The Paleo Approach Book Review

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Its here! The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne!

I don’t know about you, but I have been anxiously waiting for this book since I heard from Sarah it was in the works over a year ago! I know it has been hard to be patient waiting for the book to arrive after all of the delays, but after seeing it myself (especially having just gone through this process with my own book) I completely understand why it took so much longer than anticipated. It is fantastic!

I’m so excited about this book I don’t even know where to start. Basically, for anyone with an autoimmune disease, 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. Seriously, this book is going to change thousands of lives, and that is no understatement!

How do I know this, you ask? I used these principles, personally, to heal myself from two debilitating autoimmune diseases. 

Back when I discovered the Autoimmune Protocol, Sarah’s blog was in its infancy, and there were a few voices in the Paleo community talking about these “extra modifications” that were necessary for those with autoimmune disease. While I started with an elimination diet, my journey ended up addressing all of these other pieces of the puzzle that didn’t really fit into a simple diet change. Things like learning how to prioritize sleep, managing my stress, getting the right amount of physical activity, sunlight exposure, circadian rhythms, and doing further testing and treatment for deeper issues (gut pathogens, parasites, fat malabsorption, and the MTHFR mutation) and finally finding meditation and doing work on an emotional level. Sarah addresses all of these topics, and then some, in this book, and has backed up what many of us have found by trial and error with hard science. 

The Paleo Approach is divided into two parts. The first half of the book is called “The Cause”, and its chapters detail what autoimmune disease is, how the immune system works (complete with amazing diagrams), what causes autoimmunity, how diet and lifestyle factors contribute to our conditions, and what to do with all of this information. The second half is called “The Cure”, and it contains the details of Sarah’s plan—which foods to include, lifestyle habits that promote healing, how to transition, troubleshooting the protocol, and reintroductions. I’m not going to spend a lot of time summarizing the information here—but just know that Sarah has gone into an incredible amount of detail to talk about just about any question or topic you could have.

Some of my favorite aspects of the book:

-Comprehensive charts of foods to eat and avoid. She has also included a copy in the back of the book for easy reference. When I say comprehensive, I mean eight pages, with a small font. I would be surprised if anyone could find a food that isn’t included on either of these lists!

-Detailed illustrations to complement the intro chapters. The immune system is incredibly complex to understand, and Sarah’s illustrations made so many of the concepts of leaky gut and the immune system more understandable. They are really well done!

-Chapter reviews, summary guides, and nutrient tables. I found the chapter reviews helpful for synthesizing the most important information in a section. The summary guides in the back are an awesome reference, as are the nutrient tables.

-Troubleshooting checklist. This is an awesome tool for anyone who has tried the approach and needs some ideas of areas to consider because they aren’t making progress.

The last thing I want to tell you about—this book has a lot of information. By a lot, I mean over 400 pages, literally crammed full of the most thoroughly researched, pertinent information you could hope for. Sarah tackles some pretty deep scientific concepts with her signature approachable, and fun writing style. I think it is absolutely necessary for those of us with autoimmunity to understand these concepts in-depth, so that we can have a better understanding of how our bodies interact with the environment as well as so that we can advocate for ourselves best in the doctor’s office.

If you have an autoimmune disease, please do yourself a favor and get this book.

If I haven’t convinced you by this point, I don’t think there is any hope for you! I am living a healthy and happy life today, because of these principles—they saved my life. Sarah is an incredible force and we are so lucky she was able to create such a life-changing roadmap for recovery using ancestral diet and lifestyle changes to heal from autoimmune disease!


To order on Amazon, click here!

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.


  • Melanie says

    Hi Mickey!

    Thanks for reminding me about this book! I’ve been on the autoimmune paleo diet for about a year and a half now, but I still struggle tremendously with digestive, and skin related problems. Already I am on a very restrictive AIP protocol to control my symptoms. I do not include fruit, heavy starchy vegetables, fermented foods or drinks, histamine rich foods, a few foods from the cabbage family, even coconut or raw salads! All these seem to make my skin condition flare up. .I feel a little overwhelmed, I’ve eliminated SO much already and have done so for well over 6 months. I have trouble keeping a healthy weight and am often very tired. I don’t know how else to help my body heal and was wondering if you or anyone else in the paleo community have any suggestions. I have extensively researched the protocol and wonder if this book, or Digestive Health with Real Food, will help me? I am interested in getting the stool analysis you mentioned, but live in Canada and am unable to order that specific test. If you have any suggestions I would be SO grateful. I’m glad there’s such a supportive community out here!


    • Mickey says

      Hi Melanie! I’m sorry to hear of your trouble troubleshooting AIP. Some people do not feel like they have enough energy on a low-starch diet like you are describing. My advice would be to find a practitioner to help you with the underlying reason for your intolerance to fruits/starches, because often it is a gut pathogen. I don’t recommend trying to experiment or self-treat in this department – it really is best to find a doctor who can help you. I would look for a functional or integrative doc in Canada who can help you find a comprehensive stool test to get started.

      As far as book recommendations, both this book and DHwRF come with the highest recommendation from me. Sarah’s book is more autoimmune focused, and Aglaees book is more about digestion, but both are chock-full of excellent information.

      Good luck!


    • Lynne says

      Melanie, I work with an ND here in Ottawa who had me take a stool test involving 4 samples. It was from a lab in the States. The results were positive and we treated with herbs for a few months. The result in my symptoms was dramatic. It didn’t solve my autoimmune issues completely but it was certainly a big factor preventing any kind of healing in my gut.

    • Deborah says


      I too have tried the AIP with little success so far and am having trouble keeping weight on. A friend recommended getting tested for parasites which at first I thought “crazy”. But finally realized that I needed to check all avenues. They recommended The Parasitology Research Institute in Scottsdale, AZ. They have an extensive website with all kinds of information on parasites. Your health care practitioner can order the appropriate test or you can order yourself after reading the information. You can even have a consult with the head of the clinic, Dr. Amin, who will go over your test with you and recommend treatments.

      Hope this helps


    • Helen says

      Hi Melanie, You sound just like me (Yay) sorry to sound so happy but I was begining to think I was the only one out there that was having the same issues as you!! I find it very frastrating & now Im thinking about elimating meat which will make my diet more resrticting than it all ready is!! To be honest I am sick of doing reserch & I really find it overwhelming & I have serve psoraisis & covers most of my body been living with this since age 13 now 47 Im at the point that iv really had enough & really don;t know what to do next!! So like you said any suggestions would be greatful.
      Cheers Helen.

  • Judy says

    HI Mickey,
    I don’t know if you attended the Gluten Summit recently online but the world researchers that spoke (all 30+ of then) discussed not only celiac but non-celiac gluten sensitivity. I have a couple auto immune diseases (Hashimoto’s and Sjogren’s Syndrome) and have been tested for IgG reactions to 200 different foods and was positive to 47 of them. They pretty much follow your avoid list except the meats. I have been on the GF diet for 2 years now but avoiding all 47 foods for only a couple months. I found out at the Summit that if you have EVER reacted to a food–you will always need to avoid that food as your cells have memories and will mount an even stronger reaction if after you have been off a while and the reaction subsided–it will return with a vengeance when it is reintroduced. The scientists are now saying–there is no such thing as a return to NORMAL. When you have an immune response to that food it will be something to be eliminated from your diet. As you can imagine, I am struggling to eat. I am strongly sensitive to eggs, tree nuts, (except coconuts) all beans including green beans, casein, wheat, rye, barley,canola, yeast, etc. I struggle to maintain my weight as losing is easy. I buy only organic veggies and meats to avoid preservatives, and contaminants. Mealtime takes a lot of planning and I don’t do that well. I live in a very rural area in MN and have NO local access to health food stores or whole foods stores. I have no nutritionist to talk to and my Naturopath does what she can. My fear is that there are many people like me that have not be diagnosed as medical doctors have no knowledge of nutritional aspects of disorders/disease.
    You might look into the idea of reintroducing foods before you continue to recommend that as an option.

    • Mickey says

      Hi Judy,
      I didn’t have time to listen to the gluten summit, but a friend purchased the recordings and I have going there on my “to do” list. I am interested in hearing more about what the researchers said. While I know that it is very common to have many cross-reactive foods, I would say that the concept of healing the gut is extremely new and hasn’t been studied. These researchers may think that we are unable to heal from food sensitivities, but I know many with autoimmune disease who have the personal experience that show the contrary.

      When I first did my elimination diet, I was sensitive to EVERYTHING. I stayed on the AIP for a year, absolutely strictly until I was able to tolerate eggs, but only occasionally. I was quite surprised, as I thought it would take longer, and I got a pretty violent reaction when I first reintroduced them. Another experience, I’ve actually been allergic to dairy my whole life–I go into anaphylactic shock when I have even a minuscule amount from contamination. What has been super interesting, is that I have accidentally had dairy a few times in the last few months, with no reaction. Granted, I’ve been on a gut-healing diet for nearly three years. But I never thought I would see the day when I didn’t react to dairy. It used to put me in the hospital as a kid.

      I know a few others who have had these experiences. Some go into remission from their AI and do very well eating Paleo–adding eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy back into their diets. Most still avoid grains and nightshades though.

      I wouldn’t be completely discouraged about what you heard about the summit. Nobody can tell you what is and isn’t possible for your body. You have to trust yourself and your process, and in time I hope in time you will be able to find a way of living and eating that best supports you.


  • Khandro says

    I am beyond thrilled to receive my copy. Both you & Sarah have been a tremendous help to my personal research into making my very recently diagnosed RA an absolutely workable and liveable situation. And two weeks into the autoimmune protocol basics I am already feeling fantastic! Thank you for your efforts.

  • Erin says

    I cannot wait to get my hands on my copy!

  • Natalye says

    Hi Melanie,
    I experienced some of the same problems you are currently describing. I went to see functional medicine doctor. I did extension stool analysis and was diagnosed with SIBO. I have since been on antibiotic regimen to eradicate the bad gut bacteria in small intestine. I am now able to digest fruits and starchy vegetables again. My skin is starting to clear up and now able to start loosely some weight. I also use medical grade supplements less likely to have reactions. I was also put on VSL#3 probiotic by doctor. I highly recommend you follow up with a doctor. Often when doing autoimmune paleo and not see significant results underlying problems/infections exist. I hope this helps.

    • Mickey says

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Natalye, I’m sure it will be helpful to others!

  • MomLadyOR says

    Thank you for sharing!! I can’t wait to get my hands on my copy. So excited!

  • Aimee says

    I’m not quite 1/2 through this book, but have already *made* my sister buy it and promise to read it (she already ordered it from Amazon), and have recommended it to 3 people at my church and two other friends, and a first cousin who has MS. I think this is really important information, and despite seeing board-certified physicians, I have NEVER encountered any of it from them. What a tragedy! I suppose the next step is to try to get my doctors to read this book…

  • Trudy Prutzman says

    I am reading your book “The Paleo Approach.” I have a question about eating fish. Do you have any concerns about the mercury content in fish?

  • […] While I was busy moving, Sarah Ballantyne released The Paleo Approach Cookbook, the master-recipe guide to the Autoimmune Protocol we have all been waiting for. In case you don’t know who Sarah is, she is the author of The Paleo Approach, the first book detailing the hard science behind the Autoimmune Protocol (which recently became a New York Times Bestseller—not a small feat for a book written about a “fringe” diet protocol!). This book is an incredible resource for anyone looking to diet to live better in the face of autoimmunity, and will go down in history as a classic that will continually change lives with the information it empowers patients with (you can see my review here). […]

  • Connie McWilliams says

    I’m on the Paleo Approach since 1 month and have lost a lot of weight and wonder how much is normal? I’m 5’5″ weigh right now 118 lbs an I’m 62yrs old. It’s a bit scary! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis for about a year and have a lot of pain. I have Sarah’s 2 books and I’m pretty much 100% paleo. Does anybody have some answers for me? I feel very lonely on this path and Winter is not helping ( northern Alberta)

  • Kindle reader says

    My Kindle Edition of The Paleo Approach states that the Nutrient Tables are available to me for free pdf download at I cannot find them. How may I obtain them? Thanks.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi there! I’m not the author, so I can’t help you here – I would inquire with Sarah’s team at Thanks!

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