cast iron philosophy & media

Diane Davidson, Nutrition Consulting & Paleo Chef Services in San Francisco

I believe the way to happiness, beauty & mental clarity is through nutrition. But, nutrition has gotten a bad rap lately- there is too much emphasis on faulty science and anecdotal advice-- not enough emphasis on intuition. My mission is to help you trust your instincts and eat what feeds you-- not count calories, follow the fads, restrict yourself or feel guilty.

Good nutrition is about reaching your full potential: at work, in the gym, with your loved ones, and in your clothes. The way to get there is by eating what is naturally nutrient-dense and designed by nature to be delicious.

My cooking style was borne from my Texas roots and California ambitions. I came to San Francisco for culinary & nutrition school, and the food culture I discovered convinced me to stay. I utilize the freshest of the incredible ingredients available here to create healthy cuisine that energizes, heals, and satisfies. 

Cast Iron Kitchen specializes in organic, health-promoting fare that masquerades as indulgent comfort food. As a certified Therapeutic Chef I studied the effects of different diet plans on my clients and self. I came to realize that a whole foods Paleo diet was the key to vitality. My dishes emphasize fresh, local vegetables and fruits, leafy greens, pastured meats, vibrant spices, fresh herbs and organic nuts and seeds. My kitchen is free of gluten, grains, legumes, or refined sugar in any dishes, and I use full-fat grassfed dairy sparingly. As a Nutrition Consultant I balance macronutrients & ensure adequate vitamin and mineral content. In addition to meticulous ingredient selection, I use only healthy cookware—no aluminum, Teflon, or BPA.

I agree with Virginia Woolf’s sentiment that, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” The Cast Iron Kitchen mission is to help San Franciscans thrive

Cast Iron Kitchen Media & Guest Posts

Nom Nom Paleo Private Dinner

HASTHAG paleo HYPE column

CLEANSE 5/4-5/18

Munchery Menu & Reviews



Cast Iron Kitchen Philosophy: The Basics

This is text from a handout I created for new clients. The small stuff can make a big difference! 


  • Be aware while you eat: sit down, chew slowly & thoroughly & avoid watching TV or driving while eating. Eating and digestion require the body to be relaxed to allow for blood to be moved from the muscles to the digestive system. If you aren't relaxed or aware of your eating, your body cannot prepare to digest and you won't absorb nutrients properly.
  • Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal- do not drink while you eat as it dilutes your stomach acid & impairs your ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
  • Aim to eat 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up to encourage optimal metabolism all day.
  • Never eat sugary foods on an empty stomach- fat and protein slow down the rush of sugar.
  • Diversify your diet: eat a rainbow of (natural) colors & try to avoid repeating the same ingredients too often; i.e. pancakes for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner is a constant influx of wheat & gluten. This can lead to food senstivities and digestive tract damage.
  • Always read the list of ingredients in the food you purchase. If you can’t determine what an ingredient is or its source, neither can your body.
  • Do you have a headache? Stomach ache? Constipated? Anxious? Acne? Dry Skin? Lackluster hair? All of these symptoms can be caused by or excasterbated by dehydration. Drink half your weight in ounces of water daily. I.e. if you weigh 180 lbs, drink at least 90 ounces.
  • The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is very acidic. Meat, dairy, sugar, and grains are all acidic and they need to be balanced by alkaline vegetables and fruits. A surefire way to stay alkaline is by eating 3 servings of greens per one serving of meat. 
  • Eat your greens! No matter what else you eat, your body will thank you for eating leafy greens! I know making a salad from scratch can be time consuming, so I like to buy microgreens everytime I go to the grocery store, and put a handful on top of whatever I'm eating...e̶v̶e̶n̶ especially pizza. 
  • We've all heard that eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a temporary diet. To eat healthy for life, it's essential to find a balance. Feed your body the foods it intuitively needs, but don't beat yourself up for wanting that cookie or cocktail. Feeling restricted or guilty is no way to live!

Truth Over Myths

  • Eating fat does not equal gaining fat. Do not fear fat. Simple carbohydrates and sugar are the real enemies of fat loss. Your brain is 60% fat. Feed it!
  • Calorie counting is totally unnecessary. We can’t comprehend or calculate the calories we truly burn in our daily activites. If you’re eating high-quality foods, your body will show it. Trust your appetite.
  • Don’t cook with olive oil. It is unstable and harmful when it is heated. Instead use coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, ghee, and grassfed butter for cooking. 
  • Margarine is molecularly closer to plastic than food. It never goes ‘bad’ and even insects and animals refuse to eat it. The very first heart attacks in history begain shortly after these trans fats hit grocery store shelves. 
  • Animals also refuse to eat GMO foods. Farmers of GMO foods have one of the highest cancer rates of any population. Are GMO and pesticide-ridden foods something you want to support with your grocery store dollars?
  • Sugar cravings will subside once you cut out refined/ processed desserts. Your palate will adapt quickly (2-3 weeks) so that the taste of an apple seems as sweet as candy once did. Don't believe me? I'd love for you to prove me wrong. Let me know after those 2-3 weeks!
  • If you want to beat a sugar craving immediately, a teaspoon of L- Glutamine on your tongue will stop the temptation within 20 minutes. 
  • If you crave salt, eat salt! It is likely your body’s way of asking for minerals. But- it is essential that you use sea salt instead of nutritionally stripped, processed table salt. Studies now show that salt is not linked to hypertension and heart disease. Ask for my salt handout for more information and references.
  • With supplements, you get what you pay for. Avoid low quality like Costco & Walgreens. A good way to choose is by reading reviews on Amazon, or going to a local health food store and asking the staff. Let me know if you’d like brand recommendations. 
  • Cholesterol is essential for life. Every cell in your body uses it for structure, and it is a component in all hormone production. Don’t fear dietary cholesterol. 
  • NEVER take antacids like Tums. Stomach aches are nearly always caused by too little stomach acid- not too much! Chewing food thoroughly, avoiding trigger foods that you know make you feel unwell, and water with lemon all help boost stomach acid. Peppermint oil caspules and DGL/ Rhizinate work wonders when you just can't resist those trigger foods. 

Organic & Grassfed

  • Organic is more expensive, and the transition isn’t always easy. The most important things to buy organic are eggs, dairy products, meat, and fish (wildcaught). For produce, look up the “Dirty Dozen” list on to see which items are the most polluted with chemicals and pesticides. 
  • Grassfed, pasture raised animals roam in the sun & eat the natural diet they were intended instead of sickly feed and GMO grain. The healthier the animal was, the better the meat is for you. Grassfed meat, and pastured eggs and chicken are higher omega 3’s, vitamin D, protein and are easier to digest.


  • Sleep-  stop usage of electronics 45 minutes before bedtime. For optimum recharging, block out all light and noise. Use blackout shades, an eye mask, earplugs or a sound machine app to help. A humidifer can also be a game changer.
  • Stress- breathe deeply for 4 counts, hold it for 7 counts, and exhale for 8.
  • Exercise-In a bad mood? You’re one workout away from feeling good. 
  • Fat loss- high intensity interval training and weight training keep you burning extra calories many hours after you’re finished working out. 
Feel free to use any of this information for yourself or to educate others. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.