How Primal Has Helped Me in My Battle Against Multiple Sclerosis

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2As the old quote goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I knew I would be embarking on great changes in my life when I decided to document my photos of how I looked before Paleo. I was not shamed by my body nor embarrassed, however, I wanted to remember how I felt. My body felt expanded. I felt heavy and had pains and aches. I am still a work in progress but I am happy to show you the difference through pictures that my body has gone through due to changing to a Paleo lifestyle.

I started my Paleo transition in March of 2014 after reading Terry Wahls’ The Wahls Protocol and following Mark’s Daily Apple. I knew that it was time to make a change. You see, back in December of 2006, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and at the time had lost complete feeling in my legs, was unable to walk without some sort of assistance, and I was unable to drive. At the time, I was at the young age of 26 being diagnosed with a disease with no cure. I had just graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Business Management and felt I had so much ahead of me. Then in one moment, I felt as if my life and soul was taken from me. I was very thankful that at the time I lived with great friends that were like family and helped care for me during a very difficult time. Happily, I was able to eventually feel my legs again and drive! I found a job that I loved and continued to move forward with my life, however, there would be moments that my disease would flare up and knock me down.


The most popular form of treatment is steroids for flares and various drugs to keep the disease from progressing. I would have to say I nearly took every drug on the market for the disease, and each one made me sick, or would have such bad effects on my quality of life that it became overwhelmingly depressing. However, I would continue to push forward and even met a wonderful man, who is now my husband, and we had a son in 2011. Again I faced some ups and downs with my disease, but I continued to be proactive, ultimately deciding to go off medication and try stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy was one of the best things ever to calm my disease and allow me to feel “normal.” Sadly, after putting my family in major debt, I ended up having a flare about six months after. It was not long-lasting, but the flare was bad enough have reality hit home that I needed to do something more.


Enter the world of Paleo—I finally understood the power of food and what it could do to help our bodies and minimize inflammation. I was lucky to be part of a study that allowed me the opportunity to try stem cell therapy once more, in conjunction with being Paleo, and it has been over two years since my last flare!!!!

Of course I feel Paleo is not a one size fits all style of life, hence my blog, The Paleo Mix. It is important that you know that I am a mixer of sorts. I take pieces of Paleo from several sources along with dabs of other ideas. I am a mix of Paleo, AIP Paleo, and other protocols.

last after

I also have chosen to not use any medications for my disease. Instead I use supplements and my doTERRA oils. Now I am by no means against medication, and if needed, I will look at the options of its benefits and whether a particular medication is worth using for me and my family. That being said, and long story short, I take care of my health and well-being by eating and living a Paleo Mix life, along with supplements and my doTERRA essential oils and, of course, making sure to live life and laugh!



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53 thoughts on “How Primal Has Helped Me in My Battle Against Multiple Sclerosis”

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  1. Wonderful story Johanna!
    Congratulations to you on reducing your flare-ups. I know others who have MS and have chosen to go the drug-free route. MS is a mysterious disorder in some ways but I think what we put into our mouths plays a huge role.
    You are an inspiration to others fighting this battle. Keep up the good work.

        1. Hello. I have lost a total of nearly 50lbs. My first intention was to feel better and to lose that amount of weight was a surprise. However, being and living a Paleo life I lost that amount of weight after a year of being Paleo and I have since stood stable at that amount of weight lost. The wonderful thing about being Paleo is your body will get to the weight you should be. If you do have issues with weight that dosent come off that at times you have to revisit foods you are eating or possible thyroid issues. My weight loss came mainly from the food change and becoming more active.


        2. Did you start to exercise right away. Did the fats around your abdomen, melt away because of the changes you made with the food you eat. That is my problen area especially after having 2 kids. Thank you.

        3. Marsha,

          Most of my weight loss came from just changing how I ate. However as soon as weight came off energy went up so my family and I became more active. When weather was good we would go on hikes, walks or short bike rides. Nothing to aggressive in the first year. Now I try to incorporate yoga, meditation, pull ups and short burst of exercise but in this area I am still a work in progress. My favorite thing is to go on walks but weather out here is 110 and up so inside we stay.

          Being a mom is exercise in itself. I know you can do it!

        4. Very true being a mother and homemaker is an exercise itself. Do you still get cravings esp for sweets?

          Take care. God bless you

        5. Marsha,

          I get a sweet craving once in a while but its mainly for fruit and on occasion I will make chocolate paleo cupcakes. Of course the cupcakes are treats and not something for everyday eating. However it is amazing how your body transforms in your cravings and wants for food and specific kinds of foods. Dosent mean that when I smell a doughnut that I am not allured by smells but the harm for my body is not worth it. I do probably eat to much fruit. I am currently trying to up veggies more than fruit but they are about even right now. I am always learning and trying to improve. For me it is about keeping inflammation down to a minimal and using food to assist in that.

          1. Johanna, so proud of you! I have ms too with Wahl protocol and a mixof other protocols i have learned to live well. Hard work at first only because of the learning curve and sourcing of clean, whole food. But it becomes your new by habit lifestyle comfortably

            Marsha…ms was a blessing in the way it opened my mind and body to new resources, ways of thinking and how learning how extraordinary the human body is. The first thing i did was go off all sugar, my body began to respond immediately (tiny daily wins that over weeks and months become amazing and bolster your resolve to stay away from from sweets). after a no carb/high fat/ high veggie switch my body just stopped craving the bad stuff. it was mentally effortless. the body wants to heal. you just have tofind the right mix for you. But bottom line the cravings for the bad stuff are only uncomfortable for a while. Even after a few weeks, it becomes uncomfortable to eat sweets. The sugar becomes something you really dont want. I was truly amazed when my cravings became avacado, both btoth, steamed veggies. I reallynever knew that was possible. The body knows. listen to it and it will assist you with changing your thoughts and actions. The results are not a loud roar or obvious at first, which can make the life changes seem not worth it at first. The key is staying the course …The results of the change sneak up on you until wham your brain lets you in on it’s secret….been responding all along to the great lifestyle changes they just become more obvious overtime. Believe in youself and the awesome bodies we where blessed with!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! It was nice to hear about the great success you’ve had using a Paleo mix to fight MS.

    I have a friend who is also fighting MS, and I have sent your story to him to review and to consider adopting Paleo into his protocol to fight MS. Your’s is a great example of what might be a viable solution to minimize the pain and suffering that MS causes.

    Good luck, and stay on the Paleo path. It’s working for you!


    1. Thank you! It is amazing how different our bodies can be when we give it the right food. I am still a work in progress but I can walk! I no longer suffer some of the issues that MS plagued me with and I have been without a flare for 2 years. I am sending your friend love and encouragement!


  3. Johanna, this is so inspiring! And I think it’s good to mix and figure what works for you. Great that the oils are working for you too! I’ve listened to Terry Wahls on some podcasts and love her approach. So glad it is working for you!

    1. Thank you! I did finally come to a realization that Paleo is not a one size fits all and once I allowed myself to really listen to my body I was able to fine tune things. Also Terry Wahls is amazing and she has great information. I am working on the positive self talk that she has mentioned to be very important.


  4. So great that you feel better and more in control. I agree that you need to find what works for you. You look much happier and healthier in the later photos!

  5. Awesome! As someone else with an autoimmune disorder it’s great to see it working for you, and I love your balanced approach taking into account what works for you.

  6. Powerful and inspirational, words fail to express my respect and admiration.

  7. I notice your smile most; in the first pics, it looks like you are smiling for the camera; in the later pictures, you look positively joyful!
    So glad you are doing well. Kudos to you for your proactive attitude!

  8. At first your was almost like reading my own story and experience with MS—our names are even similar! (Though I’m using a pseudo-name, SunnySky—-because I am TRYING to remain positive.)

    Blessings to you, Johanna!
    From “J” aka SunnySky

    1. SunnySky is a beautiful pseudo-name! I love it and I know you will stay positive. We are allowed bad and good days but it is the good days we need to remember and hold on to! We will be great! I am currently working on my mind, body and soul. The wonderful thing about being Paleo is not only does it help your body get the right food you also start to realize the joy and happiness that we deserve and part of it comes with healing ourselves from past pains and moving forward whole again.

      I am trying my best to share many of these topics on my blog

      Hopefully it will continue to help me and others!


  9. Congrats! Receiving such a diagnostic in the way CW presents it to you must be a nightmare. They could use a more positive way to tell people, but no. “You have an incurable disease”, this sentence must have killed thousands that would just have kept on going if their mind didn’t buy into it. So again bravo for going ahead and solving the issue by yourself, and for having the willpower to do it. As someone mentioned your pics are impressive, but mostly the difference in your smile reflects how better you are. Keep at it you sure look on the right path!

  10. Johanna,

    Congrats on your successful management of ms with Primal/Paleo.

    I too have MS, have had it for a quarter century. It sucks. A few thoughts:

    There are many stem cell scams that don’t work. The only proven stem cell therapy is HSCT (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Therapy). It’s not approved in the U.S. yet. The FDA takes forever because in part it is corrupted by big Pharma. HSCT will likely be approved sometime around 2023 when Dr Richard Burt’s trial is completed. It cures ~70-80% of all cases. It also cures many other hideous autoimmune diseases. Until it’s approved, alternative is getting the procedure done overseas for big $$. It’s not a riskless procedure but something I’m seriously looking into.

    Another alternative “natural” treatment is something that Grok and his kin did many times during our common ancestral past: Fasting. Extended periods of fasting kills off old poorly functioning immune cells and once the fast has ended, your body generates new cells. Fasting also generates myelin cells which as you know are essential for repairing damage. Valter Longo out of USC’s longevity lab is one of the leading researchers on the benefits of fasting:
    I just recently completed a five day water fast and will keep these in my toolkit going forward.

    Best of luck in your continued success against MS

    1. I agree. My post and shared story is of course a small glimpse into my whole story. I have been RRMS for about 7 years and after that I started to go into what my doctor felt was secondary. Due to the pain and state of health I was in we chose stem cells in another country and I do not regret my choice but I do feel changing to a Paleo diet has yielded some of my best results. I also agree that fasting is very beneficial. Thank you for your comment and for the important information you shared. -Johanna

  11. Great work, you do indeed look happier in the “after” pictures, not the mention the obvious healthier look too! Keep it up, and thanks for telling your story.

  12. Congratulations on feeling better! The same week as your success story Terry Wahls was on a neat podcast called, “Smart Drugs Smarts”, for the third time. She talked more about her work with veterans and the trials she is participating in. One take away from this episode that struck and stuck with me was the 80/20 may not work when severe health issues are present. MDA has had a similar approach of N=1.

  13. Dear Mark. Would love to hear your take on the new Pokémon Go trend! Lots of outdoor walking. What’s not to like? 😀

  14. Thank you everyone for your amazing and uplifting comments! I am so thankful to have the opportunity to share my success story on such an inspiring blog! I try my best to share the journey I am on and will continue to be on my blog at Also if you want to reach me for any questions feel free to email me at [email protected]. I will try my best to get to any emails as soon as I can. I am blessed to be a busy wife and mom with the ability to have energy to live such a active life that once seemed like a dream that was taken away. Food is medicine and we can improve and exceed expectations! Love Johanna

  15. The real life stories are always my favorite posts of the week on MDA. Well done Johanna, thanks for sharing, very inspirational. I’m looking forward to having a read through your blog.

  16. Johanna, what an inspiring story. I have a long time friend with MS. I lived near her and tried to be supportive when she was first diagnosed. I’m going to share your story with her, although she lives far away, now, and we aren’t in touch so much. I like how you weren’t ashamed of your body, before losing the weight. I’m so happy for your success, but mostly, that you are free of MS symptoms. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you! I do wish your friend the best in her journey and choices. I do hope to be of some inspiration as I was in very tough place for many years and I feel more free then I did before my diagnosis. Feel free to share my blog also as it may have some additional information that may help. I feel we are all work in progress but listening and caring for our bodies is amazing when you take your control back.


      My blog:

      1. I will! Thank you for the encouragement. I’m calling her soon. I’m also going to take a look at your website 🙂

  17. So pleased for you, Johanna. It’s great to hear how much of a difference it can make taking charge of your own health.

  18. Awesome job!

    Can anyone recommend a good amount of time to take between progress pictures? Obviously a day to day one would be awesome but is there a time (maybe 2 weeks, a month), which is optimal?

  19. Johanna, you worked hard! Congratulations! I also noticed (I am a physical therapist) that the back of your left knee is no longer swollen (Baker’s cyst) and is gone! That is great. Would recommend paying attention to the alignment of your feet/ankles. That would help relieve more of the stress on your knees. Just noticing.
    Enjoy your new life!

    1. Thank you for that observation! I honestly had discomfort in that area and it did eventually go away but I didnt know what the issue was. I will pay attention to the alignment of my feet and ankles. I also appreciate any tips and suggestions you may have.



  20. Hi J, Thank you for sharing. This is exactly the encouragement I need as I make my way through life with MS. I am on week 2 of Wahl’s Paleo Plus. I look forward to the energy transformation come week 3. Love,B

    1. Brooke

      You are amazing and you can do it!!! Remember to not be so hard on yourself and if you slip up just start over. And paleo is always a evolving way of life and food. Also some people are sensitive to nightshades and some are not. I have found I am better when I stay away from nightshades. You can check my Instagram as I post a lot of meal/food pictures. My Instagram is under jo80hanna.

      I wish you the best!!!


    1. Thanks for sharing the article. I do agree that one should not use oils because they are thinking it will cure. Also if you are buying oils from someone that claims to cure then run for the hills. Our bodies are wonderful and beautiful and possibly with enough soul healing and meditation it would be amazing to see what could happen!

      When I use my doterra essential oils I use them to assist and be alternatives to chemical drugs. I do not use over the counter products such as Tylenol, advil, midol, etc…. I do use a combo of my oils to assist with possible issues or even cuts, bruises, etc and to assist with emotional concerns like anxiety and stress.

      I am a work in progress and the benefits of essential oils have been a tremendous help to keep my body clean.

      Side note- If using essential oils please use high quality oils from places like doterra, young living and mountain rose herbs. Quality makes a difference when it comes to food, essential oils and supplements. And also make sure to ask questions and never assume the internet has all the answers for proper ways to use oils. Be cautious, be safe and live happy!


  21. I am so proud of you! It is so awesome that you are able to share your story with everyone. I know how hard you have worked to get where you are. You took upon yourself to be proactive, and you continue to press forward no matter what obstacle you may be faced with. It takes a lot of courage to take the road less travelled. This is a life long journey, and there will be rocks in the road along the way, but I intend to be right beside you every step you take. You are truly an inspiration. I Love You! Paleo 4 Life. Your Loving Husband, Stephen.

    1. Thank you my husband! You have been by my side since the beginning and have lived a Paleo life with me! i am thankful to have you by my side.

      Love you

      1. Johanna,

        Your story is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing it! Would you mind sharing the information on the Stem Cell Therapy you used? I am interested in starting to do some research to see if it would be a good option for me as well.

        Thanks so much!

        1. Hi Pete,

          I do not mind sharing were I received stem cells but before I do I would like to share a few disclaimers: First stem cells are not a cure but can be seen as helpers to calm various areas of an inflamed body (other stem cell studies may be more toward healing but the area I went was not), Second there are mixed attitudes on what is good and bad so research and make the best choice on what feels right for you and your family. Lastly, I yielded great results but that may not happen for everyone and mine were temporary the first time for about 6 months, the second time was for a study and results are great but I also have been Paleo and that has been the best mix. Side note- Stem cells are expensive and they do need to be repeated as stem cells die off.

          Also this is information based on my research and results so other opinions might not agree but that is where you have to go off of what feels like a good choice to you. I personally do not have regrets.

          I received my stem cells in Panama at the stem cell institute. You can find great information on their site and you can also search for Holly Huber and read about her experience.

          Best of luck!!!!