091213 Your Resolution; Our Resolution

Salmon scramble, almond meal griddle cakes, mango, tomato

Salmon scramble, almond meal griddle cakes, mango, tomato

We are dedicated to the success of our clients. As such, we will not be listening to the resolutions of outsiders and instead turn our attention to y’all.

There are NO On-Ramps during the month of January. We do not want to deal with the false resolutions of those who waited to join. If they are serious, they can wait until February.

What we DO want is to help you make a shift. Our support system is community-wide. Only if we support each other will we succeed in the end. As such, we suggest a 90-Days Clean Resolution at CFA. That is 90-Days of Meat and Veggies, Nuts and Seeds, Some Fruit, Little Starch, and No Sugar. That is 90-Days of enough calories to support intense activity and not excess body fat.

Mind you, we are not advocating obsession and narcissism. We still believe in moderation but moderation keeps you where you are. What we are advocating is a period of time where you maximize your good choices to make a shift. By going clean for 90-Days you allow your body time to really shift gears, to get used to feeling good and thriving. We’ve had a lot of success stories thus far and wish to continue them.

There can be a bit of a transitional “sickness” when converting away from a diet with excessive processing of food. We recommend a gradual shift so that January 1st we begin 90-Days. For this next week, change your breakfast (first meal after waking up, eaten within 1 hour of rising) to Meats, Nuts and Seeds (read fats that include oils, avocado”, etc.). Post what you eat. Post how good you feel having a delicious breakfast.

The week of December 21st add veggies to your lunch. Green leafy vegetables are best. Now you’re having Meat, Veggies, Nuts and Seeds (read oils as well) for lunch, Meat, Nuts and Seeds for breakfast. Notice that this allows for a delicious, “American” Christmas-style feast for dinner void of any restriction. You don’t have to “make excuses” for family that you “can’t eat that.”

The week of December 28th have Meat, Veggies, Nuts and Seeds for Dinner too. Notice this allows for small snacking windows that will help you clear up any Holiday Left-Overs. Don’t try to poison yourself with this food, but feel free to enjoy it.

This will take us to January 1st. On that day add Mid-meal snacks as fruit and nuts, or dessert as fruit. We now begin 90-Days Clean. Eat Meat and Veggies, Nuts and Seeds, Some Fruit, Little Starch, and No Sugar.

Monitor your workouts and improvements. Take Pre-pictures if you’d like. You’ll all make a large shift on your health spectrum during this time. Everyone will see large performance gains (just in time for Sectionals). Let” embrace the improvements.

51 thoughts on “091213 Your Resolution; Our Resolution

  1. Tara

    Will there be or could there be a meeting where we learn the in’s and out of what not to eat and whats ok? I know there is a wealth of information on the web with a pretty descriptive list, but thats not exactly helpful when its time to cook dinner and you don’t know where to even begin recipe-wise. I’d like to hear from our group what has worked and what hasn’t.

  2. Matt Baldwin

    Awesome idea. 90 days of clean. My prediction is: if people give up the processed junk for 90 days, they’ll never go back. At least not to where they were.

    I’ll think about going from 90% Paleo to 100% Paleo myself for the 90 days.

    By the way, Tara, and anyone else, if you ever want to consult about clean cooking and meal prep ideas, I’m always happy to talk menu.

  3. T-Bone

    I’ve been clean since October 12 with only 3 cheat days…one being last night after the competition, haha. The entire process has been much easier than I thought. And, Matt is right. After 90 days, you won’t even miss most of the things you thought you couldn’t live without. And, I’ve seen some pretty sweet changes in body composition and strength in a short period of time.

  4. Miriam

    I can do this. I agree with Tara; I would like a bit more info since I have a big family to cook for and also want to hear more about this diet for children and teens. We do not eat many processed foods but we do eat a lot of grains and pasta to keep costs down and stomachs full.

  5. Matt Baldwin

    Hi Miriam, although I am the chef at home, I don’t impose my eating habits on my family; the girls eat starches, and, with few exceptions, I don’t. “Eat little starch” is part of the CrossFit motto after all.

    To handle the “full” thing, what I do is make twice as many vegetables as I used to. For example, instead of just doing broccoli for everyone, I do broccoli and cauliflower. I usually try to hit three colors with the veggies in any one meal, so, two different steamed items and one raw item, or a mixed salad, etc. Americans eat so many processed foods they forget to peel up some carrots (could not be easier), chop them, and put them on the table with a meal.

    Leftover cold veggies, by the cupful, go into tupperware for my lunch, or go in my eggs at breakfast. For the girls I make small quantities of pasta (they don’t do many leftovers), or quality whole grains like wild or brown rice. Sometimes I partake of the wild rice (1/4 cup or less at a time).

    Kale. Kale. Kale. Kale!!! And collards.

    Acceptable Paleo starches are few, but many Paleo/Clean food advocates allow sweet potatoes. If you need a regular supply of acceptable starch, I suggest steaming/boiling/baking/braising/broiling (whatever) a couple of sweet potatoes every day. I like mine peeled, chopped, tossed in olive oil and salt, and roasted. They are great, cold or hot.

    The other thing to get into is all the lovely squash we have right now. Butternut squash rocks. Even pumpkin rocks.

    Adding expeller-pressed organic oils like coconut oil or olive oil directly to foods (cold or hot) is another great way to add calories and increase your sense of being full.

    When I first went clean I made a vow to try to cook every type of vegetable available in the grocery store. I’m still working on fulfilling that vow.

    Meat goes without saying of course.

  6. Miriam

    Matt, thank you, you just made this easy as can be re feeding me vs. the family. My kids would revolt if I took away their beloved pasta. My husband and I have been on the Atkins diet before–it sounds like Paleo is similar? If not, what are the key differences? Any highly recommended links to send around re this diet?

  7. kate

    I have heard this Kale bit before. But, what are we doing with the Kale???? Eating it raw? I guess I just see Kale as a GARNISH on the plate, not part of the meal?

  8. T-Bone

    “PS and who the hell would take pictures of themselves? Honestly…” HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    We usually eat Kale a few times a week. Saute with tomatoes, olive oil and a little bit of acid (lemon/lime juice or vinegar). We also do the same thing with chard. Saute wih onions and an acid. You can also bake Kale in the oven. Just drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. It is one of the kids favorite things.

  9. kate

    TC – i assume by acid you do NOT mean a hallucinogen. thanks for the ideas. the coconut oil – am i correct that this comes in a jar type container and it looks like that marshmellow cream stuff?

  10. T-Bone

    Kate, we could come up with mighty fine menu if we added hallucinogens! Yeah, the coconut oil comes in a jar. I think it is hard to saute with it because the smoke point is low, but you can bake with it and put it on things after. Ask Matt for the details…he knows all these things off the top of his head.

  11. tara

    So basically what we need to do is invite ourselves over to Matt’s house for a tasting party and extensive note taking? 😉

  12. J$

    I had eggs and canadian bacon for breakfast. I like this transition to paleo plan. I am very optomistic, but really late for work. Oh, and I definately need more chickens.

  13. M3

    squashes: it’s actually pretty easy to make a great soup. Just take acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash and bake them fully, scoop and puree, add spices to taste (i like a bit of curry, salt, pepper, paprika and cilantro) and there you are. Traditionally, i think, you add a bit of heavy cream but I’ve cooked it with and without.

  14. Matt Baldwin


    @Kate and anyone else interested in Kale.

    Kale is awesome, high in protein, high in antioxidants, high in fiber, low glycemic, very filling, and savory (it’s got Umami, IMHO).

    Kale can be eaten raw or cooked.


    1) RAW

    Wash Kale thoroughly. Remove thick parts of the stems from leaves by holding the stem and cutting along the seam of the leaf and stem (I use a single swiping motion with a sharp knife… be careful!). Chop the rest of the kale rather finely (to pieces between 1″ and 1/2″ in size). Dress this with olive oil, salt, and an acid (i.e. apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, etc.). Let sit for 15 minutes. Voilla, DELICIOUS.

    2) BOILED

    Follow steps 1 & 2 above. Rip Kale leaves into largish pieces. Boil some water with kosher salt in it. Put the Kale in. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Strain the Kale. Dress with an oil, sprinkle a little more salt on it. Eat these greens with hot sauce. Yum.

    3) STEAMED

    Follow steps 1 & 2 & 3 from first method. Steam the Kale for 10-12 minutes. Dress it with something you like and eat it.

    4) BRAISED

    Throw prepared Kale into your braising chicken, beef, or whatever, for the last 20 minutes. Enriches the broth, adds great flavor to the Kale.

    5) SAUTEED

    Sautee onion, garlic, shallots, whatever you like, in a nice high heat cooking oil like filtered expeller pressed organic canola. Throw in raw or cooked Kale. Stir until limp.

    Kale can be cooked and is delicious with Ham, Bacon, Onion, Garlic, Shallots, Mushrooms, Carrots, Beets, Parsnips, Turnips, Sesame Seeds, any acid, salt, oil, etc., etc., it’s just great.

    NOT A GARNISH! When you make Kale, if you are eating Paleo, pile your plate half full with Kale first, then add some meat and other veggies. Love it.

  15. Red Foot

    And another thing! Do beans work? If so, my dinner and probably lunch is going to be Sauteed sweet potatoes, kale, red, green and yellow peppers, onions, Irish banger sausages and black beans! YUM! Desert will be sliced apples and kiwis.

  16. Matt Baldwin

    Cavepeople were not vegetarians, period. But maybe there’s hope for vegetarians.

    Start by eliminating ALL added sugar. Then cut way down on superfluous starches (things made with flour, things bleached, things ground up from their natural state). These things are not giving you anything you need… at all. There are no appreciable nutrients in processed refined starches.

    If you miss those calories, add in fats like olive oil and nuts.

    If you were to take these minimal steps towards a clean diet, your vegetarianism would be a LOT more healthy than it probably is now.

    Some vegetarians eat a lot of dairy. I personally don’t think that’s vegetarian at all; it’s also not “paleo.” But without dairy, a “Paleo” vegetarian might have trouble getting sufficient protein.

    What if you REALLY want to do Paleo AND stay Vegetarian. Well…

    Some vegetarians eat eggs. Again, eggs are not really vegetables, are they? But anyway… I suggest eating WAY MORE egg whites. Like 8 more per day than you currently eat. These can be purchased in bulk if you have a problem discarding yolks or something. Both Loren Cordain (author of “The Paleo Diet”) and Barry Sears (the Zone diet guy) discourage excessive consumption of Egg Yolks.

    Other “vegetarians” eat fish. That’s not really vegetarianism at all as any person who has ever killed a fish can tell you but whatever. If you’re that kind of vegetarian, eat way more fish, too. Try to eat sustainable / low mercury types of fish.

    Since “Paleo” discourages beans, many vegetarians feel left out because these are one of the better sources of protein for the non meat crowd. Most legumes have, in terms of calories, about 33% protein and 66% starchy carbohydrate. Soy beans have more like 50/50%.

    Beans combined with rice and a bit of dairy can allegedly produce a whole protein similar to what is found in meat but the amount of carbohydrates that have to be consumed along with that protein in order to get adequate amounts of protein is astonishing.

    If a relatively typical 120 lb female (i.e. with 25% body fat) works out 3-5 times per week, she probably needs about 75-80 grams of protein per day. Lower body fat or higher lean body mass or more working out means more grams.

    That is equivalent to 10-11 oz. of fish, or 22 egg whites, 26 oz. of Edamame, 29 oz. of Tofu, or 5.25 cups of black beans per day.

    With that much fish or egg whites, you get no carbs, and you can get or stay lean.

    If you do it with Soy, you get some carbs, so 80g of protein from soy beans (Edamame) comes along with 80g or so of CHO; Tofu has fewer carbs; 29 oz. of Tofu has only 29g of carbs.

    But if you eat 5.25 cups of black beans you will get 214 grams of carbohydrates along with your protein. Besides producing massive quantities of unwanted flatulence, this amount of CHO daily will also likely lead to elevated insulin levels and certainly will not allow for changing your body composition.

    So, if I was a committed vegetarian, I would likely do a modified Paleo (permitting Soy, possibly permitting processed egg white protein powder). I would concentrate on cutting out processed shit first (sugar, flour, packaged foods, false meat products made from processed soy, etc.). And alcohol.


  17. Mr K

    I don’t know about the merits of this “paleo diet” but I will tell you what I chose to eat in preparation for the Carolina Fitness Challenge the night before.
    I started with a Pamlico Sound Black Sea Bass on Crab & Sweet Potato “Brandade” with Spicy Green Tomato Sauce & House-Cured Pancetta.
    Entree was Slow-Cooked Black Angus Beef Shortribs on Potato Puree with Southern Greens, Local Beans & Beets in Horseradish Vinaigrette, Star Anise-Port Jus.
    To wash it all down, I had a Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewery to quench my dry throat then a Rioja wine from the Montebuena Winery in Spain.
    I was watching my figure so I avoided dessert but did have a taste of my wife’s Hot Chocolate Cheesecake with Cool Coffee Cream.
    I don’t know if this diet improved my strength or stamina but I sure enjoyed eating it! Enough Said.

  18. Matt Baldwin

    Mr. K forgot to mention that he pulled 21 straight deadlifts at 225 the next day, as the start of his second WOD of the day. (Everything but the alcohol and the potatoes and whatever sugar was added to the sauces in Mr. K’s dinner was Paleo).

  19. Tom

    What if all you can cook are scrambled eggs? I wish I were joking, but I am going to take this seriously, so looks like Ill be spending more time in the kitchen. Or maybe give Matt a lot of tupperware.

  20. Miriam

    I need an “intervention.” I mentioned Paleo to the family. Hubby is already into unprocessed foods other than a few exceptions (alcohol, coffee, and other pleasures of life). I got a long lecture about calories being calories, whether consumed via Paleo or not, and that the key to being lean is consuming fewer calories than you expend, period. Oh, and this high protein diet rife with meats/fat will clog arteries, raise cholesterol, and in the long term is unhealthy particularly since we are not cavemen running around all day long hunting and gathering but instead crossfitting for an hour a day (and in my case only 3x/week) and mostly relatively sedentary otherwise. So, in order to convince my husband Dr. Science, where’s the science? Atkins if I recall had a long discussion about ketosis that was refuted by the medical community at large. Please illuminate.

    And again, a plea for what you all think are outstanding websites to find more about Paleo diet, the science behind it, and lots of good recipes. Many thanks, Miriam

  21. T-Bone

    Tom, trust me, all I could cook was scrambled eggs. No lie. I’ve managed 2 months, and I have even managed to make things that the rest of my family will eat, haha.

    Miriam, your husband and my husband need to get together. Brian makes slightly different points, but he is not a fan. I’m on my own with Paleo. Oh, and here is plenty of science out there. http://www.robbwolf.com. Cordain’s books are awesome…I have the Paleo Diet for Athletes if you want to borrow it. I’m too tired to think about more right now. However, Paleo is not in any way designed to send your body into ketosis.

  22. Red Foot

    Hey Miriam. One of the huge differences between Atkins and the Paleo is the fact that Atkins was all like, yeah, eat ALL the fatty, greasy bacon you can, and eat very little veggies because they are to high in Carbs! Paleo says, eat LEAN meats for one. And for another, it also says to eat a bunch of veggies, because they are considered healthy carbs. Check out the book the Paleo Diet, it has a ton of information, some of which I don’t personally follow, but it can answer a BUNCH of your questions. But yeah, as far as your husbands arguments, remind him that you’re supposed to be eating lean healthy meats and a ton of veggies! MUCH more healthy than Atkins.

  23. Matt Baldwin

    Also, Miriam, in terms of recommended books that deal with the science of diet, nutrition and food:

    Gary Taubes, “Good Calories, Bad Calories,”

    Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food,”

    Barry Sears, “Toxic Fat,”

    Loren Cordain, “The Paleo Diet”

    Mary and Dan Eades, “Protein Power”

    All of these books deal EXTENSIVELY with the science of health and diet, except Pollan, which deals with the human-science of diet and the food industry.

    As Taubes will show you, either in the article I linked above, or in more detail in his book, recent science on dietary fats and cholesterol demonstrate that dietary cholesterol in animal products is NOT the most important factor in the etiology of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries / heart disease).

    Tell your husband to interview a well trained cardiologist of recent vintage (out of fellowship or med school within the last 5 years).

    That cardiologist will likely tell him, over a breakfast of eggs and bacon, that the most important thing is the BALANCE of fats in your diet… monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats balance and counteract saturated fats of both medium chain and long chain triglycerides, and the most important thing is getting Omega 3 fatty acid in your diet.

    That’s what happened to me one morning, anyway.

  24. Ethan Fesperman


    I would concur with the others about the paleo deal. I have had great results/success making the requisite lifestyle changes. Even though I am a “true believer” in evolutionary biology as it relates to nutrition, educating/convincing others is a tough row to hoe. I am having this very conversation with my wife, Aidan Hoyal.

    In addition to the resources mentioned already, I would add these to VERY powerful tools:

    The Mark Sisson book, Primal Blueprint, which is found on the Mark’s Daily apple blog. Mark’s Daily Apple is a suggested link on the Crossfit Asheville website. This book is extremely well laid out and breaks down alot of the Paleo vs. conventional wisdom arguments. Can’t recommend this book enough. Enough science, but not overload.

    The other resource is the following link. The embedded video is about an hour, but one of the most enlightening nutrition studies I have seen in a long time….and I spend ALOT/Too much time educating myself. The accompanying text is very important to read, especially about the bloodwork of the participants :


  25. Red Foot

    Okay, here’s a question, I know the Paleo diet isn’t all that in to beans, but really? I just have issue imagining beans being bad. Black Beans? Garbonzo? Raw veggies and hummus seems like a very good for you snack. Is it really that bad?

  26. Micah

    I appreciate the discussion regarding vegetarianism. While I am not a vegetarian, I try to avoid eating a lot of meat and when I do, I often choose the happy/organic meat. One could argue that the way animals are farmed now is far from what the cavemen faced, even in the most optimal factory/farm environments today. I am very eager to do the Paleo purge, however I am a bit hesitant to dive into eating so much meat. I anticipate tweaking the strict Paleo thing a bit to adapt to my needs–I will continue to happily eat all the veggies that my loving husband so deliciously prepares, along with all the nuts, seeds, fruits, and water I already enjoy generously–with the addition of eggs & egg whites, lean meats, and the occasional beans (yes, I too, love hummus).

    Is there any further discussion regarding the current farming techniques and how that folds into the whole Paleo thing?

  27. Ethan Fesperman

    Red Foot,

    If you endeavor to pursue Paleo nutrition for health and to optimize performance, you are trying to manage three components:

    1)manage insulin load
    2)eliminate gut irritation
    3)reduce inflammation

    Beans, while having a decent amount of protein, fiber , potassium and antioxidants, have a high carb level. this was described well by Matt B in this thread. Beans also contain mild, natural plant toxins known as lectins. The occasional dip into hummus is not detrimental per say, but if beans are a typical component of your overall daily diet, that could be problematic. Beans increase your overall insulin load and lectins can irritate the gut, thus are counter to #1 and #2 above.

    Better off getting the protein, fiber, potassium and antioxidants from lean meats and veggies.

  28. Matt Baldwin

    I have written a little essay in defense of beans on my blog:


    It adds almost nothing to what Ethan has said, though. Beans aren’t “Paleo” … but a “clean eater” might eat a few now and then, so long as they don’t become a staple.

    Micah, I agree with you completely about the problem with industrially farmed meat. Paleolithic ancestors had to chase and hunt their game, and share the occasionally hunted animal with tribes of eaters. We go to the supermarket and take our pick of biologically questionable hormone and antibiotic laced corn fed meat. We can get as much as we want, and it’s not necessarily “good for us.”

    True paleo/primal eaters should prefer wild game to farmed meats; non-industrialized meats to industrial meats; organic to “natural;” lean cuts to fatty. That’s my hierarchy of desires. We live in a great area for getting quality, low environmental impact meats. Do your due diligence around here, and you can get local pig, lamb, beef, and organic fowl. Make friends with your local hunter, offer to house his or her freezer in your basement, and you can have venison. (Believe it or not that’s what I do).

  29. Ethan Fesperman


    If you are trying to optimize your individual health/performance and align with Paleo concepts, then we can agree to leave the “most meat production methodology is problematic for the earth” argument on the side for another day. While it is something that I might agree with, most people embracing paleo are trying to look,feel, perform better.

    IN addition to the unpleasant farming methods, most mass-harvested animals are pumped with hormones and fed a diet fortified with grains. No bueno. With the paleo shift in lifestyle, we are trying to stay away from grains(gut irritant) and chemicals. Nutritionally, this type meat is at the opposite end of the spectrum from fresh,lean, wild animals. It is high in Omega 6 fats. So if we are OPTIMIZING, then USDA certified organically raised grass fed is the way to go. These animals, while not wild, eat a diet similar to ancestors. They have significantly less Omega 6 and Higher Omega 3. Buffalo, Hickory nut farms meats, Warren Wilson meats, are excellent examples.

    Your concern about “so much meat”, should be shifted to “how much protein do I need on a daily basis”. Lean grass fed meat is the best source of protein and the protein requirements for an active person is 1g protein for LB of body weight. EX. I weigh in a 170lb, so 170g of protein for me. You can do some more research around protein requirements. Their are some differing theories out there. Matt B. has some info in a post above. I do not weigh and measure my food, but this is the kind of rationale you should be using, not “I am worried about eating so much meat”

  30. Red Foot

    I totally agree about the wild game as opposed to farmed meat. I’ve always thought about it like this: Everything that exists is simply made up of energy. Even emotions. You say a kind word to someone and they will probably experience a positive physical feeling. On the other hand, if you say a negative word to someone, they may experience a negative feeling. So if energy is powerful enough to effect us by words alone, how unhealthy must it be to consume food that has been treated in such a negative fashion it’s entire life? It seems to me, that considering the life something led before you consume it should be a Very important part of the paleo diet. A big part of the Paleolithic people to me is the fact that they lived in harmony with the Earth. They never took too much, they never thought to themselves, hey, I bet this cow would taste better if I took it when it was a baby and locked it in a cage for most of it’s young life and then killed and ate it. (VEAL) It goes without saying that we must kill to survive, everyday we are alive, something is dying to make us stay that way, whether you’re a vegetarian or an omnivore. That being said, I think the best we can do is to treat those things that die to keep us alive with the utmost respect. Honoring them in every way possible. Sorry, going off on a tangent here. But to sum up, wild game, organic, free range, chemical free food= GOOD. Chemically altered, tortured, disrespected food= BAD. That’s my opinion at least. Also, just a note, any one who hasn’t already, Try Bison instead of Beef. It tastes WAY better and is also WAY better for you!

  31. Ethan Fesperman

    I think this is a solid overall template (courtesy of Crossfit North in Seattle)

    OK – What Do I Eat?

    LEANing Challenge Guide to Eating


    * All of the lean meat, fish, seafood, eggs you can eat
    * All of the non starchy vegetables you can eat
    * Plenty of fruit
    * Moderate healthy fats
    * Moderate nuts and seeds
    * No grains or cereals at all
    * No legumes
    * No dairy products (eggs are meat)
    * No processed foods – make it yourself!
    * No sugars. Agave, organic honey, molasses, pure spun golden sunshine….it doesn’t matter. They are all equally bad for you.
    * No artificial sweeteners. These are not food! Creepy laboratory products with sketchy safety records, artificial sweeteners have been shown to produce an insulin response.


    “In order to get enough protein and calories you should eat animal food at almost every meal” (Cordain, Page 101)

    Many different kinds of meat will work well for you. Here are some guidelines:

    – Animals, including fish, raised in commercial farms are not healthy so try to get

    § Grass fed beef

    § USDA certified organic meat

    § Wild fish

    § Locally raised animals

    – If unable to do any of the above, then eat the leanest cuts you can and trim visible fat.

    – Eating the fat of healthy fish, birds and animals is good for you. Eating the fat of unhealthy creatures is not.

    – Eggs are good. Eggs from birds allowed to forage and run around are better.

    – Buffalo, elk, venison and other types of wild game are excellent choices if you can get them.


    Time to get creative. Non starchy vegetables should be a big part of each meal. Virtually all vegetables offer excellent nutritional value.

    – When possible choose organic, locally grown vegetables that are in season. Each of these factors will improve nutritional value.

    РExperiment with saut̩ing, roasting and grilling your veggies. Try different recipes and different ethnic foods. Learn to use herbs and spices. This stuff should taste good!

    – Peppers, squashes, eggplant, garlic, leeks, onions broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, carrots, green, cabbage, celery, kale, dandelion (yes! dandelion) spinach, tomatoes, radish, parsnips, mushrooms….

    – Avoid starchy vegetable – potatoes, etc. If you must eat starch (it happens) try yams and sweet potatoes.

    – Avoid legumes. Peanuts, beans, peas, lentils and soybeans should be avoided.


    A paleo diet allows and encourages lots of fruit consumption. There are a few issues with fruit consumption though. We need to consider how the fruit was grown as well as the type of fruit to evaluate nutritional value. We also need to consider pesticide exposure.

    – If you can grow your own fruit or pick wild fruit – go for it!

    – Scavenge the local farmers market for fresh local seasonal fruit. Organic is best.

    – Try to avoid fruit from far away. Flying in kiwis from New Zealand is not really helping our health.

    – Avoid GMO (genetically modified organism) fruit. Period.

    – A little fruit juice occasionally can be okay but, fruit juice is really candy.

    – Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to minimize pesticides.

    – Some fruits like bananas have a high glycemic load and should be avoided if you are trying to loose fat.

    Berries! Eat lots of berries!


    Filling and nutritious. Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium. It is possible to screw up your fat profile with nuts though. Lots of nuts have an unacceptably high omega 6 / omega 3 ratio. Here are the best choices:


    Macadamia nuts


    Nuts in moderation are very healthy but overeating them can stall weight loss. Cashews especially are delicious but surprisingly high in carbohydrate and contain too much omega 6.

    Peanuts are not nuts. Do not eat peanuts or peanut butter. Peanuts contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause some real health problems.

    Note: Lots of packaged, shelled nuts are covered in trans fats! Read the label! Best to buy raw, unsalted nuts and spice them at home. When in doubt, buy walnuts and/or macadamia nuts.


    Fat is good for you. Fat is essential to your well being and happiness. (This is not hyperbolic writing. Having the proper fat profile makes a huge difference to your mental outlook and moods). Fat is a great source of energy. Fat triggers our sense of being full. Fat is an essential part of many of your cellular and hormonal processes. We sicken and die fairly quickly without adequate intake of essential fats.

    However….there are many bad fats in our food supply.

    Fat from healthy animals is good for you! Chicken, duck, goose, lamb, beef and pork fat can all be eaten and is an excellent choice for cooking because of heat stability. Lard is internal fat from around the kidneys. Lard from naturally (not grain) fed pork and beef is a very good choice. Lard from grass fed animals is hard to find though, so butter can be used instead.

    Butter. Not really paleo, butter contains milk solids and water as well as fat. Butter from grass fed cows is very good for cooking and enhancing the flavor of steamed vegetables.

    Making butter better! (More paleo)

    Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Remove butter from heat and let stand for a few minutes, allowing the milk solids to settle to the bottom. Skim the clear yellow liquid from the top and strain into a container. You have just made Ghee! Ghee stores well frozen.

    Coconut oil is good for you and a good choice for cooking. Choose organic, cold processed coconut oil.

    Olive oil is very healthy. Go for the extra virgin, cold pressed and use liberally. Olive oil does not have great heat stability so use something else for high heat frying.

    Flaxseed oil is very good but…it should not be heated at all and oxidizes rapidly. Store flaxseed oil in the refrigerator and use quickly.

    Fats to Avoid:

    Trans Fats – fats damaged by heat. Trans fats can be extremely destructive to our health. Trans fats can be made at home!! Start with a healthy, unrefined oil, naturally high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids – apply excessive heat and presto! Health wrecking trans fats. Easy!

    Hydrogenated and/or partially hydrogenated oils. Terrible! Reread the last paragraph.

    Canola – should be avoided. Canola has a very good omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio. However, to be used commercially it has been genetically modified, highly refined, partially hydrogenated and deodorized. Yikes!

    Margarine – see trans fats.

  32. Micah


    I appreciate the continuation of my query…it does help me get a little bit closer to the 90-day resolution. Robert and I are suckers for Snow Creek sausage, Hickory Nut Gap & Warren Wilson meats–and there’s a guy out in Barnardsville who is our hunter we’ve befriended for some damn fine steak and lamb. I have fond memories of helping my father make lamb sausage from a whole side of lamb. As a 10-year old I was given the job of cleaning out the casings for the sausage by sliding them on the faucet and flushing out their contents. What I didn’t know then was what they were, still I cherish those memories of an entire weekend being dedicated to creating multiple kinds of sausage. I see a very lovely connection between the localvore diet, the whole Slow Foods movement, and the Paleo diet. WE are indeed blessed living here with so many amazing farmers and restaurants (not to mention the beer…ugh).

    And cheers to the last posting by Red Foot (who are you?). I am in the utmost agreement!

  33. Matt Baldwin

    Everything Seattle’s site says is good except for that last bit about Canola oil.

    Canola gets a bad rap. It is not a GMO, for example. Like all industrial agriculture crops, all our veggies, etc., Canola is a cultivar of something that, in the wild, is less impressive.

    If you buy cold-processed expeller-pressed Canola oil (Spectrum brand is my preference) then you’re getting a really good product that sautes and fries foods well and tastes neutral or even good.

    The kernel of truth in what they say about Canola is that commercial bulk Canola has been heat and chemically processed and does not have the healthy monounsaturated fats advertised on the package. Spectrum does NOT process any of their oils like that.

    Spectrum also makes killer Canola Mayonnaise, with almost no egg yolk in it. I just had some awesome Tuna Salad at lunch made with Spectrum brand Canola mayo and I’m perfectly satisfied.

  34. Ethan Fesperman

    I often find it very helpful to hear real world examples of how folks implement nutrition/training on a day to day basis. For example, I learned alot about Kale from Matt B.’s post and served up a mess of that with some Bison last night to my family.(3 year old opted out)

    Here is what I run with on a typical day:

    two cups of half/calf coffee with a bit of organic heavy cream
    some probiotic


    *Omega 3 enriched eggs (scrambled, in a frattata, etc)-Sometimes add some chicken sausage
    *Mix tablespoon coconut flakes, tbsp almond butter, and tablespoon of 100% cacao nibs (from French Broad Chocolate factory) spread on a few slices of apple
    *Sometimes go with half a can of coconut milk or 1/2 avacado instead of the above fat combo
    *1 tablespoon high grade Omega 3 fish oil (nordic natural lemon) -liquid gold
    * 2000iu vitamin D

    Mid morning Snack – some folks do without snacking, but I am not one of those people
    1 Bilinkski’s Chicken Sausage (Earth Fare)
    abit of (almonds or walnuts or coconut milk or avacado)

    Typically I eat a giant mixed salad with sunflower seeds and olive oil/vinegar- have some animal protein mixed in

    Afternoon snack

    Same as morning + cup black coffee

    Poach recipes off various Paleo sites or wing it with boatloads of veggies/lean meat/good fats for instance, tonight I am making a large pot of paleo “spaghetti” sauce. I shred a bunch of purple cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, mix with mushroom, black olives, frozen spinich, garlic, red pepper. Mix in herbs/spices, no sugar tomato sauce, 1lb lean turkey, 1 pack chicken sausage simmer. For our son I make some pasta, but Aidan and I just nosh on this. Dinner and lunch for tomorrow.

    Sleepytime tea with 3tsps Natural Calm Magnesium powder (earth fare or greenlife)
    A bit of zinc

    Call it a day….You will notice I do not eat alot of fruits. The fructose was affecting my bloodsugar and I was having a hard time leaning out. With all this stuff, you try/experiment and see what works for YOU!

  35. Corey

    I apologize for not responding to these messages sooner. I have been busy/not had internet access in the time since I posted. As such, I can hardly respond to all of the comments thus far. Matt has done a great job as far as I have read.

    What has not been mentioned, and I find is often over-looked in literature today, is the role of the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems.

    Myriam… ALL the factors you husband discusses are actually useful short-term physiological changes to a stressor. Energy consumption/connective tissue degradation and injury triage (wound clotting among others)/immune suppression are the result of sympathetic nervous system facilitation, also known as Fight or Flight. I would be more than willing to meet with your entire family to discuss the role of physiological stress, diet, activity, mental status, and decision-making regarding all these factors.

    What I will also do is give this lecture on New Years Day at a Paleo Pot-Luck. We are planning on running through a number of shorter workouts the late morning and have a Pot-Luck to follow. Whoever brings food is asked to bring recipe cards and we’ll make copies of them all and hand them out for everyone to share. During/after eating I’ll give a lecture on the Why’s and Impacts of Paleo in a CrossFitting lifestyle. Matt or Ethan, perhaps you’d like to give lectures as well?


  36. MIike

    Looking forward to the challenge, the potluck and this thread sums it all up! Great questions and answers! I do not have anything to add other than I am a good cook and have been eating 80 – 90% Paleo and feed a family of five who do not. If anyone wants recipes or any help making these changes i am willing to help, although I am not a writer and therefore prefer answering questions verbally.

  37. Katie

    The Paleo pot luck on Jan 1 sounds great. I will have to decline my other invitation to a bloody mary/ mimosas brunch that day since I’ll be off the sauce starting then. Ethan, I really appreciate the diet guidelines you posted from CF Seattle.

  38. Miriam

    A series of lectures on Paleo cross fitting lifestyle on New Years day sounds like a splendid way to spend the first day of 2010. If I tell anyone outside of this group what I am doing, they will think I am totally insane.

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