Sunday, September 4, 2011

Strict Paleo for Half a Month

Proper Fuel

I have been told many, many times by Jason and by my CrossFit friends to try the Paleo Diet for two weeks straight.  I have done all the Googling and all the research to agree that it works.  For the most part, I tried (probably not hard enough) to eat clean (avoid refined sugar, grains, and processed food).  However, when it comes to food being readily available right in front me, I lose all control.

Around the beginning of August, I got sloppier about what I chose to put into my body.  While doing CrossFit during the second week of August, I noticed that I my performance was sub-optimal.  I scored 50-reps less total on Fight Gone Bad, had a very hard time snatching a comfortable weight, did some of the worst cleans I've ever done in CrossFit, and did not PR on anything (meh not sure if it's related, PRs happen less now).  I talked to one of my trainers Rick about it and we went through a checklist.  I was getting a decent amount of sleep (~8 hours/night), relatively not stressed, coming into the gym six times a week, but I have been eating terribly.  This was probably the first time I noticed a huge change in my performance and therefore I decided to try, at max effort, a strict paleo diet for at least 2 weeks.  It is a good time for me to do the challenge since I visit home on September 1st.

For me, at max effort, meant I must avoid going to places with free food, buy and cook my own food (and make time to do this), and outline what I was going to eat for the week.  I also have to mentally strong enough to resist the delicious-smelling, fully-prepared free food in the kitchen.  Check out my post on how to eat clean when surrounded by free food for some tips on sticking to the Paleo diet.

For those of you who like numbers:
  • Duration: 17 days (08/15/2011-08/31/2011)
  • Body Weight (start): 105.4 pounds
  • Body Weight (end): 101.2 pounds (definitely did not want to lose weight)
Below is a table showing what I ate throughout the day and how I felt that day.  The only exception I made was the 2 Progenex shakes (one first thing when I wake up and one after a WOD) I take per day since I hear that a lot of Paleo CrossFitters still use Progenex.  For this challenge I did: no refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy, no legumes, no soy, no grains, limit to 2 fruit per day, and I tried to cook in macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, or animal fats.  I also take Fish Oil daily.

Progenex, almond butter, celery, 2 eggs, 4 Garden Fresh Meatballs, 1/3 Vietnamese Minced Pork, cauliflower rice, roasted broccoli and carrots, Marcona almonds, orange, pistachios, meatballs, 1/2 of a mango
Spent most of the evening cooking. Feeling motivated and happy.
Progenex, almond butter, celery, 2 eggs, 8 Garden Fresh Meatballs, pistachios, Marcona almonds, beef and pork sausages, sauteed kale, handful of blueberries, half an apple
Sweets craving all day.  Feeling tired.  Possibly not eating enough.  Spent a lot of time Googling if something is Paleo even though I knew the answer.
Progenex, Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, almonds, cashews, kale chips, 4 Garden Fresh Meatballs1/3 Vietnamese Minced Pork, cauliflower rice, roasted broccoli and carrots, handful of blueberries, plum 
Felt good, pork dish tasted even better as leftovers, slept well.  Need something to snack on to keep myself occupied.
Progenex, Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, almonds, cashews, kale chips, 4 Garden Fresh Meatballs, 1/3 Vietnamese Minced Porkcauliflower rice, roasted broccoli and carrots, beef and pork sausages, Primal Energy Bars, beef jerky
Kept occupied today.  Made primal energy bars.  Glad they turned out well!
Progenex, Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ BaconPrimal Energy Bars, 4 Garden Fresh Meatballs, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, sauteed kale and zuchinnis, almonds, cashews, kale chips, pistachios, beef jerky
Feeling good.  Doing much better on the munchies since I have the primal energy bars to munch on now
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars, mango, 4 egg scramble with spinach, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, pork sausages, chicken with lettuce, guacamole, and pico de gallo
Eating out is difficult since I have to know exactly what is inside my meal =/
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars, plum, 4 eggs, bacon, beef and pork sausages, 1/2 Vietnamese Minced Porkcauliflower rice, roasted broccoli and carrots, 4 Marvelous Meatballs
Cooked all day so I would have lunch and some dinner during the week.  This is difficult; really need to make time to cook.
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy BarsGuacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, walnut butter, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, beef and pork sausages, 4 Marvelous Meatballs, beef jerky, roasted seaweed, kale chips, handful of blueberries, half a plum, 20 roasted lemon asparagus
Walked through Whole Foods looking for dinner and wanted to cry because of the lack of options.
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars,  Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, walnut butter, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, beef and pork sausages, 4 Marvelous Meatballs, beef jerky, 1 avocado, kale chips, sauteed spinach
Running low on food.  Making time to cook a good meal is hard, especially when it's crazy at work.
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars, beef and pork sausages, 4 eggs with red onions, chicken, guacamole, beef jerky, pico de gallo, lettuce, 8 Marvelous Meatballs, 2 avocados, sauteed kale, roasted broccoli and carrots
Been losing weight.  A little concerned.
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars, 4 eggs with red onion and spinach, 4 bacon, chicken, guacamole, pico de gallo,  Marvelous Meatballs, 2 avocados, beef jerky, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, sauteed kale, kale chips, handful of almonds
Super sore, achy, and always hungry.  Increasing my caloric intake.
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars, 4 eggs with truffle salt and red onions, 4 bacon, 2 avocado, beef jerky, mango, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, sauteed kale, Marvelous Meatballs, kale chips, beef and pork sausages with broccoli and red onions 
100.2lb today, ah.  Learning to cope with the smell of free food by creating a new obsession: truffle salt.
Progenex, 4 Primal Energy Bars, mango, Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, beef and pork sausages, roasted broccoli, kale chips, handful of almonds, 2 lettuce-wrapped grass-fed beef burgers with onions, mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, and fried eggs
Roam Artisan Burgers in SF is awesome!  Happy to find a Paleo-friendly restaurant somewhat nearby.
Progenex, Primal Energy Bars, mango, egg scramble with red onions and truffle salt, 4 pork sausages, 4 slices of bacon, 1/2 Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, roasted broccoli, kale chips, handful of almonds, chicken with lettuce, pico de gallo, and guacamole
2 weeks went surprisingly fast.  Feeling good.  Feel like eating Paleo is a habit now.
Progenex, 6 Primal Energy Bars1/2 Guacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, handful of blueberries, beef and pork sausages, lemon chicken, roasted broccoli and asparagus, guacamole, 4 Curried Meatballs, kale chips, roasted chicken breast with sauteed carrots, spinach, and asparagus
Feeling good.  Thinking about adding dairy back in after the challenge.  Weight loss is still an issue.
Progenex, Primal Energy BarsGuacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, handful of blueberries, pork sausages, avocado, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, Curried Meatballs, kale chips, roasted broccoli and carrots, beef and pork sausages, beef jerky, roasted seaweed, 2 eggs with red onions
Surprised I haven't gotten sick of anything yet considering I eat almost the same thing everyday!  Feeling good.
Progenex, Primal Energy BarsGuacamole Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon, mango, 1/2 Yummy Dumplings, sauteed kale and zucchinis, beef jerky, avocado, beef and pork sausages, roasted broccoli and carrots, guacamole, Curried Meatballs, lemon-herb roasted chicken breast with peppers, sauteed spinach and red onions 
It's not too bad since I have time to cook this week

The first week and a half was definitely the most challenging.  At some points I felt like sticking to this lifestyle was more stressful than beneficial.  Prepping to cook and cooking itself can take a long time.  Also, depending on how strict you are, eating out or getting food to go can be quite difficult since part of eating Paleo is knowing *exactly* what goes into your meals.  For example, you go to a restaurant for brunch and decide to order an omelet.  Some possible things to be concerned about is: What oil are the eggs being cooked in (probably the shittiest stuff out there), are the cage free (probably not), was any milk added (probably), does the meat or the meat sauce have added sugar (most likely).

Another thing to note is that you have to eat A LOT while on Paleo.  I started off weak but then started eating more since I was losing weight and was always hungry.  I thought I ate a lot more, but somehow I was still losing a lot of weight =/.  I was also easily tired in the beginning.  

A clean diet definitely helps with performance.  I know it has only been a few weeks but now I feel better, perform better, and look better (at least according to Eugene).  I workout for 1-2 hours a day, but then there are 23 hours left for me to fuck it up.  From now onward, I will stick to a gluten-free paleo diet with dairy allowed.  I want to start drinking milk after a workout since it has a lot of calories.  I really do not want to lose as much weight as I did during the challenge.  I will also still eliminate grains, legumes, and refined sugar.  Cooking with only animal fats, nut oils, or coconut oil was difficult.  It made eating out with friends and grabbing food on-the-go nearly impossible.  Therefore, for social purposes, I will make that rule preferred instead of a requirement.  In addition, I will also allow myself two cheat meals a week, also for social purposes.

Related Posts
: RecipesPaleo Food Shopping with Jes | A Day in Jes' Belly | Binge Day | How to Eat Clean when Surrounded by Free Food