Paleo Challenge 2011

Read all my posts regarding the Paleo Challenge here.

From October 1 – October 30, 2011, I will be taking part in my local CrossFit gym’s 30-day Paleo Challenge. During the challenge, participants are only allowed to eat REAL food: meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Basically, we can only eat what our ancestors ate.

Now, I’m not sure how I got roped into this, but the Paleo diet has always intrigued me. I’ve forever been plagued by acne/rosacea and I think I’ve tried everything except messing with my diet. I attended the kick-off meeting on Wednesday night and was eventually sucked into the idea of giving it a shot. The idea seemed insane at first: I won’t be able to eat sugar, grains, legumes or dairy. I love beans. I love milk. I love coffee. I LOVE beer. Have I gone nuts? On the other hand, it’s only 30 days, it’s super healthy for me, and there’s a great prize involved: first place scores a huge amount of grass-fed beef! As a lover of food, this makes me really excited.

There are three aspects to the challenge:

  1. My compliance to the diet (and my sleep)
  2. My performance on the initial workout
  3. My improvement on the workout after a month of the challenge

Just to make it clear, here’s a listing of all the food that would be considered a cheat:

Grains – Wheat, rye, barley, sorghum, millet, quinoa, oats, rice, spelt, “sprouted” grains, buckwheat, hominy

Dairy – Milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, ghee

Sugar – Any added sweeteners, whether natural or artificial, including: cane sugar, honey, or agave syrup

Legumes – All kinds of beans, soy, peas, peanuts, peanut butter

Industrial chemicals – Take your pick. Processed meats fall under this category

Beverages – Juices, alcohol, or artificially sweetened drinks

My initial and ending workout will be:

  • Take 15 min to find your 3rm (rep max) back squat
  • Rest 5-10 min
  • 4 min row
  • 1 min rest
  • 3 min pull-ups
  • 1 min rest
  • 2 min shoulder to overhead (135/95)
  • 1 min rest
  • 1 min KB (kettlebell) swings (53/35)

I’m pretty sure I’ll have to scale down some of those weights (the numbers after the slashes are the weights that females are suppose to do). And I’m definitely going to have to use a resistance band for the pull-ups. Ugh, I feel tired just reading it. I want to kick its butt so hard at the end of this challenge, though.

The scoring gets a little complicated, but here are the important parts: It’s assumed that participants will eat three meals a day, so on any given day, there are three possible points (one point per meal). If I go the entire challenge without cheating, I get 90 points. If I cheat in one meal by doing just one thing wrong, I don’t get a point. That’s rough.

During this whole process I must keep a food log listing what I ate for each meal (we don’t have to get too detailed about it). There’s also a spot for recording my sleep hours.

This is going to be pretty difficult. The sleep I have no problem with. I get an average of 7 – 8 hours a night without any issues. Here’s the real kicker: I’ve started searching for bacon that has no nitrates AND no sugar (neither are allowed for this challenge), but it’s pretty much impossible. I’ve even tried researching the bacon sold at my local farmer’s market, but they all add sugar to it. What am I going to do without my beloved bacon? I’m also going to have to start drinking my coffee black. What?!

But you know what? I don’t care. It’s only 30 days and I really, really want to win! And I wonder if some of these dietary changes will stick with me. That would be pretty interesting.

I will try my hardest to take photos of all the meals and snacks I eat throughout the day in an effort to give this my best shot while the Internet watches. Wish me luck!

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