Anna Evans

The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne

Discover how this transformative guide is rewriting the story of autoimmune diseases.

The Paleo Approach

The book has gotten 4.6 ⭐️ on Amazon.

“The Paleo Approach is the ultimate resource to empower patients looking for a natural yet effective solution to their disease.”
– Robb Wolf, New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Solution

Autoimmune diseases, numbering over a hundred, have a wide range of symptoms, from ankylosing spondylitis’ back pain to multiple sclerosis’ loss of body control and psoriasis’ skin issues. Yet, they all share a common root cause: our immune system, designed to protect us, starts attacking our own cells or proteins instead. The specific targets determine the disease’s nature and symptoms. Most autoimmune diseases are chronic, contributing significantly to death and disability rates all over the world.

Today we’re going to review The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne – a comprehensive guide that focuses on addressing autoimmune diseases and improving overall health through dietary and lifestyle changes.

Author’s background

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D., also known as The Paleo Mom, is a renowned figure in the field of paleo and autoimmune protocol (AIP) nutrition. She is the author of several bestselling books, including Paleo Principles and The Paleo Approach, which is considered a definitive guide to AIP.

Dr. Sarah’s blog,, and podcast, The Paleo View, showcase her diverse interests and talents, covering the science behind paleo and AIP diets, practical implementation of these lifestyles, family and kids’ health, and a wide range of recipes, including AIP-compliant ones. Her academic background in medical biophysics and extensive research experience in fields like inflammation, immunity, and cell biology have earned her numerous awards and recognition.

What is the book about?

The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne is a comprehensive guide that focuses on addressing autoimmune diseases and improving overall health through dietary and lifestyle changes. The book is structured into two main parts: “The Cause” and “The Cure.”

In “The Cause” section, Ballantyne begins by discussing the epidemic of autoimmune diseases, setting the stage for understanding their origins. Chapter 1 provides a primer on proteins, antibodies, and the immune system, followed by an exploration of the major contributors to autoimmune diseases and their commonalities. Chapter 2 delves into dietary factors that can contribute to autoimmunity, including nutrient-poor diets, foods that cause leaky gut and gut dysbiosis, and inflammatory and immunogenic foods. Chapter 3 shifts the focus to lifestyle factors, examining the impact of stress, circadian rhythms, sleep, physical activity, and medications on autoimmune disease development. This section concludes with Chapter 4, which emphasises the comprehensive nature of “The Paleo Approach” and the importance of working with a healthcare provider to implement it effectively.

In “The Cure” section, the book provides practical guidance for implementing the Paleo Approach. Chapter 5 outlines the Paleo Approach diet, detailing recommended food groups, macronutrient ratios, and the importance of probiotic foods. Chapter 6 focuses on the Paleo Approach lifestyle, including meal management, stress reduction, circadian rhythm protection, physical activity, and environmental improvements. Chapter 7 guides readers through the process of implementing the Paleo Approach, addressing common questions and concerns about the approach and providing tips for success.

Chapter 8 offers troubleshooting advice for those facing challenges during their journey. It covers issues such as poor digestion, the need for probiotics, bacterial overgrowth, infections, allergies, and micronutrient deficiencies. Chapter 9 addresses the long-term aspect of the Paleo Approach, discussing when and how to reintroduce foods, suggesting an order of reintroduction, and emphasising the importance of lifelong health.

The book also includes helpful resources such as a glossary, summary guides on foods to avoid and include, nutrient tables, recommended reading and resources, references, and a preview of “The Paleo Approach Cookbook.”

Key takeaways from The Paleo Approach

1Understanding autoimmune diseases

Ballantyne provides a detailed explanation of what autoimmune diseases are and how they develop. She emphasises the role of gut health, genetics, and environmental factors in triggering autoimmune responses.

2The autoimmune protocol (AIP)

The book introduces the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), an extension of the Paleo diet. AIP is designed to reduce inflammation, heal the gut, and calm the immune system, making it a valuable tool for those with autoimmune conditions.

3Elimination diet

A key component of AIP is the elimination diet. It involves removing potentially inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, legumes, nightshades, and processed foods. By eliminating these foods, you can identify potential triggers for autoimmune reactions.

4Gut health

Ballantyne emphasises the importance of a healthy gut in autoimmune disease management. She explains how a leaky gut, dysbiosis (imbalanced gut microbiome), and intestinal permeability can contribute to autoimmune conditions.

5Nutrient-dense foods

The book encourages the consumption of nutrient-dense foods like organ meats, bone broth, seafood, and a wide variety of vegetables. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary for healing.

6Sleep and physical activity

Adequate sleep and stress management are crucial for reducing inflammation and supporting overall health. The book provides strategies for improving sleep quality and reducing stress.

Ballantyne also discusses the importance of gentle exercise and movement for those with autoimmune diseases. She suggests finding an exercise routine that suits individual needs and limitations.

7Long-term perspective

Healing from autoimmune diseases can be a long-term process. The book encourages readers to be patient and persistent in their efforts and to celebrate small victories along the way.

Table of contents

  • Foreword by Robb Wolf
  • A Message from Sarah
  • Preface: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Epidemic of Autoimmune Disease
  • Part 1: The Cause
  • Chapter 1: The Causes of Autoimmune Disease
  • Chapter 1 Review
  • Chapter 2: Dietary Factors That Contribute to Autoimmunity
  • Chapter 2 Review
  • Chapter 3: Lifestyle Factors That Contribute to Autoimmune Disease
  • Chapter 3 Review
  • Chapter 4: Moving Forward
  • Chapter 5: The Paleo Approach Diet
  • Chapter 6: The Paleo Approach Lifestyle
  • Chapter 6 Review
  • Chapter 7: Implementing the Paleo Approach
  • Chapter 7 Review
  • Part 2: The Cure
  • Chapter 8: Troubleshooting
  • Chapter 9: The Long Haul
  • Glossary
  • Summary Guides
  • Foods to Avoid
  • How to Avoid Added and Refined Sugars
  • How to Avoid Wheat/Gluten
  • How to Avoid Soy
  • How to Avoid Corn
  • Foods to Include
  • Selenium Health Benefit Values of Fish and Shellfish
  • Eating Seasonally
  • Nutrient Tables
  • Recommended Reading and Resources
  • References
  • Preview of The Paleo Approach Cookbook
  • Testimonials

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Effective results: Many readers have reported positive results from following the Paleo autoimmune protocol outlined in the book. They mention improvements in their autoimmune symptoms, increased energy, and even weight loss.

  • Comprehensive information: The book is praised for providing comprehensive information about the autoimmune protocol, the effects of autoimmune diseases on the gut, and how dietary changes can positively impact health.

  • In-depth understanding: Some readers appreciate the detailed scientific explanations and appreciate the in-depth knowledge provided in the book.

  • Encouragement for taking control: The book encourages readers to take charge of their health and make informed decisions about their diet and lifestyle.

  • Valuable resource: It’s considered a valuable resource for individuals with autoimmune conditions, providing guidance on dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments.


  • Complex terminology: Some readers find the book challenging to read due to its use of medical terminology and concise explanations, which can make it less accessible for those without a medical background.

  • Science-heavy: The book is criticised for being science-heavy, which can be overwhelming for some readers who are looking for a simpler, more straightforward approach to managing their health.

  • Heavy and cumbersome: The physical book is described as heavy and not easy to handle, which can be inconvenient for individuals with limited strength or mobility.

  • Unsupported claims: Some readers mention that the book includes unsupported advice, such as recommendations for eating only grass-fed meat without scientific evidence.

Best quotes from The Paleo Approach

“People who suffer from one or more autoimmune diseases often feel helpless, slaves to their disease(s), and powerless to improve their health. This doesn’t have to be the case. Although it has not been widely recognized, autoimmune disease is directly linked to diet and lifestyle, just as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are.”
“While autoimmune disease runs in families because the genes that make us susceptible to it are inherited, genes account for only about one-third of that susceptibility; the other two-thirds comes from – yes, I’m going to repeat myself, because that’s the point of this book – the environment, diet, and lifestyle.”
“There is no cure for autoimmune disease, but the Paleo Approach may enable you to enjoy lifelong remission.”

Final takeaway

The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne stands out for its thoroughness, covering both the origins of autoimmune diseases and potential remedies. It effectively blends scientific knowledge with practical advice, although the level of detail may seem daunting to some readers. The book’s strength lies in its empowerment, providing practical guidance on dietary and lifestyle changes, while the stringent dietary restrictions it advocates can be a challenge for some. Overall, The Paleo Approach is a valuable resource for individuals seeking to take control of their autoimmune conditions through a holistic approach, provided they are prepared for the depth of information it offers.

Where to buy

You can purchase The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body on Amazon, where it’s available in paperback, Kindle and spiral-bound formats.

Healthypedia FAQ

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own cells and tissues. They develop due to a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, and immune system dysregulation.

The Paleo Approach advocates using a modified Paleo diet and lifestyle to address autoimmune diseases. It focuses on reducing inflammation, healing the gut, and calming the immune system.

The book highlights nutrient-poor diets, foods that promote a leaky gut, and inflammatory and immunogenic foods as dietary factors that can contribute to autoimmunity.

Link is copied