My Journey to Health: From Low-Carb to Paleo to the Autoimmune Protocol

January 31, 2013 in Categories: by

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I used a standard low-carb diet to successfully lose 100 pounds.  But, I had to lose those 100 pounds twice.  Even though low-carb helped me to lose weight, it did not help me to get healthy.

My name is Sarah Ballantyne.  I was a medical researcher before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom and the blogger behind  I spend much of my free time researching the many nuances of the paleo diet and lifestyle.  This accumulating knowledge has helped me form a better understanding of why I wasn’t healthy following a low-carb diet.  It has also helped me to see the links between the different health issues that I suffered in my early twenties to early thirties.

I was an overweight teenager.  By the time I discovered how effective a low-carb diet can be for weight loss, I was 22 years old and 265 pounds.  Eating a low-carb diet combined with excessive exercise and iron willpower allowed me to lose 100 pounds over the course of a year.  I maintained my weight loss by training for marathons, practicing karate, and working out in the gym twice per week.  And as I continued to fight for a smaller waistline and to survive the rigors of graduate school, I watched my health deteriorate.  At my peak physical fitness, I suffered migraines, frequent colds, anxiety, mild depression, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, seasonal allergies, mild acne, scalp psoriasis and eczema.  I had no idea that these health conditions might be related to my diet and high stress levels (in part caused by graduate school and in part by overtraining) or even that they could be interlinked.

A health crisis in the summer of 2002 robbed me of my active lifestyle and my ability to keep my weight down.  I had adult-onset asthma with inflammation so severe that I was coughing up blood.  I was put on extremely high doses of oral and inhaled steroids.  I was apartment-bound because I would get completely out of breath just walking from the living room to the kitchen.  I became severely depressed.  Writing my thesis and preparing for my dissertation caused me even more stress.  I was now able to add severe asthma, severe allergies, acid reflux, and a new skin condition called lichen planus to my list of health complaints.  I gained back all 100 pounds (plus a few more for good measure).

I stopped weighing myself at 260 pounds.  I can only guess at how heavy I was at my biggest based on the fact that I gained a full clothing size (or maybe two?) after that.  This photo was taken of me at my biggest in the summer of 2004.


My blood pressure was elevated, my blood triglycerides and fasting insulin were borderline high.  I ached constantly.  I was always tired and drank copious amounts of coffee to keep me going while I worked 12-18-hour days as a postdoctoral fellow in a high-profile research laboratory.  My eyesight deteriorated, and I found myself needing glasses and getting a stronger prescription every year.  I started suffering from mild arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, and stenosing tenosynovitis from repetitive motions in the biology lab.  I started to get rashes from sun exposure after eating processed foods.  I developed varicose veins.  I found my normally optimistic and cheerful demeanor replaced by a cynical and jaded person I hardly recognized.  I was miserable, uncomfortable all of the time, and sick.

It was years before I had sufficient motivation to lose weight again.  My first pregnancy was complicated by gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.  My daughter was colicky and a very poor sleeper.  But, when I discovered that I was prediabetic, I found that iron willpower again and used a low-carb diet (but without the excessive exercise) to get my weight back down to 165 pounds.  Some of my health conditions improved simply by losing weight.  My blood sugars were good.  My blood pressure was back in the normal range.  My cardiovascular risk factors were normal again.  But even though I was once again lighter, I wasn’t healthy.  I was still taking 6 different prescription medications every day.

Frustration with lichen planus is what propelled me to search for answers beyond what my doctors prescribed.  Learning that eczema is linked to gluten sensitivities, I started to research diet changes that might help.  This was when I found paleo.

I noticed a dramatic improvement to my overall health when I started paleo.  I lost some weight.  My symptoms of IBS and acid reflux disappeared.  I stopped getting migraines.  My mood and my ability to cope with life were better.  My energy increased.  I slept better.  My asthma and allergies diminished.  My immune system seemed stronger and I no longer got every single cold my children brought into the house.  I was able to stop taking all of my prescription medications, some of which I had been taking for 12 years.  But my lichen planus GOT WORSE.

I started searching for answers again.  By now, I was a firm believer in the fact that dietary changes should be able to solve this problem.  But I was at a loss for what I was doing wrong.  I tightened up my diet in every way I could.  I switched to grass-fed meat and pastured butter.  I increased my vegetable intake.  I stopped eating paleo baking. I increased my Vitamin D3 supplement. I reduced my starch intake to help treat a suspected case of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.  I went to bed earlier.  I continued to feel better and better except for the spreading lichen planus.  And then I learned a very valuable piece of information, something that no doctor I had seen in 5 different cities had bothered to mention:  lichen planus is an autoimmune condition.

When I first started eating paleo, I ate 4-8 eggs every day.  Nuts became my go-to convenience food.  Almond butter and sliced apple was my favorite snack.  Bell peppers and tomatoes featured heavily in my meals.  I wasn’t buying very much grass-fed meat in the beginning, and instead supplementing with high doses of fish oil.  My lichen planus likely got worse because even though I had removed the worst food offenders from my diet, I was continuing to eat foods restricted in the Autoimmune Protocol due to their ability to perpetuate a leaky gut and drive antibody formation in sensitive individuals.  I had to admit that I am one of these sensitive individual.  I had to get over my autoimmune denial.

After 5 months following the Autoimmune Protocol, my lichen planus has mostly healed.  It took over three committed months before I really started to see a difference, but when my lichen planus lesions started to heal, they improved quickly.  Any remnants of asthma and allergies are gone.  My eyesight has actually improved.  My energy is even better.  I have started to slowly lose weight again.  I now weigh 148 pounds, practice yoga regularly, and can easily keep up with my two young daughters. I may not be exactly where I want to be yet, but I am finally healthy.

I used to joke that I would be dead at least 100 times if it weren’t for the miracles of modern medicine.  But, as I reflect back on the health conditions I suffered, I now see the links between them. I clearly see the linear progression of one pathology. I see that my gut was getting progressively leakier, that my body was getting more and more inflamed, that my hormones were increasingly poorly regulated, and that auto-antibodies were being formed in higher and higher quantities. Everything seems connected. And the Paleo Diet Autoimmune Protocol is my solution.

Following the Autoimmune Protocol is tough going.  I find it very hard to comply 100% of the time.  I have a very hard time avoiding seed-based spices and paprika.  If I am developing a recipe for my blog, I feel obligated to taste it even if it contains eggs and almond flour.  There are days where a square of dark chocolate is not a desire, but a need. However, this level of compliance seems to be working.  I wonder if I may have to reign it in next winter when I can no longer benefit from so much sun exposure.  Or maybe I will be healthy enough that I can start trying to add some foods back into my diet.  I am not optimistic that I will ever be able to eat eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades again.  But, even if I can’t, I still get to eat tons of wonderful, delicious foods.  My health is worth skipping the bolognaise sauce over spaghetti squash.

What have I learned from this experience?  Sometimes, out-of-the-box paleo is not enough.  Undiagnosed food sensitivities, gut dysbiosis, or autoimmune disease may mean that further tweaking is required.  And it might not be obvious to you or your doctor that you have any of these complicating factors.  If you are frustrated that your paleo diet isn’t addressing all of your health concerns, trying out the Autoimmune Protocol is a good place to start.  It worked for me.


Update:  I wrote this post last summer and have learned so much about myself and what foods are triggers for me since then.  I follow a very strict version of the autoimmune protocol now, with the exception of the very occasional use of fennel seed, anise seed or caraway in my cooking, all of which seem to be okay for me.  I won’t touch paprika any more, don’t drink coffee, don’t eat chocolate, and won’t even have those bites of egg- and nut-containing baking any more.  Heck, I don’t even eat whole coconut products any more.  And, I’m much more cautious about my sugar intake!  Perhaps it was the lack of sun exposure in the fall that meant I had to go so much more strict.  Or stress when I started working on the book. Or maybe it was getting over some denial and dealing more with the relationship with food part of all of this.  It is much easier for me to comply 100% now than it used to be, I think because I feel so good when I do and maybe because I’m just so much better and cooking delicious food that complies with the autoimmune protocol.


I seem to have the same problem with coconut products. Although I do fine with coconut oil. I was thinking of buying some coconut aminos but didn’t know if I should even try it. Do you have any experience with it?

Thank you for your AIP posts. I think I will find I have many of the same triggers. And I find the same reaction to whole coconut products. With Lupus, I have to limit sun exposure too. I’m looking forward to your new book, as AIP can get pretty boring. I hope the research for your new book has been healthier for you, in terms of tasting what you write! Can’t wait until Sept – I hope I win a review copy!

Hi Sarah,
Thanks so much for all that you do. If I could only read one paleo blog, it would be yours, although I enjoy all of the paleo blogs. Thanks to you, I did the paleo AI last fall, after being paleo for a year, and found some food that I should avoid. If you have the time, it would be helpful to list the food you eat and the foods that you can’t eat, in one post. I know everyone is different, and your personal diet may not apply to everyone, but I still think it would be helpful to see your diet do’s and don’ts in one post. Thanks.

I began the Paleo Autoimmune a little over 2 weeks ago. I too have never been told by my Thyroid ‘specialists’ that there were foods I should avoid. It wasn’t until after attending a little seminar with Robb Wolf I was aware of autoimmune and leaky gut. Although I love eating eggs and cooking with them, I’m ok not having them. Sure it’s easier to make breakfast with them but because I already feel better without them, it’s worth eliminating them. I’m bummed to hear that coconut may now be out of the running. I was looking forward to baking and desserts with this. I find that I can’t eat sweet potatoes and beats either. Again, it’s a price I don’t mind paying because I hate the bloaty feeling after eating them. I love your blog and it’s been so helpful in my new journey. You look fabulouse and glad to hear that you’re feeling just as good 🙂

Sarah, your blog has been such an inspiration to me. Like you, my journey has taken a winding path … starting with Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, to Body for Life, and eventually low carb, then Paleo. I have also been in denial about autoimmunity, but have finally reached my threshold and am ready to make the leap. (I blogged about my journey thus far on my blog … I am so excited about your book … although I hope to have most of it figured out by the time it is released. Your blog has been such a great resource for me … thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences!

Wow, what an amazing testimony. This is the first time I’ve seen a “before” picture of you and I have to admit that I gasped. You have an amazing glow and vibrancy about you in your current photos that I saw was completely missing in that “before” picture. I also gasped because your before shape resonates with my current shape. Your story also sounds so similar to mine.

Forgive my ignorance…which coconut products are whole coconut and which are not? (I see from the comments that coconut oil and aminos would not fall under the whole section.) Is whole coconut anything with coconut “meat”? Shredded, flakes, flour? So coconut water is fine? Hoping I don’t have a coconut issue.

You are so strong to give up chocolate and coconut!

So, what I tolerate seems to be anything with the fiber taken out. Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut vinegar, coconut aminos. What I don’t tolerate is anything with the fiber still in it, flakes, shredded, coconut cream concentrate (aka coconut butter), coconut flour. Coconut is very high in inulin fiber which is a very hard to digest FODMAP so I think that’s why.

Your comment about health being worth skipping the bolognaise sauce struck a chord with me.
Like you, I feel much better when I stick to AIP – no more hives, migraines, arthritis. And, I didn’t get the flu & followup sinus infection that everyone else in my extended family seems to have gotten. That being said, I really miss spaghetti, which has long been my go-to meal when I’m tired or just don’t have much time.
Unlike you, I’m not a good cook, and now, I’m traveling and living in my van, so I have a 1 burner camp stove to prepare everything I eat. I split the problem into its 2 components – for the pasta, I bought a spiral slicer and some zuchini and it works great.
For a bolognaise sauce substitute, I use pumpkin puree with beet juice, or puree beets with my stick blender. Add some water to get the consistency right. It looks like Bolognaise. Now add meat, and herbs. Here’s where my not being a good cook comes in. I haven’t gotten the herbs right yet. (That might have something to do with never having made homemade tomato based sauce in my life). I do know it takes a lot more of whichever herbs, than recipes show for the tomato version, possibly because of the fiber level of the pumpkin. And it tastes close enough to the real thing to satisfy me.

Hello! I love your site. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and scalp psorisis three years ago. After reading your information and various other books, I am wondering if blood type has anything to do with it. I am O+ Blood Type. In some of the books I have read on this, it states that O Blood can be reactive and many of the food items you have stated above except the eggs are the ones that have lectins that supposedly react in a person with O blood. What is your take on this? Thank you for sharing your learning journey. I was always the person that could eat anything and didn’t start having problems with weight or food until I turned 48.

The blood type diet has been very thoroughly debunked. That doesn’t mean that blood type has nothing to do with it, but that the whole classification of foods to eat by what blood type you are has been very thoroughly shown to not work (well, unless you’re type O, that seems to work for people, probably because it’s so similar to a paleo diet). I would recommend giving the AIP a try.

Sorry, that is Dr.Pangano. I am Paleo and frequently eat red meat. I’m wondering if this could be hindering me from total healing from psoriasis.

I had never heard of it until this morning. In reading a brief summary, I see some things I agree with a a whole lot that I don’t. I think that eating red meat is very important for healing. However, I would point you in the direction of the autoimmune protocol for psoriasis. The issue is far more likely to be the inclusion of nuts, seeds, nightshades, eggs, and/or starchy vegetables in your diet.

I hope you consider seeing a paleo functional nutritionist. Doing a stool test to diagnose exactly what gut problems are persisting is very important to healing. Symptoms of SIBO could also be any sort of bacterial imbalance or even a yeast infection.

I saw your reply about red meat and wondered what you thought about this. An RD suggested I have this test done for food intolerances/senstivities. (link for info on the test posted below) My results came for moderate or severe issues with gluten, dairy, eggs, almonds, beef, & lamb. She told me to avoid all of the moderate and severe. She told me she suspected that I have a leaky gut. She also thought that maybe one of the severe foods created the other issues because they went unaddressed for so long based on my symptoms.

Researching the leaky gut issue is what led me to read up on paleo and I thought that it was perfect because of avoiding gluten & dairy. I agree with her thoughts of leaky gut for me. I read somewhere that some tests come up inaccurate when there are severe issues too. My question is as I’m trying to master paleo guidelines, should I avoid those paleo foods that the test said to avoid? The eggs and almonds, of course, would be out when I start to experiment with the AI protocol but what about the beef & lamb? (getting back to my questions about the red meat)

Here is the test that was done:

It’s very likely that the sensitivity is temporary, but I do agree with omitting any foods that you test highly sensitive for in a food sensitivity test at least for the first month. I do still think that it’s important to incorporate red meat, I guess you’re stuck with bison and pork? Maybe see if you can find some goat or emu/ostrich?

Hi Sarah,
Just want to start by saying thanks so much for your awesome site, sharing your story, and for all of your important information on autoimmune issues. I am a 30y/o female with psoriasis since 6mths and unclassified arthritic inflammation in one ankle and another knee. I am trying to stick to regular paleo – which I feel worlds better on mentally and energy-wise, but which seems to have little effect on my autoimmune issues. I am currently on 200mg/day of plaquenil, which greatly improved my energy and joint swelling a year ago when i started taking it. I would really like to get off of the plaquenil though as i’d like to try for a baby later this year. I was wondering if you had ever been on prescription drugs for your autoimmune issue or if you are on anything now? And I was wondering if you know of anyone that has been able to get off of their meds and manage their autoimmune issues with just AI paleo?

I’ve been on and off steroids and used to take advil like it was candy, but never took any DMARDs, and have not needed any meds since starting the AIP 15 months ago. Going off is possible and many people have done it, but you need to do it gradually and work with your doctor. I suggest following the AIP for a month, make sure you’ve got it down, then start weaning off. Keep the broth and/or gelatin intake high while you’re weaning off and get absolutely as much sleep as you possibly can. Keep going very strict AIP for at least a month after you are done weaning on the plaquenil before you start playing with any reintroductions. I also recommend prescript-assist probiotics and having a very critical look at your skin care products, soaps, etc. Something like coconut oil or grass-fed tallow as a moisturizer can help with barrier function of your skin. It’s also a good idea to get your vitamin D tested.

Hi Sarah!

It is an amazing journey and transformation and I mean not only the weight loss. We all know that autoimmune diseases are considered as incurable by conventional medicine, however there are more and more people who are able to stop and in some cases even reverse autoimmune conditions with a special diet.

Did you try GAPS or SCD diets and how is your autoimmune protocol is different from them?

Just to make myself clear, once again, chocolate (dark, raw) is also not allowed? I’ve been AI paleo for 3,5 months, other time just normal paleo. Your writings made me think to turn whole AI paleo again and exclude nuts, seeds and eggs totally again. If time wasn’t just enough, 3,5months is short time. Doctor intructed for me to eat cooked peppers and tomatoes again, but I wonder now whether they and nuts are keeping up the arthisis problems. Not any cocoa products? No raw cocoa powder? Do you use any honey?

Thanks Sarah! What a great story you have, gave me a loads of hope and trust still to try harder with AI paleo. You have made a long journey and gained better health. I’ve got two years behind, hopefully shorter time ahead for better health. Gut is already much better, but still not working good enough for arthisis to pass. I will be back reading more about food and news on your site! Greetings from Finland! Paleo is really popping up more and more, awareness is growing! 🙂

Good morning! Happy to have just found your site & read your “story”. You have followed the same path as I have! You, however are luckier than I because you found your way much younger than myself-I am 55. I was able to cure most of my issues except for my thyroid condition. I do take synthroid for it but support it with diet lifestyle choices as well. I understand the difficulties of being 100% compliant . When family & friends got word I was eating meat after being veg. & vegan for most of my life they were excited to cook for me…I have to eat what they cook even though there may be an ingredient or two, like eggs, that I’m not interested in. But I eat with an open heart knowing that they have my best interest in mind. I have to say I feel best when I eat steak & kale! I NEVER thought I would say that-lol! Be well! Patrice 🙂

I have a baby with severe food intolerances (he was allergic to ALL foods and could only tolerate my breastmilk if I ate ONLY fruits, veggies and meats); he is on the GAPS diet as my breastmilk dried up so many times from stress and thyroid issues (Hashimotos). The stress of caring for him has made my already poor health much worse it seems. The good thing is — to care for him, I have been grain and casein free for more than a year, and now sugar free for 3 months (including fruits). I did have ghee recently (is ghee not okay?). I am just beginning to cut out tomatoes; glad to hear I can have goitrogenic foods. My questions are these: I have candida, severe adrenal exhaustion, estrogen dominance and INcreasing antibodies (probably due to stress). I want SO badly to have another child, but I expect I will need to breastfeed 100% again, which is difficult to do on such a restrictive diet. Do you believe this diet is fine for a pregnant woman and breastfeeding woman? I want to take this next year to do everything to prime my body to be well for this. DO you believe supplementation or additional medical intervention is necessary?

Yes, this diet is absolutely fine for pregnant and breastfeeding women. I do suggest keeping your carb intake up a little (I’m worried you might be too low carb trying to fight the candida and putting even more stress on your thyroid and adrenals). The two diet factors with the biggest corrective influence on gut microorganisms is high omega-3 intake and fiber (ideally from a variety of veggies and some fruit). Increasing carbs and omega-3s may also dramatically help your stress levels (well, cortisol levels) and improve your sleep. Ghee isn’t included initially, but is reintroduced early, as are pasture-raised egg yolks.

Hi Sarah. So good to hear about your successes. I live in Nova Scotia, and my daughter has Lichen Sclerosis (diagnosed at age 4, now 17). I was wondering if a Paleo or AIP diet could help with this condition? I think it’s similar to Lichen Planus. Can’t wait for your books to come out.

Reading your story is like reading mine. Shocking how close! I’m just starting the AIP and I’m overwhelmed. Can you link me to a day’s food intake? I know eating helps, but some days I’m so scared, I can’t eat anything. 🙁

Last year Sarah did a 21 Day Sugar Detox eating AIP meals. You can see photos of her meals here: There will be AIP meal plans included in the cookbook, which we be available later this year. You can read more about the cookbook here: You may also want to join our new The Paleo Approach Community group on Facebook and ask for support there. The group has over 4,000 members, you can request to join here: — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Dear Sarah
I’m Rebecca, a new subscriber that has posted at least a half dozen times just today. Not stalking, just super excited that there may be answers for me yet.
I’ve been on special diets for 20 years. I started with The Schwarzbein Principle in late 1993. Dr. Schwarzbein quite literally saved my life by directing me to start eating protein again and limit sugar. While not at all paleo, she encourages a balanced whole food approach, which I look upon as a first step. Since then I’ve seen other specialists and addressed intestinal infections and food intolerances all of which landed me in paleo. I still suffer from inflammation, eczema, acne, excess body fat, fatigue, blah blah. In the next few days I will be eliminating nuts/seeds, nightshades and anything else recommended on the AIP that still remains in my diet. I’m on an extremely tight budget and seem to need about 25 ounces of protein per day, so grass fed and/or mostly seafood is out for me. Truly encouraged by this, so keep up the great work!

Love love the story, so relatable, and I’m excited about healing. Just getting started. Doing it at about 70% now, trying to stock up on everything to go 100%. My question is the weirdest experience I have with the stomach/digestive issues that I haven’t seen anybody ever say. What I want to know is based on what I say below, should I just juice for a month or two to heal?

First, I recently had a colonoscopy and endoscopy and apparently they both look great. Some gastritis. I had a gut biopsy, and they said they tested for bacterial problems, no issues with anything.
I have a horrible case of Hashis – my antibodies are off any known chart over 3,000 (the charts state 300+ is bad), psoriasis (started as scalp at 30yrs old, now has in the past year been starting to spread to a noticeable degree onto my body – vanity is a great motivator), and I think I have the weirdest digestive system ever. I feel I cannot digest food.

Even after a good AIP diet day: If I don’t eat at night, I feel just “ok” in the morning. However, if I get up at 4am and stay up, I’m fine. No stomach ache. My stomach aches and bloating “feel” like they occur the longer I’m prone. The longer I stay asleep, I will get a horribly bloated/aching stomach (high up, center, right above my navel, like there is a rock there). If I sleep in at all, I will wake up with a stuffy sinus, puffy eyes, and tons of post nasal drip. Self diagnosis is that I have some weird type of silent acid reflux where the longer the acid sits in my upper esophagus, the more my body sees it as an allergen and reacts. I think the upper gut stomach ache is the same. Every time I’ve gone in for some MRI or cat scan or x-ray (I’ve had a few in the past few years) when I **feel** like I must have massive constipation or lots of undigested food stuck in digestive track, the xrays/scans show NOTHING… nothing is there… I am completely confused. So when I eat well/AIP, I wake up with some bloating/soreness in my stomach. When I don’t eat anything (which I do sometimes because I’m sick of this reaction), I have very very little (and it helps a ton if I have had a good movement in the PM – which is never – my time is in the AM). Going to do the AIP protocol, but I’m seriously wondering if I should just do green juicing for a while.

Sarah does not recommend juice fasting for autoimmune patients due to the stress fasting puts on your blood sugar. You might consider testing for adrenal fatigue, as elevated cortisol can severely impact your digestion and is very common in Hashimoto’s patients. You will also need to get your free T3 and free T4 into a good range (usually the top 75% of the lab range), probably with medication. Your doctor can help with all of that. For more troubleshooting on the AIP, see the troubleshooting guide in the back of Sarah’s book, The Paleo Approach. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

You might want to test for lyme disease or other infections like HHV-6 and coxsackie virus. Those will affect your stomach. You can do Paleo till you are blue in the face, but if you have hashimotos or other autoimmune diseases you will not fully heal from it until you find and treat the infections driving your autoimmunity. This is what too many people do not understand. I have hashimotos and have 6 infections, including lyme and babesia. Since I have been treating them my antibodies are disappearing and I am losing weight, almost off my thyroid meds. My boys have PANDAS, another autoimmune disease, and have multiple infections as well. Find a smart doc who deals with chronic health issues to test you.

How do you heal the infections?

So one dies not make any progress until the infections are cleared??

I’m of the school of thought that strengthening the body / the liver will in turn aid the body in naturally healing itself.

Ack, typo.

So one does not make healing progress until the infections are cleared??

I’m not knocking your path to healing. I have a lung infection that needs 3 types of antibiotics for 18 months with a 20% healing success rate. Can you imagine what those meds will do to my bio dome and liver over the year and a half?!

Sarah, can you reach out to me please? I was recently lucky to have caught your segment of a health Summit where you discussed coughing up blood as a previous symptom. I have done same. Decided to remove pro inflammatory foods, and add anti inflammatory foods to my daily diet. Using other healing protocols as well. Wondering if the AIP could help me.


If Paleo is not yielding results, it’s possible the AIP will. Sarah has consultants available at that can help troubleshoot your unique health situation. She also recommends and – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

You look amazing, healthy, and happy! You are truly an inspiration. I’ve been dragging my feet on trying the full AIP protocol even though I’ve been a fairly committed paleoista for over a year. After reading your posts and seeing your photos I am feeling newly inspired to take things to the next level. Thanks for sharing your journey!

I went grain free at the beginning of 2014 and, while not quite Paleo, it’s very similar. I’ve been an avid follower of your blog since I went grain free and think you are amazing with all you’ve accomplished.

One condition that hasn’t improved for me is my fairly severe arthritis. I am seriously considering AIP beginning in January after a lot of travel is over and life settles down a bit. I’m retired and should have the time to plan and manage the diet properly. You didn’t mention if your mild arthritis symptoms cleared up. I’d like to hear from anyone else about whether or not AIP has helped with arthritis.

Hi Sarah, My family has been on AIP since the beginning of January. For the last three weeks ago I have had terrible diarrhea and can’t sleep and was wondering about your comment about the “whole” coconut. The only thing new in my diet is all the coconut stuff. Is this what you experience? We’ve been buying fresh coconuts and making coconut milk and toasted coconut, etc. I don’t use straight coconut oil because I notice it gives me bloating and gas, but the combo of Red Palm Oil and Coconut oil doesn’t seem to bother me. But all of a sudden my cortisol is waking me up all during the night – my pulse rate picks up and that wakes me up. I did not have this problem before starting the diet. I’ve been in “remission” for about three years. I started the diet because now my kids have my autoimmune diseases!! My 11 year old son is trying to recover from Celiac with some significant damage and from testing my daughter for Celiac we found she has Hashimoto’s! I was doing this for them, but they are doing great and I’m having terrible trouble. I wonder now if it is the coconut??? Do you have any thoughts? I’m desperate not to go down the adrenal exhaustion road again. I am awake most mornings between 2:30 and 3:30 and can’t get back to sleep.

This is EXACTLY the movement I’ve been on! Ketogenic, to Paleo, to AIP. Actually, I started on Specific Carb Diet, but that wasn’t working out too well. I also still have to keep up with FODMAP, lest my colon flares in pain.

I have eczema, and it has been getting worse every winter for the past 5 years. It started about the same time my gut pains and weight gain started as well. I found out last Spring that I had bacterial dysbiosis with a yeast overgrowth, with horrible gut inflammation, which was brought on by a wide array of foods. It has been a lot of trial and error to figure it out. Ketogenic has put too much strain on my adrenals, and I was having cortisol crashes, which wasn’t helped by the fact I was taking an antifungal medication for 4 months which I only recently found out lowers cortisol. I do feel better adding in more carbohydrates.

So far, Paleo has been THE BEST diet I have tried! And I’ve been researching quite a handful, to see which would apply to me the most. Due to a full realization that leaky gut is, in fact, an autoimmune problem, and that eczema is a secondary autoimmune condition that AIP may be the best course of action. Maybe I can take the problem which I previously thought was just a part of life, my eczema, and saying goodbye to it for good. Thanks PaleoMom for all the wonderful, easy to read, and well researched articles! Cutting out a few foods which make me feel not the greatest (nuts and nightshades) is worth it to get rid of eczema. Heck, it may even help my keratosis pilaris, something that I’ve had since childhood, and has gotten much worse in the last few months. I did have wheat for the first time in a half year 2 months ago, and my body has not been the same. I am regaining hope that I can, in fact, use diet and lifestyle to fix my issues and get healthier than I have ever been.

I was wondering if you’d considering doing another update to this post? it seems you’ve been able to add even more foods back into your diet. the progression might be inspirational to your readers?

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