Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey Trescott

#390: Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey Trescott

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Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey TrescottTopics

  1. News and updates from Diane [1:40]
    1. Balanced Bites Meals
    2. Phoenix, Arizona for Keto Quick Start
  2. Our guest, Mickey Trescott, and something new she's digging [2:43]
  3. Nutrient Density and being a nutrivore [9:43]
  4. Prioritizing nutrient density [16:13]
  5. Reintroductions on AIP [24:00]
  6. AIP and keto [30:29]
  7. Chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs [40:10]
  8. What to look for on reintroductions [45:36]
  9. Gray area foods [49:55]

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NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo





Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey Trescott Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey Trescott Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey Trescott Nutrient Density & Autoimmune Protocols with Mickey Trescott

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 390.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox. My newest book, Keto Quick Start, released on January 1 of this year. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

I’m the co-creator of the Balanced Bites Master Class with my podcast partner in crime, Liz. And together, we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for nearly 8 years. We’re here to share our take on modern healthy living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Perfect Keto. Dr. Anthony Gustin and his teams have created a line of supplements that are super clean and effective, no matter what your dietary needs. I’ve been blending their MCT oil powder into my matcha latte lately. Not only are MCTs; medium chain triglycerides; a premium source of your body’s preferred type of energy, and help to fuel your brain and body, but there’s also no added taste. It makes your coffee or matcha wonderfully creamy. Check them out at and use the code BALANCED for 20% off at Perfect Keto; and their sister site, Equip Foods.

1. News and updates from Diane [1:40]

Diane Sanfilippo: A couple of quick updates for you guys. For those of you who have not yet heard, Balanced Bites meals have officially launched. We’ve got a keto box, and we’ve got a paleo box. Check them out at These are perfect for those nights when you're just super busy, want to get real food on the table quickly.

There’s no chopping, prepping, or cooking involved. It’s only heating and eating. You can heat them in a microwave if you want, or you can defrost them, pop them out of the container and heat them any other way you want in a skillet, in a toaster oven, in an oven-safe container, and just make your life so much easier.

For years, you guys have asked me; Diane. Can you come cook for me? And now, I can. With Balanced Bites meals. So check it out;

And if you're in the Phoenix, Arizona area, I will be there at the end of March. Heads up; March 27th will be a book signing. It’s not officially part of the tour for Keto Quick Start, but it is going to be a Keto Quick Start book signing. I’ll be there and I hope to see you at the end of March in Phoenix.

2. Our guest, Mickey Trescott, and something new she’s digging [2:43]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright guys, I have a very special guest on the show today, Mickey Trescott is here to chat about her newest book; the Nutrient Dense Kitchen, that just released on March 5th. We go way, way back. Mickey and I have been friends and colleagues for many, many years. We’ve known each other through just kind of being in the paleo circles. But she and I have always connected on the level of attention to detail that we like to put into our work. And how much information and guidance and the types of charts and just; I don’t know. There’s just something special about the way that Mickey’s brain works that I think we kind of have that attention; just that’s what it is. That attention to detail kind of in common.

And I also think she’s extremely level-headed in her approach to things. So she does obviously teach about the autoimmune protocol; but as you’ll hear in my interview, super balanced approach and is not out to have anyone get stuck in that food jail. So if you guys want to check out more about Mickey, we chatted way back on episode 268. She was on with her co-author, Angie Alt, talking about autoimmune disease, autoimmune wellness. They had a new book out back when we recorded that episode. So be sure to check that one out as well to get to know Mickey a bit more.

Mickey Trescott, NTP, prides herself in finding creative solutions to preparing, cooking, and succeeding on allergen free diets. She’s a certified nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the best-selling guide to the autoimmune protocol called the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. With her partner, Angie Alt, she co-authored the Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, an award winning guide that teaches a whole lifestyle approach to healing from autoimmune disease. Her newest release, the Nutrient Dense Kitchen, focuses on nutrient density, an often overlooked aspect to deep healing with food.

In 2012, Mickey founded, whose website and social media channel serve millions of readers annually with recipes and resources for living well with chronic illness. With Angie Alt and Sarah Ballantyne, she co-created and co-teaches the AIP certified coach practitioner training program, an advanced training for practitioners across the spectrum of both natural and conventional health care.

Ok. Welcome to the show, Mickey! I should say welcome back.

Mickey Trescott: {laughs} Thanks Diane. I’m excited to be here again.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m excited to chat with you. You are one of my favorite people in this space. And I think we all need to be talking to you a lot more. So, we’ll make it so that you’re extra comfortable getting all this media attention. {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: Aww, thank you so much.

Diane Sanfilippo: That was a little bit of sarcasm, but the truth. I think Mickey is someone that everybody needs to get to know better. So on that, why don’t you tell our listeners what’s one thing that you're digging lately? Maybe nutrition related, lifestyle, anything.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So something I’ve started recently is swimming, actually. I had a little bit of a neck issue over the fall, and I was seeing my chiropractor and my physical therapist. Both of them were like; you know, you should probably try swimming. And I just, I’m not the type of person that likes to be putting on a bathing suit. Getting into cold water. I was like; I’m going to do this for a month, just to kind of check it out. And I’m really liking it. I’m really not feeling negative effects from the chlorine. And my body is feeling really good. So that’s what I’m into right now. It’s awesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I was swimming many years ago at one of the gyms I went to after an injury, also. And I found it to be really meditative. I mean, I was never trying to go that fast because I found fast swimming really difficult. I mean, I guess sometimes I would try.

Mickey Trescott: There’s nothing worse than not being able to breathe and being in water.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right?

Mickey Trescott: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Do you find it meditative? Are you trying to break your time on a lap or something? Or are you just doing it for movement?

Mickey Trescott: I’m the kind of person that I can’t not look at the clock. I’m not going for speed by any means. But I know how far I swim and how long it takes and I want to keep up with my personal level. But I just like the rhythm. I like that I can’t hear anything. I’m not distracted by what anyone else is doing. Nobody is watching me, I’m not watching anybody else. I can’t even list to a podcast or not be there. So I like it. I think it feels really good.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I mean, I remember some people would tell me there were ways to listen to things in the water. And I was like; I don’t want any of that. It’s so calm and just you and your breath and your thoughts in the water. That’s awesome.

Mickey Trescott: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. Well, the thing that I have been digging lately is my keto Italian hoagie salad.

Mickey Trescott: I’ve seen it on Instagram! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I put it on Instagram. But listen, that is the life, man. I grew up eating really intense Italian hoagies. I mean, there were sandwich shops everywhere. And Italian people know how to make pizza and sandwiches. And actually, the place I used to go to, if any of our listeners live where I grew up, was called pizza and sandwich barn. Let’s not put any fluff around it. Pizza and sandwich barn. That’s where I went.

Anyway, if you haven’t made the keto Italian hoagie salad yet, you guys should definitely make it. If you can have it with cheese, it’s great with cheese. If you can’t, you can make it. I’m trying to think if it could be pretty AIP while the pepperoncini are not AIP, and they are pretty critical to the salad in terms of flavor. But you could probably swap them for olives, maybe it could be AIP. But we’ll talk about what that’s all about and what not as we go on. But yeah, that’s the thing I’ve been digging. And I’m waiting for the moment where I’ve had enough of it, and I’m just not there yet.

Mickey Trescott: I love it. I love all your salads. You have a way of just making something that I think people get into bad ruts with salads, where they’re just boring and everything is chopped the same and not exciting in any way, and I’m always inspired by seeing what you're digging with your salads. It’s great.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yay. Well thank you.

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3. Nutrient Density and being a nutrivore [9:43]

Diane Sanfilippo: OK, so today we’re going to talk a little bit about keto, but mostly about AIP. And I want to hear about your new book. Because you’re known as someone who is in the AIP/autoimmune paleo space, and you have written other books before the Nutrient Dense Kitchen. But why don’t you tell us a little bit about the new book, and why you wrote it, before we dive into listener questions. Just so folks have a little bit of background on what this is.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So I’m actually the author of the very first AIP cookbook, for those of you guys that are maybe new to me. I wrote the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook back in 2013. And since then, there have been like 15 AIP cookbooks. So the AIP community has really exploded and grown since then.

But the one thing I feel like the community; the direction it’s going now as opposed to in the very beginnings. And I could say the same about paleo. Is just that people aren’t as focused on nutrient density. They’re focused on the rules, which is mostly the elimination.

So for those of you that don’t really know about AIP, it’s an elimination diet. You take out some additional foods than a regular paleo diet. Grains, legumes, eggs, nuts seeds, and nightshade family vegetables. And then you reintroduce foods.

So people get really hung up on those rules part of it, and they start to forget about what they’re replacing those foods with. Which is the concept of nutrient density. So I wanted to create another cookbook that had recipes that were less replacing the old foods, and trying to satisfy the cravings for pasta, or bread, or whatever people are giving up. And instead showing them the best way to cook the most nutrient dense foods, which is kind of like approaching it from the reverse. So yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m nodding along because I love that approach. And as somebody who is a terrible baker, I love that approach. You and I, I think we enjoy making a good treat and sharing that with people. But I think the vast majority of the content and work that we share is just never going to be in that direction for a variety of reasons. Nutrient density obviously being one of them.

Diane Sanfilippo: The term nutrivore; can you explain what that is to our listeners, because I know that’s a big central topic.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, for sure. So I consider a nutrivore to be someone who goes through a lot of effort to eat nutrient dense foods. They take into consideration foods that are seasonal. So foods that are out of season; not only do they not taste as great, but they’re actually less nutrient dense. They don’t have to travel as far to get to our plates. A lot of people, when we start digging into where our food comes from, and we find out that when we buy asparagus in November, you're probably getting it from South America or something. And that’s really common in our food system. Just because it’s on the shelf doesn’t mean that it’s the healthiest option, even though it’s a vegetable. Which, vegetables are healthy.

So, seasonality is really big. Variety is really big. Not eating the same three vegetables while; yes, eating vegetables instead of other things is good. But branch out. Try some different things. Quality. Quality in meat; I know Diane, a lot of your work has been to educate people about the spectrum and not everyone can afford the highest quality, or even raise their own meat. But there’s just so much nuance there between what people can afford and how they can find it and creatively source it.

And then; yeah, so what did I talk about? I talked about quality, variety. And nutrient density; I missed the biggest piece. How many nutrients that food has per calories? So instead of looking at a food as far as what is the literal energy I’m going to get from it, what am I going to be getting in terms of micronutrients. In terms of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, all of that other stuff that comes packaged with that energy. So yeah, that’s how to eat like a nutrivore.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s awesome. One of the things that I was teaching people about as kind of a last step in choosing a healthy cooking fat is the idea of nutrient density, because choosing healthy fats doesn’t always rely primarily on nutrient density. It’s like; we’re looking at all these other factors.

And then when all things are seemingly equal, and we get down to something like coconut oil versus ghee, which are both great for high heat cooking. But one is just way more nutrient dense than the other. So when people ask why I don’t use coconut oil more, I’m like; there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just not as nutrient dense as ghee. Plus, I love the buttery taste of ghee.

So I think that’s such a great; it’s a great place, especially for our listeners to focus. Because I think a lot of our listeners are still dabbling and still figuring out which way of eating feels best for them. Some of them are still going through healing diets and all of that. But we also have a lot of listeners who sort of, no pun intended, evolved past paleo, in a sense. Or evolved past this idea of just eliminating certain foods.

And I love the idea of having people focus more on; ok, how can we get more nutrients in? And it’s not about a diet, and it’s not about restriction. It’s just more about finding better nutrition for the body.

Mickey Trescott: And when they identify those foods, like the ghee. And they go; oh, this has all of these great fat soluble vitamins. And once people get that education, then they can be excited and try to put it on their plate more often. Instead of saying; I have to eat this because it’s healthy for me. Or I can’t eat that because it’s a no food. It’s less black or white, really, which I think we share a pretty similar approach of wanting to have a balanced and positive relationship with what we put on our plate and not have it feel stressful or limiting.

Which, for the AIP community, I think we can have a bigger problem with that pretty easily, just because there already is a lot of restriction built in, and also people are coming to it with a lot of pretty serious health stuff. So it’s tricky.

4. Prioritizing nutrient density [16:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, can you talk a little bit about how people can easily start prioritizing nutrient density, if this is something where they’re like; hold on. I just was figuring out what not to eat. Because that’s a big one. And folks listening to the show; like I said, they’re kind of all along a different part of this journey. Some of them have just stepped into it. Some of them have been doing this a long time, it’s old hat to them.

But if someone is listening and they’re like; ok, great. I’ve already figured out what foods don’t make me feel good. Which, in general, make me feel better. What are some ways that people can start to make that transition in the way that they’re thinking, and the way that their choosing foods to prioritize nutrient density? And are there are any favorites, ingredients that give you the most bang for the buck etc.

Mickey Trescott: Well, I think everyone should start with the things they already like. So I think a lot of people here in the community are like; “you have to be eating liver, and you have to be eating shellfish.” And they kind of go; wait a minute. {laughs} I’m not ready yet. And that’s ok. You don’t have to eat those foods. It’s not a requirement to eat any of these foods in order to be healthy. People have all kinds of different preferences and palates and it’s understandable to have a food or a few foods that you're just like; that’s a deal breaker for me. And you can work around it. That’s the great thing about nutrition. A lot of these nutrients you can get by eating different combinations of foods.

A lot of things; the first step for a lot of people is just eating vegetables. You know. Some people are vegetable averse, and I say if that’s you, then just start to eat some vegetables and it doesn’t really matter which ones, as long as they’re ones that you like. Figure out how to cook them. A lot of people are very turned off by vegetables because they at them growing up, and they were mushy, and steamed, and they just weren’t cooked properly.

So, I know Diane, you’ve probably had this experience of just converting broccoli haters and brussels sprout haters.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I mean, those of us who grew up mostly in the 80s, our moms didn’t know how to roast vegetables. It wasn’t a thing. Roasting was not; I mean, it just wasn’t somehow popular or somebody didn’t say; hey, you can roast a chicken and you can also roast your brussels sprouts. Everyone was steaming, or microwaving everything. And that was just the worst.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So a lot of those people have grown up going; well I don’t like vegetables, because that’s what they think is a proper preparation. When really, when you roast a vegetable, you cook it properly, it gets caramelized. It gets sweeter. It has different texture. It has different flavor, depending on how you cook it. So it’s really fun.

So if you're not a vegetable person, I would say just jump in. Start with some vegetables. Start expanding different types of vegetables.

The next step is just to try some of the nutrient-dense super foods that I like to talk about. Broth, organ meats, fish, shellfish. And that category; those foods, like I said before, you don’t need to do all of them at once. But if you're kind of like; I think bone broth is gross. What I would say is; go to the store, get some high quality frozen broth.

There are a few brands on the market right now that actually are truly made from pasture raised animals; really gelatinous, really healing. And use that in your cooking a couple of times a week. You don’t need to be making it yourself, and smelling it. I know that’s a turn off for some people.

And then once you figure out how to use it, and you see how the flavor of your soups and stews is amazing because you're using this great broth, then you can dip into making it yourself. But, start with that baby step.

And then as far as the organ meats, a lot of people don’t eat them. And that’s fine. Like I said, you don’t have to eat them. But if you're curious about them, trying to start with a really palatable recipe. I have two pates in the book that are like award-winning with people that don’t like liver. Which, I’m actually one of those people. I only eat liver because it really is a good match for me with my digestive issues and my autoimmune diseases come with the exact nutritional deficiencies that liver provides. So it’s a healing food for me. But I’ve discovered ways to cook it that I can actually eat it.

So I would try something like that first. Where the liver is cooked with a bunch of other onions and garlic and herbs. In one of my pates I have apples. And then it’s all blended up. So you can’t taste it as strongly, and it’s a really good intro.

I actually had someone post on my blog last week with their handle, “liver lover” letting me know that liver lovers would be disappointed eating this recipe, because all of the herbs and everything overpowered the actual flavor of the liver. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting.

Mickey Trescott: I don’t think they actually understood that that was the point. But, yeah. That’s what you want to do, just kind of mix it up with other stuff, and see if you like it that way.

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s your take on the idea of eating something. This is kind of a weird question, but I just want to see your opinion on this. Would you rather somebody eats sardines with something like a gluten free cracker. Something; whatever they can tolerate. Something that might be a little less healthy, but it’s a way for them to get the sardines in. Or would you rather them wait until they get to a place where they’re willing to eat the sardines just on top of a salad. Which approach do you think?

Mickey Trescott: This is an awesome question.

Diane Sanfilippo: Is it?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. I think it depends on the person. I think the person who is really sick and really like; I need to do a strict AIP should probably try to eat the sardine without the cracker. But I think for most people who are just doing a nutrient density experiment, eat it on the cracker if the cracker is going to make you excited about that. And then you can get used to the flavor and find out if you can do something else with it.

And then the other thing is; sardines are actually one of the most nutrient dense foods. I actually have a table in my book where I compare the pure protein from chicken breast and sardines. Just to show people that; that’s a really common salad topper. Not that chicken breast is not nutrient dense at all; it has some nutrients. But when you compare the same amount with sardines, it’s like, completely blows it out of the water. You actually really increase the nutrient density of the whole meal. And for people who are feeling pretty healthy and crackers are ok for them, that’s a really good way to mitigate that. So eating a super nutrient dense food with kind of a low nutrient density food, I like that idea. I think it’s good.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And maybe it can be those flax crackers that are maybe not so low in nutrients. I was eating sardines in my hotel room the other day, and I wanted something salty and crunchy with them because they didn’t have any kind of flavor or anything like that. I don’t even know if they were salted. Then I bought a bag of pistachios at the front desk, because the only options that I could pick were pistachios and cashews with no other weird oils or anything. And I literally cracked open a bunch of pistachios to put them on top of the sardines to give them some crunch and some salt. And I was like; well, here we go. And it was a really wonderful hotel meal. {laughs} It was really random.

I think people are scared of some foods that they just have had had prepared really poorly. And understandably, a lot of folks didn’t grow up with parents who cooked much, or parents who experimented with cooking. And I think that’s a lot of what we’re shepherding people into this adulthood of cooking that they haven’t really experienced. And I think it’s awesome.

5. Reintroductions on AIP [24:00]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, I just want to touch a little bit on the concept of AIP, and you mentioned this before. Obviously, it’s a healing way of eating. It’s a healing “diet”. And we know, in practice, that lots of folks kind of get stuck in the spot of eliminating things, and then either continuing to eliminate more things to the point where it’s just like a food jail. Where they’re just really restricted. Or they stay on the autoimmune protocol for a really long time, and forget that part of the protocol is reintroduction.

So what do you have to say about that? What is the best way to encourage people to reintroduce foods and figure out what’s going on?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. AIP has grown so much, that there’s kind of the core group of bloggers and authors who have written the first books that I think have the most correct and cohesive information. Meaning, if you pick up either of their books, they’re going to say the same thing.

There’s kind of the second wave of people publishing info online, especially, that say different things that are not correct. And part of that is doing AIP forever, or doing it for very long-term. That’s never been part of the protocol.

The actual AIP elimination phase lasts 30 to 90 days. If in 30 to 90 days, someone doesn’t see meaningful improvements, it’s time to start troubleshooting. And that means working with a coach, or working with a doctor, to figure out what the reason is that they’re not experiencing success. Usually that’s things like gut infections. It’s untreated thyroid. It’s various methylations, SIBO, that kind of stuff.

Longer on the diet doesn’t usually produce results for people. And if anything, it damages their relationship with food. It creates more orthorexia, and kind of disordered patterns. Especially; there’s kind of a little subculture on Instagram where it’s kind of like; AIP harder. Who’s doing it longer. This badge of honor; it’s never been about that.

So for anyone who has done AIP for a little while, and has experienced success, I would definitely encourage that you reevaluate either if there are some disordered tendencies. And the reasons why you don’t want to reintroduce foods. So, for some people, they feel so good that they’re afraid then to reintroduce foods.

And it’s actually important to reintroduce foods so that you're able to eat meals with family. So that you can explore some of the nutrient density in some of those eliminated foods. Because they’re not all bad foods. And that you don’t develop kind of a burdened heart and mind when it comes to the food part.

So if that’s not it, then you need to just start working with someone to figure out why you're not experiencing success and not stay on the diet forever. Because that’s not what it’s meant for.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s probably really liberating for a lot of people to hear. And I would say that’s even true of something like paleo or keto that if in 90 days you're not seeing some benefit to what you're doing; I think 30 days is often not enough time, depending on what’s going on. Especially if someone is dealing with an autoimmune flare or really out of whack metabolism. Which, somebody who is leaning on keto or looking at that as a way to go.

I feel like sometimes people are really wrapped up in the idea that everything can change in one month. And that’s understandable. It’s a long amount of time. It feels like a lot of time. But most of us have had 20 to 50 or more years of doing these other things, or our body has been out of balance for so long, that I think expecting everything to change in that much time is a little unfair to the approach.

But I think for sure, I think three months is a really solid amount of time that if you don’t have some kind of benefit it’s worth saying; hey, I don’t think this is working for me.

And that said; to your point about books that maybe were some of the originals versus some of the newer ones, it’s not about this crazy; these rules are correct, these rules aren’t. But, it is kind of like; I want to make sure you're doing it right for those 90 days to decide if it is working or not. So that’s where something like the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook; getting your first book. And then your second, was this the second one?

Mickey Trescott: The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I did a review of that on if you guys are looking for that. And you guys can definitely check those out. I think those will be really helpful for folks.

And then, just quickly. Obviously it’s called the autoimmune protocol. Just to reinforce and remind people; for folks who have an autoimmune condition and are looking to find healing through food. Is there any other way that you want to explain who maybe wants to approach an autoimmune way of eating?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. It’s usually for people that either have an autoimmune diagnosis or they suspect that they have an autoimmune disease but they’re struggling to get a diagnosis. But honestly, anyone who thinks food sensitivities are a part of their problem. The diet eliminates all of the most common food triggers and then reintroduces them one by one.

So if you're someone that doesn’t have an autoimmune disease, or maybe your issues aren’t as pronounced as some others and you're not that motivated to take out nuts and seeds, for example. You could go for a while and try to do paleo, and also remove eggs, or nightshade family vegetables are common.

Really, it’s up to you. It’s a template. It’s not this rigid thing that you have to follow the plan or the structure. In the end, you kind of pick out what you want to do depending on your goals and follow through. And then when it comes time for reintroductions, you can kind of discover what works best for your body. That’s the thing that I think a lot of people really resonate with. We are all different. We all tolerate different foods, even if we have the same conditions, or symptoms. And it’s just really fun to find a way of tapping into our own intuition, and figuring out what works for us.

6. AIP and keto [30:29]

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So, we’re going to talk a little bit about keto and AIP, because that’s a super common question these days. Everyone is looking at how to approach eating keto or lower carb. And whether or not it’s a good thing to combine those two, as well as just your take on a few different questions that we have about them.

For background on it, what is your take, just in general. On keto, keto AIP, just the whole situation.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So I think that I get a little bit skeeved out when people try to pile on too many restrictions. Or mix too many things. I have had clients that come to me that are like; I’m doing keto AIP low histamine and low FODMAP. And you're like; great, you're eating 5 foods. This is really hard.

So if you're one of those people that just thinks; again, dieting harder is just going to make all your problems go away, you're probably taking the wrong approach. And that’s where I think keto AIP is not a good idea.

I do think it has some therapeutic effects, especially for people with neurological issues. Terry Wahls obviously has been a really big proponent, and a really good teacher for people that are interesting in learning more about neurology and just how a ketogenic diet that also removes some inflammatory foods for people with autoimmune disease can be really helpful.

Also, for people that have metabolic issues. Blood sugar issues. I would say, though, for people that want to do keto and AIP, that I would probably pick one or the other first, and then wade in and mix. Especially with AIP; you're starting with a really restricted diet and you're kind of expanding. And with keto, it’s restricted in a different way.

But I think just putting those two together, unless you're trying to heal MS or you’ve got seizures or something. Those are people that the motivation is just so high that they’re going to be able to make it happen. I think for most people, that’s just going to be too much.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. With you. When I first ate keto, almost 10 years ago, I was already eating paleo when I started eating keto. So I was eating paleo keto, basically just dairy free keto for the most part. And I wasn’t really doing any sweeteners of any kind, I don’t think, through the most intense parts of it I guess. But it was just I was already not eating dairy. So it wasn’t a thing to then remove it.

So I do feel like if somebody is considering this, and they’re thinking; well, I have this autoimmune condition and I thought keto would be the way to go. I think that really getting to the root of which foods are more triggering for you is a better approach first. Because then, whether they’re keto friendly or not doesn’t really matter. It’s really; does it work for you.

Because I might have you eating bell peppers. But if you find out that they really don’t work for you. Or eggs, for example, and you find out they don’t work for you on an autoimmune protocol; then great. You're doing keto egg-free, and you're not wondering; should I be eating them or not. You already know how they work for you. So I think that’s good advice.

Diane Sanfilippo: Do you have your own personal experience with eating keto? Or mostly working with clients? What’s your background on that?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. I tried keto 2014 for three months. And I thought it was a mixed bag for me. I gave it a pretty fair go. And I have Hashimoto’s disease, so I’m one of the thyroid people that; I’ve heard from thyroid people, some people love it, some people hate it. I felt like I had a complete loss of hunger. Which was really nice. I could eat my meals, but it was really nice not being hungry all the time. And I was eating a couple of meals a day. Food was not really a burden for me, as it had been in the past.

But I did have some lingering energy issues, which I suspect it was from my thyroid. My thyroid labs were just a little bit not great during that period of time. And everyone is different. I had autoimmune thyroid disease for 15 years before mine was treated. So I think it might just be a little harder for some people.

Since then, I have experimented in the last couple of years because some of my clients who have weight loss resistance have been trying to do more like cyclical keto, where they’ll do 5 days on and then like a weekend off. And this is within the framework of AIP. So they go completely low-carb for 5 days and then basically on the weekend they do a little carb loading.

That has been really effective for some people, especially people that are pretty active but have a lot of weight to lose. So that’s kind of my experience with it. I’m definitely not an expert. {laughs} I’ve learned a lot from you.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, most of my expertise has come through practice. Through my own experience with eat keto, and just kind of working with folks who were curious and looking to make some changes. But I think what you were saying, too, about the cyclical thing. I feel like for the people who are not eating keto specifically for a neurological condition. Where being a bit more strict might be required for those folks.

For people who are looking for the metabolic advantage, for people who are looking for that increased satiety and lowered appetite for a variety of reasons, whether it’s convenience. I think it’s really convenient for a lot of us to not be so hungry all the time.

Mickey Trescott: That’s what I loved about it. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: And I do think that metabolic flexibility; that’s something that the cyclical part. I don’t know; I feel like a lot of folks today are becoming so dogmatic about it that luckily a lot of us who are teaching about it are like; no, no. You don’t have to be strictly keto 100% of the time. We went through all of this with the paleo thing. And I’m sure with AIP, it’s like; they have to be strict for a certain period. And then you really want them not to be. So I’m glad we’re all kind of educating on that front to make sure people understand. There are benefits to it that don’t require that you're like a card carrying member for life.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, did your keto sticks show your ketones this morning, or whatever.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Mickey Trescott: I feel like on any given day, at this point, I could go three days eating keto. And sometimes I won’t even notice. But it will just be because the veggies I bought that week weren’t starchy. And when you have the metabolic flexibility, it happens. But I don’t think like; I was keto for three days. {laughs} You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, exactly. It’s just part of life. Ok, so let’s talk a little bit about this whole AIP thing. So I covered the best way to approach an experiment with keto, knowing that if folks are already eating AIP, you kind of want them to just figure out what those foods are first, right? And then if they want to dabble with keto later, and do it as a cyclical thing, that could be fine.

What are some of the things that you think are easiest or best to eat for folks who do want to eat keto who are eating on an autoimmune protocol?

Mickey Trescott: The meat patties. There are tons of recipes in my books and online. But just having; you can’t do eggs. So you're going to really need a good breakfast protein. And the two things that I really recommend are those patties, and you can batch cook them. You can freeze them in between slices of wax paper and just heat them up for breakfast. Or having a soup, stew, chili type thing. Get over the fact that it’s a soup for breakfast. I don’t have any sympathy for people that message me on Instagram saying; gross, soup! So many people all around the world do it. It’s just a meal. Get over it. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} This is also why I love you. Right? I don’t have sympathy for the fact that we were all raised on cereal for breakfast, and at some point we need to just move past the fact that our mind is trapping us in that way.

Mickey Trescott: There are actual barriers to do this stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s not one of them.

Mickey Trescott: And eating that food for breakfast is not one of them.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m with you. Yeah.

Mickey Trescott: So meat patties and vegetables. So with keto you're just going to do the leafy greens, really. And those are so good for you. They’re so nutrient dense. The different spinach, and kale, and chard, and whatever. Whatever floats your boat, make a ton of that. Cover it with fat.

Ferments; a little side of fermented veggies is really great for breakfast. Tons of salads. Salads are great. Figure out how to make a few really good dressings. Always have that in your fridge. Roast your chickens, your pot roast, fish. There’s tons of things to eat. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I do. We’re good at figuring out what to eat. I love doing something like a sausage; obviously one that you would make yourself, like a meat patty as you were talking about. Over some greens, like arugula with salad dressing. And then a bunch of sauerkraut. I love that. I like it with mustard, which would not necessarily be AIP, with mustard seed. But I think the sauerkraut with the sausage and a little bit of greens. I really like that together. I think it’s really good.

7. Chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs [40:10]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So, I’m curious. Can you help us understand a bit of the difference between duck eggs, chicken eggs, and quail eggs? When it comes to; maybe two different things if you can touch on this. I don’t know if I’m throwing you way for a loop. But the concept of nutrient density in those eggs. And then also the potentially allergenic properties that would make it so if we can’t eat chicken eggs, we could eat duck, etc.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So really the biggest difference cooking-wise is going to be the size and the flavor. The quail eggs are tiny, chicken eggs are in the middle, duck eggs are huge. The nutrient density side is going to be about the birds that they come from.

So with chickens, obviously, that’s the most mass produced egg in this country. And chicken eggs can be incredibly nutrient dense if they come from a farm that’s letting them roam free on pasture. They’re not having any grain. They’re finding grubs and things all over on the farm. Those are going to have the really nice dark yolks. They’re going to have the most nutrients because the birds themselves are really healthy. And that is going to apply to quail or duck.

So if you're getting farm raised duck eggs or quail eggs; great, go for it. I think the nutrient density is going to be high. As far as which one is more nutrient dense, I think that it’s a little too specific to worry about those things. {laughs} If you can get your hands on a good food item, and it’s something that you don’t have a lot, I’d say just go for it. Try it. See how your body feels.

As far as the autoimmune component, though, I hate to break it to everyone listening. {laughs} But eggs, the compounds that are problematic are actually in the white, and they are very strong immune stimulants. So it’s actually what eggs use to protect the fetus from the outside environment. And it’s going to be present in duck eggs, and quail eggs, and chicken eggs. Eggs are eggs.

So what I would say is that when it’s time; say you do an AIP. You eliminate eggs. And we recommend eliminating every kind of egg, no matter what kind. Even the Blessed Farm, Happy Bird eggs. Eliminate all of them. When it comes time to reintroduce; you can start with the highest quality eggs, and you can try a different type of egg, like a duck egg, first. So if you have pastured duck eggs, start that first. You might find that you tolerate those better than chicken eggs. I have no way of knowing how that’s going to work for you. That’s about you and your intuition and reintro process.

But yeah, I think they’re all great for people that tolerate them. And the variety is particularly interesting. The farms that are going to be raising quail and duck are probably less likely to be factory farming. I know that’s a big assumption, that might not always be true. But if you're specifically looking at duck eggs versus chicken eggs, that might be something to consider, too.

Diane Sanfilippo: Good point. Would you recommend that folks reintroduce just the yolk before the white?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know some people who will just separate them and then fry a yolk without the white.

Mickey Trescott: For sure. And in the Autoimmune Protocol instructions, which you’ll find in any of our books or online, it’s just that egg yolks are stage 1 reintroduction. Which means they’re in the category of foods that you would introduce first. Egg whites are actually stage 2. So you would always introduce egg yolks before egg whites.

And actually, egg yolks are almost perfectly tolerable to people. There has been some debate; maybe they haven’t been eliminated at first. But, it’s really hard for people that are actually allergic, or super sensitive to egg white, to actually separate them. So some people crack them, and put the yolk in a paper towel, and then pierce it with a knife, and then squeeze it out. And that’s actually the sanitary way. {laughs} So you don’t get any of the white contaminating.

Diane Sanfilippo: This is the first time I’ve heard that, Mickey. And it’s been a while since I’ve heard something for the first time.

Mickey Trescott: {laughing} So for people that are like; really sensitive to the whites, that can be a thing. But I think the nuance there is just so hard to convey that it’s like; let’s just avoid the eggs for now.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Because at that point, then, your willingness and eagerness to just have the yolk when you're done with that 30, 60, 90 days.

Mickey Trescott: It’s like; what are you going to do with that yolk? You know? I’ve had clients put it in meatloaf or burger patties or something. So they’re using it. And it’s a very nutrient dense part of the egg. But also, the actual practice of doing that. I worry about wasting the white. It’s a whole thing. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I mean, I appreciate the commitment to getting the egg. Especially if somebody is not eating liver, and wants to get choline.

Mickey Trescott: For sure. Exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m into it. I’m just picturing the paper towel, hold; this word is not the best. But this sack of big yolk.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, it is.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that you're not then letting that white albuminy part touch anything. You're emptying it out. But that’s amazing. So I think it’s important that people know that all hope may not be lost for you, and all types of eggs. It just might be the white. Which; eh. The white’s ok. It’s got some protein. But the yolk is really where it’s at.

Mickey Trescott: Mm-hmm.

8. What to look for on reintroductions [45:36]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So, there’s another question here about cocoa. 100% cocoa. If you're reintroducing something like that. Which; I guess this is probably a question in general. If you're reintroducing any food, what are some signs that you're looking for to know whether or not you tolerate them? And then there’s kind of a follow-up question on the chocolate. But first I’m just going to have you answer; when you're reintroducing a food, what are you looking for to understand whether or not it works for you.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, so you're looking for literally anything. {laughs} People get tripped out, and they’re like; wait. So if I eat something and I wake up in the middle of the night, is that a thing? Or if I eat something, and I’m moody. Or if I have gas the next day. Literally, you're looking for anything.

And it sometimes can take a little bit of time and practice to actually figure out which symptom is caused by which food. But with trial and error, and a lot of times it comes with repeating things, you will notice.

Like, ok if I eat chocolate. Which, this is a personal experience for me when I first started eating chocolate back when I was doing my reintroductions. I would get this very specific, low, bumpy acne just kind of around my mouth. And I knew that was my chocolate reaction.

So for you it can be a headache. If I eat a lot of chocolate, I can get a headache, and I think that’s like a histamine thing for me. But yeah, people can have all kinds of reactions, ranging from literally the symptoms of your autoimmune disease, which is really obvious and handy. Because sometimes it’s really clear. And then it can be all the way to something really nebulous, like mood changes, sleep changes, general fatigue. That kind of thing.

Diane Sanfilippo: Very interesting. So, can you explain a little bit about cocoa in particular? What makes it not autoimmune protocol, autoimmune paleo compliant. The question the person is asking is, “Is it phytates? Could an enzyme help to digest what’s there?” She really wants to have the chocolate.

Mickey Trescott: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: So she’s trying to figure out; what can I do to have the chocolate. If I want to go AIP.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, so there are a few things with AIP. So I would say; everyone’s AIP journey is your own. And if it’s the one thing holding you back from doing any kind of dietary change, it’s chocolate. Then maybe just do it with chocolate. It’s your thing. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m setting their rules; you set your rules. So I’ll start with that.

But too, chocolate is not part of AIP because cocoa beans are actually seeds, which have phytic acid and lectins. Those are the reasons for the exclusion from AIP. That’s why we avoid even gluten free grains. It’s why we avoid nuts and seeds. Not that these foods are bad foods for everyone, but just for people that have digestive issues. Autoimmune disease. Our immune system is the gut. The gut is usually inflamed in people with autoimmunity. We’re just removing all of those variables and putting them back in just to see what happens.

So the other issue with chocolate is actually caffeine. Caffeine can be an immune stimulant, too, and be problematic. So AIP is actually a seed-free protocol, but not a caffeine free protocol. So I just want to make that distinction for any of you that drink tea and are kind of like; well, I’m replacing my coffee or chocolate with tea so I can get the caffeine. That’s ok. I know that’s a little bit in the weeds. {laughs}

So I really recommend, if you can, not going with chocolate for 30 days. If anything it’s going to make the chocolate taste really, really good when you go to reintroduce it. You're going to really appreciate it. Just to make sure that all those variables are out.

Something else about chocolate is that; especially if you're not careful about the brand that you're buying, it can bring with it some other ingredients that are not so great for people. Sometimes there could be additives. Sometimes the sugar bothers people. So that’s another thing to consider when you go to reintroduce; is just make sure the chocolate is really clean and there are no other ingredients to make sure you know how that reaction is going.

9. Gray area foods [49:55]

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Ok, so last question here. Are there ever any AIP no foods that you will consciously eat, or choose to eat, knowing that it will cause; I would say more no foods for you. Foods that you know don’t really work for you, that you choose to eat knowing there will be consequences. What’s that experience like for you?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. I like to call them gray-area foods. I think no is really negative. I don’t like feeling like I have this diet where foods are off-limits. I do have foods that I know I can’t ever eat again, like gluten, because I have celiac disease. And that’s kind of in the duh category.

But everything else for me, I consider a gray area. So these are foods that I can choose to eat if I want to. Most of the time, I choose not to eat them because I don’t like how I feel when I eat them. But it’s up to me to do that, or to not.

So this might be having a drink. I don’t tolerate alcohol very well. I also don’t like drinking that much. But my uncle is a wine maker. Sometimes going to visit with my family and have an event at his house, and taste the wine that he literally made himself is really meaningful to me. So I’m going to have a couple of sips. I’m going to get a headache. It’s worth it for me in that case.

I think for you, it’s about doing a cost-benefit analysis. Figuring out how something is going to make you feel. I’m much more lenient when I travel. Last summer, I went to Europe with my husband. I ate a lot more gluten free grains. I had a couple of drinks. I ate at restaurants where I wasn’t so sure about the nightshade situation. I react pretty badly to a lot of nightshade family foods, still. And I was a lot more lenient about that. And I had a good experience. It was worth it in almost every case. So it’s really up to people about that.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s helpful to hear. And I’m just going to hang onto one thing that you just said that you may not have even noticed. But you said; responding to nightshades really poorly still. And I think that’s kind of; that’s an important thing for people to hear. Because what you're saying is; there’s hope and potential that eventually you might not respond to them as unfavorably.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, for sure. And I tell people this all the time. Just because you try a food and it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean that that’s forever. So for gluten, like I said before; duh. It’s never going to work for me. I’m not holding out hope. But the nightshade family foods, I eat potatoes all the time. I’m fine. I’ve started tolerating some of the hot peppers about 3 years ago, when I was about 3 years into AIP. I had said no nightshades at all for me. And then I got accidentally nightshaded, and I didn’t get sick.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} You got nightshaded! I know glutened is a verb, but now I know nightshaded is a verb.

Mickey Trescott: {laughs} Nightshaded. Yeah, the AIP community, for sure. And the only thing really right now that I have to really strictly avoid is tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s not bad. Tomatoes are easier to find than paprika.

Mickey Trescott: I like my Mexican food, so.

Diane Sanfilippo: Paprika is tough. Ok, alright. Yeah, I never followed an autoimmune protocol, but I became allergic to a lot of different nuts. I had an oral allergy to nuts for many years. And strawberries, which; I missed the strawberries more than the nuts.

Mickey Trescott: That’s so sad. I was going to say; the strawberries would piss me off. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it really did. Because; I mean, I didn’t really grow up eating much in the way of nuts aside from peanut butter, you know, as a kid. So it wasn’t like this favorite food. But strawberries were an emotional loss for me.

But yeah, and then recently I was able to eat them again. I just think that’s a really interesting thing. And I think it’s important for people to keep an open mind to whether or not they can still eat something many years down the road after working on healing in a variety of ways. Whether you eat an autoimmune protocol. Whether you went keto. Whether you just healed a lot of stress and got toxic people out of your life and that helps heal your gut. It’s all real.

That was good. Ok. I think that’s it for questions. I think we’re going to hear from one last sponsor here, and then we’ll wrap up the show when we come back from that.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal.

The NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program and fully online nutritional therapy consultant program empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. If you're interested in learning about holistic nutrition but don’t necessarily want to become a practitioner, check out their new Foundational Wellness course. To learn more about the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, resources, and to enroll in their free course, Nutritional Therapy 101, visit

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, thank you so much, Mickey, for taking time to hang out and chat with me today. I think our listeners are really going to love that conversation. Where can everyone find more about you, and your book, and all that good stuff?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So if you guys are interested in the autoimmune protocol, definitely head over to my website that I manage in partnership with Angie Alt. It’s called we also are on Instagram at Autoimmune Paleo. I know it’s a little weird, the names are different. But story for another day. {laughs}

We have all of the resources that you guys need. If you sign up for our email list, there is a list of foods to include and avoid. There are meal plans. There’s all kinds of stuff. Really great community. We’re not the only ones that produce content for our site. So there are people sharing their stories. We’re really into bringing in the community and a lot of voices on this topic, kind of strengthening the AIP movement as a whole.

If you guys are interested in following me, I’m most often on Instagram at Mickey Trescott. And if you guys are interested in my book, the Nutrient Dense Kitchen, you can pick up a copy wherever books are sold. Thanks so much, Diane, for giving me the opportunity to chat with everybody today. It’s been awesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: My pleasure. I’m so glad to chat with you. That’s it for this week. You can find me, Diane, at Don’t forget to join our email lists for free goodies and updates you don’t find anywhere else on our websites or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, please leave us an iTunes review. We’ll see you next week.

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