Why Diets Don’t Work: Common Weight Loss Myths

Why Diets Don’t Work: Weight Loss Myths

Lately, I’ve been really pissed off at diet culture! Especially because I feel like it’s beginning to seep into my happy little bubble or real food. Yes, it happens. Health and wellness gurus pushing plain ol’ guilt-ridden, heavy on the moral implications, antiquated beliefs dressed up as healthy and sustainable weight loss. Listen if you ate 1300 calories in Lean Cuisine’s you would lose weight, and feel like crap. If you eat 1300 calories in keto food a day you will lose weight, probably not feel awful but the minute you try to eat a normal amount of food, you’re going to gain it all back. Severe calorie restrictions don’t work for the long haul, no matter how you dress them up.

I know diet dogma when I see it. As a life long dieter and subscriber to the self hate it imposes, I say enough!

Relevant Post >> Growing Up Fat, How It Impacts How I See The Health and Wellness Space

 

DIET CULTURE

 

Let’s debunk some common lies the diet industry likes to tell you!

 

  • Your weight determines the status of your health.

Nope. Increased fat in the body is the issue. High triglyceride levels. Visceral fat. Increased inflammation. Height and weight tables are garbage. Lots of skinny people walking around with oxidative fat and inflammation under the food. Your body weight has little impact on your health. You don’t need to shrink away to make anyone happy. Get your lab work done. Strive to build muscle, lower triglycerides. Get strong, not skinny. You can lose body fat, gain muscle and never lose a pound on the scale.

KETO MUSCLES

  • If you eat less you will lose more fat.

Oh buuudddddddyyyy…. This one is still kicking. Listen, overeating is not good. Right, we know this. Overeating, which usually occurs when you’re eating garbage foods because you’re nutritionally starved so you never feel sated. Yes, that’s a thing. However, extreme caloric deficits result in loss of muscle mass. Muscle is your friend, muscle helps you burn more calories! Yes, more muscle, the more you can eat and maintain a healthy weight. Also, under eating causes fatigue, hunger, lowers your immune system, can mess up your thyroid which may slow down your metabolism. You can’t build muscle on a caloric deficit, but if you eat enough you can at least maintain muscle while you lose body fat.

Fun fact, recent study found that folks that did lose weight with a low carb diet increased their base metabolic rate, which means they were burning up to 250 more calories a day (BMR) than those who did the old low calorie diet.

 

  • Calories in calories out are all that matters.

NO! Food quality matters. The type of food you can eat can cause inflammation and even illness. Missing out on protein will result on muscle atrophy, and remember, less muscle, less calorie burning. Good fats keep you sated longer and can help you control blood sugar. Carbohydrates from whole foods like vegetables have important micronutrients and fiber which help your body eliminate environmental toxins it absorbs. Eating the right kinds of fat like Omega 3 fatty acids and Medium Chain Triglycerides will help you burn fat better! Also fats and protein from quality meat like grass fed cows is less oxidative and contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). Olive oil is another great fat that is full of powerful antioxidants!

Quick Start Guide to Dairy Free Keto

  • You don’t need that much protein in your diet

Lots of studies show that when you’re restricting your caloric intake, even slightly, you need more protein. This is especially so if you are active and you want to maintain your lean muscle mass. I recommend .8 to 1.2 grams of protein per Kg of body weight. I know on keto protein gets a bad rap and it’s ridiculous. Protein is not chocolate cake and gluconeogenesis is actually a good thing! In the absence of grains and high carbs protein does not spike insulin and has showed to improve glucagon function. Glucagon is the hormone which makes ketosis possible. This video from Dr. Benjamin Bikman explains is perfectly: https://youtu.be/z3fO5aTD6JU

PROTEIN KETO

 

  • Fat makes you fat

Well, if you’re here you know that’s not true! But let me give you the quick version:  When you eat high starch foods like refined flours, grains, sugars (the white foods) your blood sugar spikes and your body pumps out tons of insulin to quickly correct this. But insulin tends to over correct and your blood sugar spikes and then dips dramatically. This signals your brain that you’re hungry because you need more sugar in your blood. Your central nervous system is also telling your body to release glucagon to mobilize all energy stores, and this up and down blood sugar – insulin roller coaster is what leads people to become insulin resistant and eventually diabetic. Eventually, your cells become resistant to insulins message. You overconsume food, and your insulin is constantly shuttling glucose to the liver and the muscles and the fat tissue for storage. Protein and Fat don’t affect blood sugar or cause an insulin spike, fat is also slowest to digest and keeps you sated longer. Having a healthy balance of fat and protein with colorful, whole food vegetables (carbs) on your plate is important.

My Healing Story: AIP and Keto and Self Love

Growing Up Fat: How I Experience the Health and Wellness Space

*explicit language warning*

More and more I am becoming aware of how growing up fat has shaped who I am today and how I experience the world around me. I know, what a sad thought, that my life has been lived through this filter, that I would experience things differently had I not been overweight.

big baby

First, let me say that I didn’t always know I was fat, and I think before then, life was lived on the same plane as my siblings.

However, at some point in my childhood, it was made very clear to me that:

1- I was fat.

2- It’s not a good thing.

Now, let’s call that what it is, bullshit. Because a persons size isn’t good or bad, it just is and if said person is happy and thriving it’s none of our damn business what they eat or how they look.

cristina curp child

However, as a child, this was my reality. I was fat, fat wasn’t good, I was less than. This sensation of not being good enough was the theme of my life. I talked too much, I took up too much space, I wasn’t worthy of the real estate.

 

The details of how I became to believe these things is fuzzy. Could it have been TV, telling me that fat is bad? Could it have been a kid in school making fun of me? Could it have been an observation? Comparing my body to my sister’s and seeing the difference, noticing the small, subconscious behavior of those around us?

This is important for people to understand, yes, you are treated differently when you are fat. Not all the time, but often enough and it’s very apparent when it happens. It always leaves a little mark on you. Like an invisible scar.

 

Growing up fat,  as a kid, I wasn’t picked first to be on anyone’s team. I couldn’t borrow or share clothes with my sisters or girlfriends. I didn’t want to go shopping with them as it was hard to find my size in most of the stores they went to. Growing up fat meant not having a boyfriend in the 5th grade or a crush. It meant acting uninterested in the boys in my class because I knew they were not interested in me. It was being guarded because the rejection was imminent. Growing up fat meant limitation, can’t wear that, can’t do that, shouldn’t eat that.

It was being the friend and not the girlfriend. It was overhearing conversations about you and not identifying with the person being described. It was being heartbroken a million times. It was being left out. It was being publicly humiliated or even worse, being invisible.

How does someone who grew up hurting, someone who still holds on to those scars, how do we move forward? How do we heal? How do you begin to love a body the world has taught you to hate?

fit plus size

This is where shit gets weird, but stay with me… you don’t have to love your body to be happy. You don’t have to love all of your body to be happy. You can appreciate it, honor it, be thankful you are alive.

But the pressure to love yourself, that’s just it…MORE PRESSURE FROM AN OUTSIDE SOURCE. Keyword: OUTSIDE.

 

Every article about calorie deficits screams at you that you eat too much. Every picture of a very fit, and conventionally attractive woman telling you to love your body subliminally saying… but only if you look like me. Every study on obese people, and chart and doctor and well-meaning health guru saying that you’re wrong, a mistake, that you will die young because of your weight.

self love

What? Like I’ve never not been fat, so I’m this walking talking poster child for disease and death?!?!?! GTFOOOOOOO!!! Nope. All that crap, it’s all making you buy into diet dogma. It’s all part of that big money-making machine that keeps you buying books, and products and programs so you can “fix yourself.” Goal number one: get to a place where you feel confident enough to walk away, to tune it out, to say…. You’re not talking to me. Not today Satan, not today! So… how do we get there…?

 

How do I learn to love myself (even if that doesn’t include loving my figure)?

That is the kicker. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not a line you cross and never go back. It’s a muscle, you have to grow it, flex it, work it out. Sometimes you forget how and you need to re-learn.

self love

Hate is like a drug, you need to wean off and sometimes you will relapse. Self-hate likes to control you. It’s seductive. It lets you give up on yourself. It lets you listen to the messages you are constantly flooded with. It taps into your need to fit in, your need to be part of the tribe, your need to survive. That doubt, the knot in the back of your throat, it’s addicting. We love to torture ourselves with the what ifs, the one days the if only.

 

This is the thing, that space, the self-loathing, doubting, hypothetical space, it thrives off of your fear. It keeps you picking yourself apart because staying there is safer… safer than going out and living the life you want.

 

Dreaming but never going after it, that’s the safe space. Because if you don’t try, you don’t fail. But if you don’t fail you don’t learn and if you don’t learn you don’t evolve.

 

Listen, it’s not easy and it’s not painless and it sure as hell isn’t a straight line, cut and dry or even tangible… but LIVING YOUR LIFE with integrity, with self-love with self-worth…WE ALL DESERVE THAT. WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF IT.

 

So going back to your body body… because after all, we do live in these vessels right? I have a theory! Once you really flex those Zen muscles. You work on just being happier because hot damn, you are ALIVE today. Because you CHOSE to give ZERO FUCKS about social media, the Kardashian’s and whoever else makes you feel like you are not good enough. That is a choice.

weight loss

Start by clearing up your feed. I only follow people who make me feel good.

And if I have to unfollow that one account with the really cute girl who is always posting self-love messages from the gym with her perfect hair, and makeup and outfit and it’s all a little too glamour shots to be real and omg it triggers some shit… .…. then unfollow!!!!

Just because an account is a self-described #selflove #bodypositive guru or whatever, doesn’t mean that they SPEAK TO YOU. Find your people. Surround yourself with messages that give you the warm and fuzzies, that put some pep in your step.

 

Now… if once you get your ish in order. You’re feeling pretty good about life. You fully appreciate this body of yours even if you don’t love it. Like you’re cool, you’re on speaking terms. Great. You have compassion and all that. Now, and only now are you truly ready to take on the tremendous commitment to lifestyle changes that may result in body composition changes.

 

Note: LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT MAY RESULT IN BODY COMPOSITION CHANGES.

 

These words are chosen very carefully. Here’s why: DIETS DON’T WORK. Also, if you have been overweight since forever, or a really long time, you may diet and see results and then you will gain all the ish back and earn yourself some metabolic damage too. So!

self love

You buckle in for the long haul. Commit to starting by making healthy choices that work for you, that make you feel your best. Wanting to change the way you look isn’t a bad thing. You’re not a shitty person and you aren’t failing at self-love.

 

But you know what IS SHITTY? Constantly complaining or wishing or expecting something to change without actually changing anything! I tell people this all the time, NOTHING WILL CHANGE IF YOU DON’T CHANGE.

Y’all… clear as day: YOUR BEHAVIOR, your actions, YOUR CHOICES are everything.

 

So on that note: EPIGENETICS. Gene expression. With how we live, eat and think we are telling our genes how to express. While humans haven’t evolved in 10,000 years, we have turned on or off some switches. Moral of the story: we all have some rad DNA that wants to be healthy, that wants to thrive, we just have to act in a way that lets our genes express that optimally.

My Healing Story: AIP and Keto and Self Love

And here is where I go from woo-woo to actionable.

 

  • Treat yo self right. That includes eating right. And eating right means eating whole foods, unaltered ingredients, properly prepared. Eat enough to fuel your body. Move your body. Walk, stretch, yoga, cross fit, ride your bike, swim… move however you can. Fuel your body enough to balance hormones, to repair, to give you energy.
  • Don’t overeat. The message to not overeat is not a pass to under eat. It’s really not that complicated. But we need to kick binge eating habits. Make sure you get sufficient calories in your body. Eating whole foods will eventually get your hunger signals working properly again. Aim to eat satisfying meals so you can go 4-6 hours between them.
  • Quality matters. I’m sorry, no drive thru free pass here. I call it like it is. Crap food is crap food and you can make all the excuses you want for the reasons “YOU NEED TO EAT IT SOMETIMES” but that’s exactly what they are, excuses. Plus, this high calorie, low nutrient food messes with hunger signals. Leaves you nutritionally starving. No one, ever, needs McDonald’s. You will invest time in cooking and shopping. You will have to learn to cook. Facts. It doesn’t work without that, unless you can afford a private chef.

 

Feeling good about your choices, how you are living your life. Honoring your body by nourishing it can really heal a lot of the wounds of the past. I used to binge eat when I left like shit about being fat. Smart right? But that was it, food was my comfort, but it was also a form of self-harm. I spent so much time feeling ashamed of food, ashamed of what I hate, how much I hate. A vicious cycle of shame, guilt and punishment. So when I wanted to lose weight I would starve myself. I would do these crazy diets. Take pill, wraps, teas. People….I TRIED IT ALL.

 

What I learned about myself and learned about a lot of people in this community… Food is only the beginning.

So with this post, I hope to inspire you to look inward first. To come from a place of compassion with yourself. To mend some of those wounds of the past before you jump into weight loss goal-oriented lifestyle changes. No matter how I look somedays I still feel like a fat little girl. Inside, I often still hurt and doubt,  I work really hard to overcome that, and it’s an ongoing process. But along the way, with a healthy lifestyle, by having energy and balanced hormones that help stabilize my mood on a chemical level I am better equipped to deal with the emotional baggage that I carry.

I get it. I am you. I have felt every pang, every hit, every time someone made you feel less than because of how you looked. I carry those memories with me still, they are etched in my brain. I used to think that when I got healthy, that when I lost weight they would magically go away, or not bother me anymore. They’re still there. But you know what, those memories don’t define me and I feel stronger. I know that if was in the same situation I would stand up for myself. Although we don’t get re-dos in life, we do get chances, and I urge you to take this chance to live the life you want.

 

Taking responsibility for my own actions vs. deflecting all blame and letting life happen to me.

Committing to educating myself, putting in the work, reading the labels, Googling shit, truly taking ownership of my own body and what I put in it. Not expecting handouts, free rides, passes or for any of this to be easy, because it’s not. Knowing that if you have made it this far, that if you have survived the trauma, the bullying, the emotional abuse from peers and family members that you are strong AF and you can do this. Your scars don’t make you broken, they make you bulletproof.

 

My body has changed, slowly, but it has gotten strong and lean and healthy and the lumps and bumps I used to see when I looked in the mirror… hey, some of them are still there… But I also see a tall, curvy, sexy figure with (omg totally new to me) muscle definition. It’s like seeing my body for the first time, emerging from this physical and psychological baggage I have carried with my entire life.

I stopped comparing my body to other bodies because my body is unique to me. NO one out there has “my dream body” because no one out there has my body. No more comparison. No more looking at magazines and sighing. Know that when you make healthy changes that will sustain your emotional well being, as well as your physical well being you will evolve to have an even deeper appreciation for that miracle that is your body. Thousands of chemical responses, electricity and regeneration, an ongoing eco-system with one purpose, to keep you alive!

 

The magic here is that whether the changes happening are physical or emotional or a little bit of both… I see myself with new eyes.

 

So think of how you see yourself. Think of why you see yourself that way? Has the world hurt you? Do you feel vulnerable, unwanted, scared? I get it. And wanting to change to not feel that way is normal. Remember YOU HAVE THE POWER. How you experience the world is a choice. Choose to fill your life with those who support you and honor you. Find a place of self-love and body neutrality. From there, from a place of peace and compassion, that is when you are primed to make lasting lifestyle changes.

 

You can design the life you want to live and who you want to be. That’s the beauty of this world, there is only ONE YOU, and you decide how you get to live! Take up space, be loud, speak up, wear the red lipstick, by the dress.

You are worthy. You are enough. You are beautiful.

Hormone Rollercoaster: How to work with your cycle, not against it!

Do Calories Matter? (weight loss on a whole food lifestyle)

Is the Autoimmune Protocol Right For You?

 

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.

 

Resources:

What is the AIP?

Keto Vs Paleo

The Paleo Approach

The Paleo Mom 

Phoenix Helix

Autoimmune Wellness

Meatified

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?

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?

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

Whole30.com

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

Dairy Free + Gluten Free School Lunches

Hey parents everywhere, and/or working professionals that like to pack a fun lunch. I hope this post is useful to you. NOTE these lunches are NOT ALL PALEO OR KETO. These are DAIRY AND GLUTEN FREE LUNCH BOX IDEAS.

My child is what we call paleo-ish. Other than a slight aversion to dairy, he can eat anything, but we chose to make whole food choices for him. Food choices low in sugar, that avoid the food coloring, and franken-food ingredients that go into simple everyday lunch foods.

It’s pretty appalling that the products marketed to children are usually the worst. Void of any real fat or fiber pumped full of sugar and then they add “fortified” which means the add synthetic forms of nutrients that would probably be in the food organically if they just left it alone. Okay, off my soapbox.

We use pyrex glass containers and silicone Stasher bags!

Stasher Bags, Here. 

Healthy Options That Don’t Suck

My baby was starting kindergarten. It’s scary enough. I didn’t want him to get to lunch hangry, and open up a box full of food that didn’t excite him.

Luckily I did all my back to school shopping on Thrive Market. Their selection of real food, yet convenient and also affordable was a life saver. This was my haul for the first two weeks:

healthy kid food

With the addition of some groceries like bone broth, butternut squash, marinara, salami, all sorts of fruit etc… These are the dairy free and gluten free lunch box ideas I had (for now)…

Entree:

Paleo Pizza, Garbanzo Bean Pasta (with veggie cheesy sauce from Made Whole), Split Pea + Butternut Soup, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Plantain Chips.

The sides and snacks:

Meat sticks and chia pouch, applesauce and snack mix. Raisins or Fresh fruit.

The dark chocolate is for me. Thrives 95% dark chocolate is amazing and soy free. Perfect for my no-sweetener intention. The cashews too, for my dairy-free creamer. Mom essentials ya know.

Sweet Treat:

These weren’t really planned, but I made some protein muffins for Jack and some gluten-free apple spice bread. These went in his lunch usually for snack time. Making homemade treats I could fill with protein, use date syrup or raw honey in…. in other words have quality control over… it makes him feel like he still gets dessert, while I know he’s getting extra protein!

Schedule + Meal Prep

To make things a no-brainer I made a calendar. Much like the lunch ladies in the cafeteria. I picked two lunches and two snacks. Those would alternate each week. The next week he would have a different set of choices to alternate.

When I prepped something (like split pea and butternut soup or protein muffins) I made a big batch and froze half. That way in 2 weeks time, I would already have all the food ready to go! (Genius, I know). Scroll Down for a printable schedule!

My dairy and gluten free lunch box schedule!

healthy lunch
Garbanzo Bean Pasta with Dairy Free Cheesy Sauce, Watermelon and Chia Pouch for lunch. Apple, Protein Muffin and meat stick for snack!
Split pea and butternut squash soup, blueberries and rice crackers for lunch. Protein muffin, meat stick and applesauce for the snack.
gluten free kid lunch
Apple spice bread, hard-boiled eggs and watermelon for lunch. Meatstick, chia pouch and plantains chips for the snack.

Here’s a low carb option… if you have an avocado lover of a kid. I hear if you wrap tightly and face down the avocado does not get super gross. I made a joke about this on my stories… I got a few replies… so.. here you go. Avocado in a lunch box for you super healthy people 😉

If your kid is hardcore! Paleo/ Keto lover of avocado… here is an option for you! Jack won’t eat this… but I would 🙂 Dip the meat stick in the avo!
Jack’s paleo pizza with cauli-cheese + meal prep for the family! Making the labor-intensive lunch items ahead of time will save your buns on Monday morning!

Save tons of money and get awesome food for your family with Thrive, try your FREE TRIAL TODAY! 

Click IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD PDF!

lunch schedule

 

 

Bacon, Basil, & Greens Egg Roll-Ups (Paleo, Keto, Whole30)

Easy Keto Shortbread Cookies (Dairy Free, Egg Free)

Banana Bread Pancakes (Super Fluffy, Nut Free, Paleo Pancakes)

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

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO ROCK A DAIRY FREE KETO LIFESTYLE! 

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.

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.

 

 

Troubleshooting

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. 

FAQ’S

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.

Resources:

 

Keto vs Paleo vs AIP

 

Whole30

 

Keto Macro Calculator

 

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

Eat With Intention: ditch the diet mindset

I get it, sometimes we need all the rules and the structure to get us to a better place. But sometimes, we lean to much on these rules. We thrive in their structure and fall apart our own. Classic helicopter parenting mistake. You have to make your own mistakes, fail- get back up and do it all on your own to really learn.

If you’re ready to let go of the proverbial diet hand and walk on your own two feet into a lifestyle that you can live with…  I challenge you…

#eatwithintention 

 

How is this different than a Whole30 or AIP Keto Reset?

There are no rules here. No restriction. You can eat with intention all the time, you can do so in whichever way you feel the need to.

Resets, elimination diets, detox programs… they have their place. Maybe that is where you are now?

Do you seek a lot of structure, rules, restrictions or parameters to feel in control of your eating or successful in your efforts? That’s cool. We need that sometimes. That’s why SHORT TERM… 21, 30-day programs are PERFECT for you.

Once you’ve graduated from that phase in your life and your healing… sometimes you are jiving with your food freedom and you feel good. But you still yearn for that purpose. It feels kinda nice to be mission oriented… or you know… life happens… food is just food and sometimes we lose sight of our goals or just get a little careless.

Which, guess what? IS A-OKAY! You don’t have to live your life always working on eating a certain way. But sometimes you’re in the upside down… or you know… that in-between phase.

You have been in your groove for a while, but you still have some goals. You like to keep some pep in your step. You still have in the back of your mind that feeling of… what if one day it all goes off the rails, the whole ship burns down…. Or not… you’re human. We all are.

Keto vs. Paleo

So what is this eat with intention thing?

 

We all have to eat. So instead of looking toward rules or restrictions, I challenge you to be mindful. To create your meals with the intention of ________ (that’s your cue, fill in the blank).

 

Heal.

Grow.

Gains.

Be satisfied.

Eat without fear.

Enjoyment.

Get more greens.

Get more protein.

Eat more colors.

Feel good.

Cook more.

Cook less.

Freedom.

For EXAMPLE… my intention for next month: recover better from workouts and gains so I’m going to be more mindful of protein intake. I also want to optimize gut health and digestion, mitigate some bloating. So I’m going to skip keto sweeteners for now. Not to say that I won’t have sweets (hello dark chocolate). I’ll be eating fermented foods and lots of collagen, bone broth and what not.

My Healing Story: AIP and Keto and Self Love

Intention> Action

 

I can DO all the things. The POWERFUL thing here is my intention to grain muscle and heal my gut by not adding restrictions or rules to my diet. The power here is in the intention, the very thought and belief that what I am doing is what I want and need to do to reach my goals, be happy etc.

 

Intentions over Restriction. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace. Know that you ARE worth it. #eatwithintention 

 

 

 

Product Spotlight: Nush Cakes | Delicious Dairy Free Keto Treat

Okay people, hold on to your britches. I, yes, I, Cristina am promoting not only a sweet treat but a packaged one at that. Pigs can fly apparently!

I was first introduced to Nush Cakes at Kyndra’s house, some of you may know her at Peace Love and Low Carb. I was weary at first. I grabbed the colorful packet, containing an individual little cake in it. Proceeded to turn it over and read the ingredient list.

blueberry cake

I was impressed. No, really. A packaged keto food that didn’t include dairy, nuts or fillers. Made with organic ingredients. These cakes use flaxseed (which is naturally high in fiber), coconut oil, erythritol and monk fruit.

Bonus, the blueberry flavor tastes like real deal blueberry muffins. The carrot cake is very impressive. They are soft, moist, taste downright sinful and you know what? No weird digestion issues, aftertaste or negative side effects.

You can order them HERE. SAVE 20% with code: CASTAWAY (only valid thru Oct)

keto cakes

colorful nush cakes

So….what are Nush Cakes and where did they come from?

Created by a mama who wanted to make low carb, low sugar food for her family. Muffy Mead-Ferro is all of us, trying to get our families to eat better!

The more we read and the more we know about how our bodies work, the more committed we are to helping people get off the sugar-and-carb roller coaster. And it is a roller-coaster! Have you ever noticed when you have one chocolate chip cookie, all you want is 10 more? That’s partly because your blood sugar is spiked, and then crashes, and the quickest way to prop it up again is more sugar. Meanwhile, you’re growing a huge colony of sugar-loving microbes in your gut that are also demanding more sugar. We think it’s time to turn this train around! -Nush Cakes Mission

nush cake

The Ingredients

All of the flavors are made from the same base:

Water, Organic Flaxseed Meal, Organic Coconut Oil, Egg, Organic Glycerin + Organic Baking Soda.

Then natural flavors like rosemary extract, sea salt, blueberry etc are added for flavor variations. Full disclosure… the BLUEBERRY is hands down my favorite, and it’s NUT FREE TOO!

Yes, dairy and nut free, organic keto snack. Bonus because they are made with flax they are organically high in fiber, so the net carb count is really low. None of that smoke and mirrors where a fiber is added to a recipe to achieve this. These cakes are the real deal.

So there you have it! I’m excited about these. I like to company and I reached out to them, and they were really stoked to help me spread the word.

So much so that they gave me a killer discount code for you CASTAWAY will save you 20% on all your purchases through October! 

I like to serve it up with some whipped coconut cream, lemon zest and flake salt. So delicious!

Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo, Keto)

 

 

Tracking Macros on Keto

Martina Slajerova, best-selling author, and keto expert reached out to me this summer. She asked if I had seen her app, which is called Keto Diet App. Pretty self-explanatory right?

Honestly, I hadn’t seen it I told her, but I was happy to take a look. While I don’t personally track my macros, I know that it can be a big part of a lot of low carber’s life as well as a useful tool when acclimating to a keto diet.

 

This is the reason that I included macros in all of the recipes for my cookbook, Made Whole. The process of calculating all of the macros for every recipe, double checking them and even outsourcing a triple check to a third party… I learned something about macro tracking apps… most of them are wrong, oh- so very wrong a lot of the time.

 

If one does not ever so carefully input each ingredient and chose the correct option you can get VERY skewered data. Scary, since I know a lot of people who eat low carb and sugar, especially those who track diligently often do it for medical reasons.

What I love about this app:

  • You can plan your meals, adding in meals that are already curated by the app (which are legit delicious and healthy, over 300) or you can create your own!
  • It’s integrated with KetoDIet blog with over 740 recipes, guides, meal plans and more
  • The app has all the info! Want to learn where to start on keto? This app has content created by nutrition experts to get you going.
  • Shopping lists! Yes! Intuitive shopping basket to help you manage groceries.
  • So many great, everyday foods scanned into the app so adding your custom meals is a breeze.
  • The app costs less than $9, and it’s a one-time fee that includes all features and updates, no hidden agenda.
  • Macro Calculator to help you figure out what your target macros should be and you can easily update them as your needs change!
  • Big bonus! So many who count net carbs find other apps unfriendly in this regard, well, KetoDiet app easily lets you calculate your net carbs for each day.

I’m really impressed with this easy to use software and the clean and well-organized app.

I also love that it’s not a faceless app on your phone. Martina is a prolific blogger and author. She used food to heal her own body, a Hashi’s- autoimmune warrior!

I love her cookbooks and know she truly puts health first so I feel really good about this app.

It will be my go-to recommendation for those seeking this kind of structure in their way of eating.

How to Create an Easy, Sustainable Meal Plan on Keto

AIP KETO RESET (shopping list and meal plan)