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From Pseudo-Paleo to Really-Damn-Close-to-Paleo


From Pseudo-Paleo to Really-Damn-Close-to-Paleo

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR WORKOUT 11.6 AT ROOTS (Saturday April 30th) PLUS CHICKEN LICKIN’ AFTERWARDS!  Details on this weekend’s 11.5 workout at Verve posted tomorrow.

CrossFit Open – Workout 11.5
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 Power cleans (145lbs / 65kg)  Women: (100lbs / 45kg)
10 Toes to bar
15 Wall balls (20lbs to 10′ target) Women:  (14lbs to 9′ target)


Hank's blood work in graph form. The numbers speak for themselves. Way to go Hank.

From Pseudo Paleo to Really Damn Close Paleo

The word “Paleo”, referring to a style of eating that mimics the way our ancestors ate, has been abused.  For example, a few weeks ago a guy came in and told me he is 100% Paleo, and I said, “Oh really, so you don’t put cream in your coffee?”  And he replied, “well, except for that, but that doesn’t really count.”  Actually, yes, it does.  Saying you are Paleo when you eat cheese and drink cream is like saying you do CrossFit but you don’t ever do the heavy lift days.  You workout with CrossFit principles, but it’s not CrossFit.

Beyond an athlete’s incorrect use of the word Paleo, and the ensuing delirious mental state by that athlete who then thinks large amounts of cream will be OK on the Paleo diet, mixing Paleo principles with a western diet does not yield good results.  Think about it, the western high carb/low fat diet has led to an obesity epidemic that is sibling to three other major diseases.  Now take Paleo principles, which naturally include higher fat consumption compared to the western style, and add lots of grain-based carbohydrates through cheats and other mechanisms.  It’s a high carb/high fat diet.  Not good either.

This spring’s fuel challenge gets at the heart of Paleo.  It’s why the challenge is titled No Gray Area.  We think the athletes in this challenge have a tremendous potential to put up some stunning improvements because if they make it through, they will have been Paleo 100% for a month.  And real Paleo at that.  If any of you are finding Week 2 a little challenging, check out Hank’s story below for some inspiration!

Over the past six months Hank has transitioned from pseudo-Paleo to really (really) damn close to Paleo.  Here’s what he has to report…

Six months ago, we had our blood-work done at the shop.  Looking back, I would characterize my diet at the time to be largely Paleo, but with some big cheats (e.g. lots and lots of corn flakes for desert at night, full dairy, etc.)  In spite of the cheats, however, my diet was great relative to the average American.

During the last six months, I’ve tried to be as strict paleo as possible.  I will eat some occasional cheese & butter, and feed my evening sugar addiction through fresh and dried fruits, but that’s it.  The results speak for themselves.

Big-ups to Hank.  It takes a tremendous effort to switch to a mostly Paleo style of eating.  It takes an even greater effort to acknowledge that everything you are doing still might not be enough to get you where you want to be. Good job for going to the extra mile Hank, we’re proud of you.

We know that the body can handle the occasional non-Paleo meal.  Whether it’s with cheese, ice cream, bread, etc.  But what is occasional?  In Hank’s case, he found that he could have the occasional piece of cheese and have great blood-work.  So what’s your thought on percent Paleo vs. non-Paleo?  80/20, 50/50, 70/30?  Post to comments.

And here’s a small hint…it’s probably a ratio smaller than you think!  🙂

6 Responses

  1. Congrats Hank! Would you share C-Reactive Protein too? (CRP)
    That’s a nice drop in LDL and Triglycerides and awesome % gain in HDL
    Where there is a big enough WHY there is a HOW. Awesome.

  2. Nice work Hank! In the lecture given by Dr. Lustig, he mentions that a great indicator of the risk of heart disease is the triglyceride:HDL ratio. An “ideal” ratio would be 2 or lower, and it looks like yours is somewhere around 1…good work!

    Also, to comment on the percent Paleo vs. non-Paleo…while I believe that the Paleo way of eating is the best for multiple reasons (weight management, long-term health, performance, etc.), it is sometimes necessary to enjoy some of the foods that Paleo condemns. I think the pros of a cheat MEAL outweigh the cons, especially with the mental aspect…because remember life is only so long! Unfortunately it is very easy to move from an occasional cheat MEAL to occasional cheat DAYS to going back to eating crap all the time.

    When not on a strict Paleo streak, I try to only have one cheat meal every week. So if you factor in 3 meals a day (snacks not included) for 7 days minus 1 cheat meal, that would make for a 20:1 (95%) ratio of Paleo to non-Paleo.

  3. TYD

    I probably have about three meals each month that would meet the strict definition for Paleo, so I’m sitting around 3/97 Paleo/non-Paleo. Lots of my snacks are Paleo, but I wouldn’t describe my diet as being consciously Paleo at all.

    In thinking about how to describe my nutrition, I’d call it a RGMGTYD (reduced-gluten modified-Grandma-TYD) eating plan. I eat mostly the same stuff my grandma would eat, but with fewer cookies, no coffee or soda, less white bread, and keeping gluten content in mind when buying, making, or ordering food. She’s pushing 90 and in fairly good health compared to her friends and peers (despite the cookies, coffee, soda, and white bread), so I think there is some chance that my genes are compatible with that kind of plan.

  4. Wendy

    Paleo week 2 rules!
    No paleo-exhaustion, and starting to feel great!
    Hang in there everybody! What’s one month in the grand scheme!?!
    ….even I am eating Paleo for the month….?!?!

  5. Re: my blood, I should mention (in the interest of full disclosure) that I don’t drink — haven’t for a couple years. I suspect not drinking fermented sugar plays some part, but it’s not why I don’t drink, nor is a nice lipid panel why I eat paleo.

    Re: right paleo ratio. For me, and I’m maybe a bad one to comment, the closer I get to 100% paleo, the more in-balance I feel. I know this sounds crazy. I’m talking about things as simple as digestion, mental alertness, & energy, to more nuanced things, like concentration, dealing with stress (not getting worked up as easily), sexual performance, judgment, empathy, connectedness to nature (sorry, I’ve lived in Bldr for almost 25 yrs), etc., etc. Not to mention, I love the food! In other words, it’s working pretty well for my and my family… and… having a good lipid panel is nice confirmation that the balance I feel intuitively is being statistically confirmed — at least in my blood.