As I had mentionned a few days ago, my box is doing a paleo challenge. My coach had thought about this for a while and he figured right after the Holidays would be a great time to do it. I thought it would be a 30 day thing, but to my surprise, it’s for 90 days!
The paleo “diet” is basically eating like our ancestors – the cavemen – did. Meats, fruits, veggies and no grain, dairy, sugar or alcohol. I don’t know about the theories on paleo making us immune to diseases, protecting us against cancer and all that, but in itself, the diet looks like a way of eating healthy. From a training point of view, paleo eating will help me to lift more, be faster, add muscle mass and lose fat. Again, I don’t know if it’s true; the only people I know that are completely paleo are athletes and already very fit. I guess I’ll know after 90 days.
Here’s how the challenge will work. It starts on January 14 and ends on April 13. Next week (Jan 7-12), the WODs will consists of benchmark workouts that will be given again at the end of the challenge, to see if we improved. Our body composition and measurements will also be taken during the week and compared with those at the end of the challenge. I must do at least 2 of these WODs to be registered for the challenge. I assume there might be a prize (or bragging rights) at the end. Personally, if my health improves and I get fitter, I don’t care if I lose/improve the most. 😉
There are a few rules to follow. You are allowed to eat meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional fruits and veggies, and seeds. Here are the foods that are off limit:
1- Sugar. Also no agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc.
2- Alcohol. All types
3- Grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains, and all of those gluten-free, pseudo-grains like quiona. Yes, corn… for the purposes of this challenge, corn is a grain. For the purpose of this challenge, though, cooked rice is acceptable. (Since the Mrs is coeliac, it makes things a little easier for me; there’s already very little grain in the house. As for the rice, yes it’s grain, but it was permitted by the coach for this challenge as a source of carbohydrates, since we’ll be training.)
4- Legumes. This includes beans of all kind, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. This also includes all forms of soy—soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, or edamame.
5- Dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products, with the exception of clarified butter or organic butter.
6- White potatoes. That includes purple, red, gold, etc. The only ones allowed are sweet potatoes/yams.
To keep tabs, the coach will be using a point system. Every day, we’re allowed 15 points for the paleo meals (3 meals and 2 snacks). The score can get higher or lower based on certain factors.
Positives: If you train crossfit/high intensity, you get +2/day; if you drink 2 liters of water, +1/day or +2 for 3 liters; and if you sleep 7+hours you can get another +1. In total, your score can go as high as 20 points.
Now, the negatives:
-1 point off for every serving of: deli meats, beans, hummus, peanuts, agave, salt, peas, dried fruit, most salad dressings, red wine, coffee (after the first cup)
-2 points off for every serving of: dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, butter), soy products, quinoa
-3 points off for every serving of: cereal, grains, wheat, oats, corn, tortilla chips, bread, pasta, noodles, hot dogs
-4 points for every serving of: soda, juice, potatoes, fried food, chicken wings, most restaurant appetizers, pizza, cookies, baked goods, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sweets, pancakes, ketchup, processed marinades, BBQ sauce, sugar-added dried fruit, beer, and ALL alcoholic drinks (besides red wine).
There is no portion control – just use your judgement. Eating a 36oz steak just because it’s paleo is not that smart… And as you can see, it’s very easy to lose points, and easier still on special days like anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s day. On those days when I decide to have a glass of wine, I’ll have to make sure to get extra points, too! What will be more difficult for me will be to give up coffee after the fist cup. I usually have 2-4 on any given day. Guess I’ll switch to tea.
We’re also allowed to keep on using the supplements we have. As our coach said, we spent money on buying supplements, and it would be a waste not being able to use them. I’m also fortunate that the Mrs is “on-board” with the challenge. She’s not doing it per se, but she figured it’s easier to follow this eating lifestyle at the same time as me, but eat cheese, sugar, etc. whenever she damn well wants to. And I agree; I don’t want to impose this on anybody. I’ve had bread in restaurants even though she can’t, so I’m not the one who’ll be complaining about it when she does the same later.
It will be a challenge, to be honest. I don’t like having restrictions on what I can or cannot eat, but it’s the only way I’ll know if it works. After all, it’s only 90 days, and there are many recipes out there that are simply decadent! My biggest fear is being hungry in the evening. I’ve tried other “training diets” and always end up being hungry at night. I’ll know about that soon enough. I’ll also be putting a post with a scoring sheet. Those that are curious about how I fare will be able to track the progress.
One week before we start, one week to indulge (moderately, of course) myself in forbidden eating pleasures. 😉