Going Strict Paleo

The combination of the holidays (i.e. Christmas cookies, stuffing, cake, bagels, etc.) and my impending CrossFit competition in February has led me to the decision that starting tomorrow, January 1st, I am going to go strict Paleo until February 8th.

So what does this mean? It means I will be following the precepts of Paleo that say I can eat meat, fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed).

It also means that I will be cutting out dairy, cereal grains, refined sugars and processed foods from my diet.

In addition, I will be abstaining from alcohol. (There are debates about whether red wine, tequila and potato vodka are allowed, but I think it is easier to avoid controversy and just go without.)

So why? Others can provide a much better explanation and guide to the Paleo diet than me, such as Robb Wolff and NerdFitness.

But as I enter into my final weeks of training, I want to make sure that I focus on eating healthy and nutritious foods.

Since I started this 16-week training process, I am hungrier than ever and too often reward myself for a hard workout with comfort foods. But those foods are not the type that will properly fuel my body.

I truly believe that eating clean will help me feel better physically and mentally and “bring out the best in myself” in the coming weeks.

The point is not to be a flagellant and punish myself for bad eating habits. Instead this is a great opportunity to create really good eating habits in the new year, with a stronger emphasis than ever before on preparing my own meals for lunch and dinner and adding more fruits and vegetables to my daily intake.

For those of you still trying to get a grasp on what’s allowed and what’s not, here is a quick visual overview to help explain the Paleo diet:

I am making one personal exception to the rules (and please excuse the semantics as I don’t want to make the Paleo diet sound like a game or some type of prison sentence) and that is that I will continue to consume whey protein.

As much as it would be ideal to replace the whey with real sources of protein, like meat and vegetables, it for now is a necessary element in making sure I consume enough grams of protein each day. (Until I can eat five dozen eggs evr’y morning like Gaston, I’ll stick to my protein shakes.)

If you have any experience going strict Paleo, please share in the comments below. What worked? What didn’t?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be providing some resources that I find useful, such as food blogs and cookbooks, and will keep you updated on how it’s all going.

As for tonight, this New Year’s Eve, I’ll enjoy some champagne and prepare myself to welcome the 2014 with a better approach to eating.

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