The Paleo Approach–Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body

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THE PALEO APPROACH COVER with NYTBSThe Paleo Approach is the New York Times bestselling complete guide to using diet and lifestyle to manage autoimmune disease and other chronic illnesses.

The Paleo Approach contains over 400 pages of scientific explanations of the why’s, what’s, and how’s behind diet and lifestyle recommendations to help regulate the immune system and provide the body with the opportunity to heal.  This encyclopedic resource also contains tons of practical information including tips for transitions, working with your doctor, medical test and treatments that might be helpful, troubleshooting, and when and how to reintroduce foods.  This book goes into scientific detail, while keeping explanations accessible and fun to read, and includes over 1200 scientific references. This is the book for people who want to understand the contemporary science behind how the food we eat as well as how we live our daily lives together impact our bodies to either promote health or facilitate disease. 

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“Encyclopedic, with truly extraordinary attention to detail, Dr. Ballantyne’s book is destined to become the go-to source for anyone looking for a detailed scientifically responsible, head-to-toe understanding of autoimmunity and its relationship to diet.”

Dr. William Davis, MD
Author of New York Times
bestseller Wheat Belly

The Official Blurb

An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease. If you’re among them, you may know all too well how little modern medicine can do to alleviate your condition. But that’s no reason to give up hope. In this groundbreaking book, The Paleo Approach, Sarah D. Ballantyne, Ph.D., draws upon current medical research and her own battle with an autoimmune disorder to show how you can become completely symptom-free—the natural way.

The Paleo Approach is the first book ever to show you how to adapt the Paleo diet and lifestyle to bring about a full recovery. Read it to learn why foods marketed as “healthy”—such as whole grains, soy, and low-fat dairy—can contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions. Discover what you can eat to calm your immune system, resolve inflammation, and help your body heal itself. Learn which simple lifestyle changes—along with changes in diet—will make the biggest difference for your health.

If you’re concerned that “going Paleo” will break the bank or require too much time in the kitchen preparing special foods, there’s no need to worry. In The Paleo Approach, Dr. Ballantyne provides expert tips on how to make the switch easily and economically. Complete foods lists with strategies for the day-to-day—how stay within your food budget, where to shop for what you need, how to make the most out of your time in the kitchen, and how to eat out—will take all the guesswork out of going Paleo. Simple strategies for lifestyle adjustments, including small changes that can make a huge difference, will guide you through the most important lifestyle changes to support healing.

Have a complicated condition that requires medical intervention, medication or supplements? Dr. Ballantyne also walks you through the most useful medical tests, treatments and supplements (as well as the most counterproductive) to open a dialogue with your physician to best support your healing.

“If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or other chronic illness or just want to understand how what you eat and do impact the health of your gut, your hormones, and your immune system, then you need this book.  This book should be on your bookshelf, on your doctor’s bookshelf, and in every waiting room.”

Robb Wolf
author of New York Times
bestseller The Paleo Solution

What’s in The Paleo Approach?

This book explains the detailed science about how foods we eat (as well as lifestyle factors like physical activity and sleep) interact with and affect the gut barrier and the immune system.  While the focus of this book is on those with autoimmmune disease, it is relevant to all chronic illness.  Indeed, most of the concepts detailed in the book are broadly applicable.

The Paleo Approach TOC

The Paleo Approach is divided into two parts and covers all of the following topics:

  • the most current understanding of the causes of autoimmune disease,
  • how the immune system works and what goes wrong in autoimmune disease
  • how diet and lifestyle factors contribute to the development and perpetuation of autoimmune disease,
  • the links between autoimmune disease and gluten sensitivity, leaky gut, and gut dysbiosis
  • the links between autoimmune disease and nutritional deficiencies
  • the links between stress, hormone dysregulation and inadequate sleep an autoimmune disease
  • diet recommendations to manage autoimmune disease
  • the whys behind foods to exclude
  • the whys behind foods to include
  • navigating food sensitivities (FODMAPs, histamine, salicylates, and sulfates) and bacterial/yeast overgrowths
  • lifestyle recommendations to manage autoimmune disease
    • priorities for exercise
    • stress management strategies
    • how much sleep should you get
    • how to protect your circadian rhythms
    • how to regulate hunger hormones
  • troubleshooting and dealing with the “vicious cycles”
  • what to expect as you transition
  • supplements and diagnostic tests that may help (and ones that probably won’t)
  • navigating prescription medications and working with your doctor
  • how to reintroduce foods after your autoimmune disease is in remission
  • faq
  • complete food lists
    • what foods can you eat?
    • what can you drink?
    • what foods should be consumed in limited quantities?
    • vitamin and mineral content of included foods
    • food sources of micronutrients that people with autoimmune disease are commonly deficient in
    • healing/super foods to eat more of
    • the importance of eating “snout to tail”
    • FODMAPs
    • sources of inulin fiber and insoluble fiber
  • priorities for tight budgets
  • tips on day-to-day implementation like how to eat this way within a family, eating out, and traveling

It wrote this book to be the ultimate resource for people looking to manage and reverse autoimmune disease effectively and naturally.  I also hope that it will bridge the gap between healthcare providers (it contains nearly 1200 scientific citations) and patients looking for better solutions than drugs that don’t work well and come with crazy side effects.

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This book will provide all of the information you need to start on your own journey of healing today.  But, if you need more, never fear!  The Paleo Approach Cookbook is the National Bestselling companion cookbook with over 200 recipes to set you up for success on your journey to better health!

“Sarah has left no stone unturned and no questions unanswered when it comes to healing the enormous variety of autoimmune conditions through diet and lifestyle changes.  This book has you covered with scientific explanations and practical day-to-day solutions.”

Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC
Author of New York Times
bestseller Practical Paleo

“Autoimmune management requires a total lifestyle overhaul that can be difficult to navigate at first.  Ballantyne has created a comprehensive and well-researched guide that not only will help you manage your autoimmunity but also will most likely have you feeling better than you’ve ever felt before.”

Dr. Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MNeuroSci
Author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?

“The Paleo Approach–eating and living naturally–is the most effective treatment yet found for autoimmune disease.  Sarah Ballantyne brought a scientific mind and years of work to a very personal health problem, with a happy result.”

Dr. Paul Jaminet, PhD
Author of Perfect Health Diet

Video Tour of The Paleo Approach

Interested in learning even more about The Paleo Approach? This video from my YouTube Channel is just a quick tour (the book is so big that giving you a broad overview takes 13 minutes!) but you get to see just how comprehensive and detailed this book is.

FREE Downloads

Looking for free downloads and extra resources?  Here are free downloads available from The Paleo Approach.  Also check out this page of great Additional Resources and this page of The Paleo Approach-Approved Products!

Nutrient Tables


Shows the vitamin, mineral, sugar, fat, and amino acid content of The Paleo Approach-approved foods.

Autoimmune Diseases


This is an alphabetical list of confirmed and suspected autoimmune diseases.



I am visiting select cities for book signings. Visit my events page to see the see the current schedule and RSVP for events near you!

Where My Books Are Sold:

The Paleo Approach is available wherever books are sold.  It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, from independent bookstores (find one near you using Indiebound) and at Costco! If you live outside the USA, you can purchase the book from BookDepository and receive free international shipping!  The Paleo Approach is also available on Kindle, iTunes, Nook and Kobo.

“Dr. Ballantyne has compiled insights from hundreds of scientific studies to form a complete program to regulate the immune system, support healing, and ultimately reverse autoimmune disease.  It is beautifully illustrated and will inspire you to begin your journey back to health.”

Dr. Terry Wahls, MD
Author of The Wahls Protocol

“Wow! The Paleo Approach is a gem of a book that tackles the intricacies of autoimmune disease and delivers real-life solutions in the most comprehensive guide on the subject we’ve ever seen… Put this book on your must-have list!”

Mira Calton, CN & Jayson Calton, PhD
Authors of Naked Calories and
Rich Food, Poor Food



“Sarah will guide you gently but firmly and encourage you to become responsible for your own health. She is full of great advice that will ease your burdens if you heed it.” — A Clean Plate
“This is the most incredible gift from heaven you could ever wish for. It is the most thoroughly researched, detailed and comprehensive roadmap for recovery.” — Autoimmune Paleo
“There is no other resource that I know of that is more complete in its scope about food, autoimmune disease, physiology and lifestyle recommendations specific for those with autoimmune disease. Sarah left no stone unturned.” – AIP Lifestyle
“I no longer have symptoms of autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue, micro-nutrient deficiencies, skin breakouts or depression. I’m happy to report that The Paleo Approach quite literally gave me my life back.” – Paleo Parents
“Many books claim to heal you. Many books claim to be the solution. For once, here’s a book that actually delivers on its promise to restore health (and to explain exactly why it works).” – The Domestic Man
“Sarah tells us the science behind Autoimmunity, why we got sick in the first place and the exact steps we need to take in our path to remission and ultimate health.I can’t recommend this book enough!” – Grass Fed Girl
“This book is going to be one of those for the ages. This book has the power to change the faces of autoimmunity around the nation, and to save people from so much of autoimmunity’s desperation and fear.” – Paleo for Women
“Whether you have an autoimmune disorder or not, whether you are paleo or not, and whether you think you know it all – or nothing at all… this book is a MUST read for EVERYONE.” – Bedrock Living.
“This baby is HUGE and packed full of practical knowledge and SCIENCE. Without a doubt, I’m going to be recommending this book to everyone who wants to better understand how Paleo works, and how it helps folks feel better—particularly those suffering from an autoimmune disease.” – Nom Nom Paleo
Robb Wolf
“it’s the most comprehensive book ever written on the topic of reversing autoimmune disease. Seriously, I’d call it the autoimmune bible. Sarah [is] uniquely qualified both personally and professionally to write a guide to healing.” – Phoenix Helix
“This is the most comprehensive, helpful, and dare I say, enjoyable guide to healing your body in the face of autoimmune disease. I am still overwhelmed with the vast information in The Paleo Approach book. This is an essential guide for everyone wanting to look at how they are eating and to connect it to how they feel!” – Heather Spergel
“The Paleo Approach is the most comprehensive resource written to date on autoimmune disease and how to use diet and lifestyle to not only manage it but potentially send it packing into remission!” – Essential Wellness
“[The book] is a wealth of information for readers to use as a foundation to better understand what autoimmune disease is, what causes it, and how diet and lifestyle can bring relief” – Books and Chocolate
“The Paleo Approach deserves a standing ovation! Bravissima!! The Paleo Approach is filled with tons of health empowering, myth busting, smart as heck science along with engaging illustrations that deliver the most current research for both patients and practitioners to reverse autoimmune disease and heal!” – Anne Angelone
“[This book is] a game changer, and is something that EVERY doctor and EVERY patient with an autoimmune disease needs to own. You have the power to fix your health, to resolve chronic pain. Confused about leaky gut, about food intolerances, and about how paleo can help? This book IS FOR YOU.” – Brittany Angell
“Of all the books I’ve read in the last two years (and I’ve read over 100), The Paleo Approach is definitely one of the most thorough and well-researched. Unless you’ve eaten a clean, real-food, low-inflammatory diet your entire life, trying the protocols in this book for a month may have a tremendously positive effect on your health.” – Wellness Mama
“Author Ballantyne has positioned The Paleo Approach as a book you may end up lending your doctor. Can you imagine that relationship and how effective it could be?” – John Koenig
“I love The Paleo Approach because I know it works. It completely, dramatically changed my life and the lives of so many others. Sarah has provided a truly impressive point where we can join together and start conquering AI.” – Angie Alt
“Sarah emphasizes that the key to her approach to the Paleo diet “is nutrient density.” You’ll learn how to regulate your immune and hormone systems, while ‘fostering digestive health, all through a nutrient-dense diet and constructive lifestyle changes.'” – The Examiner
“…More and more people are going to get this book and start, they’re going to have all these light bulbs turn on and all these ah-ha moments…I’m just really excited for you and I’m excited for everyone who’s going to get their hands on this book.” – Balanced Bites
“[Sarah] has basically written an encyclopedia on auto immune [disease]. But it’s so easy to understand and to incorporate into anybody’s life who might be having these struggles.” – Born Primal
“If you want to treat or cure any autoimmune condition, then this is the book you need to start with. Pretty much nobody writing about Paleo and ancestral diets is approaching it with the level of scientific knowledge that Sarah has.” – Paleo Living Magazine
“[This book] is literally life-changing. This book isn’t just for people with autoimmune diseases, this book is for everyone. Everyone should want to learn more about their bodies and understand how every choice they make affects their health.” – This Love is Ours
” I love [The] Paleo Approach because although it contains solid scientific information, it explains things clearly and above all: it is beautiful. Her enthusiasm is catching. As I am reading it I feel like I am getting support to the diet I am on.” – Kaiku Lifestyle
“The Paleo Approach… is the kind of book that all wellness practitioners need on the bookshelf. It’s also the book that everyone suffering from an autoimmune disease should own. The best part? It’s written for both. It’s a vital book for practitioners, and it’s perfect for the person dealing with autoimmune disease.” – Cave Girl Eats
“Best thing about the book is that you don’t have to be a practitioner to understand it. A vast understatement, Sarah is an accomplished writer. It’s very hard to step out of your head and make a complicated subject easy to understand. She’s a master at it.” – 20 Something Allergies
“I can honestly say that even though I have studied nutrition a LOT, there was a huge amount of new information for me in this book…Sarah has a Ph.D. and truly understands the body and immune function. She also was very clever at making the book easy to read, as it is full of pictures and diagrams.” – Simple and Merry
“After reading this book, I guarantee you will know more than most doctors do about AI conditions and how to treat them…this is the kind of book that you will want to keep close at hand, to refer to time and again, as you progress in your healing, or if you suffer occasional setbacks.” — She Swings on a Star
“There are many paleo cookbooks and transition guides, but there has never been a book like The Paleo Approach. It is truly unique and comprehensive guide to healing.” — Cake Cooks Gluten Free
“… it’s [Sarah’s] personal story that is most amazing and inspiring. She was diagnosed with Lichen Planus, an autoimmune disorder that led to numerous physical complaints. This led her to start the paleo diet, which , she says, helped her tremendously. It’s her knowledge and experience of the paleo diet which she presents in the book.” — Life and Self
“This book is packed with so much valuable and practical information. There’s enough science in there to satisfy the geeks like me while also breaking the science down into simple terms for everyone to get a good basic grasp of the most important principles behind this approach.” – Radicata Medicine
“As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who often works with individuals who struggle with autoimmune disorder I give this resource two thumbs up.  If you have an autoimmune disorder you should own a copy of The Paleo Approach.” – Rooted Blessings
 “The book covers a complicated topic, but Dr. Ballantyne does a fantastic job of breaking down how our immune cells can go rogue and begin to attack our healthy cells. This is not just another typical beginner paleo diet book.” – Breaking Muscle
“When you hear “knowledge is power”, that is exactly what The Paleo Approach did for me.” – Katrina Runs
“Where do I even begin with this book!? It is an amazing work of intellect! This is like having the benefit of a college course without the massive student debt and homework! ” – Nourish Your Temple
“I really can’t begin to tell you all that’s in this book. Seriously – you’ll simply have to take a look at it yourself. There is a ton of science here.” – Titus 2 Homemaker


Sneak Peeks and Book News



When you follow the Paleo Approach fruit the only carbohydrates you will get? I get dizzy when not having more carbohydrates in my diet than fruit. Or will I get used to it?

Regards Annika

I have your cookbook and have made the Maple Shortbread Cookies but they aren’t turning out the picture. Mine are very flat. i am using coconut sugar instead of maple sugar and wonder if that is causing it. Please advise because they taste wonderful but would like then to look pretty too. Thank you

I have just finished reading your Paleo Approach book and I think it’s one of the best science related books I’ve ever read. I’ve already recommended it to several patients with autoimmune diseases. I just love how scientific yet understandable to laymen it is. It established an interest in biochemistry and physiology 9 years of med school was unable to inspire. So, in short, thank you for a great book.

I want to thank you Sarah for all your hard work and your generous access to your knowledge.

I ‘ve been on health roller coaster of why I was in so much in pain/ no energy/ rashes and heat weasels all over …. I started with wheat belly and it was helpful however I felt I was missing something it started me on a better path of knowledge!

Of the why’s and the major changes in our food supply!
My butt was inflamed like on fire… For like a year I really saw something was wrong, and the continued heat weasels than my body wasn’t absorbing nutrients and I ate a lot of good food however my weight was always stable at 115lbs than in the last 6 months I losts like 15 lbs I didn’t need to lose …. Your information was the missing link … I started on your autoimmune protocol thinking maybe this is it/ in the last 1 month and a bit with your information posted..
I started implementing your system, it was the nightshades missing link ….

I also found out a couple of them were sneaky in my mutisource vitamins… I even contacted the company they probably didn’t realize they were poisoning people with green pepper and the leaves?!? Yes I said that right!
My weight has stabalize at 103 pounds now thankfully … I don’t want to lose my breasts lol

I also bought your book and your cook book and amazing wealth of information….Great job!!

I was already gluten free/ wheat/ corn/ dairy free last 1/2 years than made a deeper cut with your knowledge !

Absolutely no nightshades ever not taking any chances the way that was the missing link…even my skin is calming down.

I can adapt to whatever I need to do … It’s the easiest remedy not to eat it!!!

For 10 bites of food and being a month in pain is not worth it.
Not to mention the continued havoc it’s doing in on my insides!

Eggs I will try later when my body stabilizes .

Sarah you saved my life, GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMIlLY, and I’am recommending your book and cookbook to everyone great value, I only wish I knew and found you earlier !!!!
I figure by the end of the year, I should be getting on top of the world and really living again, I have missed a lot however I can see the light and in the knick of time too!
With love,
Take care of you and thank you, your book was worth every penny, Amazing!

Hi Sarah !
Are your books available in French? my mom does not read so well in English ( french Canadian 😉 )
If not do you have good recommendations for french AIP books?

Thanks !

Dr. Ballantyne,

I recently came across your cookbook. I am pleasantly surprised that you offer suggestions for those of us who suffer from weight gain issues. I am looking to buy this book, but in addition I would like to buy it for my aunt, who is incredibly thin. However, I don’t know if your books are translated in Spanish.

Can you please let me know where I can buy your book in Spanish?

I don’t believe it has been translated into other languages at this point. But you could contact the publisher, Victory Belt, to request it. Maybe if enough people request a translation they will do it! -Kiersten

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