your interview

      • Juliet says

        Do the elimination diet! It helped me so much. I now say I’m diagnosed with fibromyalgia rather than saying I have fibromyalgia because I really don’t suffer from the symptoms of it anymore at this time. Food is medicine, medicine is food. Good luck Brooke.

    • Angela says

      Hi Clairissa,

      Do you have a blog or a website to share exactly what you do? I am in so much pain daily. I’m from Texas as well. Look forward to hearing from you. Blessings

    • linda says

      Clarissa, thank you for inspirational story. Would you mind sharing how you helped feel better with this change in diet? Thank you. Linda

    • Hanny Guzmán says

      This is amazing (happy tears)
      Would you share the name of your blog please
      Thank you so much for sharing this with the world
      Proof that Mother Nature is all we need a healthy life

  2. says

    Dr. Wahls is amazing. I did an interview with her recently. However, she DOES still have symptoms of her disease, and she was honest about that in our interview. She has made huge improvements and continues to improve, but instead of using the word “heal” she says she’s reversing her MS and expects it will take a decade or more to fully reverse it. However, that’s still awesome, because conventional medicine believed that was impossible – that once you lost an ability, you couldn’t get it back. She’s proved that isn’t true at all: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/01/31/terrys-story/

    • KimiHarris says

      Thanks, Eileen, for clarifying that! She has only 17 minutes in the above, so didn’t go into that.

  3. Barb says

    Wow! Thank you so much for posting a link to her Ted Talk. What an inspirational story. I will definitely be buying her book when it is available.

  4. Debbie Denker says

    Wow, thank you for an amazing story, full of hope! It brought tears to my eyes as I listened to her story. Her story is a miracle and I’m so proud of all the work she has done and continues to do. I was excited to hear her say she is doing clinical trials. So inspirational and at a time when I’ve been feeling discouraged with my own progress, then while at Fred Meyer today my husband suggested we check our blood pressure; normally when we walk over and check it mine runs about 130ish/180 with my BPM at around 85. Today is was 119/74 with my BPM at 74 and now listening to her… thank you! After listening to her, I am determined to buy some seaweed…. 😉

  5. says

    i’ve seen this talk before and was given so much hope for my own condition (which also has dramatically improved, as you know kimi, from eating a nutrient dense diet). i have another youtube friend with MS who eats a nourishing foods diet and manages her health this way as well. i’m glad you highlighted dr. wahls’ talk and process. cheers xo

  6. misterworms says

    We are big fans of Dr. Wahls. I first saw her Ted talk just a few months before my husband was diagnosed with MS and found it really inspiring. I am very excited to see the results of the clinical trials she’s running and hope it gets the attention of the healthcare community.

    The allopathic treatment options for MS (and most autoimmune diseases for that matter) are very poor, imo. It is difficult to gauge efficacy at an individual level, side effects can be pretty severe, long term safety is unknown and they are extremely expensive.

    We’re working towards a more Wahls-like diet currently. It’s most tricky to get the variety she recommends in the right quantity as I don’t do much planning and cook on the fly with whatever is on hand. Plus, her regimen also includes a lot of other things like NMES, meditation, etc.

    Even with our shortcomings there are positive developments like lessened fatigue/more energy, better mood, improved digestion and interestingly, a more youthful appearance. If you see Dr. Wahls over time, you will notice that she’s looking younger as well. At a minimum her diet is anti-aging 🙂

  7. Leah G says

    I was dx with MS in 2007 after going blind in both eyes. At the time I ate the recommended “healthy” diet and worked out 5-6 days a week. I was not breastfed and I was raised on processed food. I had a history of infection, allergies, migraines, & asthma. After 10 days in the hospital I regained most of my vision and received my lovely DX. I saw the best of the best Drs. I had to take all kinds of meds including injecting myself. It was awful. As I watched myself fall further in a hole I realized I couldnt live like this. One day my Husband told my Neuro there was no money in a cure and it clicked. I found the book The MS Recovery Diet and then the Weston A Price Foundation. We left our old life in the city and now farm 3 acres. Raise cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, fruits & veggies. I have had two awesome homebirths. Life is really good and its all because of food. Food can either kill you or cure you. So yes you can heal your MS with food. I am another example!

  8. Christy Reed says

    I was diagnosed with MS over 2 years ago after losing my hearing in my left ear. Luckily, I had a couple of friends who told me about the role of diet in MS. I immediately went from a diet consisting almost completely of processed food to all organic whole foods. It was hard at first, but I stuck with it. Now I can’t imagine living any other way. It’s now 2 1/2 years later, and I’ve had no other symptoms…other than fatigue in extreme heat. I run about 7 miles a week, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. It may be hard for others to understand, but I’m actually glad this happened. I never would have made these changes without the MS diagnosis.

  9. Laura says

    I was diagnosed with M.S. 28 years ago, just before my senior year of college and before there were any of what used to known as the ABC (Avonex, Beraseron and Copaxone). Since M.S. progressed very slowly, I graduated, was a research analyst for 5 years, before marriage and having children. I did have occasional double vision and leg tingling, I read about about holistic methods of healing since there was not any meds for M.S. yet. I am very happy for that, it forced to read books such as Norman Cousins “The Healing Heart”. It wasn’t until when my kids were 2 and 5 years old that I started Avonex. I stayed on it for two years, never really feeling it was I wanted. My healing journey continues with an occasional relapse that I control with diet. I’ve been gluten free for 8 years and still am adjusting my diet. I am inspired by others stories. Thank you!

  10. Wlad Sikorsky says

    I had a lecture once from a scientist who had done tests with cannabis for all sorts of pain patients. The only group that had an actual benefit were MS patients.
    Growing it yourself and smoking is no real solution as it is damaging to your lungs. As with all drugs and medicines, there are negative side effects that will become more clearly when a larger group of people is taking it.
    Not to mention that since you can legally use it in my country, the amount of people seeking help for addiction has risen to massive numbers resulting in costs for medical care that have risen to over 100 million euros.


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