Tell Us Your Troubles And Win Stuff

Welcome to day 8 of Paleo Plan’s 1st 30-day Paleo Challenge! I hope you’re all still going strong, despite the football party-heavy weekend and your detox probably being in full effect at this point. You’re doing great. If you’re still sticking with it to any degree, you’re doing just fine. Don’t give up!

Last week I gave you all a chance to win an Everyday Paleo cookbook by Sarah Fragoso, some Paleo People Granola, and a WODbook to keep track of your workouts and health progress. In order to win the contest, you had to write out your reasonable activity goals (including rest) on our Facebook page here. What I found out is that not only are you guys psyched to exercise, but you guys are a bunch of overachievers! I noticed that most of you who wrote in are working out (or at least planning to work out) every day of the week. Remember that your body needs rest in order to progress, and your mind needs rest in order to exercise sustainably. Don’t be too ambitious, and give yourself the recuperative time you need. Having said all that, I’m impressed by your gusto to say the least.

The winner of the contest is Andrea Blasig Dedmon. Congratulations, Andrea! You’ll be hearing from me soon. I chose her because her workouts seem realistic and her rest days include a trip to the sauna, and that sounds very… restful.

For the 3rd contest, I want you guys to be really honest with me about how it’s going so far on this 30-day Paleo Challenge. Are you having trouble sticking with it? Are you running out of ideas for mixing and matching meat and veggies meal after meal? Are you feeling tired or otherwise uncomfortable? Are your kids or your significant other not supporting you the way you’d like them to? Let us know in the comment section below and you’ll be automatically entered into this contest. You have until Wednesday morning to lay it all out there for us, and I’ll be choosing a winner on Wednesday afternoon.

This time, you’ll be winning:

1. A paperback, updated version of the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. Mark Sisson is a fantastic writer, and has helped thousands of people go Paleo/Primal. He lays it all out pretty clearly in this book.

2. A year subscription to Paleo Magazine. That’s 6 issues of this awesome, glossy magazine that will give you new recipe ideas and update you on the latest science and happenings in the Paleo world.

3. A 6-month subscription to Paleo Plan. Get your menus and grocery lists in your inbox every Tuesday so you know exactly what groceries you need and how to cook every meal and snack of your week.

So pour your heart out to us in the comment section, and don’t be shy about responding to others’ comments with your own wisdom. Stay strong!

Pick up your copy of the Quickstart Guide and Paleo Challenge eBook today!


  1. We had a bit of a late start into the plan due to financial reasons, so we’re just heading into our second week and so far, everything has been pretty good. I snitched a bite of my son’s z-bar this morning, but that’s been my only lapse from the plan (it was chocolate brownie, what can I say?). There has been a little grumbling about the amount/frequency of eggs for breakfast, but I think that’ll go away in time. Right now we have 3 adults and one 4yo (plus a 10yo and 13yo every other weekend). There has been a little resistance with the kids, especially the 10yo (his dad feeds him junk all the time) and the 4yo, who doesn’t quite understand why he can’t have goldfishies anymore. I give him the z-bars as a compromise because he doesn’t eat everything I want him to and I’m worried about his nutrition. So far, we’ve only had one or two meals where we didn’t -quite- like what we were eating, but I just made a note about it for future reference. My husband has lost 7 pounds, I’ve lost 4, and our roommate has lost 4. None of us have had any really bad cravings or problems with the food so far. Using the plan has made it really easy to stick with it.

  2. I did pretty well last week. Monday morning through Friday afternoon I stuck completely to Paleo eating- no cheating–no caffeine. I had a lot of venison, eggs, tuna fish, fruits and vegetables. I’m finding the spicy tuna recipe to be my favorite, and pretty much had that every day for lunch. On Friday I stuck to Paleo until night, then I had a few too many beers with friends. Saturday I stuck to Paleo eating, but again had a few beers at night and also had some cheese and crackers. Sunday morning I was been back on plan with no cheating. I’m normally a Diet Coke and coffee drinker, so quitting caffeine has been the hardest part for me. Also having to plan everything out, that’s been a little hard to get used to. This is the first time I’ve cut out diary and really, I haven’t struggled with it at all like I thought I would. I’ve done low carb diets in the past, so cutting out gluten hasn’t been too hard for me. I felt tired all day on Monday and Tuesday and had headaches, but since Wednesday I’ve had energy and have been feeling great on Paleo. I find around 4:00 I’m hungry so I’ve been making a snack of 20 almonds and 4 pieces of dried fruit. I also have a snack similar to that after workouts and I think that is what is keeping my energy level up. I found a recipe online for roasted vegetables and that has been a big part of my dinners. Last night I took a head of organic cauliflower, tossed it with 1 T EVOO, S&P, and a little garlic and roasted it at 450 for 30 mins, delicious! I’m trying that tonight with brussel sprouts for dinner with venison.

  3. Eating out. It’s a huge part of my family and social life. It’s hard to say no, and it’s hard to eat right once we get there.

  4. My biggest problem is extended family and friends… who are freaked out at our lack of grain and dairy-consumption, and insist on stuffing our daughter full of grainy, glutenous stuff and (whole, at least) milk by the sippy-cup-full at every visit. I’m unsure how to deal with this – I don’t want to become the food nazi in our family, but I also feel like it’s a little disrespectful!

  5. Argh! This is hard, I’m told that I need to cut back on fruit and nuts to burn fat and I’m failing. I’m tired of giving up things. But I’m trying. I started out fine but my cravings kicked in after dinner and I ate cherries and almond butter. I’m still having tummy issues. My boyfriend doesn’t get it and definitely isn’t trying to do it himself. I can only hope it gets better and I’m sure winning this prize would definitely help. I am determined to be a success story.

    1. @Natalie – That sucks you’re still having tummy issues. Cutting out the nuts might do the trick, or you may need to take some enzymes and hydrochloric acid for a while. Or you may have some other food sensitivity altogether. You may not need to cut out fruit completely – I hope you haven’t. I think people go overboard with cutting out carbs and it can hinder weightloss, create cravings, and make you feel tired. Remember if you want help with this I do private Paleo coaching if you’re interested. I wish you lick either way.

  6. I am loving the Paleo Plan…I really needed help with the meal planning and shopping lists! I have been moving the meals around to meet our work schedules, but we have been doing well. Our cheats have been, pizza for dinner on Sat and some cupcakes on Sun afternoon. Overall, we have been doing well and enjoying the meals. Looking forward to continuing our new approach to eating Paleo =)

  7. I have to say that I am amazed with myself, I have been totally Paleo for the past week. No chocolate, no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy, no grains. You ask, “what is the hardest part?” EVERYTHING. I love chocolate, I love cheese, I love bread and I love sweets. What I have been doing is trying to make the things I like Paleo style. I made Paleo coconut bread and I had it with eggs in the morning, as a bun for my burger and on the weekend I made it into french toast. Another very difficult aspect of this challenge is that no one else around me is eating Paleo. Hopefully my hubby sees me and wants to eat healthier too but for now I am on my own at home. Yesterday I had a birthday party where they were serving pizza and ice cream. Who can say no? ME because I ate before hand but it was still tempting. I have lost 4 lbs. this week and seeing that on the scale motivates me to stay on track.

  8. FYI, roasted brussel sprouts were not as good as roasted cauliflower :) I forgot to mention I struggle a little with breakfast. I bought the stuff to make pumpkin muffins and I’m going to try that tonight. I do not feel like eating vegetables in the morning, so I’ve been having a fried egg in EVOO and some lean ham or bacon with some fresh fruit. This has been keeping me full, but I’m tired and crave coffee.

  9. My food related challenges revolve first around getting organic veggies and grass-fed/pastured meats and eggs. I live in a rural area (there are some local farmers which I need to investigate more), but today I am going to Atlanta to DeKalb Market (about a three hour round trip drive) to load up on supplies. They will have everything I need (including a better selection of wild fish) and I want to gauge whether it makes sense for me to buy there or try to order online. The shopping lists are helpful here so I know what to get for the upcoming menus.

    I’m fortunate that I am “feeding” just my husband and me. He is very cooperative for dinner, and has enjoyed most of the meals I have prepared. I am gently nudging him toward paleo but it is going to take time. We are retired and really enjoyed sitting down around 4:30 to talk about our day and share an adult beverage. Well, my beverage of choice was red wine and I haven’t had any since Dec. 30! It was really tough the first week, but I have substituted sparkling water with fruit essence and it is quite satisfying. What we do now is: I start cooking dinner and he sits in the kitchen and I don’t notice so much that I don’t have my beloved red wine.

    I miss dairy at this point. Especially Greek yogurt and raw cheese. I don’t want to even think about adding it back in until I have reached my goal weight. I don’t miss bread all that much but when I made the Coconut Bread (great recipe by the way) I froze slices to use over time. For breakfast one morning I had a toasted slice with almond butter. It felt like a cheat!

    I have been tired and I notice it in particular when I do the elliptical. I don’t have the energy I used to have. I am just “powering” through the workout and not worrying too much about what level I am at. One problem might be that I am not eating enough calories; I am barely at 1200 because I don’t eat snacks (I’m just not hungry for them).

    All in all, with what I know and have experienced so far, the benefits outweigh (no pun intended!) the challenges and I plan to stay paleo for life!

    1. @lakegirl72 – Thanks for sharing all this. It sounds like overall you’re doing great. The fatigue during your workout might just be detox, but I’d it doesn’t abate in the next few weeks, I’d add in more calories and in particular more fat and/or carbs. Try adding more fat first for a couple of weeks. If that doesn’t do the trick, add more fruit and/or starchy veggies and that should help. Good luck!

  10. Over all…so far so good. One “flex” day on the weekend, my son asked for pizza (it used to be a weekly event – down to monthly) and after a week of paleo dinners the little trooper deserved a treat, so I made it. Next time it will be a paleo crust. Other hurtles the cost of food, breakfast, hunger. As for the cost of food, I’ve been trying to shop smart, and I know I”m still working on building up my “staples”. I have also exchanged a chicken recipe once a week with deer/moose (as our freezer is full of it) to save money. For the breakfast issue…I premake everything the night before and eat 1/2 before the gym (6am)and 1/2 around 9 am which helps gets me to lunch…which helps eliviate the hunger issue in the morning. If i’m hungry in the afternoon, I eat the daily snack…if not I save it for the evening. Another issue I have is being clueless about whether I’m eating enough for how much I work out. I do CF in the morning 5-6 days a week, I walk on my lunch hour 45 min 5 days a week, I play hockey 1-2 times a week, and I usually walk 5km in the evening 3-5 days/week (I’ve been out of this due to a severe ankle sprain 6 weeks ago-but starting to get back into it) Sometimes I feel tired…and attribute it to perhaps lack of food energy.

    1. @Heather – Thanks for sharing. Definitely keep using your deer/moose – that’s awesome you have that available. Also look into buying meat in bulk. Here’s a blog post on that: As for how much food you need on the diet, use the meal plan as a template and follow your body’s cues. It’s hard to know in the beginning if you actually need more food or if you’re just detoxing, so continue eating how much is on the meal plan for another week or two. If at that point you’re still feeling hungry all the time, then definitely add more food. More carbs will help if you’re really active (and you seem to be). Don’t be afraid of fruit and starchy veggies. And add more fat to your diet, as well. Good luck and keep up the awesome work.

  11. Since I started doing the Green Smoothie diet Jan. 2010 and then went mostly lactose and gluten-free,plus using only coconut and olive oils, the Paleo diet was the next step in our journey to good health (and we have all lost any extra weight we had). I started several months ago and my family is eating it, least at home and in their lunch bags :) A green smoothie for breakfast and then little snacks of walnuts, carrots + sunbutter, a boiled egg and a banana or an orange take us through the day. Meat, veggies and salad or cooked fruit for supper is not a problem, especially if I put the meat in the crockpot before I leave for work. I have Sarah’s cookbook and recently got it back out for inspiration. I don’t mind eating the same things everyday but I do miss a sandwich every now and then. I also miss having something crunchy that isn’t a nut – crackers, chips,etc. But for the most part, we are doing well food-wise. Exercising is another story. Right now, getting up and walking often at work and moving furniture around at home (and going up and down 2 flights of stairs) is it. When the weather is nicer, my husband and I walk in our neighborhood but that isn’t possible right now :(
    I guess I need to read the chapter in Sarah’s book about exercising, too :)

  12. The first few days without coffee were pretty brutal. I had headaches, brainfog, and very little energy. I napped in the afternoons because I just couldn’t keep going. Now, the brutal headaches have cleared, and I wake up energized at 6:30am. If you’ve met me, you know this is a miracle! I’ve always been a night owl and used to rely heavily on orange juice and coffee after coffee, and would still face the day with reluctance. Instead, I wake up and eat food. It’s so much more effective. Go figure. An increase in fruit and starchy vegetables, per Neely’s suggestion, was very helpful to clear my headaches and give me energy to exercise. While I have experienced body aches, brainfog, sinus drainage, joint pain, headaches, constipation, coffee cravings and increased appetite, I would say there have been more positives than negatives. I sleep so much better and wake up feeling rested. I have more energy throughout the day. I drink more water. I have bursts of clarity/energy (that hopefully will continue to increase) between the blurs of detox. Also, I’m loving the recipes… I enjoy cooking; working with new ingredients and new preparations has been really fun. The changes I’ve made have inspired my boyfriend who is now also eating Paleo and it’s been great that we can support each other. There was a day that I ate a ton of dates and woke up the next morning feeling drunk and confused. I’ve decided to lay off the dates for a while…

  13. We started on Paleo two weeks ago. The first week we did awesome! No cheating, ate straight Paleo and I had even lost 9 lbs. Then Friday came and we weren’t prepared. I didn’t realize I had printed the flex plan instead of the full plan and so we didn’t have Friday’s meal. We went out to dinner (the first mistake). I tried to eat healthy, failed miserably as we had brownies for dessert. Saturday came and as if Friday wasn’t bad enough, we were out all day and had lunch & dinner out. The second mistake. The third mistake came on Sunday. We went to Whole Foods to get the rest of our grocery shopping done. We purposely didn’t go to church so that we could get back in time and not have to eat out before going shopping. Well, that didn’t happen. We had Zaxby’s for lunch on the way back home. AHHH…anyway, a whole weekend eating out is not only bad for the budget, but bad for my diet. I had gained 5 lbs in those 3 days!!!! I was back to only losing 4 lbs after all of my hard work and staying on track the first week (the hardest week). I also exercise 6 days a week doing boot camp/cross-fit for an hour. Even that didn’t help me once I started back on my “usual” foods. That’s all behind me now, I am back on track as of yesterday and I’m already down 2 of those 5 lbs. Needless to say, I won’t be crashing my diet anytime soon. Even if it means I have to go grocery shopping to have something to cook. It’s not worth the aggravation of the 5 lb weight gain.

    Our budget is a little happier. We are down to approx. $225/week for 3 adults & 3 children. We buy enough for a the 3 adults for dinner and make chicken or something else in-expensive for lunch the next day. The kids are still eating their regular foods and at times it has been hard to not cheat, but I haven’t! Writing everything down to take into my trainer, accountability needed!

  14. My biggest challenge is making sure my preschooler feels satisfied without grains, and making things she will eat. My husband and I are both on board, and we are easing her into it way more. She’s sensitive to almonds and eggs, which make things a bit tricky as well. But she loves the pale PBJ!

  15. I’m in my 3rd week and so far I am very happy… Its been hard refraining from the candy jar in our house and a few bites of dairy (whip cream), chocolate. Those are mainly my hardest to let go of.
    I’ve not eaten bread lately and have laid off the coffee during the week. Still love my coffee have enjoyed a cup or two on Saturday or Sunday. I feel great! Meals have not been hard to come up with thanks to the great recipes you have. One day I made kale, sauteed with onions, garlic, tomatoes and ate that with your “Easy Pork Loin Chops” recipe. I have started eating zucchini and cauliflower more. I pureed the cauliflower and even added to my son’s scrambled eggs – he’s a very picky eater and didn’t even notice. hooray for me!
    I’ve been eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast with a piece of fruit. Lunch is veggies with meat.
    Midday snack is usually handful of almonds and peppermint tea. Dinner is a protein meat with steamed veggies. I feel less bloated and have lost a few pounds…. Water with lemon is my turn to drink instead of any other drinks… I really am happy I found something that will work for me.

  16. The meal plans are a life saver. I quickly realized that you have to be organized and plan most of your meals out in advance!(until we get the hang of the food routine)!! I am feeling good now, the first few days were kind of foggy; but I’m also nursing a one year old and have a 3 year old so I’m never sure what truly makes me so tired!! I am very happy that my husband is on board with this, in fact some of the guys at his firehouse(in Portland) are doing Paleo eating as well- and they’ve been sharing more recipes and tips with us! My husband is the cook at work and we’ve been printing out recipes for him to take to work, which seems to be going well…he says there haven’t been any complaints! :)
    Your website is very helpful and the foods are fairly different from one another so we don’t get too tired of the same old thing! I have found this to be a little more expensive, but I know the organic fruits and veggies are worth it! Whenever I go to the grocery store I always tell the cashier, “I hope you know your produce codes!”
    My sugar cravings are beginning to decrease. I love the paleo candy bars. And every once in a while I have a cup of organic decaf coffee, which makes me feel like I’m really cheating!! My biggest dear is going out with friends and going over to other peoples houses….I’m afraid we won’t stick to our diet plan. But I’ve been trying to really prep foods to take on the go, like jerky, carrots, and grapes.

  17. Last week was my first time attempting a paleo challenge and I had carb cravings/wicked hunger pangs each night. I even started wandering around at 3am in a half asleep state and eating because I would wake up hungry. This week has been significantly better. I think my body is adjusting.
    The best part is that my boyfriend is doing it with me and my roommate is nice enough to eat paleo when she does eat with us. That really helps.

  18. We have been using the meal plan and shopping list for seven weeks now and love, love, love it! It is so organized which makes preparing for grocery shopping a lot less painful. I’ll admit I was in shock the first couple of weeks when I would see the total of my weekly grocery bill going higher and higher during checkout. It was almost enough to make me rethink following the plan. That was until I realized during our monthly budget review that we spent WAY less in eating out. In fact, in December we spent less on eating out than we ever have in a given month. Yeah! The easy to follow meal plan/shopping list and having yummy dinners at home is perfect for our family, which includes three kids (4, 2, and 4 mos). Our biggest challenge has been holidays, birthday parties, visits from grandparents, etc which all have a heavy focus on food, and not the paleo kind. We made it through the holidays by packing a little cooler full of paleo foods and snacks. We will continue to be challenged until we convert the rest of our family to follow the paleo plan :)

  19. LOVE the Paleo eating style. I can tell a HUGE difference when I follow it vs. NOT! My biggest challenge is craving something sweet in the evenings after dinner. I have exchanged my evening chocolate for a small organic apple with almond butter. I would love more suggestions though. Anytime I eat 1 small bite of chocolate on the weekends my body goes CRAZY and I want more, like I am out of control. HELP????

    1. @aastrick – I get the same exact thing with chocolate. I has to give it up completely just so I don’t have to feel like a drug addict every time I eat it. What about having a date after dinner or some melted frozen berries? The apple and almond butter is probably around 250 calories, depending on how big the apple is and how much almond butter. I don’t know how much you’re eating through the day, but that may be a little too much food just to quell a little sweet craving. Maybe even add a little dollop of coconut milk (canned) to the berries since it sounds like you’re craving something fatty too.

  20. I’ve been on the plan for 1 month as of tomorrow. The hardest part for me is going out with friends and family and trying so hard to not eat bread, not order a beer, and to special order my entire meal while ignoring the fact that they’re probably spitting in my food back in the kitchen…overall I’d say I’m doing well, however, I was in Park City over the weekend, and I definitely splurged and did a little boozing as well as have have a burger bun and some fries. I realize that it’s less than ideal when you’re trying to get all that crap out of your system, but if for the sake of my sanity I have to cheat every so often, I’m pretty that’s ok in my book. I was able to get right back on track as soon as I got home and thus far I’m down 11 pounds in a month. So, while it’s really hard to resist the crap food I know I shouldn’t eat (like the cinnabun, white rice, hash browns, burger bun) the thing that keeps me on track is asking myself whether that 3 minutes of delicious sugary bliss is not really worth it to me to feel like crap! Then I eat some grapes and I figure it’s better to eat some grapes than a pound of sugar.

  21. Wow!!! This has been a wonderful journey for me. I absolutely love a challenge. My struggles came up when I got hit with a stomach virus. I got dehydrated to the point of muscle cramps, and I had to have something besides water or tea to rehydrate. Juice = sugar, sports drinks = sugar or artificial sweeteners + a bunch of other junk, milk……..just no……..not with stomach funk. I wound up having a propel light and a diet cherry limeade from Sonic (bad choice, I know, but I needed comfort!) Once I got those in me, I went back to water, but what could I have done differently? Soup was hard too. I know there are some good ones out there, but as I said, I was sick, so it’s not like I could go to the store. What can I keep on hand for emergencies?
    By the way, I feel great now!

    1. @stacy – emergen-c has a great electrolyte powder with no sweetener in it. Maybe it has a little stevia. Try that next time. And if you have a health food store, look for just plain broths and heat those up when you get sick. Hopefully that won’t happen again any time soon!

  22. Not sure if I’m too late, but I’ve been doing pretty well. This past weekend, we went to a friend’s house where everyone wanted to order pizza. Not wanting to be the odd one out, I ate it too. Boy did I feel gross the next day! Then today for lunch, we had a company luncheon, and once again, pizza was on the menu. I had them order me a chef’s salad instead. Everyone else tried the whole, “You can have pizza once!” or “You don’t have to be good all the time!” thing, but I stuck to my guns and ate my salad.
    Other than that, cheese is the hard thing for me to give up. I live with a cheese addict, and I don’t put it on my food, but he’ll always want it in his! I give in with a little piece of goat cheese every once in a while, but I’m going to give it up for a month and see how I do.
    Whenever I cook, I’m never bored! There are so many great websites out there that help think up new recipes! In that sense, I’m doing great!

  23. Alright you all – I’ve chosen a winner! It just so happens that out of all of you, I randomly chose the person I know – Megan H. I solemnly promise it was actually a random choosing – it’s weird that it happened that way, but I’m happy to dole out these prizes to Megan, who’s finally given up her beloved coffee (which so happened to be one of the causes of her problems). So I’ll be in touch shortly to ask for your address, etc. Again, congrats to Megan! Everyone else, thank you for sharing, and I hope you keep up the diet even though it can sometimes be difficult.

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