Thursday, September 26, 2013

30-Day Paleo Food Challenge

I've become a big fan of the Primal / Paleo "movement" if that's what you'd want to call it.  I don't consider it a "diet" but more of a guide that corrects some of the habits we've become accustomed to in the manufactured-food world we live in.  I got caught up in it about 1-2 years ago and it seems that there's a bigger trend in the direction of whole, organics foods and general fitness than in years prior to 2012 or so.  And not because it's trendy to go organic or join a crossfit box or any of that but because people are actually realizing the damage done by what we've been calling "food" for so long and that the old saying "Garbage in = garbage out."  I think Confucius said that.

In short, I'm an advocate.  I could write a lot about what it's done for me but I'm just going to say 40 lbs ago, I thought I knew what a semi-healthy diet and lifestyle was and I consider the weight loss a side-effect;  I really just wanted to start eating higher quality fuel.  I have really embraced the Primal plan outlined by one of my favorite bloggers, Mark Sisson.  Read it and live it.  Buy his book- I bought 3.  I read mine, made my dad read it, then bought 2 more to share with people.  It's not hard.  It's the simple tools you need to get fit.  Shit, if counting calories worked, we'd have only skinny people.  This works and it's pretty much how our grandparents and all older generations really ate.

So well after Kristen introduced me to this paleo thing, she's started up with a crossfit box in Conshohocken twice a week.  Her crossfit is kicking off a 30-day paleo challenge that requires a full commitment to the acceptable foods.  It's not far from what we eat on any given day but we have adopted something more like the 80/20 guide in Sisson's book Primal Blueprint.  I like it because 1. I already said it works and 2. I don't have to be that a-hole that says "oh I don't eat that, it's not in my diiieeeeettttt" I eat whatever options are in front of me, making the best choices and when there aren't any great choices, I make do with what I have to.  Living with too many restrictions ain't no life I want to live.  Besides, sometimes a burger, fries and beer are what the doctor ordered.  (And like I'm going to give up alcohol.  HA!)

With that loose 80/20 guide, I'm down to 9% body fat (give or take whatever % error there is with the handheld tester I have).  That's pretty low and I am eating well, never hungry and have been kinda slacking lately with training but I'll just blame that on the damn shin splint that won't die.  I'd been aiming for 7-point-something as an "optimal" body composition for running but I don't have any big races coming up so I'm happy at 9 for this training period.  For a good read on body composition, read Racing Weight.  It's informative and goes beyond "lighter is faster, duh."

Anyway, I think I'm going to bump my 80 up to 90 or 95 with Kristen to support her.  She's allowed me to go on boozing up and all that fun stuff but I'm interested to see if there's any noticeable difference in my physiology with that kind of change.  It's the least I can do.  I'll make an effort to drink far less beer and make a good red wine the choice on the rare occasion I will drink.

The only time I'll feel compelled to have a few drinks in October is for my dad's 60th birthday.  Otherwise, we already cook almost exclusively paleo stuff.  My favorite paleo meal is breakfast; I can eat bacon and eggs almost every day.  So, October, bring it on.

I think the worst part of this 30-day challenge is that it will probably limit our visits to Tired Hands in Ardmore.  That place is my new favorite.  We'll make a hell of a return in November.

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