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Are Gluten Free Packaged Foods Safe on the Wahls Protocol?

May 1, 2024

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Are Gluten Free Packaged Foods Safe on the Wahls Protocol?

Will gluten free packaged foods sabotage your results on the Wahls Protocol?  

I mean, it’s gluten free so how bad can it really be, right? 

You just need a little something for this diet to not feel so strict. 

So, what’s a little snack here and there? 

Let’s find out! 

Are Gluten Free Packaged Foods Permitted on the Wahls Protocol? 

For this, I’m going straight to the Wahls Protocol book. 

Dr Wahls highlights the importance of eating the nine cups of vegetables and fruit daily, as well as quality meat and healthy fats.

On the “forbidden food list” is gluten, dairy, eggs, white sugar and a few other items.

So it doesn’t specifically say no “processed foods.” The main focus of the protocol is clearly to get 9 cups of vegetables in a day and eliminate gluten, dairy and ideally sugar too.

But then there’s real life. You know, when someone brings homemade banana bread into the office, or the cookies or chocolate in the pantry feel like they’re calling your name. 

And here’s where I think is an important distinction. 

How Do You Respond to Cravings?

What is your typical response in moments like these?

Is it to walk away feeling empowered that you’re choosing your health over momentary flavor of food?

Is it to walk away feeling completely deprived and even more discouraged because not only do you have MS but you have to live with this super restrictive diet too? 

Or is it to say screw it, it’s just one bite. It won’t make a difference. You’ll start again tomorrow. And maybe you will or maybe tomorrow will turn into next week, next month, after the summer, in the new year… and that time never comes until a new symptom pops up. 

Which do you find yourself to be in?

Do you…

  • Feel empowered that you’re choosing health over food?
  • Feel deprived and depressed?
  • Feel like you’re living for the moment and turning a blind eye to tomorrow. You know that it’s not good for you, but in that moment you don’t care, you’ll deal with whatever comes up later?

If you’re in the first camp, AMAZING!

We salute you!

That’s the ideal mindset to have. 

You’re acknowledging that you could eat whatever you want, but you’re choosing to eat based on the health that you want to create and maintain in your body. 

Keep going! 

If you’re in the second camp – feeling deprived and depressed, I highly recommend that you check out My MS Podcast season 4 episode 6 “How NOT to Feel Deprived on the Wahls Protocol.”

And I also recommend that you continue reading this post because this is helpful for you and well as the final group that is likely to just through the protocol to the wind. 

The Stages of Eliminating Gluten on the Wahls Protocol

This is also relevant for someone who is just starting and they want to make these changes, they simply need some stepping stones to build up to the Wahls Protocol. 

So, here’s the deal, Dr. Wahls get the results that she did and did many others in our community, myself included by eating more veggies. 

Veggies have the nutrients that our cells need to heal – to help reduce inflammation and regulate our immune system. Basically to discourage it from attacking our nervous system. 


We get those kinds of results from veggies. 

  • Spinach.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Broccoli. 
  • Asparagus. 
  • Mixed Greens. 
  • Carrots. 
  • Beets. 
  • Berries. 

Lots and lots of veggies and some fruits. 

If you learn nothing else from the Wahls Protocol, let it be that. 

Then we want to reduce the foods that are causing the inflammation – gluten, dairy and sugar. 

Those are the primary food principles of the Wahls Protocol. 

Obviously there are different levels of the Wahls Protocol each has its own nuances but those are the main food principles. 

Are Gluten Free Packaged Foods Safe?

Now we know that package foods – anything in a bag or a box – really don’t provide us any nutritional value. 

However, can they be a bridge to helping you stay more committed to being gluten free? 

For example, we know that pasta isn’t the most nutrient dense food, that’s not rocket science. 

However, if you’re really craving pasta and that craving just isn’t getting satisfied with spaghetti pasta or zucchini noodles, they’re just not cutting it. 

You’ll be far better off opting for the gluten free pasta than grabbing the regular pasta. 

Similar with cookies, if it’s a decision between regular gluten-containing cookies or waffles or whatever vs a gluten free option, I’m always going to opt for the gluten free choice. 

Because I just know that gluten compromise our gut health and create too much inflammation in the body even when we feel fine after eating it. 

The Danger Zone of Inflammatory Foods

That’s the most dangerous scenario in my opinion. 

You find people who say that they don’t feel any different after eating gluten so they wonder if it really effects them. 

Maybe that rule doesn’t apply to them, I mean they’ve eaten gluten their entire life and be fine. 

Why are they now sudden restricted from eating it?

The truth is gluten is sneaky. 

We don’t feel immediate affects. 

However if we have it on a regular basis we often feel tired, headaches, bloated, aches and pains… just “blah” having no idea that it’s caused by gluten. 

So my point here is that if the decision is between gluten and a gluten-free option, choose the gluten free option every time. 

Obviously this is general advice here, you always have to filter this through your own unique health needs.

Are Some Gluten Free Foods Better than Others? 

Yes, as a Nutrition Coach specializing in autoimmune disease and certified in the Wahls Protocol, I do believe that some gluten free packaged foods are better than others.

Knowing the difference starts with reading the labels.

Read the ingredient list, that’s the most important section in regards to food allergens.

What ingredients are in this product?

Most likely if you don’t recognize the ingredients neither will yur body.

Can you pronounce the ingredients.

Are there specific brands that I like?

Yes, here are just a few. I speak to them in more detail on My MS Podcast.

  • Siete
  • Jovial
  • Tinkyada
  • Enjoy Life  

Personally, I’m not a fan of the gluten free version of the major food brands. I find them to be more processed.

I prefer the brands that are exclusively gluten free. They tend to be more natural and have better quality ingredients. Most often they’re located in the gluten free or “natural” section of the grocery store.

Of course, the best option is to make some homemade gluten free snacks. This is one of the areas that I support the clients that I work one on one with. I help them to identify snacks and simple recipes to meals and snacks that are most appealing to them.

Whatever you eat, pay attention to the results.

How do you feel in your body after you eat something?

Pay attention to not only. how you feel immediately after eating it but how you feel the next day or two. Pay attention to digestion, sleep, mood, aches and pains.

Need help tracking your progress? Download a free copy of my wellness tracker.

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I'm Alene, your MS Sister.

When I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, I was scared and felt alone. But as a Nutrition Coach, I knew there was more to healing than what I was being told. I took action and within six months the lesions I had on my brain shrunk and went inactive. Now, seven years later there has been no new lesions and no new activity. As a nutritionist specializing in multiple sclerosis, I help women take back control of their future.

That’s my story, but I’m not alone. It's your turn to start Thriving with MS. I’m here to show you the way. 

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