January 2019 Ask Me Anything

I might do these periodically! The new “questions” feature on Instagram Stories makes it really easy for folks to ask me questions and it can remain anonymous. I recently did one and I got so many good and frequently asked questions, I thought I would post it here! If you have any questions that weren’t addressed here, feel free to leave a comment or email me!


ask me anything

New Year AMA (Ask Me Anything)


What medicine do you take for your Thyroid?

My specific issue is that my Reverse T3 is higher than my T3. My TSH and T4 levels are fine. What my doctor gave me was T3, only 5mg/ day. I am taking that, but also am taking steps to figure out the root cause of that imbalance. The goal is to remedy that root cause and not be on the T3 prescription long term. I am working with Dr. Becky Campbell, author of The 30 Day Thyroid Reset to figure this out. We’ve done a SIBO test and a Gut Map Stool Test, we are yet to go over the results.


What do I think about the celery juice craze that’s going on?

I think Anthony Williams, the Medical Medium has helped a lot of people. Whether it’s correlation or causation, I don’t know. I mean, anytime you get people eating unprocessed foods it’s going to help. But I don’t buy into magic pills, even in the form of celery juice. Could it help with some things? I mean, it can’t hurt. While I like my share of woo-woo things, from my understanding, he talks to dead people or spirits that tell him these healing things…  I don’t know if I can get behind that.


Low budget here, need one good food processor with wicked power!

Hmmm…. I am a die-hard Vitamix fan and have used those blenders for decades. I am hearing good things about the Instant Pot Ace Blender though, could be a more affordable option.

What’s a good coconut sub? My 4-year-old can’t have coconut but we need to stay AIP.t3.

For coconut milk, there aren’t many AIP options to sub, but you can make your own tiger nut milk. I don’t know what the consistency is like because I haven’t made it myself. In savory sauces, you can do a cauliflower cream or a base of steamed veggies blended with bone broth to thicken sauces or soups. As for coconut flour, tiger nut or cassava flour are your best bet.


What’s your go-to dish on a busy weekday?

Sheet pan meals, usually roasted veggies, and a protein. Or taco bowls. I love ground beef with cauliflower rice, cilantro and avocado.


How do you find motivation? I’m in the cycle of brain fog and exhaustion and can’t find the energy.

Start small. Try to sticks to simple meals and avoid your trigger foods. Sleep and take care of yourself as best as you can. Avoid sugar and over caffeinating to compensate for the fatigue. Energy will come eventually.


I would love to know more about what you’re studying right now?

I’m enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Association’s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Certification program. It’s a 9-month online course with 3 in person, 3-day workshops. It’s very comprehensive, the curriculum covers digestion, blood sugar regulation, hydration, mineral balance, fatty acids… we also learn about the evolution of the modern diet, how to do a functional evaluation and how to work with our clients to discover their bio individual nutritional needs and give proper dietary, lifestyle and sometimes supplement recommendations to help them.


How’s your NTA program going?

It’s going really well. I’m learning a lot and my prior experiences I the field play really well into the curriculum. I have a lot of new questions too. I am eager to connect all the dots! Luckily I know a lot of smart people that I can learn from and bounce ideas off of.


How much time per day do you dedicate to your NTP course?

I don’t do school work daily, but I a lot about 20 hours a week to it. Usually 3 days a week.


NTP vs NTC, I want to have an online presence but I want the in person functional training…

A lot of folks I know only do the NTC (nutritional therapy consultant), because yes, if you’re only doing online coaching you won’t be seeing clients in person- but I do want to see clients in person. Online too, but I really love the functional evaluation and that can only be done in real life. Either way, I think the information you learn in the program really arms you with so many resources to help anyone on their way to healing through food.


I need all the HS Tips!

Everyone is different, but from what I can see in the HS (Hidradenitis Suppurativa) circles, groups, threads and more… AIP (autoimmune protocol) and/or keto are most effective for people. Sugar in all forms and nightshades seem to be a VERY common trigger among us.

Find out your trigger foods and avoid them at all costs.

Use non-toxic mild soaps and comfortable, soft clothing.

Apply coconut oil mixed with a drop or two of tea tree or oil of oregano on the affected area (careful with oil of oregano- it’s strong and it may sting).


Is there an herb or supplement that helps HS scars heal faster?

If there is, I haven’t found it.


When will your second book release? In 2020! I’m so excited to start working on it!


What are you looking forward to most in 2019?

Graduating from my NTP program and turning in my second manuscript. Also, traveling! Finally taking a real vacation with Justin this year.


Lower GI Help: Cramping and Burning when I have a bowel movement, suggestions?

Find an NTP to work with!  If you want to troubleshoot on your own I would do an elimination diet. Try keeping a food journal and see if you can find a correlation between cramps and painful bowel movements and food choices.


What deodorant do you use?

Primally Pure! All day, every day! I am obsessed. Code CASTAWAY10 for 10% off!


Must do list for Hawaii?

On Oahu: North Shore to see the sea turtles and the surfers and get some bulletproof coffee at the Sunrise Shack across from Sunset Beach. Must go to Kailua beach, get a kayak if you can and kayak to the Moke’s. Lanikai Pillbox hike,  Koko Head Stairs, Tantalus, drive in the mountains, you can hike there too.


I know your big on ancestral health. Have you ever explored genetics (ie. MTHFR mutation)?

I did my 23 and Me with the genetics and my doctor has tested for all that stuff too. I don’t have the MTHFR.


I just want to say THANK YOU for the seriously amazing resources you put out!



What protein powder do you suggest?

I like Equip Prime Protein or Paleo Pro. I’m also going to make my own soon! Stay tuned for the recipe.


Has your hair always been so thick and beautiful? Mine is just starting to grow back in.

I’ve always had a lot of hair, but it hasn’t always been healthy. I lost a lot of hair after my pregnancy, and when my autoimmune stuff flares bad my scalp gets very scaly. I had an allergic reaction to antibiotics once and lost a fistful of hair, a quarter-sized chunk came right out of my scalp, it was scary. But I truly believe that when nutrient deficiencies are addressed, leaky gut is healed and hormones are balanced…. Hair health will optimize.


Do you know the links between having carbs and our monthly cycles and having carbs during certain times of the month?

During your luteal phase, ovulation to day 1 of your cycle, we need around 200 more calories than usual, and often that comes in the form of cravings. The days the body can use more quick energy, like glucose, vs slow burning energy like ketones, are the days when our hormones are flatlined and as such, so is our energy. That is day 28 to day 1 or 2 of your cycle when hormones drop to begin your flow and then again day 16 to 19 depending on when you ovulate, but the post-ovulation hormone drop can also be brutal for energy.

If you are severely insulin resistant, having some carbs on these days for energy might be counterproductive, but for those who don’t get lethargic with safe carb consumption, it works well. I intuitively do this.


Fastest keto dinners that kids will love?

The lazy moco from my cookbook! Also the London broil and brussel sprout recipe from the blog. Another favorite is hamburger soup, also on the blog.


What bloggers/Instagrammers are influential to you?













Curious about your current stance on Whole30?

I think the program works for those who need hard and fast rules, black and white, to get out of a rut or as a reset or elimination diet, as it’s meant to be. I think it can get away from people, they don’t do proper reintroductions or adopt lifelong habits but instead fall into a cycle of using Whole30 to yo-yo. It was useful to me, and definitely a big part of my healing journey- but after 6 rounds I learned that separating food and emotion doesn’t work for me, also that it wasn’t dark chocolate or the occasional treat that drove my sugar dragon it was insulin resistance. So, I think the program helped me in the sense that I outgrew it, I think you’re supposed to eventually.


What are your best tips for amazing winter salads?

Ooooh! Good one! Seasonal produce! Citrus is a winter fruit. I love grilled orange segments or citrus dressings. I also like adding a warm component to my salads in the winter like warm grilled fish or steak, maybe some toasted nuts or roasted cauliflower rice.


How long did it take you to quit alcohol when you began changing your lifestyle?

It took almost a year to finally realize that wine or the occasional cocktail wasn’t worth it for me. Now, 2 years of pretty much no booze at all, I can have the occasional drink, but no more than 2 or 3 or again, not worth it.


How do you determine your macros on keto?

I don’t track anymore, I am really, truly becoming more and more convinced that eating intuitively is the way to go. However, like the Whole30 question, I think that some people, at some point in their journey, need the structure or rules to figure it out. So…

I like to start with protein, at .5 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. Lower end if you’re not active, higher end if you are. That’s a goal. From there you add your carb limit. Somewhere between 30 to 50 grams of total carbs a day. So you have your protein goal, your carb limit, now the rest of your calories will come from fat. Add fat to your meals or choose fatty cuts of meat etc. Eat to satiety, or you can just aim for 100-150 gram of fat a day, that works for most people, from there adjust accordingly, less or more as you see fit.


How to “let it flow” emotionally (I keep hearing advice about saying in the flow)?

Don’t let people tell you how you should feel. I have no idea what “they” mean my “let it flow”…. But it implies something that happens organically, so, I don’t think you can force it. Repetition creates habit and habits can flow I guess… so maybe they mean, finding your groove or getting used to things. Everything in life takes practice, even a healthy lifestyle or positive thoughts.


How to get past SAD food addict relapse post-AIP, even when physical pain is caused.

Get back to the basics. Maybe the AIP triggered some disordered eating patterns. Try to focus on what makes you feel food and getting your mindset right. Forget guilt or shame around food choices or looking at foods as compliant or not compliant. Keep it simple. Pick foods you enjoy and that make you feel good, try eating in a relaxed state and be mindful of chewing slowly and being present with each meal. Check out my TLC Challenge! 

Hope you enjoyed these! Any questions that weren’t listed, drop them in the comments!

Is the Autoimmune Protocol Right For You?

The information here is not meant to replace medical care
or advice. Please consult your doctor before making 
dietary changes.

AIP (The Autoimmune Protocol): This elimination protocol isn’t meant to last forever. It’s a powerful tool to suss out food intolerances, reduce inflammation and help heal leaky gut. As I mentioned in the Food As Medicine page, we are living in a world, with constant access to foods which our bodies have not evolved to eat.


We crave sweet, salty and fatty foods because our primal instinct tells us these foods are calorie and nutrient dense. However, that instinct, meant to keep us alive, when hunting was how we ate. When we needed to wait for the fruit to ripen to enjoy the sweetness, that instinct now guides us to processed foods, engineered to seduce our taste buds, all the while starving our body of nutrition.


This constant battle between modern day living (high stress, malnourished, sleepless and disconnected) with our biological needs (nutrition, connection, sleep, and movement) tell our genes that we’re in trouble! It actives autoimmunity. Our immune system is on high alert and it attacks healthy cells, triggered by certain foods, stress or toxins in our environment. It causes systematic inflammation and a host of chronic mystery symptoms.


Many of us have a predisposition to autoimmunity passed down from our parents, and it’s switched on through gene expression.

However, genes are not static and we can turn it off. We can achieve remission. It takes time, dedication and a lot of experimenting. But a GREAT first step in that direction is The Autoimmune Protocol.


Based on a paleo approach, this elimination diet also removes: chocolate, coffee (both legumes), nuts and seeds, seed-based spices, dry fruit (or other foods which contain mold), eggs, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers), any processed foods, including artificial and non-caloric sweetener, gums and preservatives, food coloring, corn, soy, dairy etc.


The point isn’t to avoid all of this forever, but to heal enough to add most of them back in, if not all. Some, however, may remain lifelong triggers. But again, this elimination protocol is great for figuring that out. It was extremely powerful for me as you can read HERE.


Is the Autoimmune Protocol Right for you?

  • Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?
  • Do you suspect you are suffering from an autoimmunity or leaky gut?
  • Do you have chronic fatigue, pain or inflammation?
  • Are you frustrated with doctors unable to give you answers about the way you feel?
  • Are there any re-occurring inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, cystic ace going on?
  • Does your belly swell when you eat gluten or grains?

If you answered Yes to any of these, then it sounds like the AIP is right for you!


Back to Food As Medicine Page 

Here are some resources to get you started?

Do you also have Diabetes, Insulin Resistance or PCOS? You may want to look into Keto (low carb high fat) to help stabilize energy and blood sugar. Here are some resources on combining the two approaches: Made Whole Cookbook, AIP Keto Reset.



What is the AIP?

Keto Vs Paleo

The Paleo Approach

The Paleo Mom 

Phoenix Helix

Autoimmune Wellness


Grazed and Enthused 

My AIP Recipes:

Ginger Lime Wings

Sheet Pan Taco

Stuffed Sweet Potato Buns

Yuca Flatbread

Cheesy Chicken and Zoodles

Steak Nachos with Delicata Chips

Brats and Brussels with Teriyaki Glaze

Sushi Rice

Is Keto Right For You?

The information here is not meant to replace medical care
or advice. Please consult your doctor before making 
dietary changes.

Keto (Ketogenic Diet), the latest rage in fix-all diets, right? Wrong! There is no ONE right way for everyone as we discussed on the Food As Medicine Page. However, keto can be a powerful healing and weight loss tool. But it’s definitely not for everyone, so if you have tried it and did not feel right. Don’t despair.

Keto is like a big overcorrection for the overconsumption of refined carbs and sugars in our society.

Decades of consuming 100-200lbs of sugar, per person, per year, led us to be a vastly diabetic or pre-diabetic society. This is why keto is working for so many people, because yes, SO MANY PEOPLE have blood sugar regulation issues.

How does keto relate to ancestral health?

Our ancestors, whether they adhered to a low carb, high protein, or vastly plant-based diet all had the metabolic ability to use fat as fuel. Living in a time where food sources were not readily available, eating only what they needed to survive, primal humans often fasted, whether intentional or not. They would thrive on the resources available to them and overconsumption was not a problem they had. They also didn’t suffer from chronic illness or obesity.

Metabolic flexibility seems to be the goal.

Or at least it should be. To train your body to use fat as fuel. No small feat in an era where we have been stuffed with grain and refined sugars our entire lives. ALL processed foods contain some form of sugar. Post the agricultural revolution our diets became primarily grain-based and all of a sudden very low in protein, fat, and nutrients.

So keto looks to correct this. Used in clinics, by doctors for over 50 years. There are powerful medical benefits of ketosis to treat diabetes and neurological disorders. I believe that a whole foods approach to keto is not only safe but very nutrient dense!

A keto diet starves the body of glucose, omitting the grains and sugar it has been addicted and dependant on for quick, cheap, abundant energy your entire life and trains your body to use fat as fuel.

When the body no longer has stored glycogen to use it will metabolize fat in the liver to create ketones. Ketones are like slow burning fuel. Think of sugar as kindling and fat at logs. When your body can burn fat for fuel it doesn’t need food every 2-3 hours, you don’t get sugar high and sugar lows. You have mental clarity and sweet cravings all but disappear.

Metabolic flexibility is when you can use fat for fuel, and your body prefers it (fat adapted) but when glucose is present (from whole food sources like tubers or fruit) your body will use it up quickly and then go back to burning fat without skipping a beat (think high-intensity workouts). This is the sweet spot!

However, many people need to adhere to a rather strict low carb keto approach before getting there. After all, you can’t repair a damaged system overnight. Again, I stress that Dr. Price’s rules still apply. Fats, primarily from animals, properly prepared. Whole foods. Non-negotiable.

Popular keto sites and recipes boast loads of processed dairy, sugar-free soda, and non-caloric sweeteners. While I think that some of these sweeteners (the food-based ones) have their (very moderate) place in a keto diet, especially during the time of transition. Becoming addicted to a sugar replacement instead of real sugar isn’t any better.

A standard ketogenic diet consists of your calories coming mainly from fat 60-70% (which is much like our ancestors), 5-10% from carbs (whole food/ vegetable sources), and the rest from protein, about 20-25%!  I’m not militant about it, and I think people can become fat adapted within a wide range of ketogenic macronutrients because we are all so different.

Other benefits to ketosis is that ketones can be anti-inflammatory. I have combined AIP and Keto to reach my personal healing goals. You can read more about that HERE and HERE.

Is Keto right for you?

  • I get very tired after meals
  • I need to nap around 3 or 4 pm daily
  • I have read Wired to Eat and did the 7-day carb test and I am insulin resistant
  • I am a diagnosed type two diabetic or diagnosed with insulin resistance
  • I store a lot of body fat in my midsection and it won’t budge!
  • I don’t react well to starches and sugar, even natural sugars like honey
  • I suffer from severe brain fog and can’t focus
  • I have suffered from a head injury, neurological disorders or have a predisposition to Alzheimer’s
  • I don’t run marathons or do any high intensity or endurance sports, but I like to stay active
  • I have tried paleo and other whole food approaches to healing and weight loss and have not seen the results I’m looking for.

If you said yes to any of these, you might want to consider a ketogenic approach to paleo/ whole food living!

Go Back:  Food As Medicine Page HERE. 

Keto Resources:

Keto Recipes:

-Carne Asada Meatballs

-Swedish Meatballs

-Keto Wings

-Blueberry Pancakes

-3 ingredient mug cake

-Coffee Creamer

-Sunshine Fat Bombs

– Beef and Broccoli with Sunshine Fat Bombs

Keto Veggie Buns 

Is Paleo Right For You?

The information here is not meant to replace medical care
or advice. Please consult your doctor before making 
dietary changes.

There are no strict rules to paleo because our ancestors lived in varied ways. A simple way to approach this is to research how your ancestors ate. Where are you from? Where did your great-grandparents live and how did they feed themselves?

At a glance, the popular opinions is that paleo is free of grain, gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and processed foods.

While I do agree that Dr. Price’s inflexible rules still apply: healthy fats, properly prepared whole foods. The details are truly up to your unique gene expression and your goals!

Several experts have outlined what they believe is the ideal paleo diet, but I think that to truly benefit from this ancestral approach we should look at where we came from, and if that includes a small measure of sprouted grains, properly prepared legumes or raw, full-fat dairy products, so be it.

The point is to eat in a way that makes you feel your best and avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and refined carbohydrates.

Well sourced foods, preferably harvested locally. Eat in season, and enjoy the varied nutrition that comes from eating different foods, different times of the year. Bonus eating in season is actually a great way to save money too!

Beyond food, make sure to move your body at least 2 hours a day. Sleep often. Connect with your community.

Is Paleo Right for You?

  • I feel better when I avoid gluten but don’t really have any food intolerances
  • I strive to source better foods and shop at local co-ops and farmer’s markets
  • I want to optimize my health without a great impact on my social life
  • I like a balance between healthy living and modern-day comforts
  • I want to lose some weight, I feel sluggish and am addicted to processed foods
  • I believe in the wisdom of our ancestors and am ready to make the commitment to spending more time preparing with food that nourishes my body!

If you said yes to more than two of these! It’s time to give paleo a try!

I like to think of paleo as the big umbrella and funnel in which humans should go through on their way to finding their optimal diet. Truly. I believe everyone should try a paleo approach to diet and life before refining, troubleshooting and beyond.

What are some exceptions when paleo isn’t enough, and there needs to be some restriction on otherwise whole and healthy foods?

Autoimmune disease and inflammatory responses to foods. Digestive distress. Hives. Chronic illness. Insulin resistance. Hormonal imbalance. Severe trauma, etc.  Link here to read about AIP (autoimmune protocol) or Keto (low carb, high fat).

Back to Food As Medicine Page

Here are some resources to help you get started on Paleo:

The transition from SAD to Paleo Kitchen

My First Whole30


The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

The Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson

Keto vs. Paleo 

Paleo Recipes:

Apple Bacon Turkey Meatballs

Bison Tri Tip

Turkey Meatballs with Pistou Zoodles

Hamburger Soup

Savory Waffles

Plantain Pancakes

Salmon Cakes

Garlic Soup

Caramelized Sweet Potato 

Cardamom Spiced Cookies

Power Bowls

RESTRICTED: Restaurant Survival Guide for Special Diets

Quick Start Guide to Dairy Free Keto

dairy free keto

Keto is the latest rage in the health and wellness community. The more people migrate from paleo to keto, or the more people that find how well keto works for them, the more people who find they need to do keto without dairy.

Back when I began keto there were zero dairy free resources. Now, several. But as this has been my personal way to keto. I am happy to share my very own GUIDE TO DAIRY FREE KETO!

First thing’s first… What is this keto?


The ketogenic diet is a diet which promotes the metabolic state of ketosis. When you are in ketosis your liver is producing ketones, which will use dietary and/or stored body fat as fuel. Instead of your body pumping out insulin which shuttles blood sugar into cells for fuel you will now use fat. Think of sugar (glucose) as kindling, fast burning fuel and fat as the logs in a fire, slow burning.

The benefit to slow burning energy is that you don’t have spikes and falls of energy. You stay satisfied much longer, no need to re-fuel every few hours. Beyond that there are many studies that attest to the healing aspects of a ketogenic diet.

Used for over 100 years in clinical settings to treat neurological disorders, a ketogenic diet is very powerful. It also has many faces. Folks keto in many different ways. While the medical ketogenic diet needs to be very high in fat (brain fuel) and very low in carbs (sometimes in efforts to stave tumors!)….. the more casual keto diet is being used my many people to find a healthy body weight, experience better energy, mental clarity and athletic performance.

 low carb power bowl


The Macros

Some people put a strong emphasis on hitting macronutrient goals to get into ketosis or stay there. The traditional keto macronutrient ratios are:

75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs

However, I usually do something like

70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs

I like THIS App. 

I track total carbs, not net carbs (carbs – fiber). I also don’t partake in too many keto bread, treats etc… I feel if your carbs are from vegetables, it’s not imperative to restrict them as much. But that’s just me.

Being in ketosis isn’t only about not eating carbs. Many people enjoy a ketogenic state, despite their diet. They practice fasting or do a ton of cardio every day. Once you’re out of glycogen, your body will go into ketosis. There are many ways to get there.

Bonus on a dairy free keto, and usually a more whole food keto… you know, broccoli isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis.

Set your protein goal (.5-1 g per lb of body weight), set your carb limit (30-50 g total/day), the rest of your calories come from fat, eat as much or as little as you need to feel food. That can range from 100 to 200 g a day depending on your needs! 

Fat Adapted


When you first lower your carbs and up your fat your body will go through a transition. It will have to learn to use fat as fuel before glycogen. This may take a few weeks or a few months.

Once you have trained your body to prefer fat as fuel, you’re fat adapted.

Being fat adapted is nice because your cravings will subside, you will have more energy and your meals will be very satisfying. Also, you have a little more wiggle room when it comes to what you eat, and it kicking you out of ketosis.


Again, ketosis is a metabolic state. Some people, like Cross Fitters, can eat 80-100 grams of carbs a day and be in ketosis because of their demanding physical activity. They have metabolic flexibility, going in and out of ketosis without skipping a beat.


Our bodies will always use a measure of glycogen, even making it out of protein if need be, so don’t go hating on glucose, it’s there for a reason. We just don’t need to overeat sugar and carbs all day every day like most of us do on a standard American diet (SAD).


Keto in 1, 2, 3….

  • Omit all starches + sugar from your diet to include grain, beans, tubers, sweeteners, most fruit, potatoes, oatmeal, sweet peas, pasta, etc.
  • Replace these foods with healthy fat and above ground vegetables, mostly green ones. Eat plenty of avocado, olives, coconut oil, rendered animal fats.
  • Make sure you’re getting in enough protein. .5-.8g per pound of your body weight. Strive to source quality proteins not to ingest inflammatory corn and hormones via your animal proteins.




Because you don’t retain water when you eat low carb, you need to make sure you hydrate and get in electrolytes.

  • Drink water with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lemon
  • Take an electrolyte supplement. I also like Iodine supplements.


If you have a lot of weight to lose and start dropping pounds fast you will need to help your body detox. We store a lot of crap in our body fat.

  • Milk thistle and/or calcium d-glucarate to support your liver


Having trouble digesting fats? This happens. After a lifetime of low fat, high fiber foods our bodies forget!


Make sure you drink enough water. Make sure you eat enough. Fat can be very satiating, but the fast road to hormone imbalance, hair loss and adrenal fatigue is not eating enough.


What do I eat on Dairy Free Keto

Quality animal proteins, eggs, bacon, coconut, green vegetables will be most of what you eat. No need to eat tons of cheese to get fat into your diet. Chicken thighs, ribeye steaks, pork shoulders all have plenty of protein. Add some good sauces to your plate, sauces made with anti-inflammatory fats like avocado oil mayo, coconut milk curry and Sunshine sauce and you will be cruising on your keto lifestyle.


Best Fast: Coconut oil, avocado oil, Nutivas Butter Flavored Coconut Oil (so good), Rendered Animal Fats, Olive oil.

Super Foods: Broccoli, Cauliflower (hello Cauli-rice), Spinach, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Coconut, Asparagus, Bok Choy, Saukraut, Arugula

Easy Proteins: Eggs, Bonesless Skinless chicken thighs, ground beef, ground pork, salmon, fatty steaks


nut free paleo pancakes 

Beyond Plants and Animals


Because keto with a paleo twist (an emphasis on whole, ingredient foods) is amazing and all. But sometimes we just want the damn dairy free keto cookie.


I like using coconut flour and flax seed meal for baking. Fine ground almond flour is effective, but easy to over consume. Nuts consumed in large amounts can be inflammatory. Proceed with caution.


Dark chocolate is my BFF. I stick to 80% dark or higher. You can also get stevia-sweetened dark chocolate.


Creating meals that stratify cravings is fine, it’s a need, it’s what I do for a living. This is meant to be a lifestyle change. It’s forever. So you bet your ass we’re going to eat delicious foods. It’s all about getting creative with cooking. Some of my most popular recipes are:


flourless avocado brownie

Keto and ______


AIP? Nut Free? Whole30? Etc, etc, etc.

It can be done. You can eat however you want. It’s your body. You figure out what works best for you.

My book, MADE WHOLE is dairy, nut, and nightshade free with 100+ AIP options. It also contains over 70 pages of health, nutritional and lifestyle information. Check it out HERE. 


What do I put in my coffee? I’m partial to my Dairy Free Coffee Creamer. Some folks like Nutpods. Coconut Milk. Collagen. Cinnamon. Drink it black.

Favorite Pizza Recipe? My Crispy Chicken Meatza  or this cauliflower crust from Perfect Keto (but also by me lol).

Do I use sweeteners? Which ones? Yes. On occasion, I use Stevia Glycerite. Swerve or Lakanto. I recently started using Lakanto. I prefer it over Swerve, by a lot! However, I try to use no sweetener or use Stevia first (to keep things paleo). Lakanto and Swerve are both made with erythritol that is sugar alcohols from fermented corn.



Keto vs Paleo vs AIP


My Healing Story 




Costco Shopping List

blueberry cake
These dairy free treats are delish! Save 20% with code CASTAWAY!

Dairy Free Keto Cookbooks: 

 Made Whole Cookbook  (keto + paleo with lots of AIP modifications) 

Easy Dairy Free Ketogenic Recipes (dairy free, some soy and a liberal use of sugar alcohols)

30 Day Ketogenic Cleanse (lots of meal plans and resources)


quick start guide to dairy free keto

My Whole30 Costo Haul with Printable Shopping List

Living in Hawaii, as a military family, we’re always on a budget. Cost of living here is pretty outrageous. Rivaling cities like New York and San Francisco in rental prices, gas and food.  Doing your Whole30 Costco shopping for bulk items that will last long, or fresh items I can prep and freeze go a long way.

This list includes ALL of the things I buy at Costco although I don’t always buy them if that makes sense. These are the Whole30 compliant products that I like. Usually when I go I like to keep my budget around $300, and buy pantry things that will last 2-3 months and fresh/frozen things for 2 weeks to 1 month. That way there is still enough budget left for weekly grocery trips. However your budget, your strategy might be different! 

Making Whole30 Costco Budget Last 

Things you won’t find on the list… RX Bars, Beef Jerky or other really pricey items that may or may not be compliant. Also… buying a GIANT box of one or two flavors of the same snack… well, my family gets bored and it’s a struggle to even finish it. When trying to save money when eating healthy, keeping it simple and sticking to INGREDIENTS is what will get you there. Alrighty, you are ready to rock your Whole30 Costco Haul! 

Costco is a great budgeting tool when you stick to the basics! Check out my lists below in printable and pinnable format!



Other Whole30 Resources!

What I learned from my first Whole30

It’s Not Always a Straight Line: My AIP Journey



What is the AIP? A complete guide to the autoimmune protocol


What is the Autoimmune Protocol?

Autoimmune protocol, autoimmune paleo or AIP for short is an elimination diet designed to heal leaky gut and reduce inflammation with the purpose of reversing symptoms caused by autoimmune disease. It is also used so that one can find out which foods are the aggravating their symptoms, causing inflammation and essentially making their autoimmune disease worse.


What is an Autoimmune Disease?

Essentially an autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. Yup, your body is attacking itself. For people with Hashimoto’s it’s the thyroid, multiple sclerosis the nerves, arthritis the joints and so on.

There are more than eighty autoimmune diseases, they are notoriously difficult to diagnose, and many people with autoimmunity live with their diseases for decades without getting much help from their doctors. This is why the AIP community is so prolific. Vast, growing, and very active. People in forums, blogs and communities helping each other navigate this world of healing through diet a lifestyle changes. 



How Does The AIP Help?

The autoimmune protocol eliminates specific foods based on their levels of antinutrients and gut permeability. The list of food to exclude seems extensive, but remember, you need to eliminate any and all possible triggers foods. All the foods on the list have the potential to irritate the digestive system, damage the gut, and, when leaky gut is present, even seep through the intestinal wall and trigger inflammation.


Now, let’s not VILIFY any foods. The foods OMITTED are POSSIBLE irritants. We will discuss the details later on. These foods are not bad or good, it’s just science. Pretty much everything we eat has the potential to harm up and heal us. Some more than others. This elimination diet is meant as a baseline, a template for you to work with to find out what works for you.

How can you live symptom-free, pain-free, inflammation-free? Find that sweet spot! Then you can start testing food to add back into your diet.

That’s right, elimination diets aren’t meant to last forever. Even the autoimmune protocol…  It’s a TOOL, to learn your trigger foods so you an avoid them, and go on living your life. The more variety of foods in your diet the better!

How to Start The AIP

First, choose your approach. Some folks rip the band aid off. They go head first, cold turkey. Some folks need to ease into it. I took me several months to do it. I did a Whole30 first. Then I stuck to a paleo template. Eventually, I committed. I got rid of all non-compliant foods. Meal prepped. Bought all the meat and veggies, bone broth etc.

Whichever method you decide… it’s okay. We’re all different. Having information is your greatest tool for success. You will need to prepare all of your meals. Freezer, AIP, meal prep are your new BFF’s. This company sells and delivers frozen AIP meals, and they are good too!

Digital Resources:










Hard Cover Books:

Autoimmune Paleo

The Healing Kitchen

The Paleo Approach

Made Whole 


Foods to omit on the AIP:

Coffee (I know, it’s brutal)


All grains

All legumes (even green beans)

All nuts

All seeds

Seed and Berry based spices (e.g., cumin, peppercorns)


All dairy (even ghee and butter)

All nightshades (peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes—sweet potatoes are fine)

Processed sugars (honey and maple syrup are fine)

Artificial sweeteners (even stevia)

Processed foods (check labels for preservatives and emulsifiers)


Foods accepted on the AIP:

All animal proteins

All vegetables and fruits (except nightshades—see the “omit” list)

Coconut and coconut products (e.g., coconut milk, coconut flour)



Rendered animal fats


Olive oil




AIP food list


The first medical study on it was conducted last year with patients who had inflammatory bowel disease, and 73 percent saw improvement or remission! Here’s what the researchers said: “Clinical remission was achieved by week 6 by 11/15 (73%) of study participants, and all 11 maintained clinical remission during the maintenance phase of the study. [This] rivals … most drug therapies for IBD.”[1]

I understand that seems impossible, it can be stressful, which is why I am a big proponent of choosing your own start method. My biggest piece of advice is to give yourself time. You won’t see results in a few days or even a few weeks. It takes time to reverse leaky gut!

You have to be patient.

You need to keep a detailed food journal. What you ate, when, how you felt. Also, journal any and all symptoms. It’s the only way to map out the correlations and be sure of the foods that could cause issues.

What to Look For?

Short of an autoimmune flare, you know, your autoimmune disease rearing its ugly head… there are some subtle signs a food isn’t jiving…

A headache, runny nose, fatigue, digestive distress, itchy skin, bloating, gas, burping, hives.

Please note… if you’re already sick with a cold, and you have a runny nose, it’s the cold, not the food. If you are super stressed or overworked… the fatigue is probably that, not the food. Don’t go crazy blaming EVERYTHING on food. You have to be honest with yourself about lifestyle factors.

When To Begin Re-Introductions

The rule of thumb is when your flare free more often than not. Do you feel better? Are you in remission or almost there? It’s really a personal choice.Be honest with yourself. Here is a good resource to help you… 



What are Anti-Nutrients?

Lectins, solanine, saponin: Found in beans, nuts, wheat, and most vegetables with skin and seeds, these antinutrients survive digestion and can penetrate the gut lining.

Gluten: The most difficult-to-digest protein, extremely irritating to the gut.

Tannins: Enzyme inhibitors that prevent the proper digestion of protein.

Oxalates: Found in coffee, sesame seeds, beans, these can interfere with nutrient absorption.

Phytic acid: Found in grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and coconut, this can interfere with the absorption of minerals and inhibits the digestive enzymes that break down starch and proteins.

Antinutrients are found in all plants; however, many foods, like those allowed on the autoimmune protocol, contain lower levels, and the benefits greatly outweigh any possible, harmful effects, after all, we have to eat something! 

The good news is that there are many ways to further reduce the anti-nutrient content of foods so even though you may not be able to enjoy nuts or seeds now, perhaps after healing leaky gut you can enjoy them sprouted! Look at how our ancestors prepared foods, sprouting, fermenting, soaking; preparation methods which makes foods much easier to digest!

Other foods like eggs and dairy are omitted because these foods easily permeate the gut lining and hitch a ride on the bloodstream causing all sorts of havoc! 


Troubleshooting During the AIP

Are autoimmune protocol compliant foods making your flare? Have you given it at least 3 months and still not seeing results? Here are some other factors to consider….

Insulin Resistance: When your cells no longer respond to the insulin secreted by your pancreas. This can also tax the liver. I think keto is a great tool to improve insulin sensitivity. I have an AIP + Keto Reset HERE.  Or my Keto-Paleo cookbook with over 110 AIP recipes HERE. 

SIBO: Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. You need to starve the bad bacteria in your gut. Take a probiotic. Avoid starchy foods, fruit, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and leeks (as well as other AIP non-compliant foods).  More info HERE. 

Low Fodmap: Some folks need to avoid foods high in Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Implementing a Low Fodmap would mean to avoid all onion and garlic, most fruit, cauliflower, cassava, celery, taro, juices, fermented foods! More Info HERE. 

Candida: If you’re suffering from thrush or a yeast overgrowth you need to avoid sugars and foods with naturally occurring yeast. On top of the AIP, avoid fruits, sweeteners, berries, pork and tuna. Be wary of vinegar, kombucha, and other fermented foods. 

You may talk to your healthcare practitioner or research and deduce that you may have one of these or many of these issues going on, along with your autoimmunity. Combining the appropriate protocols, the autoimmune protocol ++ is what I like to call it, can be tough as hell, but also very useful. Remember… it’s not meant to last forever! 

Closing Thoughts

Elimination diets, healing diets and protocols are my jam. I have done several and constantly experiment with them as my body heals. I have also been at this for 3 years and while I have seen great improvement I am not done. I still can’t eat a lot of things… and I am okay with that. Remember to also work on the emotional side of healing. Do not resent your body, hate it or be angry with it. You need to practice self-love, grace and appreciation for the knowledge and tools at your disposal as you go forward to heal yourself. 

Related Posts:


My Healing Story: AIP and Keto and Self Love

Keto vs. Paleo

Living La Vida AIP 

How I Healed my Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Healing Is Not Linear

TLC Challenge 



[1] G. Konijeti et al., “Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 23, no. 11 (November 2017): 2054–2060.

Made Whole Cookbook (Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Nut Free)


I am honored, thrilled and absolutely blessed to present to you

Made Whole: More than 145 Anti-Inflammatory Keto Paleo Recipes to Nourish You from the Inside Out 

Get Your Copy Now

dairy free keto cookbook

How This Book IS Different

Made Whole is a collection of recipes that are seriously intent on benefiting you. I take the guesswork out of creating meals that will nourish you, heal you, help you and that taste freaking amazing.

Not only are ALL of the recipes dairy free (when butter or ghee are used it is ALWAYS OPTIONAL), the whole book is free of nuts, nightshades, grains, gluten, sugar or alcohol. However, ALL of the recipes are full of flavor. They are inventive and inspiring. They use EASY TO SOURCE INGREDIENTS.

The book does not require any supplement or specialty ingredients past collage/gelatin. I include ONE MASTER SHOPPING LIST. That’s right, you can cook from ANY page in the book with this one master list, on page 50.

I did this because I am a mom, I am on a budget, I am like you. Even writing this book those factors were at play. It made it easy to buy the same thing week and after week (changing out my proteins) to create new recipes for the book.

I have gotten in the best shape of my life writing this book. Healthier than ever. Inflammation down. The 6 months it took me to write this (record time, I know), were so damn transformative for me. Inside and out!  That passion is woven into these pages! I want this for you.

Ingredients in this book are very carefully chosen. Each recipe crafted to fill a need. To nourish your body, mind, and soul.

Order Now!

Editorial Reviews for Made Whole Cookbook

“One of my biggest gripes with the keto lifestyle is that people can still eat crap and technically be in ketosis. Eating trash and having high ketone levels is not healthy. Cristina does an amazing job at making a keto diet nourishing by using clean, anti-inflammatory ingredients that promote health and ketosis.”

– Anthony Gustin DC, MS, CSCS Founder Perfect Keto, Equip Foods

“Made Whole is a must-have for anyone that has ever struggled to find their way in the keto, paleo world. Whether your goal is healing from the inside out, or weight loss, this book has you covered. With delicious recipes, and comprehensive resources, this book is a one-stop-shop. Cristina is a forward thinker, a master tinkerer, and a flavor profile genius. This book is an absolute masterpiece! I am so proud to call her a friend and a peer.”

-Kyndra Holley, International Best-selling Cookbook Author and Founder of Peace, Love and Low Carb

“Cristina has turned “food-as-medicine” into a delicious lifestyle that adapts to your body and your family’s needs. As a functional medicine practitioner who prescribes elimination diets with an emphasis on a paleo approach to keto, I am often limited in the resources available to encompass my whole foods approach. This book takes you on a journey of clean eating and gut restoration focusing on removal of AIP ingredients while ensuring an abundance of therapeutic nutrients and antioxidants. Careful attention is put into each dish, preventing roadblocks with chefs notes and substitutions allowing you to tailor it to fit your body’s needs potentially adjusting ingredients as your body becomes more resilient. Each recipe takes an innovative approach to combine clean ingredients to nourish your body and heal from the inside out from Hard Cheese with cauliflower gelatin base to Roasted Beet Marinara my mind is buzzing with the healing potential and my belly says ooooo yes!”

– Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE, functional medicine dietitian of Naturally Nourished and author of The Anti-Anxiety Diet

“For anyone looking to heal their body, Made Whole is the perfect place to start. We go years of our lives without thinking about the foods we are putting into our bodies and how they impact us, but with Made Whole you learn that real, whole food can be delicious, rich in nutrients and restorative all at the same time. Cristina makes a healthy lifestyle approachable for everyone, which is why this a staple book in our household. She reminds us that most of our symptoms and lifestyle choices all tie back to the foods we eat, and her dedication to others and passion for cooking come through in each page. The best part about this book is that it feels like it was written for us and when you hold it in your hands you will understand the feeling. From the section where she shares “secrets” from her mother’s kitchen to all the detail and thought put into each recipe, you’ll feel like Cristina is right there in the kitchen cooking alongside with you!”

– Megha Barot + Matt Gaedke, Authors of Keto Made Easy and Founders of Keto Connect

“I love Cristina’s passion in the kitchen and her dedication to her health and delicious food.”

– Teri Turner, Founder of NoCrumbsLeft

“Anybody who’s interacted with Cristina has felt the authenticity and unapologetic optimism she radiates…. This relentlessly vivacious spirit has become Cristina’s calling card- and is the common thread that runs throughout this book, her greatest creation yet. Made Whole is an absolute knockout.  Just like it’s author, it’s approachable, easy to relate to and prioritizes what matters most: making damn good food that’s good for you…. It’s like a Primal Swiss Army Knife.”

– Mark Sisson, Bestselling author of author of The Keto Reset Diet & The Primal Blueprint

The Recipes

They range from one skillet, sheet pan, slow cooker, instant pot easy …. to some multi-step creations. Simple enough for novice chefs, but daring and creative enough to keep the seasoned cook entertained!  So much more than just a dairy-free keto cookbook… these recipes are curated for optimal nutrition and maximum enjoyment!

dairy free keto cookbook

I have a hefty Staples chapter, building blocks for the recipes… cauliflower alfredo, cheese sauce, pistou, coconut yogurt!

Small + Snacks for appetizers, parties, quick bites. Ranging from Deli Skewer with Green Goddess Dressing,  Ceviche, Smooth Chia Pudding, Protein Porridge and Croquetas de Jamon. This versatile chapter has recipes to meal prep for post work out nutrition or light meals to keep on hand.

Soups + Salads section has some amazing creations! From the ever-popular Feel Good Soup to A Chicken and Dumpling Soup! Salads range from fancy Curried Crab Cakes to Castaway Chicken Salad, which let me tell you, is the best damn chicken salad you will ever eat. Thai Coconut Soup, Creamy Broccoli Soup… Asian Slaw to Taco Salad!

The mains are divided up between Eggs, Beef + Lamb, Poultry, Pork, Fish and Seafood. The majority of the recipes are in the Poultry and Beef categories as these are the most popular! I only included one organ meat recipe, lol, I know. It’s not Pate!

These main dishes have range. Persian Fritatta, Eggs Benny, Shredded Jerk Chicken, Orange Chicken Skewers, Arroz Con Pollo. Slow Cooker Shwarma, Suya Stir Fry, Multinational Beef Stew to Steak Pinwheels! Lazy Loco Moco, The perfect Pan Seared Cod to a Salmon and Noodle Casserole. Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Green Beans. Crispy Kalua Pork with Crunchy Asian Salad and Shrimp and Grits… to name a few… SERIOUSLY VERSATILE.

Sides + Beverages are full of fun options. For one a legit, squeaky clean Nut Free Keto Bread, Savory Flax Waffles, Street Taco Tortillas (made of cauliflower!), Spiced Broccolini with a Cool Cilantro Sauce…  Butter Coffee, Coconut Matcha Latte and Korean Cinnamon Tea!

MOST of the recipes have variations for coconut free, AIP, egg free where possible etc.

Prep Time, Cook Time, Left Over Storage Info. I also have Time Saving Tips, Chef’s Notes and more throughout the book.

Macros are included for every recipe. There are 4 meal plans with shopping lists!

This is a dream come true and I have been planning this for a long time people! Order HERE. 

dairy free keto cookbook

The Resources

Much more than just recipes. I share my own trials and tribulations with the positive, encouragement you have come to know from me. Talk about the emotional side of healing and weight loss. I get science-y. Oh yeah.

I explain what AIP is. What Paleo is. What Keto is. I explain the how and why of my journey. I talk about insulin resistance, gut health, liver function, and hormones.

I break down the nuts and bolts of a balanced keto diet and my recommendations for finding out how to make keto work for you. I keep it real, I keep it simple, I crack a few jokes along the way.

After you get all loaded up on knowledge, I give you all of my kitchen secrets. I talk serious kitchen intuition, the right tools, shopping, sourcing, I include not only what ingredients- but where to find them! Safeway/ Kroger, Costco, Whole Foods, Amazon…

There are FOUR meals plans. Each meal plan is 2 weeks long! We’ve got an AIP meal plan. We’ve got Kid-Friendly Meal Plan (you’re welcome mom’s), Meal Prep Meal Plan aaaandddd a Keto Reset Meal Plan (no treats, no baked foods etc).

You guys… I did this ALL FOR YOU! Now here is some food porn to really seal the deal! 

Order Now! 

Sneak Peak Inside This Dairy Free Keto CookbookDAIRY FREE KETO COOKBOOK

dairy free keto cookbookDAIRY FREE KETO COOKBOOK


dairy free keto

dairy free keto




Thank you all for your support, for being a part of this community. I hope to continue to grow, learn and heal together for years to come!!!! xxoo, Cristina 

Amazon Reviews

made whole review made whole cookbook gluten free cookbook dairy free low carb



My Healing Story: AIP and Keto and Self Love

keto transformation

How I Ended Up with Leaky Gut and Autoimmunity

Where do I begin? How long should this be? I often share fragments of my story and am yet to put it all together like this. Two reasons for that, it’s multi-faceted, it’s not linear and there are a bunch of tangents, two, do you really care? To read it all, to know from the beginning… here it is… I would like to mention that my life has not been this epic sob story although this story does highlight my hardships. Isn’t that life though, real life, the light, and the dark? I want to share my story, to tell you how AIP and Keto and self-love changed my life forever in hopes that it might inspire you, motivate or teach you.


I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. Even as a baby I was bigger than my older sister and ate more than her too. Of course, as a kid, you don’t know you’re fat or that it’s not accepted by society until someone makes it clear to you. I can’t recall that exact moment, but I know it happened at some point. I remember as early as the third grade coming home in tears from school.


Even before then my otherwise happy childhood was marked by bouts of illness. Hospitalized with pneumonia at 8 months old. Chronic bronchitis, reoccurring strep throat. I remember the inhalers and antibiotics. I remember the fevers that would burn me up in cold sweats. I was sick a lot. I remember taking Dimetap and it tasted like grape Jolly Ranchers. The mineral oil spoonfuls and rectal suppositories for severe constipation.


We didn’t know back then, no one looked at health this way, but even as a child from ear, nose, and throat to my bottom, from one end to the other my health issues screamed of leaky gut. I could have been the combination of C-section birth, soy formula and a full course of vaccines. It could have been the anti-biotics and my family’s predisposition to autoimmunity. I could be the inherited stress from my grandmother and mother who lived and fled a communist country. Whatever the reason, of all the kids in my family- I was hit the hardest.


Fast forward to being a teenager with full-blown self-esteem issues, body dysmorphia and a sadness I could not explain. Desperate for people to like me, I would take the shirt off my back for anyone. Although most would remember me as upbeat, high energy and happy, I always felt a disconnect, I felt like an outsider, unwanted and unsure. I know now this was all in my head. I was living my whole life with this filter on and it was the source of so much strife.


My go-to source of self-harm or self-medication was food. I would sneak leftovers and snacks. I would open the fridge and gobble up food before anyone could catch me. I would eat my plate and then my sister’s leftovers. I was put on every diet ever. I cried and my mom wanted to help me so she did it the only way she knew how. As an avid dieter- yo-yo-er herself we would do these diets together.


I will say my mom’s culinary skills and her love of real food were a bonus, at least our diets didn’t consist of shakes or frozen meals. Although, there was that one week on the South Beach Diet where all we ate was chicken and lettuce.


This pattern of ultra-restriction (with rapid weight loss) and then falling off the wagon in some epic way is surely what has fucked up my metabolism and hormones.


Add into this 10 years binge drinking, cigarettes, and some casual drug use. Oh boy! I wish I could go back and tell my 16 or 18, shit even 23-year-old self to SSSSTTTAAAPPPP IT.That girl was in so much pain. Emotional and physical. Navigating social gatherings, beach days, boat parties, flirting, intimacy, sex with low self-esteem, body issues, and my hidradenitis suppurativa was nerve-wracking.

Ashamed of my body fat, my scars, trying to hide the hideous painful boils of my autoimmune disease, being intimate, or showing certain parts of my body was a super scary thought. One which I numbed with substance abuse. I never even spoke to anyone but my mother, sister and a few doctors about my skin condition until I got married and even then, I would hide a lot of my pain and my scars. I was like a duck. Seemingly cruising on the pond while frantically kicking beneath the surface.


The Turning Point

Pregnancy, having a baby, motherhood have a way of putting things into perspective. I stopped giving a F about hiding my HS around my husband, especially because it got worse. Much worse. I am not sure if it was the sleepless nights, the hormone and emotional roller coaster, the stress of motherhood. but my health took a downward spiral while my body fat just kept climbing. When we moved to Hawaii and I finally weaned my son after nursing for two years, I was at an all-time low.


Swollen, depressed, feeling achy, tired and worn out at 29 years old I took to the internet for answers and found an article by Tara Grant on Robb Wolf’s website. She has my same skin condition. She put it into remission through diet. She talked a lot about nightshades. I bought her book, The Hidden Plague. 


Finding out this disease was autoimmune, that it wasn’t my fault, that I COULD do something about it was the most empowering moment of my life. However, the journey has not been linear, it has been like climbing up a steep mountain with a windy road. Hidradentitis Suppurativa is a mystery, and it is notoriously hard to put in remission and keep in remission! So many factors at play.

Add to that giant goal the need to lose weight, get fit and healthy and I had a big job to do!

So how did I go about this seemingly impossible task?

I began by educating myself as best as I could. I researched nightshades. I brushed up on my knowledge of paleo. This lead me right to the AIP (autoimmune protocol) door. I won’t lie, it scared the shit out of me. It seemed absolutely impossible. All spices, eggs, coffee, and nuts… how in the hell?? Remember back then, although I was gluten free and mostly dairy free I was still eating grains and potato and alllll the tomatoes and peppers!


However, I was curious, I knew in my gut that it was what I needed to do. As my 30th birthday neared I decided to start with a Whole30. It seemed more do-able. I consciously reduced my nightshade intake and did the 30 days. It was amazing. I lost 13 pounds with that first Whole30 and felt so much better, my depression began to lift. So I stuck it out with paleo throughout the summer and finally, that fall I committed to doing the AIP.

Serious About Healing  

Yes, it took me nearly three months to muster up the grit to get through my first AIP. It was finally clear to me, that even though I was eating paleo, with all the paleo treats, the occasional wine, and nightshades, my skin was not improving at all. It was time to get serious about my health.


The AIP is quite the endeavor. An elimination diet that excludes all grains, dairy, gluten, beans, seeds, nuts, eggs, processed foods, and nightshades. I began the AIP as outlined in Tara Grant’s book which keeps coffee and cashews in as long as you see progress. I saw some progress, but eventually, I gave up coffee and cashews too. I saw more progress. I kept a very detailed journal.      Time, date: What I ate. How I felt immediately after and any notes following 24 hours of that meal. I logged in symptoms, sleep, stress.


I’m glad I kept the journal. It would have been difficult to quantify my progress. As I was still suffering from some fatigue and my hidradenitis wasn’t completely in remission I had moments of doubt, frustration. I cried a lot. But when I looked at the bigger picture I realized that my flares were farther apart and they were shorter. Lasting only 1-3 days, as opposed to weeks or months.


I added in one food back in at a time, coffee, eggs, wine, then nuts and seeds. Eventually, I added ghee too. I never tried to add in gluten or nightshades as even touching these foods caused my hands to itch, and I have since had a full-blown reaction when accidentally eating these foods.


Over the course of those first 6 months, I lost 35 pounds. I began to workout. I began to love to workout. Zumba, HIIT, weightlifting, spinning. I was on a roll. Then something happened…


I hit a wall. Progress came to a screeching halt. I stopped losing weight, I even began to gain some back. I was tired all the time again. I was bloated and I felt off. I had monster cravings and even though I had completed various Whole30’s (each time learning something new about my habits)  I wasn’t seeing the progress I wanted in my energy, health or body.


The Low Carb Life

Through research, I deduced I was having symptoms of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), when you have too much bad bacteria in your small intestine, which feeds off of starches and sugar. So I began to cut those out.


Naturally, I looked into lower carb paleo and found Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint. It made so much sense and seemed to be just what I needed. So I stuck to squash over sweet potato and berries over banana. I kept researching and troubleshooting. I read Robb Wolf’s Wired to Eat and did the 7 Day Carb Test as outlined in this book.


I gave up alcohol altogether. I wasn’t doing me any favors and I finally had to be honest with myself about that one. I had gotten comfortable with my eating habits, hoping I was one of those lucky people who healed in a few months. I wasn’t. I finally admitted to myself that I still had healing to do. I embraced the fact that I abused my body for years and this damage would not be undone in just a few months or even a year. I let that sink in. 2016 was a year of learning and reflection. It was also the year my HS finally went into remission.


Once I let go of the notion that I would one day be able to eat whatever I wanted without reckless abandon and focused on the positive changes in my life and my health things changed!


I focused more on self-love, on acceptance. Then making changes to my diet, to tweak as needed to feel my best didn’t seem like this great trauma or sacrifice. The changes I was making registered as my new lifestyle, as gifts to myself, as a celebration of delicious nourishing foods and healing my body.

sugar free pickled beets

When I began Keto…


From the 7 Day Carb Test, I learned that I was, in fact, insulin resistant. Which is when your cells stop reacting to the insulin secreted by the pancreas. It just keeps secreting insulin into your bloodstream, but the gylcogen isn’t being used for energy so it is stored as fat. In my case, I suspected the reason for the visceral fat on my body. Going down that research rabbit hole brought to light so many other things I had to work on. An overworked liver. Estrogen dominance. It was all connected. So, I took it one step at a time. I had my hormone levels tested in January of 2017, my estrogen was off the charts. My integrative medicine doctor confirmed my insulin resistance and estrogen dominance suspicions and we discussed going from paleo to a more keto approach. He was into it. He gave me The Epi-Paleo RX by Dr. Jack Kruse (a super interesting but intense read).


what are ketones. Ketosis and the ketogenic diet.


I went head first into keto-paleo without nightshades. I added grass fed butter back into my diet because honestly, I couldn’t afford to keep buying ghee and at the rate I was using it, making it was also cumbersome.


All went well. All of my symptoms began to subside. After a few weeks of the infamous keto flu (aka I thought I was dying), I was in ketosis. I had energy. My joints no longer ached druing my luteal phase. My skin never looked better. My hangry-ness went away. I could go hours without snacking or eating and sweet baby Jesus! The scale began to move again! I was hooked. The stable energy, the delicious food, the bulletproof coffee! Gimme!


After a few months of rapid progress, I hit that wall again. Not just on the scale but in feeling better… but at this point, I knew the culprit. I had gone almond butter happy… yup…my old food abuser ways had crept into my keto diet. Too many treats, not enough real food. Way to many nut-based foods and sweeteners. I digress, it is hard to change your eating habits. Especially in my life of work which includes looking at food all day. Knowing what everyone and their mothers is eating. It’s hard not to compare. Yes, maybe some folks were seeing great results eating fat bombs and keto cookies all day- that wasn’t me. So I did my first Whole30 + Keto. Absolutely not condoned by the program, but it’s my body, my rules yo and it was awesome.


After that, I went back to the basics. Back to my AIP roots. I omitted nuts from my diet and reduced sweeteners too. I dabbled in Stevia and Monk Fruit. Both are okay, erythritol hands down performs better though.


I became really committed to this whole food keto approach. I tried different macros. I tracked on and off. I still do. I made sure to eat quality proteins. Himalayan salt in my water for sodium and trace minerals which help with hydration.


I focused on a balance of above ground vegetables, healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil or MCT oil for my meals, less seed based fat bombs. More complete meals. More color. I played around with more or less protein and my workouts. I found a happy middle ground between AIP and Keto.


If you follow my Instagram you see how I eat. There is an ebb and flow. Some days a way higher in calories and fat while others are more protein heavy. Sometimes I eat root vegetables like beets or carrots, but mostly avoid starches. I like the sweet treat as much as the next person but have finally broken my addiction to them. So while I still use stevia or erythritol it is in moderation and that works for me.



At this very moment, I am doing an AIP KETO RESET (learn more HERE). A short term reset that combines AIP and Keto. I’m a sucker for self-experimentation and it is also my job to help other people. I firmly believe this powerful combination can do just that.  All the autoimmune protocol restrictions on a keto template, so sans sugar or carbs and honestly I feel the best I have in months! I’m excited to see what the reintroduction phase will bring!


Here are some guidelines to a Whole Foods Approach To Keto for Optimizing Weight loss, Reduction in Inflammation and overall Vitality!


  • Stick to ingredient meals: avocado or bacon, protein, greens and add sauces, fermented vegetables, and herbs to jazz things up. My favorite condiments are chimichurri, mayo, pickled veggies.
  • Learn to drink unsweetened coffee or tea in the morning. It’s all about getting used to it. By omitting this one source of sweetener in your every day you set the stage and train your taste buds to not expect or need that sweet flavor. I hate sweetened coffee now! It’s crazy. The trick about unsweetened coffee is that it has to be good coffee. I like a light roast. Use a French press to make it. Blend with coconut oil or MCT powder, a little coconut cream and gelatin, add cinnamon too! Yum!
  • Go to bed early! I don’t care how clean your diet is, if you don’t sleep you will feel like shit regardless. Also, when you’re sleepy your hunger signals are all out of whack.
  • Don’t focus so much on the scale. The scale can’t measure your muscle mass, your BMI or yourself worth yo. Take before and after pictures, keep a journal of your non-scale victories!
  • If you have an autoimmune issue I suggest you start with the AIP KETO RESET or at least a dairy and nut free keto. Go from there. I also avoid nightshades because they make me react but that can be very inflammatory to a lot of people, from acne to joint pain. You might want to try eliminating those for a bit too! All of my recipes are nightshade free.
  • Do not compare yourself to others. Do not obsess over pee strips or macro numbers or what so and so said. How YOU FEEL will always be the most important indicator of your health. Look at your skin, your energy levels, your cycle and bowel movements. Pay attention to your body, it’s talking to you.
  • Meal Prep, Cook Once, Eat Twice. Stock up your kitchen. Set yourself up for success. Having delicious foods at the ready will be your ticket. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of eating lame, fast or cheap options. While those are okay in a pinch you can’t live off of pre-packaged foods, beef jerky, and pickles.
  • Don’t panic. There will be stalls. Healing crisis. Setbacks. Detox. Stress. Life. More forward. Stay the course. Re-examine as needed, tweak and carry on.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy products or supplements, all you need it good food. However, I do find that supplementing with magnesium glycinate helps me sleep and I take a daily probiotic.
  • If you have any questions feel free to comment below or email me castawaykitchen@gmail.com

AIP KETO RESET (shopping list and meal plan)


Say what? Keto without eggs… AIP without starches… can it be done?

Heck yes! But WHY?? Let me break it down for you!

A lot of us come to clean eating to lose weight, to heal leaky gut, to manage chronic illness… overall to feel your best. There are a lot of protocols, elimination diets and ways to explore this! Yeay for diversity!

Keto is becoming a widely used tool for controlling blood sugar and cravings, and yes, even reducing inflammation. The Autoimmune Protocol is the gold standard of elimination diets. Designed to heal leaky gut, reduce inflammation and bring to light any food triggers.

By combining keto and AIP you can find a baseline for feeling your best. If you’re already a keto veteran and seeking to sort out some lingering symptoms. If you’re an AIP veteran but feel like starches aren’t doing you any favors? This reset is for you.

Have you been wanting to do the AIP, but prefer a low carb lifestyle and can’t find recipes…. I get it.

We’re going to do this, we’re going to eat well. We’re going to rock this reset!

I did a traditional AIP elimination diet years ago, and I have now been keto without dairy, nuts or nightshades for a year. This reset is taking in the extra step to really give my body some TLC. Give my gut a break, and weed out any lingering underlying issues. I think it’s going to be great! AIP KETO is a powerful combination!

What Are Food Triggers?

Foods which trigger a response in your body. It could be a histamine response (a runny nose, itchy skin), an inflammatory response (painful or swollen joints, headache etc), an autoimmune response (any symptom of your autoimmune disease, fatigue, brain fog etc).

These foods go through your gut lining and with a ride in your bloodstream or lymphatic system. Cytokines alert your immune system and your body attacks healthy cells. This can cause a slew of unwanted symptoms.

The best way to find out what your food triggers are is to do an elimination diet. Those take-home blood tests are garbage and even the ones done by your doctors have really high false positive or false negative rates. I know, my test always come back negative for all food allergy and intolerances, yet it took me 10 days to recover from accidentally ingesting gluten in December.

Food intolerances and food allergies are different. The symptoms don’t happen right away all the time, it’s not anaphylactic. Symptoms can take 24-72 hours to manifest in some folks. This is why I highly suggest you keep a food journal during your reset.

What to Expect During Your Re-Set

The first few days are going to suck so hard. This will be sugar, carb and/or caffeine withdrawal. The coffee withdrawals are serious people. Do not underestimate this addiction. You might feel REALLY tired, have horrible headaches and want to die.

Drink a lot of water. Add a pinch of real salt (not table salt) to your water. Take a magnesium supplement before bed. Drink tea. I’m going with matcha or black tea to soothe my caffeine monster.

Take it easy at the gym, try not to ever extend yourself at work or with personal engagements. It will be a big adjustment.


When first doing an AIP, especially and keto-AIP there will be NOTHING you can eat on the fly, in the break room or at a Starbucks. You will need to prepare, meal prep, pack snacks. This is the key to your success. Whip out those thermoses and Tupperware because you will be packing your food and drinks EVERYWHERE YOU GO. It’s just 2-4 weeks. You can do this.

What You Will Eat

Animal proteins, including organ meat and bacon. Cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, berries, onions, garlic, herbs and healthy fats. Avocado, coconuts and some underground veggie in moderation. You will drink water and tea and bone broth.

No sweeteners, not coffee, no chocolate, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, green beans, peas or seed based spices. No nuts, no seeds. No dairy, grains, gluten. NO EGGS ( I know!), no processed foods. Check labels for dextrose, starches etc.

Coconut and cauliflower will be your BFF.  Love the bone broth. Find carob powder (health food store or Amazon).


You can do this. AIP Keto is totally do-able and we will rock it. 

To purchase the KETO RESET MEAL PLAN, only $10.00! Buy Now


NEED ANOTHER 2 WEEKS OF MEAL PLANS… Try this one too! $10, macros included! 


Recipes In The AIP Keto Reset  Meal Plan:

Bulletproof Tea/ Golden Milk

Pork Sausage with Avocado Mash

Superfood Breakfast Smoothie

Bacon Coconut Berry Crisp

Choco Chicken Thighs with Grilled Asparagus

Teriyaki Meatballs with Roasted Broccoli

Chicken Liver Pate with Crudite

Blueberry Turkey Burgers with Crispy Brussels

Taco Lettuce Cups

Broiled Salmon Salad

Vaca Frita with Cauliflower Rice

Shrimp Skewers with Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Shredded Chicken White Chili

Pork Meatballs with Alfredo Noodles

Homemade Kraut

Creamy Herb Sauce

The Shopping List

I’m sharing the shopping because this AIP KETO RESET IS FREE. You do not need the meal plans and I want you to succeed whether you choose to purchase them or now. However, I will be following the meal plans, just so you know!

I have not included amounts for this list because what you buy, and how many people you cook for and what you cook is totally up to you! This list is to guide you in the grocery store so you know what items are compliant with the reset. 


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