Friday, July 31, 2009

One Day at a Time

I tried the Atkins diet once. I was in college. I wouldn't say I needed to lose weight, but I could have been leaner. I was lifting a lot of heavy weight during off season. Whatever, excuses. I was still in "eat what I want" mode because I was a college athlete, which by the way is not actually a good excuse to eat whatever you want. Too bad.

Atkins didn't work.

It last eight hours.

I'm not kidding.

Atkins was all the rage when I was in college. A few of my teammates were on it and had seen great success. I decided to try it out. I made it through lunch and then threw my hands up in the air around 3PM and made a peanut butter sandwich. Needless to say, Atkins ended shortly after it started.

The way I eat now compared to the way I ate then is completely different. The way I look at food and fitness are completely different as well. I'm dedicated and willing to put in the work to change my life. I hope you are too.

A Few Reminders
When To Eat
Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full. It is pretty simple.

Be Prepared
Get rid of all your junk food. Yes, even the bread and cheese. If it isn't in the house you won't eat it. Find some good and easy Paleo snacks to have on hand. I tried out some Larabars and they were pretty yummy. I'm a big fan of the Apple Pie. Get some. You can find them for $1.25 each at Wally World (Wal-Mart people). Remember, these are Paleo friendly, but eat in moderation. No more than one a day.

Be Even More Prepared
Have some chicken breasts cooked up ready to go at all times. Chicken is quick and easy. I plan on hitting up the butcher for some choice meats every evening for dinner and lunch the following day. I also plan on cooking a bunch of chicken breasts at the beginning of every week to have on hand for breakfast or whenever I need them.

Menu Planning
Plan out your menu every week. This doesn't mean you have to shop for everything at once, but decide what you want to cook up for dinner every night for the upcoming week. Have your shopping list ready to go. Know what you are having for breakfast before you wake up. This will cut down on time. Research new recipes that use new to you meats and veggies.

One Day at a Time
This is the best piece of advice I can give you. Take it one day at a time. Seriously. I know I have said be prepared and think ahead, but take it one day at a time. Make it through Saturday, go to bed proud of yourself, wake up and do it again. You'll start seeing results, you'll feel better and you'll want to keep going. Don't get discouraged. Keep at it. We are all in this together.

Now What?
Tomorrow it begins. I am so excited about everyone that has posted to say they are going along with my craziness. I'm also excited about those of you who have talked to me in person to tell me your on board. You have all really encouraged me. I'm so proud of all of you! Post daily or as you have time and keep everyone updated about your progress. We are all going to find what does or does not work for our own bodies. Share what you have learned. It will help everyone else. If you have questions then ask them. Everyone is free to answer. I am not the source anymore. We all are! We are all doing this for the first time together. I can't wait to hear how the first few days go for everyone.

Don't forget, get your weight and body fat measurements before tomorrow if possible! You'll want to keep track of your physical results.

What are you having for breakfast tomorrow? What about your post Saturday CrossFit snack? I know what I'm having. What about you?

Measuring Fat

Yesterday I told you to try to get your hands on a fat caliper and measure your body fat. Kody found this great site that shows you exactly how to measure to get the most accurate reading on your body fat. There is some video as well. Hopefully this will help you out if you have not done this before! Don't be intimidated!

Check out this link to show you exactly where to measure to come up with numbers for the calculator:

Check out this link to get the calculator:

More to come later today about being prepared for tomorrow. Enjoy your last day in the world of grains and dairy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I'm taking a break from information overload today. I want you to take a look at some of these Paleo success stories:
  • This guy was overweight and had multiple health issues. He documented his year long Paleo adventure. Make sure you read his day 1 entry and his final entry. Impressive, motivating stuff!
  • Take a look at these people who had great success and all tried Paleo for different reasons.
  • This middle aged guy just wanted to lose some weight and changed his life.
Now, remember I said I am not doing this to lose weight. I would like to lose fat. Who wouldn't? You can only know how far you have come if you know where you started. Try to find a fat caliper before Saturday and measure your body fat percentage. I will bring mine to the gym today and Friday. At the end of the month we can check again and see how much body fat we have dropped! Also, hop on the scale and get a starting weight. Keep track of your progress. Document how you are sleeping, how you feel when you wake up, when you are the most hungry and what foods satisfy you the most. If it helps you to write down what you eat every meal then do it. Whatever helps you stay on it. Hopefully you'll see improvement in your WOD times and your recovery day to day. It is going to be exciting!

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cheat Proof Your Life

Last night we were craving something sweet. It was about 10PM, we had been gulping down Diet Dr. Pepper and we were watching Arrested Development Season 1 on DVD. Bad combination when it comes to cravings! In an effort to prepare for Saturday I have not been grocery shopping. I didn't want to stock up on our non Paleo "healthier" treats like Jello sugar free chocolate pudding, low fat cinnamon graham crackers or peanut butter that will soon be off limits. Unfortunately, I did have eggs, butter and a package of Betty Crocker oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix in the kitchen. This prompted a late night baking spree. While we had a great time baking and eating cookies, it was a good reminder of how important it is going to be to have your home become a cheat proof environment. The less tempted you are the less likely you are to cheat.

How Do I Cheat Proof My House?
Easy. Throw it out. You aren't going to eat it for the next month. Hopefully, none of us will want it back after the month is over. Seriously, Friday night Throw. It. Out. Don't worry about wasting money. The results will outweigh the costs. If you are really worried about wasting food, donate it. Take your cans of beans, granola bars and cake/cookies mixes to a food bank. That way you can help yourself and others. Brilliant!

But My Spouse/Roommate Isn't Participating!
Now, if you have a spouse or roommate that is not participating this could be more difficult. Make sure you talk to them about your goals for the next month. Have them help you stay accountable. Try to work out a system where they store some of their evil food away from all your beautiful Paleo goodness. Out of sight, out of mind. Yes, it is going to be more difficult for you because of this situation, but that does not mean it is hopeless. This is not an excuse to fail. If you cheat, you are making the choice to cheat. No one in your home is shoving food down your throat. If they are then I suggest you try to find different living arrangements.

What About My Friends and Co-Workers? They Won't Understand.
Then educate them. Tell them what you are doing just like you are going to tell the people you live with. Tell them not to even offer you a pastry or cookie. My job calls for lunch meetings out of the office and we regularly get treats from vendors. Yes, it is very hard sometimes to resist. I'm going to do it though. You can bet on that. Make sure you always have Paleo friendly snacks in your desk at work, in the car or in your purse. Again, you are the only one that can make yourself cheat. It is never the fault of someone else. It will be yours. Don't make excuses. Be prepared.

More On Artificial Sweeteners
Yesterday I touched on how I am cutting out diet soda because of the artificial sweeteners. I failed to mention that this means all artificial sweeteners in general. Sugar free gum and Splenda in your coffee are out. Remember, artificial sweeteners trick your senses and make you want to do naughty things. Don't give them the opportunity to win. I talked a bit about caffeine as well. While caffeine isn't great, it doesn't mean you have to go without your coffee. It does, however, mean you will not be adding cream or anything sweet to that coffee. If you can't drink it black then cut it out totally. You can do it.

Go Time
Ok, two days to go. I hope you are all ready for Saturday. I would love to know everyone who is joining in this month long project. Even if you aren't a CrossFit Jenks athlete and you somehow found this blog through blog stalking (which by the way is one of the best ways to find information!) let me know! Post what your thinking to the comments below each entry as we go through the month. The more people we have posting about their experience the more helpful it will be to everyone participating. Don't be shy. Keep us posted on your progress, your struggles and how your feeling. If you have questions about whether a food is or is not Paleo friendly then ask it. I'm not an expert, I really know nothing, but I love to do research so you can bet I will find the answer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spice Up Your Life

Learn to love your spices. Different spices are going to make a huge difference in your ability to stick with Paleo. The Paleo diet really limits salt, actually it recommends not using it all if possible. I'm lucky that I did not grow up in a family that salted everything. My mom always used pepper and other spices that come in the variety spice rack from Bed Bath and Beyond. I know you all have one of those darling spice racks, so get to know your spices and use them! Playing with different spices on your meat and veggies is going to help you out a lot.

Read Your Labels
A lot of spices will contain cornstarch, hydrolyzed wheat proteins or other grain and legume products. This will most likely happen when using spice mixes. Avoid these. Be careful. Read your labels.

But I Want to Salt My Veggies!
Sorry Kelsey, no salt allowed. We had a brief discussion about salt last night after our fabulous, butt kicking WOD at CFJ. I know a lot of people like to salt their veggies. Good news, sea salt is 100% natural. There are no added ingredients. Try a little sea salt to get your salt fix. Here are some spice combinations I found to replace salt during my Paleo blog stalking today:
  • Curry powder and minced garlic
  • Lemon juice, oregano and cumin
  • Lime juice, chili powder and cumin
  • Olive oil and chopped chives
Here is a cool site that has lots of information about spices and herbs. It tells you all about their taste, origin and how to use them in cooking. Ignore their advice to mix any of these spices with butter. Oh yeah, and don't forget about cinnamon. It is awesome. Try mixing some fresh berries with some coconut milk (unsweetened is completely Paleo friendly, don't worry it is not dairy) and cinnamon for a fun dessert.

What About Vinegar?
Now I may not be a table salt kind of gal, but I L.O.V.E my vinegar. At Italian restaurants I don't dip my bread in oil and vinegar (yes, I do love bread), I go straight vinegar. Nice. Try substituting lemon or lime juice. Dr. Cordain recommends lime juice when tomato containing recipes like salsa call for vinegar. Use lemon juice with fruit recipes.

Alright people, I never said going strict Paleo was going to be easy. Alcohol should not be consumed during your strict thirty day Paleo adventure. After your thirty days if you continue with this style of eating, alcohol can be reintroduced in moderation during your open meals. There are many Paleo recipes I have come across that call for wine. Do not use cooking wine. Use the real stuff. You should use the real stuff anyway. Cooking wine is basically salt and nasty. Salt is bad. The end.

What About My Diet Soda?
Oh caffeine, my dear dear friend. I will miss you. I am a self proclaimed diet soda junkie. It is bad. If you only knew how many 12 packs of Diet Dr. Pepper we go through in a week then you would buy stock in Pepsi. The worst part of diet soda isn't the caffeine, which still does a number on your body, but the artificial sweeteners. Diet sodas contain aspartame and saccharine which may be harmful. Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to increase cravings for sweet treats. They play with our senses. In light of this there will be no caffeine for me during August and none for you either if you are following in my footsteps. This will be hard. I imagine the first week will be rough. Drink lots and lots of water. Water should be the beverage of choice anyway. Try some mineral water if you are craving something bubbly and throw in some berries. It will give it a nice flavor. Also, herbal tea is A-OK on Paleo.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Diet or Lifestyle Change?

Which is it? Thanks to Summer for this question. This is not diet. This is a lifestyle change. If you want to see any long term changes like increase in energy and performance enhancements then you'll need to stick with it long term. Now, does this mean you can never eat grains or dairy again? No. The actual Paleo diet recommends a cheat meal or two every week depending on where you are in your progress.

Here is a break down of the levels Dr. Cordain has come up with how how much Paleo/open meals should be in involved:
  • Level 1 should follow a 85/15 split. 85% of meals are strict Paleo and 15% are "open".
  • Level 2 should follow a 90/10 split. This is considered the maintenance level. This comes to about two "open" meals per week.
  • Level 3 should follow a 95/5 split. This is the maximal weight loss level with one open meal per week.
What is an Open Meal?
Open meals are not an excuse to go crazy. This means I will not be indulging in a full bag of Twizzlers when I see "New Moon" in November. You shouldn't indulge in everything, but it is a way to help you from feeling too deprived of your favorite foods. This would be your chance to have a small scoop of your favorite ice cream, a piece of really amazing homemade bread or maybe some potatoes. Do not over eat these items. Everything in moderation. As long as you are eating well during the week a small open meal shouldn't throw you off too much. Be smart.

Do We Get Open Meals When We Start in August?
N.O.P.E. No open meals for you in August. This is a strict thirty day Paleo introduction. After August I am going to start reintroducing some things into my diet during my "open" meals. It will help me learn how my body will tolerate different grains and dairy. Maybe I will have no problems and maybe I will. It should be interesting. Now, I completely understand that not everyone may want to go 100% Paleo this first month. Maybe Level 1 is a good place to begin for you. After a couple of weeks you can move into Level 2. I really encourage anyone following this with me to jump in 100% and go for it. I think we'll be amazed at the results!

I Like Snacks
Yeah, me too. I'm a grazer. It is bad. I guess Paleo may be a good fit for me as long as I am eating when I am actually hungry. What are some good snacks to have on hand? Here is a list Cordain provides (page 139):
  • Fresh fruit of any king
  • Homemade beef jerky (no salt)
  • Homemade dried salmon strips (no salt)
  • Raw veggies with homemade guacamole or salsa dip
  • Cold skinless, broiled chicken breasts
  • Avocado or tomato slices
  • Nuts (limit 4 ounces per day if trying to lose weight)
  • Dried fruit (limit 2 ounces per day, but avoid if possible!)
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Cold slices of lean beef
  • Peel-and-eat shrimp
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds (limit 4 ounces per day if trying to lose weight)
Also, try some Lara Bars. A couple a week are totally fine. They are made completely from fruit and nuts. You can find them at Whole Foods and limited flavors at Wal-Mart. I have heard Cherry Pie is amazing.

Five Days and Counting
Saturday is the big day. Are you ready? What questions do you still have about what you should or should not doing? Post questions in the comments and I will try to find answers and report on them this week.

Paleo Playlist
I'm putting together a Paleo Playlist. What songs pump you up? What gets you going and gets you motivated? I recommend The Bravery "An Honest Mistake", Muse "Supermassive Black Hole", Kings of Leon "Be Somebody", Jimmy Eat World "Pain" and anything Britney...yes, Spears. Get pumped, eat Paleo and hit some PR's.

A big congratulations to my husband who got his Level 1 CrossFit Certification this past weekend! Way to go!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Get Nuts

Cordain says Paleo is not a fat free diet. It is a bad fat free diet. Your body needs to have fat, but the good kind. Nuts have lots of monounsaturated fats which can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. I think we would all agree those are good things. Even though nuts and seeds are an important part of the Paleo diet, they are high in fat. You do need to eat them in moderation. Cordain recommends that you limit your nut and seed consumption to four ounces per day. Trust me, that is a lot. One ounce of almonds is about twenty eight nuts. That would be one hundred twelve almonds in one day.

Branch Out
I am an almond nut. No pun intended. I also love cashews. I don't venture too far beyond those two when it comes to nuts and seeds. However, there is a great variety of nuts and seeds you can eat on Paleo to keep it interesting. (This list is on page 108 of Cordain's book.) When buying nuts make sure you buy raw, unsalted nuts. The only ingredient listed should be the nut or seed itself.
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios (unsalted)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
Omega 6 fats versus Omega 3 fats
It has been researched that eating too much omega 6 and too little omega 3 fats can increase your risk of developing breast, prostate, and colon cancers. (Cordain page 85). In all the information I have read, it says the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fast is between 2 and 4 to 1. The typical American diet, however, is between 10 and 15 (or higher) to 1. Most nuts have a very high ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 so that is a big reason to eat them in moderation. Walnuts and macadamia nuts have the best ratios (see ratio beside the name). When in doubt, grab some of those before almonds and cashews.
  • Walnuts 4.2
  • Macadamia nuts 6.3
  • Pecans 20.9
  • Pine nuts 31.6
  • Cashews 47.6
  • Pistachio 51.9
  • Hazel nut 90
  • Pumpkin seeds 114.4
  • Brazil nuts 377.9
  • Sunflower seeds 472.9
  • Almonds Extremely high, no detectable omega 3
Don't let those ratios freak you out. Still eat nuts, just mix them up and be aware of how much of them you are eating.

I Love Peanut Butter!
Too bad, so sad. The ugly truth is that peanuts are not actual nuts. They are a legume which are completely forbidden in the Paleo world. Sadly, this also eliminates another favorite standby of mine...peanut butter. Yes, even all natural, no sugar added peanut butter is off the Paleo regimen. However, there are some great substitutes that I have been hearing raves about on Paleo blogs. Sunbutter is a peanut butter substitutes made from sunflower seeds. Some Sunbutter is made with cane sugar, so look for the organic Sunbutter that is made only from sunflower seeds. You can also look for almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia nut butter, etc. I have read coconut butter is to die for. All of these can be found at Whole Foods or from online vendors. I recently bought a sample four pack from Futters Nut Butter. I will let you know what I think.

What About Oil? Is Olive Oil the Best Thing?
We have all heard about how wonderful olive oil is and the heart health benefits it provides. Olive oil is good, but it isn't the best. Flaxseed oil is really your best choice. It has a very low omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Try rubbing different oils on your meats before cooking. Again, oils should be consumed in moderation just like the nuts and sees. Here are the best oils to use. Stay away from everything else.
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Mustard seed oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
Questions? Comments? Concerns? One week to go until the big start date!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting Hungry?

Thanks to Nicole for finding this blog with some really great looking Paleo recipes. It isn't too early to start planning your menu for August!


Fruits and Veggies

There is not a lot to say about these other than eat them. They are good for you. A big change for most of us trying to "eat clean" for the first time will be the large amount of fruits and vegetables that will be added to our diet. When it comes to fruits and vegetables there are not a lot of items that are off limits, although you do need to pay attention to your body and how it is reacting to what you eat. If your main goal with Paleo is to lose weight, then you should focus more on vegetables rather than fruit. There are certain fruits like grapes and apples that you may want to be careful about eating too much of in the beginning. They have a higher sugar content than some other fruits. For the most part though, fruits are good and you should eat them. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. We need them in our diet in a big way.

But I Only Like Certain Fruits and Vegetables. I Will Get Bored.
When I go to the grocery store my cart takes the same path every time. I grab a bunch of grapes, a few apples or pears, some strawberries when I'm feeling crazy and the occasional grapefruit. I love grapefruit in the morning. That is it. I don't venture out of my comfort zone. The same goes for veggies. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, Steamfresh bags of broccoli and cauliflower and some spinach if I am feeling gourmet and want to surprise Kody with a side salad with dinner. Trust me, it rarely happens. This is a GREAT opportunity to try lots of new things. There are so many fruits and veggies out there. You could probably have something new every day the entire month of August. That is exciting.

I'm Going to Have to Shop A Lot, Right?
Maybe, although that is one part of Paleo I am most excited about. Nothing is better than fresh berries or a perfect tomato. You'll probably want to go to the store every few days to make sure you are getting fresh produce. Don't buy too much in the beginning and let it go bad. That is a waste! Plan out your meals for the week and buy accordingly. It will end up saving you money in the long run.

I'm Afraid of Pesticides. Do I Need to Buy Organic?
No. However, if you are really concerned about pesticides it is something to consider. Organic is more expensive. Check out this page about produce and pesticides. It talks about the fruits and vegetables that have the highest amount of pesticides. If you are really worried, these might be some of the items you would want to think about buying organic. The most important thing is to make sure you wash all your fresh produce. That should eliminate most of your worries. Also, check out your local farmers market. Broken Arrow has one every Saturday from 8AM to Noon and they have a great selection of locally grown vegetables. You can save money and get insanely fresh items. Great for Paleo.

The long and short of it, eat lots of fruits and veggies. Don't limit yourself. Get creative. The worst thing that can happen is that you keep eating the same items over and over and get bored and fall off the wagon. Keep it interesting.

Fruits and Veggies You May Want to Try For The First Time:
  • Boysenberries
  • Carambola
  • Cherimoya
  • Figs
  • Gooseberries
  • Guava
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Passion Fruit
  • Persimmon
  • Pomegranate
  • Rhubarb
  • Star Fruit
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collards
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Tomatillos (yum!)
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
What fruit or vegetable do you love and think everyone should try during August?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eat Meat

Today we are focusing on meat. What kinds should I eat? What about red meat? Eggs? How much of it should I eat? What times of the day should I eat the most protein?

What Kind?
LEAN. As long as it is lean meat than it is good meat. Whenever I think of lean meat my mind automatically goes to chicken. It is cheap and easy to fix. It does, however, get boring. With Paleo, along with lean meats like chicken and turkey, you are encouraged to eat a lot of fish. Fish and other seafood have some of the best percentages of total calories from protein (high) and fat (low). Here are the top ten: (Cordain, page 102)
  • Skinless turkey breasts 94%/5%
  • Boiled shrimp 90%/10%
  • Orange roughy 90%/10%
  • Pollock 90%/10%
  • Broiled lobster 89%/5%
  • Red snapper 87%/13%
  • Dungeness crab 86%/10%
  • Alaskan king crab legs 85%/15%
  • Buffalo roast 84%/16%
  • Broiled mackerel 82%/18%
Where is chicken? It is way down the list with a 63%/37% ratio. This does not mean avoid chicken. Eat it up! However, try to incorporate a lot of fish in to your diet. This is a great opportunity to try a lot of new meats. Mix it up and make it fun.

What About Red Meat?
Eat it. There is nothing wrong with eating red meat on the Paleo diet, just make sure it is lean. When you buy red meat make sure to trim all visible fat from it before you cook it. Some of your best bets are sirloin beef steak and lean beef flank steak. If you buy ground beef, make sure it is at least 93% lean. Also, make sure to drain off all fat when it has finished cooking.

What About Eggs?
There is a lot of conflicting information about there about eggs. Yes, they are a great protein source, but they are also high in fat. Cordain recommends limiting your egg consumption to six eggs per week(Cordain page 103). I eat a lot of egg whites and normally discard the yolk. Again, I am not an expert, but if the fat content of the egg is what makes eggs questionable, then try eating egg whites. They are still packed with protein, but with minimal amounts of fat. I will be eating more than six per week, but they will be egg whites. You'll have to make that call on your own.

How Much Meat Can I Eat?
You can eat as much as you want. Again, you'll have to make this call on your own. Every meal with Paleo should incorporate lean meat, veggies and fruit. You cannot only eat meat. Our bodies are not designed on handle only protein. "If protein-dense, extremely lean meats and seafood are your major sources of calories, you will get sick - with nausea, diarrhea and weakness - because your body can't handle this much undiluted protein without something else, either fat or a carbohydrate" (Cordain 101). Be smart. Eat plenty of lean meat, but make sure you are getting your nuts, fruits and veggies.

What Times of Day Should I Eat The Most Protein?
From what I have read so far I recommend you mainly listen to your body. You do need protein with every meal. Post work out meals may need to be a bit more carb heavy (fruits and veggies people!), but still include some lean meat. Breakfast may be a challenge for some of you since our culture promotes a lot of high sugar and starchy meals in the morning. Most Paleolithic people had salmon and crab for breakfast. It will take some getting used to, but starting the day off with some fish or chicken and some fruit is a good way to go.

Tomorrow will be all about fruits and vegetables. Please feel free to post in the comments if you have any questions or if I have maybe stated something incorrectly. I will do my best to find the answers! If you are participating in the challenge, tell us how you are preparing or what you are most concerned about. Are you nervous? Excited? What food do you think will be the hardest for you to give up? Why are you participating? I want this to be an open forum for discussion so we can all learn from each other. Let me know what you think!

I have added a Paleo shopping list to the top right side bar under "What Is Going On?" Take a look.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Is Paleo?

I'm still learning the answer to this question myself. Remember, I. Am. Not. An. Expert. I am reading The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D. Any kind of factual information I talk about on this blog is going to come from this book. I will make sure to reference the chapter and or page number so you can find it for yourself. I have made it through five chapters of the book so far. Today I am going to tell you a little bit about what Paleo is is according to Dr. Cordain. Here we go...

The Ground Rules of the Paleo Diet: (Chapter 2)
1. All the lean meats, fish, and seafood you can eat (trim meats of visible fat)
2. All the fruits and nonstartchy* vegetables you can eat
3. No cereals (grains)
4. No legumes
5. No dairy products
6. No processed foods
*Starchy vegetables to avoid are potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes. Peas and green beans are legumes as well. If you really want to go strict Paleo avoid them all.

Yes, it looks overwhelming. These rules knock out a large portion of my regular diet. I love my dairy. Skim milk, string cheese and bags of Kraft 2% Mexican Cheese Blend are favorites in our house. This is going to be by far the toughest part for me. No dairy.

The Paleo Diet is based off of what our ancestors ate in the Stone Age. They were hunters and gatherers. They didn't have Kellogg's cereal or South Beach bars. They had lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. "Imagine a Paleolithic human confronted with a Twinkie or even a pizza. He or she wouldn't even recognize these modern-day treats as food" (Cordain, page 43). Can you just imagine the looks on the faces of those humans if they were presented with a Twinkie? I'm sure it would be comical.

This is low-carb diet, but don't let that scare you. You will be eating plenty of carbs. However, they are going to come from fruits and vegetables and not whole grain bread and cereal. A major difference between Paleo and other lower carb diets is that Paleo focuses on healthier fats. Don't let the fat intake scare you. Our bodies need it! In the last year I have become a believer in healthy fats. I used to be scared of eating almonds and avocado. Those have fat in them, fat is bad. Wrong. Nuts, olive oil, avocado and other foods with high amounts of monounsaturated fats are very heart healthy. They lower blood cholesterol and help prevent artery clogging. YAY! The saturated fats are the ones you really need to be more careful about and from what I know so far Paleo does a good job of keeping you away from those evil saturated fats. This does not mean you should eat three cans of almonds a day, but don't be scared of munching on them throughout the day when you get hungry. Also, if weight loss is your main goal with Paleo then you need to me more aware, but I talk more about that later.

Fruits and Vegetables are great for you. Eat all of them that you can. I'll talk later about fruits and their sugar amounts and if you should or should not avoid or limit certain types of fruit. Don't worry about that now. Get yourself in the mindset that you will be eating a lot of fruits and veggies. They are powerful disease fighters and have lots of fiber.

Lastly for today, you won't need a scale to weigh food and you won't need measuring tools. There is no counting or measuring involved in Paleo at all. That's right, eat when your hungry. Try to really focus on getting lots of lean protein in your diet. Protein is extremely satisfying and helps you feel fuller for longer. Closer to the start date of our experiment I will post some sample menus. If you have good Paleo recipes send them to me and I will post them. Good luck with your preparation. I hope you are getting as excited as I am!

Monday, July 20, 2009

So What's The Deal?

I'm Ginny and I love to CrossFit. I have been CrossFitting at CrossFit Jenks for the past year. I played competitive sports my whole life, including softball in college. Before CrossFit I did a lot of cardio and weight training. You know, bicep curls, tricep extensions, lunges, etc with lighter weights so I wouldn't get too bulky. I was creating lean muscle! I didn't need to break a sweat using weights. Totally unnecessary. I knew it ALL! Hmmm....right. Enter CrossFit. Everything I thought I knew about how to train flew out the window. I had always been convinced if I wasn't getting at least an hour of cardio in five days a week I was under training. In the past year my whole idea about fitness and how to train has done a 180. My goal now is to do the same thing with my nutrition.

"You can't out train a bad diet." I have heard that a lot in my first year of CrossFit. Surely, that doesn't apply to me though, right? I can eat pretty healthy during the week so the weekends are a free for all and don't count. I can still hit PR's and get better, but how much better could I be if I really took my nutrition seriously? My eyes were opened to the level of CrossFit athletes out there during the CrossFit Games Southwest Qualifier. I finished 10th. What do I need to do to finish 5th and go to the games? Or better yet, 1st? I would bet money that all the top contenders are serious about their nutrition. This is where this Paleolithic Adventure comes into play. It is time for me to get serious!

Beginning August 1st, I am eating strict Paleo for the following thirty days. I will be writing every day about what I'm eating, how I'm feeling and how this all plays into my CrossFit workouts. The days leading up to August 1st I will be posting about my preparation. I'm currently reading as much as I can and I will be checking out local grocery stores to develop my game plan.

I encourage all my fellow CrossFit Jenks CrossFitters and anyone else to join in! What do you have to lose? This isn't about losing weight, although I'm sure we will. This is about being better. This is about helping your body become as efficient as possible.