By Eileen Laird
More and more people are turning to Paleo to address their autoimmune condition, but the Paleo world is large, and it can be hard to find the blogs that focus on that niche. Today, we’re featuring 6 bloggers you can trust to guide you through the autoimmune protocol. They know the protocol inside and out, because they use it themselves to treat their own autoimmune condition.
SARAH BALLANTYNE, PH.D.
Blog URL: www.thepaleomom.com
Autoimmune Condition: Lichen planus
Brief Biography: Sarah discovered the Paleo lifestyle in 2011. Over time, she healed herself of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, migraines, anxiety, asthma, allergies, psoriasis and an autoimmune skin condition called lichen planus. As long as she stays within her personalized Paleo template (modified for autoimmune disease) she is symptom-free. In addition, Paleo helps her maintain a healthy weight, which is 120 pounds less than her highest weight pre-Paleo. Sarah has a unique background, with a Ph.D. in medical biophysics and research experience in inflammation and immunity. She applied those skills to researching the autoimmune protocol and a series of blog articles followed, explaining the science behind why the protocol works. She has two books about to be published: The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook. She also co-hosts the Paleo View podcast, available free through iTunes.
Blog URL: www.autoimmune-paleo.com
Brief Biography: Mickey discovered the connection between food and illness when she learned a lifetime of severe asthma was, in fact, a dairy allergy. Veganism cured her asthma, and she had faith it would keep her healthy for life. Unfortunately, other health problems developed instead: anxiety, insomnia, depression, exhaustion, hair loss, joint pain, dizziness, brain fog, neuropathy, and anemia, along with severe hormone, blood sugar and blood pressure imbalances. She lost her ability to work and lost faith she would ever get well. Eventually, she was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases: celiac (digestive) and Hashimoto’s (thyroid). It wasn’t until she started reintroducing meat into her diet, along with supplements to support her condition, that her symptoms began to lessen and she reclaimed her health. The autoimmune protocol was a big part of that process. Mickey now works as a personal chef and nutritional therapy practitioner, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.
Blog URL: www.phoenixhelix.com
Autoimmune Condition: Rheumatoid arthritis
Brief Biography: Eileen developed rheumatoid arthritis suddenly in 2012. Not wanting to take the lifelong medication normally prescribed for her disease, she sought alternatives and found Paleo. Her life at that point was defined by pain and disability. She had excruciating joint flares twice daily, with constant pain and stiffness between the flares. She had trouble sleeping due to pain, battled extreme fatigue, lost her ability to work, and found all the activities of daily life becoming increasingly challenging. Within a week of Paleo eating, her symptoms started to lessen. Within a few months, her flares became rare. Then, after implementing the autoimmune protocol, she was able to return to a pain-free life. Simultaneously, other chronic health problems disappeared (hormone imbalance, chronic styes and digestive pain). She chose her blog’s name Phoenix Helix, for its empowering symbolism: the phoenix representing transformation, and the DNA helix reflecting our power to affect gene expression through diet and lifestyle. Her blog features recipes, research and personal stories about the autoimmune experience. Eileen is also the official Autoimmune Ambassador for Chowstalker, moderating their autoimmune recipe gallery.
Blog URL: alt-ternativeuniverse.blogspot.com
Autoimmune Condition: Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome (Celiac, Endometriosis and Skin)
Brief Biography: It took 10 years of worsening health, including multiple hospital stays, before Angie was diagnosed, finally giving her the answers she sought, along with a quest to heal. She tried going gluten-free, but that wasn’t enough to improve her symptoms. In 2012, she found the paleo autoimmune protocol and never looked back. Results? She has more energy, sleeps better, her hair stopped falling out, her digestive problems resolved, her brain fog is gone, her skin has improved, and her physical pain/numbness and emotional depression/anxiety have all disappeared. Autoimmune disease affects a person on every level. Angie’s blog focuses on the emotional side of autoimmune disease, speaking from the heart about the highs and lows. She’s known for “keeping it real.” You can count on her to encourage you and celebrate successes, but she’ll also write honestly about the ongoing challenges. She shows all sides.
Blog URL: www.acleanplate.com
Brief Biography: Christina remembers having health problems from the age of seven, which worsened through her adolescence. She wasn’t diagnosed with the cause until she was 22. By then, she was experiencing joint/chest/abdominal pain, depression and mania, tachycardia, amenorrhea, migraines, exhaustion, insomnia, acne, thinning hair, unexplained weight loss, neuropathy and brain fog. For years she was accused of being a hypochondriac. When she was first diagnosed, she hoped medication would cure all her ills, and while thyroid support helped, it wasn’t until she found the paleo autoimmune protocol in 2012 that her symptoms improved, one by one. Prior to that, she had been vegan for ten years, until she discovered that the foods she thought were healthiest (grains and legumes) were actually making her sicker. Christina’s blog focuses on recipes for people on the autoimmune protocol, specializing in simple, budget-friendly meals that promote healing.
WHITNEY ROSS GRAY
Blog URL: www.facebook.com/Nutrisclerosis
Autoimmune Condition: Multiple sclerosis
Brief Biography: Whitney was diagnosed with MS in 2007 and embraced the Paleo diet in 2010. In the interim, she declined medication because she wanted to get pregnant, and as you can see in the photo, she succeeded! She now has three healthy children. Unfortunately, her MS symptoms worsened over those years to include: vision trouble, neuropathy, bladder urgency, leg weakness, muscle spasms, sexual dysfunction, brain fog, fatigue and weight gain. Her sister introduced her to the Paleo diet, and Whitney’s own research helped her figure out the autoimmune protocol. (The paleosphere was much smaller then and autoimmune information much harder to find.) Within one year of following the protocol, her MS symptoms (and excess weight) disappeared. All that remains is some minor vision loss and difficulty jumping (weak vertical lift). Being on this diet for almost four years, Whitney knows what it takes to stick with it long-term, and has fallen into the temptation to go off-track as our symptoms improve. She blogs through her Facebook page, giving daily doses of tough love and humor to keep everyone, including herself, on a healing path.
All of these bloggers have experienced the benefits of nutritional healing and are grateful to the Paleo lifestyle for the way it has transformed their lives. However, sometimes healing stories are misrepresented as cures, and these women prefer honesty. They all still have their autoimmune disease, but they’re managing it in ways that nourish their bodies and reverse the course of their illness, which is the opposite of most people’s autoimmune experience. They’ve reclaimed their lives, and would love to help you reclaim yours. We encourage you to subscribe to their blogs to follow their journeys.
Eileen Laird, author of the blog, Phoenix Helix, uses food as medicine to heal from rheumatoid arthritis. Through her blog, she hopes to share her journey, connect with others, and create a resource of information & inspiration for anyone with autoimmune disease, who wants to tap their dietary healing potential.