The book recommends eating soy products, rice and potatoes and also recommends a low-fat diet. The current diet plan does not support adding these foods to the diet and is a high-fat diet; high in healthy fats. It is a low-sugar and starch, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free diet that minimises or eliminates grains, legumes and potatoes. (Some of us need to completely eliminate these. I know I do.)
Wahls writes, ‘Raw dairy still has casein (protein) that looks like gluten to our immune system. That means raw milk still stimulates immune system problems. For those with food allergies / sensitivities it is still a major problem. Once sensitized – always sensitized. I avoid and strongly urge all with an a chronic disease or autoimmune disease to AVOID. Gluten grains – wheat, rye, barley, and the protein in dairy – can lead to an over active immune reaction — which then can lead to autoimmune problems, asthma, rashes, mood problems and more. For many going gluten free, dairy free is the beginning of better health. Going fully paleo (no grain and no legumes) for many will lead to even more vitality. But for most – it is a transition that may take several weeks or months. It is ok to start small, but do start the journey..’
Wahls’ current diet plan, as best as I can work it out, is as follows:
* Eating 9 cups of non-starchy vegetables and berries each day (3 cups each of greens, sulfur containing veggies, and colourful veggies) is essential. Choose organic and/or grow your own if you can.
* It is okay to take in some of your 9 cups in the form of freshly pressed juices.
* Eating good quality grass-fed/free-range/organic meats daily is essential.
* Cook with natural fats such as coconut oil, lard and clarified butter/ghee.
* Eating organ meats such as liver is recommended at least once a week. Liver is very important for B vitamins. Cooked medium rare is best.
* Bone broths are recommended daily. They are full of minerals and help heal the gut.
* Eating seaweed once a week or more is recommended.
* Eating nuts/seeds or nutritional yeast is recommended daily, including coconut milk.
* Eating sprouts is recommended, such as broccoli sprouts.
* Eating fermented foods such as unpasturised sauerkraut is recommended.
* Eggs are recommended, although people with autoimmune diseases should not have egg whites due to a problematic protein in the egg white. (They should be eliminated at first and added back after a few weeks, and only eaten if there is no reaction to them. Same with nightshades)
* Eating small amounts of honey or cocoa is okay, and so is eating natural flavourings in food such as spices and ginger.
* Getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids and not too many Omega 6s is important, so Omega 6 containing oils should be minimised and fish oil capsules taken, and foods such as hemp oil, seafood and flax oil eaten. The best ratio is 3:1.
Other helpful things:
* Vitamin D should be over 50 ng/ml and under 100 ng/ml. (Take a test every 1- 3 months and take 4000 IU vitamin D3 daily, or more if needed. 150 ng/ml is toxic.).
* Having daily quiet time is important, to calm down our adrenals. Meditation, massage, nature and family time is also important.
* Epson salt baths, melatonin and herbal teas can help sleep.
* Minimise toxin exposure and quit smoking.
* B complex supplements or sulphur amino acids may be helpful (under a doctor’s direction).
* Heavy metal testing and treatments such as clay baths and facial clay masks and saunas may be helpful.
* A good quality water filter is essential.
Wahls also supports ideas such as:
* Supplements can in some cases be helpful, but they can never replace a nutrient dense and healthy diet. A proper diet must always come first. Foods contain many beneficial cofactors and other compounds not included in supplements and many that we have not yet even discovered or named.
* Getting evaluated for potential food allergies, toxic load issues and more personalised nutritional needs by a practitioner of functional medicine is a very good idea. The Institute for Functional Medicine can help you find a provider in your area.
* Drugs are not the answer. Let food, good wholesome food be thy medicine.
* “Between the unexpected, unpleasant events in our lives and our response to those events is a space, and in that space we have a choice in deciding what our response will be. We can either give up or get up each day and do our best.”
* “Epigenetics is how your environment talks to your genes. Our cells are capable of reading the state of our environment and activating or deactivating genes. This means that, based on the choices we make, we can turn on genes for health or turn off those health-promoting genes. In other words, it is your health behaviors such as diet and activities, that determine whether the health-promoting or the health-robbing genes are active. For some conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or hemophilia, our genes are an important factor, often the cause of the disease. But for the obesity, heart disease, mental health and autoimmune epidemics that are driving up the cost of health care in the U.S. and around the world, there are no single genes that are the culprit. Instead, for each of these problems, multiple genes are involved, and they interact in a complex way with the environment.”
* We need to stop blaming our genes for our illnesses and work on making the best of the 70% that is under our control.
* “Yes, it does cost more to eat vegetables. But you will pay the price either way–for food that restores your health and vitality or for doctor visits, drugs, surgery and loss of work due to health problems.”
* “Functional medicine is really looking at health of the cell. And what can we do to help the individual make the environment for their cells, an environment for doing the biochemistry life more ideal. So that comes down to the fruit you eat or do not eat, the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink, the toxic load that is in your body is a result of the exposure you had over a lifetime because if you couldn’t get the toxins out the day you were exposed to them, they get parked in your fat and did you know that your brain is 70% fat? So if you can’t get the toxins out you had today with your whatever your exposure was, you’re parking it in your fat and your brain which is going to create havoc over time.”
Hard to argue with any of that! I agree with all of it. Most of the above are quotes from Dr Wahls, from her many websites.
Functional or holistic medicine just makes so much sense. It treats the actual cause of diseases, rather than just blindly drugging everything and focusing on endlessly chasing and minimising symptoms.
There are 3 basic principles of the type of medicine discussed by Wahls and others in this same field:
A. Get the good stuff in. Give your body the fuel and tools it needs to work at an optimum level. Good food, nutrients and all the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure you aren’t deficient in any of the major nutrients as the different nutrients all work together.
B. Get the bad stuff out. Make sure your body can detoxify out all the toxic substances and toxic by-products of bodily processes properly. Stop as many toxins from getting in in the first place, and do things which aid detoxification to get rid of the ones you have.
C. Reduce your body’s total load. The total load concept is that lessening the body’s overall burden/work and stress level in one area, will improve health generally and improve the body’s ability to heal because the body’s total load (or burden) is lessened. Fixing one problem frees up bodily resources that can be then be used to help other parts of the body function getter or to heal. In other words, you need to look at the body as a whole in order to heal, and not just the one part of the body that is generating the most symptoms.