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The Wahls Protocol, by Terry Wahls, MD, Published 2014

By October 5, 2015Blog

The second level of Dr. Wahls Protocol Diet is called  Wahls Paleo= more structure and further elimination. The main concepts of this diet level are:

  1. Reduce all non-gluten grains, legumes and potatoes to two servings per week.
  2. Add seaweed or algae and organ meats.
  3. Add fermented foods, soaked seeds and nuts, and more raw food.

More Specifically:  In addition to Level 1 (The Wahls Diet)

  1. Reduce all remaining grains, legumes and potatoes to 2 servings per week.
  1. 9-21 ounces of animal protein daily:

– 16 ounces of wild, cold-water fish per week

– 12 ounces of organ meat per week

  1. Seaweed: ¼ tsp. powdered kelp or 1 tsp. dulse per day.
  2. Add fermented foods, soaked seeds and nuts and more raw foods.


During this section of the book Dr. Wahls makes arquments as to the benefits of animal protein:

  1. Contains all the essential amino acids.
  2. Contains direct source of all Essential Fatty Acids:

Alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3)

Linoleic acid (omega 6)

Docosahexaenoic acid (omega 3)

Gamma-linoleic acid (omega 6)

For 3 million years in our evolution we ate the omega 6’s and omega 3’s in a 1:1 ratio primarily from animal protein.   Today the ratio can be as high as 15:1 or 45:1, which promotes inflammation and disease.

  1. Bones, sinews, gristle and cartilage provide collagen, glucosamine and glutamine for joint and intestinal health.

*1 or 2 cups of bone broth daily helps heal leaky gut and reduce muscle aches during a cold/flu.


In this section, Dr. Wahls also presents her arguments for the

“Potential Harm of Vegetarianism”

  1. Skewing Fatty Acid Ratios: omega 6:omega 3

Flaxseed, walnuts and hempseeds contain alpha linoleic acid, but this needs to be converted to the useable form of EPA or DHA (omega 3’s).  Not a direct source.

Vegetable Oil: Corn, soybean and canola oils are all high in omega 6’s, made from GMO’s, and heating them creates trans-fats which are inflammation producing.

The oils recommended are cold pressed olive oil and coconut oil.  But, Dr. Wahls also recommends to only cook at high heats with coconut oil, lard or chicken fat because these saturated fats remain stable at high heats.

  1. Grains and Legumes contain antinutrients:

a.Phytates: chelate or bind minerals (zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium) leading to mineral deficiencies.

b.Lectin: is a sugar-protein molecule that promotes inflammation.

c.Trypsin inhibitors(legumes): block digestion of proteins.


**Soak grains, legumes, seeds and nuts 24 hours to start the germination process.  Germination promotes the production of phytase, which is an enzyme that decreases above listed antinutrients.

  1. Biggest Protein Source is Soy:
  2. All soy is genetically modified unless organic. This means it contains Glycophospate, a major chemical in the pesticide Roundup. Glycophosate has been shown to be toxic to human cells, it can confuse hormone signaling and it interferes with toxin elimination.
  3. Soy itself also contains phytoestrogens which interact with estrogen receptors.
  4. Soy also has the antinutrients discussed in previous argument.

**Dr. Wahls does state that Fermented soy: tempeh, miso and natto help to neutralize the health risks and that one should only ingest organic soy to avoid GMO soy.

  1. Vitamins A and B12 must be converted from plants. No direct source.

Animal protein is the only true source of premade vitamins A and D.  Vegetables have beta-carotene, which needs to be converted to vitamin A.  Also, B12 needs intrinsic factor from stomach to be absorbed.  Intrinsic factor only binds well to the animal form of B12 and the best source of B12 comes from Organ Meats and Nutritional Yeast.


Next:  Why Seaweed?

  • Rich source of Iodine needed by thyroid & WBC’s & to detox heavy metals.
  • Contains a nutrient profile you can’t get in anything else.
  • Easiest Sources: Kelp powder & Dulse flakes
    • Start ¼ tsp. every other day for 1 month
    • Work up slowly to 1 tsp flakes daily or ¼ tsp powder daily

**If on thyroid medication start once per week and follow labs closely as the iodine will effect thyroid function and over time may need to adjust thyroid medications.**

Why Organ Meat?

  • Liver is richest source of all B vitamins , especially B12
  • Full of premade fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E & K
  • Easily absorbed zinc, magnesium, phosphorous.
  • Abundant with Omega 3’s & CoQ10
  • 12 ounces/week: tough to develop a taste for this, so dice it and put in soups, stews, chili or make a pate.

Why Raw and Fermented Foods?

Eat more Raw Food because it provides more digestive enzymes.  When we cook food at temperatures >117 degrees it destroys enzymes.

Soaking grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds for 12-24 hours initiates germination which neutralizes antinutrients.  Can continue to germinate longer by rinsing what you are soaking 3 times daily for 3 days, which increases enzymes even further.  After 3 days you can eat what you have soaked right away or you can dehydrate to bring back the crunchiness of the food.

Eating more Fermented Foods, such as Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha Tea, Sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi promotes friendly bacteria in your intestines and colon.  Nutritional Yeast or Brewer’s Yeast, as well as non-grain spirits: rum, wine and gluten-free beer are fermented food sources that promote friendly bacteria.


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