By Brenda Cosentino
After struggling for many years with poor health, constant fatigue and unrelenting body pain, I finally found relief by following the Wahls Paleo Diet. It took me a while to find Dr. Wahls and her healing diet. I tried many, many things such as cleanses, a high-fat paleo diet and supplements. However, within less than a year of adjusting my diet to the Wahls Paleo Diet, which is a refined Paleo diet that is nutrient-dense and chock full of healing properties, I was able to fully turn my health around. Here’s how it happened.
When I transitioned to the Wahls Paleo Diet, my health was in a terrible state. As I was battling Lyme Disease, I was in desperate need of a way to restore my health and strength. I was overweight, hypothyroid, weak, exhausted, anemic, in pain and still suffering from chronic migraines. Hair tissue mineral analysis revealed many nutritional deficiencies, which is not unusual for anyone with chronic infections. I had been eating Paleo for the last several years with very minimal improvements. In my Paleolithic style diet, my focus was on protein and fat. I was also treating the Lyme Disease with Stephen Buhner’s Herbal Protocol and had completed an extensive parasite cleanse. But none of those diet changes were helping me feel better.
In managing my Lyme Disease, I started looking for a nutrient-rich diet that would provide me with all of the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals – a diet that would heal my gut so that I could rebuild my immune system. I wanted every single bite of food to be packed with healing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that would heal my disrupted chemistry and metabolism. In this quest for natural healing, I knew that real food could ultimately function as a powerful medicine. And it did!
I became instantly drawn to the work of Dr. Terry Wahls, whose nutritional research led her to develop a diet to treat her own secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis. The disease had left her confined to a tilt recline wheelchair for four years. She had tried many of the conventional drugs for MS available at the time with little success. Dr. Wahls proceeded to utilize her research to cultivate a diet and lifestyle that brought her out of her wheelchair. In fact, after 9 months, she was strong enough to bike 18 miles! The Wahls approach of eating the most nutrient-dense real food sparked my curiosity. In order to learn more about this Paleo diet, I purchased her book “The Wahls Protocol” and gave her diet a try.
My New Diet from Dr. Wahls:
- 3 cups of dark green vegetables,
- 3 cups intensely colored vegetables: 1 cup red vegetables/fruit, 1 cup blue-black vegetables/fruit, 1 cup yellow/orange vegetables/fruit
- 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables: Mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and bok choy
- Seaweed for iodine and trace minerals.
- Omega 3 rich foods – Wild fish and seafood, fermented fish oil
- Organ meats (offal) once per week. (We eat beef liver covered in onions once per week).
- Regular bone broth – We were already making a slow simmer 48 hour beef broth.
- Fermented foods or a probiotic – such as sauerkraut and beet kvass, some of my favorites
When I first read about the diet, I thought to myself, “How on Earth am I going to be able to eat 9 cups of fruit and vegetables each day?” Then, the solution came to me: morning smoothies! The incorporation of a green smoothie into my diet every single morning would boost my fruit and vegetable intake easily. Maybe this wouldn’t be so difficult after all!
A Typical Day for Me
Breakfast– Super healthy green smoothie.
Lunch– A large salad with a healthy variety of different greens, vegetables, boiled eggs or meat left over from the night before. I top this off with a homemade dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, herbs, honey, Dijon mustard, spices and chopped garlic.
Supper- This is usually a completely cooked meal of grass-fed meat, occasional organic chicken, or wild caught fish along with lots of cooked vegetables with a healthy dose of melted butter.
Note- Dr. Wahls suggests eliminating eggs for a 30 day period and then reintroducing them if there is no adverse reaction. I cut eggs out of my diet for about 2 months and added them back without any negative symptoms. Since I know I don’t have any atypical reactions, I continue to eat pastured eggs almost every day. Also, I do not measure out my food; instead, I listen to my body’s cues and eat until I feel satiated.
Additional supplements that I take to boost my nutrient intake include: digestive enzymes, magnesium, multi-mineral/vitamin, kelp tablets, fish oil, desiccated liver pills when I travel, plant based iron tablet (for anemia), copper(according to hair tissue results) and moringa in my smoothies.
Within one month of integrating the green smoothies and the Wahl’s diet, my health began to improve. I just felt better! I felt warmer, less fatigued and my head felt clearer. At this point, I knew I was fully hooked! Within 6 months of adopting this diet I got so much of my strength back. It was astounding. I was able to comfortably walk five miles, swim daily, begin resistance training, and to top it off, I lost over 20 pounds. All of my previous unpleasant symptoms– constipation, intestinal pain and chronic infections– have since disappeared.
In terms of my nutrient status, my hair, skin and nails have greatly improved. The results of my hair tissue mineral analysis were much improved after one year on this diet. My mineral levels are now within the acceptable range, a far cry from the diminished levels I had noted before. When your body’s biochemistry is out of whack, it absolutely takes time and patience to heal. My thyroid function has improved and body temperature is normal for the first time in my life. Even though I am 53 years old and peri-menopausal, managing my weight isn’t a difficult task. Despite the fact that I have struggled with anemia my entire life, my last blood results showed a marked improvement in red blood cell count and ferritin levels.
I am so grateful to Dr Wahls for sharing this diet with me and the rest of the world! It has been truly exciting to heal and regain my health and strength using nutrient-dense real food and other natural therapies. I love eating this way and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Read more about Brenda Consentino at www.realfoodrebel.com
Read more about Dr. Wahls health and diet protocol at:
From Wheelchair To Biking: Dr. Wahl’s Miracle Recovery From Autoimmune Disease
Looking to reverse your MS or autoimmune disease? Learn how Dr. Wahls reversed her MS symptoms by adopting a nutrient-rich paleo diet in her book The Wahls Protocol.