Part Two: Crossfit and Paleo……a journey into health and fitness

 

Part Two: Paleo Diet

 

Part One can be seen HERE.

Starting in my teenager years in the late 80’s all the way up to very recent I always followed a low fat, medium protein, high carb diet when trying to loose weight. I know, I know…. this goes totally against the low-carb rage that engulfed this country several years ago. When I was younger I studied nutrition and actually attended college studying nutrition for a year. Anyways, I have avoided low carb due to my love for pizza, potatoes, and bread.

A few months ago I heard about a way of eating called The Paleo Diet. Also referred to as The Caveman Diet the premise, as I understand it, is to eat what a caveman would have eaten. Low carb in nature – the Paleo Diet in its purest form dissallows grains and processed foods. That’s right – no pizza for me and no bread. No corn, no potato chips, no white potatoes. As of publication of this I have not had bread in close to 6 weeks. The Paleo can be used to loose weight – or gain muscle mass – or both. Strange I have found it that when I go to the grocery store I walk to the fruits and vegetables, down to the meats, over to the eggs – and out the door. That’s it – no walking down aisles.

 

In 5 weeks I have lost 15 pounds. Let me tell you how I have done it.

What have I been eating? 

My diet has been consisting of beef, pork, fish, turkey, shrimp, chicken (lots of chicken), eggs, almonds, bacon, grilled squash, grilled zucchini, onions, baby carrots, salad, protein shakes, and lots and lots of water.

What have I not been eating?

I have been avoiding all breads, cereals, rice, soups, beans, dairy products such as cheese and milk, pizza, pasta, sugary desserts, and anything that comes in a box. Basically if it walks, fly’s, swims, or grows on a tree or vine I tend to eat it.

 

Why not eat whole grain breads and other “natural” foods?

Well – I am no expert. You can go type in “Why eat Paleo” and get better explanations than I can provide.

Two main reasons have been explained to me. First – the human body has evolved over thousands of years to eat – you guessed it – meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, etc. Consuming sugary foods as well as highly processed foods can lead to health problems with the human body including retaining excessive fat. Is this true? I don’t know – I am just a 42 year old guy that has carried around an extra 25 pounds or so for a couple decades and have struggled to make any headway at all.

The second reason Paleo “works” is that by eating very low carb (I am talking one serving of fruit per day – no starchy vegetables) – your body will seek energy from the fat stores. Many people following Paleo can literally see their fat melting away over time.

 

What is the difference between other “low carb” diets and Paleo?

The biggest difference I have seen is Paleo really emphasizes the quality of food you eat. Your supposed to eat farm fresh eggs, range free chickens, and grass fed (no grain fed) beef. Other “low carb” diets emphasize low carbs at pretty much the expense of eating pretty much anything. Yup – low carb pizza exists.

 

What have been the cons since being on Paleo?

It is expensive. Gone are the days of buying a couple pizza’s to feed the whole family for $9.00. With Paleo – I need meat and vegetables. Have you seen the price of steak lately? Expensive.

Possibly unique to me but I am hungry all the time. I can eat a hamburger patty and a large salad and down some water. 30 minutes later I am feeling hungry again. Lack of fiber? Possibly.

Taking a trip is not easy as I can’t just pop into a gas station and eat Paleo.

 

What have I liked about it?

So far – I feel strong. Energy loss has not been a problem but that might just be me. My performance at Crossfit has gotten better. I have lost 15 pounds and when I look in the mirror I can see an improvement in definition and muscle mass. I had a guy in my stickfighting class last week say to me, “Damn…..your arms are getting big!” My head enlarged a few extra sizes  as at 42 years old that was good to hear.

 

Summary: 

This has been a two part series about my endeavour into Crossfit and Paleo. Many crossfitters follow the Paleo way of eating . Paleo presents a huge challenge when it comes to preparedness as it is not easy to store foods that are compatible to the Paleo Diet. So, to be honest – I’m not. I have many canned goods, freeze dried foods, rice, beans, and wheat stored. The reality is from my limited experience with Paleo is the ability to maintain a Paleo-based food storage problem is not within my means or ability. My need for FOOD in a SHTF situation far outweighs my need to eat Paleo.

While living a “normal” life I will continue to do Crossfit and follow the Paleo way. I have liked the results and recommend it if you want to give it a shot.

– Rourke

 


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17 Comments

  1. Very cool Rourke,

    It’s so hard to get/stay fit and eat healthy. I’m a decade younger and have been working my way towards the body and health that I want for several years. One big thing I learned that keeps me going is this – As hard as the whole workout/eat healthy thing is, it’s much much easier to maintain what you have then to try and get it back or start from scratch.

    Also I think Sly Stallone was quoted as saying,”at 40 it’s time to make a choice, after 40 it goes fast”.

  2. Put some homemade hummus and veggie sticks (celerey, zucchini, bell pepper, etc) in a cooler and dive in when you have a munchie attack. As long as you don’t add any commercial tahini, yogurt, or salt to the hummus it’s paleo friendly. I like adding jicama into the veggie mix because it’s carb load (inulin) is non-digestible. However, it is a root vegetable and theoretically not allowed in a true paleo diet.

    Good luck – btw, can I have your beer ration?

  3. Rourke, I’ve been following the Primal/Paleo lifestyle for over two years. Hopefully you’ll hit your groove and go into auto pilot. I’m not hungry like you said you get. I eat a lot of fat, nuts for snacks. If you haven’t already checked out Mark’s Daily Apple, it’s a great site that got me going primal. It has a very active forum with lots of knowledgeable folk.

    The Primal food storage part of prepping is definitely a challenge. I’m with you when it comes to SHTF. I figure I’m in the best shape/health I’ve experienced in my 50 years. Storing some grains and legumes to get me through is my plan. But until the balloon goes up, I’ll keep my body, mind, and spirit well through primal/paleo living.

    Grok On!
    Todd

    P.S. I posted the Retreat Preparedness videos to my site yesterday. Thanks man!

  4. Awesome job loosing the weight and getting in shape! I have cut out refined/processed food and have found myself also only walking the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Since I have changed my eating habits and started to exercise more I’ve lost over 20lbs. I really am going to have to check into crossfit in my area as it sounds like it is more real life applicable than most workouts.

    It is really hard to stock what you eat when you don’t eat a lot of carbs and processed food. Buy my thoughts are : stock all the normal stuff you want because physical activity will increase a lot when shtf so you probably won’t gain the weight back anyways.

  5. Always been a fan of the site. This is a great article. I had a knee operation over the summer after waiting 7 months to have surgery. I am 22 and a recent college graduate so during that time I indulged in fast food and also a lot of beer. A month or so before surgery, I changed my diet. Drank ONLY water (occasionally some milk) ate eggs for breakfast, salad with chicken for lunch (small size) and a meat fruit and vegetables for dinner. In combination with a Paleo type diet and rehabing before hand with a physical therapist, I lost ten pounds with out doing any considerable exercise ie running. Only did wall squats, lunges, and ab and core work. I also felt very fit just from the change in diet. Needless to say, Paleo diet is a very good one that helps you loose weight and feel healthier and it doubles that if you supplement with a solid workout!

  6. I’ve been eating a paleo diet to reduce my autoimmune disease. I am MUCH better on it than SAD (standard American diet). When I ate the diet recommended by the dietitian my weight blew out. I became morbidly obese, incapacitated and nearly blind. That has all been reversed by eating paleo. My weight only goes down when I manage to go into remission, but that only happens in fits and starts and I’m just over half way to my goal. However my total symptom load is down to somewhere about 5 – 10% of what I used to have.

    Just a note. If you are feeling hungry on the paleo diet you are not eating enough fat. It is a high fat diet so eat a stick of butter a day, cook with butter and use a lot of coconut oil. If you have enough fat you just don’t get hungry. And don’t confuse hunger with sugar cravings. Sugar and grains are reported to feed the same opiate receptors as heroin and when you go cold turkey off sugar and grains you can get both a feeling of the flu and terrible, terrible cravings (ravenous?). So don’t feed your opiate addiction. Some people find a slow withdrawal is better (I’m one of these) but most report finding it much more effective to just throw out all grains and sugar from the house so it isn’t available to pig out on.

    I cannot eat flour at all as the equivalent on two pieces of cake two days in a row sets up my eye disease for a flare that leads to blindness if I don’t go on steroids. Its just not worth it for me.

    I agree that stocking what you eat is much more difficult when on paleo as I only eat fresh vegetables, meat and a little fruit. The issue of stocking the ordinary things on the basis that they provide energy at a time when we would be doing more ignores the health issues of spiking blood sugars (a causal factor of diabetes, cancer and other inflammatory disorders) and setting off autoimmune diseases. It isn’t just an issue of weight management.

    • Thanks Harriet,

      I thought of you when I wrote the post and hoped you would comments.

      Just started using coconut oil – helps.

      Take care – Rourke

  7. Congrats, Rourke.

    Depending on your locality, check out local farmer’s markets for meat products. Here in VA, a lot of small local farms sell (fresh, legal, inspected) meat as well as vegetables, fruits, berries, etc. It’s worth checking into.

  8. Great summary,

    I have been thinking of Cross Fit for a while (doing P90X and Insanity with good results) to mix things up a bit. I also been on the Paleo diet for 3 months and really like the results. In order to never get hungry, I eat six times a day.

    In the morning I limit to Protein and my carb intake for the day (fruit). The rest of the day is Protein and Fat along with certain vegetables like you listed in the article. The last “meal” of the day is a Protein shake around 9:00PM. The shake is a great way to maintain your metabolism and allow your muscles to get nutrients overnight.

    I also every now and then indulge in “Bible Bread” in the morning – Look for Ezekiel 4:9 bread that is made from freshly sprouted organically grown grains, naturally flavorful and bursting with nutrients. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and natural fiber with no added fat.

    100% FLOURLESS • COMPLETE PROTEIN • WHOLE GRAIN BREAD GLYCEMIC INDEX: 36 Ezekiel 4:9® Sprouted Grain Bread is inspired by the Holy Scripture verse: “Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it…”Ez 4:9 We discovered when these six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, an amazing thing happens. A complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. In fact, the protein quality is so high, that it is 84.3% as efficient as the highest recognized source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. There are 18 amino acids present in this unique bread – from all vegetable sources – naturally balanced in nature. Ezekiel 4:9® Bread is made from freshly sprouted organically grown grains, is naturally flavorful and bursting with nutrients. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and natural fiber with no added fat.

    INGREDIENTS: Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat, Filtered Water, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Millet, Organic Sprouted Whole Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Lentils, Organic Sprouted Whole Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Whole Spelt, Fresh Yeast, Organic Wheat Gluten, Sea Salt.

    I also travel quite a bit and find eating Paleo is hard. I started carrying the bags of Tuna that has olive oil in it as well and has a good balance of Protein and Fat. Also Bumble Bee just came out with a Tuna Steak in a bag that is loaded with Protein and easy to carry around.

    Great job on the summary and website!

    Dsavage

  9. Another great place to check into, depending on your location, are big Pan-Asian supermarkets. I have to drive about 50 miles each way to a DC suburb, but the prices make it worth a run every month or so. The fresh produce is AMAZING. I suspect they sell their fruits and veggies that are too old to sell to extremely-picky elderly Asian ladies to ‘standard-issue’ American markets. The freshness difference is visible/smellable, and the variety is beyond belief, if you are used to “Food Lion”, etc.

    The meats are excellent. You won’t find dry-aged steaks and I have found that Korean butchers trim every hint of fat from beef brisket for quick-cooking, so don’t even consider ‘low and slow smoker BBQ’ unless you really need new shoe-soles . You CAN find a lot of high-quality organ meats, poultry, lamb, mutton, pork and goat (I LOVE goat curry) for about 1/2-2/3 what you would pay at an “American” market. (3 weeks ago, a whole cryovac-packed beef tenderloin was $82.50 at my local market, $37.95 at the distant Korean supermarket, just an example).

    If you like fresh seafood, these places will make you cry with joy. The ‘fish-guys’ will trim/filet to your order, the crabs are trying to escape from the bins and/or grab your fingers, you can usually say “that one” from 10-15 tanks of live fish, and you can be adventurous and try new things like conch, whelks, snails, squid etc, if you wish. The quality is always protected by the “little old lady Mafia” who seem always present, and have absolutely no qualms about “ripping employees a new one” if anything at all smells like dead fish, instead of the ocean.

    You will also find things like 50lb bags of rice for about 10 bucks, 1lb bags of Indian spices for less than you would pay for a little bottle of “Scottish-name” stuff at the corner store, and a lot of stuff whose labels you can’t read. Be adventurous – It’s worth a weekend trip. 🙂

  10. Now is a great time of year to buy a side of beef, pork and poultry to freeze some and then can it! It makes a great food storage stock. Canning meat is one of the easiest things you can do.

    Match that with trying to garden for 10 months of the year if you are in the south and you have your fresh veggies to go along with it and can you can’t use fresh. That helps the food budget, food quality and exercise! This type of diet is a way to normalize type II diabetes. I can cut way back on medicine when I eat low carb/paleo and garden like this!

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