Paleo for Dummies – Part 1

written by Janelle Lee:

Dianne Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites has a great illustration of what our diet’s should look like:

“So what’s the deal with this paleo-diet-thing everyone keeps talking about?”  By now, most of you are following the paleo diet and some of you are entertaining the idea of the paleo diet.  This post is for the latter group.  I really hate to use the word “diet” as it makes most people roll their eyes or cringe.  How many “diets” have we all tried and stuck with?  Slim to none, I’m guessing.  In our Foundation’s classes, Lisa and I ask our newbie crossfitters to do a little homework and google it.  I promised our Foundations’ peeps a lengthier song-and-dance on Paleo, and here it is.  (Quick disclaimer: I am NOT a professional nutritionist, and the material contained in this post is for general health info only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.  Thank you.  Now, I have taken a couple Paleo nutrition seminars, have done extensive research on the matter & my undergrad degree is in biology.  I’m just another crossfitting-paleo-gal looking to further a holistic approach to life.  Having said all this, proceed to read if you wish).

Here’s the real deal:  the Paleo diet is about increasing your overall quality of life.  Enough said!  Seriously, who doesn’t want that?   This isn’t a fad diet.  We are simply trying to emulate what our Paleolithic ancestors ate…how we are supposed to eat.  By replacing anti-nutrients in the typical American diet with more nutrient dense foods, you are committing to a life of looking better, feeling better, and performing better!  Now, let’s focus on what you CAN eat, the Real Food Pyramid: meat, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats.  It’s quite simple:  your protein comes from lean meats, poultry, eggs & fish/seafood (ideally grass-fed, pastured, wild forms.  FYI, fellow CFA athlete, Chris Thompson, can hook you up with the grassfed goodness).  You get your carbohydrates from veggies and fruit.  Note: you do NOT need to consume grains (bread, pasta, oats, rice) for carbs or fiber.  More on this in my next post.  Lastly, healthy fats are just that.  HEALTHY.  You can get naturally occurring fats and oils from avocados, coconut/coconut oil, olive oil and some nuts.  Avoid the processed stuff like canola, corn oil, soybean oil & vegetable oil.  On this note, you want to AVOID inflammation producing grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and any processed food (if it doesn’t rot, it’s a no-no.  Ever notice how Little Debbie Zebra cakes never seem to go bad?  I used to devour these as a kid.)

Who is this for?  Anyone and everyone!  If you want to loose weight, gain weight, maintain weight or have your butt look better in your jeans…if you want to improve your athletic performance (I actually started my 100% strict paleo diet 11 months ago after learning it would make me a better/faster marathoner…and that it did)…if you have health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and migraines, then Paleo nutrition is a direction worth exploring.

When should you start?  NOW.  Carpe diem.  Try it out for 30 days.  Here’s how with a few easy steps.

Step 1:  rid you house of all the “junk” (grains, dairy, legumes, sugar).  Don’t waste.  Donate it to the Food Bank or Manna House.

Step 2:  Use this grocery list.   Pick from what you like to eat and stock up.  General rule of thumb: shop the periphery of the grocery store and avoid the center aisles.  If at all possible, don’t shop when you are starving.  Bad-non-paleo-things tend to find there way into your cart during these times.

Step 3:  FOOD PREP!  Yes, you’ll actually have to cook and prepare your food vs. nuking it or rolling up to a drive through window.  Gasp!  I know this may seem overwhelming.  Learn to prepare a lot at once.  For instance, chop different veggies to be used in a stir-fry, roasted, or in a salad.  Make enough meat to last a couple days.  Sunday’s are my designated food prep day.  Be creative.  I promise there’s an inner chef waiting to be unleashed!  I used to loath cooking and now it’s actually fun and surprisingly tasty!  Leftover dinner is my favorite breakfast.  Need help getting started?  I’ve listed some of my favorite cookbooks and paleo recipe sites below.

Do I expect all you reading this to drop you current eating habits and do a 180 towards paleo?  Optimistically, YES but realistically, no.  My main objective in this post is to create awareness.  So, Stop.  Think.  And don’t knock it til you try it!

Some of my favorite paleo cookbooks & websites: 

Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield

Well Fed by Melssa Joulwan

Eat like a Dinosaur: Recipe and Guidebook for Gluten free kids

*Contact Chris & Laura Thompson for grass fed beef:

Again, this isnt’ a fad.  This is science.  

The Original Human Diet is Good for People With Diabetes , Staffan Lindeberg

The Paleo Diet and Multiple Sclerosis

The Definitive Guide to Grains, Marks Daily Apple

We’ve Been Fed a Pyramid Built of Processed Food Bricks, Balanced Bites





This entry was posted in From The Coach, Must Read. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Paleo for Dummies – Part 1

  1. Trayce says:

    Living la vida Paleo! Well done, Janelle. Anyone looking to take their Paleo lifestyle (or start their Paleo lifestyle) to the next level, join several CFA athletes on the Whole30 starting August 1.

  2. Jeff P says:

    I loved this article. So well written and plenty of resources to explore. Thank you!!

  3. Noemi says:

    Great article! Looking forward to Part 2! Another good book to check out is “Paleo Power Lunch”–it’s available as an e-book and has helpful tips on food prep, grocery lists, and recipes.

  4. Mitzi D says:

    I adore your wit and tell it like it is ways. thanks for sharing.

  5. Anthony says:

    Great article! Certainly looking forward to sampling some of the recipes in listed cookbooks! :)

  6. Fran Parker says:

    Thanks for sharing, great information! Glen and I have enjoyed very positive life changes from incorporating good Paleo eating habits and CrossFit. We both feel better, have each lost weight, and most amazing Glen has experienced a drop in total cholesterol from 204 to 158…..Paleo and CrossFit ….a powerful combination. Thomson Grazers has best grass fed beef also!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Most Read Articles

Friends of