Episode 216 – Dr. Terry Wahls

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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Featuring guest: Dr. Terry Wahls

Author of the new book The Wahls Protocol

2013 head shotDr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she teaches internal medicine residents in their primary care continuity of care clinics, sees patients in a traumatic brain injury clinic and conducts clinical trials. For four years, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis confined Dr. Terry Wahls to a tilt-recline wheelchair. But by using her research, Functional Medicine and Paleo principles to create the Wahls Protocol™ program, Dr. Wahls has transformed her health and body: now she walks easily without a cane and commutes by bicycle. Dr. Wahls uses these diets and protocols in her therapeutic lifestyle  and traumatic brain injury clinics and is leading clinical trials to test her protocols on others.


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Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Erin says

    Any way you guys can add a streaming feature? I can’t download to my work computer and I need SOMETHING to alleviate this death-by-desk boredom.

  2. says

    I discovered Dr. Wahls after discovering Loren Cordain, Robb Wolfe and Mark Sisson. Paleo not only changed my life but saved it. In 2011 I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a terminal lung disease and was told I would be on Oxygen by April 2012 and likely be dead in three years. I discovered Paleo/Primal in December 2012. Instead of hauling around an O2 tank and being on the other side of the grass I’m running in a 5K in April as an age group competitor and have every expectation of winning my age group two years after my forecast to be on Oxygen. I attribute the Paleo diet, exercise and attitude with my turn around and am totally drug free, train regularly (lift, swim sprint and run), and encourage other patients with IPF to follow the Paleo lifestyle. Thanks Robb for all you do.

  3. Peter says

    Awesome interview, fantastic work by Doc Wahls.

    I loved how she is both subjective bringing her own experience with this terrible affliction to the table and very objective and measured eg. in her response to the “ketogenic question”.

    Another great champion for this ancestral health/”diet&lifestyle as medicine” movement in the modern medical community!

  4. says

    I’ve heard Dr. Walls say that she exhaustively analyzed the micronutrient composition of various foods to compare different diet plans and craft her own. I’d like to do similar – evaluate my favorite meals to look for obvious deficiencies. Does she know of any ready-made software, web service, etc to do that? Preferably free or low cost. Or am I on my own with a spreadsheet and the USDA online nutrient database? (Robb: Do you or any of your crew know of such a thing?)

      • says

        Interesting how my question hasn’t appeared yet but my apology for spelling is already there… My question was whether Dr. Wahls or Robb know of any good free/cheap online tools for analyzing micronutrients in specific combinations of foods.

        To partially answer it myself, USDA has a “supertracker” that sort of does the job. It doesn’t show as many micronutrients as I’d prefer to see, its nutrient intake targets seem geared towards the bare minimum needed to avoid overt symptoms of deficiency disease, and it gets downright judgmental about foods it deems to have Empty Calories. Whole eggs and coconut oil for example. And heaven help you if you want more than 8 black olives in your salad! But overall it’s a good start.


        Can enter recipe ingredients to analyze the whole dish…

        Hope that helps others who want to tinker with their micronutrient intake. Anyone know of something better?

  5. Jack says

    Dear Dr. Wahls, thank you very much for sharing all this information!

    I hope you don’t mind me asking you a couple of questions. Your protocol seems to really go into the detail on typical autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis and others. I would really appreciate hearing your opinion on somewhat less popular disease called focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). It is a kidney disease that had very serious complications. It is usually treated with immunosuppresants, such as methylprednisone and cyclosporine. However, from what I understand there is no consensus on whether it is an autoimmune condition or not. So, I would appreciate your opinion on whether your protocol can be helpful for this condition or not. Also, additionally.

    I am curious how would you modify recommendations, given in your book for this particular case.
    1. Would you recommend high carb or lower carb ketogenic diet? I’m gravitating towards higher carb because I workout regularly, so I think it is important to ensure enough carbs. At the moment my doctor sees no reason in any dietary restrictions as my kidney function is fine on all indicators except for proteinuria (protein in urine).
    2. It is easy to assess the effectiveness of a given dietary intervention if it has an immediate effect on one’s pain and well-being. But it’s not the case with FSGS. There is no pain per se and proteinuria is certainly not something that can go away in a matter of days or weeks. I tried switching form just Paleo to Paleo autoimmune protocol for a while (excluded eggs, dairy, coffee, nightshades and certain spices), but have no noticed zero effect. So, how would you go about assessing the effectiveness of this (or any other) protocol in a relievable and quantifiable manner?
    3. Is it possible that food can cause/aggravate my problem if I don’t notice any adverse reaction to any type of foods. I have been eating pale for several years already (started in about 2010 and was diagnosed in June 2013). However, even if I eat wheat I have no adverse reaction at all. It is the same with dairy and other potential suspects.
    4. Related to this I would really appreciate any advice on reducing side-effects of the above-mentioned drugs by lifestyle, dietary or supplementation intervention without reducing their therapeutic effect or making it less predictable.

    I would really really appreciate any help or advice from either Dr. Wahls or anyone else who has something to say.

    To others: if you yourself are not in position to comment on this, but know someone who potentially might be, I would really appreciate if you could share the contacts.

    Thank you very very much in advance!

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  7. Kristi Herlein says

    Terry Wahls is such a badass. Robb has been saying for a long time how so many of the current studies are really flawed, and how we need some trials with the paleo diet compared to a normal diet, but how difficult and expensive it would be. It’s great to see that Terry is working hard on doing just that, and it must be really great for Robb to see some stuff that he’s been saying for years getting some attention.

    I’m really excited, and ordered her book almost as soon as I listened to the episode.

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