About Sarah Ballantyne, PhD

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DAWN0184Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (a.k.a. The Paleo Mom) is the blogger behind the award-winning blog  www.ThePaleoMom.com, cohost of the top-rated and syndicated  The Paleo View podcast, and New York Times Bestselling author of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook.

Sarah has always had many interests and talents, which is reflected in the diversity of this blog. Here, you will find explanations of the science behind the Paleo diet and lifestyle, along with a strong focus on modifications for autoimmune disease sufferers, articles related to the practical implementation of a Paleo diet and lifestyle, detailed discussions relevant for paleo families and kids’ health, and recipes that span the gamut from kid staples, to comfort foods, to quick & easy meals, to gourmet dishes, to treats for special occasions, to snacks and nut-free baking, to recipes compliant with the autoimmune protocol for those who suffer from autoimmune diseases (like Sarah).

Sarah started her academic career in physics, earning an Honors Bachelor of Science with Distinction from the University of Victoria, Canada in 1999.  Her honors thesis work was in radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which prompted her to look for medical research applications in graduate school .  Sarah earned her doctorate degree in medical biophysics at The University of Western Ontario in 2003, at the age of 26.  Her doctoral thesis was titled “Progressive Liver Injury during the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome:  Heme Oxygenase as a Therapeutic Target”.  Her doctoral research spanned the gamut of inflammation, innate immunity, endogenous anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant enzymes, gene therapy techniques, microcirculation and vascular biology, liver health,  and critical care medicine.

Sarah spent the next four years doing medical research as a postdoctoral fellow first at in the Cardiology Department at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada and then in the Department of Cell Biology at The University Of Arizona.  In Toronto, Sarah continued her research in the fields of innate immunity, inflammation, vascular biology, critical care medicine, and gene therapy, with a new focus on Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and the role of angiogenic growth factors in controlling inflammation and the innate immune system.  In Tucson, Sarah switched gears and studied epithelial cell biology with particular focus on trafficking of proteins required for tight junction assembly, maintenance of epithelial cell polarity, and characterization of a new tumor suppressor called endotubin (which suppressed epithelial to mesenchymal transformations through maintenance of tight junction integrity).  Sarah’s focus included cell trafficking (how cells shuttle proteins from one part to another in a targeted way) and cancer biology.

Throughout Sarah’s academic career, Sarah earned a variety of awards, including: awards for research excellence including from the American Physiological Society (3 years in a row) and from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research / BioContact Quebec (1st place);  many fellowships, including from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF), Pfizer Canada (through HSF partnership), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategic Training Initiative in Cardiovascular Health Research (TACTICS); and, a research grant through The University of Arizona Cancer Center Gastrointestinal Specialized Program of Research Excellence (GI-SPORE, a National Institutes of Health grant program).   Despite Sarah’s relatively short academic career, she filed one patent (in both the USA and Canada) and published 14 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals (including 7 first author papers; and 12 of which can be seen here), several of which continue to be highly-cited today, and 25 abstracts presented at international conferences.

Even though Sarah was enjoying a successful and vibrant burgeoning academic career, she opted to become a stay-at-home mom upon the birth of her first daughter.  Sarah’s decision to give the world of medical research a break when her first daughter was born was inspired both by the profound influence of her own mother during her upbringing and by a recognition that her health was not going to accommodate any attempts at finding balance between a high-powered academic career and her desire to be a fully-engaged parent. At the time her first daughter was born, Sarah was morbidly obese and suffered from over a dozen immune- and autoimmune-related diseases.


Summer 2005–at least 275lbs, but I will never know for sure because I was too scared to weigh myself. I was depressed and very sick.

After her second daughter was born, Sarah discovered the Paleo lifestyle. It had an amazing effect on her health, including contributing to her 120-pound weight loss! Over time, she healed herself of a long laundry list of physical complaints including: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux, migraines, anxiety, asthma, allergies, psoriasis and an autoimmune skin condition called lichen planus. In fact, Sarah was able to discontinue six prescription medications, some of which she has been taking for 12 years, within two weeks of changing her diet! The dramatic improvements in Sarah’s conditions convinced her never to revert to her previous eating habits. She quickly became a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for the Paleo lifestyle, which led to the creation of this blog.

Summer 2012. Happy, healthy, fit.

Summer 2012. Happy, healthy, fit.

Sarah is passionate about scientific literacy and about distilling scientific concepts into straightforward and accessible explanations. As a scientist both by training and by nature, Sarah is deeply interested in understanding how the foods we eat interact with our gut barriers, immune systems, and hormones to influence health. Sarah’s innate curiosity goes further than just understanding diet and she is also deeply interested in lifestyle factors like sleep, stress and activity. Sarah believes that the true rationale for this way of eating and living stems, not from evolutionary biology (although that is a great place to start for forming hypotheses), but the thousands of scientific articles that each evaluate one small piece to the picture of how diet and lifestyle contribute to health and longevity.

Sarah is more than just a scientist. She is also a devoted mom and wife. It was important to Sarah to improve the health of her family in addition to addressed her own health conditions. Sarah successfully transitioned her originally skeptic husband and two spirited young daughters to a paleo diet and lifestyle. It was a slow road (full of challenges, victories and baby steps), but the difference in her family’s health was also profound. Sarah blogs about the challenges of raising a paleo family and living in a family where the members of different dietary requirements.  In fact, it was this part of Sarah’s journey and Sarah’s indentify first and foremost as a mom that inspired the name of this blog.

Sarah has also always loved food and loved cooking. She loves being creative in the kitchen and finding ways to reinvent old favorites. She cooks mostly for her family, which is why you will see such a diversity of recipes on her blog. She believes that even healthy food should taste amazing and that there can be room in life for celebrations with food and occasional treats (and that what occasional means is individual). Sarah also loves to draw, and yes, both the stick figure illustrations and the more technical illustrations (in this blog and Sarah’s books) are her own.

Sarah’s personal experiences with autoimmune disease is the reason for the large amount of autoimmune-related content on her blog and the reason why her first two books are focused on how to modify a paleo diet to reverse autoimmune disease. However, this is not an autoimmune only blog. Only a subset of both the scientific content and the recipes are focused on autoimmune disease. Instead, ThePaleoMom.com is a family-centered blog, a food blog, a “how to” blog, and a science blog. Sarah approaches the Paleo diet from a place of realism and a focus on long-term sustainability, that understands the individual nature of each of our bodies and that different diet choices work better for different people. It is a blog that respects your choices, and shares in both struggles and successes. It is a blog designed to explain the why’s behind a Paleo lifestyle to inform your choices and give you the tools you need to be successful.

You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

You can read more about Sarah’s personal journey to paleo and see more before and after paleo photos.



Thank you so much for this life-altering info. My symptoms started at birth (adopted with evaporated milk and corn syrup formula) and after 59 years of trying all the diets, Dr’s advice (made it worse), no gall bladder, you have finally given me hope with the auto-immune data. I hope to be free of all ‘bad’ foods in a couple of days and never look back! Blessings to you!

Hi my name is Barbara and have been following you on FB. I saw your post about disabling the message part and that if we have questions to ask them here. Is that correct ? If so I have a ton of questions. I am new to the Paleo Diet. First I am looking for a good Paleo Book. One that I could Plan my meals and tract my food. Any suggestions ?

ahhh, I found it! 😉 Barbara, it is up in the top right of the web page under the “connect with me” box. You should see it right below the facebook icon. If you don’t have Outlook, you can right click on the icon and click “copy email address”…you will then be able to paste it into yahoo or hotmail or whatever service you use. 🙂

I just found your site! One of the members of our local paleo primal meetup made your plantain lasagna for our recent potluck. I am so excited about cooking more w/plaintains and about the recipes for these and other foods on your site.

I would love to offer you a copy of my cookbook, The Garden of Eating: A Produce Dominated Diet & Cookbook in trade for your book. I would love to review your book on my blog and would hope you would do the same if you like my book. You can read about my book on my blog, http://www.TheHealthyCookingCoach.com

Please contact me.

Hi Sarah! I can not find your email so I’m just posting here… I am moving from raw vegan diet into paleo diet, kind of. I won’t eat land animals, but I will eat seafood. With fish, what part of the fish is the fattest? Is it the skin? (I might not eat it, if so.) Also, fish aside, what other ocean animals are high in protein and low in fat? What is the healthiest form to get your seafood in (example: fresh oysters or smoked oysters or oysters suspended in oil in a store package)? It would be great to see an article on this topic! Please email me! Very curious / cautious. Thank you so very much!

Not sure why you want to avoid fat from seafood. It’s by far the healthiest fat you can eat, with thousands of studies proving the health benefits and it is an essential fat. I don’t think the fat is concentrated in the skin the way it is in land animals, but more that some fish are fattier than others. Shrimp is a very lean shellfish, scallops are pretty good too. Fresh is always best, frozen is a close second as long as their are no additives. Smoked, packaged and canned aren’t quite as good but still okay (as long as the cans are BPS-free). Depending on how long you’ve been vegan, I would definitely recommend going slow with protein and maybe taking some digestive enzymes for the first few months that you start encouraging proteins into your diet.

Hi! Your website has been sooooooo helpful with information and ideas these last two weeks! When I start reintroducing food, is it okay for me to bake with eggs (like your pancake recipe) and eat it (I’m following auto-immune protocol)? I never really ate eggs alone except when my mother made chorizo and egg tacos, but always baked with them and ate what I baked. Is that okay?

Sure. Just because you’re reintroducing eggs doesn’t mean they have to be straight. Just make sure you are only eating one new food at time so that if you have a reaction you can be sure what the culprit is.

My full name printed. I see no way on here to contact you directly. Would you kindly delete my last name or if not possible, my post? Thanks!

Hi Sarah,
Our 23 year old daughter, who is currently back home while her husband is deployed to Afghanistan, just started all three of us (her, her dad and me) on the Paleo diet. She’s been on it for about a week and it only took her 5 days to convince us. One of the main reasons is that my husband and I could probably start our own pharmacy with all of the medications that we take. Also, I can almost quote you when I say that I suffer from IBS (constipation), migraines, allergies and anxiety. I also add border-line high blood pressure, diabetes, undiagnosed skin rash flare-ups, about 60 lbs overweight and a fused C4/C5 (neck vertebrae) fusion (bone-on-bone) which causes much chronic pain.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your website and dedication and tell you that I look forward to the improvements to come in our health alone.
Take care, Kimberly Lemberg

I am very aware of how our bodies are plagued by illnesses these days because of what we eat. My husband is gluten sensitive and almost died on us before we found out what was wrong. He was just diagnosed with AS and I have Hashimoto’s. We’ve done the Fungus Link, the leaky gut cure and the Wheat Belly diets. I have removed all nightshades, gluten and most dairy(except yogurt, fetta and goat cheese), but our go to meals are mainly nut meals and eggs. I see that we need to go a step further in eliminating those two culprits and probably all dairy. What resources do you recommend as far as cookbooks or recipes? There are lots of Paleo recipes out there but not a lot of AIP.

How soon after beginning the paleo diet should I feel relief from my IBS? Have you met others that in spite of following the paleo diet have to follow a FODMAPs diet also?

wow….I just listened to your George , Stefanie and saras podcast. I am still processing it all. My addiction started at 14 with anorexia, at 18 turned to bulimia and I also picked up alcoholism .I have been sober for 4 years now but the bulimia is still alive and present. I feel so hopeless however this podcast was so helpful. I am looking into treatment but I cant afford it. every day is a battle. I just want to wake up and not dread the inevitable binge. To not hurt myself on a daily basis , or learn how to cope with feelings of sadness and loneliness, happiness or celebrating , or just ANY emotion without food, which leads to binging and purging. thank you for this pod cast and your website

I’m also new to the Paleo Diet…in fact, I have just learned about your website tonight. In the meantime, I’ve been doing some research about this particular diet (per my daughter’s insistence, “Mom, I think your problem is that you have leaky gut disorder- and you need to find out about this Paleo diet, like right now!!) And so I have. But after all the investigation regarding foods- what to eat, what not to eat- I’ve run into a problem. I don’t understand why most articles warn against nightshade vegetables (like eggplant) and meat which have purines but on your particular diet these are allowed. Can you clear up the confusion? I want (need) to get started with this regimen very soon as I have developed an autoimmune problem (leaky gut which has brought on severe arthritis) and I want to be sure that the foods I’m eating will in fact begin to alleviate the pain and not worsen the situation.
P.S. I’ve been up for hours reading what I can and I want to say here that I am Really enjoying your website! It’s so fun and interesting. Although I’m in misery with my knees, ankles, etc. reading your articles has really helped to boost my attitude- all the way to positive- and has given me hope that I can begin to enjoy life again. THANK YOU!

Nightshades are typically included in a standard paleo diet, but are a common sensitivity so many people additionally eliminated them from their diet. I typically recommend starting with a standard paleo diet and trying that for a few months before experimenting with additional eliminations, unless you are critically ill (at which point, I typically recommend the autoimmune protocol, more info on this in the autoimmunity menu). This post explains why they might not be the best food for many people: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/08/the-whys-behind-autoimmune-protocol.html

As for purines, low-purine diets have traditionally been recommended for those with gout and hyperuricaemia (high blood levels of uric acid). However, more recent scientific research shows that refined sugar, and especially fructose, is the more likely culprit, especially in conjunction with obesity and alcohol consumption. Research actually doesn’t support low-purine diets and all and in fact show the opposite–that consumption of vegetables high in purines and consumption of red meat BOTH are known to decrease the risk of gout.

Good Afternoon, I am currently casting for TLC’s the Next Great Baker and we are looking for very specific teams of bakers. We would love to introduce paleo bakers to this season I would love to give you and your followers some more information. Please email me at mdelima@highnoontv.com for more info, and anyone on your site may do so as well.

Outstanding site. Thank you very much for putting it up and for maintaining it. Based on my amateur diagnosis, my wife will be following the SIBO and auto immune modifications (forever, perhaps). We’ve stopped hoping for a cure, but just relief would be great. David

Wow! I was so excited to pick up my book on Friday. Because of the snow yesterday, I was able to sit and read it for most of the day. I can’t wait for your cookbook!

I believe I may have just self diagnosed myself with oral lichen planus thanks to your latest FB post! I have had symptoms for 2 yrs & have seen many health professional both conventional & alternative. I have been GF for 13 yrs but now believe I may be experiencing a cross reactivity. problem is, I can’t figure it out! Chocolate(but I’ve cut it out & didn’t improve), corn (really don’t eat it but could be getting it from eating chicken?) or hemp. You mention potatoes, I only eat sweet potatoes-are they an issue? Do you know how to go about having the blood test done & the cost?

Hi Sarah. I believe the mysterious bumps on my 12 year olds wrists are LP. I have Hoshimotos so she is already predisposed for AI issues. Do you know if there is an antibodies blood test for LP like there is for Hoshi’s? I would like to get her tested. Thanks!

Hey Sarah! You are a rockstar and I love your site … I’ve been doing Paleo on and off for the last year. For me it was about getting my energy back and feeling good. Paleo really works!! I feel so much healthier!!

Love love love the sit and I’m stoked to try out some new paleo recipes.
-Amy 😉

Hi Sarah, Im so glad I found your site. I am already eating Paleo and trying to convince my daughter not to be a strict vegetarian due to us both suffering with Chronic Lyme disease for last 12 years and both being low thyroid and digestive issues. So far Paleo has really helped me but your autoimmune information is just what I am looking for as acid reflux and very inflamed digestive problems are a major player for me and I have not been able to pinpoint where I was going wrong to correct the leaky gut etc. My diet (so I thought) was very Paleo and very disciplined but I think you have just led me to the key to get these additional issues corrected once and for all. I will be ordering your book and will be following your blog from now on. I have followed Dr. Terry Wahls with great interest as her protocol for reversing MS is very useful for people with Lyme disease and now I have found you and your autoimmune information I really think this will assist me in refining a sensible diet for myself and my 20 year old daughter. Great site and extremely valuable. Thanks from a Lymie mum in the UK who really appreciates this kind of very valid information. I will be sure to post your information on my Facebook page for other people with Lyme disease to make use of.

Hi Loz, I was wondering if you would give an update about your experience with Lyme disease and the AIP protocol. I just started the approach about 3 weeks ago and have been having a tough time with it (lots of die-off symptoms, disrupted sleep and mood issues).

Sarah, I’m so glad I found your site! I am still learning and reading all I can. I bought your book and it has helped me more than you know! You put a lot of thought into it so that anyone can understand! I absolutely love all your giveaways too!! 😉

Hi Sarah,

I’m so glad to have found you. I have followed you on Facebook for a little bit and just downloaded your book. I have only made it to the preface, but I got on your site to check out your “about” section. I would love to read some of your papers…but I can’t get the link to work. I’m interested because I’m a nurse by training (an anesthetist now, however). But in 2008 I worked as a nurse in an ICU in Michigan that served as one of the few referral centers for adult ECMO. The “swine flu” epidemic threw me for a loop. I witnessed people my age-in their twenties- that were overweight or obese, but otherwise “healthy” that were deathly ill or dying-placed on ECMO, in ARDS, in hypercoaguable states, some of which had even received the vaccine- and I just didn’t understand how it could happen. My only presumption was that they had an underlying immune deficiency that was unknown….but of course this testing was never investigated. Later a friend of mine referred me to a naturopathic doctor and while my diet change has been tumultuous, I have reaped many benefits from it. I’m excited to read your book in its entirety and pleased that is it written with a scientific base.

Thank you for your work!!


Curious…Have you ever had someone with severe alopecia see healing and their hair restored after following the autoimmune protocol?

Suggestion: It might be a good idea to have a tab on your site for, Updates, so that as you discover additional info, that supplements your book, The Paleo Approach, we can quickly find that information on your site?

Sarah, I am a recent divorced father w/ 2 kids. After working for 18 years in the advertising field I went back to school because I felt a calling to become a chef. I have a BA from DePaul but I also went back to school and earned a culinary certificate from Kendall College as well. My calling to become a chef has never been more real…Let me explain.

I never knew this, but I lived my whole life (or at least from what I can remember) w/ a bi-polar disorder. I knew after my divorce I needed to find what was wrong w/ me because I was a good person but I did some really awful things and couldn’t control my actions. I would look into the mirror every day and say “you are a good person, why the hell did you just do that!” I had no answer. I loved my wife but loved myself more and was always looking for the most pleasurable experience with what ever was presented to me. It could have been a w/ a person I knew (man or woman) or sport or drugs, or alcohol or… it didn’t matter. I just looked for the “high”

I lost my sister to sex, drugs and alcohol in 2008 then moved out of my home in 2009.

Not to bore you, I will get right to it. Grain, specially wheat, barley, rye was the culprit to my emotions. When I went “gluten free” for 5 days I came out of a fog and had too many memories that all came back. I even had to be admitted into hospital for a few days because I was having some really bad thoughts. However, I came back from what I call “my retreat” w/ such an understanding of what food does to us, I started my own personal chef and catering business focusing on allergen free cooking, mainly gluten, soy, and dairy free. However, this “night shade” thing and Paleo approach has me excited because it works! individuals and families alike retain my services because they can either relate to my story or they need help. I can fix people w/ food. I am 25/27 w/ my clients and the numbers keep growing.

I want to help people attain inner peace. I find many of my customers come from NA, SA, or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex, Narcotics). They are “addicted” but can’t figure out why. I know why which is why I started a new brand w/ in my company:

“The Gandhi of Gluten Free”
Remove the wheat and attain inner peace w/ what you eat”

I will be exhibiting at this years GF and allergen expo in Illinois in a few weeks and I have gone a branded a new me –


I am almost whole now and loving every minute now, and will never go back. I even try to live the Paleo lifestyle but I am an endurance athlete (master spin instructor for 15 years) and I am afraid I won’t be able to ride that first century ride of the year. No worries, my mind is healthy for the first time and I LOVE IT! I am a nutritional chef now, I will figure it out.

I do have 2 question for you:

1. Why is this site and your followers predominantly female?
2. Why do women have more issue w/ their thyroid then men?

I know too many men that could benefit from our knowledge. I have theories as to why but I want to get your professional scientific answer before I share what I think.

Thanks Sarah for your time. I know you get back to people so I will wait and see how you answer the above questions.

Chef Beau
“The Gandhi of Gluten Free”

What a story! Thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience with gluten before I was diagnosed with Celiac – it left me an impulsive, cold-hearted person, and left me with a lot of regrets when the fog finally cleared. I think there are a lot of reasons Sarah’s followers are (or appear to be) predominantly women — the fact that autoimmune disease affects more women than men (probably due in part to our more complex endocrine systems and the stress things like pregnancy put on our bodies when coupled with poor diet/lifestyle) and her focus on feeding Paleo kids and families, which despite shifting norms is still largely a woman’s role. I think other Paleo moms might identify with her more, or come looking for “how to be a Paleo mom”. That said, Sarah does have a lot of male readers! – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I loved your articles but I’ll be honest I was a little skeptical of it all because I am forever seeing “mums” offering diet advice from facts they found on Google. It’s nice to finally see someone who has credentials. Thank you for sharing your experience Sarah

Hi Sarah, Thank you so much for all of your insight. I suffer with psoriasis and have been on the AIP for one month today. I am hoping I will continue to see more results in my psoriasis healing. About how long until you noticed that yours began to disappear? How long can it take for the gut to heal? Thank you!

Hi Everyone,

I thought that many of you would be interested in seeing this (and possibly sending out a few emails to the company). I read on someone’s website that Wolfgang Puck had nightshade free cooking stock. Due to the packaging on the label, which was a bit vague, I went ahead and emailed the company and asked them to please let me know which of their stocks or broths was nightshade free. I am a bit shocked at their reply and am wondering about the “recipes change frequently and ingredients are periodically added and replaced.” I was under the impression that it was a fairly large undertaking to change an ingredient list mostly due to the expense of using up and then re-printing new packaging. My thought is that this is a typical we don’t want to deal with your question response.

This is the reply that I was sent:

Pat Smith, thank you for contacting us regarding our Wolfgang Puck All Natural Stocks.

Unfortunately, we are not able to supply you with a definitive list of products that do not contain night shade at this time.

Product recipes change frequently and ingredients are periodically added and replaced. This makes it difficult to maintain an updated list of products that either contain or lack a particular ingredient. If you have questions about a specific product, please refer to the ingredient statement on the package for the most current information.

Thank you for visiting the Wolfgang Puck website.

Wolfgang Puck Web Team


Please do NOT reply to this email. If you would like to respond to this message, click on the link below.


Your blog seems heavily reliant on guest blog posts these days, and I’d be wary about it for two reasons: One, your quality is declining. You’re a scientist by trade but you’re allowing these bloggers to make ridiculous claims (like the “what not to feed your kid” post) which furthers the pseudoscience and quackery that has taken over food blogs. Two, Google penalizes guest blogs. http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/ I’d rethink your strategy if you are no longer able to create your own content.

Awesome! Excited to find your blog as it seems very similar to what I have been hoping to do with my new blog. I hope to link to your posts as I find relevant related content! You can check out my blog (baby new) at momathomescientist.wordpress.com.

What a blessing you are to me and everyone who is trying to be healthy and avoid fads. I appreciate all of your research and your scientific explanations about health and nutrition. I feel equipped to make informed choices after reading your articles, and I often site your work when trying to convince my family and friends to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Hi, my name is Inês,
I just want to say THANK YOU!
I love your book and your website. I am a young MD and have been strugeling with migraines, IBS, and now a chronic skin problem for two years (acne rosacea) and after experimenting all the possible treatments (and side effets.. ;P) I decided to start the Paleo Diet.
Your book really helped convince me because, as a scientist I needed to first understand why it could work to try it for real (only been 10 days yet).

Your recipes are amazing and thanks to your awsome plantain recipes, prevented me to give up because of cravings!
I am portuguese so I decided to start writting down portuguese Paleo recipes on my blog (www.noivapaleo.wordpress.com).

How long did it take you for your acne to heal?

Thank you

Dear Dr. Ballantyne, I am 74, increased my weight (90 kg) since I retired in 2005 to 110 kg. From beginning of July 2014 I try to loose weight and succeeded up to date to come down to 103. I got rid of the most disturbing feeling of constant heart-burns. My diet exist mostly on veggies/cabbage soups, a little meat, chicken and fish with no diary products, pasta or bread.
I would like to exercise but can’t find the energy. My right knee was damaged 50 years ago but healed perfectly. However in 2000 I hurt this knee again. I was recommended by a orthopedic surgeon to have a knee replacement what I refused. After 15 years I walk and climb a ladder and stairs without problems but…would like to give my body some boast.
What can you, please, recommend?
Thank you in anticipation.
Frans Van Erk

Dear Christina, thank you for your advice what I certainly will follow up although it is still a little cold in South Africa but I have a sauna to warm me up before taking a dive.
I keep you informed.

[…] who came out to the signing were such troopers – hanging in there waiting for me, letting Sarah take a picture of them all holding up their copies of Eat Like a Dinosaur and Beyond Bacon. It kept […]

im still a little confuse, I have fibromyalgia, can I eat eggs, and cook with olive oil or its best to cook only with coconut oil?

Patricia, cook with fats that are solid at room temperature – they are most stable and can withstand the heat. Coconut oil, butter, lard, bacon fat, tallow, red palm oil. Save the olive oil for salads.

You are suggesting to people to eat Coconut oil, butter, lard, bacon fat, tallow ?

What insanity.

I have seen not one single research study published in a respected, peer reviewed, referee’d scientific journal that confirms this “paleo diet” is healthful. On the other hand, the China Study is the mother of all health studies, over 20 years, that CONFIRMs without a doubt – – that cholesterol is the main cause of many of our health problems. As I understand, this paleo diet espouses eating meat. Well, all meat contains excess cholesterol, which is bad. There are more than one Physics graduate who became a medical researcher who now manages a diet website to make money off it.

I agree. What bullshit. Show us the evidence for your matter-of-fact statements, stay-at-home mom. I have a Ph.D., too. That doesn’t give me the right to wear a white coat and pass myself off as a medical “Dr.”

Really? You didn’t wear a white lab coat in the lab when you performed your experiments? My university requires them. Or is it that your Ph.D. is in history or English?

Simply because someone has an M.D. after their name doesn’t mean their medical knowledge is current – just that they knew enough at the time to pass their exams. Many M.D.s don’t keep up with medical research, but a researcher has to stay current.

I see a lot of recipes with coconut flour, coconut flakes and coconut oil. I can’t tolerate coconut at all. I’m also allergic to all bell peppers. What can I swap out? I was advised to go paleo bc I was just diagnosed with Hashimotos and I’m not responding well to Synthroid.

Any protein injected into the body, especially along with an adjuvant
can cause the immune system to be sensitized to that protein. Subsequent
exposure to the protein will cause the immune system to attack that
protein. This is the mechanism used by vaccinations.

When one receives an intramuscular shot (vaccines or even a Vitamin K1
shot that includes an adjuvant) the muscle can be pierced and muscle
proteins such as tropomyosin can be deposited along with the vaccine and
adjuvants. In theory, the immune system can develop sensitization to
tropomyosin. Tropomyosin is also present in the brain and intestines.
When the sensitized immune system attacks tropomyosin, the result could
be autism and intestinal inflammatory disorders such as IBD and
ulcerative colitis.

More details and peer-reviewed references to the mechanism described are


Tropomyosin sensitivity also of course means seafood allergy.

Likewise, skin proteins from skin pierced by the injections are also
deposited along with the vaccine and adjuvants. Sensitization to skin
proteins can cause autoimmune skin disorders such as eczema. This can
explain why eczema has been increasing over the last decades given the
increasing number of adjuvanted injections in the vaccine schedule.

Hello Sarah, I heard you today on the Hashimotos summit. I’ve been struggling with a plethora of health challenges for most of my life but more intensely for the past 3 years when a recurring, itchy rash started to appear on my lower legs. After hearing about your experience with Lichen Planus, I believe that’s what I’ve been dealing with. I’m so relieved to have a direction for my alternative health practitioners to go with the rash. I’ve been following a Paleo-like diet for the past 3 years, most recently a modified GAPs protocol. The rashes calmed down last winter during a trip to Mexico but have since returned. Did your rash completely heal on the Paleo AIP? How long did it take? Any insight you have would be much appreciated. I feel so fortunate to have ‘met’ you.

My 18 year old daughter has the autoimmune disease Scleroderma with Raynauds as one of the symptoms that she battles the most with. (she was diagnosed at 8 years old.) Praise Jesus for incredible healing for her. The Scleroderma has been in ‘remission’ for lack of a better term. The Raynauds has signifcantly affected the growth of her hands especially. I did some research on Gluten and the impact is has on the Immune System. I wasn’t able to convince her that she should be gluten free. I recently started Cross Fit which led me to check out a Paleo lifestyle recommended by my coaches. I’m reading your blog with all of the references to the Immune system being impacted by Nightshades. Do you have any data regarding Scleroderma and Paleo that I could share with my daughter?

I recently read a post on this page that those following the AIP diet should avoid slippery elm bark since it stimulates the immune system. I am a bit confused by this reasoning since I have read in alternate places that immune stimulating herbs are beneficial in helping those with low immunity. Can you please explain this further

Hi Sara and team,

I’m new to Paleo since my Crohn’s Disease has developed and progressed over the past couple years. I am hoping for some guidance. I enjoy swimming. I find that spending time in the pool helps my skin and is a great form of exercize. What’s the overall opinion of being submerged in water that is treated with chemicals, especially for someone that has a sensitive G.I. tract? Swollowing some amount of water and absorption through sinuses is pretty much unavoidable. Have you seen this discussed anywhere or heard of negative impact on gut microflora? Interested in your thoughts. Thank you for all you have done, love “The Paleo Approach”.

Make sure the pool uses chlorine and not bromine. Bromine will cause your thyroid to go into hypothyroid and could be the cause of your Chrones

Hi, my daughter is 8 and has had an annular lesion on her cheek for the past 2 years, came out from being on a swim team. All of her bloodwork done by rheumy is normal, and they did a few skin scrapings and cultures for ringworm and they all came up negative. She is a happy healthy girl but this rash will not go away and they believe it is a form of subacute cutaneous lupus, tumid lupus, or granuloma annulare. The only way to determine what it is, is to do a punch biopsy which would permanently scar her face. And then they would most likely put her on Plaquenil – for a 1 inch rash. Too bad it is on her face :(. My question to you is if you have heard anyone experience success or remission of cutaneous lupus with the Paleo diet?

Hi Sarah, I am wondering … do you have information how AIP is affecting complete blood test results? Is it safe in long run? That much meat and oils and fats 🙂 Just wondering 🙂

[…] Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach, and also known as The Paleo Mom,  is the modern expert on all things AIP. She is a scientist and master researcher on autoimmune disease and it’s relation to diet and lifestyle factors. She also suffers from autoimmune diseases. She has provided the autoimmune community with a plethora of information on nutrition, sleep, adrenal fatigue, exercise, scientific studies, and so much more. Anything you need to know about the AIP can be found in her books or on her website. She also has a real compassion for those of us suffering from autoimmune disease, as she is one of us. […]

Hello, fellow Arizonan! Doing AIP in Arizona with all this fabulous Mexican food is hard!! I have NASH, IBS, PCOS, and Hashimotos. I was wondering if any of these can be reversed by AIP. I’ve been seeing a funtional medicine doctor and started Paleo. He wants me to follow AIP exclusively for three weeks and then slowely transition back Paleo to see how I do. To be honest, it is a little daunting. Where the weight loss results immediate or did it take time? I haven’t lost anything on Paleo yet but I’m hoping AIP may do the trick. Love the site!

I started with paleo, and switched to AIP when I read some of the research behind it. i used the paleo quick-start guide. It was very helpful.Is there such a thing for AIP — a broken down list to help avoid pitfalls, and make sure to hit all the high points?

[…] As Dr.Sarah Ballantyne shares in her book, The Paleo Approach, autoimmune diseases are becoming an unruly epidemic in today’s society.  Though 1/3 can be accounted for by genetic predisposition, the other portion is heavily influenced by environment, diet, and lifestyle factors, all of which have gone down the tubes in the last couple of centuries.  As the standard American diet, heavy in grains, sugar, and damaged oils, becomes all the more prevalent, so does the risk of one developing an autoimmune disease, and that is not just a coincidence. That being said, while it is sad that more than half of the nation is developing debilitating, life altering autoimmune diseases, there is a beacon of light.   This ever-growing ray of hope is called the autoimmune approach to Paleo, and it is undoubtedly one of the greatest means of finding healing in the seemingly hopeless and incurable health conditions that autoimmune conditions are.  What is the Autoimmune Paleo Diet? The Autoimmune approach to Paleo (i.e. AIP) is a scientifically founded way of eating for those with an autoimmune disease(s), developed by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne of the Paleo Mom.  Ultimately, the protocol eliminates all pro-inflammatory foods and lifestyle factors, which then reduces any potential, damaging attacks that the body may have on itself, thus decreasing autoimmunity and allowing it to heal. Along with a given autoimmune disease, there are typically many other health conditions that arise in an individual, including leaky gut and hormone imbalance.  Therefore, with the combination of a nutrient-dense, healing diet and lifestyle, inflammation that would otherwise be stimulated through mere living, is exceptionally lowered.  From there, the body is able to begin rebuilding itself at a cellular level, simultaneously regulating the immune system, supporting proper organ function, and many other parts of the body that have been effected by a given autoimmune disease.  That being said, the autoimmune approach to healing should not be seen as an end all, be all, to cure one’s illness, but rather, the building blocks that allows one to take control of their health once more.  Though I myself have been following AIP for at least a year now, all of the effects and internal damage caused by Chronic Lyme Disease are not all magically healed.  However, what AIP has successfully eliminated all of the extra inflammation present from the autoimmune aspect of my disease, and thus help me find a way in addressing all of the other complications present.   Overall, an autoimmune approach to the Paleo diet is full of healing foods that help the body reduce attacks on itself and thus repair and rebuild its damaged systems. After all, health truly starts with what we put in our bodies.   Foods on Autoimmune Protocol […]

Hi! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your site…it’s a breath of fresh air! I have scrolled up and down many times (all the time I can find) and I agree 100000% with all that you teach! I am NOT new to ‘dieting’ , in fact, I think my ‘dieting’ (10 + years of bodybuilding diets) and over training is what is causing me now to not feel well.

To make a LONG LONG story short….I am having some major issues digesting a lot. 5 years ago when my body was giving up on me and i was taking massive amounts of fat burners , doing 2-3 hours of cardio a DAY , eating very low carb and frequently ‘drying my body out’ with laxatives and pills…….EVERY.JOINT.HURT….I stopped having a menstrual cycle, I literally felt like my body was 80 years old (I was only 28).
I was confused, sad, frustrated AND trying to live up to my ‘old’ self…a seasoned athlete, successful personal trainer to more than 30 clients a week, healthy food coach (go figure lol), and basically a cheerleader and life coach for sooo many….BUT I was breaking down inside:(

Something led me to a holistic practitioner (I new I needed to get my hormones right…but had no idea what adrenals were!)….Well, I did salvia tests…I had severe sentiviiy to many of the foods I was eating…but most importantly I had horrible cortisol and DHA…NO uters lining (my OBGYN said he’s never seen anyone like this not even able to measure it), I had two doctors tell me at the age of 27 that I had pre menopausal symptoms….

Fast forward and now after 8 years of no cycles….I got ONE (after 1 year on DHEA and pregnenalone )…AND doing different diets….and basically gaining weight after 6 surgeries in 5 years (talk about added stress to an already messed up system!)….AND after One menstrual cycle…Gods miracle happened and my husband and I got pregnant! (something I was also told would never happen without medication!)….

I looked to food for my healing..I ate avocados daily and included Flax oil, lean protein…oatmeal…coconut oil…Its a superfood…I ate it!!!! but NOW after nursing for over 18 months now…my body is FREAKING OUT!!! I got what I THINK Is psoriasis ….on my elbows and knee…I ran across thepaleomom.com and read about AIP (paleo is pretty common around us…my husband owns a crossfit gym lol)…but the AIP is something totally new to me. I haven’t been able to do crossfit since he started in 2009 due to all of my issues and I was SOOO weak:( I’m still recovering from that.

I started it..and in 5 days you can hardly see my psoriasis AND many of the other skin issues I was having have disappeared! ..BUT….NOW>>>>>> something happened…my stomach after 2 weeks on AIP…looks pregnant….I feel horrible and now I”m consitpated (something that I am NEVER) ….and i actually gained 3lbs….

I was wondering if you could give me any tips??? Also, My body is still healing..I got pregnant only 3 months into FAI/hip surgery..AND due to being pregnant and now having my son (a very attached one) I am unable to get my other hip done…so my activity is suffering AND I know there is a lot more going on inside my body than JUSTdealing with poor digestion .

any help or insight is appreciated!!!! I know this diet will work…and I’m thinking to follow low FODMAP??? I increased my Yams…in place of my oats and quinoa and rice…and plantains…but I”m thinking the yams are being horrible for my tummy..

thanks in advance for even reading…like you said, you often feel alone , even to those close to you ..they just don’t get it…so you just don’t bother, you try to ignore things and deal with it, Also, how do you feel about working out while healing? I mean I know it doesn’t make sense on some levels but I also know that you HAVE to workout to be healthy!


I am a certified fitness nutritionist and LOVE your blog. I’m a huge science nerd and love making connections between the environment, behavior, food, and genetics. I am on the search for some good books the focus on genetics, hormones, and nutrition. I want to understand pathways and make connections. Any suggests would be great! Thanks

Hi Sarah,

I want to personally invite you to be featured as a wellness expert on my upcoming Get Healthy Now telesummit.

The story of healing yourself with the Paleo lifestyle is incredible! The weight loss, getting rid of the autoimmunity issues, coming off all those prescriptions in two weeks time? WOW!!! I sooo want to share this story with others who are suffering.

You have a powerful story that can change lives. When people identify, they listen. I would love to be a part of getting your message of courage and hope out there to the listening audience of my telesummit.

This telesummit will be a win win for everyone–you will get broad exposure as a result of the significant reach of the collective panel of telesummit participants, the listening audience will learn about you and how your work may help them, and I will expand my mission of helping others heal in their lives plus increase my networking circle with other professionals like you.

Let me know if you will agree to an interview, and I’ll take the next step in making this come together easily. Your audio interview would be prerecorded in advance to make it super easy to fit into your schedule.

You sound like a perfect fit for my panel of experts in natural healing, and it would be a great honor to interview you.


Dr. Lisa
The Health Revolutionist™

Is Wheat Grass OK for someone with sjogrens? In your book you mention that Spirulina and another type of Chlorella plant stimulates the immune system. Thank you, Kris

Dear Sarah, Thank you for your important work. In The Paleo Approach, p. 103 you report that “Agglutinins from nettle …increase intestinal permeability.”

There’s good history of nettles being a medicinal food and this data supports it:
Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) is an unusual plant lectin that differs from all other known plant lectins with respect to its molecular structure and its extremely low specific agglutination activity. http://www.pharmascholars.com/upload/pharmacy_52e146bd2a005.pdf

Pleas advise. Are nettles good on the AIP diet?
Thanks, Rebecca

Hi, Sarah. Just want to thank you for applying your intellect and your passion to this area of health and wellness and for bringing it to people in such an accessible, straightforward way. I saw you yesterday at Whole Foods and was, as corny as it sounds, a bit starstruck, so just wanted to express my gratitude as i should have done in person. Your books and blog and podcast have provided me with a foundation on which to base my diet and lifestyle (after several years of misguided diets), plus lots of other fun tidbits along the way. And, most importantly, my autoimmune disease is in remission and I have more energy than I have in years. Thank you for all you do for those with autoimmune disease!

I love your recipes, but cannot find the calorie-fat-carb-protein count of each. Usually they are posted at the beginning or end of a recipe. I will go back and look again, maybe I missed something. Thanks

Sounds like we have very similar histories! I also have a doctorate – in Medical Science, basically, I studied biochem and cell biology. I was obese through grad school. I lost a lot weight right before becoming pregnant with my oldest daughter, but I was still overweight. I left the lab at 3 months pregnant. I knew i could not be the mom I wanted to be and be successful at science so I chose to be a mom. I decided to teach science online at the University level to replace (and surpass) my lab income.

I have yet to find my path to health and wellness. I’ve lost a lot more weight due to a pain condition (trigeminal neuralgia), not because of healthy eating choices. I’ve been contemplating an elimination diet and am now seriously considering the AIP. I know I need to reduce inflammation, I also have hypertension. I’m still addicted to sugar, dairy and all the other little nasties. I’m seriously considering starting a blog to document my journey.

Glad to have stumbled upon your blog! I’ve heard of you before, but never really paid attention until now. Had no idea of your background 🙂 Hope I get to meet you someday so we can chat.

PS I’m guessing that’s not the coat you wore in the lab! I still have one, but it’s huge on me now!


I didn’t hear back from you following my last email. Have you had the chance to review my suggestion for a contribution?

It would be great to get your feedback .


I am extremely grateful for all your wisdom and writings… that you are so BUSY and enthusiastically involve so much joy in all your writings is truly a blessing for us all. Thank you for the important contribution that you are.
I have one question that puzzles me a bit. Clearly the AIP involves consuming no gluten and no nightshades, both of which wreak havoc with my system, so it is wonderful that that information is really getting out there, thank you for bringing so much awareness, especially to nightshade sensitivity.
My question, at the same time, is WHY are nightshades in SO many of your recipes, and with no mention at the same time, that paprika,red bell pepper,dijon mustard, bacon, are or are highly likely to contain gluten or nightshades…?… I mean no disrespect,. I see you do have alot of recipes that mention nightshades/AIP…. It is just confusing.
I am extraordinarily grateful for you. I stand in awe of all you do, and your commitment to humanity. I have also read more than once that cauliflower contains nicotine. As a chemist, you would be able to ascertain that as a truth or non-truth more readily than I.
Thank you very very much.
Blessings and all good things, Faith 16 August 2015

I received my “gift certificates” from the Caltons.
I am finding that there is a minimum purchase with the first two, and I am so frustrated. I have a limited budget and try so hard to feed our family well without spending more than we budgeted for. I am not being allowed to use the $50 at US Wellness Meats without spending an additional $25 to meet their $75 / 7 pound minimum. You absolutely should have included this information up front when letting people know about the gift certificates. So far I can’t seem to check out at Wild Things Seafood without spending an additional $25 minimum. These aren’t gift certificates, these are coupons with a lot of catches. I am so disappointed.
Susan M Burke

I am so sorry! The Caltons told me that there was no minimum purchase and that every single company had at least something that could be purchased with the gift certificate and no additional funds. My team and I asked A LOT of questions before agreeing to promote this and we got dishonest answers. Believe me, I’m as frustrated as you are (furious actually, since it’s my reputation on the line here!). I will not be supporting any of the Calton’s products or campaigns ever again. This whole thing was rife with “catches” that I was not informed about (upfront and honest marketing is something I am an extremely firm believer in). I’m going to have one of team e-mail you (I hope this e-mail address is okay–if not, please email contact@thepaleomom.com with a better email address), and I’m going to figure out how I can make this up to everyone who took part in this based on my recommendation.

I too ran into money problems using those so called gift certificates. Very disappointing and they are Not gift certificates! There is a difference between a discount and a gift cert. The latter acts like realcash you use to mpay the bill. The discount code ties one into several hooks and catches. Most disappointing

More on the calton ripoff
I just tried to use the so called gift certificate for wild things. I had to use the cert on product which totaled about 54.00 and they charge 77.00 flat rate shipping. It used to be 37.00. Gee does that sound like they are trying to earn back the 50.00 gift certificate?????? Who knows. This is a useless gift certificate.

Hi i have a question that is one im sure youve gotten before: can you recommend a super green food powder that is aip or even just paleo approved. i have hashimotos and i find that a lot of them either contain soy, dairy, gluten, artificial or natural flavors etc etc. if it’s not one, it’s always the other. i know vegetables are the optimal solution, but if there is any powder that can aid in that please please contact me and let me know. i have a headache from the hundreds ive looked at!
thank you so much and be blessesd for the millions of people you have inspired!


I’m interested about starting AIP cause of Hashimoto. I was reading Your website and fb page for last few month and I find it very useful and motivating.
My question is – when starting AIP do I have to cook and use dishes that where not in contact with non-AIP food?
I’m asking because I live with roomies that are eating non-paleo and non-AIP.. so, is there a “contamination” of dishes used to cook food that has gluten?
Thank you!

Dr. Sarah….I am so excited about getting your new book……unfortunately someone lifted my Approach
book from my library…it was one of my favorites. I love the way you explain all facets of the Paleo lifestyle.
And am looking forward to your new book…Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Betty Lou

Hola Sara!! lo primero gracias por toda la información que muestras en tu web !! estoy muy interesada en tu libro pero … estaría disponible en español?? o se editará pronto en España? y sino… que me recomendarías? Sería de gran ayuda para mí. Muchísimas Gracias. Pilar.

Hi Sarah, it was great meeting you at Book People Friday evening. I’m enjoying looking over The Healing Kitchen for tonight’s dinner.

As mentioned, our nonprofit’s vision is that everyone should enjoy the benefits of a healthy life, free from preventable, chronic diseases. Our focus areas include activity, nutrition and environment.

The Million Mile Month in April – please see the 2 minute video in the Wellness tab at http://www.MillionMileMonth.org

Sarah, please let me know a convenient time to connect and also the best email to stay in touch. It will be very special indeed to obtain your input as we extend more into nutrition, which is so critical.

Thank you Sarah for your consideration. I hope you have a smooth trip back to Atlanta and thank you for all your work – Sincerely – Steve

512 970 7443

Hi Sarah,

I’m a relatively new reader of your site but you may have noticed my tweet on your post “5 Nutrients You’re Deficient In… If You Eat Too Much Sugar” (awesome article by the way).

I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post to The Paleo Mom
Are you still accepting them?

I’ve been brainstorming some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from:

– A Simple 3 Day Detox For Busy People
– 5 Paleo Ways To Make Your Gut More Friendly For Vibrant Health
– 3 Juice Recipes For Ultimate Hair Health
– Paleo For Students and Those On A Tight Budget
– A Straighforward Guide To Heavy Metal Detox (no you don’t have to stop going to rock concerts!)

To give you an idea of the quality I’ll bring to your site, here are some other posts on health that I’ve recently published:




Please let me know if any of these titles take your fancy.


William Hartfield

Was wondering why on paleo-mom foods to eat and avoid. She says that eggs and nuts are OK to eat. The other links on her website show that eggs and nuts are on DO NOT EAT list. Is eggs and nuts OK to eat on the autoimmune paleo diet. I have Hashimoto disease and plan on starting the AIP diet.

Thank you very much.

Hi Sarah, I heard your interview with Abel James on his podcast and I found you very informative and helpful. So, thank you. Since you have done SO much research on how eating can affect the body and autoimmune disease, I was wondering if you knew of, or could point me in the direction of, a study on paleo-type eating and Inclusion Body Myositis. My father is suffering from the disease and I was hoping there was a study or some research I could find that could help him understand that food could help him with the disease. They say there is no cure and he is getting weaker and weaker – he turns 70 this year. Any help you could provide would be amazing. Thank you in advance, Karen

I have a question completely not food related (or is it?) but I think many females can probably relate. I’ve been looking into libido supplements. I know you are all about natural over chemical solutions when possible. What do you think about Provestra, Femestril, and Vigorell? Each of them claim to contain extracts from Diamana, fenugreek, fennel and things like that which supposedly improve the function and desire.

If not those then do you know of other possible solutions besides the obvious: counseling, sleep, exercise, generally healthy diet…or can you refer my question to a colleague who would know?

Thank you for any help you can offer.

Sarah you are the most honest, trustworthy, thorough and authentic (I figured four should be the limit) “Paleo” voice. I look to you first for knowledge and your recipes are often my go to. A very sincere thanks to you!

By-the-way I too think it is time to dump the caveman. I think it detracts from the science of the diet.

I’ve got your books, and have followed the diet for three months along with seeing a Naturopath. My symptoms have improved greatly – thank you for your research.
I have been doing further research with the gut-brain link. Looking at the Adverse Childhood Experiences research and Dr Bessel van der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score”
You mention in your book the three major players (p 42) and others who want to help with healing Autoimmune diseases all (that I’ve found) fail to mention that if you have a high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score they are found to be more prone to autoimmune disease.
I think this would fall into the “Environmental triggers, infection, or bad luck” category, would you agree?
Thank you

I have TONS od food allergies. I can’t have any nuts (even coconut) no wheat, no soy and no fish. These are just the major foods. I am not sure about avocado yet. I recently started a wheat belly eating plan (the best I can) but I am having a hard time find recipes that I can make because of my nut allergies. I really need help finding things that I can eat and different ways to eat them. I stay frustrated at every meal time trying to figure out what to do next. PLEASE…I need help and guidance.

I don’t use wheat or soy in any of my recipes and have a decent amount of nut free recipes on the blog and in my cookbooks. Many of these use coconut, but not all. You can find my nut free recipes here.

Hi Sarah

I began eating small bite size portions of frozen raw liver some time ago and apart from the odd episode of ecoli have found it works however I’m thinking of becoming pregnant soon and want to know if I continue to consume it in a safe method if it should be safe for the growing foetus.

Until eating liver I was a strict vegetarian so don’t want to consume any other meat ‘ideally’ but understand this may not be realistic and want to better my health.

Best regards
Rosie (private and confidential)

i’m feeling so lost and overwhelmed. i’m considering the Paleo or Paleo autoimmune disease approach for me and my husband. I probably have diary and glueten intolerances and could benifit from healthy eating. My husband is much more complicated. He has Gout. Foods that cause a goat flare up (extream pain from ulric acid crystalizing in his joins) are always caused by eating anything seafood or seawed. we even avoid sea salt. He can’t have much pork either. we usually avoid beef as well. For meats, he can pretty much only eat turky and chicken.

I’m so lost as to how to even apprach a paleo diet with such meat ristrictions. Paleo seams to realy stress eating seafood. If Paleo can put gout in remission or cure it, that’d be great, but how do you get there? there’s no way he can just switch to a high meat diet filled w/fish!

also because of that, i’ve found one of the highest sources of omega-3 fat is in Walnuts, but those are discouraged in the autimmune approach version. should i disreguard that so he at least gets some?

Paleo is not a high meat diet. Paleo, especially the autoimmune protocol as outlined in The Paleo Approach, is a high vegetable diet. Try to include lots of vegetables and focus on the lifestyle factors. Beyond that, I recommend you meet with on of Sarah’s hand-picked consultants. Any one of the people on her consulting team could give you more specific and tailored advice than I am allowed to give here. You can set up a free ten minute consultation with them at http://www.thepaleomomconsulting.com -Kiersten


I have heard that a daily dose of bee pollen is good for boosting immunity. I have hashimotos – would it help or be harmful? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Sarah, do you think a Paleo diet or more specifically an AIP diet, could halt progression or possibly even eliminate bone spurs? I’m 49, I’ve got them in both shoulders, both hips and most likely my spine as well. I just had surgery to get rid of them on my left shoulder and I’d like to avoid a sting of more surgeries. Any thoughts on diet and bone spurs would be greatly appreciated! Blessings, Lisa

Hi Sarah, I stay in India and have been diagnosed with Vitiligo. I have researched a lot and came across your book which gave me a lot of hope. I am a vegetarian and can have eggs at the most. Please let me know if I can still follow an autoimmune diet and also which book should I follow. Thanks a lot!

Sarah discusses how to follow the autoimmune protocol as a vegetarian in her book The Paleo Approach. It is possible, but it’s important to include a lot of seafood to make up for the meat and other animal products that aren’t consumed as a vegetarian. -Kiersten

Hi, dr Ballantyne! I have just found your site. It is very helpfull. I have already heard and read about AIP. We live in Europe, we have rather good quality traditional food. In our house we do not eat nor processed food neither coloured fizzy drinks etc. But we used bread, milk, cheese, fruits, vegetables and many other products that are unallowable in protocol. I would like to ask you if children can use this kind of diet because of potential deficiencies. Where could I look for more information about children with HD? Or about supplementation of eg. vitamins, omega-3?
Sorry for my English (not perfect). Wish you all the best!

Yes the diet should be perfectly safe for kids! There shouldn’t be any deficiencies if you’re following the advice to eat a lot of vegetables, seafood, and organ meat. The AIP diet is meant to be extremely nutrient dense. Sarah includes some information on supplementation in her book The Paleo Approach. -Kiersten

The chance that you can die from coffee enema are much less than taking an aspirin and dying or drinking milk and dying. Coffee enema has some unique benefits that is not covered here. The whole article appears to be written to throw water on coffee enema.

Why does Big Pharma hate coffee enema therapy? The answer is that coffee enemas are a powerful liver detoxification tool, a pain relieving therapy, and a therapy for cleansing and healing the colon. Retention coffee enemas are a key part of successful alternative cancer treatment protocols, because they rid the body of toxins that cause cancer and eliminate the toxins released by dead and dying cancer cells. Coffee enemas do all this and more without side effects and at minimal cost.

Coffee is More than a Beverage – It can be a Healing Herb

When coffee is used in an enema it has powerful healing effects.

Definition of a retention coffee enema: Two or more cups of a coffee/water mixture are introduced into the colon/bowel through a tube placed in the rectum, and held in place for a period of time while the coffee herb stimulates the liver, reduces pain, and increases the process of eliminating toxins through the intestine.

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD, adds these additional benefits that can be obtained from doing coffee enemas. Coffee enemas are part of the nutritional balancing program that he teaches to physicians. Dr. Wilson states that coffee enemas:

Clean and heal the colon.
Detoxify the liver and colon and help rebuild the liver.
Reduce many types of pain.
Help eliminate many parasites.
Reduce and get rid of many symptoms of general toxicity. Since toxicity is the cause of dozens of common symptoms from arthritis to cancer, coffee enemas help with many, if not most diseases and conditions.
Help with depression, confusion, and general nervous tension.
Increase mental clarity, improve energy levels, increase joy and happiness, improve digestion, and reduce anger.
Enable clients to get through difficult healing and purification reactions.
[Dr. Wilson adds] — at least three dozen clients have confided to me “coffee enemas saved my life”. [1]
Dr. Linda L. Isaacs, MD, an alternative cancer treatment specialist who prescribes coffee enemas for her cancer patients describes the toxic soup that surrounds each of us in the 21st century. Dr. Isaacs states:

The environment today is very different from the environment of our ancestors. Over the last 200 years a host of chemicals have been introduced to our food, air, and water. Many of these chemicals have not been tested for safety or are assumed to be safe in low concentrations, without taking into account that the simultaneous presence of many low-concentration pollutants may have negative effects on our health. Some chemicals, such as the endocrine disruptors dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have been banned in the United States for years, but persist in the environment and food chains. Since these chemicals have been associated with a variety of illnesses, a number of “detoxification” procedures have been developed that are thought to help eliminate these substances from the body. [2]
There is Strong Opposition to Coffee Enemas

In large part, I gauge the power of alternative therapies by the level of opposition that I find on the internet. Based on the level of quackwatch type publishing against coffee enemas, I conclude that the coffee enema must be a very powerful tool for healing many common problems. Sadly, the intense disinformation campaign may have even turned some alternative health practitioners against coffee enemas.

It is quite fascinating to learn that conventional physicians once used coffee enemas as a routine part of patient care. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, which is a compendium of conventional medical treatments, provided information about the use of coffee enemas for at least 60 years through the 12th edition published in 1972. [3] The official explanation given by the editors of the Merck Manual for dropping the therapy from their books is that they no longer had space for it. [4] I don’t believe that coffee enema therapy has passively fallen from the reference books for lack of space. Rather, it has been targeted by Big Pharma and conventional medicine to be maligned and exterminated.

Research Articles Target Coffee Enemas for Destruction

Single case examples can be found in the medical literature database of PubMed, which warn of dire consequences for using coffee enema therapy. It is really only a handful of reports, which have been repeated and reprocessed from article to article. For example, a 2010 letter to the editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology gave a serious warning against the use of coffee enemas as part of alternative therapies. They cited 3 cases of people who developed Proctocolitis (inflammation of the rectum and colon) several days after taking a coffee enema. This was their conclusion:

“Coffee enema has no proven benefit and carries considerable risk of provoking unwanted complications. Currently, we do not know which chemicals in coffee are responsible and what the mechanisms are, but it is certain that coffee enema should be reconsidered as an alternative treatment.” [5]
There also are reports of electrolyte imbalances and dehydration resulting from coffee enemas that led to the deaths of two women. According to Dr. Isaacs, a closer look at these cases revealed that they were seriously, even terminally ill, and that the infections or electrolyte disturbances blamed on the coffee enemas could have come about simply because of the patients’ underlying disease. [6]

One woman took 10 to 12 coffee enemas in a single night and then continued at a rate of one per hour afterward. In both cases, the enemas were taken much more frequently than is recommended. [7] The Gerson cancer clinic uses 5 enemas per day spaced four hours apart.

And then there is the journal article prepared by doctors in the Republic of Korea, which warns us against using coffee enemas, because a woman gave herself a coffee enema with boiling hot coffee. The boiling hot coffee burned her rectum and colon. The conclusion given by the researchers concerning this report was “This case suggests that coffee enemas may lead to serious complications and their use as an alternative medical treatment should be reconsidered.” [8]

The True Risks are Minimal Compared to Conventional Medical Treatment

To put the risks of coffee enemas into perspective, during a hospital based healthcare survey from 2007 through 2009, it was determined that 1 in 9 patients in the U.S. developed a hospital-acquired infection. A HealthGrades report estimates that over 40,000 people are harmed by medical treatment in hospitals each and EVERY day. A 2006 study showed that sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections killed 48,000 patients that year. [9] Let us also not forget the pharmaceutical drug Vioxx that killed over 60,000 people before it was removed from the market. [10]

However, if an alternative herbal therapy might have contributed to the illness or death of 6 people worldwide, then the quack alarm starts its high pitched quack-quack-quacking. That is the sound that conventional medicine and Big Pharma makes when a successful and unpatentable natural alternative therapy threatens their profit margin.

Brief History of the Coffee Enema

Dr. Isaacs describes the history of the coffee enema. She stated:

Coffee enemas have long been in use. In a case report in the Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal in December 1866, M.A. Cachot, MD, described successful use of a coffee enema to treat a child dying from an accidental poisoning. Articles from the late 1800s reported that coffee enemas were helpful in post-operative care; at a medical meeting in 1896, Dr. W.J. Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, mentioned coffee enemas as a routine part of care for patients after abdominal surgery. Coffee enemas were listed as a stimulant and as a treatment for shock in medical and nursing textbooks in the early 1900s. In an extensive 1941 article in Uruguayan Medical, Surgical and Specialization Archives, Dr. Carlos Stajano described immediate improvement in near-terminal patients after coffee enemas, including a patient with cocaine intoxication and a patient with post-operative shock. [11]
In 1932, Harvard Medical School researchers treated bipolar disorder patients with coffee enemas and colonics. As a result, most were reportedly able to get off medications and return home. [12] What if dietary changes and coffee enemas could bring about such dramatic changes today? How would this cut into Big Pharma’s drug sales? Would the current medical system embrace the therapy?

Are Coffee Enemas Really Safe?

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD, has written extensively on the use of the coffee enema. For over 35 years he has worked as a nutrition consultant. He teaches the science of nutritional balancing to physicians and nutrition consultants. He addresses safety concerns about the coffee enema, which is a very important detoxification tool for those seeking to improve their health. Dr. Wilson states:

I have recommended coffee retention enemas to more than thirty thousand people. I have yet to hear about horrible side effects of any kind, although the procedure is somewhat inconvenient, especially at first. Most people get used to it quickly. The coffee retention enema is really quite simple, very safe when done properly, highly effective, able to be done in the privacy of your home, and inexpensive. [13]
Coffee Enemas and Cancer

Coffee enemas, by themselves, will not cure cancer. They are a key part of the alternative cancer protocol that was developed by Dr. Max Gerson, MD, over 70 years ago. They were part of the cancer treatment protocol used by Dr. Donald Kelley, DDS, and used by the late Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, and Linda L. Isaacs, MD, in their practice. Even though there are differences in these protocols, each emphasizes strict dietary modifications, various types of supplementation, and the daily use of coffee enemas to detoxify the liver and help control pain. The Gerson clinic still requires its inpatients to receive approximately 5 coffee enemas per day.

Mechanisms of Action for the Coffee Enema

Coffee contains ingredients that stimulate the functioning of the liver when introduced into the body through the colon. These effects are not produced by drinking coffee. Drinking coffee impairs liver activity.

Coffee contains caffeine and salts of palmitic acids (kahweol and cafestol palmitate), which are absorbed by the hepatic portal system located in the last section of the colon. The portal veins carry the caffeine and palmitic acids directly to the liver without digestion.

In the liver, kahweol and cafestol act as potent enhancers of glutathione S-transferase which is an important enzyme in the liver. It is part of a major detoxification system that catalyzes the binding of many toxins from the blood stream to the sulfhydryl group of glutathione so that the toxins can be released into the small intestine and excreted from the body. The caffeine dilates bile ducts and aids the emptying of toxic material from the gallbladder. Finally, the water in the enema stimulates activity of the intestines, which systematically moves the toxic substances released by the liver and gallbladder through the intestines so that they can be released out of the body through the rectum.

Long live Paleo!!! 🙂

I got my (At that time) 70 year old Mom into Paleo, after about 4 weeks, a change was insane! She suffered from Artheritis for over 30 years, and Asthma for over 10, High Bloodpressure, High Cholesterol, Weakness… Now she is like a freaking Gazelle, no pains, no need for Pills or Sprays, and just watching all her ignorant friends suffer, because they think Paleo means Rabbit Food, and are afraid to try i t out, because as some of them say (Our Ancestors didn’t get to grow old) such nonsense, and it was on completely different terms 😛

P.S Please don’t hold a Kitchen Knife like that, it might slip for you! Hold the Index Finger on the side, so you’re basically holding it between your Index and Thumb 🙂

I’m overweight and autoimmune. I’m a caretaker to my 3 and 5 year old and lost my mom to cancer this year after taking care of her for a very long time. I’m very wary of the health industry fads. The first thing I look for is ethics. I see you endorsing these products that I know for a fact are crap fad products, selling your own products that might be decent, and neglecting to moderate these blogs posts, permitting quacks to hang onto your tailcoats. It is all ok in the name of the amazing help you are providing, right? Mama got to get paid, true? It’s the tinge of authenticity that creates this fringe quack society of people who say things like sugar causes cancer. My autoimmune disease won’t be cured by your foods. I am seeing some sloppy ethics and your credentials if anything should hold you more accountable for that. I know you throw heaps of data at people and few of us are members of the scientific community, particularly in your specialties, but there must be a reason every hip doctor and RD isn’t jumping on your bandwagon. You are not the first “expert” to lead a fad in exactly the same way. I am certain you have some useful information, but it’s all lost in a bunch of jargon and marketing. You need to refine your path and clarify whether your goal is to help others or whether it is to roll in the dough made from your before/after story with your PhD tag so you can kick it at home.

Hello, I have a friend that’s had Hashimoto’s and isn’t able to talk anymore…Do you know why this is? Also, she is elderly and doesn’t feel like cooking anymore. She is losing weight. Do you have some recommendations for the elderly with autoimmune disease in what to fix that’s easy? She is married too.
I have a feeling that the loss of her voice is due to the Hashimoto’s and I wanted to find some answers for her. Thank you for any help. Not sure how the Hashimoto’s was corrected but i do know it was done through western medicine channels.

I don’t know about the Hashimoto’s connection to losing her voice. However, the autoimmune protocol can certainly be done in the elderly. For quick and easy meals I’d recommend trying things like already made rotisserie chickens (just be careful of the spices, you’ll want to find unseasoned), canned tuna or sardines, and things like frozen vegetables that can be easily recooked. -Kiersten

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