Every time i hear about a spectacular health turn-around after a person changes his/her dietary style, the first thing i want to know is, exactly what was changed?
Yep, a Real Home Cooking diet, in which whole foods replace CIAB will make the whole family feel, look and perform better, even if it contains the worst grains and beans in the world. Most plant toxins aren't nearly as nasty as some of the man-made ones which flood the food supplies of modern countries!
I heard the success story of Terry Wahls, and i couldn't be more happy for her! Especially considering her profession, this is a coup for advocates of nutritionally-based medical treatment; she's harder to shrug off than most of us grunts. AND she's very vocal about her situation; :-D ...i do so admire the people who get out there and fight for what i believe in, but into which i am not willing to pour my whole life's-energy. But do i think that her diet is optimal for universal health? No, at least not for me.
The "wow factor" of dietary change frequently depends upon your starting point. Mine has been changing step-wise, and to see how my health has improved i have to search my memory for details that are confounded by (comparative) youth, fitness, etc.
I started out from i categorized above as a Real Home Cooking diet. I grew up eating white bread and corn oil, but at least we always COOKED. Frequent eating-out didn't happen till about twenty years ago, and i had been fighting the battle of the bulge before that. As food-and-supplement fads came and went, i never noticed a significant improvement with ANYTHING until i added systemic enzymes to my daily routine. I suspect i was developing fibromyalgia; i would sit with my feet up and vaguely ache all over. My chronic fatigue i attributed to the hypothyroidism.
So, first enzymes actually promoted some improvement, then my doctor recommended iodine supplementation, and that helped much more. I went on Atkins next, and my general improvement was immensely noticeable. No more morning brain fog, significantly improved allergies, better energy, and weight-loss without constant hunger. I was a FAN.
The biggest reason that low-carbing didn't result in all the weight-loss i could ever have wanted was the temptation to add foods in too soon. One sees all those opportunities to again eat the things the low-fat-me had been denying myself so long.... And, as an enthusiastic cook, i was also hot to adapt old recipes to the new philosophy, and got caught in the carb-creep that is so hard to resist. I screwed up.
I don't remember what led me to Mark's Daily Apple, but it was my portal to the paleo/primal world. I no longer link his site from mine, but it's still one of the first to which i send my paleo-curious friends. Like so many other eating plans, if you go straight to it from the SAD your results will be absolutely stunning: i didn't, so mine were much less noticeable. Not perfect, and nor is the Perfect Health Diet ... for me.
What DID produce jaw-dropping IMPROVEMENT for me was the Personal Paleo Code program, and the Strong Medicine protocol i tried after it. In my case, i found out that health challenges have been all about dietary intolerances and "personal toxins."
So yeah: a veg*n diet will be beneficial ... if you ate absolutely horrible things before. So will Atkins, despite the highly-questionable ingredients in their trademarked products. So will a low-fat diet, if you go from lots of omega-6 oils to almost none (and can stand the hunger).
To eat OPTIMALLY is going to take a lot of n=1 experimentation. Eat only things that are "never" toxic or allergenic for a month, then add things back one at a time, slowly. It's ILLUMINATING.