30 Days Paleo Down. Now What?

Contributed by Coach Karen

What will you eat for breakfast when the EAD / CFAH Winter 2013 30 Day Paleo Challenge concludes in less than 175 hours?

Will you join more than one-third of Americans who drop anchor with the Cap’N and pour a bowl of cold cereal? Are you more likely to grab a bagel, toast, muffin or pastry? Maybe you’ll go back to skipping breakfast. Or – dare I suggest? – your first post-Challenge forkful February 6 is no different than the thoroughly planned and carefully considered choices you’ve made since January 7?

Research suggests grass-fed beef -- a mainstay on the Paleo Plate -- has up to 10 times more beta-carotene, three times more Vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef.. Grass fed beef has lower levels of unhealthy fats, a lower level of dietary cholesterol, and no hormones or antibiotics. Image courtesy of Q7 Ranch / Mother Hen Poultry.

Research suggests grass-fed beef — a mainstay on the Paleo Plate — has up to 10 times more beta-carotene, three times more Vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Grass fed beef has lower levels of unhealthy fats, a lower level of dietary cholesterol, and no hormones or antibiotics. Image courtesy of Q7 Ranch / Mother Hen Poultry.

Thirty days of eating clean and green is a great start, but it’s not really enough. Consider how long you’ve unconsciously consumed calories, with little regard to how the food was chemically treated, processed and handled before it hit your plate. For most of us, we’ve lived far longer with mindless versus mindful eating, which is why I encourage you to continue to build meals and snacks brimming with nutrient-dense and energy-enriching foods to fuel your performance-based lifestyle.

Wednesday, Feb. 6 – the first post-challenge day – will be no different than the previous 30 for many EAD / CFAH athletes; they will remain steadfast Paleo eaters. The very thought of adding grains & legumes, dairy, starchy veg, sugars and processed foods invokes an involuntary shudder, and perhaps a bit of bile for these folks. Some participants will jump off the Paleo wagon with abandon and chalk up the past 30 days to another life experience. Some will opt to eat Paleo 80 percent of the time, and reserve 20 percent for planned, mindful variety. And yet others will devise some variation of all of the above. There is no right answer for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to take time to make a conscious choice about how you will eat going forward. I strongly encourage you to maintain the key elements you learned, practiced, and (perhaps) perfected over the past 30 days, including:

  • Avoid diet sodas; non-nutritive / artificial sweeteners; high-fructose corn syrup; foods with added sugars; partially or fully hydrogenated fats & oils; refined grains; processed foods; drive through / fast foods; ground & composite meats (like sausage) made from unknown / factory sources; packaged foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea of their purpose; artificial preservatives & colors; glutamates
  • Eat a hearty and well-rounded breakfast
  • Fuel training with appropriately timed pre- and post-WOD food choices
  • Select grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, wild caught seafood
  • Shop the perimeter or the grocery store
  • Choose nutrient-dense, dark leafy greens, and nutritional multi-taskers
  • Judiciously read labels
  • Research nutritional information when you eat out, and boldly call off less-desireable ingredients at restaurants
  • Plan meals with vigor & intent
  • Ban “clutch & crutch” foods – the ones that may fill a temporary emotional need or satisfy a habit but make you feel icky – from your pantry
  • Consider what you eat, eats –pay attention to what you put in your body, and how your body responds.

Next Steps, Part 1.
Over the next few days, take stock of what feels different after eating clean and green since January 7. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, take five minutes and write down everything that comes to mind:

  • How you feel overall
  • Changes you’ve noticed in your relationship with food — how you sleep, how you shop, how your body responds to food, and more
  • The absence of symptoms that you previously accepted as “normal”
  • Comments people have made about the changes they’ve seen in you
  • What was easy, what was challenging, what surprised you
  • Compliments you’ve received, and more.

Then take another five minutes and really read the list. Aloud. Let it wash over you. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished. And then plan your next steps.

Welcome Back?
As tempting as it may be, don’t hit the breakfast or lunch buffet February 6. Many of you have shared with me near miraculous health improvements since eating Paleo. If you load up your plate with grains, legumes, dairy, sugars & processed foods, you’ll never know which foods — if any — trigger your body’s inflammation cycle, complete with aches & pains, belly bloat, sinus congestion, embarrassing gas attacks, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, “brain fog”, mean streaks / mood swings, and more. Instead, consider the following food re-introduction process:

  • Introduce each of the known inflammation-provoking foods – grains / gluten, eggs, diary, nightshades – one at a time, and in that order.
  • For four consecutive days, add one meal that includes the potentially-offending food; then for three days remove the food. If you have any reaction (The Inflammation Cycle), you’ll know that food group is one you should continue to avoid.
  • For the seven-day cycle, pay close attention to how your body — and those around you — react. Did you need to unbutton your pants after eating the plate of pasta? Is your nose stuffy after drinking coffee with cream? Did anyone suggest you were a bit moody? Is your sleep suddenly restless? Do you feel sluggish during training? These are signs that the food may not be your friend.
  • Do not overlap the food groups – re-introduce only one food per week. Food sensitivities or intolerance may rear up immediately, or it may take a few days for you to notice.
  • If you’re eating Paleo to combat an auto-immune issue, you may want to stick with it for an additional 30 days.

Next Steps, Part 2.
Be sure to take time to complete the Post-Paleo Challenge Questionnaire, break out the scale for the first time in 30 days (as if I needed to remind you to do that!), take your measurements, and snap the post-challege photo.If you completed the Paleo Baseline WOD, be sure to repeat the WOD Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Please submit your Pre- & Post-Paleo Challenge Questionnaire so I can complete an analysis of the changes experienced by folks who committed to the challenge. Didn’t make it the full 30 days? That’s okay … submit the paperwork anyway, along with a note as to why you opted out. Everyone who completes and turns in the pre- & post-Challenge Questionnaire will be entered in a drawing for three classes added to their account.

Keep Me Posted.
If you opt to continue eating Paleo in any form, check in regularly with me, and feel free to continue to ask questions — how you fuel has a direct impact on how you perform during training and throughout your day.

 

Goin’ Crazy in the Nut House.

Contributed by Coach Karen

Nuts — without question — are the “go to” snack or recipe ingredient for most participants in the EAD / CFAH 30 Day Paleo Challenge. Munch walnuts to quell a craving. Grind almonds for pizza crust or Paleo treats. Sprinkle cashews on stir fry. Toss macadamia nuts in a smoothie. Eating Paleo for many turns the kitchen into a veritable nut house. That makes Week #3 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge the perfect time to question the craziness and consider cracking the attraction that’s making you go nuts.

It may be time to evaluate nut consumption if the past two weeks include the change "Here a nut, there a nut, everywhere a nut, nut nut."

It may be time to evaluate nut consumption if the past two weeks include the chant “Here a nut, there a nut, everywhere a nut, nut nut.”

Nuts are nutritious, satisfying and convenient little gems. They’re fiber-rich, and a great source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol. But they’re calorie-dense, and high in lectins[1], phytates[2] and other enzyme inhibitors[3]. They can quickly push more nutritious foods off your plate, and, of most interest, are rich in polyunsaturated fat and pro-inflammatory[4] Omega-6 fatty acids.

Nut or Butt? Calories in nuts come primarily from fat, and those calories tally quickly as you snack ‘em by the handful, or incorporate them in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. Consuming too many nuts could negatively impact body composition changes. Robb Wolf, EAD / CFAH 30 Paleo Challenge mentor-at-large and Paleo expert, targets over-zealous nut consumption as a key barrier to fat loss.

Empty Satisfaction? The grab-and-go nature of nuts is dangerous when you’re tired, overwhelmed or under-supplied. A bag of nuts or jar of nut butter—plus a comfy couch and favorite TV show—offer an attractive alternative to shopping and preparing a nutritious meal. Nuts also drive satiety, or that satisfied feeling of fullness, making it easier to leave the kale and other nutrient-dense offerings behind.

Skew You. Tipping the Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio is likely the most adverse impact of habitually eating nuts. Nuts tend to tilt to pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, so eating too many drive you away from the desired 4:1-5:1 ratio of Omega-6s:Omega-3s.

Seek Equilibrium. Building a Paleo Plate is a great start to establishing Omega-6:Omega-3 equilibrium. But it takes work. According to holistic living expert Chris Kresser, the average American consumes 9 percent of total calories from pro-inflammatory Omega-6 foods. With no change in Omega-6 consumption, that equates to eating 11 ounces of wild-caught salmon every day to just keep pace.

Kresser says a more realistic approach to creating Omega Equilibrium is to increase consumption of anti-inflammatory Omega-3s—say three 4-ounce servings[5] of wild caught salmon weekly—and decrease Omega-6 intake to approximately 3 percent of total calories by eliminating processed and packaged foods, and conventionally-raised poultry and pork; limiting restaurant meals; and mindfully munching nuts … essentially following the EAD / CFAH 30 Day Paleo Challenge. Other options to increase Omega-3 include enjoying Grassfed Beef and Omega-3 eggs.

Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple fame has a simple approach. “What drew our ancestors to nuts – the caloric density and the fat content – is what makes them ‘dangerous’ to modern man. It makes sense that we easily snack on them all day, because our ancestors probably gorged themselves on nuts when they were available. We should eat them, too, but it’s important to stick to reasonable, evolutionarily realistic amounts.”

If nuts have been more like a healthy condiment in your meal and snack planning during the first two weeks of the EAD / CFAH 30 Paleo Challenge, keep up the great work; bonus points if you pick nuts high in saturated fat and low in polyunsaturated fats like Macadamias, Cashews and Hazelnuts. However, if nuts have been more like the main course, it is time to make an adjustment.

Food for Thought. Would you go batty if you gave up nuts for one week? Comment.



[1] Lectins are carb-binding proteins that can stick to the lining of the small intestine and trigger a host of problems. Foods high in lectins are at the top of the “Avoid” or “Moderation” lists during the 30 Day Paleo Challenge – grains, legumes, soy, dairy, related oils, nuts and members of the nightshade family.

[2] Phytates are antioxidant compounds found in whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds that can bind to, and slow absorption of, certain dietary minerals. You can soak nuts overnight in water with sea salt to leech the phytates. Drain the water, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and dehydrated for 8 hours in a 140-degree oven; cool and refrigerate.

[3] Enzyme inhibitors bind to enzymes and decrease their activity, potentially disrupting digestion and absorption.

[4] The typical American ratio of Omega-6-Omega-3 fatty acids 10:1-20:1, a contributing factor in increased rates of Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Asthma, Cancer, and more (see The Inflammation Cycle).

[5] Based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Winter 2013 Paleo Challenge Begins January 7.

Could there possibly be a better way to kick off 2013 than by investing 30 days to improve your health by eating “clean”? We think not.

Welcome to the Elite Athletic Development l CrossFit Arlington Heights 30 Day Paleo Challenge, Monday, Jan. 7 – Tuesday, Feb. 5. Join your fellow athletes as they commit to eat ample protein, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats. Absent from the Paleo Plate? Grains, dairy, legumes, soy, peas, corn, green beans, sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, processed foods and alcohol.

If you’re ready to feel and look better, improve workout performance and recovery, sleep deeper, and potentially eliminate nagging issues like skin problems, “fuzzy” thinking, muscle or joint soreness, bloat, and more, commit to yourself — and the EAD / CFAH Community — by writing your name on the white board under the flag. Then, head over to the EAD / CFAH Athlete Center and review the 30 Day Paleo Challenge materials. Also, check out information posted on the EAD / CFAH Paleo Challenge page from previous challenges; we will also regularly post new info on this page.

For those of you who 80 / 20 Paleo, the 30 Paleo Challenge is a commitment; there will be no “variety” (aka, cheat) days. Participants are encouraged to stick to the “Encouraged” and “Food to Avoid” list scrupulously for the duration of the challenge to gain optimum results.

The EAD / CFAH 30 Day Paleo Challenge is inspired by the work of Dr. Loren Cordain, with generous support from Robb Wolf, Whole9, and input from EAD / CFAH athletes who have completed previous challenges.

Questions? Email karen@eadperformancecenter.com

Laura M accepts the Paleo Challenge; calls results “amazing”.

This is another in a series of personal reflections penned by Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights / CrossFit Axis athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. The following reflection was submitted by Laura M, who has trained with us since May, 2010, and seen many a 30 Day Paleo Challenge come and go. Something about the July 2012 Challenge piqued her curiosity, though, and she decided to give the Paleo plate a chance .. with tremendous results. Keep up the great work, Laura — we look forward to your continued success!

To describe what the challenge has been to me, I would simply say this: life changing. I read all of the personal reflections that other people posted from past challenges, and to be honest, I didn’t really think it would end up applying to me in the same seemingly drastic way as it has so many others. Boy was I wrong.

I’m pretty proud of myself for honestly, no b.s., sticking to the 30 Day Paleo Challenge nearly 100 percent. I went on vacation in the middle of the challenge, and my only cheats were a couple of small deserts, a couple of glasses of wine, and a couple of pieces of bread. Otherwise, not a single cheat. I was pretty amazed at myself for that.

As far as the results are concerned, well, they are pretty amazing – and to be honest, unexpected. The most obvious is weight loss. I lost nine pounds in that first 30 days – being less hungry than I think I’ve ever been and working out less than I ever have due to a crazy work schedule. And the beautiful thing is it was nine pounds of fat. The muscle mass is still there. I felt stronger than I have in a long time and look better than I have in a long time.

Laura (left) and her sister, Michelle, pre-Paleo Challenge.

The second most obvious result was my cardiovascular system. Those who know me know that cardio is by far my biggest weakness. It always has been. I can practice running all summer long and never be able to make it past two miles. Obviously, CrossFit has helped that a bit, but I still never considered myself anywhere near where I should be.

About two weeks in to the challenge, something changed. I went for a run one night and literally went for a solid four miles at a way faster pace than I had ever run before, and didn’t even think twice. It wasn’t really hard. I felt like a friggin’ gazelle! Figuring it was just some kind of fluke, I didn’t really think too much of it. Then I tried it again a couple of nights after. Same thing. I couldn’t believe it. And every run I’ve gone on since then has been like that. I’ve gone from struggling to make two miles at slower than a 10 minute pace to running approximately four miles at at least a nine minute pace comfortably. Every time. No problem. One of these days I’m going to actually time myself on a 5k and see what happens. Actually push it. If I don’t shave at least five minutes off, I will be very surprised.

At the end of the challenge, I attended a CrossFit class, and noticed that I was very obviously able to push myself farther than I ever had before. When I hit the point where I would normally start slowing down or stopping to take a breather, I just kept going. And it wasn’t a mental thing so much. I wasn’t pushing myself harder. I could just feel that point that would normally slow me down but now I didn’t need to slow down.  It’s like my brain changed from telling me, “holy crap slow down, you’re going to die” to “yeah, this is getting tough but oh well – it’s no big thing.”  It was the weirdest feeling. Coach Josh commented that I was moving a lot better. And I was. For goodness sake, I could fly through a set of 10 burpees without stopping, even at the end of the workout. I’ve never been able to do that. Not even close.

The third thing I noticed was my relationship with food. As many women do, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with it. On days where I felt like I had eaten like crap, I tended to figure the day had already lost any hope of being a success from a dietary standpoint, and would decide that I may as well enjoy myself and screw it up completely. Yeah, my relationship with food was a mess. And I knew it was. But I figured it would always be that way, because you always want what you can’t have, right? Well, I now know that’s wrong. And I think the solution has been two-fold. First, I no longer count calories – or even think about them for that matter. So, if I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not, I don’t. That was something I knew going into this I was going to have to trust if I was going to make this work. Which brings me to the second part of this: in learning to control cravings, I’ve allowed my body to re-program itself to actually understand what hunger is. I now know the difference between hunger and a craving. And through this whole thing, I’ve learned to think of cravings as your body’s way of being a bratty kid. And I hate bratty kids. So I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a bratty kid push me around. Thus, cravings aren’t able to control me nearly like they used to. What’s left is hunger. And when I’m hungry, I eat. So, problem solved. I just still can’t believe it was that simple.

The last major thing that I noticed, and I didn’t even notice it until it was pointed out to me as one of the things that this diet could do, is my skin is brighter – especially my face. The circles around my eyes are gone. Given that I just turned 30, it’s nice to be looking better instead of worse!

So, moving forward, yes, this is something I plan to continue, without a doubt.  It’s really not much of a burden, and the results are so incredible, I never want to go back to feeling the way I did. Now yes, I will have some cheats, but they will be planned and thoughtful. What’s also helpful is a lot of the food I used to eat doesn’t even sound appealing to me anymore, so it’s really not hard to have Dave sitting next to me eating a pizza and have me eating a steak, avocado, and veggies. I dislike the feeling of being bloated so much now that most of that stuff kind of turns me off. Since the end of the challenge, I had one week where I fell off of the boat 100 percent. It was a hell of a week. But it was easy to get back on, and aside from feeling bloated, I really didn’t have any negative consequences from it (well, the ones I had were from drinking too much…)

Also worth mentioning at this point is the fact that weight loss has continued.  I’m now down almost 15 pounds.  I’m getting close to having to think about getting some new clothes, because while the things that I used to have to squeeze myself into still fit okay, the things that fit normally now hang on me. But trust me: this is a good problem. I’m just not going to go too gung ho on buying things until I have an idea as to where my size is going to level out.

And the one last cool thing about all of this is that results talk. My sister thought I was just doing some kind of hippie diet when this whole thing started. Then we went on vacation together and she started mimicking how I was eating. She has been very impressed at the results I’ve had, so she started doing 100 percent Paleo. Her results are incredible, too. Although she didn’t have any weight to lose, she can now get a good night’s sleep, her focus is much better, and she’s in a much better mood. My Mom saw these results and is now starting to make her own Paleo bread and whatnot. And now my Dad is starting to get on board with eating Paleo.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about what the 30 Day Paleo Challenge has done for me, and I’m excited to see how far the benefits can go …

Countdown to the Summer 2012 Paleo Challenge: The Manifesto Collection.

Contributed by Coach Karen

Paleo Plate composition is colorful, abundant, satisfying, healthy and sans the Western dietary staples of dairy, grains and legumes. Most of the questions we field at the start of our 30 Day Paleo Challenge center on why theses foods are on the “No” list. The good folks at Whole9 posted four easy-to-read articles, or what they call “manifestos”, on why there is no place on the Paleo plate for these foods.

Take a moment to read the manifestos to satisfy your curiosity. Then read them again to prepare yourself for the inevitable barrage of questions from loved ones, friends and co-workers who will grill you on why you’re ignoring conventional wisdom force-fed to us by everyone from the USDA to registered dietitians, popular magazines to Dr. Oz, and your family physician to Grandma. If questions remain after you read the manifestos, or you need reinforcement to deal with the poo-pooers and naysayers, reach out … we’re happy to help!

30 Day Paleo Challenge Yields Lost Pounds, Inches, Body Fat.

Contributed by Karen Stoychoff Inman

“I had no idea how yucky I felt until I felt great.”

So says one participant in a comment representative of feedback submitted via the Winter 2012 30 Day Paleo Challenge pre- & post assessment. More than 100 EAD / CFAH / CFAX athletes committed to eat Paleo January 15 – February 13, with 33 percent of participants providing a written overview of their experience.

Most participants had no idea what to expect during the 30 Day Challenge, and many signed up with great trepidation. “I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew I couldn’t keep eating the way I was. I was really scared, but figured I had the support of so many people,” said one participant. “I was skeptical; really skeptical,” says another participant. “But I suspended disbelief because the EAD coaches have never let me down.”

In the end, it was the athletes who never let down, and their individual and collective results prove 30 days sans grains, dairy, sugar, legumes and processed foods can make the difference. Based on a comparison of 24 pre- and post- self assessments, EAD / CFAH / CFAX athletes lost almost 200 pounds, more than 115 inches, and averaged a 6 percent decrease in body fat. One participant lost 20 pounds, while another lost a total of 12 inches. Yet another participant decreased body fat almost 14 percent.

30 Day Paleo Challenge participants report results ranging from aesthetic to emotional to medical. When asked to reflect on their Paleo eating experience, participant comments include:

“The best result of this challenge? I had NO headaches for 30 days. I typically get them 2-3 times a month, and they last for multiple days. I never even looked at the prescription meds that I take for relief.”

“I feel AMAZING! Tighter and leaner. I feel way more confident in my appearance now than I have in a long time. My mood is much more elevated. I’m sleeping better and feeling more rested when I wake.”

“My chronic joint pain is gone. I no longer have cravings. I have much more energy, feel much stronger during WODs and feel better about my body.”

“No asthma! Wow!”

“Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

“My self-esteem has jumped. I feel healthy and strong.”

“This is just the beginning for me …”

All but a handful of participants completed the 30 Day Paleo Challenge, and those who didn’t still acknowledge that they gained new perspective on eating clean. “I have not been successful with the 30 Day Paleo Challenge, but I’ve been trying to eat ‘mostly Paleo’. I had a physical last week and my blood work has significantly improved … that was just the motivation I needed to get myself back on track,” said one athlete. “I started (the 30 Day Paleo Challenge) with the best intentions, but I just didn’t stick with it. I’m going to try again … everyone who did go the full 30 days seems so pleased with their results,” said another athlete.

Overall, responding participants say the 30 Day Paleo Challenge was a good experience, and better than 95 percent plan to stay Paleo or Paleo-“ish” going forward.

“I plan to continue eating Paleo at least 80 percent of the time for the rest of my life.”

“I feel stronger and push myself further and harder during WODs thanks to eating this way.”

“I actually shudder at the thought of going back to my old carb-junkie habits. I’m so pleased and excited about my results.”

“I can’t believe 30 days passed so quickly! I’m really happy I tried this … I’m so much more conscious of what I’m eating and buying … my seven year-old daughter (helps) me read labels.”

“My life is forever changed. Thanks, EAD!”

 

30 Day Paleo Challenge Splash Down Guidelines.

Contributed by Karen Stoychoff Inman

The 30 Day Paleo Challenge concludes at midnight, Monday, Feb. 13. After serving up 30 days of thorough planning and thoughtful food choices, how will you build your first challenge-free plate Tuesday, Feb. 14? Dare I suggest that your splash down meal should be no different than those you’ve consumed since January 15?

I’ve received dozens of emails, posts and phone calls marveling at the changes — some subtle, many dramatic — logged since eating Paleo. Yet temptation lurks, and the negotiation on how to eat going forward begins.

Splash Down … Don’t Drown, Part 1. Thirty days of clean eating is a great start, but it’s not really enough. Consider how long you’ve unconsciously consumed calories, with little regard to how the food was chemically treated, processed and handled before it hit your plate. For most of us, we’ve lived far longer with mindless versus mindful eating.

Pre-Splash Down Checklist. Take stock of how good you feel after 30 days. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, take five minutes and write down everything that comes to mind about how you feel, the comments people have made, what was easy, what was challenging, what surprised you, the compliments you’ve received, and more. Then take another five minutes and really read the list. Aloud. Let it wash over you. And celebrate what you’ve accomplished.

The Paperwork. Be sure to take time to complete the Post-Paleo Challenge Questionnaire, break out the scale for the first time in 30 days (as if I needed to remind you to do that!), take your measurements, and snap the post-challege photo. Please submit your Pre- & Post-Paleo Challenge Questionnaire so I can complete an analysis of the changes experienced by the 100-plus folks who committed to the challenge. Didn’t make it the full 30 days? That’s okay … submit the paperwork anyway, along with a note as to why you opted out.

Splash Down … Don’t Drown, Part 2. Some people will remain steadfast Paleo eaters post-challenge. The very thought of adding grains & legumes, dairy, startchy veg, sugars and processed foods invokes an involuntary shudder, and perhaps a bit of bile. Some of you will jump off the Paleo wagon entirely and chalk this up to another life experience. Some of you will opt to eat Paleo 80 percent of the time, and reserve 20 percent for planned, mindful variety. There is no right answer for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to take time to make a conscious choice about how you will eat going forward. The only wrong answer is to fall back into a pattern of mindless eating.

Pick One. As tempting as it may be, don’t hit the breakfast or lunch buffet February 14. Many of you have shared with me near miraculous health improvements since eating Paleo. If you load up your plate with grains, legumes, dairy, sugars & processed foods, you’ll never know which foods — if any — trigger aches & pains, belly bloat, sinus congestion, embarrassing gas attacks, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, “brain fog”, mean streaks / mood swings, and more. If you plan to go 80 / 20, pick a food group — grains, legumes or dairy (no, sugar and processed foods are not a food group!) — to add back into your diet. Add one food group per week and pay close attention to how your body — and those around you — react. Did you need to unbutton your pants after eating the plate of pasta? Is your nose stuffy after drinking coffee with cream? Did anyone suggest you were a bit moody? Is your sleep suddenly restless? Do you feel sluggish during training? Many of us have undiagnosed food intolerances. The absence of symptoms during the past 27 days is a good clue that you need to have a measured approach to how you eat going forward.

Without Question. Regardless if you plan to stay hardcore or eat Paleo 80/20, continue to: eat breakfast; fuel your training with appropriately timed pre- and post-WOD food choices; select grassfed beef, free-range poultry, wild caught seafood; shop the perimeter or the grocery store; choose nutrient-dense, dark leafy greens; choose nutritional multi-taskers; read labels; research nutritional information when you eat out; call off ingredients at restaurants; and plan meals with vigor & intent. Overall, continue to be scrupulous about what you put in your body.

No. Never. Nada. Now & Forever. There is no place on your plate going forward for the following foods: Diet sodas, non-nutritive / artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, foods with added sugars, partially or fully hydrogenated fats & oils, refined grains, processed foods, drive through / fast foods, ground & composite meats (like sausage) made from unknown / factory sources, packaged foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea of their purpose, artificial preservatives & colors, glutamates, or any food that makes you feel physically icky, but may fill a temporary emotional need.

Today’s Question: After eating Paleo for the past 30 days, what words / phrases best describe how you feel, and what words / phrase have you most frequently heard from those closest to you?

 

 

 

 

 

02.01.12 l Day 18: Omega This, Omega That.

We’ve bested the half-way mark of the EAD / CFAH / CFAX 30 Day Paleo Challenge and reports from the field continue to be positive, and we have new people joining in weekly. Keep up the dedicated effort, everyone!

Lots of questions over the past day or so on Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids. The bottom line on this topic is that the typical Western plate is buckling under the weight of an imbalance between these two essential fatty acids, and it takes conscious effort to regain balance.

Our bodies require both Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids, just in a different ratio than most people consume. Some studies suggest that many Americans consume a ratio of 10-20:1 of Omega 6s to 3s … far less desirable than the 1-4:1 ratio many believe supports optimum health.

If you’re curious as to how your current plate composition stacks up, log your food for three days at PaleoTrack, a free food journal for the Paleo afficienado; one of the features is an Omega fatty acid calculator. Also reference the Omega 3 & Omega 6 Fatty Acids Snapshot we prepared for your reference.

Today’s Question: What is the best thing someone in your life has done to support you since you started the 30 Day Paleo Challenge?

Food For Thought: We All Have Choice. Eat For Your Mitochondria.

01.19.12 l Day Five: Secret Saboteurs.

                                                                        Contributed by Coach Karen

Sometimes, it’s the people in our inner circle who unconsciously set barriers to keep us from taking a leap in the right direction.

Five days in to the EAD / CFAH / CFAX 30 Day Paleo Challenge and you’re starting to feel the benefits of eating green & clean. These changes cement your commitment, yet may leave family, friends and co-workers feeling on shaky ground.

According to Leighton Clark, LCSW, Creative Transitions, Ltd., it takes a committed individual approximately 33 – 66 days to integrate a new habit into a long-lasting reality. But it takes those around you more than three months to accept the changes, a gap which frequently rattles the foundation of relationships.

“Most people don’t consciously sabotage the change efforts of others. Sometimes, however, the ripple effect of change — say one person eating Paleo and the other a traditional diet — creates discomfort, and may illicit subconscious actions that resist the new direction,” said Clark.  Bottom line: Just because you’re ready to make the jump doesn’t mean that those around you are ready for the impact your change may have on them.

Sabotage may be subtle, say passing the popcorn at the movie theater out of habit; or, it could be as brash as bringing your favorite food into the house. Either way, it’s something you need to address.

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center encourages people to “spit it out” and remind loved ones that their support and assistance is appreciated and important to the change effort. For those who persist in offering food, Katz suggests the following response: “It looks great. Maybe later.” Then make sure later never comes.

Clark and Katz recommend those seeking change connect with like-mind people.

“The power and momentum of sharing and working toward a goal with others contributes significantly to long-term success,” said Clark … a fact not lost on the more than 100 people committed to the EAD / CFAH / CFAX 30 Day Paleo Challenge. “Support is available from many sources. If a loved one isn’t ready to offer needed encouragement, reach out to those who are.”

Today’s Question: How do you deal with people who overtly or covertly try and sabotage your Paleo Plate?

Food For Thought: Top Nine Challenges of Being Paleo and What to do About Them?