Have you heard the term Clean Keto, but aren’t sure what it means?

That’s understandable! Because it’s an often used term, but has no common or “official” definition.

Well, my version – which I differentiate from the generic term “clean keto” by calling it “CleanKeto” (one word) – has a very specific definition and set of characteristics that, when followed, have tremendous and often astonishing healing powers.

My CleanKeto guidelines were born out of my 15 years of clinical experience with and feedback from working with 1,000s of patients. These guidelines include all the “big levers” that I and my patients have found to be the most effective and powerful tools for achieving outstanding improvements for a wide variety of health conditions, as well as for maintaining optimal health, and for aging really well (and who doesn’t want that?)



Then read on!

Defining CleanKeto

My CleanKeto guidelines are designed to remove as many negative dietary influences as possible, while focusing on the most health-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, anti-aging choices, in order to get you the best results possible, as fast as possible.


First and foremost, CleanKeto is a Paleo diet. This means a focus on the whole (minimally processed), anti-inflammatory, naturally occurring, nutrient dense foods that our paleolithic ancestors would have eaten, prior to the agricultural age (which brought with it the widespread and detrimental consumption of large amounts of grains, legumes and dairy.)

Paleo is what we as humans have evolved over millions of years to eat, and it is what we are still best suited for and best served by, for our physical and mental health.

Paleo foods include:

  • pastured (including wild) animal proteins and fats, including organ meats
  • wild-caught seafood
  • whole, minimally processed fruits and veggies
  • nuts and seeds

And Paleo avoids:

  • grains
  • legumes
  • dairy (except for ghee from pastured animals, if tolerated)
  • industrial seed oils (canola, corn, cottonseed, soy, etc.) – see my post “The Best and Worst Vegetable Oils” for more details on this very important topic

Traditional Foods

To add more umph to the Paleo prescription, the following components take things up a notch, providing added nutrition as well as gut-healing and immune-boosting powers:


Traditional cultures throughout human history have always included the frequent use of long-simmered bone broth, as well as the consumption of meats cooked bone-in (such as bone-in chicken thighs, chuck roast, steaks and pork chops). These offer great health benefits, providing lots of very utilizable, high quality, essential proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Cultured Foods

Also a regular player in traditional diets, cultured foods provide us with lots of beneficial flora which help to improve digestion and immunity. CleanKeto-friendly examples include: sauerkraut, cultured veggies, and homemade coconut yogurt, kefir and sour cream.


Talk about nutrient density! Sprouts have got it, in spades. From slightly sweet pea shoots, to earthy broccoli and kale sprouts, to spicy arugula and radish sprouts, all sprouts (aka microgreens) are chock full of easily digested vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants.

For an in-depth look at the history and health benefits of these wonderful, traditional foods, check out the excellent book Deep Nutrition, by Dr. Cate Shanahan.

Low Carb / Keto

Next, to further optimize your physical and mental health, we take the above Paleo guidelines, and we further refine them to make your diet as anti-inflammatory as possible, and to minimize insulin stimulation and keep blood sugar levels moderate and steady. This serves to:

  • minimize inflammation (the root cause of many, many health problems)
  • speed healing
  • balance hormones, and
  • boost mood and energy
  • while helping burn off stubborn, unwanted body fat.

We do this by minimizing nuts and seeds, as they are carby and most of them contain higher-than-ideal amounts of inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as a fair bit of the same problematic compounds that are in grains and legumes: lectins and phytates.

Clean Intermittent Fasting

Now we really turn on the gas! When you add clean intermittent fasting to what we’ve got so far, you put the pedal to the medal and start zooming towards optimal health.

You’ve probably heard of Intermittent Fasting (IF)… it’s where you shorten your daily eating window to 8, 6 or even just 4 hours. For more info on the what, why and how, check out my article “Intermittent Fasting”.

But what is “clean” fasting? It’s the same basic idea as IF, but with clean fasting, during your fasting window, you do not consume any calories, nor any flavors besides bitter. This is because all other flavors tend to stimulate insulin production, and that:

  • stops body-fat burning
  • stops the self-healing phase of autophagy that happens during clean fasting
  • and increases hunger and cravings, especially for the addictive carbs that can really derail your progress.

So from the time you finish your last meal one day (ex. 6pm), to the time you start your first meal the next day (ex. 10am), you consume only:

  • plain, filtered water (ideally with a pinch of salt, or with plain unsweetened electrolyte drops added)
  • plain seltzer
  • plain black coffee (no sweeteners, butter, oil, milk, cream or creamer)
  • plain black tea
  • plain green tea
  • plain white tea

Low Toxin

The final key to CleanKeto – reducing your toxin load – is crucial for optimizing your physical and mental health. Environmental toxins such as the herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and petroleum-based fertilizers that are used in non-organic agriculture, and the many other toxins we are all exposed to daily from our air, water and food, are all detrimental to your health, speeding aging, increasing the risk of disease, and making it harder to recover from any health issue. So minimizing your exposure to toxins, and reducing your toxin load as much as possible, are essential components for achieving and maintaining optimal health.

How do you do that? By eating organic foods, especially the Dirty Dozen, using “clean and green” household products such as bathroom and floor cleansers, laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and lotions, and boosting your body’s natural detoxification processes.

Curious about your toxin load? Check out my article Do YOU Need to Detox?

Want to do more to detoxify your body naturally? Check out my powerful program, Emily’s 10 Day Detox.

Summing Up

The Paleo diet is the ideal diet for humans, and is a powerful tool for improving overall health and quality of life. And when you add to that the healing powers of bones, cultured foods and sprouts, and you reduce carbohydrates, do clean intermittent fasting, and minimize your toxin load, you’ve got yourself the recipe for achieving and maintaining optimal health for life = CleanKeto!

Get started today!

Want more ideas for next steps to take on your holistic health journey? Then check out my Roadmap to Optimal Health, as well as my collection of articles, podcast episodes, and healthy, easy, delicious recipes.