2018 Wellness Toolbox!


It’s a New Year, you’re all psyched up to make changes, hit your goals. Everywhere you look the “GET HEALTHY” propaganda is going strong. Oh yesssss… new year, new you right? Well…  I have news for you… NOTHING WILL GO AS PLANNED. 

It might for a while, for a month, a week etc… but eventually life will throw you curve balls. In January the gym will be packed… by March you it will dwindle down to the old regulars again. Happens every year. So how do you kick the temporary out of your changes? You make it a LIFESTYLE. 

If you get sick, if you mess up, if you have set backs… keep going. Progress can be slow, but it is still progress. It’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get up. It’s not about how many pounds you lose, but how strong and healthy you get! Celebrate little victories and focus and keep on keeping on! 


What does that even mean Cristina? It means that preparing your meals, making time for movement and self care are priorities in your life. That is the one key change. There are ZERO excuses. Time, money, kids, schedule… there are ways around ALL OF THAT when you make these things a PRIORITY. Pencil in your yoga flow, 20 minute walk, gym time etc like you would a doctors appointment or taking a shower… it is part of your a routine, NON-NEGOTIABLE. 

It IS IMPORTANT, the same as any other thing you just HAVE TO DO. 

Perspective folks. Make you a priority. Choose YOU. 

This doesn’t mean you have to spend 3 hours at the gym every day or get weekly massages and become a meditation guru. Create a routine that feels organic to you. Pick movement that you enjoy, it can be anything (swimming, hiking, ballet, cross fit- whatever). Your self care time can be 10 minutes alone in your room in the evening. Taking a long bath, going to bed early. Waking up before the kids to enjoy coffee quietly. Little moments of peace and serenity to connect with your inner dialogue, slow down, take a deep breathe, feel CALM. Need some help on this front, check out my TLC (tender love and care) Challenge HERE. 





The basis of any dietary goal needs to be REAL FOOD. Whole ingredients. Things you need to cook at home, prepare with care, plan, enjoy, nutrient dense. Fast and easy will only be sustainable for so long. No-cook meals will only satisfy for a short while. Embrace this. You will need to learn to cook some, you will need to be patient and make time for cooking. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s a part of life. Put on some music, get the kids to help. Get in the kitchen. 

You don’t need to prepare 6 course, fine dining meals. Learning a few basics. Mastering a handful of recipes is extremely empowering. Find a few that you like, make them until you know them by heart- then make them your own. Modify, play around with the ingredients, next thing you know you are creating your own recipes. 



Goal: Heal leaky gut, reduce inflammation, control autoimmune disease. Tool: The Autoimmune Protocol 

What is it: omit all inflammatory foods (grains, gluten, legumes, nightshades, seeds, nuts, eggs, coffee, cacao etc), more HERE.

Goal: Eat more real food. Need more vegetables in my diet. Source quality proteins. Go gluten and dairy free. Tool: Paleo (and/or Whole30)  *How to transition your kitchen HERE. 

What is it: omit gluten, grains, dairy. Focus on plants and animals with an emphasis on quality and sourcing. Whole30 is a paleo cleanse of sorts, no booze, treats or shenanigan. I love the program, it’s free, it’s awesome. Learn more HERE. 

Goal: Crush sugar cravings. Balance hormones. Lose weight. Tool: Keto 

What is it: apply a paleo template but cut out starchy vegetables and natural sweeteners (honey, dates etc). Eat moderate protein (.6-1g per lean body mass, net carbs under 50g, 80-150g fat depending on goals). More details HERE. 

For a comprehensive breakdown on these diets read THIS POST. 




One thing AIP, Paleo and yes, EVEN KETO (at least the way I do it) have in common, all are based on whole foods. Not like the grocery store, whole foods, means food as it should be, from the earth, sea or animal. Unprocessed, raw, and pure. Ingredients to make meals which will nourish your body, flood your system with micronutrients. Nutrient density is key for health and vitality and even weight loss! 

More important than marcos, calories, tracking… “right” or “wrong” foods (which btw isn’t really a thing so stop it), more than approved or not, more important that following any set of rules, guidelines or anyway of eating…. cooking from WHOLE INGREDIENTS IS KEY. That needs to be your NUMBER ONE. From there you can tweak, evolve, find your path etc. 

More on calories, tracking etc HERE. Spoiler, if you need/want to track go for it, but work towards intuitive eating. Find your grove and trust yourself enough to listen to your body. Going off the rails a little? Do a reset, track for a few days or weeks, then stop again. Why? Because the point of making this a lifestyle is that it becomes second nature, and you’re not obsessing about it all the time. Measuring, tracking and such usually leads to some slightly compulsive tendencies. It’s not the enemy, but it shouldn’t become a crutch. It’s a tool, a temporary guidance and das it. 

The Foooooooddd 

This is what I eat, stock my kitchen etc. I’ve built up my spices. I buy dry goods in bulk when I find them on sale. I freeze chicken or meat when I find it on sale. I really try to vary my protein intake. Beef and fish are SUPER nutrient dense. I always get wild caught or pastured, hence the emphasis on sales. No shame in my game. We eat a lot of ground beef. We eat organ meat sometimes too. Bone broth is a regular. 

I don’t buy all of this each week. Pantry  items vary, I usually stock up monthly. Proteins rotate depending on what I can find. Same with the vegetables, what is fresh, what is in season?  I’ll cover how to create a meal plan from your shopping list below!


Cauliflower (frozen and/or fresh) 

Broccoli and/or broccolini




Kale and/or collards

Rainbow Slaw (shredded veggies)


Brussel Sprouts




Butternut Squash (frozen or fresh) 





Green Onion


Ginger Root

Fresh Herbs: cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano 

Lemon Grass 


Pastured Eggs 

Ground Beef

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

Sugar Free Bacon 

Chicken Breast

Ground Turkey

Ground Pork 

Jumbo Shrimp

Wild Caught Salmon (fresh and canned)

Boneless Pork Chops

Pork Tenderloin 

Pork Shoulder


Genoa Salami and/or Deli Turkey and/or Sopressata 

Ham Steak 

Beef Chuck Roast or another inexpensive cut 

Tri Tip Steak and/ or Sirloin Steak 

Skirt Steak 

Stew Meat 

Bone-In Rib Eye 

Beef Liver

White Salt Water Fish


Avocado Oil 

Olive Oil 

Coconut Oil 

Lard and/ or Butter  and/or Ghee 


Pumpkin Seeds

Flax Seeds

Chia Seeds

Sesame Seeds  

Hemp Hearts  

Sunflower Seeds and/or sunflower seed butter 


Full Fat Canned Coconut Milk

Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Coconut Flour 

Coconut Butter (if not making it at home)




Berries, fresh and/or frozen (of all kinds) 

Oranges (for cooking)

As “Specialty” as it gets:

Pastured Gelatin 

Pastured Collagen (optional) 

Nutritional Yeast

Red Boat Fish Sauce

Coconut Aminos 

Pantry, Seasonings and Other:

Dijon Mustard 

Baking Soda 


Red Wine Vinegar and/ or Coconut Vinegar 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Canned Pumpkin 

Kelp Noodles or Shirataki Noodles 

Matcha Tea (if you partake) 

Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate 

Sunflower Seed Butter 

Liquid Smoke 

Olives, black or green 


Vanilla Extract 

Sweetener(s) of choice, I use liquid stevia and erythritol, sometimes Pure Monk

Pink Himalayan Salt or Celtic Sea Salt (fine ground) 

Ground Black Pepper  

Ground Turmeric 

Ground Ginger 

Garlic Powder 

Onion Powder 

Ground Cumin

Ground Nutmeg

Ground Mustard Seeds 

Bay Leaves

Italian Herb Blend  

Dried Thyme  

Dried Dill

Dried Parsley  

Dried Oregano  

Ceylon Cinnamon

Chinese 5 Spice 

Garam Masala 


Where To Shop 

Grocery Store (Safeway, Kroger etc)

Health Food/ Specialty (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Down To Earth)

Whole Sale (Costco, Sams Club)

Amazon, Barefoot Provisions, Vitacost, Thrive Market 

How To Make A Meal Plan

Plan 5-6 dinner meals. Think that at least 3 meals will yield leftovers for lunch. If you eat breakfast, pick something you can make once and pack for the whole week. 

Calculate about 1/5 pound of protein per person, per meal. Mostly because fatty proteins reduce a lot when cooking. For fish calculate 1/4 pound. I actually shop first, then make my meal map when I get home. 

Always buy more eggs than you think you will need. Pick your sauces first, plan meals around your staples, condiments etc. 

I like meal maps… where I don’t necessarily prepare all of this ahead of time, but i have an idea of what I am cooking, it leaves me some wiggle room which I like. 

For example… 

Dinner idea:

Lunch hack:

Use leftover sauce from meatballs to spice up leftovers or egg dishes. 

Pack some beef jerky or an avocado to “beef up” leftovers. 


Sheet pan omelette, or egg muffins. Make ahead. Grab and go. 

Because you’re already making pumpkin chili, get an extra can and make yourself some pumpkin brownies, a nice clean treat to gravitate to if you want a snack or something sweet. 


*I’m not a doctor folks. This is what I do for me, what I have learned from self experimentation. Talk to your health care provider before taking anything, especially if you are already on medication.*

If you feel fatigued, meh, tired… first thing is first… get. more. sleep. Even if it means skipping your Netflix time, go to bed early and limit screen time in the evenings. 

Drink more water, try adding a pinch of salt to it. 

Are you eating enough? If you’re active (work on your feet, workout daily, a mom) you need to keep your nutrient intake up. That doesn’t mean snack all day, but when you sit down to eat, make sure you eat a meal with plenty of veggies and protein. Some good fats too. Don’t take two bits of some cold eggs and then run off. Meal time is scared. 

If you have dry hair, brittle nails or thinning hair add collagen or gelatin to your coffee or food somehow. Use it daily. Drink a lot of bone broth. You can also try a digestive enzyme. I like this one. 

Do you supplement with magnesium? Magnesium is needed for all bodily functions. Helps reduce stress, regulate digestive system, reduce inflammation etc. I like this one. 

Do you eat a lot of sea food or kelp noodles? No? You might be low on iodine. IF you have thyroid issues, speak to your health care provider before supplementing with iodine. I take a trace minerals supplement, covers all my bases. I use this one. 

Feeling glum? Get some sun light. Go for a walk, take your laptop to the park to get work done. Park at the end of the lot to get a few minutes walking out doors. 

Crazy cravings? At first this will happen. Any transition is hard, but if you’re a few months in and still feigning for sugar try lowering your carbs, cutting out all sweets (even keto treats) and upping your fat intake until cravings subside. If you’re not interesting in keto (low carb), try reaching for some strawberries when you want a treat. 

Move Yo Body 

Getting in a 15-20 minute walk a day might not sound like some life changing stuff… BUT IT IS!!! If you’re doing your first Whole30 or just starting on a new way of eating, throwing in a new workout routine might be one too man changes. So just walk. You get some fresh air, you get moving. You will feel great afterwards. When you’re ready to step it up here are a few do-able at home workouts that will have you sweating in under 40 minutes. 

HIIT style workouts are my favorite. They’re fast, intense an you don’t need a lot or any equipment.

I use a free app called Seconds to set timers in 40-60 second segments. 

No Equipment, Full Body 

40 seconds on. 10 seconds rest. 6 rounds. One minute rest after 3 rounds. 

Jumping Jacks

Push Ups

Air Squats 



Wall Squat 

Minimal Equipment, Cardio Blast

1 minute on, 1 minute off. 30 minutes. 

Hill sprints

Kettle Bell Swings 

Minimal Equipment, Booty Workout 

1 minute on, 20 seconds off, 10 rounds- add weights to amp up the burn 

Walking lunges 

Glute Bridges

Air Squats or Jumping Squats 

Lateral Squat walk with resistance band 

Kettle Bell Swings 

Remember to always warm up before work outs and stretch after! Drink plenty of water too!