Hello friends and welcome to Paleo Challenge 2012. Get ready. Get excited. Some of you know Paleo and you may be like, “Paleo? Bahhhh… old hat! We’ve been chums for decades (well, a year, I mean at least 10 months…okay a solid 5 days…)”. While others may be like, “Paleo-who? What is this craziness you speak of … ? Have you heard about the new flavor at Top Pot? Triple-death to the Nth Degree, amazing!”. I remember the first time I heard about “Paleo” or the “Caveman Diet” and I rolled my eyes. The word “diet” strikes a chord so deep in my heart that makes me want to stab my eyes out with dull spoons. It’s visceral. That said, it took me a while to warm to the idea of Paleo, but warm I did… and now I am a metaphorical bonfire.
So. What is Paleo?
In brief, Paleo is whole food. Real food. High quality meat, veggies, some fruits, and nuts. No grains, dairy, or legumes. No processed food. The point of Paleo is to get you eating nutrient dense food. Think about that. Mull it over. While we are in the thick of this challenge and you are faced with a food option… before asking the question “Is this Paleo…?” Think to yourself… is this item full of nutrients (naturally) that will make me AWESOME…?
In truth, Paleo is super simple, sustainable, AND it makes sense. Winning.
We at XCF are going to be there for you to provide support, suggestions, recipes, and inspiration. You aren’t doing it alone. It will be hard, it will be different, but I promise you it is worth it!
Let me get all anecdotal on you. I was talking to my hairstylist and it being so close to the resolution season the topic of food and diet came up:
Stylist: “We have nothing in the house because we are trying to diet… I hate dieting.”
I hold back my abject horror at the word “diet”… politeness reigns!
Stylist: “My boyfriend…”
note: her boyfriend is a personal trainer
Stylist: “… he is such a sugar addict. Yesterday he was drinking creamer because he wanted something sugar-like and we have nothing in the house”
Me: “Mmmmhmmmm… maybe he should have a piece of fruit…”
Stylist: “I hate it! I hate dieting… uuuhhhhgggg.”
And the conversation continues on… with her telling me things she as tried. How hard things are, how she really wants to lose x amount of weight, how she feels like she has no energy and would like energy pills, how her friend is trying to get her to try xyz diet with miracle supplements. It doesn’t need to be this hard. Really it can get better, and feel better.
Yeah, it is going to suck. I am not trying to say it’s not – for many of us it will be abysmal. But let’s luxuriate in that awfulness for a while. Do a back stroke or two. I mean, you do CrossFit, push past the suck because it IS worth the fight. Lifelong habits are freaking hard to change, but good news (!!!) things will become less sucky, more tolerable, and eventually sustainable because a few things will happen.
As you adjust to Paleo eating you FEEL satiated. Eating meat and eating fat (yes, eating fat!) will aid the signaling in your body and you will actually feel full. To be clear, when I speak of fat I am talking high quality fat. As we continue into this challenge I will get more granular around good/bad fat. If you can’t wait, here is a great break-down from Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/healthy-oils/#axzz1ksR1J9py
Another piece is energy. You will feel a more alert through your day. You will stop feeling that drag that happens mid-afternoon. This is where my personal buy-in is HUGE. I love feeling good. I used to feel awful, but I didn’t realize quite how bad it was until I started to feel better. To paraphrase Melissa Hartwig of the Whole 9, imagine you had grown up in a field full of tulips – and you were horribly allergic to tulips. Until you grew-up and moved away the terrible-ness would have been status-quo. You don’t know how bad it is until it is removed. I don’t crave bread anymore because I know it will rob me of this sense of good. I think back to how I used to survive life, and it is not pretty. The difference now is that I seek to thrive rather than just survive.
There are other amazing benefits to Paleo and I am excited to begin to explore them with you! As Jho mentioned in his post, if you can GET YOUR BLOODWORK DONE – DO IT! A basic panel will do, but we can give you suggestions on markers to watch if you’d like.
To be aggressively redundant: GET EXCITED!
Donkey is heading the charge for blood work. She demonstrated such valor today. If anyone is still on the fence you should take this brave act as the final straw in the search for motivation. Get into your doctors office and get some blood work. You can thank me later. If you are wondering why both people in this photo looked like cracked out, characters in a Stieg Larson novel than you aren’t alone. I have no idea why it looks more like Donkey is getting a tattoo than getting a blood draw.