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Battling Autoimmune Disease by Going Paleo

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: People with autoimmune diseases often suffer in frustration and despair. What if you could essentially cure your disease with a simple change in diet?
Air Date: 10/29/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (a.k.a. The Paleo Mom) is the blogger behind the award-winning www.ThePaleoMom.com; co-host of the syndicated top-rated The Paleo View Podcast; and New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook.

Sarah earned her doctorate degree in medical biophysics at the age of 26. She spent the next four years doing research on innate immunity and inflammation before becoming a stay-at-home mom. After her second daughter was born, she began to experiment with 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. Sarah successfully transitioned her originally skeptic husband and two spirited young daughters to a paleo diet and lifestyle. Her passion for providing straightforward explanations of the science behind the paleo diet and its modifications, plus her love of food and cooking and her dedication to her family, form the foundations of her blog, her podcast and her books. You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Book Title: The Paleo Approach
  • Guest Twitter Account: @ThePaleoMom
Battling Autoimmune Disease by Going Paleo
Many people who suffer from autoimmune diseases suffer in frustration with the options allowed by conventional medicine; especially because there is simply no cure for these types of diseases. In fact, the side effects from available medications are often worse than the symptoms of the disease.

Sarah Ballantyne was one of these individuals.

Sarah was a medical researcher who was very ill in many aspects. But, it never occurred to her that what she was researching -- inflammation and the immune system -- was actually relevant or actionable in her own struggles; in part because the majority of her research was for pharmaceutical companies and not focused on diet and lifestyle.

Eventually, though, it brought Sarah to address her health issues, which ranged from skin conditions and rheumatoid arthritis to obesity and irritable bowel syndrome.

Specifically, the paleo diet was instrumental in making a dramatic change in her health. In fact, within two weeks of starting to eat this way, she went off six prescription medications, one of which she had been on for 12 years. It was absolutely revolutionary for her health.

Since then, she's focused on immune system regulation and choosing the best foods to reap the best results. But, the immediate results she realized cannot be denied.

It can be intimidating if you're just starting to venture into a paleo way of eating. So, what exactly is included in a paleo diet?

A paleo diet is comprised of nutrient-dense, whole foods, where the focus is on eating a quality variety of meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Food groups that are almost fully excluded are grains, legumes and dairy. You're basically returning to a "meat, potato and salad" type of diet.

How can you get started today to recognize results?

Sarah says that there is a two-fold approach in which you can start to see immediate results in battling autoimmune diseases or any other type of health concern.

First, by going paleo, you're getting so many more nutrients in the foods you're eating: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids.

Second, you're essentially cutting out foods that have an inflammatory effect; foods like wheat (gluten), which is incredibly inflammatory.

It may not be an overnight transition. Not everyone can immediately get used to the idea of eating organ meats (such as liver), or following the concept of eating "snout to tail."

But, when you start eating these meats, along with seafood and more vegetables -- and as a result start displacing the inflammatory foods -- you'll begin to see the dramatic difference that Sarah herself saw.

Listen in as Sarah discusses more of the benefits of going paleo, as well as tips for making the transition.