How can I help you?

    140: How You Can Heal From Disease Using Food w/ Cristina Curp

    You can be following the healthiest diet out there, but did you know that it might not be the healthiest diet for YOU? I’m joined byCristina Curp, creator of The Castaway Kitchen, to talk about how you can heal from autoimmune disease using food as medicine.

    Or listen & subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts | Android

    About Christina Curp

    Cristina Curp is the creator of The Castaway Kitchen, a popular food blog and online community dedicated to delicious, healing recipes. Author of best-selling cookbook Made Whole and recently released Made Whole Made Simple. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Florida International University and is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Cristina in on a mission to educate people about the healing power of real food! 

    Cristina shares her story of growing up and living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. This is an autoimmune disease that manifests in painful boils in sensitive parts of the body, such as the armpits and groin. Cristina explains how her doctor kept trying to get her on different types of medication and creams that just weren’t working.

    But after Cristina had her baby, the boils moved under her breasts which caused immense pain and more discomfort. She was researching the condition one day when she came across another woman who turned the autoimmune disease around by changing her diet. Because of Cristina’s background as a chef, she decided to try it herself.

    Food is the ultimate medicine and Cristina is living proof of that. She reversed her Hidradenitis Suppurative by changing what food she was eating and finding what worked for her. Cristina explains how following the autoimmune protocol worked, and didn’t work, for her and how she adapted it.

    Cristina eats a Keto-centric diet where her focus is on meats and vegetables. She doesn’t consume dairy as part of her nutrition as she knows it has a detrimental impact on her health. But Cristina isn’t totally against eating carbohydrates, in fact, she encourages eating carbs when it’s appropriate and to fuel your energy.

    The American diet, however, is bountiful with food that is not optimized for health. Foods high in saturated fat as well as seed-based oils can be lethal to you. But that doesn’t mean all oils are off the table, Cristina explains how you can include olive, coconut, and MCT oil in your regular diet.

    For many of us, food doesn’t show up in a sensitivity test. But consuming vast quantities of the same food is always going to be detrimental to our overall health and could cause a reaction. Cristina encourages you to eat a variety of food every day and to switch up what you’re eating to keep in your ultimate health.

    Do you find that you’re sensitive to a particular type of food? Have you tried removing it from your diet to see if it helps? I’d love to know your experiences trying to identify food sensitivities and what works for your health! As always, you can ask me anything and let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions, email team@drannacabeca.com.

     

    In This Episode:

    • What Hidradenitis Suppurativa is
    • How food can be medicine
    • What autoimmune protocol is
    • How changing your diet can have a positive impact on your autoimmune disease
    • How you can consume carbohydrates for energy
    • Why the American diet is so lethal (highly processed oils)
    • What the best way to consume coconut or MCT oil is
    • Why you should eat a variety of foods daily

     

    Quotes:

    “You can eat healthy, but you might not be eating healthy for you.” (5:30)

    “If you are not over-consuming carbohydrates and eating them to your activity level, they’re not all stored as fat automatically.  You can use them as fuel.” (24:04)

    “Elimination protocols don’t address the root cause always. They give your body a break to heal, but there are oftentimes underlying causes.” (35:01)

     

    Resources Mentioned

    Buy Made Whole and Made Whole, Made Simple Online

    Listen to the Body Wise Podcast

    Find Christina and The Castaway Kitchen Online

    Find The Castaway Kitchen onFacebook |Instagram |Pinterest |YouTube

    Join the KetoGreen Community on Facebook

    Buy Keto-Green 16

     

    Transcript: 

    Cristina:
    The issue in America, this obesity epidemic with inflammation is highly rooted in, like, who was it Danny Vega said it on? I know he's so great, he's like, "You weaponize carbohydrates when you mix them with saturated fats but also the combination of these inflammatory oils."

    Cristina:
    So the American diet is, the way they would have it, consists of high carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates, and refined vegetable oils. That's a lethal combination. It blows my mind that that's even legal.

    Dr. Anna:
    Eating and how we nourish our body can be so complex and some clients, some women, and maybe you, are suffering from conditions that can be resolved completely by what you're eating.

    Dr. Anna:
    Today's guest on The Girlfriend Doctor podcast is Cristina from The Castaway Kitchen. She is the author of a couple of fabulous books. Made Whole is her most recent one, and this is a fabulous time to discuss what makes us healthier and happier and how that can really affect our lives and heal from so many conditions.

    Dr. Anna:
    Hi everyone, it's Dr. Anna Cabeca, I'm the Girlfriend Doctor and it is my mission and my passion to help women live better lives before, during, and after menopause. So welcome to The Girlfriend Doctor podcast, an intimate place for intimate conversation, and I am here for you. You can ask or tell me anything. This is a place of no shame, no guilt, no apologies, and we pull back the curtain on all things related to women's health. And our goal is to shine a light on your overall wellness, mind, body, and spirit.

    Dr. Anna:
    So let's get started with The Castaway Kitchen, author, brand, just amazing woman, Cristina. So happy to share her with you. Cristina Curp is the creator of The Castaway Kitchen, a popular food blog and online community dedicated to delicious healing recipes. She's the author of bestselling cookbook Made Whole and recently released Made Whole Made Simple. She holds a BA in anthropology from Florida International University and is a certified nutritional therapy practitioner. She is on a mission to educate people about the healing power of real food, and you can find her online at The Castaway Kitchen. She's also the co-host of Body Wise podcast. So here we go.

    Dr. Anna:
    Welcome to The Girlfriend Doctor podcast, Cristina. It is great to have you here, another like-minded soul to talk about food and the right and wrong way to prep it, prepare it, eat it, and how important. And I love how you say really how whole food is so important in our diet, not just important, but essential, and it makes sense. So welcome.

    Cristina:
    Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

    Dr. Anna:
    Well, tell our listeners a little bit about your background, your journey to get here.

    Cristina:
    I used to be a restaurant chef many moons ago, but like many women, I ended up so sick. I was about to turn 30 and I had this two-year-old baby that I was just weaning, and in the two years postpartum, I piled on the weight. I know some people lose weight when they breastfeed, I was the opposite. I just packed on 35, 40 pounds, and my autoimmune disease...

    Cristina:
    Well, I have an inflammatory skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa, and it's medieval and horrible. And I've had it since I was 13. Never made the connection with food. Doctors didn't tell me about it. But after having my son it started spreading to other areas of my body. It was just unbearable. I was fatigued and I had joint pain and brain fog.

    Dr. Anna:
    Let's talk about that hidradenitis suppurativa. It is boiled, basically. You can get them under your arm, between your legs, the back of your legs, skin area, and it is painful, it's uncomfortable, and of course, there's a lot of emotion that goes with it too, like the thing you're feeling like, "Oh my gosh. What's happening to me to have these boils?"

    Cristina:
    It's debilitating in many ways, and it manifested on my body when I was a teenage girl. I grew up in Miami, so we'll talk about...

    Dr. Anna:
    Bikinis, body image, right?

    Cristina:
    Everything, and yeah, navigating dating and my sex life in my 20s with scars and active boils with Band-Aids, and it was a whole thing. But you learn to live with it and deal and just lots of creams and lots of gauzes and a whole thing. I had it when I got married, had my son, and it just got so bad.

    Cristina:
    When I was breastfeeding, it started manifesting under my breasts, which it hadn't ever before, but you notice when you breastfeeding and then like, it was horrible, it was a nightmare. And I just remember hitting that point where I was 30 days out before I turned 30 and I had told my husband, I'm like, "I'm not okay. I'm not going to be able to raise our son."

    Cristina:
    We'd just got a station in Hawaii, so we're living in this hotel room in Hawaii and I'm feeling so lost and just broken, and I thought, "This is supposed to be the best years of my life. A young married couple with this beautiful baby, we're living in paradise and I am miserable."

    Cristina:
    So I looked to food because food is my jam, that's what I do, and I've always known there's a connection there. And although I always ate organic, I was vegan a while back for a while in my 20s, my mom owns a farm-to-table restaurant. I always tell people, you can eat healthily, but you might not be eating healthy for you. I eat whole wheat and I ate all this stuff, but I wasn't okay. It wasn't working.

    Dr. Anna:
    Well, we need to emphasize that you can eat healthily. That's a huge nugget, right? You can eat healthily, but it wasn't healthy for me.

    Cristina:
    Right. And of course, the things that they taught us, the lower fat, like being afraid of fat, and I was doing oatmeal and things that I thought were supposed to help me, but I just kept getting worse. I was doing Weight Watchers and the weight kept piling on, and I was like... I felt broken.

    Cristina:
    I had dabbled in paleo back in 2008 with a holistic practitioner in Miami, and I remember thinking, "That felt pretty good. That felt pretty good." So I went down this rabbit hole on the internet. And of course five, six years ago, Google was a lot better, it wasn't as censored as it is now, and I found a post on Robb Wolf's website by Tara Grant, this woman who had my skin condition, and she put it in remission through food.

    Cristina:
    I remember reading that article and crying, crying, and she's talking about nightshades and, oh my gosh, I was just... And then I got angry that no one talked to me about that before, but I went headfirst. I went headfirst into paleo, whole 30s, autoimmune protocol, food eliminate... The minute I started seeing the changes in my body, my skin condition getting better, the weight was falling off, and that was almost six years ago and I feel like I've just gone deeper into the rabbit hole and in the process started sharing food, because I was cooking these meals that were healing my body, but they were delicious, yummy food that everyone around me was enjoying: my neighbors, my family, and I thought, "I should share these online because I have that skill set that I can make anything taste good."

    Cristina:
    That's how my blog The Castaway Kitchen was born. And then I published my first cookbook, then my second. I ended up going back to school. I got certified as a nutritional therapy practitioner, and I actually work with Dr. Campbell, who's a functional medicine practitioner, in her virtual clinic as her in-house nutritionist, and now I help other people heal through food.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that. I think that's so important. That's so critical how you found food as medicine, right? You really did find food as medicine and you've been able to heal. Your skin looks amazing.

    Cristina:
    Thank you.

    Dr. Anna:
    I would say one of the programs I taught early on in my career was Healthy Digestion for a Glowing Complexion. I think that was the title. Because our skin is a reflection of our gut health and that this can really make a really big difference in our body, in our life, in our energy level, and you are living proof and that you found this at a young age and you stopped suffering, I commend you. I commend you.

    Cristina:
    Thank you.

    Dr. Anna:
    Because probably your doctors were just like, "Oh, well, it doesn't matter. Food doesn't matter. Here's some more antibiotics."

    Cristina:
    Get on birth control. Oh, they all wanted to put me on birth control. I had a doctor tell me that... And this was when I was already in remission. I'm like, "Look, Doc, I'm in remission, I feel amazing." I was just doing a checkup. It was like, just, whatever, an annual, and it was a military doctor because we were in Hawaii. And he told me, he's like, "Oh, that's got nothing to do with it. Food has nothing to do with it. It's just a coincidence. If you really wanted to heal, you would eat the wall if I told you." He's like, "I do this all the time. I help people. I cut out the affected area and I put them on birth control." And I was like, "Are you insane?" And they wanted to put me on Humira and I'm like, "You think that taking the pill would be harder than what I'm doing? Like this is harder, but I was able to get in remission through diet alone."

    Cristina:
    People who don't understand this condition might not know, but it is debilitating, and I lived in tropical areas and I have scars on my skin, but I don't care. I wear no sleeves, my skirts, my bathing suits and I'm happy because I'm not in pain and I can do all the things I want to do.

    Cristina:
    Diet and lifestyle. Lifestyle's important. Stress management, toxic environment, mindfulness, all that matters too, but it started with food I think for me and I think for a lot of people.

    Dr. Anna:
    Absolutely. And I love how you're bringing in stress management, how that's key. So talk to us about some of... You've really have spanned the gamut and the eating patterns, and I know you've got Keto-Green 16 in there too. But you also have two books out now. So can you show us your books and also talk about each one? Because I really have loved your work. You guys listening, she is The Castaway Kitchen on Instagram and always has some great stuff there.

    Cristina:
    Thank you. So this is Made Whole, my first book, baby, and they're massive. And then this is my new one, Made Home Made Simple. And this one's made simple because all the recipes are a simple one-pot [inaudible 00:10:03], pressure cooker and slow cooker. And Made Whole means to heal. Both books are healing recipes.

    Cristina:
    I wrote them because, as you know people, okay, this is what you should eat, this is what's going to work. You're going to regulate your blood sugar, you're going to reduce inflammation, maybe you have to omit foods. Like for me, one of my biggest trigger foods is nightshades. Highly reactive to nightshades and grains and sugar and-

    Dr. Anna:
    Okay, so talk about nightshades. Tell us what nightshades are.

    Cristina:
    Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and any kind of pepper. Not black pepper because those are berries, actually. But like jalapeno, bell pepper, paprika, Ancho chili. And it's just all those foods have anti-nutrients in them and some of us react specifically to some. Some people are more sensitive to lectins, other ones to oxalates, but specifically nightshades for me, and I think for a lot more people than they realize, can have an inflammatory response.

    Cristina:
    I found this out through an elimination diet. I've done every test out there on food allergies and they all come back negative. But if I eat gluten or nightshades, I will have swollen joints, brain fog, swollen gums, and then my skin will erupt.

    Dr. Anna:
    And see, that's the perfect test is the elimination diet. Eliminate them and then try them back in and see what happens to your body.

    Dr. Anna:
    I have a daughter who really had had bullous acne, bullous acne, and all this time I told her to stay off the dairy, stay off the gluten, stay off the grains as much as possible, but can you tell a young 20-year-old who's invincible? She came back from a trip and she had just bullous acne, just terrible pustular acne all over her face, chest, back, really very similar to hidradenitis suppurativa but all facial, and beautiful girl.

    Dr. Anna:
    So I finally had her do the Viome test. I mean, we've done different food sensitivity tests in the past, but I had her do the Viome test. So she stuck with it this time, and so she had to eliminate dairy, she had to eliminate red peppers and tomatoes, so the nightshades. I'll have to check and see if it said eggplant but definitely has made a tremendous, tremendous difference.

    Dr. Anna:
    We definitely went at her double-barreled shotguns too. I put her on a course of topical antibiotics and this, that and the other and really made her do just three days of shakes and just really work on intestinal health probiotic. But the big thing has been that food elimination, and so she knows when she tries something again, like okay, what happened, what caused the breakout, maybe what's something else that we need to eliminate? And until we really get the gut healed-

    Cristina:
    It's going to keep happening.

    Dr. Anna:
    It's going to keep happening. It's going to keep happening.

    Cristina:
    Right. I think elimination protocols, and I have a section in my book. I cover them in my books quite often. I use the autoimmune protocol mixed in with keto.

    Dr. Anna:
    We'll talk about the autoimmune protocol. We hear that terminology, so clarify autoimmune-

    Cristina:
    Autoimmune protocol or autoimmune paleo, I find it to be the gold standard of elimination diets because it removes all possible foods that might cause leaky gut or cause a reaction, so grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, seed-based spices, nightshades, nightshade-based spices, any additives to food, eggs, which is tough, and essentially you're just eating... you can eat meat and vegetables, but [inaudible 00:13:18] obviously with staying away... Oh, yeah, no dairy as well, and no coffee, no chocolate, all that.

    Cristina:
    This is what I love about the autoimmune protocol, AIP for short is that it's actually been studied now. There's been two different studies on it that I know headed up by Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt and some other people in the community, and they did show like a 75% remission, I'm not mistaken, with IBS, and they were just doing another one with Hashimoto's and the results were pretty interesting.

    Dr. Anna:
    And the work by Dr. Terry Wahls-

    Cristina:
    Wahls.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... on multiple sclerosis and her research-

    Cristina:
    Life-changing.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... and yes, life-changing, life-changing. So again, there is no harm in doing this. We are not going to experience any nutrient deficiencies.

    Cristina:
    Right.

    Dr. Anna:
    We may break up with some bad habits starting [crosstalk 00:14:01]-

    Cristina:
    Right.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... which is really, really key, because many of these foods can have an addictive nature, they are some of the foods that we crave the most and then that can really be a problem.

    Dr. Anna:
    I didn't hear you mention sugar. What about sugar?

    Cristina:
    Oh, sugar as well. So, on AIP, on the original autoimmune protocol, honey and maple syrup and molasses aren't limited and there are a lot of starchy vegetables, and autoimmune protocol worked for me for a while and I started correlating flares to sugar and starchy vegetables, and TMI, but honestly, as I mentioned, after I breastfed my son, I started breaking out with this hidradenitis suppurativa on one of my breasts, and I had one spot on my left breast that would flare when I had specifically honey, maple syrup or like cassava. I nicknamed it my sugar boob because it was like the minute I had sugar it would...

    Cristina:
    So that's why I started veering away from the traditional autoimmune protocol and kind of going more Terry Wahls where there is a reduction in the higher starch and the sugar. Because people, of course, they're doing automation protocol, they're trying to cope with the cravings and this huge change, so I say to everyone, a standard American [inaudible 00:15:10], everything, every diet can be made to have junk food, including keto and Paleo and all of them, so people started getting really creative, guilty too, with the cassava flour and the flatbread and whatever, and you can make all these things, but even though they're wholefood-based, I had insulin resistance, which wasn't helping. It was just causing that inflammation, which was causing the flare. Because HS isn't just an autoimmune disease, it's also auto-inflammatory, so managing inflammation is key.

    Cristina:
    So I kind of meshed AIP and keto together and found an elimination protocol that was so anti-inflammatory and so effective, that I was able to kind of crush the inflammation, heal the gut and then also reset the metabolism kind of at the same time.

    Dr. Anna:
    Awesome. Let's talk about that and what that looks like menu-wise and a day in the life because this is important looking at, okay, what's our next right step? Every step in the right direction is the next right step. Every step in discovering what works for us or what doesn't work for us is the next right step. And I think that's really important that we look at these really science-based protocols and determine, okay, what works best for me based on my food sensitivities, based on my environment, based on where I live, based on the stress I'm under, based on the family I'm in, and what's happened to our gut, our GI tract, the bacteria within our GI tract, our ability to digest? I mean, there's so many factors here, so I love plans that pull it together like yours does as well.

    Dr. Anna:
    Let's talk about what a day in your life looks like, and I also just want to add in here, the older we get, the fewer carbs we can tolerate. The fewer carbs we can tolerate. And that's a really important metabolic shift that we have to adjust to.

    Cristina:
    Right, right, for sure. So with AIP, both my books, they're paleo, keto, but they're dairy-free, nut-free, nightshade-free, so they're already very close to autoimmune protocol.

    Cristina:
    Now, there are some seed-based spices, there's some eggs in them, because, again, the elimination protocols are meant to be temporary and then you have to add foods back in a little bit at a time, so I add a lot of modifications for coconut free, or, hey, if you can't do coconut, maybe you can do eggs or can do nuts. I'm like the substitution queen, I think because of my culinary skills, I can do that with recipes. I'm very good at that.

    Cristina:
    So day in the life for me is, again, I've added a lot of foods back in, but I always say don't compare my chapter 25 with your chapter one because I've been able to add a lot of foods in.

    Dr. Anna:
    Right, right.

    Cristina:
    So I do coffee in the morning. I'm on decaf because I gave up caffeine in January. Game changer.

    Dr. Anna:
    Congratulations.

    Cristina:
    Thank you. It was a big one, but it was that last step where I'm like, and yes you know, and again, even going lower carb as we get older, it's all about bathing the adrenals which are, get in charge of hormone production as we age, so cutting out caffeine...

    Dr. Anna:
    It's a biggie-

    Cristina:
    It's a biggie.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... and I will tell clients, until I wore the continuous glucose monitor and prepping for Keto-Greens 16, for my book and the recipes, I wore continuous glucose monitoring, so monitoring my sugar all throughout the day for two weeks at a row, and I've done it for a year now on and off. But when I drank coffee in the morning, my blood sugar went up 20 to 30 points. So because of my adrenal stress, cortisol, glucose, my glucose went up and that was a really big eye-opener for me. It's like, oh my gosh, that helped me understand a few things, like when I go off caffeine and coffee for a week, I can lose three or four pounds. So little things like...

    Dr. Anna:
    I mean, these things add up. [crosstalk 00:18:45] really need to understand what's happening to your body, and I love that you brought that in, the coffee with your adrenals.

    Cristina:
    Yes.

    Dr. Anna:
    Absolutely.

    Cristina:
    Huge. So I do decaf coffee and I do homemade cashew milk, which is just water and cashews with a little bit of Real Salt, and I stir that in, and then I usually have my first meal between 12:00 and 1:00. I usually work out in the morning at some point mid-morning, depending on my schedule, but my meals are very simple. It's plants and animals, and I really think that people need to stick to the basics.

    Cristina:
    So I love arugula. It's my favorite leafy green. It's peppery, I adjust to it really well. So getting good, you know, leftover ground beef or some fried eggs on a bed of arugula or some Bratwursts, that's lunch. And then dinner is usually more labor-intensive because I do love to cook, so I'll roast veggies, I'll make a nice sauce, I'll do like some pan-seared proteins, and we do a lot of seafood, so I love fish, and that's another one of my biggest things is like omega-3s, omega-3s, omega-3s, like-

    Dr. Anna:
    Yes.

    Cristina:
    ... every day [inaudible 00:19:43], and so we do a lot of like smoked oysters or salmon, just different kinds of fatty fish, yeah, and that's really what I eat. If I do have a snack in-between, I'll do like a protein shake, dairy-free milk, or some berries.

    Cristina:
    I do like, with my cooking, people sometimes are like... the question I get 900 times a day, "Is that keto?" And I'm like if it fits into your macros, Keto is not a food list, it's a metabolic state, so I love using citrus and pineapple and peaches and different foods to season my food to make sauces, to add flavor and nutrient density.

    Dr. Anna:
    And a little bit goes a long way, right? Just that little added flavor in pineapple. In Keto-Green 16 I have my digestive fruit category, so that's papaya, pineapple, and mango.

    Cristina:
    So good.

    Dr. Anna:
    So that they can help with digestive fruits, and someone wrote in a review on Amazon, y'all, listen, if you haven't reviewed Keto-Green 16 with a five-star review on Amazon yet, I mean, I do want your honest feedback, so I appreciate it, but this person said, "Well there's pineapple in there. No way is that keto." I'm like, "Well how much are you eating? And what about your digestion? Plus, I say if it affects, if it kicks you out of ketosis during this, then eliminate it. But to improve digestion and to have those little bits of carb bump in the evening helps with a good night's-

    Cristina:
    It does.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... sleep."

    Dr. Anna:
    This is Dr. Anna Cabeca, The Girlfriend Doctor, author of bestselling books Keto-Green 16 and The Hormone Fix. I quickly wanted to share with you that my new book Keto-Green 16 is finally available. Look inside these pages, beautiful recipes, a 16-day clinically proven, effective fat loss, [inaudible 00:21:23] boosting, an anti-inflammatory plan that will make you feel great quickly.

    Dr. Anna:
    We have used this plan in clients in post-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause, as well as some gentlemen that have joined us along the way. I love it when men are joining alongside their ladies and taking part, and what we've found is an increase in fat loss, a decrease in symptoms scores, and a decrease in waste, so we'd like to see these changes.

    Dr. Anna:
    In fact, we had one client who's a 67-year-old woman who has tried many things. She was diagnosed in the past with breast cancer and had felt that she had hit a wall and she was just going to have to power through or struggle for the rest of her life. Just within one cycle of Keto-Green 16, she not only felt tremendous, but she said she was happier than she's been in forever that she could remember and she was no longer feeling like when is the next shoe going to drop as far as waiting for another diagnosis? She felt empowered over her own body and that she has taken this control back, not to mention losing some weight, improving her blood sugar with a decrease in hemoglobin A1C, as well as some other really important health markers.

    Dr. Anna:
    Now, we've had a gentleman in the plan. His name is Daniel, 57 years old with 80 pounds to lose, on blood pressure medicine, at risk for starting blood sugar medicine. He did one cycle of Keto-Green 16 with his beautiful wife and within 16 days his symptoms dropped tremendously, his blood pressure improved so much that he has been weaned off his blood pressure medicine and he lost 30 pounds. I know. Crazy, right? And what other clients have told me, especially during the quarantine, is that they felt like they were doing something good for their body, they could focus on their health and their resilience which made them feel much stronger and healthier.

    Dr. Anna:
    So I encourage you to check it out, Keto-Green 16, and I am pleased to be on this journey with you.

    Cristina:
    And also the metabolic flexibility, which I think is really important. So one of the things I think, it's like if you are having a little more carbohydrates, be more active so you can have your pineapple, but go for a 15-minute walk afterward. It's not going to spike your blood sugar.

    Cristina:
    I've been on carbs, I mean, I have a whole section on the kind of trying to really understand, like help people understand how our body uses fuel because if you are not over-consuming carbohydrates and eating them to your activity level, they're not all stored as fat automatically, it can be used as a fuel, it's just you're going to use it right up, it's not going to be stored, doesn't have to spike your blood sugar, and again, this is [inaudible 00:24:20] individual, depending on your metabolic health, but I think that there's a lot of young perfectly metabolically healthy people avoiding foods out of fear, not a necessity.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yeah, that's a [crosstalk 00:24:30].

    Cristina:
    So for me, I'm just like, "Well, let's just..." and then you have people, like 20-year-olds doing Crossfit, fasting and then 10 grams of carbs a day and then after a few months they feel like they're crashing their adrenals. I'm like, "Oh, maybe Crossfit isn't the best exercise to do."

    Dr. Anna:
    For you, right. And that's a really important point. We need to know what works for us right now, and I believe in metabolic flexibility. I always say like around 10% fasting, 80% keto-green, 10% feasting. That's kind of my rule of thumb, although celebrating my 21st daughter's birthday, my 21-year-old daughter's birthday, she turns 21 today, so there's definitely some feasting going on in the background here.

    Cristina:
    And the feasting-fasting dynamic actually really works well for hormone health for women, where I think men-

    Dr. Anna:
    It does.

    Cristina:
    ... drive a lot better on this like hardcore all the time linear kind of way of eating. We do better on a cyclical way of eating, and I think obviously that makes sense because women are cyclical, you know?

    Dr. Anna:
    Yeah, it's true, and we need carbs. I know that I do for neurotransmitters, and I've done the research looking at this and it really does, the quality of our food matters, the combinations of our food matters, and the periodic fasting intervals really, really matter, and especially as we're older. It's exciting to see, it's exciting to see the science.

    Dr. Anna:
    But you know that just today publish, and we're recording this in May, but just today the dietary guidelines in America are evaluating diet plans and that basically every high-fat diet basically has been excluded from the plan, which makes no sense whatsoever. So I think right now we are protesting about that, but incorporating all the low-fat diets, and I was like, "Wait, based on what science?" Do we not see the obesity in America right now because of the low-fat diet?

    Dr. Anna:
    We need fats for hormones and fats don't convert to sugar, so we need to really recognize that it's a combination approach of healthy foods, and looking at the Mediterranean diet, that's not a low-fat diet, and crazy enough on Amazon is my book, they don't have a high-fat diet category, but they have a low-fat diet category, and my book made it into the low-fat diet category, so who knows what Amazon's doing y'all.

    Cristina:
    No, it's so off. Mine did too for a while and I was like, "What?"

    Dr. Anna:
    Keto is not low-fat.

    Cristina:
    No-

    Dr. Anna:
    I know, [crosstalk 00:27:07].

    Cristina:
    ... but I love that you bring up the fats though, and how the guidelines, they talk about low-fat. But the problem is that they're talking about the wrong fats because even their low-fat approach, they're like, "Oh, yeah, just use heart-healthy canola oil," and so that's one of my biggest gripes. If you had to say one food that no human should be consuming is seed-based oils, vegetable oils. Like, don't touch them with a 10-foot pole. It's not food. It's not meant to be consumed. It's the worst. And I really think that part of the issue in America, this obesity epidemic, the inflammation, is highly rooted in, like, who was it Danny Vega said it on? I know he's so great, he's like, "You weaponize carbohydrates when you mix them with saturated fats, but also the combination of these inflammatory oils."

    Cristina:
    So the American diet is, the way they would have it, consists of high carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates, and refined vegetable oils. That's a lethal combination. It blows my mind that that's even legal.

    Dr. Anna:
    I know, and we're talking about saturated fats here. Explain more about that and why.

    Cristina:
    Yeah, so saturated fats, they're not bad for you. I mean, as we know, okay, butter, bacon, all that stuff, it's not the villain it should be. However, when you have them with things that can cause inflammation, like carbohydrates, like sugar, you are going to get the clogged arteries. You are going to get that where they are dangerous.

    Cristina:
    So when you use monounsaturated fats which have come from the Mediterranean, they knew what they were talking about. Olive oil is like really good fat. Not only is it highly protective, not only does it have antioxidants, but even protects the food you're cooking in it, so you can cook salmon with olive oil and the polyphenols are going to protect the delicate Omega-3s of polyunsaturated fats. I mean, it's beautiful, and when you think of how many centuries they've been cooking with olive oil in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, you're like it just makes sense.

    Cristina:
    So really when it comes to the fats you want to eat, you want to think of things that come from nature and think about their accessibility, and I think that that always makes sense, the quantity of how much you should be eating of something with how accessible it is when we think of that Paleo template.

    Cristina:
    So, think about fish, think about olives and nuts and how much of that would you be eating if you were foraging it? And think about saturated fat. It's not easy to render fat from animals, so you wouldn't have it in such an amount. You would really be consuming saturated fat in that wholefood form from when you're just eating the animal instead of rendering it. So it just makes sense to really focus on...

    Cristina:
    Don't fear the red meat, don't fear, you know, but when you're cooking with oils, stick to more of the monounsaturated and then avoid the seed-based oils which unless you have machinery you can't make, because people don't also realize that olive oil and avocado oil, they're not made from the seed, they're a fruit, they're made from the fruit, they're pressed, so it's the pressed fruit that comes from the actual olive, which, again, found in nature, easy to extract.

    Dr. Anna:
    Which is amazing. And a recent study looking at soybean oil and how damaging that is can even affect the oxytocin receptors, so it can decrease our oxytocin. So soybean oil is another really... I mean they're, like you said, no-nos.

    Dr. Anna:
    I think that's a really important one, because many of the fried food from our favorite restaurants, they're using soybean oil [crosstalk 00:30:31]-

    Cristina:
    All restaurants.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... [inaudible 00:30:32].

    Cristina:
    All restaurants use canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or peanut. Like essentially if you're eating, unless they specifically say and you're in like, I don't know, L.A. or Portland, there's like hipsters using butter, but in most restaurants, and I know, I worked in the restaurant business, no one's using olive oil to cook with. They're all using seed-based oil. And vegetable oils, don't let them lie. They're not made from vegetables, they're all made from seeds.

    Dr. Anna:
    Okay. That's good to know when we think about that with vegetable oil. Now, what about MCT or coconut oil? How do you feel about that?

    Cristina:
    So interestingly enough, there actually was a study that I was going over with a colleague of mine the other day that did make some connections with even that coconut saturated fats being a little inflammatory and causing some issues, and I noticed I relied so heavily on coconut early on when I went AIP and Paleo but noticed a reduction in symptoms when I lowered my coconut intake.

    Cristina:
    So I think MCT oil can be great as a supplement, you know, use sparingly like if you're going to add a little bit to a smoothie, maybe to your coffee, but I don't think you need to be drinking it every day, and then I think coconut oil the same thing. I find myself... Just make sure it's in rotation with like you can use ghee, you can use coconut oil, but don't use it for everything all day every day. Mix it in with the olive oil, with the avocado oil, so you're using it may be for something higher heat cooking if you want to try something, not every day, not all the time.

    Cristina:
    So definitely still it's a natural option, it's not as inflammatory as the canola oil or whatever.

    Dr. Anna:
    That's an interesting study. That's an interesting study that was released looking at that, that MCT could be pro-inflammatory when we were looking at it, and I definitely want to dig more into that study and see. But in general, rule of thumb, don't do the same thing every day, every day.

    Cristina:
    Variety. Variety, it's key. It's key for keeping that like, your body, and even people say, "Oh, what is it? The IG came back and it said I'm allergic to..." I don't know, let's think of like a really random food, like tuna.

    Dr. Anna:
    Or garlic.

    Cristina:
    Or garlic.

    Dr. Anna:
    My daughter had a garlic [crosstalk 00:32:33].

    Cristina:
    But it's like, but if you eat it every single day, well how often are you eating tuna? "I eat it almost every day." I'm like, "Well that's why, because your body is creating antibodies to it. Anything that you are consuming all the time you're going to have antibodies present," so keeping that variety.

    Dr. Anna:
    Keeping that variety, and just on that note with heavy metals in tuna, so probably not more than once or twice a week on tuna.

    Cristina:
    Exactly.

    Dr. Anna:
    But that's a big thing too, so what are your favorite fish, looking at low mercury fish?

    Cristina:
    Obviously the smaller ones are great, so as far as really environmentally-friendly and nutrient, sardines. You can't go wrong with sardines, and the smaller mackerels are really good too. Herring and they've got really good omega-3 ratios. I do love some wild-caught salmon, although I feel like it's harder and harder to find good wild-caught salmon.

    Cristina:
    I also really like cod and mahi-mahi and stuff like that, but definitely the ones we have on a regular basis I would say are sardines, the smoked oysters, and I get canned ones from Crown and Prince, and they're packed in olive oil. They're delicious. And they're not fishy for those of you being like, "Ooh." They're super meaty and really yummy.

    Cristina:
    And we do salmon fresh or even canned sometimes and make little salmon cakes from them, and just kind of the kids love it. I make these little salmon balls and we can just pan fry them and eat them with Primo Kitchen Mayo, and it's so good.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love it, and I love Primo Kitchen Mayo. That is some good stuff. Yeah, no, I love it. So just if people who are listening that have been struggling with skin conditions, aches and pains, joint pains, what would you suggest for their next right step and food elimination?

    Cristina:
    If they're already like, "Well I've been already doing keto and I've already been for a long time and I still don't have X, Y, Z symptoms," the first one, if you're doing regular keto, is go dairy-free.

    Cristina:
    I know that's hard for a lot of people because traditional keto relies so heavily on dairy, but I try to remind people, that was like the [inaudible 00:34:27] kind of like... The medical keto was never dairy heavy, it was always a very Paleo-centered and Paleo approach. It became popular because, of course, dairy makes everything easy, but if your diet's consisting of mostly cream cheese and shredded mozzarella, that's probably not good. It's not even high-quality dairy at that. So dairy's the first one, then I would say nuts. And if that doesn't help, then I'd say we'd have to go full-blown, like let's go bare-bones, like leafy greens, protein and then we'll start adding in things from there.

    Cristina:
    But one thing I do tell people is that elimination protocols don't address the root cause always. They give your body a break to heal, but like you said, there are oftentimes underlying causes. How many people are running around taking antacids or different medications that are wreaking havoc on their GI, not just lower but upper GI?

    Cristina:
    And so another thing I've been like, which I cover in Made Simple in the digestion... the simple things that people don't realize, I mean, I love mineral water. I drink Topo Chico, I love [crosstalk 00:35:28]-

    Dr. Anna:
    Topo Chico's my favorite too. I know. There's like a groupie, you know. There's a fan club-

    Cristina:
    It's a cult.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... for Topo Chico.

    Cristina:
    But I don't drink it with my meals, because you don't want to drink a lot of liquid with your meals and carbonated beverages and you want to optimize that upper digestion so the food is broken down properly before it reaches your gut or you're going to be causing that leaky gut, you're going to be causing a dysbiosis. People are like, "It keeps happening over and over again." I'm like, "Well are you chewing your food? Are you drinking too much liquid with your meals? Are you stressed out when you eat?" The simple kind of right in front of your face habits that they're not changing, or medical history.

    Cristina:
    Like I took Nexium and all the antacids for years in my 20s, so I had to do a serious repair with digestive enzymes and some HCL, and like now just now when we see [inaudible 00:36:17] in a clinic with clients, it's a major thing that recurring digestive stuff because they're not watching their habits. And then, of course, we do the GI-MAP, we do stool tests a lot, analysis and look at...

    Dr. Anna:
    That's one of my favorites, testing GI-MAP.

    Cristina:
    Yeah, and so a lot of people are running around with, "I can't get rid of my things," but you just change your diet but you weren't kind of seeing what's under the hood, so I tell people, and now these at-home tests, and yes, I get that they give people some insight, but people always say, "What do you think of the Everly one?" I'm like, "Honestly, the test is only as good as the practitioner you have to help you read it and then address the cause."

    Cristina:
    So I'm a big fan of finding a practitioner and work with them because a practitioner's going to have a protocol that's effective, that's been tested, and again, just doing an antimicrobial protocol on your own is not recommended if you do have SIBO or you have H. Pylori or you just have dysbiosis.

    Cristina:
    So if you have symptoms and you're still bloating, if you can't eat anything and you're like, "Everything makes me bloat," or you have diarrhea and constipation, like one or the other alternating, fine, get your gut tested because you're not going to address that root cause just by diet, unfortunately.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yeah, and weaning off of antacids and weaning off of these medications can really take some time, but it is so worth it, it's 100% worth it for our brain health, neurotransmitter health, aging.

    Cristina:
    Yes.

    Dr. Anna:
    For healthy aging to reduce our risk of all inflammatory conditions down the line, we have to get off of these antacids, and I've done a couple of great webinars, you know, written about it in some of my blogs, but also just in the whole concept of stop drinking with your meals. That is one of the key culprits to digestive issues. It is huge.

    Dr. Anna:
    Well, Cristina, I've loved talking about you. Let's talk about your books and then where people can find you. I already recommend that they check out your Instagram page, The Castaway Kitchen.

    Cristina:
    Thank you. Yeah, I'm really active on social, always sharing stuff on there. So both my books are available anywhere books are sold. Made Simple, which is easy recipes, and this one covers the foundations of health, so it covers digestion and a lot that we talk about today and the habits for digestion and how to optimize the hydration mineral balance, fatty acid balance and blood sugar regulation, metabolic flexibility. Super easy recipes here. And the books all have a picture for every single recipe and macros for everything and a meal prep plan.

    Cristina:
    This one is, it combines Paleo, keto, and AIP and has five meal plans including an AIP keto reset, like we talked about that serious elimination protocol, and has just a ton of resources for cooking and how to just get your kitchen set up for like a wholefood kitchen.

    Cristina:
    So they're massive. Like this one's over 400 pages, this one almost... But they're...

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that.

    Cristina:
    Yeah, anywhere books are sold. You can buy them Amazon online, Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, wherever.

    Dr. Anna:
    Thank you. Well we were going to do some cooking videos together and we'll do that on social as well, we'll record some for our Keto-Green community, and I look forward to doing those and sharing you more with my community. I love what you're doing and-

    Cristina:
    Likewise.

    Dr. Anna:
    ... [crosstalk 00:39:29].

    Cristina:
    I love your new book. It's so good.

    Dr. Anna:
    Thank you. Well, I'm proud of you for not giving up, and what an example you're setting for so many young women everywhere, women everywhere, and men too. Men completely are struggling with so many conditions. They've been protected with their androgenic hormones for a while, but it has shifted now. They're really, really struggling too.

    Dr. Anna:
    So thank you for being with us today on The Girlfriend Doctor podcast. I'll provide links to your books and you as well in the show notes, so you guys check that out, and I will be back with you in just a moment.

    Dr. Anna:
    I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I know I did. And to hear Cristina's journey, how she struggled with hidradenitis suppurativa for decades, and how that can really affect our body image and knowing how simple it was, simple with hard work. Let's not underline the word simple here, because it is hard work to change a lifestyle, to especially culturally in certain areas growing up with certain foods. I mean, there are certain foods that can be working against us that are part of our heritage and it is a challenge to break up with that. For example, just simply taco shells, or for me [inaudible 00:40:47], and different foods and desserts that we really love, but we break up with these and we really need to break up with them for good.

    Dr. Anna:
    But, as I say that, it is a process of healing the gut, healing our immune system, and healing our mind as we accomplish these tasks, and what a huge accomplishment it is. It absolutely is. I know from hearing stories of women in my community that has taken the Keto-Green 16 challenge and have absolutely up-leveled their life, turned their life around, rid themselves of so many diagnoses and symptoms that it's really, you know, honestly I say this is the gift of God in the work that I do because we have to make these changes and it's not just about one thing, as you heard Cristina and I say, it's not just about the food, there are so many lifestyle factors that we incorporate into our lives that can really change the way we feel and improve our health overall.

    Dr. Anna:
    So thrilled with the success of our Keto-Green 16 challenge and our Keto-Green community that is so active on Facebook. I hope you all will join me there, and please share this episode and check out Cristina's books. I look forward to seeing you next week.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

    Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.