I’m so glad you asked! I am closing in now on three weeks of a strict paleo (or primal) diet. In my last post, I detailed my journey from a high carb, vegetarian diet to a meat, vegetables, some fruit, little startch, no sugar diet. It has been a gradual process since the beginning of May, but I do think it takes time to make any real lifestyle change. I decided to go strict paleo from the beginning of my workouts with CrossFit K-Town which started on June 14th.
What is CrossFit, you say? To pull straight from Wikipedia, “CrossFit is a strength and conditioning fitness methodology that promotes broad and general overall physical fitness. CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics.” I think that sums it up quite nicely. Everything we do has a direct link to a movement or sport that we perform in our daily lives. A Workout Of the Day (WOD) combines a dynamic warm-up – lunges, pull ups, pushups; a strength exercise – Olympic lifts like presses, cleans, snatches; and a MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning) that is a short, high intensity, fast-paced, workout. CrossFit is actually a worldwide form of exercise that many athletes and groups such as fire departments, military, and law enforcement use.
Sounds pretty masculine, right? Incorrect. Well, it’s only incorrect in the thinking that girls, even petite ones, can’t do it. Yes, everyone does the same workout; however, all workouts are easily scalable for an individual’s fitness level. You may have a big guy using 60 lbs kettlebells for a push press whereas I use 20 lbs dumbbells, but we’re both getting the same workout.
So do paleo and CrossFit go hand in hand? Why yes they do! Most CrossFitters will stick to a paleo diet because it is the best diet for the kinds of movement and lifting that we do in CrossFit workouts. You are getting plenty of protein from lean meats and carbohydrates from rich sources such as vegetables and fruit. You are also cutting out all of the foods that inhibit your body from performing well like sugars, grains, legumes, and processed foods.
Paleo and CrossFit have easily fit into my life because of the simplicity of both. Don’t get me wrong, it’s difficult to switch to cooking most of your meals, planning out your grocery shopping trips, and basically cutting out most fast food or quick meal options. The simplicity comes in your mindset. I only eat all natural foods and workout in a way that fits directly into daily life. I don’t really have to read food labels anymore because just about everything I eat doesn’t even have one.
When I tell people about eating a paleo diet, just about everyone says, “Whoa, that just sounds so hard and complicated. A lot to remember.” What is so hard is the realization that the way we’ve been eating for most of our lives in America doesn’t support a very healthy lifestyle, even if we’re only eating the 100 calorie packs of cookies. It’s getting away from the mindset that, “Oh, just a little of this won’t hurt me,” to “What is the absolute best foods I can eat.” It’s getting away from eating to satisfy any emotional or social need to eating what your body can use best.
After 3 weeks, I have to say that I’m feeling pretty darn good. I’ve past the Low Carb Flu stage, and I’m thoroughly enjoying learning new recipes and having more nights in cooking with friends. Overall, my heartburn and nausea have just about gone away. I can function a full day with only one cup of coffee in the morning (sometimes not even a full cup), and I’m sleeping better than I have in several years.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check out these others who are living paleo.