Are you ready for this? Are you prepared to get serious about your diet and health once and for all? Are you excited about feeling good and looking good again (or maybe for the first time in your life)? Well, this is for you then. This Paleo challenge is for people who want to lose weight, gain muscle, have: less joint inflammation, better digestion, better blood glucose control, a healthier heart, nicer skin, a better attitude, and fewer medications. Do you like popping pills every day just to get through life? We didn’t think so. We challenge you to change your diet for the next 30 days of your life. The 1st ever Paleo Plan 30-Day Paleo Challenge starts right now.
Here’s what’s going to happen this month.
What NOT To Eat
1. STOP EATING GRAINS. That means flour, even white flour (especially white flour, actually), so conventional bread, pasta, cookies, cake, bagels, muffins, tortillas, and any other white fluffy thing you love. Grains mean rice, corn (including tortillas, chips, corn flour, etc.), quinoa (yes, it’s a grain), amaranth, buckwheat, wild rice, spelt, rye, sorghum, oats, and even gluten free oats. No more grains, even if they’re gluten free grains. Okey dokey? Here’s a blog post on why. The paleo diet ebook also explains it in much more depth. Basically, though, if you were to only do one thing different for your health, in my opinion it would be to cut out all grains. I’ve seen everything from weight loss, to psoriasis clearing up when you get those buggers out of your diet. They’re inflammatory and difficult to digest. Give it a try.
2. STOP EATING DAIRY. That means milk, cheese, butter, ghee, yogurt (yes, even your most favorite Greek yogurt sugar bomb), kefir, whey protein powders, cottage cheese, sour cream, and check all the ingredients of everything you eat for those words. Even if it’s raw dairy, this month you’re going to stop eating it. Just to see what happens. You can do it – I promise. Here’s a blog post on why.
3. STOP EATING BEANS. That means soy in any form (again, check your ingredients of ALL the foods you eat), lentils, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, peanuts (sub out your beloved peanut butter with almond butter if you must), white beans, garbanzo beans, you get the gist of this. Here’s a blog post on why. By the way, snap peas and green beans are fine in moderation.
4. STOP EATING HIGH OMEGA-6 VEGETABLE OILS. Vegetable oils aren’t really made from vegetables, which is why we’re still really confused over here about how they came upon that name. What they ARE usually made from are soy, cottonseed, corn, sunflower, safflower, and sesame. These oils are inflammatory and are debatably one of the major causes of heart disease. Stop eating all oils this month, except for tallow (here’s how to make it), lard, bacon drippings, coconut oil, red palm oil, and olive oil (on your salads). In that order of preference. Buy the ebook or read this and this to find out why saturated fat and (gasp!) cholesterol are not bad for you. You’ve been duped for the last 60 years into eating vegetable oils that don’t come from actual vegetables, which are causing inflammation of all kinds. We didn’t evolve eating those highly volatile oils. We evolved eating animal fats mostly. Just try it out this month and see what happens. Oh, and definitely stay away from anything that says “hydrogenated”.
5. STOP CONSUMING SUGAR. By sugar, I don’t mean fruit. In fact, you’re encouraged to eat fruit on this diet in moderation. Paleo isn’t Atkins. I mean “sugar”, “fructose”, “high fructose corn syrup”, “corn sugar”, “corn syrup”, “malt syrup”, or anything else with “syrup” in it for that matter. Check the ingredients on everything you consume. Stop drinking juice; it’s just sugar that looks pretty. Raw honey is ok in moderation, but moderation does not mean every day. That’s the only sweetener you’ll be eating in these 30 days and it will be in approximately 1 recipe if you follow the meal plan. Refined sugar makes you fat, lethargic, and grumpy. Period. End of story. It’s gonna hurt to take it out of your diet, and you will have cravings for it. Muster some self control and make it happen this time. We’ll give you some tips throughout (and in the ebook) for combatting cravings. Just know that the longer you eat this way, the fewer sugar cravings you’ll have.
6. STOP CONSUMING CAFFEINE Oh, boy. Please don’t close this page. Just hear me out. Caffeine is a stimulant drug. DRUG. It stimulates adrenaline and cortisol to be released every single time you take a sip or a bite. That can make you not only anxious, sleep poorly, and feel fatigued throughout the day, but it can also severely affect your immune system, your reproductive system, and …dun dun dun… cause belly fat. If you eat right you won’t need caffeine. We just want to find out the effect caffeine is really having on your energy levels, your sleep, your athletic performance, and your overall health, and the only way to find that out is to stop consuming it. It’s gonna be rough for some of you, but you can do it. Caffeine is in coffee, decaf coffee, black tea, green tea, white tea, mate, energy drinks, chocolate, espresso, and anything that contains any of the above. Read your ingredients, conjure some self control, and get some herbal tea (chamomile, rose hips, etc.) to quell your craving for something hot. Here’s a blog post to explain this further.
7. STOP EATING FACTORY FARMED MEAT, EGGS, AND SEAFOOD. This one is last because I know that some of you aren’t in a position financially or geographically to stop this. But consider that the vitamins, fatty acids, and overall quality of pasture-raised/grass-fed animals is much better for you. Not to mention the animal. Go to Slanker GrassFed Meat, U.S. Wellness Meats, www.eatwild.com, and other naturally raised meat vendors online if you don’t have a good source of it in your home town. Consider buying a half-cow or pig like I did. It’s way cheaper in the longrun. Here’s more info on that.
What TO Eat
Alright, so what do you eat if everything you’ve ever known to eat is now off the table? The following is what you eat – preferably organic, pasture raised, grass-fed, etc.:
-Some Nuts and Seeds
What To Do
1. SLEEP 8 HOURS A NIGHT. At least. Sleep allows your body to recuperate and detoxify. It allows you to heal and have energy. It reduces stress and cortisol levels, which as we learned, can help you lose weight. As long as you’re focusing on your health right now, turn off the lights at a decent time, board up your windows to make it dark, unplug all those little red flashy lights in your room, and put some earplugs in. Sleep deep.
2. DRINK AT LEAST 2 LITERS OF WATER A DAY. By water, I mean fresh, filtered water. Get a filtration system in your home. Stay away from plastic unless you want to be fat, infertile, and sick. Here’s a blog post on that by Chris Kresser. Two liters is a pretty random number, and to be honest we all need different amounts of water. Just drink more than you’re used to drinking. Carry a metal bottle around with you all day and sip on it. Put some lemon juice in it or tea bags to make it more palatable if you’re not used to just plain water. Water will help the detoxification period run its course more quickly, and it will make you feel more awake.
3. MOVE THAT BODY! Whatever you need to do to start moving more, do it. I don’t care if that means you go on a walk with your dog every day, join a CrossFit box, start doing sprints up and down your stairs once a day, play basketball with your kids, start horseback riding, take a dance class, ride your bike to work/school, or buy a Sports Journal to give you ideas for at home exercises. Just move. It’s good for you.
Resources for Implementation
We have a couple of products and resources that might help you implement the diet.
1. The Quickstart Guide and Paleo Challenge eBook will help you implement this diet and lifestyle change step by step, and it includes meal plans for 6 weeks in case you choose to keep going after the month is over (we hope you do). The meal plans include weekly menus, grocery lists, and recipes that are totally Paleo. The book explains the diet in plain and simple terms, answers common questions, and helps you troubleshoot if necessary.
2. The meal planning subscription service provides you with weekly downloads of menus and grocery lists that are linked to the recipes on our website. The meal plans use leftovers for lunch almost every day, which saves money and time.
3. Private Paleo Coaching with yours truly. I can help if you need special attention, if you’ve been trying to eat Paleo but just can’t make it stick, or even if you’ve been eating strictly Paleo and are still not seeing the results you want.
4. The Paleo Plan Facebook Group is a place where the Paleo community can support each other. There is a group called “Paleo Challenge” here, and we highly encourage you to introduce yourself there and ask any questions you might have.
5. The Paleo Plan blog. Search the blog for info when you have questions about things like: how much fruit you should eat, how much protein is too much, what the detoxification period will feel like, and what you should do to modify the diet if you’re an athlete. All of that info is in the ebook, too.
We’re devoted to seeing you succeed in this change. We’re going to try to keep you motivated this month by doing contests every few days, giving you opportunities to win awesome prizes from people and companies like U.S. Wellness Meats, Sarah Fragoso at Everyday Paleo, Tanka Bar, Paleo People, Applegate Farms, and others (we’re not getting paid by any of them for this, by the way). Whether you’re doing a challenge with your CrossFit gym already, with your friends on your own, or with us, tune in to this blog for motivation, information, encouragement, and prizes throughout the month.
Winners Take All
By the way, we’re going to choose two winners at the end of this month – one female and one male. The winners will have the best stories of transformation and there will be a lot of meat involved as the prize. We’ll need to see proof of that transformation, though, so keep track of your progress by doing the following. Even if you’re not trying to win anything, I highly suggest you do these things. They’re not necessary to do the challenge, though. These are just suggestions, so do as many or few of them as you want.
1. Take “before” pictures with the intention of taking “after” pictures. Get in your bathing suit or a bra and underwear and take some photos from the front, the back and the side. Don’t suck your tummy in!
2. Get some bloodwork done. Ask your doc to do a comprehensive wellness panel on you. That’s the fasting blood work you do every year. If you already have something from the past 6 months, don’t worry about it – you can use that to compare with your “after” blood work. Just make an appointment with your doc to have your lipids, glucose, CBC, and all that other good stuff done in February when the challenge is over. If you don’t have any bloodwork from the last 6 months, I can order a comprehensive test for you for $150 right now (I don’t take insurance). Blood work doesn’t lie! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set it up.
3. Do a diet log. There’s one in the ebook with a point system attached to it (negative points if you cheat, positive points for working out, etc.). Here’s another one for you, too (pdf). Start filling it out to see how you feel before and after you eat NOW, and how you feel before and after you eat in 30 days.
4. Weigh yourself. If you’re legitimately overweight, the scale will likely tell you if what you’re doing is working. For people who don’t have much fat to lose, you may stay the same weight or even gain because you’re going to gain muscle. Weigh yourself weekly.
5. Take some measurements. Waist (at your bellybutton for consistency), hips, thighs, biceps, chest, etc. Write it down. Or go get your body fat percentage measured at a health club, CrossFit gym or somewhere else in town.
6. Do a “before” workout. Even if it’s just how many pushups you can do in one minute without resting, or how fast you can run a mile, or how many burpees you can do in a minute. Do something so you can measure your progress in a month. Even if you don’t start working out consistently this month, you’ll likely see improvements in your performance if you stick to the diet.
And now you begin. Good luck, and I’ll be checking in in a couple of days.