About

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headshot2Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (a.k.a. The Paleo Mom) is the blogger behind www.ThePaleoMom.com, cohost of The Paleo View podcast, and author of two upcoming books 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 lifetsyle, 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 earned her doctorate degree in medical biophysics at the age of 26. She spent the next four years doing medical research in the fields of innate immunity, inflammation, critical care medicine, gene therapy, and epithelial biology before becoming a stay-at-home mom. 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 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.

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.

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 and 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 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 about Sarah’s personal journey to paleo here and see before and after photos here.

Comments

I have been trying the paleolithic way am astonished that I have spent so much money on cookbooks and here you are for a donation. Your recipes are wonderfully easy (for us busy working moms) and I feel more educated about paleolithic eating after one browse through your website than I did after reading three books. I love the amazon option..prime delivery…not my gas in my car! And also the like the real world foods., “MOM, I CANT BREAD!” Eleven and now packing his own paleo lunch! I will be trying many of your recipes… plantain chips in oven now… and posting!! Your a life/family/sanity saver…thank you

Hi there,

I just read an article on vacation and travelling that you posted a while back on your blog: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/07/guest-post-by-angela-alt-business.html

I thought you might be interested in a vacation infographic we just published, it’s titled ‘Vacation Time goes unused for most Americans’, check it out: http://complianceandsafety.com/blog/vacation-infographic-vacation-time-goes-unused-for-most-americans/

If you like it, feel free to publish it on your site.

Thanks a lot,

Matthew Pelletier
Director of Public Relations
C&S Safety Training Videos

hi, paleo mom! i am a primal mom, loving your fun, flexible goodies! i have a question about ingredients, and can’t seem to find a reliable answer anywhere online or otherwise.
i notice you use arrowroot and tapioca flour in many of your recipes. i adore this, as i find it easy to digest, more so than any other flour. but, what is the difference between the two? bob’s red mill sells them BOTH, which tells me that there has to be some difference. they are both made from the cassava, i know that, but is one finer than the other? do they work differently? how do you know which to use when you are developing a recipe?

Arrowroot is not actually made from cassava, but rather the roots of the arrowroot plant (the confusion comes from one of the alternate names for tapioca being Brazilian arrowroot). They definitely have different properties for baking. Cassava is kinda a slimey root, so tapioca adds elasticity and can help hold gluten-free baking together. Arrowroot is better at adding lightness to baking and works well at thickening sauces. Arrowroot is also more likely to be well tolerated by people with digestive issues. In some recipes you can sub one for the other, but it usually affects the texture to do this. I’m generally very deliberate when I use one versus the other of both together because they do have different affects of texture, which is something I’m usually pretty picky about in my recipes. I hope this helps!

I just found your blog & website through Paleo/NonPaleo and I just want to say: Thank you! Your blog is everything I’ve been looking for: well-written paleo/primal info from a smart woman with a family. I’ve been disappointed with other blogs and already, I’ve spend hours tonight on yours.

I look forward to reading more of what you have to write!

It seems like there are only the most recent 10 podcasts available on podbean. How do we get to the older ones?

Thanks!

The recipe for Simple Chocolate-Coconut Squares seems to be missing. Could you either fix the link of send me the recipe? I love the look of it and am looking forward to your book.

Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experiences. This blog will improve many lives. My sister and I both reversed autoimmune diseases using a paleo diet a few years ago. I am passionate about the potential of paleo/ancestral health to address autoimmune disease not only because I have one, but because my Mom has severe secondary progressive MS. I’m about to finish the academic portion of master’s degree in a health field and am tentatively planning an in-field pilot RCT for MS patients based on paleo principles for next summer. Would you be willing to contact me via email about this? Thank you for all that you do, Lissa

Sarah I want to thank you for your blog (your inspiration helps a lot), and your awesome recipes that help bridge the gap from conventional to paleo (your french toast flan is a monthly treat around here). We slowly over a period of month in January -transitioned our 2 adult 5 children (ages 4 to 10) family over to a Lacto-paleo diet (we occasional have unhomogenized grass fed milk, cheese, yogurt and whipping cream), over that period of time our children all who had one issue or another are doing fantastic, My husband has lost some weight (about 30 lbs he didn’t have much to lose) and has said the tummy bloat is all gone our kids belly’s have also deflated. The biggest changes have been in myself, I was suffering with arthritis, fibromyalgia, IBS,GERD, asthma, allergies, and in December I hit an all time high of 400 lbs (could have been more the scale doesn’t go past 400 lbs at our doctor’s office), and I couldn’t walk to the corner without a cane, and not much farther with the cane. Today about 6 months later, I am 67 lbs lighter, 20 inches (whole body) smaller, down 2 clothing sizes, I NO longer have IBS symptoms, I am not longer on any type of pain medication, or anti inflammatory, I am not longer have to take immodium to eat a salad, or take that magic little yellow pill to keep heartburn at bay, I am able to take an albeit slow 1 to 2 km hike every other day without a cane i can even go up small hills. I still get really achy with the weather changes and the occasional headache with those changes but I am sure they will go with time. I haven’t had to touch my inhaler more than once in 8 weeks (after a tobacco smoke encounter). I still take an allergy medication but I am sure that by next spring it also will be a thing of the past. This morning we are off to our local Farmers Market to pick up some lovely pastured meats, fresh veggies and hopefully some fresh ontario strawberries as it is the season. Again Thank you so much your site helps A lot to keep us inspired and on track to a healthier life style for our whole family. If we can do it any family can do it.

Sarah, I enjoy your blog but have a question on the Candied Honey Ginger recipe. If you’re not going to store the ginger in the honey syrup, how do you store it? I really want to make this for my husband but he’s overseas so I definitely have to be able to store it. Thanks for taking the time to reply…could you email me? Thank you. Lynn

Thanks so much for your sharing of your knowledge in this area of health. It is so gratifying to know that you and others have taken your scientific backgrounds to share in the health matters of chronic illnesses. I am so looking forward to your book!
I have several autoimmune diseases and I have been very pro-active in my health. I have had some of them for many years! They just didn’t have a name for a long time.
The couple of months I have seen a red rash on my cheeks surrounding the cheekbones. It is very dry, stings, and I can’t get rid of it. I have tried lots of moisturizers thinking it was just winter weather dry skin. Although I have never had it before! It’s very ugly and I have to cover heavily with makeup when I leave the house. Any ideas???? Hard to find a ND in my area.

Dear Sarah, so nice to have found Paleo. This is my sixth week. I have lost 20 lbs. For about years I have had some disfunction of my kidneys. The doctor said today I need to keep my protein down to 1 oz a day. Also some of the vegetables at a lower intake. One Half a fruit a day. I had been enjoying raw and cooked Yams. Cannot have them. Do you have any suggestions for me? I had been to a Kidney class at my insurance and they gave me some guidelines with food recommended. I wondered if you have had experience trying to make Paleo foods working best. I have been very strict with my self control.. Thank you for this website!! Best wishes. Betty Sesser.

I’m afraid this isn’t something I know much about. I know that the research shows that low protein/purine diets and low oxalate diets aren’t actually effective at treating kidney disease, and that limiting fructose intake is very important. But, I don’t know the specifics of your situation, so I really can’t make specific recommendations.

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