30 Day Paleo Challenge
Are you interested in losing weight, improving your health or bettering your performance in the gym (or all of the above)? Do you find that your energy is low, that you’re having digestive issues, or skin problems? Looking to reverse type II diabetes, decrease your chances of having heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Or do you just generally want to optimize your health and sense of well being? Then you are at the right place!
I’ve been doing the Paleo lifestyle for about 8 months on and off. I’ve seen amazing results and when I am doing Paleo 100%, I feel better than ever. Lately I’ve been slipping and so I decided to do a personal 40 day challenge of strict Paleo (because you know I love a good challenge). After talking to a lot of my members at my gym about what I was going to be doing, there was a surprising amount of interest in doing a 30 day Paleo challenge and thus, this challenge was created.
So, What is The Paleo Diet?
Broken down to its simplest form, the Paleo diet can be summed up like this; eat how our Paleolithic ancestors ate 12,000+ years ago.
So, what would our Paleolithic ancestors have eaten? Anything that you could have killed or picked; wild game, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and roots. No grains (agriculture didn’t exist), no dairy (you try and milk a wild animal ), nothing processed (there were no factories to combine the lips and assholes of a pig to make a hot dog) and no sugars (I have nothing clever for this one).
What to eat:
- Chicken (breasts, thighs, legs, ground)
- Turkey (breasts, ground)
- Bison (ground, steak)
- Fish (salmon, trout, tuna)
- Beef (steak, roast)
- Pork (bacon, tenderloin, chops)
- Vegetables (carrots, spinach, bell peppers)
- Fruits (banana, apples, strawberries, blueberries)
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans)
- Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
- Seed oil (olive, avocado, coconut)
- Healthy fats (avocado, fish oil)
What not to eat:
- All Dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt)
- All Grains (wheat, corn, rice, soy)
- Processed foods (anything made in a factory)
- Starches (potatoes)
- Legumes (black beans, kidney beans, lentils)
How to do the Paleo Diet
There are all kinds of forms and variations of how to be Paleo. I’ve heard of some people going as far as to eat everything, including their meat, raw. Personally, I like my food salmonella free, so I cook it. Some people eat nothing but the food that they believe is native to their region and don’t eat certain foods at certain times of the year as it wouldn’t be in season. I think that bananas are a great grab and go food and as I’m in the sub-arctic and I don’t see many banana trees growing around here, I’m going to eat them anyway.
You can take this way of eating to the extreme or you can follow it to a minimum. Personally, I eat lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and avoid dairy, grains, sugars and processed foods. Those are my only rules.
How many calories should I be eating everyday?
Don’t worry about counting calories as it’s not the quantity of calories that matter but rather the quality of those calories. Eat until you are satisfied then pause and wait a little bit to see if you are still hungry. If you are still hungry then we encourage you to go back to protein or fat rather than fruit because it’s much more satiating and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar like fruit will. It’s hard to overeat with this way of eating because the food is rich in fiber as opposed to processed and refined food which keeps you wanting more. Counting calories is not what’s important, it’s all about where those calories come from.
What To Expect
The Hardest Part of Any Journey is the First Step.
Making the paleo switch comes with challenges. Depending on how heavy your diet is with grains, dairy, and sugar before you switch, you will experience an adjustment period of varying degrees of intensity. You may experience a dip in your athletic performance and have times when feel lethargic, cranky, or hungry but this period is temporary. Keep in mind that your body is going through withdrawals and there is a light at the end of the adjustment tunnel.
It’s Only 30 Days – No Cheating!
During my first 30 day challenge, I did not have any cheat meals at all and I recommend you don’t either. You need to let your body detox and see how it reacts to the Paleo lifestyle without being interfered with.
During the first 30-day challenge it’s important to stay focused and strong and stick to a strict plan. This is what allows you to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Try not to cheat. Instead of going for a cookie when you are having cravings, reach for a sweet, in season apple. If you do fall off the wagon – own up to it, shrug it off and move on – one time off the wagon doesn’t kick you out of the challenge. But try to keep with it for all 30 days. Tell your friends your mean old coaches are making you do it.
The single hardest part of starting Paleo and staying Paleo is making sure you’re prepared. When you’re doing Paleo you can’t just go to Subway or another fast food restaurant and grab something on the run. You need to make sure you are in control of what you’re putting in your body and having your own food prepared at all times is the key to your success. Make sure you plan ahead so you aren’t stuck in a situation where you are left with no options.
A lot of people like to use Sunday to prep for the week. Other people make lunch for the next day at the same time as they are making dinner, so they don’t feel like they are spending too much time in the kitchen. Keeping raw fruits and veggies along with some nuts and seeds with you at your desk, in your car or in your gym bag is great for snacking as well. ALWAYS HAVE FOOD WITH YOU!!!!
Find a system that works and stick to it.
There will be places or situations where you know you have difficulty staying on diet (i.e. at the office working late, where there is an endless supply of bagels, donuts and nothing else) – make sure you have options ready available to you. Talk to your family so they know what you are doing and you don’t come home to a meal filled with food you aren’t supposed to be eating.
Just because it’s Paleo, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Don’t use this as an excuse to eat Paleo versions of unhealthy food all the time. Yes, you can treat yourself, but be aware of what you’re putting in your body.
Also remember, you don’t have to eat exactly how our ancestors ate. You can mix and match your food and use any combinations of Paleo foods to create something awesome. I use a lot of chili powder, garlic, hot sauce and sea salt. I also make my own salsa and sauces, but you can buy organic or clean salsa and spaghetti sauce. Be a label reader, it will help you out!
The challenge will be starting on May 1st and I hope you will join us!
Good Luck and I hope you are successful in the challenge.
TO GET YOU STARTED:
I’ve reached out to some of my blogger friends who are much better than I am at writing down and sharing their recipes and I got them to share some of their favorites with you.
- avocado lamb sushi wrap
- sugar-free marshmallows
- broccoli breadsticks
- pumpkin pie fudge
- triple chocolate cream cake
- Chocolate truffles with Strawberry cream (guest post on Paleo Parents)
- Chocolate Chip SunButter Fudge
- No-Bake Coconut Macaroons
Fellow CrossFitter Gabrielle Brost Hoffman
- Sweet & Salty Carrot Chips
- Herb Lamb & Pork Meatballs
- Easy Green Curry Chicken Soup
- Crockpot Beef & Bell Pepper Red Curry
- Cocoa Coffee Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork
- Homemade Pork Breakfast Sausages
- My Paleo Meatloaf
- Spicy Meatballs
- Sweet and Savory Crock Pot Pulled Pork
- Spicy Dry Rub for Pork
- Avocado and Egg Boats, with Kate’s Flax Toast
- Ham and Egg Baskets
- Savory Squash and Flax EggCakes
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl Scramble
- Vanilla and Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes
- Carrot Soup with Sweet Potato and Red Pepper
- My Summery Gazpacho
- Curried Coconut Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
Here are some other Paleo blogs you NEED to check out for information and recipes