Crispy Chicken Salad with Creamy Mango Dressing

crispy chicken salad aip paleo


This gluten-free Crispy Chicken Salad is topped with a Creamy Mango Dressing!



Today I asked a very stupid question on Instagram, “Do you want this recipe now or should I save it for my ebook?” Who in their right mind would be like, “Well, that’s nice of you to ask, but I’ll wait a few months.” If you don’t follow me on social media, I have announced I’m working on an AIP-friendly recipe ebook that will hopefully be finished late fall! I’ve stated this several times but the timing is dependent on the amount and length of the naps Grace takes.


My ebook is a solution to some problems I’ve found with AIP recipes. Firstly, there’s a lack of a wide variety of ethnic recipes that truly taste like the real deal. Just because something looks like an empanada doesn’t mean it tastes like one. Second, I want to bring creative and unique recipes that get you excited to eat no matter if you’re Paleo or not!


While I consider this a Paleo blog, I really do try to make recipes that anyone would love. Lastly, I want to recreate comfort food favorites you had no idea could be made without grains, dairy, nuts or nightshades! I have a recipe for Chicken & Waffles, Cheesy Gratin, Shawarma, Arepa & some really delicious dairy-free ice creams!


I hope my ebook fills a void in the autoimmune community that both adults and children will enjoy! My main goal is for you to love everything you eat and prevent any “meh” meals from entering your mouth. I think I did that with The Healing Kitchen but these recipes are more creative for sure!



This gluten-free Crispy Chicken Salad with Creamy Mango Dressing fits that bill too!


— The chicken is coated in crushed Yucan Crunch which I’ve also used in some other recipes including my Roasted Bone Marrow Spread on Toast & Ginger Cookie Crunch Ice Cream!

— The larger pieces that don’t get finely crushed in your food processor also make the most delicious little croutons when fried with the chicken.

— I topped this salad with fresh and crunchy romaine, cucumber and sliced water chestnuts for tons of TEXTURE.

— You’re going to love this CREAMY MANGO DRESSING too! It has a bit of an Asian flare thanks to the garlic, ginger and fish sauce but the sweet, ripe mango balances it out so kids will enjoy it too!

— Make sure you use a ripe mango for the smoothest dressing and most balanced taste! If your mango isn’t ripe, you may find the dressing needs some added sweetness from honey.



Someone on Instagram asked if they can use peach in place of the mango. I don’t see a problem with that (although it’ll be more peach-flavored) but make sure your peach is sweet, ripe and fleshy. I hate the word fleshy. I apologize for using it here. I don’t want to leave you on a fleshy note but I’ve run out of word vomit. Great, I’ll leave you with vomit. Bye!



crispy chicken salad gluten free




1 review

Crispy Chicken Salad with Creamy Mango Dressing

Preparation 00:15 2017-12-13T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:06 2017-12-13T00:06:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings
crispy chicken salad aip paleo



  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crushed Yucan Crunch (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Optional: 1 cup shredded carrots and 1 diced avocado

Creamy Mango Dressing

  • 1 cup peeled and cubed ripe mango
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Make the dressing: Puree all Creamy Mango Dressing ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Set aside to allow flavors to marry while you prepare salad. 
  2. In a shallow bowl, toss crushed Yucan Crunch and sea salt with chicken until evenly coated. Please read note below on how to prepare the Yucan Crunch and what to sub it for if needed.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and fry in oil on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Scrape up any browned pieces that fall off the chicken. They make excellent "croutons". Set aside while you prepare salad. 
  4. In a large serving bowl, layer the romaine, water chestnuts, cucumber, cilantro and optional carrots and avocado. Drizzle with Creamy Mango Dressing and top with Crispy Chicken. Serve immediately. 

Recipe Notes

Break one large Yucan Crunch cracker into small pieces. Pulse in a food processor until finely crushed. It is okay if some larger pieces remain. They make excellent "croutons" when fried as directed in the recipe. You will use 1/4 cup of this crushed mixture to coat the chicken in this recipe. 

Substitution: Use 1/4 cup cassava flour

Yucan Crunch is a Paleo, AIP-Friendly, gluten-free cracker made from dried yuca. Each package comes with 4 humongous crackers that you break up into pieces. You can buy it on Amazon. 

Pan-Fried Chicken, Olives & Shallot with Garlic & Herb Roasted Roots

To a Paleo girl, Pan-Fried Chicken with salty olives & crisp shallots over garlic & herb roasted vegetables is pure comfort food!



I actually first made this recipe in the middle of summer, and it has been sitting on my desktop awaiting the first signs of Fall. Well, in Florida we don’t really get a Fall… and if we do it’s more like 3-days of 60’s in November. But I know most of you are lucky enough to get a change of weather!


Seasonal jealousy over here. It washes away when I’m laying out on January 20th while most people are digging their cars out of snow though.


As we prepare for Hurricane Irma, I am sitting on my couch watching Real Housewives of Orange County and typing up this recipe for you guys. I need a break from the local news. I had major insomnia last night and am EXHAUSTED today. I could hang with a 4-hour sleep when Grace was first born. For some reason, these days if I don’t get a solid 7 or 8, I am a monster.


Okay, let’s talk food. If you love roasted chicken & vegetables as much as me, you’ll love this dish even more. When you slice up rutabaga and carrots and coat them in a garlic & herb mixture, you get magic fries. And when you top those magic fries with pan-fried chicken breast dancing with salty kalamatas (my favorite recipe addition of all time) and fried shallots, you get chicken boobie addiction.



1 review

Pan-Fried Chicken, Olives & Shallot with Garlic & Herb Roasted Roots

Preparation 00:15 2017-12-13T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:25 2017-12-13T00:25:00+00:00 Serves 2     adjust servings


Garlic & Herb Roasted Roots

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 medium rutabaga
  • 5 medium carrots

Pan-Fried Chicken, Olives & Shallot

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Garlic & Herb Roasted Roots

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you have a Convection option on your oven, use it for the crispest fries. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary and sea salt in a small bowl.
  3. Slice rutabaga and carrots into long, thin fries, no more than 1/3-inch wide. Toss vegetables with the herb mixture until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking hseet.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes until browned. Meanwhile, prepare the Shallot Chicken.

Pan-Fried Chicken, Olives & Shallot

  1. While the vegetables roast, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add shallots to the pan and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until browned. Add olives and sliced chicken and toss with shallots. Fry chicken on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked through. Stir in balsamic and sea salt and simmer for 1 minute to thicken the sauce, scraping any browned bites off the pan.
  3. Serve Shallot Chicken and juices over roasted vegetables and serve warm.

Recipe Notes


12 Kid-Friendly Gluten-Free Breakfasts (AIP)

gluten-free breakfast


Feeding littles one isn’t always easy especially if your children have food allergies or intolerances. With these 12 gluten-free & kid-friendly breakfast recipes, you’ll be armed with a rotation of nutritious options this school year!



The modern day lunchbox is changing. Food allergies in youth are on the rise. More and more doctors are also recommending healing diets like AIP, GAPS & SCD for children with gut issues, autism, and behavioral disorders. This means “gluten-free” and “dairy-free” are becoming just as ubiquitous as “nut-free” in schools.


I know feeding children with special dietary needs can be challenging. I also feel passionately that children thrive in inclusive environments. Starting in grade school or even earlier, children become aware of differences between them and their classmates. Even though your child may have dietary restrictions, they can still go to school with a breakfast that looks similar to their peers.


The below list includes nutritious and tasty AIP breakfast recipes that can be prepared in advance as a grab n’ go option, quickly reheated in the morning or whipped up in 2 minutes or less (like the Instant Breakfast cereal!) I didn’t include any smoothies on this list but of course those are great options for kids. I find the blend of pineapple, kale, cucumber, avocado and banana to be particularly kid friendly! You can even add some Vital Proteins Collagen for a boost of protein.






Grain-Free Coconut Granola Bars

How amazing do these granola bars look!? I’m so impressed with Michelle from Unbound Wellness’ recipes and her saliva-inducing photos. These bars feature her grain-free granola and lots of coconut butter full of fiber, healthy fat and no-sugar-added sweetness. Keep on ice if packing for future consumption since coconut butter and oil melt below 75 degrees. Want to add some extra protein to your kid’s breakfast? I suggest these AIP-Friendly grab & go options: US Wellness Meats Turkey Jerky, Epic Bison, Bacon & Cranberry Bars and Wild Zora meat bars.


Photo by Michelle Hoover of Unbound Wellness





Vanilla Energy Bites by Autoimmune Wellness

Energy bites without a date in sight by Mickey Trescott! These bites are made with dried apple rings and apricots – notable kid favorites. They have a little lemon and vanilla twist to keep kids’ and adults’ mouths happy though! Pack a few of these in a baggie for a quick bite or pair them with some bacon or sausage or a greens & fruit smoothie for a more well-rounded meal.

Photo by Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Wellness




Blueberries & Cream Gummies

These gelatin-filled protein gummies from Living Loving Paleo have a nice dose of antioxidants from the blueberries to prime the immune system to fight all those back-to-school germs. Gummies should be kept refrigerated or on an ice pack for the best taste, but you can also serve them at room temperature. They’ll be a bit less firm though out of the fridge. Does your kid have another favorite berry? You can replace the blueberries with his or her choice. Just avoid tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and papaya which have enzymes in them that prevent the gelatin from thickening.




Co-Yo Coconut Yogurt with Berries & Coconut Flakes

No recipe required for this easy protein and fat-filled breakfast! Co-Yo is the absolute creamiest, thickest coconut yogurt on the market! They have some incredibly delicious fruit flavors but check the label first to see if your family is okay with some of the additives (not AIP). The plain flavor is AIP-Friendly! Check their store locator to find a retailer near you!

Photo credit: Co-Yo

co-yo yogurt




Breakfast Sausage Chicken Poppers

Sometimes making mini versions of foods is all it takes to make them desirable to children. Homemade ground meat sausages are also great options for kids with textural aversion to stringier meats. Michelle from Unbound Wellness has also managed to pack these little poppers with spinach, apple and sweet potato too plus bacon for extra flavor!




Berry Collagen Protein Bars

Do you have a hard gainer in your house? These coconut-filled and fueled bars will get their taste buds excited! Anne from Grassfed Salsa says these bars are so good they could almost be considered candy! But don’t fear – you won’t be sending your kid to school with a sugar-spiked nightmare breakfast. In fact, these are low in sugar, high in fiber, protein and fat. If you have a choosy eater on your hands, they may love this handheld breakfast bar!


Photo by Grassfed Salsa


Six Varieties of Allergy-Friendly Toast

Have a crunchy-lover in your house!? You’ll be in good company on Meatified’s site! And they’ll love Mission Heirloom’s Yucan Crunch which you can lightly toast in your oven and top with an array of nutritious goodies. Rachael gives you 6 tasty ideas in her post including a nut-free take on PB & Honey! Think of your kid’s favorite sandwich topping and stack away on these grain-free crunchy crackers! I lightly toast these in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes. If you really want to pack some nutrients in before 8 am, I highly recommend layering avocado, sauerkraut and bacon crumbles!


You can buy Yucan Crunch on Amazon now! Each pack comes with 4 HUGE crackers (think each the size of the biggest slice of pizza you’ve ever seen) so a 4-pack comes with a total of 16 crackers. It usually lasts me a couple months.




Instant Breakfast Cereal That Tastes Like Cracklin’ Oat Bran

Meet the world’s first AIP cereal… Instant Farina! Made from coconut, fibrous konjac root, tigernuts (not actual nuts, they’re tubers) and cinnamon, it tastes super similar to Cracklin’ Oat Bran, one of my childhood favorites! Just mix with water or coconut milk, let sit for 2 minutes and breakfast is on the table! Check out my recipe for Warm Banana “Oatmeal”! I find this cereal gets things moving, if you know what I mean, so it may be a good choice if you have a kiddo with chronic constipation. You can get Instant Farina on Amazon or Wild Mountain Paleo.


Warm Banana Cereal

Warm Banana Cereal by Grazed & Enthused



Baked Veggie Nuggets

Can’t get your kids to eat breakfast at lunch or dinner? Maybe tried some veggie nuggets in the morning! Most kids are obsessed with at least one condiment, right? Serve these with their favorite homemade mayo, ketchup, mustard or avocado dip! It’s an unconventional way to get veggies in your kids before 8 am, that’s for sure. Another winner from Unbound Wellness!



Sweet Potato Hash Browns 

Little crispy piles of sweet potato goodness by Downshiftology… these hashbrowns are cooked in healthy avocado oil (or ghee if tolerated) and seasoned with salt and pepper. Omit the pepper to keep it AIP compliant. Instead, sprinkle with ground cinnamon to add a little extra sweetness!



Cassava & Plantain-Free Banana Waffles

Oooh! AIP-compliant waffles by The Sweet Pea Blogger made without plantain or expensive cassava flour! These banana-bread style waffles are made with ripe bananas, coconut milk, coconut flour and tapioca. In my experience, you can substitute arrowroot for tapioca if that’s what you have on hand. The baking soda-cream of tarter combination helps these rise and stay fluffy out of the iron.



Flourless, Sugar-Free Waffles

These plantain-based Paleo waffles have absolutely no added sweetener or flour which makes them a very affordable breakfast option! You can find plantains at your store for usually $1 each (even Walmart carries them) whereas a bag of Paleo flour can cost up to $20 depending on the type! Instead of drizzling these with maple syrup, cook down some blueberries or strawberries in a small saucepan on the stove. This allows them to release their juices and thicken into a jam consistency. The perfect low-sugar gluten-free breakfast for your little waffle-lover.


How I Managed Hashimoto’s During Pregnancy

hashimoto's pregnancy

This was the last picture taken of me before I gave birth to my daughter May 2016.


One of the most frequent questions I receive these days is, “How did you manage your thyroid while pregnant?” This is a poignant question because pregnancy and post-partum is infamous for sending the thyroid awry whether or not you have Hashimoto’s disease.


my back story…

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at age 19 (10 years ago) and have been on some form of thyroid hormone replacement since then. In our community, we tend towards anti-medication but in the case of many autoimmune diseases, supporting the body through medication AND dietary and lifestyle changes is a true holistic approach.


My body requires supplemental hormone because the disease has significantly destroyed my thyroid prior to diagnosis and dietary changes. Once thyroid tissue is destroyed through autoimmunity or radiation, it will not produce the necessary thyroid hormone required for optimal metabolic function. This requires supplement through medication and it is incredibly important to adhere to your doctor’s advice regarding medication while pregnant.


A quick note on which thyroid medication I take:

I am one of the rare people who has a severe autoimmune attack to porcine thyroid hormone (Armour, Naturethroid, for example). In fact, the last time I took it, I launched into a 12-month long flare that ended during pregnancy. You will also likely find autoimmune disease remission during pregnancy as the immune system down regulates to protect the body from seeing your baby as an invader.

Instead, I do best on a synthetic combination of T4 (Tirosint) and T3 (liothyronine). Yes, I’ve tried compounded medication with a functional practitioner and my numbers do not stabilize well. No, I have not tried and will not try to go off my medication. Tirosint is a great option for those of you looking for additive-free synthetic thyroid medication. Ask your insurance if they will cover it.


My story with infertility is long, and I won’t be talking about it here. Instead, let’s start with conception to keep this focused. 


I went into pregnancy in the middle of that autoimmune flare mentioned above. Women with Hashimoto’s do have an increased risk of pregnancies not being carried to term (I don’t like the word “miscarriage”). As a woman with Hashimoto’s, I knew I needed to be an educated self-advocate during pregnancy and beyond.


I did not let these statistics scare me though. Sure I had my moments of worry like most moms, but I trusted and supported and loved my body extra during this time. When I needed to calm my mind, I used prayer, meditation and journaling to comfort me.


I am sharing with you the process I put into place the moment I found out I was pregnant in August 2015 to best ensure a healthy mom and a healthy baby.




I found out I was pregnant in Hawaii on our way from moving from Chicago to Austin. I didn’t have an OBGYN in Austin let alone a general practitioner.


The day I found out I was pregnant, I called my health insurance company from our Kauai Airbnb to get the number of a gynecology group in Austin under our plan. I knew they may not be the perfect fit, but I needed to establish care as soon as possible so I could get my thyroid tested immediately.

But what if I don’t have diagnosed Hashimoto’s? Should I still get my thyroid tested?

My answer as a thyroid patient is YES. If you have suspected Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism or have a family history, get your thyroid tested early in the first trimester. There is absolutely no risk to you to get this done but it can be risky to NOT know what your thyroid is doing in those formative weeks.

In fact, some thyroid experts advocate thyroid testing for every pregnant woman.


The office requested I only schedule my first appointment between 8 to 10 weeks pregnant, but I had done enough research on early pregnancy and Hashimoto’s to know I needed to get in sooner.


I was able to schedule my first appointment for 6 weeks. I would have preferred 5 weeks but they did not have availability. I requested a blood thyroid panel including TSH, free T4, free T3. I even got to see my baby as a little dot on a quick ultrasound (and hear her heart beat) during that appointment.


Backing up, I had a full panel done around the time of conception and knew my TSH, T3, and T4 were normal even though my antibodies were high from the flare. Just four weeks later at 6 weeks pregnant, my TSH increased from 1.0 to 9.0 and my T3 and T4 dropped.


The increased demand on your thyroid during the first trimester is no joke. If you have a damaged thyroid due to Hashimoto’s, your thyroid may not be able to keep up with this increase demand. Test early, test often, and test fully.


Test early, test often, and test fully.


We increased my thyroid dosage by about 50% to stabilize my numbers. At this time, I was only on T4 and not T3. In fact, during pregnancy, I could not find a practitioner to prescribe me T3 since it has not been studied in pregnant women. You may have a different experience with that depending on your practitioner. I got on T3 within a few weeks of giving birth. Even without supplemental T3, I was able to keep my T3 in the 50% range and had bounds of energy throughout pregnancy.





Many thyroid patients will agree that finding the right practitioner, one knowledgeable in full thyroid panels and optimal levels (not just “in range” levels) is a necessity. Pregnant women especially must feel they are in good care with their medical team. Your OBGYN, midwife or general practitioner will likely be the one in charge of monitoring your thyroid while pregnant. 


You’ll likely encounter a physician who doesn’t believe in testing T3. I did several times (endocrinologists are notoriously the worst about this ironically). I essentially “fired” those physicians but not before providing information on why testing T3 is so important for their thyroid patients. This topic is worthy of more than just a quick paragraph here.


Rather than having an endocrinologist follow my thyroid throughout pregnancy, I trusted my gynecologist. We worked together to establish a plan of care that included frequent testing, monitoring of symptoms, and extra care to ensure that Grace was growing adequately. Since mothers with unmanaged Hashimoto’s can have babies with low weight as well as an increased risk of pre-term labor, we wanted to monitor closely.


How I Self-Advocate with Physicians

Whenever I move to a new city or visit a new doctor, I am very clear about a few things. I tell them I am a seasoned thyroid patient, I know how to read my lab numbers, and I know when I need a change in medication. I have lived this and researched it for a decade, and I would like to be treated that way.


The only physicians who have responded negatively to this are endocrinologists so I refuse to see them anymore. Am I being harsh about endocrinologists? It may seem that way. But over ten years, I’ve had the exact (it’s eery) same experience with over a dozen of them. It angers me to see so many thyroid patients often poorly managed by these specialists.


Being this upfront may not be easy, especially in a world where we believe medical practitioners are above us. Remember, no one knows you better. Trust yourself, your experiences and your intuition. Your doctor is your teammate not your boss.





My doctor felt most comfortable testing my thyroid every 4 to 6 weeks throughout pregnancy to ensure stabilization. I informed her at my first appointment at 6 weeks that I tend to have a volatile thyroid that struggles with stress and hormonal changes (so prevalent in pregnancy and post-partum!)


This is another instance of self-advocacy in the hierarchical medical model. Speak up for yourself. Don’t be complacent with your physician. You know your body way better than they do. They know textbooks, they know previous patients. They do not know you. Help them get to know you.


Thankfully, I only had to adjust my medicine once during pregnancy in the first trimester and was able to maintain that dosage throughout. Your doctor needs to be well-informed on the thyroid ranges for pregnant women as they do differ from non-pregnant women. For example, the TSH range is quite a bit tighter than for non-pregnant women, and it also changes slightly the first to the second trimester.


Most providers will want your TSH below 2.5 for the first trimester and below 3.0 for the second and third trimester. My TSH stayed around 2.0 throughout my pregnancy, about twice as high as when non-pregnant. I was not concerned with this number after researching the increased demand on the thyroid. It makes sense my pituitary was sending out a “produce more thyroid hormone” signal to my thyroid.


That being said, be aware of your hypothyroid symptoms even if your numbers are in range, especially if they are at the higher end of the range. For example, I could barely walk up the stairs my first trimester. This symptom (what I call “stair fatigue”) is a classic hypothyroid symptom for me. I knew I needed to give the increased dosage a couple weeks to kick in before my symptoms would reside though. Once the meds kicked in, my fatigue quickly dissipated.


It’s important to know your body in this way. Get a sense of what it feels like to be hypothyroid and to feel well. Note those hypothyroid symptoms so that if and when they appear, you can get yourself to your doctor for testing.




I started the autoimmune protocol in 2014, about 18 months before getting pregnant. In fact, it was key in helping me reverse my infertility diagnosis. I didn’t use pregnancy as an excuse to go wild on cravings though. If there’s ever a time in your life to treat your body with respect, it’s during pregnancy and post-partum.


The nutritional and energy demands of a woman’s body during this time are astounding. I made a pact with myself to stick as closely to the principles of the autoimmune protocol as possible during pregnancy and post-partum. Note that I said the principles of the protocol and not the elimination phase of the protocol.


For me, this meant including foods I knew I tolerated well such as soaked organic white rice cooked in broth, dark chocolate, seed spices and treats like store-bought coconut milk ice cream. This allowed me to focus on nutrient density while still having fun with food and listening to my body.


I would be lying if I said I ate “perfectly healthy” my entire pregnancy. I am not a diet perfectionist by any means. My food choices stem from my intuition, my mood, the social setting and frankly what’s in my fridge. While I ate dark chocolate most days, I also never skipped a meal. I had three balanced meals each day that included protein (a must!), leafy greens (folate!), starchy veggies (glucose!) and fats like avocado or coconut. I wish I still ate like that post-partum!


I personally do not believe in attempting low carb and ketogenic diets during pregnancy. I only mention this because they are trending hard right now. I am so happy for all the people these diets heal and bring happiness. If you naturally eat low carb (and you’re being honest with yourself about it being natural), then continue to listen to your body.


But if you are truly craving sweet potatoes, dried mango or a bowl of freakin’ cereal, then YOU get to decide if you eat that or not. Not a diet guru. In fact, I had gluten-free cereal several times during pregnancy. I also distinctly recall eating a bowl of rice with coconut aminos at 3 am because I woke up craving it and was starving (2nd trimester hungry, if you know what I mean).


My pregnant body craved SPECIFIC foods like citrus, mango, berries and sweet potatoes. And I don’t blame this on being a “sugar-burner” (so many opinions on that terminology, by the way). These are common food cravings for pregnant women for good reason – our bodies demand all of that folate, vitamin C and glucose they’re asking for. WE’RE BUILDING A HUMAN. Be easy on yourself but also treat your body with respect and let that be reflected on your plate, with your sleep, your stress management, your movement and your relationships.



It is my goal one day to provide a more inclusive guide of managing autoimmune disease during pregnancy. Until then, I hope this article provided you with some helpful, actionable information to protect your thyroid health during pregnancy. 




Hypothyroid Mom is an excellent resource for additional information on fertility and pregnancy. Dana Trentini is also the author of Your Healthy Pregnancy with Thyroid Disease. You can also order your own full thyroid panel with a coupon code on her website.


Looking for post-partum support? I found Dr. Jolene Brighten’s book Healing the Body Naturally After Childbirth helpful.


I also have written an article on Balancing Hormones for Fertility. You can read more about my story of reversing infertility here.


Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner, and I will not be able to answer specific questions regarding your health state. I am here for emotional support and to provide hope. The information in this article is based on my personal experience and research. 


Antioxidant Trail Mix + my favorite travel food!

nut-free paleo trail mix

Paleo Nut-Free Trail Mix will make you equal parts happy & satiated!


This weekend I’ll be taking my first trip away from Grace for 48 hours. Wish my husband luck – he’ll be playing stay-at-home dad during that time! He’s looking forward to having some quality one-on-one time with his girl.


I’m heading to New Orleans for a big bachelorette weekend with some of my best friends from all over the country. We’ll be doing tons of sightseeing (including a ghost tour), drinking (excessive is the word of the weekend) and eating! I won’t have any say in the restaurants though which means it may be hard for me to get nourishing meals in!


While I’m planning on tanking up on all the nutrients once I get home, I also am upping my Purse Snack Game. Nary an avocado will be in sight in my diaper bag backpack this weekend! Yup – traveling in style since I have to bring my breast pump with me to the bars! (First time pumping & dumping!)



This Happy Trail Mix fits the bill for my Paleo-friendly snack situation – nut-free, antioxidant-rich, full of healthy fats & delicious!






Raw Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas):

In just one serving of this mix, you’ll get IRON (about 20% DV), FIBER (5g), MAGNESIUM (about 50% of DV) & they’re anti-inflammatory (perfect for any hangover that will ensue!) You can find these at any health food store in the bulk section! Great price too & much cheaper than nuts!


Toasted Coconut Flakes (I use Dang brand):

Slightly sweet Dang Toasted Coconut Flakes add a delicate crunch and 20g of heart-healthy (yep, you read that right) saturated fat! Fat makes you full without tanking your energy and causing drastic blood sugar fluctuations! Fat is also another powerful detoxifier & the sweetness from the coconut will take care of any travel cravings!


Organic Raisins:

What’s a trail mix without raisins!? They’re also full of fiber to keep you full and their chewiness can’t be beat! They’re also travel constipation busters! But don’t stop at raisins – you can use dried wild blueberries, apple juice sweetened cranberries, dried white mulberries, and even diced organic prunes to keep you regular!


Alter Eco 90% Dark Chocolate:


Okay… but really… what’s a trail mix without dark chocolate!? Dark chocolate is an incredible source of even more fat, fiber, antioxidants, magnesium and iron! Talk about the building blocks to a full tummy, a happy heart and an energized body! I have been loving dark chocolate that is 85% and higher for years. In fact, I ate dark chocolate everyday during pregnancy and was happy basically the entire time!


Some other dark chocolates I recommend: Taza, Guittard & Eating Evolved


What else will I be bringing on my trip to keep me nourished?



Paleo on the Go meals:

I ordered several AIP Menu Paleo on the Go meals that I’ll be picking up today! They are located only 20 minutes from my house! But they also ship so if you have travel coming up and don’t want to skip meals… make your life super simple with POTG! The meals are so delicious and crafted by an executive chef.


I ordered the Beef Breakfast Empanadas (breakfast), Bangers & Mash (breakfast the day I get home), Bacon Apple Chicken Burgers (lunch), Beef Brisket with AIP BBQ Sauce & Roasted Garlic Mash (airport lunch) and Strawberry Pop Tarts (for Grace as a special treat while I’m gone!)



Did you know Paleo on the Go has a full AIP MENU including breakfast & snacks!?







Gelatin Gummies:

I find gummies very filling since they’re full of protein from grass-fed gelatin. They’re also a great way to get gelatin in your gut when you don’t have access to bone broth and collagen smoothies. I have a recipe for 4 different gummies in The Healing Kitchen that use whole fruit instead of fruit juice and don’t contain added sweetener.


Seaweed Snacks:

These crunchy and salty seaweed sheets are addicting and contain trace minerals from sea vegetables and sea salt. My favorite brand is Sea Snax. Kids love them too!


Epic Bars:

In my opinion, the tastiest Epic Bar flavors are also the AIP-friendly ones (nightshade-free)! I will be bringing several bars of the Uncured Bacon & the Bison Cranberry! You can also chop these up and put them in your trail mix!


Green Juice (purchased at destination):

Green juice is my #1 detox go-to. Not only am I stocking up on the large bottles of Suja Power Greens before I travel but once I arrive in New Orleans, I’ll be sourcing green juice and stocking my hotel fridge! Any hangover won’t stand a chance when I’m downing a liter of green juice, or so I’d like to think.


Party Smart Hangover Remedy:

I haven’t tried this herbal supplement before but it contains several herbs that are supposed to speed the detoxification of alcohol from your body. After reading reviews, most people said it worked for them! I’ll give it a shot and let you know on Instagram how it worked!



Glutathione is a master detoxifier so I’m bringing my glutathione supplement with me. I much prefer liquid glutathione but it requires refrigeration so I’ll be taking a capsule form with me and taking it once or twice per day.



Also, need tips on dining out with food allergies while traveling!? Check out all of my best tips HERE!







1 review

Happy Antioxidant Trail Mix

Preparation 00:10 2017-12-13T00:10:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings



  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (shelled)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2.5 ounces 85% or higher dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces


 Mix all ingredients together in a container or bag. Divide among 4 small bags for mini on-the-go travel snacks. 

Recipe Notes

 You may use roasted and salted pumpkin seeds as well, but try to find a brand that uses olive oil rather than vegetable oil.



Dairy-Free Garlic Cream Sauce (Paleo, AIP)

dairy-free garlic cream sauce

Cheesy Garlic Cream Sauce without any of the dairy & made from vegetables! This sauce is delicious on EVERY.THING.

This isn’t like any AIP Alfredo I’ve tried before either.

It’s extra creamy thanks to white sweet potato (the most magical ingredient in all the land).

The light allium flavor from sauteed garlic and onion gives this it’s cheesy taste without any nutritional yeast.

It’s incredibly affordable to make & batch cook! It truly makes any entree or side dish extra delicious.

Find out all the ways I’ve been using this Dairy-Free Garlic Cream Sauce



dairy-free garlic cream sauce

Detox Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

detox kale salad

This detox kale salad is all sorts of crunchy & tangy… and it is suitable for Whole30, vegan, Paleo, gluten-free & grain-free diets!

After having amazing success with the Zesty Ginger Spring Love Your Liver 18-day detox program, I decided to join the summer session too! I’m taking what I learned about myself during the first program and applying it to this one.

You can read all about the health benefits I received from the program HERE

That means I’ve allowed myself some very dark chocolate during the detox because it makes an elimination diet a lot easier for me. I’ve been keeping up with all the dry brushing, oil pulling, rebounding & teas and tonics the program suggests. I’ve even been able to reintroduce foods that I hadn’t eaten in years like ghee and legumes!


I’ve also continued to include foods I otherwise didn’t eat frequently but add to my happiness & health! Like the pepitas and hemp seeds in this salad. Crunchy, nutritious & adds texture to even the blandest of side salads.

This salad is far from bland though! The Creamy Lemon Dressing adds some tang and sweetness (from the coconut butter) without being super oily like a traditional dressing. Crunch from the broccoli and seeds makes for a big, satisfying mouthful of liver detoxifying greens!

Add some protein! Grilled chicken would be delicious here…. as would some broiled salmon!

detox kale salad

I get this question all the time when I post raw kale salads on Instagram: Can you eat that with Hashimoto’s?

There’s a long-standing belief that if you have Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism it’s best to avoid cruiciferous vegetables until cooked. Cooking cruciferous veggies decreases the goitrogenic effect. Goitrogens in food can block iodine absorption, which is a cause of hypothyroidism is non-Westernized parts of the world.

The thing is… my case of Hashimoto’s is not caused by iodine deficiency. I have autoimmune thyroiditis and you can learn more about the case from my podcast episode on The Unbound Healing Podcast!  In fact, I just had my blood markers done and my iodine level was excellent. And that’s eating raw kale salads weekly as well as adding greens like spinach, arugula and kale to my morning smoothies.

Okay, now go get your crunch on!

1 review

Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

Preparation 00:15 2017-12-13T00:15:00+00:00 Serves 2 to 4     adjust servings


  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup roasted & salted pepitas
  • 3 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Creamy Lemon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup coconut butter or manna
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Wash and dry kale. Remove ribs and thinly slice kale leaves. Place in a large salad bowl. 
  2. Massage kale with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil until softened. 
  3. Make the Creamy Lemon Dressing: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. 
  4. Add broccoli florets to the dressing in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Combining the broccoli with the dressing coats the salad nicely and evenly distributes the crunchy goodness. 
  5. Toss the pepitas, hemp seeds and cilantro with the kale and broccoli/dressing until combined. Serve room temp or cold.

Recipe Notes


Nightshade-Free Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot)


paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip



Nightshade-free Ropa Vieja!? This classic Cuban comfort food has been created without any inflammatory tomatoes or peppers but is anything but light on flavor!



I’ve been dreaming of providing the AIP community with a true-to-Cuba version of Ropa Vieja. I’m so excited my experiment turned out favorably! Bonus: It’s made in the Instant Pot!



If you’re not familiar with Ropa Vieja, it is one of the most delicious recipes of Cuban cuisine. Traditionally it is made with flank steak, lots of bell peppers, paprika, tomatoes and sometimes green olives and capers. The steak is braised in the juices of all those tasty veggies and broth. My version is quite the departure in terms of ingredients but not in flavor!



How can I make Ropa Vieja without nightshades!?


This AIP-friendly version comes close to the real thing – it’s pretty amazing! You’ll need two elimination phase introductions for this recipe: cumin and black pepper. The black pepper adds some spiciness without the nightshades & the cumin is a MUST! I’m sure it’ll still be tasty if you leave those things out, but I wouldn’t call it Ropa Vieja – maybe just tasty shredded beef and olives.



Instead of flank steak, I use a more affordable cut of beef! Stew beef – I can find grass-fed stew beef for only 3.99/lb at my grocery store Earth Fare. Flank steak isn’t always available and it’s usually upwards of $8/lb! I also use kalamata olives because I love the robust taste of kalamatas but you could use the traditional green olives here too.



Now instead of using tomato sauce and tomatoes, all of this tasty goodness comes from simmering down the leftover juices from the beef, onions, fish sauce, coconut aminos and apple juice. You will be shocked at what an incredibly rich, savory and thick tomato-like sauce you will achieve with your Instant Pot! All of these ingredients come together to mimic the sweet umami flavor of tomato-based recipes.


Lastly, I suggest serving this delicious Ropa Vieja over a baked white sweet potato or a bowl of cauliflower rice with avocado, extra lime juice and cilantro. This is such a slap-you-in-your-face flavorful dish, you really can’t go wrong!




Making this recipe in a slow cooker?


While I haven’t done that, here are my best suggestions! Perform the first ** steps cooking for 4 to 6 hours in your slow cooker. Remove the beef to a serving bowl and transfer the liquid, onions and bay leaf to a small saucepan on your stovetop. Simmer uncovered until condensed into a thick, rich sauce.



Looking for more Paleo-friendly Cuban dishes?

Try my Nightshade-Free Cuban Picadillo & Vaca Frita!


paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip





2 reviews

Nightshade-Free Ropa Vieja

Preparation 00:10 2017-12-13T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time :55 2017-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings
paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip



  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives


  1. Turn “Saute” function on your Instant Pot on Medium heat. Heat avocado oil. Saute onion for 5 minutes then add chopped garlic.
  2. Cook for another 2 minutes before stirring in the sea salt, cumin, pepper and turmeric. Cook the onions downs for 2 more minutes until slightly reduced.
  3. Add the beef, coconut aminos, apple juice and fish sauce. Set “Meat/Stew” function on to automatically pressure cook for 35 minutes. 
  4. When timer elapses, transfer the beef to a large bowl, leaving the onions and liquid in the Instant Pot. Turn the "Saute" function back on and add the bay leaf to the pot. Allow liquid to simmer and condense to a thick sauce for the next 15 to 20 minutes keeping a close eye on it. The sauce should be thick like tomato sauce and dark red. 
  5. Meanwhile, shred the beef with two forks and stir in the lime juice. When the sauce is ready, discard the bay leaf and stir sauce into the shredded beef. Mix in sliced olives and serve. 

Recipe Notes

 You may use other cuts of beef here but you may need to adjust the cooking time. See blog post for slow cooker suggestions. 




paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip

How to Use Your Instant Pot

If you haven’t picked up one of these ultra-handy modern day kitchen conveniences, you’re likely spending way too much time in the kitchen. Here are my best tips for how to use your Instant Pot and the best model for you!


I bought my first Instant Pot in 2013. I remember the day fondly…. a cloudy November in Chicago when all I wanted to do was cuddle up on the couch with my dog and a bowl of soup. Yet I had no broth nor a time machine to travel 24 to 48 hours prior to make broth in my slow cooker or *gasp* on my stovetop.


But I finally had what I affectionately refer to as my Silver-Haired Boyfriend: the Instant Pot 6-in-1 6 quart pressure cooker. He came to to the rescue like a knight in shining stainless steel. One hour later I had soup.


Ever since that fateful day, I have used my Instant Pot many times a week to speed up cooking, minimize prep and time standing over a stove. You know, so I can go out and enjoy life instead of being chained to the kitchen.


In today’s post, I want to share with you some easy ways to combat any Instant Pot anxiety (it’s a thing). PS Your Instant Pot will not explode. It is created with many safety features… just read your manual for additional safety tips for your model!



I now own the Lamborghini of pressure cookers… the Instant Pot Ultra Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker listed below.  All models prepare your food up to 70% faster than using traditional cooking methods!







Here are the 3 most popular models…



Instant Pot 6-in-1 6 quart: This base model Instant Pot really does everything you NEED it to do… unless you want to make homemade yogurt. Which I still haven’t done. It has a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer function. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and pretty much dummy proof. 


PROS: It’s the cheapest of the line! It does all your basic pressure cooker functions listed above! FOOL-PROOF!

CONS: The 6-quart model is fairly small…. enough to hold a rack of ribs or a 3 pound whole chicken. If you want to fit a 5 pound pork roast though, you’ll have to cut it into smaller chunks.



Instant Pot 7-in-1 8 quart: This is the model up from the above 6-in-1. The 7-in-1 has the added feature of being able to make yogurt. It also is two quarts larger which is helpful for making larger batches of broth or larger roasts.


PROS: Larger pot size for bigger roasts, broths, chickens or soup bones. Yogurt function included.

CONS: It’s about $50 more expensive than the 6-in-1 with not a ton more functionality. I would recommend skipping this model unless you really want the extra space, and choosing either the base 6-in-1 or the Ultra 10-in-1 below!


Instant Pot Ultra Programmable 10-in-1 6 quart: This uber high-tech machine has a Delay button so you can program it to start pressure cooking up to 24 hours in advance. The Warming function keeps food warm for up to 10 hours! It also has a turn dial knob to quickly switch between functions. It has the most amount of functionality including: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Sauté, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, and Slow Cook. 


PROS: More functionality and much greater control of cooking temperatures and time. The Slow Cook & Saute functions have 3 levels (low, medium and high heat). Better for high altitude cooking (adjust for altitude). Great for on-the-go families – set it to start cooking while you’re at work or a soccer game! You can make yogurt in this one too.

CONS: This one is a bit less intuitive to use. You really need to read the manual to figure out how to properly set your functions. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze though!



(instructions for base 6-in-1 model – “Manual” function is the “Pressure Cook” function on 10-in-1)



Broth is one of the easiest recipes to make in your Instant Pot. Start with at least 2 pounds of pastured beef, chicken or pork bones. To get the most gelatinous broth, choose chicken feet. To get the most flavorful broth, make sure you add carrots, onions, garlic, sea salt, and a bay leaf to your pot.


2 to 3 pounds pastured beef, chicken or pork bones (see note above)

Filtered water (enough to cover the bones)

Vegetables: 1/2 onion, 2 carrots, 8 cloves peeled garlic, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add all ingredients to Instant Pot. Set “Manual” function to at least 60 minutes (the more, the better flavor). Once timer has elapsed, set the “Saute” function for 30 minutes. Keep the lid off and let your broth simmer to reduce slightly and condense the flavor into a stock. At this point, you can add fresh herbs, lemon juice, or dried herbs. Keep a close eye on the liquid level to make sure it does not reduce too quickly (the full 30 minutes may not be necessary depending on liquid amount). 




You do not want to over-cook your cauliflower rice. It is best to set for no longer than 2 minutes or you risk winding up with a watered down mush. Use my recipe for Creamy Cauliflower Rice as a start. 


instant pot cauliflower rice




Soak uncooked rice by covering it with filtered water for 30 minutes in the pot. Discard all water and rinse rice again. Add an equal amount of liquid to the pot. For example, if you used 1 cup dry rice, use 1 cup liquid of choice (water, broth, coconut milk). Add 1 teaspoon oil for every 1 cup of rice as well as a generous pinch of salt. Cook using the “Rice” function on your Instant Pot model and release pressure as soon as the timer elapses to prevent over-cooking the rice. Stir immediately to prevent sticking.





My basic formula for making quick stews and soups is below. Note that you do not want to always add the vegetables at the same time as the meat. To get perfectly cooked components, you add them at separate times just like you would on the stovetop. The nice part is you don’t have to stand over the stove to watch for burning or over-cooking when using the Instant Pot. My 1-hour Pot Roast is a good example of this technique. 

instant pot pot roast

2 pounds grass-fed stew meat

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

Seasonings of choice (sea salt, dried herbs *not fresh yet*, coconut aminos, etc)

Broth (amount dependent on how thick you want your stew – no more than 1/2 cup for thick stew, 2 cups for soups)

1 lb starchy vegetable of choice, peeled and cubed (sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, beet)

3 cups hearty leafy greens



Turn “Saute” function on. Saute beef until lightly browned (2 to 3 minutes) then add onion and garlic and sautee for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Set “Manual” pressure cooker timer to 25 minutes. NOW you add the starchy veggies to prevent overcooking them with the meat (which needs a longer cooking time). Cook meat & starchy veggies for about 7 or 8 minutes on “Manual” function. Release pressure, place on “Saute” function and stir in hearty greens until wilted and tender. 





When first introducing solids to my baby, I used the Instant Pot for a lot of her food. The first reason being it’s all I had time for…. secondly I didn’t have to stand over the steamer basket poking sweet potatoes obsessively to see if they were done.



Washed and unpeeled sweet potatoes

1/2 cup water

Fat of choice (ghee, lard, tallow, coconut oil)

Depending on size of sweet potato, cook for about 10 minutes on “Manual” setting. Release pressure when timer elapses, poke with a fork for doneness. You can always add a couple more minutes if you think your large sweet potato needs longer. Remove sweet potatoes to a cutting board, slice open and let cool. Mash with fat of choice until smooth. You can even use the cooked sweet potato make my Sweet Potato Fat Balls which are easy for babies to self-feed and pick up!



I have not made yogurt in my Instant Pot yet but thankfully by friend Laura has so check out her recipe! Coconut yogurt provides baby with real food probiotics, is easy to digest and full of healthy fats!



Unseasoned stewed meats are an excellent first food for babies! You can make the stew recipe above but keep any spicy spices out of it to be safe! Remove the meat and starchy veggies from your stew, let cool, and shred, mash or puree for your baby depending on their age and abilities. I also suggest making Broth of Stock out of marrow bones but first roasting the bones, scooping out half the marrow and reserving it for baby, and then making your family’s stew with the remaining bones and marrow!





Mushroom Risotto

Cilantro Chicken Chili

Shredded Chicken with Almond Satay

Pineapple Chicken

Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef

Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork

Maple Tamarind Ribs

1-hour Pot Roast

Creamy Ground Beef & Potato Stew





Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Orange, Olives & Oregano (Paleo/AIP/Whole30)


grilled chicken kabobs paleo


Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Orange, Olive + Oregano will keep your summertime dishes fresh this summer. Orange juice tenderizes the chicken and adds a touch of sweetness while the garlic and oregano add a Mediterranean flair. Skewred with salty kalamata olives, these kabobs have a special touch to set them apart during your family BBQs.


I serve these with fluffy cilantro cauliflower rice and a cucumber salad. I found this Creamy Cucumber Salad that would pair perfectly with these grilled chicken kabobs. You can also use my Dairy-Free Tzatziki as a dipping sauce like I do!


I have many fond memories of my mom grilling us up kabobs after playing in the pool all day. Can I share with you a pool game I invented at age 6 that I thought was terribly exciting. It entertained me for hours on end. I would throw… THROW… an unwrapped Jolly Rancher from the shallow end into the deep end. I then would challenge myself to retrieve it under water before it sunk to the bottom.


If you’re wondering if my reward was eating the Jolly Rancher… no. I would continue this game until the chlorinated water whittled away the candy. I just don’t know what such an invention says about me. I guess that I’m self-sufficient and thrifty.


Oh childhood – I miss the simplicity and how every day was an opportunity to learn something new and create my own adventure. Do you still view summer this way? If not, I challenge you to find a hobby, event or social outing this summer that sparks that curiosity and excitement in you. Mine is to travel more this summer.


We took our first family trip with a 13-month-old to Boulder, Vail and Omaha last week. I have a bachelorette party in New Orleans, a wedding in St. Augustine and now I’m trying to figure out one more trip for early fall! Somewhere affordable I can take Grace to… she’s a pretty awesome travel partner. I mentioned on Instagram that I will put together a post of some baby travel tips soon!








grilled chicken kabobs