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204 of 222 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT RESULTS - A MUST HAVE for recovery
I read this book as I suffered from complications due to Sjogren's, Chronic Fatigue, Inflammation, Circulation and Nerve issues, Fybromialgia and Raynaud's. I have read most of the books related to auto immune conditions and this book is very informative. Much of what Dr. Blum suggests in her book is what my current integrative rheumatoligist practices. However, most...
Published 21 months ago by tittasisa

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111 of 132 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watered down paleo diet book, no new info on autoimmune recovery?
I heard the author on a podcast and was pretty impressed. She promised more details on treatment protocol and blood testing recommendations in her book. However I found the book far from helpful, She recommends several tests but no explanation of how to interpret the results,. For example she says to check Serum ESR and then "discuss it with your doctor". No info on how...
Published 18 months ago by San Diego Guy


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204 of 222 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT RESULTS - A MUST HAVE for recovery, April 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
I read this book as I suffered from complications due to Sjogren's, Chronic Fatigue, Inflammation, Circulation and Nerve issues, Fybromialgia and Raynaud's. I have read most of the books related to auto immune conditions and this book is very informative. Much of what Dr. Blum suggests in her book is what my current integrative rheumatoligist practices. However, most books, including this one, share stories of full recoveries without emphasizing that the healing process takes time as a weakened immune system is sensitive and it often feels like a maze to find what works and doesn't for each individual with an auto-immune condition. Recovery is definitely a journey and there are setbacks through the process. I did get lost in all the supplements Dr. Blum recommends - many that I cannot tolerate but there are some that have been extremely helpful. A lot of the tests she recommends are also very helpful when you first are diagnosed and overwhelmed. I now no longer have to take prescription medications, antacids, Evoxac pills to make saliva daily and no longer have a running fever, neuropathy problems, severe inflammation, migraines, clotting, fatigue or joint pain and my chronic stomach problems are improving as I heal my gut which reacts to many foods and supplements. Along with a detox diet similar to what Dr. Blum recommends (but more defined towards low histamines) as well as, supporting my adrenals, supplements and test recommendations that are indicative to my recovery and deficiencies, I implemented homeopathy and acupuncture as well as the NAET allergy elimination treatments. I was so sensitive to supplements and any chemical, that I had to first start with homeopathy combined with acupuncture to start making my own saliva and stop the fevers, inflammation and fatigue (that took 3 months) and dryness, then testing and addressing my viral infections, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, genetic disposition (23andme website test results were helpful), toxic overloads, adrenals, bacterial/fungal overgrowth and so forth until my immune system started to improve and I had more good days than bad. Small Intestinal Bacterial (and "Fungal" Overgrowth) is tough to beat and causes many sensitivities, including to histamine, amines, fermented foods, sulfur, etc and Sjogrens fosters this condition. I wish I would have tested for viral infections first above all because this alone can drive the stomach and SIBO and other related issues. And you can be following a strict diet and still not make headway due to viral infections. If you are battling viral infections, SIBO/dysbosis/leaky gut and you have an autoimmune condition, look into checking for any type of viral, bacterial and fungal infection - also check high oxalate and histamine levels (ask for blood test or 24 hour urine test which in my case showed high histamine levels or AT organic acid test for oxalate levels), sulfur, ammonia levels and address that as well as undermethylation or a CBS enzyme deficiency issue (see heartfixer website by Dr. James Roberts - check out the section under methyl cycle nutrigenomics and many important diagnostic tests are listed - and also the geneticgenie website about genetic coding) and also the Facebook oxalate group by Susan Owens. Another good website with good info is the one by Dr. Jeremy Kaslow. I found the website by Dr. Vasilka Yurukova to be very helpful but speaking to her directly helped me pull the missing pieces together and simplify my protocol for recovery when all of this can be so overwhelming. She helped me zero in on the tests I was missing and then we were able to diagnose more in specific what was going on in my system and then proceed with the right supplements. Prior to speaking to her, I had all types of tests but kept missing the viral component and her treatments were less toxic on my system than others. My system is just that sensitive.

Originally, stomach issues festered even after treatment because in many cases, the gut is still "fermenting" - meanwhile your gut needs the necessary enzymes and acids to break down foods. It wasn't until I addressed the viral, that things started to calm down. Try to steer away from antibiotics. Rule out HPylori and parasites through testing. However, sometimes HPylori an other pathogens hide in the biofilm so this gets tricky. If you get tested for SIBO, also ask to have a test to discern fungal overgrowth. Sometimes SIBO is treated for bacterial overgrowth only when often fungal overgrowth is at the root as well. There are so many probable pathogens and for me the fungal, was the main culprit and often gets overlooked - I had to lower the yeast levels and increase the good bacteria in my gut. I was not able to tolerate many of the powder supplements that Dr. Blum sells but the good thing is that it raised a red flag of my intolerances and viral infections that this book does not fully cover, and that started the process of finding the root cause. My genetic coding report helped me zero in on the tests I needed and the right diet and supplements for me to start clearing certain pathways to help my body methylate and start healing.

At the worst of my symptoms, I had a malasborbtion problem and my clogged liver was not methylating well so I had to rely on certain supplements to assist but as my body started healing, I can now absorb nutrients better through my diet and many supplements are no longer needed. Healing the leaky gut and addressing the bacterial, fungal and viral infections are a necessity because these pathogenic biofilms may be the reason the body is in thea autoimmune mode. The reason I list so many references in this review is because many will follow a low sugar and gluten free diet and still not feel well when there are other intolerances going on that need to be addressed. What is healthy for one person can be toxic for another. If you know you have a histamine issue, look into the low histamine/candida diet, and so forth to hold you over until you heal the leaky gut and address the infections going on. The fermented products are great for our guts but if you have a viral infections or fungal issue, you will have reactions and this is a good indicator. The infections and pathogenic biofilms need to be eradicated for full healing to take place and your diet will be key combined with certain supplements. If you have chronic fatigue, which most people with autoimmune conditions do, look at the website by Dr. Sarah Myhill and her book sold here on Amazon which covers CFS but just as important, the tests she suggests are really good ones and zero in on many problems that autoimmune sufferers experience, including mitochrondia. If you suspect a candida/fungal/yeast problem (a clue is when you cannot tolerate digestive enzymes with HCL or digestive bitters), look at Animal Pharm website (but careful on resistant starch if you have a fungal issue) and also Google the subject of candida by Dr. Lawrence Wilson and there you will gather his take and a lot of information that links onto other helpful topics that provide a biochemical perspective, including a possible copper imbalance and how that all ties into the adrenals as well. The information you gather will help you understand your test results better and you will start connecting the dots. You will start asking the questions that will zero in on the problem as a result. I have found this to be key before you proceed with supplements. You will find that many medical experts differ in opinions of diets and protocols so you will have to decipher and weed through a lot to find the right balance vs. going to extremes. In doing so, you will be able to better define your diet and minimize your supplements. This is why testing, again, is important as you pay attention to your symptoms. This is all so very overwhelming and you will feel discouraged at times but you will find that in time, you will become better informed and there is a support system out there. You are not alone in this battle.

Many autoimmune sufferers have methylation problems(this is helpful to know if you can't digest cultured/fermented foods or if you try a certain diet protocol and still can't fully make headway) and that is not covered in Dr. Blum's book so I also followed a diet that lowers histamine levels, ammonia and one that limited oxalatates (this is key) until I addressed the fungal and yeast overgrowth. This needs to be resolved for the histamine levels to drop. It was not easy but helped turned the corner for me. There is so much to figure out individually it seems. If you suspect a fungal problem related to IBS or SIBO, which is prevelant, see the Animal Pharm website (but caution on the resistant starch for those with SIBO until you resolve the problem - however, this site provides info/comments on the fungal aspect to SIBO). For the natural herbal treatments for SIBO, you can access that info by looking up Allison Siebecker and Chris Kessler but again, if you have an autoimmune condition, the viral infection could be tied into the SIBO and needs to be addressed. Please just keep in mind all these doctors don't know everything - they are learning themselves as they go along. If you suspect a methylation problem, you may want to look up the research done by Dr. Amy Yasco and Dr. Ben Lynch and the MTHFR support group found by Sterling Hill. I gathered as much information that coincided with my genetic testing results and I can now see the correlation and tendencies within my family. Since the underlying root was the gut dysbosis and leaky gut and viral infections - along high histamine and oxalate levels/undermethylation/CBS enzyme deficiency, then my gut issues and the SIBO were just going to continue to reoccur if the histamine/sulfur/ammonia levels were not treated first along with the fungal overgrowth and biofilm association with SIBO that is often overlooked. It can become a vicious circle if you are not careful. Also, the clogged liver and low adrenals must be supported and a whole detoxification of the body needs to take place for the immune system to heal. This book also suggests taking oregano oil as a natural antibiotic and for me, it was helpful for the fungal aspect but rather strong and taxing on my system at times as it can wipe out a lot. If you want to try oregano, The brand that fared better with me when I first started this journey was Oregamax (sold on Amazon) as needed after I brought down my oxalate levels but again, I always proceed cautiously with any supplement to see how my body reacts first. Everyone is different and my case was chronic, complicated and extreme.

Listen to your body and take one step at a time to achieve recovery. Auto-immune conditions start with the gut and there are many deficiencies, malabsorptions and fungal/bacterial/viral infections associated with that as a result. I was allergic and had reactions to everything under the sun initially but now I am so much better and healthier. My skin also reflects this improvement. It is very important to follow the right diet based on your condition, symptoms, deficiencies (based on what testing indicates) etc. and please avoid all processed foods and GMOs, and stay within the organic realm.

Basically I have taken the best information, research and techniches available to me and applied what works best for my healing process. I had to research everything and that was no easy task but it had to be done because doctors are just learning themselves. All this is leading to my recovery and I only wish the same and the best for all auto-immune sufferers - especially since many physicians are not well versed in functional medicine yet and this is all so overwhelming in the beginning. This book is a great starting point and resource but if you have serious complications, you need to dig deeper and connect the dots. I wish this book had been around three years ago when my symptoms started to better guide me. Too much time was dangerously wasted in getting an accurate diagnosis for my condition. The author of this book is correct in her assessment that it is best to address the symptoms early before the immune system is further compromised and conditions worsen. You might get lost in trying to figure out which supplement to take when so many are listed in this book so use some common sense and try one or two at a time to see what works for you best. Take out what doesn't settle well with your system and don't give up on your efforts as healing the immune system takes time and relapses occur until you find the right approach and balance to what works for your body. Get the proper tests to better assist you and your physician through the process as this journey is one that requires several steps to healing. What helped me after gathering as much information as possible, was to request certain tests through my gastro and rheumy (unless you have a good ND or functional medicine doctor already) that my insurance would cover (and some that my insurance did not but without paying outrageous prices). Then with those test results, I found a great specialist confident and experienced in treating in my issues who was up on the latest and that did not break the bank or self promote, I lowered my costs without spinning my wheels, which is what I did initially by investing in supplements with no return. I also learned it is critical to have tests done so you are not taking supplements that may worsen your condition, set you back or further trigger your immune system.

Become informed so you do not follow anything, anyone or any doctor blindly. Most of all, listen to your body and take charge.
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124 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, April 8, 2013
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This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
I read health books all the time and have never written a review but this book is so good that I decided to write one. Anyone with an auto-immune disease should read this. There is an extensive scientific literature review to support the recommended program. The information is up to date and extremely comprehensive -- it covers everything you need to know. I have learned so much (and have already read every book that is recommended in the appendix) and am inspired to add some of the new information from the book into my treatment plan. My only negative is that although Dr. Blum mentions and recommends the Paleo Diet as beneficial to some people with auto-immune diseases -- the recipes in this book are high carb and not paleo. Personally, the paleo diet makes a huge difference in my health. Also, along those same lines, she talks about type 1 diabetes but the recipes in the book are not appropriate for a diabetic -- too high carb as well. The best book on Diabetes and controlling it with diet is Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars-- it is really the bible for diabetes. The recipes aside, the nutritional information is most up to date and can be incorporated into your own recipes. Thank you Dr. Blum for writing such an inspiring, empowering and life changing book.
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88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, August 2, 2013
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I wish I had gotten a hard copy of this book instead of the Kindle version. For me, it's easier to flip the pages back and forth to find information. (Sorry Kindle lovers)

I already knew a lot of the nutritional data but didn't realize how much gluten affects autoimmune disease. I also like the way Dr Blum treats All autoimmune disease as one. The body is attacking itself - period.

It's a challenge to completely remove major food groups from the typical American diet but it's only for a few weeks. Then they are re-introduced, one at a time to see how your body reacts. Dr Blum also gives delicious alternatives so it's not like you will starve or feel deprived. More importantly, there's a great chance you will discover your triggers and feel better.

The truth of the matter is, YOU are the #1 person in charge of your health. It's important to read labels, buy Non-GMO and organic.

Genetically modified wheat has taken a toll. Leaky gut syndrome is creating a lot of suffering. Some countries will not buy American wheat anymore!

Native Americans gave Europeans the gift of Corn and we have destroyed it through genetic engineering. It's not fit for people and never has been for cattle! Maybe it should only be used to "stretch" gasoline now.

Quinoa, buckwheat and millet are already in my pantry. I also love coconut and almond milk. It's really hard for me to give up cheese but I can do it for a few weeks. I buy organic already.

This is a GREAT book for nutrition beginners and people who have just been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected ..., July 15, 2013
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This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
This program is exactly what I needed ... Began book; followed advice and started eliminations before completion of book ... Informative and very understandable ... First week difficult to follow plan ... By second week became almost symptom free ... Took surveys ... Developed personal protocols and set goals ... Almost 6 weeks now and still achieving results. This is not a diet but a lifestyle mind/body adjustment. Feeling better and in control of my wellness future for first time in years.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Worth Every Penny, December 29, 2013
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I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's 4 years ago. Since then I have had little success with endocrinologists and regular T4 therapy (Levothyroxine). I have struggled with body pains, extreme fatigue and brain fog, constipation and depression. I came across this book after I was diagnosed with Leaky-gut syndrome and read the author's bio- it caught my attention and I bought it. I have followed everything she suggests and since then, my antibodies have gone down 45% in 4 months!!!! I feel amazing!! My brain fog is gone, the aches are gone, and I have soooooo much energy! The food elimination was the key for me: no gluten, corn or dairy. These lifestyle changes are not easy to make so I made then gradually, but it has been worth it to feel so good and to (hopefully) see my antibody levels go back to normal. This book may just be one piece in your journey to health recovery, but I still recommend purchasing it and never stop looking for information that can help you!
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111 of 132 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watered down paleo diet book, no new info on autoimmune recovery?, July 27, 2013
This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
I heard the author on a podcast and was pretty impressed. She promised more details on treatment protocol and blood testing recommendations in her book. However I found the book far from helpful, She recommends several tests but no explanation of how to interpret the results,. For example she says to check Serum ESR and then "discuss it with your doctor". No info on how to interpret the result or treatment options. I bought the book because the doctors I have seen can not help me (ND and MD), and do not want to spend hours on the internet googling obscure medical acronyms. So honestly the book is not very helpful. Also, the author is promoting her on line of supplements which makes me wonder, do you really need all the products she aggressively recommends.. I noticed they contain cheap industrial fillers like magnesium stearate. no thank you.

Finally Ive been on a severely restricted diet (no dairy, grains, legumes, nuts, soy, processed foods, sugars, alcohol, ect ect) for over a year. I practice daily meditation yoga, stress reduction, exercise, ect. Guess what ? Im still sick ! My systemic inflammation has not improved one bit. In fact it has gotten worse. The book assumes you have an unhealthy diet/lifestyle and explains how to correct these. Just like all the other paleo/diet/basic self help books. If you are already doing this, and are still sick, DO NOT buy this book. It offers nothing for those of us who have already taken these basic, common sense, steps.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Verdict still out, July 29, 2013
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This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
Dr. Blum says it took her two years to finally reach healing. I have been struggling with chemical and food sensitivities for a few year now but haven't been able to reach a conclusion as to what is really causing me so many problems. On her website she offers supplements to help with each of the 4 stages but they are a little rich for me. I did, however, spend $80 on her immune powder and immediately had a severe reaction to it the first time I used it. Unfortunately I could not return it as it had been opened so it went in the trash. I am sure this program works great for some but evidently not for me. I have done all the elimination diets before and still haven't been able to come to a conclusion.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time unless you have a lot of money to spend on their products, November 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
Reviewed by Sharon's daughter. This book has a lot of good information, however, it is overwhelming and can be confusing. I followed the elimination diet for over 5 weeks and when it was time to move on to the next step I found out that I needed to spend hundreds of dollars on supplements that I frankly cannot afford. I did contact the Blum Center with questions and they did answer and were helpful but going forward without the prescribed supplements will not work.
I researched leaky gut and dysbiosis and found that there are tons of different programs out there with similar treatments etc. Most of them want money. I am not sure how many with serious auto-immune issues on disability can afford these treatments. I also found that most of the other programs have you do a gut cleanse for a week or less and gradually ad foods back in which makes more sense to me. If you have a lot of money, then this might be the book for you, but then you can probably afford to fly to New York for a consultation.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A Doctor who Understands!, April 21, 2013
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This review is from: The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease (Hardcover)
In her introduction, Dr. Blum writes, "Reversing a chronic disease takes time and effort, but it CAN be done." If you've been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and have seen every doctor and tried every medication but are still suffering, this book is for you. So, roll up your sleeves, put on your war face, because it's time to get down to the business of getting well! I was diagnosed with RA, but am now symptom and medication free! Her plan works if you have the willingness to work it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Functional medicine, a revolution in thinking about health, September 3, 2014
By 
Elissa Wurf (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
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I just completed reading two books that turned my thinking about health and medical issues on its head. The two books are Alejandro Junger's "Clean Gut" and Susan Blum's "The Immune System Recovery Program." Because the two books complement each other, I will review them together and post the same review for both books.

Both books present very similar arguments and plans for health improvement, but have different presentations. I found reading the two of them in conjunction with each other helpful.

Junger's "Clean Gut" is stronger on summarizing the argument made by both books. He compares modern medicine, with its specialists, focus on the use of drugs and symptom reduction, to trying to fix a dying tree by painting its leaves green, when instead, one should be feeding the roots of the tree. In his words (p. 27), "(T)he gut is the root of health, and gut repair is the mother of preventative medicine." His book provides somewhat more elaboration than Blum's does on the mechanics by which gut dysfunction can translate into disorders such as asthma or skin rashes.

Blum's "Immune System Recovery Program," however, I thought was more useful for implementation of a recovery program. While Junger's book is targeted at anyone, whether ill or not, Blum's book is targeted at those with autoimmune disorders. The first chapter summarizes the triggers of these diseases: our poor modern diet, chronic stress (and associated adrenal fatigue), gut issues, and liver overload because of our high load of environmental toxins. Accordingly, Blum presents her program in four parts: Fixing your Diet, Reducing Stress, Healing your Gut, and Reducing Toxic Load (Liver support). Each of the four parts is presented in three chapters: one that explains the issues and how problems develop, one that has a series of self-assessments and a three tier recovery program (the three tiers being food, supplements and other things one can do on one's own, and medical support). She suggests focusing on trying to resolve issues with dietary changes as the primary method, then adding supplements and other self-care regimines (e.g., meditation, exercise) as warranted by the severity of the issue, and proceeding to medical support if self-help does not improve things. I like the self-assessments and the systematic nature of her program.

In contrast, Junger's program is more of a one-size-fits all approach (to start, anyway) focused on gut repair, with one month-long program divided into two phases: a three week diet change where one removes common allergens, takes a variety of gut-cleansing and gut-supporting supplements, adds meditation and exercise, reduces toxic exposures, and then in week four, adds back the two most-often missed allergens, gluten and dairy, one at a time, and then removing them again if one sees a change in bodily reactions.

In other words, what Susan Blum might have you do over a period of 3 months, Alejandro Junger condenses to one intense month. Some might prefer Junger's approach, but that means, for example, taking several supplements to reduce "gut dysbiosis" regardless of the existence or severity of symptoms. He believes everyone will benefit, while Blum's approach focuses on doing the gut dysbiosis reduction program only if one scores high on related symptoms. So there is a difference in treatment philosophy here, but the overall programs are remarkably similar.

One quibble I have with Blum's book is her ordering of the chapters. Her discussion of immunity, like Junger's, puts gut issues at the center, so I thought that the chapter on healing the gut should have come earlier in the book. Placed in Part 3, the centrality of the gut to immunity kind of gets lost.

However, Blum deals more with problems caused by low stomach acid--heartburn and even asthma (see also Jonathan Wright and Lane Lenard's "Why Stomach Acid is Good for You" and Jamie Koufman's "The Chronic Cough Enigma"), which could be helpful to those for whom those are issues would in particular benefit more from Blum's gook.

Both books provide illustrative case studies, recommendations for specific supplements (sold on their associated websites), and a series of recipes.

I vastly preferred the recipes in Blum's book. I am a vegan, and there was just too much meat in Junger's selection of recipes. In addition, the recipes had very long lists of ingredients and seemed more complex to prepare. Blum's book has some recipes featuring chicken and fish, but the majority of the recipes are vegan, with shorter ingredient lists and less complicated directions than those in Junger's book.

Blum also provides for free on her web site a series of guided programs for each of the four steps. I've signed up for all four, but since they haven't started yet, I can't say anything about them, other than that, while the program is free, each suggests that you buy an associated "started package" for that step, which ranges in price from about $80 to almost $400. But buying the starter packages is not required to participate, and you can find many of the supplements cheaper online than by buying them from her.

I liked that Hunger included involvement in community as one of his general well-being principles in the concluding chapter, and his discussion of dealing with "addictions" to bad foods by"crowding out" and "pulsing out."

In sum, I thought both books were useful--Junger's for the cogency of the argument (and the greater power and detail of his personal story) and Blum's for her self-assessments, systematic approach, and attention to detail. If I had to buy only one, I would buy Blum's. If I could afford them both, I would read Junger's first and then follow up with Blum's.

As for how this all works? We'll see. I currently am suffering from asthma, low iron stores, and an elevation of thyroid antibodies. I've bought some of the suggested supplements, have put myself on a gluten-free diet (I was dairy-free already, being vegan), and will see I am feeling and how my blood test results are in December, by which time I expect to have gone through all four steps of the program.

I'll try to remember to update in December (on the Blum review only, since it is the details of her program that I will be following).
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The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease
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