To Hell & Back With Autoimmune Disease: How To Heal Autoimmunity With Diet, Relationships, Lifestyle & More.

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Ryan Lee (my guest on this podcast) and I go way back.

The man is probably responsible for initiating and teaching me just about everything I know in the realm of online marketing and success in the fitness industry.

Over a decade ago, I began to delve into his teachings and websites, and it was through him that I learned how to create information products, e-books, virtual coaching and a host of other profit-generating and information-scaling tools I still utilize to this day.

Ryan himself is an exercise physiologist and the founder of Rewind bars. He’s also the author of The Millionaire Workout, Passion to Profits, was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, and called “the world’s #1 lifestyle entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur.

Several years ago, Ryan was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (psoriatic arthritis), and ignored the advice of his MD to go on chemo, while instead focused on coming up with a psoriatic arthritis diet plan, and simplifying his life, relationships, business, and more. We delve into that story on today's show.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Ryan's journey from fledgling personal trainer to the “godfather” of the online fitness industry [09:15]

  • First job (1994): recreational therapist in a children's rehab hospital; was a personal trainer during non-work hours
  • Internet marketing career began in 1998; writing articles and GIF's on a website
  • Sold training programs to readers — Craig Valentine assisted
  • Began selling his knowledge to other health enthusiasts to grow their businesses (including Ben Greenfield)

-How the online fitness industry has changed since Ryan's early days [13:40]

  • It's much easier to establish an online presence today… and to claim to be a “fitness coach” with little to no real experience
  • Measure an individual by how many people they've helped in real life, not on vanity metrics on social media
  • Double-edged sword: “Real Dealers” can help many more people than the old days

-The personal struggle that caused Ryan to take a step back from his business [16:25]

  • Had started a supplement company – Pro Grade Nutrition (affiliate based company)
  • Top affiliate formed his company, and took his friends with him
  • Mother passed; print magazine failed
  • Began eating more; exercising less
  • Began having severe joint pain; no idea about the cause
  • Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan
  • Rheumatologist diagnosed an autoimmune disease (psoriatic arthritis); prescribed chemo as treatment
  • Excess stress directly contributes to leaky gut, autoimmune issues

-The steps from debilitating illness to a nearly complete recovery [24:35]

  • Sought out informed docs who could help; Brian Kurtz
  • Psoriatic Arthritis Diet: Naturopathic doctor recommended removing gluten, dairy and cane sugar
  • Elimination diet (see above); within 2 days, noticeable results
  • Began eating gluten, dairy, sugar slowly; stress levels were erratic; eventually was diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Simplification deep dive:
    • Focus on morning routine
    • Began eating bars (every bar on the planet)
  • Ryan's special salad recipe:
  • Fell off the wagon because the psoriatic arthritis diet plan was too strict; eat clean and healthy at least 80% of the time
  • Short-term pescatarian diet was very efficacious
  • Book: Ultrasimple Diet by Mark Hyman
  • Tests for Lyme, mold, mycotoxins came back negative

-Lifestyle practices Ryan used to control stress [37:11]

  • Quit traveling to speak at conferences and events
  • Reduced business activities; focused on one company
  • Recommitting to family
  • Simplify fitness
  • Sit in silence w/ deep breathing
  • Book: Principles by Ray Dalio

-Reflexology 101 [41:23]

-Other big wins Ryan has discovered in his recovery[48:49]

  • Entrepreneurs pride themselves on the hustle and grind, much to their detriment
  • Recovery is essential; listen to your body
  • Teach kids hard work, but also rest and recovery
  • iPhone red light trick
  • Safe in the bedroom closet for electronics

-The extent to which Ryan is currently involved in the fitness industry [56:01]

  • Focused primarily on the energy bar company
  • “Sneaky greens”

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Click here to pre-order Ben Greenfield's new book “Boundless” now and to get in on the Boundless Sweepstakes!

Ryan's REWIND bars (use 20% code GREENFIELD) 

– Ryan's book The Millionaire Workout

– Ryan's book Passion to Profits

Stress as a trigger of autoimmune disease.

– Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan

– Book: The UltraSimple Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and Safely Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 7 Day

The Darker Side Of Hypermobility


Rumble Roller Beastie Ball

– Book: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

– Book: Marma Therapy by Ernst Schrott

Episode sponsors:

Kion Flex: The ultimate recovery formula, Kion Flex is a bioavailable blend to support joint comfort, mobility and flexibility, and bone health. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, receive a 10% discount off your entire order at Kion when you use discount code: BGF10.

Organifi Red Juice: Enjoy all the benefits of the 11 superfoods and their micronutrients that help increase resting metabolism, support cardiovascular health, and remove toxins to turn back the hands of time! Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code: BENG20.

ButcherBox: Delivers healthy 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on a monthly basis. All their products are humanely raised and NEVER given antibiotics or hormones. For 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed beef and 2 lbs of pure bacon for FREE, PLUS $20 off your first box go to

UNTUCKit: Whether you’re shopping for the perfect holiday gift or just trying to craft a smart, relaxed style of your own, UNTUCKit is the way to go. Receive 20% off your order when you use discount code: GREENFIELD.

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Ryan or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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15 thoughts on “To Hell & Back With Autoimmune Disease: How To Heal Autoimmunity With Diet, Relationships, Lifestyle & More.

  1. Ana Rita says:

    i left a big comment a few days ago and its not published, what happended to it?

    i am Ana Rita

    1. Hi Ana, I'm not sure. We don't delete comments unless they're spam. Feel free to repost!

  2. Jesse says:

    no transcript??? lol.

    1. It's there now. Takes a couple of days :)

  3. margaret croft says:

    Hi Ben –
    Relatively new to your podcasts and so enjoying them. Was introduced to you by my son in law when I found him “earthing” in the back yard in Jackson, Wyoming….sent that podcast on to my EE son who lives in Boulder as I thought the electrical info would be so interesting to him, as it was…and now he’s a fan, too…I’m telling all my 70+ friends to “get earthing”! Was surprised that Ryan Lee hasn’t used this (or didn’t mention it) in his recovery.

    Bells went off when Ryan Lee mentioned the horrible double sinus infection he had and subsequent autoimmune disease. Just wondering if he took Levaquin or another fluroquinolone antibiotic and that set off what was diagnosed as psoriatic arthritis….had a friend to whom this happened….

    Thank you for your good podcasts…enjoying them and learning a lot in my advanced years! Best wishes, Margaret

  4. Nathan Olien says:

    Loved this episode, so glad to see more content related to autoimmune recently. As a 19 year old athlete who’s had rheumatoid arthritis for the better part of my teen years, I agree with a lot of what Ryan was saying, but it’s important for anyone with RA/PA/any autoimmune disease to find what works for them personally, especially as it pertains to diet. I know from personal experience there were several things that were recommended (pescatarian diet included) that ended up having a deleterious effect, so experimenting with different foods and diets is super important. There’s a lot of nuance involved so I think it’s worth taking specific diet or lifestyle suggestions with a grain of salt: try it, if it works, great, if not, move on to the next thing. Unfortunately the vast majority of people with AI diseases (me included) go into treatment with blind trust/ignorance and don’t have the benefit of seeing improvement without drugs like Ryan. As a result there wasn’t anything said about combating the negative effects of these drugs (immunosuppression, gut biome degradation, etc.), which is a shame because for a lot of people out there that’s a big component of recovery. Also it’s already been mentioned but comparing methotrexate to the chemo associated with cancer is a big leap. I think in general your podcast and website are treasure troves of lifestyle/diet/anti-inflammatory solutions that I know helped me get remission so I hope this podcast specifically exposed some people to your content. Thank you for everything you do!

  5. Lynn B Levy says:

    Coupon code GREENFIELD did not work for ordering Rewind Bars.

    1. It seems to be working on my end. Have you tried again? Let me know if it's still not working, and I'll see what I can do.

  6. Len A. says:

    The reference to methotrexate as a chemo is a little bit misleading… When used for inflammatory arthritis in applicable low doses compared to when it’s used for chemo, methotrexate is not considered chemotherapy. It is considered a DMARD (Disease modifying anti-rheumatic Drug). Huge difference. There are other, far scarier drugs used in arthritis treatments, such as steroids and biologics, that make low dose methotrexate look like a walk in a park.

    Question to Ryan: as Ben’s Kion bars have tons of lectins (chia, almonds), do you Rewind bars contain them as well? Lectins is a trouble for autoimmune disease and leaky gut. Have you considered them?

  7. Dana Speers says:

    First of all…..really enjoy listening to your podcasts Mr. Ben Greenfield. I’ve just been diagnosed with rheumatoid Arthritis….double whammy from my mother and grandmother. 51 year old active female. Started noticing severe pain in a couple of toes and aggressive curvature. What the hell is this was my first thought.

    What do you recommend? Tried and loved some of your products.

    Thank you….Dana

  8. Phil Edgar says:

    Hi Ben, I was recently introduced to you via Susan Bratton, I’ve purchased Aminos and Lean. I thought this could be a good time to make contact, re; auto immune. I am 67, I’ve had mild psoriasis for many years, I have not eaten any meat since 1968, so you could say I’m a vegetarian / vegan, I’m 6 feet and 180 lbs which I’ve held for a good 40 years.

    My main issue is tenosynivitis [ trigger finger] on both my middle knuckles, I trained for many years in martial arts, banging the pads with bare knuckles and also worked my entire life as a tradie, mainly using screwdrivers. This issue controls me, I can’t load the hands or they lock up and I’ve got to pop the fingers out. Any suggestions would be great, I don’t like what the allopathic boys offer.

    1. You could have some vitamin deficiencies or imbalances, such as the Bs and very importantly, you should see where your Iron, Copper and Zinc are at. There is a fantastic test for this and a protocol that is quite amazing called the Root Cause Protocol. Literally hundreds and thousands of people reversing disease and illness through this work, a man name Morley Robbins has spearheaded some amazing research on everything and all his papers are posted on his website as well. Look into it, I think everybody should, its foundational. As a vegan, do you take supplements? Many screw us up in the long run. Must focus on Whole Foods, avoid synthetic vitamins and fortified foods. For instance, zinc supplements drive iron down. Ascorbic acid or synthetic D3 destroy ceruloplasmin which will result in poor cellular availability of iron and copper, yet cause storage in our tissue (organs, muscles, brain, joints). This is where most of us are at. I use this on my clients, and it is simple yet complex but life changing. I hope you look into it and it helps.

      1. Typo, I meant zinc supplements can drive Copper down, not iron. Balance is the key, thats why in nature foods contain perfect ratios of most of these elements. Like oysters strong in zinc, also contain copper. Beef liver as a food, super important containing a good dose of copper, but also iron and vitamin A (retinol), needed to build ceruloplasmin so that we can use the iron and copper cellularly. We don’t want these things to build up and be stored in our bodies, especially the wrong forms. They will oxidize and cause a LOT of damage!

    2. Hi Phil, this would be a good question to call into the podcast.

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