About Amanda Torres & The Curious Coconut
Hi, friends! My name is Amanda Torres, and I am so glad you are here on The Curious Coconut! I am a neuroscientist who is passionate about inspiring and educating others to live their best, healthiest lives. If you are interested in learning more about using food as medicine with the Paleo or autoimmune protocol (AIP) diets, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and holistic healing through Chinese medicine and functional medicine, you are in the right place.
This website is a testament to the power of not just food as medicine, but every aspect of your lifestyle as medicine.
Until my mid-20s I ate a nutrient-poor, pro-inflammatory diet consisting mostly of processed wheat, industrial seed oils, and very few vegetables (despite my diet fitting the label of "vegetarian"). I also grew up seeing a pediatrician who treated every sniffle with at least 1 round of antibiotics, leading to chronic digestive problems, susceptibility to illness, and poor resilience.
It is no surprise that in my 20's my health crashed and I ballooned up in size. I developed an autoimmune skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, dyslipidemia, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In other words, I was a hot mess.
Conventional Western doctors, the only kind I had seen up to this point, wanted me on multiple prescription and over-the-counter drugs (including statins) and a low-fat, restricted calorie diet. I was utterly terrified of a miserable, unhealthy future full of boring and bland food that left me hungry all the time. I felt robbed of my youth - I was only 24 when my crash occurred.
But, my stubbornness came to my rescue. I refused to accept powerlessness over my body and future, despite the infuriating message from my doctors that I was not in control and could not be healthy without their prescriptions.
I began searching for answers and alternatives. I was willing to try anything, especially for relief from the debilitating skin condition HS. I eventually found the Primal/Paleo diet in 2010 and decided to give it an honest chance, even though the thought of living without bread made me angry and depressed at the same time. It is not an exaggeration to say that choosing to go Paleo saved my life.
In that first year I opted for a ketogenic low-carb version of Paleo. You can read the full details of my "journey back to health" here, but the short version is:
by 1 year I had lost 80 lbs and reversed or drastically improved all of my chronic illnesses
I have also used Chinese Medicine and functional medicine to heal leaky gut syndrome and uterine fibroids and endometreosis. And I continue to honor the fact that every aspect of our lifestyles can be poison or medicine, not just food, and I make choices to increase happiness and calm each day, reduce stress, sleep well, exercise (hatha and kundalini yoga for life!), choose healthy and non-toxic makeup and personal care products, nurture fulfilling relationships, serve my community (both online and locally), and give my body the time it needs to rest and recover.
My health transformation story is the reason I started this website.
I know what it is like to feel scared, helpless, misunderstood, and like your doctors are not your allies.
I know what it is like to be confused about healthy eating habits.
I know how exciting it is to find someone who can understand your suffering and how encouraging it is to see a real life success story.
I am humbled and incredibly grateful to have touched the lives of millions of people with my website and to have improved so many dinner plates with my delicious recipes.
In 2016 a dream came true for me: I was offered a contract by a major publisher (Page Street Publishing) to write a cookbook. And in 2017 my book baby Latin American Paleo Cooking debuted as a best-seller in multiple categories.
In 2016 I also felt called to be more vocal about the dangers of conventional beauty and personal care products and decided to join the Beautycounter movement to get safer products into the hands of everyone. If you want help choosing safer products for yourself and your loved ones, send me an email.
A little more about my backstory: I am a scientist by training, having earned both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in neuroscience from Tulane University in New Orleans. I've been working in laboratories conducting biomedical research since 2007, have published papers, and understand how to dissect scientific journal articles and examine evidence with a critical mind.
I am not dogmatic about Paleo or AIP guidelines and have formed my views based on evidence, including publications in the scientific literature and also my own n=1 personal experimentation. It is very important to me to provide the best evidence available to my readers to back up everything that I write here on The Curious Coconut™.
I love animals, especially cats, and my wonderfully supportive husband Andy and I are lucky enough to currently share our lives with our feline family members Rufus, Dexter, and Bubo plus our little old man chihuahua named Loki. They've all thrived on a raw meats and bones diet, and the cats are all still raw fed but in Loki's old age he does better now on a high quality dehydrated raw food. We currently live in The Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll, aka Memphis TN and co-own an apparel and design company here called Mobius Theory where you can buy t-shirts, a limited edition "Yummy" print, as well as art prints of my photography.
Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you find some tasty recipes to please your palate!
P.S. Interested in working with me? Email me and let's chat!