I’ve been counting down until tomorrow for the last month, and it’s just about here! What the heck is Paleo, you ask? And why is Jaclyn starting a blog about CrossFit? Let’s see if I can explain this…
CrossFit: My Motivation
It all started back in November 2010, when I was on the elliptical at my gym. I was convinced I loved my routine: 30-45 minutes on the elliptical, followed by some abs and stretching. Of course, there was yoga 1-2 times a week to keep me happy and zen, too. But I noticed a class going on in the main gym area, and I can’t even remember exactly what they were doing– probably lifting weights, then jumping on boxes, then doing push-ups, then back to the weights, and repeating, in rapid succession. They were certainly getting a better, more intense workout than me. And it looked FUN. Like, addicting fun. So, I dropped into the class the next week, and let’s just say the rest is history.
I guess I still haven’t explained what CrossFit is, which I didn’t really know myself until I took the class. So I’ll just give you the BRIEF overview and let you do the Googling for more. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program, where movements (like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and weight-lifting) are always varied, and performed at a high intensity. The class is an hour long, but the WODs (workouts of the day) usually range from 8-15 minutes on any given day..and trust me, that’s an intense 8-15 minutes (sometimes more) that leaves everyone dripping with sweat, usually lying on the ground. The rest of the time, we warm-up and work on skills. And of course there’s a fantastic instructor who coaches us through the movements and encourages us to give nothing short of our best. It didn’t take me very long to get hooked. (Even after I couldn’t walk normally for 4 days after the first class!) CrossFit is said to change how one views his or her health and fitness, and I’ve already started to notice some changes. Hence, the reason I decided to follow this Paleo Challenge– since I love CrossFit so much, it just makes sense to give the rest of the lifestyle a shot, too. And by lifestyle, we’re talkin about the FOOD, obviously.
What’s the Paleo Diet?
Well for one, it’s not a ‘dinosaur diet’ or a ‘grass and bugs’ diet (you know who you are). But those are perfectly reasonable nicknames, since the first thing I told people was, “I’m eating like a Caveman!” (I should probably work on the opening line.)
The Paleolithic, Primal, or Caveman Diet consists of what humans ate 2 million years ago, up until 10,000 years ago when we were introduced to grains and dairy. From an evolutionary standpoint, the Paleolithic Diet is said to “work with nature.” Since our ancestors’ diet consisted of meat, fowl, fish, and the leaves, roots and fruits of plants, they typically stayed away from many raw vegetables such as potatoes, beans and grains because these were indigestible raw. Many experts believe it’s no coincidence that the main food allergies of today include dairy, wheat, and peanuts. Not to mention, there are LOTS of health benefits to eating this way… I’m not just trying to be a caveman.. because that would just be silly. I’ll expand on this in another post.
So, before I tell you what I’m eating, let me be clear: I’m not “going on a diet.” (ever) I’m simply experimenting with this Paleo Lifestyle for approximately 30 days. I don’t think of myself as a very extreme person… and I’ll admit, this lifestyle probably seems a bit extreme. But CrossFit is extreme, and many many many people follow these eating habits and they see results. REAL results. I promise I’m not going to bulk up and look like a crazy weight-lifter. But, maybe, if I’m lucky I’ll see some changes for the better!
So, just to clarify, here are the foods I WON’T be eating for the next month:
- Grains. This is a big category– it includes bread, rice, pasta, cereal, oatmeal, corn and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa and sprouted grains too.
- Dairy. (I might have greek yogurt, only 3-4 times a week- need my calcium!)
- Legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (soy, black, kidney, etc.), peas, lentils, and peanuts.
- Sugar (real or artificial) No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc.
- Processed foods. (well, duh) Includes soy products and the “meat substitute” products
- Alcohol (maybe one or two drinks the whole month)
- Potatoes (sticking with sweet potatoes, more nutrient-dense)
Well, then what can I eat? Yeah, I was wondering that, too…
- Meat (includes poultry and seafood) grass-fed beef (alright you all know I don’t eat red meat, and haven’t in about 2 years.. so don’t expect me to start eating it again but anything could happen!)
- Some fruit (mostly berries are recommended)
- Good fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil
Alright, well there you have it. There will be much more explanation and commentary on the above (as if this wasn’t enough for you to read in one sitting) so please stay tuned!! I expect all of you to keep me in check and even question my decisions. Just keep it PC 😉