The Wahls Protocol is a scientifically proven diet to improve quality of life with multiple sclerosis – the very thing we’re desperate to achieve, yet we can’t quite seem to stay on it. It feels too restrictive. The meals seem boring and bland. Nothing about it seems appealing… expect the results. So is there an easier way to get those results? As a nutrition coach specializing in MS and autoimmune disease, these are my top 5 steps to being consistent on the Wahls Protocol.
Nutrition Coach Certified in the Wahls Protocol
For the better part of the last 7 years, I’ve been coaching clients on how to make the Wahls Protocol realistic for them.
So many people reach out to me saying, Alene, I want to follow the Wahls Protocol but I just can’t figure out how to make it work in my life.
It just feels so restrictive.
The meals don’t look appealing to me.
It’s too time consuming.
I have a life – not to mention the ongoing battle with fatigue, brain fog and other daily reminders that you have MS – I don’t have time to make every meal from scratch.
I’m not spending my entire day in the kitchen.
I need something that’s going to be quick and easy.
Does it sound like I’m reading your mind right now?
It’s not you.
Spoiler Alert: You’re Not the Problem
You’re not the problem.
It’s not your lack of motivation or commitment.
It’s not a lack of knowledge.
Because it’s not always about what you know. It’s about what you do.
But when you’re trying to follow the Wahls Protocol it can feel like you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
We know that eating more vegetables and eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy and sugar can help us to feel better in our body today and for years to come.
And, yet, even though we know the exact steps to take, we still struggle to take them.
And for the record, I say “we” because I too struggle with them sometimes.
I don’t always want to choose the allergy-friendly option off of the menu. I want to order the indulgent meal or the chef special without having to ask if it’s gluten and dairy free and which oils they use.
A Lifelong Diet
Sticking to the Wahls Protocol is about finding ways to fit it into your busy, everyday life.
You’re also fatigued.
You also have family depending on you and they’re not interested in your new diet.
It’s clearly something that you need to start and be consistent with, but how???
How can you make this work right now and for the long haul?
MS isn’t going away, so you need a plan that you can easily maintain.
Here my top 5 tips for staying consistent on the Wahls Protocol.
5 Steps to Consistency on the Wahls Protocol
1. Set Realistic Goals
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make with the Wahls Protocol is looking at it as an all-or-nothing approach.
They feel like they have to be able to eat 9 cups everyday, and when that doesn’t feel realistic, they don’t even try.
I want to encourage you to start where you’re at today.
Dr. Wahls is not going to come knock down your door if you choose to have two servings today instead of 9 cups.
And even just switching the words that you use from cups to servings can feel better.
Just put one more scoop of veggies on your plate today than you did yesterday.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
The main message is that the vegetables are the healthiest foods for our body – our body that is in crisis mode from MS.
Arm your cells with the nutrients that it needs to start creating a healing environment in our body.
Eat more veggies.
So, set realistic goals, what is one REALISTIC goal that you can start putting into action today?
2. Meal Planning and Prep
I get it NOBODY – including me – wants to spend their entire Sunday in the kitchen making meals.
You don’t have the time, energy or interest in doing that.
So here’s the good news, you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen; however, you do need a plan because without it, you end up buying the same foods each week from the grocery store.
If you want a different outcome in how you feel, you have to be willing to make a change in what you’re eating.
You don’t need to do a complete overhaul of your kitchen – let’s not forget tip #1 Set Realistic Goals – but you do need to start getting some healthier food in your kitchen and making it more appealing to choose when it’s meal or snack time.
Making Wahls Protocol Meal Prep Easier
So how can you make planning and meal prepping easier?
Start with just planning out what you’re going to have for dinner each week.
When you’re just starting out, that step may be really helpful for you before you because it takes the daily stress off of you having to figure out what to each every night at dinner when you’re tired, hungry and don’t feel like cooking. You’re not exactly making the best choices then.
Then in time you’ll just start being more intentional with making each of those meals healthier.
In terms of meal prep – get the images of professional meal preppers from Pintrest and Instagram out of your head.
That’s not what you’re aiming for.
My Weekly Meal Prep
My version of meal prep each week is putting an whole chicken in a slow cooker on Saturday night so I have chicken throughout my week that I can use for salads, lunches, or even an allergy-friendly quesadilla or panini. It’s quick and easy… that’s our goal.
So don’t overcomplicate the meal planning or prepping.
Write down your dinners for the week.
And maybe you find one crock pot meal that you can cook on Sunday that can serve as your lunch for the week.
Keep it simple.
3. Variety in Meals
Keep your diet interesting by experimenting with new Wahls-compliant recipes to avoid boredom.
Simply try one new recipe or one new vegetable each week. That supports you in varying up your meals without getting overwhelmed.
If you need help varying up your smoothie routine, check out my 5 Day Smoothie Challenge.
4. Establish Routines and Rituals
One of the first things that I often help my clients to do is to create routines in their day and in their week to help simplify the Wahls Protocol. This helps to prevent having to constantly think about what you’re eating and if you have the “right” foods in your kitchen.
A simple weekly routine could include:
Friday: Look at your schedule for the week ahead and identify your dinners
Saturday: Shop for groceries and prep any veggies when you get home so they’re easier to snack on throughout the week.
Sunday: Prep one meal that you’ll have for breakfast throughout the week. I like to meal prep breakfast but if you want to prep another meal that works better for you, go for it!
The idea is to establish routines that will make this way of eating your normal day-to-day lifestyle.
5. Create a Support System
Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or online communities who understand and encourage your dietary choices. YOU need to support yourself too! If you slip up – it happens to the best of us – don’t be too hard on yourself. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and get back on track with your next meal.
And focus on celebrating the small wins because it trains your brain to succeed again.
Share Your Tips Below!
Okay, now it’s your turn. What helps you to stay consistent on the Wahls Protocol? Share below so we can learn from our collective knowledge below!