Safely Dining out on AIP or with Food Allergies [AIP/Paleo]



Whether or not you’re following the autoimmune protocol because you have food allergies/intolerances or are removing foods known to cause inflammation, it can be very difficult to avoid eating out in restaurants. Going out to dinner or brunch is a social activity that we shouldn’t turn down just because we are on an elimination diet. Rather than dining out being a free-for-all, order whatever you want event, it will be something you think more carefully and cautiously about. And that’s okay! This isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself. You can make yourself all of the delicious food in the world 95% of the time, but for that 5% that you go out to eat, it’s okay to take it back to the basics to be as safe as possible. After following the AIP for 2 1/2 years and eating out probably over 100 times, here are the steps I always take to ensure my meal is free of allergens and cross-contamination. 




STEP 1  Do your research.

In the age of the Internet, almost every restaurant posts their menu online through either their own website or restaurant review websites like Yelp. You can look at a menu for a steakhouse in Hong Kong while you’re sitting in your apartment in Ohio, for goodness’ sake! It’s really never been easier to find a few viable restaurants in your hometown or before you travel to a new city. Here are the search words I use when looking online for an AIP-friendly restaurant using a top-down approach: “gluten free”, “Paleo”, “allergy”, “celiac”, “soy free”, “dairy free”, “vegan”, “organic”, “grass fed”. I’ll give an example of how I navigate those search terms now.

How to Use Yelp to Find an Allergy-Friendly Restaurant

1. Go to since it is the most visited review website for restaurants and the reviews are searchable for terms.

2. Type in the city you are trying to find a restaurant in. If it’s a small town, Yelp will likely pull up restaurants under your search for nearby towns and cities as well as the search town.

3. Now start with one of my more broad search terms like “gluten free”. Let’s say 10 restaurants pop up under this term. Click on the restaurant that looks most interesting to you and find the search bar on that restaurant’s review page. Type in “gluten free” again. Yelp will now pull up any reviews for that restaurant that include the term “gluten free”. I often will find reviewers who say things like, “This place is NOT gluten free friendly. My friend has Celiac and wasn’t able to find anything here that didn’t risk cross contamination.” Time to move on from Restaurant A. Other times the review will say something like, “I’m on a Paleo-type diet, and it’s hard for me to find a place that suits my needs. This restaurant has a Gluten Free menu, so it was easy to work off of it to find a meal that they could also make grain-free and dairy-free.” Generally if a restaurant has taken the time to make a gluten-free menu, it will also take your other allergy concerns seriously.

4. Continue this process until you narrow down all the restaurants in that search term that may be options. It’s up to you how deep you want to get into your research, but if I’m traveling somewhere new I often spend a couple hours researching restaurants using all the search terms above.


STEP 2 Call the restaurant.

You can stop your research after Step 1 once you find a restaurant online that you think will work, but if you want to be extra diligent I suggest calling the restaurant next. Call them at a non-busy time. For example, if it’s a brunch place, avoid calling between 8 am and 12 pm. If it’s a fine dining establishment that’s hard to get into, call them earlier in the afternoon like around 2 to 4 pm before the dinner rush arrives. You will have the highest likelihood of getting the manager or chef on the phone, and they know the menu best. Often times if the hostess is the one answering my questions, I sense hesitation and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take. The host or hostess usually does not know what oil they use or if the protein is pre-marinated.Never call same day either because it may take 24 hours for the manager or chef to return your phone call if they are unavailable.

Here are some questions to ask the manager or chef on the phone before you decide to dine there.

  • Do you accommodate people with allergies, gluten intolerance, and Celiac disease? (If they say they cannot guarantee no gluten cross contamination and you are not willing to take that risk, this place may not be the right choice for you.)
  • Do you pre-marinade your proteins? If so, what oils and spices do you use for marinades? Do you have any clean pieces of protein that you can cook fresh for me? (Most places that do marinade will have clean, untouched protein in the freezer they can take out for you if you call far enough in advance. Don’t be afraid to ask!)
  •  Does your kitchen know what nightshades are? (If they say yes, list out the nightshades and tell them you can’t have any, even in a seasoning mix on your food. If they respond confidently that will be no problem, it will likely be okay. If they say, “No our bacon does not have any nitrates in it…. Oh nightshades, no what are those?” then you may want to move on. This happens to me a lot, and because I am so sensitive to nightshades, I don’t take chances if someone has no idea what nightshades are. You may be okay taking that risk if you order something very plain like steamed fish and veggies though.
  • Are you willing to come out to the table if I dine with you and answer any additional questions I have about menu items? (I find that ordering directly from the manager or chef to be more successful in ensuring my food is properly prepared. Waiters and waitresses often are so hurried they will forget to write down that you have a dairy intolerance or avoid soy.)
  • Do you think it’s best to dine at your restaurant earlier in the night before the kitchen gets really busy to avoid any mistakes being made when preparing my meal? (This one is a no-brainer. They will likely say yes. Sometimes they will even suggest this on their own.) 



STEP 3 How to Order Food


When you arrive at the restaurant, let the hostess know that you called earlier about your allergies. She will likely let your server and the manager know, if it’s a quality restaurant. You really can judge a place based on how seriously they take food allergies at all stops on the hierarchy. If she smiles and just says, “Okay” try to make it more clear to your server how serious your allergies are instead.If the restaurant offers a Gluten-Free Menu, ask for it right off the bat. Expect them to still ask you if you want bread before you meal. It doesn’t matter how many times I say the words “gluten free”, the waiter still thinks there’s a chance I want bread. This is a great time to giggle to yourself. Let’s pray the kitchen has a better idea about gluten than your waiter at this point. Hopefully you’ve seen the menu before you even arrived at the restaurant and have already found a few options that may work. Maybe you’ve even already discussed the exact meal you will be ordering with the manager or chef (this is ideal)! The hard part for you is already over, but you still need to relay all of this information to your waiter so the order gets put into their system correctly.Here are some tips for ordering off a menu when dining out with allergies.



  • Look at the entrée salads first. They have the highest likelihood of just being vegetables, protein, cheese and dressing, all of which you can leave off. I am going to give an example of how I order off the salad menu at a place here in Austin called The Grove. 
  • Here’s a salad I often adapt for myself at a local restaurant. I order the Kale Salad which is already notated as gluten-free. To make it AIP, I check to see if the grilled watermelon has been marinated before. It has not. I ask to remove the pepitas (pumpkin seeds), feta cheese (dairy), and lemon poppyseed dressing (seed oils and seeds). Then to make the meal more substantial, I add a plain piece of grilled salmon, a double portion of avocado, and a side of olive oil and lemon. I bring my own sea salt grinder in my purse so I can add as much salt as I want to make my meal more flavorful without worrying if the salt they use is iodized or table salt.
  • If nothing on the salad menu looks enticing, move over to the entrées. Find a piece of meat that is least likely to be marinated or touched by spices such as a filet mignon or ribeye. It  is up to you if you are okay with eating grain-fed meat when you are out. Unless you have a severe corn allergy and corn-fed meat affects you, it may be your best bet! Most restaurants do not offer high quality pastured and grass fed options, but they are becoming more available. Seafood is also not often marinated. Look for raw oysters, shrimp, salmon, or scallops. Most restaurants cook do not marinate these since marinades can break down the seafood into a mushy mess. They are also quick to defrost if they have some in the freezer that are completely untouched!
  • Now build out the vegetables in your meal. Take a look at the sides. Do they offer steamed broccoli, asparagus, or sautéed spinach? Steamed vegetables don’t usually have any oil added to them but they may have seasoning so ask just for salt (or bring your own sea salt and ask for plain). If you choose sautéed vegetables like a squash medley or spinach, ask them to cook the vegetables in olive oil only. If they don’t have any pure olive oil (it’s often cut with canola or soybean oil in restaurants), then ask them to steam those vegetables or dry sautee them instead.
  • Never order anything fried even if they say it’s gluten free. Unless they have a gluten-free fryer, use coconut flour and arrowroot as the breading, and fry in coconut oil (haha, yeah right), you cannot eat fried food on AIP.
  • If you still can’t find anything on the menu that remotely looks AIP-friendly, don’t be afraid to build your own meal!
  • Here is an example of a meal I will build when nothing else works: plain grilled chicken breast, salad greens, avocado (I ask for a double portion), fresh herbs (if they have), and another side of vegetables/fruit (steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato, a cup of fruit). It’s not exciting and it’s not going to win any awards, but if you’re hungry it gets the job done.



STEP 4 Express Gratitude

Your motto when dining out with allergies is “Thank You”. Should we double over in gratitude when a kitchen serves us plain cooked chicken and lettuce? Eh. But they are stepping outside their comfort zone, taking measures to ensure your safety, and open to changing up menu items/retrieving something from the freezer/making an entirely new dish for you even if it’s super simple. I always thank the waiter/waitress several times during the ordering and dining process, and if the meal was exceptionally good I’ll ask to personally thank the manager or chef. 



Cross contamination is a very real thing in the restaurant industry, and there are also allergens hidden in many foods you’d never think! Rather than worrying about being “a pain” and asking too many questions about exactly how a dish is prepared, do your absolute best to be sure you don’t encounter cross contamination. Here are some ways foods you are avoiding may end up in your meal, but this is not an exhaustive list. Make sure you always ask about every ingredient that goes into your meal. 

  • Breadcrumbs in dishes like meatballs, meatloaf, pan-fried fish, croutons. 
  • MSG, Soy and Gluten in soups, stews, chowders, gravies etc in the form of bouillon cubes, premade stocks, MSG, soy sauce
  • Nightshades in marinades, sauces, dips, spice mixes, and guacamole
  • Dairy in sautéed vegetables, cooked meats/fish, soups, salad dressings
  • Corn in the form of high-fructose corn syrup in salad dressing and marinades, vegetable oil cooked protein and vegetables
  • Eggs in salad dressings, “washes” on pan-fried proteins
  • Refined sugar in salad dressings, marinades, mixed beverages
  • Soy, Gluten, Corn, Canola, or Peanut in anything that has been in a fryer or next to the fryer
  • Shared cutting boards, grill pans, utensils grills, work spaces. Ask for your meal to be cooked in a separate, clean pan or ask them to properly clean an area of the grill for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for clean cutting boards and utensils to be used too. It’s YOUR health at stake, not theirs!
  • Gluten in hamburger joints – most places grill their buns on the same grill as their burgers.
  • Anything that goes into your meal that contains a label before it does. Gluten can hide in tons of different additives and food labels such as “natural flavors” and “modified food starch”. That’s why I suggest ordering VERY simply and sticking with plain protein and veggies!



  • Places with Gluten-Free Menus
  • Mid to Higher End Restaurants
  • Farm to Table Restaurants
  • Vegan Restaurants (In a pinch! Don’t bring your own meat! See tips above for dining in a vegan restaurant.)
  • Seafood Restaurants
  • Steakhouses



  • Asian (Sushi restaurants are an exception. See tips below.)
  • Mexican
  • BBQ
  • Food Trucks
  • National Chains like Applebee’s, TGIFridays, Carabbas, PF Changs (Higher likelihood of only cooking with vegetable oils, offering low quality marinated meats and vegetables, heavily grain and dairy-based menus)




Vegan Restaurant This is the time to really up your vegetable consumption! When eating at a vegan restaurant (usually because it’s the most organic, healthy option available), I order a vegetable juice like the one below to start. I also order fruit for carbs, since most vegan restaurants don’t offer non-grain based carbs like sweet potatoes (since those tend not to be served raw). I then order a large salad and remove any seeds, sprouts, or grains from it and add extra avocado. Avocado is your best friend when dining out on AIP because it provides a high amount of satiating fat and calories.


Example of a vegetarian/vegan restaurant I’ve dined at in Sedona while following AIP.



  • Sushi Restaurant Order sashimi which is thinly sliced raw fish. Ask for a side of avocado since most sushi restaurants use avocado in their rolls. Bring your own coconut aminos as a dipping sauce. Some sushi restaurants are now offering low carb rolls that don’t include rice. Order a salmon, avocado, cucumber and carrot rice-less roll wrapped in seaweed or even thinly sliced cucumber. 


  • Steakhouse Order any steak of your choice and ask that it comes only seasoned with sea salt. Order sides of steamed broccoli and asparagus or spinach. If they don’t have baked sweet potato on the menu, I have brought my own and just slipped it on the plate. Sure they look a little confused when they come by to ask how your meal is, but if you need some carbs with your meal, don’t be embarrassed! 


  • Burger Joints Ask for your burger to be grilled on a cleaned portion of the grill away from the buns, using clean utensils. Ask for the burger to be placed on top of several large pieces of lettuce so you can wrap it up. Get avocado and red onion on your burger for extra flavor. Some places offer bacon, but I would ask for all of the ingredients on the bacon package since they can contain spice extractive (i.e. nightshades), nitrates, or preservatives. 



I have only been exposed to a known allergen one time in the last 2 1/2 years and it was this past summer at a sushi restaurant here called Uchi. I went for my wedding anniversary with my husband when my daughter was 6 weeks old and it was our first (and still only) night out alone. I chose that place because it’s known to be one of the most popular, nicest places in town that is frequented by celebs. In fact, we saw Pierce Brosnan there that night. The meal cost us over $200 and I ended up with a terrible full-body case of hives that lasted 3 1/2 weeks. The time it took me away from my daughter during those weeks is irreplaceable. I was running around to doctors, acupuncturists, pharmacies, taking several salt baths a day. Seriously, awful. You bet I didn’t let them get away with something like that! They refunded my money completely (so at least my husband got to enjoy his free meal), and I expressed how important it is for everyone in their kitchen to be trained in food allergies. 

  • Consider taking activated charcoal immediately. I like ones made from coconut shells but that tends to be hard to find. Instead, it’s easy to source a gelatin capsule charcoal like this one from Nature’s Way. 
  • Talk to the manager immediately. That may mean calling the restaurant the next day and following up if they do not respond. It’s vital you let them know their kitchen slipped up and served you an allergen. This needs to be taken extremely seriously because some of us have anaphylactic reactions. 
  • Write a review on Yelp even if you’ve spoken to the apologetic manager. Other diners with allergies need to know whether or not a place has a poor track record. On the flip side, if a place does an excellent job accommodating you, tell the world as well!
  • Consider taking GlutenEase at meals when dining out. It can help you digest gluten and casein enzymes that your sensitive immune system is unable to on it’s own. This is NOT an excuse to eat pizza when you are out. 




Small Sea Salt Grinder

Coconut Aminos

Allergy Cards

Small bottle of olive oil


Power Balls

Baked Sweet Potato




Need extra protein because the restaurant only gave you a few ounces of chicken? A pack of Power Balls provides 12 extra grams of collagen protein!

Spicy Sweet Potato Pineapple Salad (Paleo, AIP, Whole30 & Vegan)


spicy sweet potato salad


This spicy roasted sweet potato and pineapple side dish is so delicious! It’s Paleo, Whole30, AIP and makes for an interesting addition to your summer BBQ meal!


I created this recipe so that we would have a good transitional side dish to take us from season to season. This recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato and Pineapple Salad married my two favorite seasons: summer and fall! You can find the main ingredients year-round at any grocery store. I find this to be a budget-friendly Paleo side that goes a long way too!



  • Sweet potatoes

  • Fresh pineapple

  • Cilantro

  • Fresh Ginger

  • Lime Juice

  • Chives



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. On one baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with lard and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Spread 3 cups pineapple out onto second baking sheet.

  3. Bake sweet potato and pineapple for 40 to 45 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool slightly while you make the dressing.

  4. In a food processor, combine remaining 1 cup pineapple, ginger, remaining ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ginger, lime, and fish sauce until smooth.

  5. Transfer sweet potatoes and pineapple to a serving bowl and toss with spicy pineapple dressing, cilantro, and chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.



1. Toasted “Cous-Cous” with Pine Nuts & Raisins

2. Maple Mustard & Dill Glazed Carrots

3. Mediterranean Cauliflower Cous-Cous Salad


I made this recipe in conjunction with Autoimmune Wellness. This spicy roasted sweet potato side dish is compliant with the Autoimmune Protocol. If you love the recipe, you’ll definitely want to check out my print cookbook The Healing Kitchen! It features almost 200 allergy-friendly recipes specifically designed to support the health of those with autoimmune disease, inflammation or chronic illness.




spicy roasted sweet potato salad


Paleo Stromboli (AIP)


Paleo AIP Stromboli - Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free



Can you believe these grain-free, dairy-free AIP-friendly & Paleo Stromboli actually have the taste & feel of a gooey, cheesy pizza pocket? The filling possibilities are endless but I really love the simplicity of prosciutto & rosemary.


When I first made this recipe over 3 years ago, I had no idea it was going to be such an iconic AIP recipe in our community! That’s just how much we all love pizza. I specifically remember when I first had the idea to combine sweet potato and tapioca starch, wrap it up with some prosciutto, and pop it in the oven. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking, but somehow it worked. Like magic. It turned into a cheesy, crusty, savory pizza pocket. I was ELATED and literally jumped up and down! It had already been 3 years since I had anything close to pizza except a couple forays with some crappy gluten-free pizza.

I recently re-vamped this Stromboli recipe into an AIP Italian Calzone! Even more delicious because it includes sausage and olives so salty, salty, salty yes yes yes. Either recipe you choose, fill it with whatever you’d like, get the crust good and crispy, and serve it plain or with some homemade nightshade-free marinara sauce, or pesto, or tapenade for dipping!

Don’t be discouraged by this unique Paleo Stromboli recipe! It really comes together quickly and easily. You’ll definitely get the hang of it after your first time making it. My best tip is to make it thinner than you think you need to… that way you’re guaranteed the crispiest, gooiest outcome!


What you need for this gluten-free, dairy-free stromboli:

  • White sweet potatoes: starchy and neutral in flavor, cooked and cooled mashed white sweet potato makes up the bulk of this healthy dairy-free take on pizza flavor. I like using the Japanese, Jersey or Hannah variety sweet potatoes because they’re starchy but don’t have too sweet of a taste.

  • Arrowroot or tapioca starch: combined with the moisture from the sweet potato, this grain-free starch magically turns into a cheesy texture without any nutritional yeast or dairy!

  • Prosciutto: this thinly sliced, savory addition adds the Italian flavor to this recipe. Don’t leave it out!

  • Fresh rosemary: I can’t think of a better-suited herb when you want mega flavor with few ingredients. You can also add fresh basil, thyme and oregano, but don’t leave out the rosemary!


How to make AIP & Paleo Stromboli

  1. Mash your cooked and cooled white sweet potato until no lumps remain.

  2. Combine mashed sweet potato with sea salt.  Mix in arrowroot or tapioca starch slowly until a thickened ball of dough forms.

  3. Transfer your dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roll out the dough into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick.

  4. Sprinkle rosemary on the dough and lay the prosciutto slices on top.

  5. Roll the dough into a log shape, brush with fat and bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden brown.

  6. Broil until the top is crispy.

  7. Slice and serve with marinara or dipping sauce.




  • You can use regular sweet potatoes, if you cannot source white sweet potatoes. The orange color and sweeter taste will change the end result, but many of my readers have done this.

  • I have not tried this recipe with any other starches. I don’t recommend substitution the arrowroot or tapioca for cassava, but if you have tried this, please let us know how it went in the comments.

  • If you’d like to add cheese, I would sprinkle grated cheese on top of the prosciutto before rolling up the stromboli.

63 reviews

AIP Stromboli

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:35 Serves 1 to 2


  • 1 cup cooked, cooled and mashed Japanese yam
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 to 6 slices prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon duck fat, bacon fat or lard, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.pan>
  2. In a bowl, combine mashed sweet potato (ensure no lumps) with sea salt in a bowl.
  3. Mix in ¼ cup of the tapioca or arrowroot starch at a time. The mixture should form a thickened ball of dough.
  4. Transfer dough onto the baking sheet. Use your hands to roll out dough into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. You can use parchment paper to assist you with this.
  5. Sprinkle rosemary evenly on the top surface of the dough. Layer prosciutto slices on top of dough.
  6. Roll the dough into a log shape, starting with one of the short sides and using the parchment paper to assist you.
  7. Brush dough with ½ tablespoon duck fat. Bake for about 30 minute until lightly golden brown. Brush with remaining 1/2 tablespoon fat.
  8. Turn oven broiler on high. Place baking sheet 6 inches away from the broiler. Broil stromboli for 2-3 minutes until medium golden brown. Watch carefully so you don’t burn the top! Let cool for a few minutes. Slice in half and serve immediately.


Recipe Notes

Best results will be achieved when using Japanese yam which is a purple skinned, white fleshed starchy sweet potato. You may try using Hannah variety white sweet potato which are slightly less starchy. Some people have used orange sweet potatoes but I don't recommend them because they are sweet in flavor and not as starchy.




If you like this Stromboli, you’ll also love my AIP Italian Calzone stuffed with sausage, spinach and olives!



aip paleo stromboli




Paleo AIP GF Stromboli Paleo AIP GF Stromboli

Toasted Coconut Cream Pops from The Healing Kitchen (Paleo, AIP)


Toasted Coconut Cream Pops


This was one of my favorite recipes to develop for The Healing Kitchen because all of the outtakes were so delicious! Toasted coconut ice cream was a favorite of mine growing up, and my best friend in high school and I would go to our local ice cream shop after school and grab a cup of their toasted coconut all the time! Ice cream has always been a big part of my life, as weird as it sounds to say that! It’s consistently remained in my top 5 favorite foods since the age of 2 (joined by steak, ribs, hummus, and pizza)  no matter what dietary protocol I happen to be following.


For awhile I thought I tolerated grass-fed dairy ice cream, but really it was a vain attempt to convince my stomach via my brain that I did. It failed. So now I stick wholly to coconut milk ice cream and enjoy to my hearts content, especially in the warmer months!


When making ice cream at home, I stick to simple flavors and use coconut milk, pureed white sweet potato, fresh fruit, and possibly some honey as the base. I may add something fun for texture such as freeze-dried fruit or even toasted shredded coconut or chocolate chips.


My favorite SUPER simple AIP ice cream combination is frozen mango pureed with coconut milk. You can eat it like soft serve straight from the blender or throw it in your ice cream maker (this is the one I use and recommend) for a harder sorbetto. The ice cream mixture for these cream pops can definitely be made into ice cream rather than pops, so feel free to do that as well!


These are such a refreshing treat – something the whole family will love – that’s decadent but not full of sweeteners!


TOASTED COCONUT CREAM POPS from my cookbook The Healing Kitchen


Pina Colada Smoothie Bowl (Paleo, AIP)

pina colada smoothie bowl - paleo


I’m a little obsessed about vacations. I’ve been known to book them without talking to the person I plan on accompanying me. I booked our Hawaii vacation, for my birthday, on my birthday, after going for a swim last summer and coming up with that master plan in 15 minutes or less. Jumped on the computer, decided which island, which airbnb, and presto. Hawaii 3 weeks later! I also did that with our babymoon to Laguna Beach this year. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I say “My money. My decision.”


I LOVE TRAVELING! Especially to places with beaches. We are aiming to be one of those cool couples who travels with their singular child, Ergo in tow, whipping out the breast in public for a quick snack, child whose first word is “leaf”. We’ll see what happens. I’m not banking on it. Our first real vacation after baby will probably be sans-baby for my husband’s 40th birthday in fall 2017. I want to take him to PNW for a week. I can barely leave my dog for 4 hours let alone a week, so I’m sure leaving my baby for that long will be a cruel form of self-torture at that point, but I do think it’s EXTREMELY important to keep the husband-wife relationship strong once you start a family. It’s so beneficial for the child to see parents who spend time together to keep the love alive. 


pina colada smoothie


None of this has anything to do with pina coladas. It did at first (vacations), then I got sidetracked as usual (ADD). Anyways, this is a must-make recipe for summer! Light, refreshing, quick, easy, hello!? Spend your time outside this summer with family & friends – not in the kitchen, PLEASE! You wouldn’t believe how much happier, healthier, and balanced you will feel with that change.


I have found the most healing & happiness while following the AIP by doing the above, not focusing excessively on the food. Once you have the food down pat and know what you can and cannot eat and get used to planning in advance, please return to enjoying your life as much as possible! And if that means making a quick breakfast or lunch smoothie before hitting the beach, pool, or lake, and then forgetting food exists for the next 5 hours, so be it! That’s how live should be lived!


Get the recipe for Pina Colada Smoothie Bowls!

Bistro Chicken Salad with Garlic-Thyme Vinaigrette (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)


Bistro Chicken Salad


It’s finally salad season! Salads don’t go out of season in my house, but then again I spent the winter in Texas where I had little excuse to avoid a light and refreshing meal. Although I eat soup at all times of the year, so why do we think salads are only for sweltering days!? Yesterday it was 88 degrees and dinner was chicken and vegetable soup — heated up to a barely lukewarm temperature though! 


I’m trying to get a few blog posts up and ready for before Baby Grace arrives, but my focus right now is mostly getting things together for her, overanalyzing every menstrual-like cramp or episode of nausea I am having (first-time-mom probz), and loading up my freezer with homemade food.


I am one of those so-called “lucky people” that can go hours and hours and hours without eating, forgets to eat if they’re busy, or will go without food out of laziness when big shifts in my life happen. I am so gung-ho and excited about breastfeeding though, and I know it both causes and thrives on a healthy appetite, so I’m doing my best to prevent light-snacking all day in favor of varied and nutrient-dense AIP meals after she arrives. 


I was thinking back to the moment I found out I was pregnant on a beach in Hawaii (could it have been anymore beautiful!?) and all the feelings I felt at the time. Exhilarated, shocked, nervous, proud. I still feel all of those things, so not much has changed, but I also feel incredibly confident in my abilities to be a good mother.


All these years of pretending my dog is a human baby that requires 24/7 love, attention, and tending may be paying off, but my motherly instincts have always been strong. Make sure you follow me on Instagram for baby updates though, in case I take a mini blog hiatus! I also post some daily meals (the ones that aren’t a hideous display of splattered soup, unevenly chopped vegetables, and shredded meat that never catches the right light), photos of my adorable cockapoo Rafael, and life here in Austin! 


Get the recipe for Bistro Chicken Salad – aka best salad ever!

Instant Pot Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)



Nothing easier than Shredded Beef in your Instant Pot! This Paleo, AIP and Whole30 recipe features well-seasoned beef and an easy button. That’s it! Serve it on salad, cauliflower rice, for taco night or throw it in a veggie soup!


Can’t stop Instant Potting. It is my life. Well, not my life, since it takes up a marginal portion of it, but it saves my life. I got a beautiful pastured grass fed chuck roast the other day. It was almost too pretty to turn into a pile of shredded brown meat, but I pulled through and did it.

This is a heavily spiced recipe and not shy on flavor. If you aren’t a giant fan of cloves, you can cut those down to 3 but don’t leave them out completely. I served this two ways. For me, over cauliflower rice with cucumber-avocado salsa, and diced mangos with lime juice. For my husband, over tortilla chips with the same salsa and extra avocado. It really works for any season of the year even though it uses a hefty dose of Caribbean-inspired spices. Just switch up the sides!

It’s not organic, so take your “risks” there, but it’s super delicious and makes a really easy side. We honestly can’t afford to buy 100% organic vegetables 100% of the time, so I do my best t buy 75% organic for the things that matter most to me and then the rest (bananas, avocados, mangos, oranges) I don’t worry about so much. Simply spiced but full of flavor! No nightshades here which makes this easy, anti-inflammatory shredded beef an easy choice for a weeknight AIP meal! 


  • 2 1/2 pound grass fed chuck roast

  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 1/4 cup water



  • Over cauliflower rice with guacamole, diced red onion and fresh cilantro

  • In a grain-free tortilla for taco night

  • Thrown in a bone broth and veggie soup for a hearty dinner

  • In lettuce wraps with avocado and kraut for a low carb lunch




You can find this recipe + 140 more AIP Instant Pot Recipes in THE PALEO AIP INSTANT POT COOKBOOK!



33 reviews

Instant Pot Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 01:30 Serves 6


  • 2 1/2 pound grass fed chuck roast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup water



  1. Whisk together all of the seasonings except the whole cloves. Rub evenly overly all sides of the chuck roast. Stick the whole cloves into the chuck roast and place roast in your Instant Pot insert. pan>

  2. Pour water around (not on top) of the roast. pan>

  3. Set the manual pressure setting timer for 90 minutes. Let vent naturally when the timer expires. pan>

  4. Transfer the chuck roast to a serving dish and shred with two forks. Pour some of the juices from the pot over the shredded beef. pan>

  5. Serve the beef with avocado, red onion, cilantro, and cauliflower rice for a Caribbean-inspired taco bowl. pan>





Shredded Caribbean Beef instant pot

Instant Pot Maple Tamarind Ribs (Paleo, AIP)

instant pot maple tamarind ribs


It is no secret I am obsessed with my Instant Pot. Just this week alone I used it to make my Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork, Corned Beef, white rice, and these amazing Maple Tamarind Ribs! I LOVE how it doesn’t get my kitchen hot unlike the stove or oven and is literally a one-pot clean up. For me, it’s even more low maintenance cooking than a crockpot because it pretty much requires zero meal planning on my part. I can go to Whole Foods at 4 pm, buy a giant chuck roast that would typically take 10 hours in the slow cooker, and get tender pulled beef that feeds us for days in 90 minutes!! Definitely one of those kitchen appliances that I don’t know how I survived without until now. My mom, sister, and multiple friends and family members have also jumped aboard the pressure cooker train after watching me cook with it!


I also have an obsession with ribs, and it’s so hard living in BBQ Capital of America (Austin, Texas… I don’t know if it’s actually the BBQ Capital, but there are dozens and dozens of BBQ places here taunting me with their nightshade-laden ribs!) Now I’m someone who requires fall-off-the-bone ribs. I am also someone who is incredibly impatient and dislikes the idea of waiting for something to cook.


Hence, Instant Pot love affair. Since my rib craving got out of hand when we moved here, I decided it couldn’t hurt to throw a rack in the ol’ IP and see what happens. Yes, fall off the boners (inappropriate use of a suffix, sorry) in less than 2 hours and also less than half the time it takes to stand in line at Franklin’s. I’m not comparing these to Franklin’s BBQ ribs. That would be stupid. But they’re really damn good, whether or not the Food Network says so. Sweet, tangy, tender, duh. 


If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I supposeeeee you can just use your crockpot on a low setting until tender, but don’t ask me how long that takes. No clue. By the way, I use the 6-in-1 Instant Pot which is the older, less expensive model. You can get it on Amazon for a steal! They also have a 7-in-1 model that has a yogurt and pasteurization setting which is pretty neat!


You can get this recipe + 140 more Instant Pot recipes in THE PALEO AIP INSTANT POT COOKBOOK!


Maple Tamarind Ribs (Paleo AIP)


Sticky & sweet fall-off-the bone ribs in no time flat! YES!


11 reviews

Instant Pot Maple Tamarind Ribs

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 01:05 Serves 4


  • 1 rack of baby back pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup liquid (broth or water)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste


  1. Mix together the salt, garlic and thyme and rub on both sides of the rack of ribs until well seasoned. pan>

  2. Slice the rack of ribs into three equal-sized portions and lay them in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Pour the liquid around (not on top) of the ribs. Set the Instant Pot to cook on the "Manual" setting for 50 minutes. Let pressure release naturally when timer goes off.

  3. Whisk together the maple and tamarind until combined and heat your oven broiler to 425 degrees. Arrange the top oven rack 6 to 8 inches away from the broiler element.

  4. Place the cooked ribs on a rimmed baking sheet meaty side up and baste with half of the maple-tamarind sauce. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes until bubbling and caramelized, remove from oven, and baste with additional maple-tamarind sauce. Broil for another 3 to 5 minutes until caramelized. Season with additional sea salt and serve immediately.


Cranberry Fig Collagen Protein Bars (Paleo, AIP)



I’m not a big supplement taker. One because I can’t remember to take them for longer than two weeks, two because they are usually expensive to buy high quality ones, and three because it’s hard to tell if they’re working.


There have been a few during my pregnancy that I can tell are doing their job though, so I am 100% willing to take them every day! The first one is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. I have noticed a decrease in skin outbreaks (which is saying a lot during these hormonal times) from once or twice a month to nil! I have also avoided any stomach distress like heartburn, gas and bloating that typically comes around with pregnancy too.


I add a scoop into my morning smoothie that I consume with two slices of center pork shoulder bacon (low in fat, but high in protine), greens, and a quarter of a large sweet potato. Having a large and nutrient dense breakfast that includes at least 6 different types of produce has been keeping my blood sugar levels so well regulated. I haven’t needed extra snacks or meals during pregnancy, nor have I really needed to increase my caloric intake much if at all!


The other two supplements I have found to be helpful are Natural Calm magnesium for my intense leg cramps that occur right when I lay down at night and Vital Proteins Beef Liver Capsules, which I take right before I head out the door for work to keep my energy up for an afternoon working with kiddos.


Since I’ve had so much success with collagen in my morning smoothies, I also wanted to try making my own homemade protein bars with them. I find carbohydrates right now to really satiate my appetite and keep my energy levels up, so one of these bars in between lunch and dinner or before a workout seals the deal. They also travel well outside the refrigerator even though there’s coconut oil in them. They just lose their firmness but still keep together as long as you pack them tightly with your hands when forming the bars!


Feel free to get creative with the types of dried fruit you use but make sure you use at least one “sticky” one like dates, cranberries, or plump raisins. Making these with dried mango and shredded coconut, for example, would not work because there’s not enough stickiness to keep them together.



No sugar added collagen protein bars are convenient AND good for you!


Cranberry Fig Collagen Protein Bars

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:00 Serves 8 bars


  • 1 cup dried black Mission figs, stems removed
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Combine the figs and cranberries in a food processor for 60 seconds until finely chopped and sticky.
  2. Add the peptides, coconut oil, orange zest, and sea salt and process 15 more seconds to thoroughly combine.
  3. Line a large cutting board with parchment paper.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the cutting board and shape into a rectangle about 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick with your hands.
  5. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm.
  6. Using a sharp knife, slice the rectangle in half widthwise and into quarters lengthwise to make 8 bars. Store in the refrigerator.


Paleo Austin Restaurant Guide


In the Paleo community, Austin has become known as a mecca for primal livers. I’ve been here for about 9 months now and while there is a solid group of Paleo-ites around town, there’s a much larger population of foodies, vegans, and Standard American Diet eaters. I haven’t found it THAT much easier to eat out here while following Paleo/AIP than in Chicago (where your options are extremely scarce for a city of 8 million).


All that said, I have explored a few amazing places that I wanted to share with my readers who either live here or are going to be visiting Austin in the future for one of the city’s crowd-pulling festivals and conferences. I will say that Austin supports local business more than any city I have ever lived in, and that even the most unassuming food trucks and pizza joints are dedicated to sourcing local produce and sometimes even organics! For example, East Side Pies (an East Austin hole-in-the-wall pizzeria) has gluten-free and dairy-free pizzas that can be topped with an abundance of local veggies. Try to find that in most American cities!


I’ve categorized my list by types of restaurants/establishments that hit the main bases when you’re in town or looking for a casual bite or beverage. None of these places have a dress code (it’s Texas, after all) and many allow pets if there is outdoor seating! I’ve tested all of them (most several times) and have given my honest review as someone who appreciates food quality and sourcing, good service, and also duh delicious food.


DISCLAIMER: There is NO “perfect” Paleo restaurant. Many restaurants source local organic ingredients and have grain-free and dairy-free options, but they may use less than desirable vegetable oils for cooking purposes. When we eat out, there’s a certain amount of known risk we take with food quality. All of the below places are dedicated to some degree to providing the community with the highest quality product at this point in time. For example, all of the ice cream locations use non-Paleo sweetener such as organic cane sugar or agave nectar, but they are offering dairy-free ice cream using local ingredients, and that is something to be desired across the country!


Lettuce-Wrapped Grass-fed Burgers


Counter Cafe *TOP PICK* 626 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

This little (and I mean little) cafe is right across the street from the famous downtown Whole Foods and is such as nice surprise! There are two picnic tables outside, so I’ll bring my dog and have a lettuce-wrapped grass-fed burger (juicy, delicious, local ingredients) with a side of sweet potato fries (they are fried in rice bran oil there). I add avocado, red onion, and extra lettuce to my burger, and it totally hits the burger & fries craving. The oil used for the fries aren’t Paleo so you can skip those if you’re a die-hard, but rice bran oil is definitely better than soybean oil or soy-canola blends which is what most restaurants use! AIP? Get the lettuce-wrapped burger with avocado, bacon and red onion. Ask them to leave off the black pepper from the patty seasoning. 



Wholly Cow 3010 S Lamar Blvd

Located in a mini-mart, this unlikely burger hangout is just down Lamar less than 10 minutes from downtown. Its counter service with tables inside and outside (pet-friendly). My husband has had the lettuce-wrapped burgers and fries and loves them. They are made with Texas grass-fed cattle. I did not get to try the burger because the spice mix in them contains nightshades (fine for Paleo, big no-no for AIP), BUT they were sweet enough to offer nightshade-free call-ahead burgers if I ever did want to give them a try! AIP? Call in advance and ask them to make you a special nightshade-free patty!


Hopdoddy 1400 S Congress

Prepare yourself for a wicked wait, line out the door at this trendy South Congress burger restaurant. They offer all types of burgers, including lettuce-wrapped grass-fed burgers. I’ve eaten her twice and both times had a reaction, so I’m going to assume they either spice their beef with a nightshade or there’s cross contamination. I wanted to include it for the traditional Paleo person who doesn’t avoid nightshades and doesn’t tend to react to minimal cross contamination though. I’ve been here with a group of coworkers and with my husband and everyone LOVES their food every single time. And it’s really neat they let you order drinks from a bar while you stand in line waiting to order your burger. They have some local ciders on tap too. AIP? Call first and ask how they season their meat. I’ve had a reaction the last two times I’ve eaten there and the burger was the only possibly culprit!




Caffe Medici *TOP PICK* 1101 W Lynn Street

Pretty sure this is the best coffee in Austin. You may be thinking, “Yeah, right. In that hippie town, there’s probably a hundred amazing local coffee shops.” You would be wrong. I’ve tried a lot of them – even the ones people rave about, and I promise their coffee is the best. It’s never better, never too hot or too cold, and they use the most delicious almond milk in their almond milk lattes (which have been my pregnancy treat – decaf of course). They also sell several grain-free energy bars from a local brand called Bearded Brothers (my favorite flavor is Raspberry Lemon). Parking is a bitch, but you can park at the restaurant across the street until 10:30 am and after that there is street parking in the neighborhood and about 8 spots available in their parking lot. Here’s another place I like to sit outside with my dog in the sunshine and spend an hour chatting with strangers at the next table over. Favorite drink: Almond milk latte (iced or hot) made with a carageenan and soy-free almond milk


Picnik 1700 S Lamar

Probably the most famous Paleo place in all of America, Picnik is a local fave for butter coffee, baked goods, and light meals. Their coffee IS delicious (especially if you can tolerate dairy and get the butter coffee), but it’s freakin’ expensive, so I almost never go there. During the holidays, I got their Peppermint Mocha, modified to omit the dairy and include coconut butter in it’s place. It was really yummy but I felt stupid for spending $7 on coffee, I’m sorry. Go for the novelty of it, if you’re in town, but beware of being the gal or guy who just spent a meal’s-worth of money on coffee and a chocolate chip cookie (which I guess could be considered a meal on its own?)Favorite drink: Marshmallow Chai made dairy-free!


Radio Coffee & Bar 4204 Manchaca 

This place has become a fast favorite for us. It’s perfect for weeknights when you want to get out of the house but don’t want to dress up and go out. There’s a ton of outdoor seating, a taco trucks, an outdoor bar (sometimes staffed), and a large indoor coffee shop with plenty of seating, WiFi and live music on certain nights. I love this place because each night of the week they have some sort of event lined up like outdoor movie night, trivia, dance parties, flea markets, fiddlers. Yes, fiddlers. We bring our dog and always find a stranger to chat with. I love talking to strangers. They have dairy-free milk options like every Austin coffee house, but their almond milk lattes aren’t as good as Caffe Medicis. They are probably my second-favorite in the city that I’ve tried so far though. They also have some gluten-free treats. Favorite drink: Their coffee isn’t as good as Medici’s, so I always get a Topo Chico and an iced decaf almond milk latte.



New American

Salty Sow 1917 Manor Rd

Some delicious ‘ish is offered up at Salty Sow, a well-known brasserie-type of joint in East Austin. I think they are most known for their duck fat fries with a sous-vide runny egg on top. My mom and husband split those and were obsessing over them. I was super jealous and ate my plain steak and salad in envy across the table. So obviously if you eat nightshades and eggs, get the dang fries, you fool! Their food quality is definitely better than the average restaurant and you can certainly eat gluten-free there. Dairy-free may be a bit harder, but they will accommodate. My mom got a pork medallion-bacon number once, and you can’t get much more Paleo than that. Make a reservation because it will always be jam-packed. This has been my least favorite AIP meal out because I think they were afraid to add any sort of flavor to my food in fear of nightshading me. But if you don’t have a ton of food allergies or intolerances, you will most certainly enjoy your meal here!AIP? Have them customize a menu item for you! They made me a simple salad with local veggies and a seared steak. They could have added a little more creativity to both plates though because they were B-O-R-I-N-G. Again, everyone else’s food looked amazing!


Salt & Time 1912 E 7th Street

I went to this adorable butcher shop/restaurant several years ago when I was visiting Austin for the second time. I really wanted to ravage the raw, salt-cured meat counter, but in the name of food safety and gut protection, I held back. I <3 the name and it definitely took me reading it a few times to realize, “Oooh because you just need salt and time to cure meat. How clever.” From what I understand, they have expanded the restaurant to include more seating as well as an expanded menu. They are also open from breakfast, lunch and dinner now. It’s not like they cater specifically to gluten-free eaters (lots of sandwiches and such) but they do have charcuterie boards, offal, salads, homemade pickles, and protein-heavy mains for dinner!AIP? Ask for a nightshade-free cured meat and some pickled vegetables!


Searsucker415 Colorado Street

I freakin’ love this place. The decor is an odd combination of Nautical-Rustic-Farm Animal and really welcoming for a giant warehouse building actually. I’m not much for going out, but the social scene is so active here that it makes me feel like I’m part of the cool crowd for a whole 90 minutes. I’m obsessed with their drink menu. I’ve only been getting them virgin since Pregnant, but their virgin Snake in the Grass (cucumber mojito) is effin’ awesome. I want one right now. They also have really delicious AIP accomodations and eating Paleo is even easier. I have had the Farmer’s Chicken (big chicken leg, roasted, juicy, crispy skin) with roasted brussels sprouts, the local greens salad with shaved veggies and grilled chicken, and the insanely tender and flavorful filet mignon, which is in my top 5 best steaks of my life. It was like butter and perfectly aged, get it. It’s located downtown, and you’ll want to make a reservation if going on a weekend. We park in a parking lot a couple blocks away for $10 and walk around downtown afterwards to people watch.AIP? I get the roast chicken, plain, without the sides and instead get it over a green salad with extra veggies.


Dai Due *TOP PICK*2406 Manor Road

Saving my favorite for last here. Dai Due is the pinnacle of Paleo dining out. EVERYTHING is locally-sourced and/or made in house. Including the bones for their homemade bone broth which I purchase and take home on occasion. It’s real-deal bone broth – jello and delicious. They change their menu every week (sometimes even more frequently) and I’ve always found something on the menu that is AIP-compliant. They let the food shine and don’t use a ton of spices. They’re also dedicated to using only quality fats – how awesome is that!? So you’ll find your food cooked in grass-fed tallow, pastured lard, olive oil, and grass-fed butter rather than vegetable oils. And almost everything is cooked over a tiny open flame RIGHT in front of your eyes. Sitting at the bar is really fun for this reason. Eeek, I just love this place and could go on and on and on. My favorite meal so far has been grilled sheepshead fish from the Gulf coast with grilled Meyer lemon and grilled broccolini with mui choy (a mustard green type of leaf vegetable). We REALLY want to try their humongous grass-fed beef rib one night but it’s a little intimidating. Like the size of my femur.AIP? They will make you whatever your little broth-loving heart desires! Best seat in the house is the little bar at Dai Due – perfect for a date night!



Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Lick 1100 S Lamar

A rotation of 3 to 4 flavors of coconut milk ice cream, most soy and egg-free as well. Delicious, pretty expensive, but their new location is across the street from a Caffe Medici so bonus points!


Thai Fresh *TOP PICK* 909 W Mary 

My favorite coconut milk ice cream by far! It’s made with coconut milk, organic cane sugar, and a variety of flavors. They also tell you which ones are soy-free (anything without chocolate) and they’re all gluten-free and egg-free too. I am obsessed with the Thai Basil & the Thai Coffee and the Lavender is amazing too. To me, this is a can’t-miss ice cream place while in Austin. I get my ice cream over a ball of warmed-up sweet sticky rice, which is white rice, coconut milk and coconut sugar. Sounds weird but it’s decadent and a really unique and perfect combination of textures and temperatures.


Sweet Ritual 

Coconut milk, cashew, and almond milk ice creams with some fun toppings like toasted coconut. No dairy, eggs, or casein in any of their flavors and they let you know which ones are gluten free. Everything is vegan too, and it’s currently located inside a juice shop but they are changing locations early summer 2016, which is why I didn’t include an address. They use agave nectar to sweeten their ice cream, so it’s not a perfectly Paleo option.



Honorable Mentions[Places with delicious food if you are gluten-free and dairy-free but I can’t vet them outto the AIP community]- Sway (Thai)- Torchy’s Tacos (tacos, der)- Swift’s Attic (New American)- La Condesa (Upscale Mexican)- Rudy’s (BBQ – Nightshades for sure)- La Barbeque (BBQ Food Truck – Nightshades for sure)- Salt Lick (BBQ – Awesome outdoor space – Nightshades for sure)- Franklin’s (BBQ – Apparently only uses salt & pepper)