Paleo Challenge May 9th

So below is some text and guidelines I found to be helpful.  Please read over it all and let me know if you have any questions. Good Luck!

 Why are we doing this? & What to expect…

(text adapted from www.whole9life.com)

First and foremost, this will change your life… it will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life.

 The first few days (at least) will be tough, as your body heals and adjusts to this new way of eating. At some point your energy levels will increase and stabilize. Your body composition will start to change, your performance in the gym will improve, and your recovery will skyrocket.  Conditions, ailments, aches and pains will miraculously start to improve. And through all of it, you’ll be eating delicious, fresh, natural, real food… things that you will come to realize DO taste good, and are both satiating and mentally satisfying.

The 15 rules of the Paleo diet
(adapted from paleodietlifestyle.com)

1. The Paleo diet should be high in fat, moderate to high in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrate. Calorie counting is not encouraged, neither is portion control.

2. Eat unlimited amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter. Duck fat, tallow, lard and just about any animal fat are also great, but only if they come from healthy and well-treated animals (see rule 6). Olive oil and avocado oil are also good fats to use in salads and to drizzle over food, but not for cooking.

3. Eat generous amounts of lean animal protein. This includes red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, organs (liver, kidney, bone marrow …), wild caught fish and shellfish. Don’t be scared to eat the fatty cuts if they come from a well-treated animal and all meals with proteins should contain fat as well. Learn to cook with bones in the form of stocks and broths.

4. Eat generous amounts of fresh or frozen vegetables either cooked or raw and served with generous amounts of fat.

5. Eat low to moderate amounts of fruits and nuts. Try to eat mostly fruits low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries as well as nuts high in omega-3 or low in omega-6 like macadamia nuts and almonds. Consider cutting off fruits and nuts altogether if you have an autoimmune disease, digestive problem or are trying to lose weight faster.

6. Preferably choose pasture-raised and grass-fed meat coming from a local, environmentally conscious farm. If not possible, choose lean cuts of meat and supplement your fat with coconut oil, butter or clarified butter. Also preferably choose organic, local and/or seasonal fruits and vegetables.

7. Cut out all cereal grains ad legumes from your diet. This includes, but is not limited to, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black eyed peas.

8. Cut out all vegetable, hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated oils including, but not limited to, margarines, soybean oil, corn oil, crisco, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. Olive oil and avocado oil are fine, but don’t cook with them, use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over prepared food.

9. Eliminate sugar, soft drinks, all packaged products and juices (including fruit juices). As a rule of thumb, if it’s in a box, don’t eat it. At the grocery store, visit only the meat, fish and produce sections.

10. Eliminate all dairy products other then butter and maybe heavy cream. You don’t need dairy.

11. Eat when you’re hungry and don’t stress if you skip a meal or even two. You don’t have to eat three square meals a day, do what feels most natural.

12. Eliminate to most sources of external stress in your life as possible and sleep the most you can. Try to wakeup without an alarm and to go to bed when it’s dark.

13. Don’t over-exercise and keep your training sessions short and intense and do them 3-4 times per week. Take some extra time off if you feel tired. Consider short and intense sessions of sprinting instead of very long cardio sessions.

14. Consider supplementing with probiotics, vitamin D, and a high quality fish oil. You probably don’t need multivitamins or other supplements. Fish oil has been proven to protect you from cancer, heart disease and inflammation. If you want to add it to the diet please source it from either Nordic Naturals or Carlsons.  Check the common crow and the fish oil calculator on the CFCA site for dosages and do your own research to see if it is something you think is worthy to add.

15. Play in the sun, have fun, laugh, smile, relax, discover, travel, learn and enjoy life like a daring adventure!

By the way- we’re okay with coffee and tea (black, or with a little coconut milk) if it increases your success with the main food groups but in moderation, and only if it doesn’t interfere with sleep.  Usually, that means none after noon.  If you really want to go hardcore and reset your body’s sensitivity to caffeine, skip the coffee/tee for the seven week period as well. Sorry no alcohol!

Tips

 1. Prepare for meals ahead of time… don’t wait till the last minute when you are starving!

2. Have a default meal that is easy to prepare (10 min).  It may not be your birthday dinner but you don’t mind it on a regular basis. Think chicken breast on the panini press with a bell pepper and an apple.

3.  Pre-cook food. Spend a few hours at the beginning of the week and cook big batches of food. This will allow you to minimize the amount of time that you have to spend cooking during the week.

4. Cook more that you need. This is similar to the previous tip, the idea being that if you cook more than you need for one meal then you can eat it later, or the next day.

5. Do not keep junk/unhealthy food that you know you shouldn’t eat, in the house. For most people, if it is in the house they will eventually eat it.

6. Do not run out of food. This is horrible. Do not let it happen to you.

7. Try planning out your meals for a week. This comes easily to type one personality, for the rest of us it can be a nuisance. This has the benefit of ensuring that you know what you need in the house for the week, and eliminates that time wasting period during which you try and figure out what you should cook for dinner.

8. Learn to use spices; this will do wonders for you and will offer variety and different flavors to your meals.

9. Try new things.

 THE FOREST FOR THE TREES…

Ok, so we are doing this. Let’s give it our best shot but please don’t loose sight of the fact that this is supposed to be a fun challenge for the betterment of everyone’s health, performance, and who can’t forget superficial appearance! Try to keep it simple without getting too bogged down in the tiny details of what you can and can’t have. Just using common sense, and making minor adjustments to keep you on track is better than being a food nazi who crashes and burns because they can’t make it work. Find that balance.

Look, I’m an all or nothing guy and finding balance for me has been incredibly hard.  I have a great week of diet and training followed by a terrible week. But I’m looking forward to this experience because I do believe that the way we look, feel and perform will be motivation enough to maintain the diet in some capacity at the end of the seven weeks. Make good decisions at every meal without killing yourself especially when going out. After all, salad with a non paleo dressing is better than a burger and fries right?

So stick to it.  In the words of the prolific super model, Kate Moss, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, except cocaine in her case.  Ok – here’s to next seven weeks and a HOT new HEALTHY YOU!

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