About a dozen varieties of lettuce grow in our garden. Lettuce has been known to be extremely healthy but rarely does one think that the leafy vegetable plays a part in a “medical miracle.” However, lettuce did play a role in Terry’s miracle.
Dr. Terry Wahl M.D., a professor of medicine at the Iowa University Medical School, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2000. MS is an incurable disease that is far too common. Patients have a wide range of symptoms – most notably the gradual loss of mobility, weakness of vision, and muscular weakness. The prognosis and symptoms are difficult to live with and accept.
As the disease progressed, Terry lost the mobility of her legs. Because of her disability, the Dean of her Faculty that the school ended Terry’s teaching duties citing inaccessibility. As it is with most patients, the symptoms that alter the normalcy in ones life are the most difficult.
Then the seemingly impossible happened: with the power of lettuce, some of her symptoms began to reverse. Terry regained her mobility and was able to ride a bike! She returned to her teaching position and continued to lead MS research.
So what exactly does she think caused this miracle? Terry changed her eating habits and began eating a minimum of 9 cups of fresh chopped organic salad, green leafy vegetables, and some colored vegetables every single day.
You could say the secret is in the salad! Terry’s book, The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine, explains how she looked for treatments to resolve symptoms rather than a cure. Her focus on functional medicine allowed her to use leafy greens to help reverse some of her symptoms and improve her quality of life.
Terry’s continuing research indicates that her functional medicinal approach is helping and relieving many of the patients from some of the more intense symptoms.
These results may seem unbelievable, however they do fit into the logics of functional medicine. Functional medicine proposes that certain foods and unhealthy environments give rise to chronic inflammation and symptoms for patients of autoimmune diseases, like MS.
Functional medicine aims to adjust diets and environments in order to experience the least amount of symptoms. This sounds different than prescription drugs, but sometimes one must have the courage to let go of “conventional wisdom” in favour of 9 cups of leafy greens.
Comments or questions? Write to Nicole@IndividualCare.com. Nicole Constant is a registered Doctor of Naturopathy. Her website is: www.IndividualCare.CA.