In Blog

One way to adopt the Wahls™ Diet is to use a phased approach. Below is the first phase:

Phase 1 = Eating 9 cups of non-starchy vegetables and berries each day (greens, sulfur, color).

If you would like to learn more about how to design a diet that will ensure you have more of what your cells need to thrive, check out my book.

It includes recipes and sample menus to help you get started. Note that I donate half of all profits from the sales of my books and lectures to supporting my clinical research, which tests the benefits of intensive nutrition and lifestyle changes for those with multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. These funds have allowed us to gather the pilot data, which will enable us to get funding for larger studies. The ultimate goal of all my research is to bring health and vitality to as many people as possible.

Giving up food you love to eat the Wahls™ Diet to improve your health is usually a journey. Many people make the transition gradually. Take your first step. Learn how to cook for your mitochondria.

Join the Terry Wahls MD Membership site to learn more about the phases and start implementing the phases in your life with support from your peers.

Recommended Posts
Showing 77 comments
  • Magi

    My question is how to help children who are used to the gluten dairy sugar diet (with SOME good veggies fish and fruits) transition away from the bad stuff?
    Thank you,

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Magi,

      Great question! In order to reduce sugar and gluten intake, encourage children to eat more vegetables. Try starting off with vegetable shakes with some fruit. It’ll decrease sugar intake while still adding a bit of sweetness. If they are full, they don’t have room for the sugar and gluten foods. This is a great topic to bring up on the Facebook page to see what other feedback is out there, as well.

      -The Wahls Team

      • Aly

        This is a great idea. However, my child won’t drink a juice if it’s green! Any suggestions for this?

        • Roberta Hutchison

          Offer 2 choices. A small glass of smoothie or water. And a kiss or hug. Gentle encouragement. Resist tears and whining. Before long your child will want to select his/her own fruit and veg for the smoothie.

        • Heather

          Serve in a covered plastic cup (the kind with its own wide straw – green smoothies do not taste green.

          Use more berries at first – they are tasty but lower in sugar.

          A banana packs quite a lot of flavour, and most children like them.

        • Sarah

          Add frozen blueberries to a banana + green veggie smoothie — it turns it a beautiful dark purple shade. Depending on the green veggies you add to the smoothie, frozen raspberries give it a really beautiful color too — very child-friendly, plus blueberries + raspberries are lower in sugar.

    • Roberta Hutchison

      Try smoothies sweetened with stevia. Berries and greens are a good start. Also present a platter of lovely ripe fruit in an appetizing way.

  • john

    What are the recommendations for.specific mood disorders like anxiety. How does the mitochondrial connection feature in these conditions?
    Many thanks.

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi John,

      A change in diet can help with anxiety. I would encourage you to work with with your nutritionist and a functional doctor to figure out a regime that is specific to your unique health needs.

      -The Wahls Team

  • Lois

    Is there something in dairy and gluten that is bad if you are NOT allergic? Does standard allergy testing tell you if you DO have gluten and casein allergies?

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Loi,

      You can work with your functional doctor to see if you have food allergies and work with a nutritionist see what foods are right for you. Dr. Wahls give a more complete breakdown of the effects of dairy and gluten in The Wahls Protocol. If you would like to learn more, you can pruchase it here.

      -The Wahls Team

  • Elle

    I am truly interested in buying this book. I have to give up
    Coffee/milk. Otherwise my diet is pretty good. I have MS 25
    Years. Still walking with canes and would like to be free of them! What does Dr. Walls suggest for keeping bones strong? I don’t walk far and can’t ride a bike. Concern is osteoporosis. Paleo diet is good re: calcium? Thank you.

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Elle,

      The protocol will introduce calcium into your diet naturally through food sources. However, if you are concern with the amount calcium you’re getting, you might consider working with your nutritionist to be sure you are incorporating the right food into your diet based on you needs.

      -The Wahls Team

    • Heather

      Paleo is good for calcium – and the vitamins and minerals needed to use it effectively.

  • KC

    Thank you for this phasing idea. It makes perfect sense. I’ve been wondering how one begins. Again, thank you!

  • Kristine Smythe

    I am not a fish eater. I have tried many different types of fish and I can’t eat it due to the taste. Is eating fish integral to the Whal’s diet and can I just leave it out all together? Thank you.


    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Kris,

      Dr. Wahls encourages everyone to come as they can. You are not required to eat fish. If you are not vegetarian, try to make sure that the meat you do eat is grass-fed.

      -The Wahls Team

    • Heather

      Organic animal products deliver omega 3 and 6 in the optimal ratio. If you eat as organic as possible seafood is not required (a good thing after the Japanese nuclear reactor melt down)

      • DrFood

        Not true. Organic meat could come from animals fed almost nothing but (organic) corn and soy, and that’s not going to deliver a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.

        The source of omega-3’s is greens, some seeds (flax and chia) and some nuts (walnuts). Fish are a good source because they are up the food chain from lots of algae, rich in omega-3’s. Grass fed beef is far better than grain fed beef.

  • Ronnie

    I have MS and have been gluten and casein free for years. When I recently got a Vitamix and tried for the 9 cups of veggies/berries and ended up in exxtreme digestive distress and relapse. I even started out slowly and took enzymes. With my digestive troubles, I am unsure how to approach again or is this diet not for me.

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Ronnie,

      We would suggest working with a nutritionist to find out what is causing the issue and how to remedy it. A nutritionist can help you implement the diet to meet your needs.

      -The Wahls Team

    • Heather

      I cannot normally tolerated raw leafy greens, but have no problems with green smoothies or cooked greens

  • Sarah

    My fiance has PPMS, diagnosed a year and a half ago, we have been doing the blood type diet since for him, with elimination of dairy,eggs, gluten, legumes, sugar. We eat lots of rice and quinoa though, but my worry is if we switch to this protocol, that he will lose even more weight (he’s 5’9 and down to 140lbs already) How can we get him to put on a few pounds, I worry that he’s losing muscle mass because of our diet. Can you please help? Thanks!

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Sarah,

      There are great ways to increase your caloric intake in a paleo friendly way:

      Nuts & nut butter- almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, tahini (sesame seeds) — soaking then overnight helps remove phytic acid which can inhibit mineral (e.g. calcium) absorption — one can add nut butter to smoothies, you may wish to use juice (eg orange, grape, grapefruit) in smoothies or as beverages for additional calories. nuts are great on salads or as a snack. You can also use nut butter to create calorie rich salad dressings (e.g. )

      Coconut oil can be mixed with nut butter or eaten alone
      Other healthful oils include flax, olive oil, ghee, etc..

      Increasing meat consumption and eating a variety of free-range poultry, grass-fed beef, pasture raised pork and or lamb, wild-caught fish

      You may also need to include some starchy vegetables or gluten free grains in your diet once or twice a week- think yams, purple (all the way through) potatoes, squash, pumpkin, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice

      You may also need a more personalized approach via a dietitian, nutritionist, or physician trained in functional medicine. You can find one here.

      -The Wahls Team

      • NancyLee Shanlin

        After 8 weeks nm the paleo plus diet and doing everything suggested in the book, I cannot maintain or achieve consistent ketosis. I have GAINED 12 lbs! How can I get into ketosis and stay there?

      • Linda

        I am just reading your book now..I cannot have any nuts/coconut/organ meats so this gets tricky for me. Any suggestions please and thanks.

  • Donna Shaw

    My 54 year old brother is in a nursing home declining rapidly. I am convinced that improving his diet would greatly benefit him. Please advise if you are aware of any facilities trying to help their patients with the diet. Are there any facilities sponsored by Terry Wahls where we could send my brother to get him back to his optimal condition? Please advise ASAP as I am afraid my brother is reaching the point of no return. Thank you.

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Donna,

      Unfortunately, we are not familiar of any facilities that cater to those using The Wahls Protocol. You might try posting this question to our Facebook page to see if anyone has any suggestions:

      -The Wahls Team

    • Kate

      I would eliminate all grains and legumes, including soy.

  • Mary

    I have had the food sensitivities test. I have MS showed no senstivities to gluten or dairy? A bit sensitive to almonds and bannanas. Should I still avoid wheat?

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Mary,

      Fundamentally, The Wahls Protocol excludes wheat products. This is discuss in more detail in the new book. Ultimately, this decision should be made be you and your nutritionist based on your nutritional needs.

      -The Wahls Team

  • Hema Murdock

    I have primary progressive MS, and am starting the diet shortly. My biggest hurdle is to go dairy, grain, legume and bean free. I am a vegetarian and rely on quinoa and dairy, beans and legumes for my protein. What makes matters worse is I am East Indian and do like to eat my own food. Please help with any guidance, suggestions. Thanks

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Hema,

      We understand that not everyone chooses to eat meat. Dr. Wahls recommends that vegetarians at least switch to gluten-free grains and soaking or sprouting the grains and legumes for 24 hours prior to eating them. If you need help getting more protein in your diet, work with a nutritionist so that they can help you implement the diet with your vegetarian lifestyle.

      -The Wahls Team

  • Beckey

    You say not to use soy but in one of your smoothie recipes, soy milk is used.
    What is correct?

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Beckey,

      Soy milk is not recommended on The Wahls Protocol. However, when starting the diet Dr. Wahls went through stages and slowly cut it out. It is an option for those who are also moving in stages as Dr. Wahls understands that this diet is not easily implemented over night. Sorry about the confusion!

      -The Wahls Team

  • kerry carson

    my ex-wife has had m.s. for 26 years she is 51.
    she has just had to go to wheelchair full time.i am getting this book for her.
    we went through the tysabre fiasco last may and made her worse even to the point of losing ability to control her bowels. she is in physical therapy and off the medications
    i have always thought diet might help.
    anything is better than doing nothing . thank you

    • Yesenia Bujanda

      Hi Kerry!

      Thank you for your interest in Dr. Wahls’ work. We appreciate the positive feedback. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      In health,
      The Wahls Customer Service Team

  • Kate

    I don’t have the income to go to an expensive doctor or nutritionist, but I would really appreciate any advice on eating to reduce anxiety. Thank you.

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Kate,

      I would encourage you to check out the In The Wahls Protocol! Dr. Wahls discusses how chronic elevations of stress hormones keep us inflamed and ill and how to get your stress hormones back to a normal state. She also provides information on stress management. You can purchase the book here.

      -The Wahls Team

  • alise

    Is there a particular allery test that Dr. Wahl recommends? thanks

    • Chloe Rankin

      Hi Alise,

      You might be interested in purchasing The Wahls Protocol as Dr. Wahls discusses what laboratory testing to request in the book. You can purchase the book here. Your functional doctor will be able to discuss your options to evaluate your potential food allergies and toxic load issues. They should also be able to give more personalized nutritional advice with your results.

      -The Wahls Team

  • Veronique

    Hi, I have MS, am a vegan, I eat high carb, low fat, raw vegan. My carbs come from fruit, I eat vegetables every day. I follow the 80 10 10 guidelines. No grains. Can I fit both diets into one?

    • Yesenia Bujanda

      Hi Veronique,

      It would be best to talk with your personal physician or nutritionist. They will be able to assist you find out what is best for you.

      In health,
      The Wahls Customer Service Team

  • claudia

    Hai, i really do not want to eat meat or fish. I am an vegetarian for twenty years. What is a good alternative for the fat i need? because i am suffering from MS (doing well) because i made already al lot of food changes but i do not understand that i am becoming heaver in weight than ever? All do i am have excerise everyday. Help?

    • Yesenia Bujanda

      Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr. Wahls’ work. Dr. Wahls encourages everyone to come as they can. Best thing to do is to work with your personal physician or nutritionist to come up with a meal plan that best works for you.

      In health,
      The Wahls Customer Service Team

  • Michele

    What about raw milk raised on sprouts and high in CLA?

  • Ashlea Miller

    I was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago and changed my diet a long time ago to a plant-based, all-natural diet — I definitely believe in food as medicine! I am vegetarian, however, and for moral reasons don’t want to go back to meat. I try to get my protein through a lot of nuts, hemp and chia protein, and green chickpeas (which are harvested earlier than normal chickpeas so their sugar content is lower and protein is higher). Is this enough? Is there a concern about the fat content with a high level of nut proteins? Any other suggestions for MS-friendly proteins? Thank you!

    • Yesenia Bujanda

      Hi Ashlea Miller,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr. Wahls’ work. Dr. Wahls encourages everyone to come as they can. Best thing to do is to work with your personal physician or nutritionist to come up with a meal plan that best works for you.

      In health,
      The Wahls Customer Service Team

  • Rod

    I want to get a vitamix, but I’m not sure what size to get. It’s just for one person (me)….any advice? What model?

  • Vanessa Clements

    Hi, I’m very confused about the butter thing since dairy is eliminated??

  • James

    Have there been studies with the Wahls diet and healing of diverticulitis?

  • James Hurtado

    Have there been studies of the Wahls diet and diverticulitis?

    • Yesenia Bujanda

      Hi James Hurtado!

      Here is the link to the research page:

      In health,
      The Wahls Customer Service Team

  • Nicole Genoese

    Dr. Wahls,

    I was diagnosed with Neuro-Sarcoidosis last summer 2013. Initially I was informed I had transverse myelitis of unknown cause until I sought care at the center for transverse myelitis at Johns Hopkins. I have been on high dose oral prednisone, with several rounds of IV solumedrol. They recently added 2000mg of Cellcept. Because I work full time and have 3 little kids my diet is full of protein bars or a protein shake as a meal replacement. I researched bars that are non GMO, dairy free, wheat and gluten free, as well as soy free. Is there a bar or protein powder that is you recommend or are they out of the question?

    Thank you so much! I love your book!

  • Susan

    I was diagnosed with PPMS 6 1/2 years ago at age 52, and have been on a rapid decline. At age 52, I was stumbling and tripping, now I can only walk short distances with a walker. 25 years ago, I had gastric bypass surgery, so now, I am wondering how I could even come close to eating 9 cups of veg per day! In January of this year I started eating Paleo, so grains, dairy, and refined sugars are no longer in my diet. Any suggestions?

    • Yesenia Bujanda

      Hi Susan!

      An important thing when starting the diet is to come as you can when trying to incorporate new things! Best thing to do is talk with your personal physician or nutritionist to find a way to make the diet fit what your body can take. You can also post publicly on Facebook and ask others how they are trying to meet that 9 cups a day. Here is a link incase you are interested in doing so:

      In health,
      The Wahls Customer Service Team

    • thoma C.

      The question: “How do I eat 9 cups of veggies a day” because of medical constraints either trouble swallowing like some people with SM have or in your case a smaller stomach.

      Answer: Low speed Mastication. It is a jucier known as a Masticator I bought one for about 400 dollars a month after I got and MS diagnoses. If you can handle liquids with some pulp I think this would get you as close to 9 cups as possible. Masticators work on root veggies and leafy greens like kale, but also fruits like apples. A high speed juicer does not handle kale well.

      If you think juicing removes vital nutrients or fiber leave more pulp in your juice or juice some meals and blend other for veggie smoothies.

  • Karen

    I bought the book and following phase 1 religiously in tandem with going on medication, but am seeing no improvement (despite having no dairy or gluten allergies previously). Does this mean I should move to the next phase? Or, should I pause and do medication only to get an adequate baseline for this diet? My MS doctor has no knowledge of the protocol, so does not have an opinion.

  • Michelle

    A typical egetarian diet is not “grains and legumes”.
    A vegetarian diet is fruits, vegetables, soy, grains/legumes, and for some like me, fish and eggs, too.
    I have naturally chosen that diet for more or less a decade now, and it is that diet that I attribute the mildness of my recently diagnosed RRMS to since I have a bunch of other autoimmune disorders along with MANY people in the family have 1-several autoimmune disorders, including two 1st cousins with far more serious cases of MS. (They and all the rest have a noteably typical American-meat\wheat based diet.)

  • Thomas C. Age 26

    A woman in a wheel chair said your name Terry Wahls at the MS support group I went to. She cannot prepare her own food but wants to do your diet, so I am going to do the diet and show her husband how it can be affordable, simple, and manageable. I have MS and before I got diagnosed I got a skin rash (which I have pictures of) that was like 1000 ant bites raised on my skin after taking hot baths, showers, working in the yard, sitting in a hot car, basically any thing that made my body hot. I quit eating gluten and at about week 5 or six my symptoms disappeared I tested negative to slightly elevated in a Celiac blood test and canceled my appointment to get a scope and probe to do further testing. My symptoms of skin rash and heat intolerance are gone after quitting wheat, it took about 5 weeks but Im telling you there is something to it and that’s why I am going to go the extra distance and not try your diet but live your diet. Diets are not plans or programs they are life style changes. I have MS and I want to change my life. I believe it helped you and I believe that because anyone with MS knows its horrible and changes your life or at least can, and I don’t think anybody who has the disease would lie about something that helped. I say this because MS has humbled me and you and I and all of us who have it share a bond that’s greater than anyone can imagine. I a person with MS would never lie or hurt another person with this because MS is just that bad and that humbling and people who say caution before starting a diet are not us and don’t have that bond that allows me to trust you without ever meeting you. If it doesn’t work or meet my expectations that does not mean it did not work for you Terry but to those reading this why not try eating healthy its safer than crossing the street.

  • Katie

    I just read your book. I was wondering if a diet with fish and egg (I don’t have allergy) would be complete without meat which I haven’t eaten in many years. I was told I have bulbous pemphygoid. I wonder if missed diagnosed with nodefinitive tests. Im in process of being tested for celiac and previous rash now thought to be dermatitis herpatiformous. So will definitely need to go gluten free but not sure if can go grain free per your book without meat.

  • Deborah

    Hi — I have read that there are different ways of processing coconut oil. Can you tell me which is the best? Thanks —

  • Bev


    I have an inflammatory bowel disease and cannot tolerate high levels of fibre. can I juice the vegetables and still get the benefit?

  • Judy

    I was wondering as colorectal cancer survivor who
    has been told to avoid all read meat and nitrates by
    her oncologist and to follow a low residue diet how I can
    incorporate this protocol?
    Thank you

  • Tom P

    One thing that I haven’t seen addressed is how people with MS with limited to no mobility can actively prepare this diet day in and day out effectively and efficiently. Due to work, caring for children, increased medical bills and wife with MS we can’t find the time or afford a nutritionist/food preparer. Does anyone have any practical food prep advice for this challenging situation to adopt to Wahl’s AIP?

    • Naomi Wahls

      The 30 Day QuickStart does. There have been some that were not able to initially prepare all their meals and over a short time they were able to prepare more and more.

  • Henriette Hilding

    I am a 50 year old woman from Denmark in Europe. 🙂 Mother of 2 kids.
    I have suffered from neurological symptoms, extreme fatique for a couple of years.Was i 2012 diagnosted with stage 3 of Borrelia and treaded in Germany for 6 month with antibiotic and vitamins. Got remarkably better, but had Clositidum Diff. Stomac infection as a souvenir. Through I was well in fall of 2013, then suddently my symptoms reappeared during the fall. In april I was diagnosed with Hashimoto (autoimmune thyroid discease) and is receiving treatment for this. Still I have neurological problems and fatique. Doctors in denmark has put me on a glutenfri diet, as the biopsi of the stomac shows changes. And a MR scan shows changes in the brain and suspects MS. This is not proven yet. Am still holding on to my job.
    Long story, I have read the Wahls protocol but and as a desperate attemt trying to implement it. I have been eating glutenfri for 4 month now and nearly dairy free. I am a couple of weeks into it.
    Have however 2 questions.
    1. I am very tired after each meal of raw vegetables (according to the book) really want to sleep. Is that common ? Can you recomment something ?
    2. It is as if some of my symptoms are getting worse rather than better, is that possible ??
    3. Is there a forum for other users of your book ?
    Hope you can advise me.

    All the best

  • Trina

    Has this diet successfully worked or cured someone with fibromyalgia? I have this painful health problem and no Dr. has been very helpful to me including Ruematologists.
    Thank you in advance.

  • anna

    Is there any plan to translate the book in other language? How can be included in the Wahls protocol if not leaving in US. Is there anybody in other countries implementing it ?

  • Carol

    Have there been studies or success with the Wahls Diet with regard to a nerve and muscle wasting disease called Charcot Marie Tooth. Would appreciate any comments or help.

  • Sara

    I am trying to follow the Wahl’s paleo diet. I have eliminated all gluten,dairy, eggs, refined sugars…except, I love dark chocolate. I thought dark chocolate was OK to have…but I can’t find it without cane sugar, is that OK?? also, I want to continue taking vitamin supplements but they all seem to be full of crap, any suggestions??? I am slowly integrating the organs but it is very difficult to locate beef heart and liver that is grass fed.HELP??

  • Fiona


    I don’t have any disease but am doing the diet for optimum health. I’m 5 days in and am starting to have lots of energy…feel really great! The first few days I had headaches and lethargy but that’s all behind me now.

    I’m just wondering why the recommendation for the first stage diet is 9 cups of veggies and the stricter one is 6. I physically can’t eat 9…I’m so full! Why is there a difference in the quantities recommended on the two different stage diets?


pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] the Wahls Diet prioritizes them.) The Wahls Diet can be implemented all at once, or approached in 4 phases. Her book, The Wahls Protocol, is due out in 2014. The Wahls Diet continues to evolve as she learns […]

  • […] what you’re proposing, it’s much harder for you to be successful. That’s why I offer a spectrum of options and depending on your health and your family’s commitment, you decide where you end up on the […]

  • […] Wahls Diet […]

  • […] Maybe it’s time to seek professional help. Dr. Terry Wahls actually lists this as Phase 4 of her protocol. Here’s what she said in our […]

Start typing and press Enter to search