Paleo 101

Last year, I wrote a post about the paleo challenge, and then shared more about paleo and what I eat here. I am definitely not an expert on the subject and recommend doing your own research, but I am often asked lots of questions about paleo and CrossFit.

Are all CrossFitters paleo?
Is it difficult to follow?
I can’t give up bread.
I’m intimidated by CrossFit and don’t think I can do it (more of a statement, but I hear this all. the. time)

So. Let’s discuss.

Are all CrossFitters paleo?

No. I would say most of my CrossFit friends are paleo most of the time, but some are not. Some of the best CrossFitters I know eat grains. It’s all about finding what works for you. I joined RNCF May ’12 and was initially going 3-4 days a week before I kicked it up to 4-5 days a week. I think CrossFit is a great workout and I definitely noticed changes in my body and strength, but for me, pairing it with paleo gave me the most results. Cutting back alcohol, limiting fruit intake, and sticking to a pretty strict diet when combined with CrossFit just works for me.

Now, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, I really don’t think this diet is possible since eggs and meat are such a big part of it. But like I said, do your research.

Is it difficult to follow?

Throughout my 20s, I was always on a diet and always felt as if I was depriving myself of something. This is the first time in my life that I haven’t felt that way. It’s honestly very easy for me. I feel so good about what I’m putting in my body, know my workouts will be better as a result of what I’m eating, and there are paleo options for almost everything. And when there isn’t a paleo option, if I still really want something, I’ll have it. I just don’t do that very often.

When ordering breakfast, I always order eggs, meat, and veggies, and substitute fruit for toast. If I want pancakes, I’ll make coconut flour ones at home. When ordering lunch or dinner, it’s always a meat and veggies, a burger without the bun, or a salad with olive oil and vinegar on the side.

I can’t give up bread.

I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not that committed to bread. Yes, it’s good, but I don’t need it very often. I might have a little piece if I go someplace with great bread, but you wouldn’t find me ordering pasta anyway.

I’m intimidated by CrossFit and don’t think I can do it (more of a statement, but I hear this all. the. time)

I could barely do push-ups on my knees when I started CrossFit and (just now) did 10 real ones. I literally thought I was going to die for weeks. No endurance. No strength. But you will get better, stronger, faster, and you will see results. Change isn’t easy, but it will happen. My first two weeks back after almost 4 months off felt awful, but now I’ve been back for 4.5 weeks and am already seeing changes. Endurance is coming back, and I’m getting stronger.

Ultimately, it’s about finding what works for you. There are plenty of healthy people who eat grains, dairy, and legumes. Just remember that pop tarts and oreos are not food. Those 100 calorie packs aren’t food either. Anything designed to last for months on a shelf won’t be easy for your body to break down. And also, soda (or “pop” if you’re in the Midwest) is so bad for you. Drink water. If I were miserable every single day because I wanted/missed cheese and bread I wouldn’t be happy. But for the first time in my life, I no longer feel like I’m on a diet. This really is a lifestyle, and it works for me.

More staples in my pantry and refrigerator:
Amylu sausage
Chef Earl’s guacamole (I buy the little 4 packs) and eat them with carrots or jicama
 I make iced americanos with my nespresso and add a splash of (no sugar added) almond milk

My paleo posts:
What is the paleo diet?
What is CrossFit?
My thoughts on CrossFit

More paleo resources:
Health Bent
Gather (favorite for entertaining)
Peaches and Cake
Style Activist

  • Mary De Bastos

    Oh, I so needed this post! I've been wondering what Paleo is but haven't even googled it.

    I have ulcerative colitis and I should be on a better diet than I am on. I eat awful and it shows not just in my weight but the way I process foods. The way I can't even digest several foods. I don't even know if I could do Paleo but you made it sound kind of easy. Meat and veg. What's not to like?! I really need to give it a try. I've got to do something for myself. Make a change.

  • Danielle {Envision Pretty}

    It is so empowering to read about your strength and comittment to a healthier lifestyle! Although I do not eat paleo, I am definitely checking out your resources to incorporate some of these food items into my diet!


  • Whitney

    Hello! I really enjoy reading your posts about cross fit and paleo. I have recently joined a fitness bootcamp and I completely admire you commitment to stick with it. I am considering the paleo diet so these links will come in handy!


  • brianne

    Great post and 100% agree with everything you wrote! I love when you write about CF and Paleo!

  • “B”

    I love this post too. I am a vegetarian and eat healthy but do consume a lot of grains. Perhaps I will attempt an less strict paleo lifestyle. we have had to cut a lot of grains out due to my daughters allergies/gluten issues.

    I hope to try Crossfit soon. I have heard so many good things about it!

  • Raquel

    Thanks for sharing this post! I don't CF but do follow the paleo lifestyle about 80% of the time (sometimes weekends get me). Coming from a lover of all things bread + pasta, I could honestly say that I don't miss it as much as I thought I would – and feel so much better after eating paleo!

    Also, love when you post recipes! Loving finding new paleo recipes to try!

  • Ladies in Navy

    yum! this looks delicious
    kw ladies in navy

  • Emily {Isnt That Charming}

    I'm not going to lie, Cross Fit really intimidates me. This post was really inspirational though. I just may give it a try!
    Isn’t That Charming.

  • Danielle Moss

    I couldn't have been more intimidated the first time I walked in. I was more out of shape than anyone I knew. Aside from moving to Chicago and starting TEG, it's the greatest thing I have ever done for myself. I wouldn't get up before 6:00 am for anything else!

  • Michelle Knight

    Dear Danielle, you are such an inspiration!
    Thank you!

  • Ashley Rustad

    Thanks for explaining paleo in such a great way! It's so nice to hear that someone has changed their lifestyle and isn't deprived. I don't near as healthy or paleo as you. But it seems like the way I eat, it wouldn't be that big of a leap to paleo. I'm lactose intolerate, so I don't eat much dairy. I can live without bread, I'm not sure my husband could live without bread or cheese. I think the hardest part for me would be limiting my fruit intake. I love fruit so much!

  • peachesandcake.com

    Thanks for the shout out Danielle! 😉 This is a great write-up about paleo. Hahah and I love what you said about bread. You just have to lose your commitment to it!! I do miss pizza night though. But meat and veg night is so much better!!!

  • Two Doors Down Durham

    Thanks for this post! It answered lots of questions I had about Cross Fit and Paleo eating.

  • Erika Sheffer

    thanks for the love!!! paleo saved my life. foreal. <3

  • Nolan

    i realze I am little late replying to this post, but I just wanted to let you know that thanks to this post and the link back to your previous posts on your Paleo Challenge, I signed up for crossfit Monday night. I figure I better thank you now, because I may not want to thank you later 🙂

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