- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - While biking to work, Terry Wahls occasionally plucks wild berries for a snack from shrubs outside.

“I sometimes take a little detour through Hunters Run Park, and you can find a lot of wild, edible berries there,” she said.

The elderberries are a food that’s OK to eat according to the diet Wahls follows, which restricts consumption of dairy, gluten and legumes such as beans and peas.

This diet is detailed in Wahls‘ upcoming book, “The Wahls Protocol,” about lifestyle changes and Paleolithic-style food plans that Wahls recommends for combating autoimmune diseases and other chronic medical conditions.

Wahls is a clinical professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Iowa City VA Health Care System. She is currently conducting research on the diet interventions in “The Wahls Protocol.”

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/1gmStUL ) the book includes tips for adhering to Wahls‘ food plans as well as information about the circumstances that led her to create them.

In 2000, Wahls was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system.

Though Wahls biked, skied and practiced tae kwon do before her diagnosis, MS inhibited her mobility to the point that she needed two canes to walk short distances and her doctor suggested she use a wheelchair. She said as her mobility declined, she feared she might become bedridden and began reading about possible therapies.

Based on that reading, Wahls started taking nutritional supplements, which she said reduced her symptoms.

“That is a very big deal, because now I feel like, OK, I’m figuring stuff out that my docs don’t know by reading the literature,” she said.

From there, she continued experimenting with her diet and came up with the plans detailed in “The Wahls Protocol.”

Zach Wahls, Terry Wahls‘ son, said before his mother changed her diet, she used to limp through the door after work and struggle to the dinner table.

“She was exhausted,” he said. “You could see it in her face, and you could see it in the way she moved.”

He said after she started the diet, her energy level increased, which made family life easier.

The most basic diet in “The Wahls Protocol” calls for eating nine cups of leafy green vegetables, nutrient-rich fruits and sulfur-rich produce per day while cutting out gluten, dairy and some forms of sugar and sticking to only organic meats.

Story Continues →