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The Alternative to Sickness, Disease, and a Dismal Life


The Alternative to Sickness, Disease, and a Dismal Life

4 rounds max reps:
1 minute each:
push jerk (95/65)
power clean (95/65)
1 minute rest between rounds.
*if you can not yet to muscle-ups, practice transitions in warm-up and do dips in the workout

Ladies, manicure season is here, but beware! Be sure to allow proper dry time after your manicure before involving yourself with any hook grips. Grrrrr.... ūüėČ

The Alternative to Sickness, Disease, and a Dismal Life

Hopefully the last few days of posts got you thinking (or renewed your thoughts) on the impact your nutrition can have on your health. We painted a pretty grim picture of the current state of nutrition in America.

The average American consumes 70% of their diet from refined sugars, cereals, grains, refined vegetable oils, alcohol, and dairy products. Research has strongly associated the modern Western diet with the current epidemic levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

So what’s the alternative?

It is our experience at CrossFit Roots, both personally and professionally, that a Paleo style of eating is the first step in the journey to health. It yields the greatest results for athletes in a host of areas including athletic performance, physical appearance, cholesterol levels and other blood indicators, mental clarity, and inflammation-related diseases and problems. In addition, athletes find it enjoyable to eat this way. That’s right, enjoyable.

Below is information on the Paleo style of eating. We understand that food and the way people eat is a very personal thing, almost like a religion. We invite you to learn about the way many of our athletes eat. We are always willing to share our own experiences and results from eliminating certain food groups and transitioning to a Paleo diet.

What is Paleo?

The Paleo way of eating mimics the way our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic Era before the invention of agriculture. In short, this means we eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Read on for a description of what you can eat in each of these food areas.


You can eat any protein from a source that once had a face and a soul. You should consume meat with at least 2 meals per day. Make sure your meat is not contaminated with sugar, soy, or processed sweeteners. It’s more common than you think, so get in the habit of reading labels! While you are at it, learn to recognize the sneaky ways that food companies disguise sugar.


There are so many to choose from! Get creative and learn to cook a vegetable you’ve never tried. Non starchy vegetables should be a standard in your meals Рeven for breakfast.


The Paleo way of eating encourages fruit consumption; however, consider the origin of the fruit you consume – the geographic location as well as the way it was grown. Sugar, whether in a banana or a Snickers bar, is still sugar, the only difference is in the quantity of sugar in each food item. Consume fruit in moderation.


For some of you, the elimination of calorically dense and nutrient deficient foods will require some level of effort to replace the calories you need to thrive. Nuts are packed with fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium. Be aware that, while they are a great part of the Paleo equation, it is possible to over-consume them. We will talk more about this later, but for now, think ‚Äúmoderation‚ÄĚ.


Fat is good for you and supports the brain! It is also a great source of fuel in the Paleo diet. Slowly, your body will make the transition from utilizing carbohydrate to utilizing fat for energy. Fat triggers our sense of being full. Fat is an essential part of many of your cellular and hormonal processes. There’s no room for fat phobia in the Paleo world!

Have you tried this way of eating?  What was your experience?  Have you not yet tried this way of eating and are hesitant to do so?  Post to comments.

8 Responses

  1. Tracy Phelps Emmanuel

    I can’t speak more highly of our experience with eating paleo… we are going on almost 3 years, with no looking back! ¬† It started with a gym challenge… over the course of the month, ¬†most of my GI issues completely¬†disappeared. ¬†After the challenge was over i went back to eating like usual and ¬†similarly all the GI issues came back right back. ¬†It took a few months of being uncomfortable and frustrated (now knowing that i could actually feel good) to finally make the conscious decision to change our lifestyle and clean out the pantry. ¬†I couldn’t believe that i had lived in this uncomfortable state for so many years- thinking it was just the way things were.¬†¬†After several months of clean eating,¬†i also started noticing an increase in energy and refreshing clarity of the mind… as well as massively reduced PMS symptoms (not nearly as irritable and cramps were dramatically reduced). ¬†Three years later, couldn’t be happier. ¬†I love to cook now… love trying new recipes… and rarely are we “bored” with food! ¬† ¬†Also- I stayed fairly strict during my pregnancy and experienced very few of the usual prego complaints (no swelling, heartburn, or large weight gain, etc.), and I was back to within a few pounds of my pre-prego weight in less than 2 weeks after giving birth! ¬†Needless to say, we are continuing with the paleo lifestyle even with Paige and she is beyond thriving… i mean, c’mon, have you seen the little chunker! ūüôā
    My advice to those that are curious… is to just give it a shot… you can do anything for 30 days. ¬†I promise you’ll notice a difference!

  2. Odie

    While I have wandered from the paleo path in the past month or so (now back on the train!), Paleo eating is definitely the way to go!
    Similar to Tracy, my ways were changed via a food challenge at Roots. ¬†Before this point, I was doing crossfit but not seeing very many changes in my body or physical performance. ¬†I was 240 pounds (HEAVY for me), eating like a normal college kid, devouring mac-n-cheese on a daily basis. ¬†My body had been so conditioned to this way of eating, that I thought the way I felt was “normal.” ¬†But, I figured I’d give it a go and see where it took me, seeing as my roommate was paleo at the time. ¬†Well, 5 weeks later I had lost 30 pounds of purely fat, felt a hundred times better, and was crushing WODs like never before. ¬†I had a whole new vigor for life, and it really motivated me in many other aspects of my life. ¬†The paleo way of eating just makes sense, and it shows results!
    I fully intend on participating in the challenge and hope all of you do too!

  3. Amy Santamaria

    My experience is almost exactly the same as Tracy – 3 years paleo, started with a gym challenge, paleo through pregnancy, super healthy pregnancy and kiddo, easy weight control, tons of health and performance benefits.¬† I like cooking, and paleo never feels like a sacrifice.¬† My advice is to give it a try, really, it can’t hurt.¬† And give it a REAL try – be strict and understand why you’re eliminating the foods you’re eliminating.¬† Do your homework and you will see it is common sense, despite going against conventional wisdom.¬† The only downside is that you will no longer be able to watch TV without screaming¬† “Paleo would fix that!” at all of the drug and diet ads (which are 90% of commercials).¬†
    Another thing – if you’re worried that anything other than a¬† whole grain and low fat diet will raise your cholesterol and give you a heart attack, do some more reading.¬† Taubes is a good start.¬† And on a much smaller scale, I did a study that was published in the CrossFit Journal about a year and a half ago, and I found that on average, people’s numbers improved, and some got substantially better.¬† Most of the people in the study had a positive experience switching to paleo and many of them stuck with it long-term.¬† If you have a subscription to the CFJ you can search for it (title is “By the Numbers”).¬† Don’t have the link handy, but I’m also glad to send you the unformatted manuscript if you want to read it.¬†

  4. Stace the ace Man del taco

    The start: October 15th, 2010….fall Paleo challenge.¬† I went all in and never looked back.¬† (I had been doing crossfit for awhile, but didn’t change my diet.¬† How could I give up entire food groups, right?)
    Now: 45-50 lbs lighter, off cholesterol meds for 1 year, feeling great, sleeping well, stress down…and a host of other changes that we can chat about.¬† I may not have a 20″ box jump, but I dropped the bands for PULL-UP’s, and can almost keep up with Coy on a trail run.¬†
    When I stray from the Paleo path, the first thing I notice is that I can’t sleep because my body is trying to digest the sugar, or whatever it is that I chose that day.¬† My mind is cloudy and filled with the clutter of the day. ¬† I still struggle with the same emotional eating things I struggled with before….but I feel there is a light ahead as I understand myself better each day.¬† One step at a time.
    It’s a journey….and each person’s path is unique.¬† Give it a try and just see where it takes you.

  5. Bones

    I have the same damn problem with my manicures! I’ve decided to eschew the hook grip in favor of the Himalayan monkey grip to save those damn nails!

  6. JakeDurling

    I am going to be the one discordant voice in a chorus of folks who have had great experiences eating Paleo. With a significant family history of heart disease (including a fit and ostensibly healthy father who had a heart attack at 52), I am particularly sensitive to metrics like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  And my cholesterol went up during the last Paleo challenge. A lot. To the point where my cardiologist is insisting that I get back on cholesterol-lowering drugs. 
    That being said, I’m going to try again with the Spring Challenge. Maybe I wasn’t eating enough fish and vegetables (though more than six a day is a lot). Maybe I was eating too many nuts and red meat. I don’t know. And the other benefits that everyone describes are real: I leaned out and yet still got stronger; I slept and felt better; and I got to eat bacon, which scared the hell out of my doctor (and father) but made me happy.
    So my two cents is this: try it and see – as a CrossFitter, it’s neat to get to see how your body responds to the combination of Rx workouts and Rx diet. But I’m not yet convinced that it’s the “answer” to all ills. Check back with me after the Spring Challenge – maybe I’ll be singing a different tune then.

  7. I keep trying. Probably 80/20 most days.¬† Struggled mightily with eating disorders in my past, so have discovered the “challenges” don’t work for me as it simply places too much emphasis on eating & rules, which throws me for a loop. Perhaps if I’d discovered Paleo way back when, who knows? At this point, I’m so tickled with fact that I’m “stronger, faster, harder” in my early 50’s (and only 2 years into CF) than I ever was in my 20s/30s/40s you can color me very happy.¬† I may never be a Paleo poster child and that’s ok with me, for now.¬†