About a month and a half ago, I started a new anti-inflammatory diet, the Wahls Protocol to help with my fibromyalgia symptoms. This diet was created by Dr. Terry Wahls who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. She created this protocol by studying autoimmune disorders and brain biology. She adopted the protocol herself in order to help with her MS.
Accoring to my understanding of the diet, the main concept is to eliminate all inflammatory foods such as grains, sugar, and other high lectin foods (like starchy foods). It’s kind of a derivative of the combination of the paleo diet and the ketogenic diet. In her book, The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune conditions, she talks about how staying in ketogenisis will help reduce inflammation, which will then help with pain.
At first I was very skeptical of the diet. After all, haven’t we all tried something similar to help our illnesses? I’m sure most of us have tried some sort of diet to help with our symptoms before. I’ve tried several things to try to help my pain and none of them worked like they promised they would, so why would this one be any different? Besides, when I went to the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Center for a month long rehabilitation program, they had told me not to restrict myself (meaning not to try any “miracle diets) because it encouraged pain behavior. However, since then, my fibromyalgia has progressed and several of my mother’s doctors had suggested a low lectin diet that was almost identical to the Wahls Protocol to help with her own autoimmune conditions. So I decided that I had nothing to lose and to simply try it. I could always stop if it wasn’t working.
The first few days were difficult. Not because I was craving foods that I couldn’t eat, but because of intense fatigue. To this day I’m not sure if that was because of some sort of flare or if it was due to changing my diet but I have a suspicion that it was a combination of both. Since then, I have learned that sometimes when people start a ketogenic diet, they experience the “keto flu”, where they experience flu-like symptoms while their bodies adjust. Because I already struggle a lot with fatigue, those first few days I could barely do anything. I mostly layed on the couch barely able to feed myself. Once this passed and I started to have some more energy, I started to get a little discouraged because I wasn’t seeing a lot of improvement. My fibromyalgia pain was somewhat better but my energy was about the same. However, I did not give up. I didn’t see the point in stopping the diet since it encourages you to eat healthy foods and since I wasn’t losing any weight (a good thing), I didn’t see a problem in continuing the Whals Protocol.
It’s now been around a month and a half on the diet and I can say that my pain has significantly improved and that I have more energy. My fibromyalgia pain still hasn’t gone away (not that I really expected it to) but it has significantly improved. I haven’t suffered from painsomnia in quite a while, whereas it used to be that my back and hip pain would keep me from sleeping well at night. I also have been more active. I have actually had the energy to do my physical therapy workout almost everyday and have even started going to a dance class once a week. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a miracle cure (as far as I know, at least for me). I still struggle with pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia, it’s just not as intense.
Although you still might be skeptical about this diet, I know that it has helped me quite a bit. This diet might not be for everyone but if you are inttigued by it, I suggest you look into Dr. Wahls’ research and her books: The Whals Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, and The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions.
Personally, I’m continuing the diet for now and will keep you posted on any changes.