I finally finished it! I’m referring to “The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body” by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (aka The Paleo Mom), of course. Although it was barely released a month ago, it has already become the “bible” for treating autoimmune diseases with a nutritional and holistic approach. And with good reason.
This book is a whopping 432 pages filled with science-based evidence to support Ballantyne’s Paleo Approach. Some parts are really dense science-wise. (Here’s looking at you, Chapter 2!) After reading – and understanding – that chapter, I feel I should have earned a Bachelor of Science degree! I’m kidding, of course. Although some parts are pretty heavy, overall the book is accessible to anyone. In fact, it is downright empowering to gain such a comprehensive understanding of what causes autoimmunity and how it is affected by diet and lifestyle. It was fascinating to read that “increased intestinal permeability (…leaky gut) is present in every single autoimmune disease in which it has been tested….” (p. 25)
After reading this book, I guarantee you will know more than most doctors do about AI conditions and how to treat them. Considering how little most doctors know, it is essential that we as patients are not only self-educated on the topic, but that we can also educate our doctors. And this book is a very valuable tool for doing so, as Sarah has meticulously culled (and cited!) information from hundreds of scientific studies to find out exactly how certain factors in diet and lifestyle affect our immune systems. I know more than a few doctors to whom I would like to give this book. I would go so far as to say it should be required reading for all medical students.
This book is not the kind of book you read through once and never look at again. No, 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. And, since Sarah has successfully treated her own autoimmune diseases with her approach, her voice is one you can trust and relate to, which I find so important.
This book covers what foods to eat, as well as what not to eat, but also covers other important keys to healing, such as physical activity, proper sleep, and stress management. It is indeed comprehensive.
Is there anything I would change about this book? Well, it was difficult for me to handle, with my “bad” arm, since it is a hefty, large book, but really I wouldn’t sacrifice the wonderful quality of the pages for a lighter book. It will stand up to the heavy use I anticipate it getting.
I wish adrenal fatigue, including low cortisol, were addressed a little more in depth, as I see it as a big issue for many people with chronic pain, inflammation, and immune issues. (Cortisol disregulation was certainly covered, but I would just have liked a little more.)
Overall, this book is a must for anyone with a suspected or diagnosed autoimmune condition or with risk factors. I look forward to Sarah’s next book, “The Paleo Approach Cookbook: A Detailed Guide to Heal Your Body and Nourish Your Soul,” due out on May 20, 2014.