30 Day Challenge: Kickin It Old School

"Kickin It Old School" is a challenge that I've been super excited about and waiting to bring to you cause honestly eating Paleo has changed my life. To be blatantly honest, even as a personal trainer, at one point in my life I got out of shape and gained a lot more weight than I ever was comfortable with. You see I took a 3 year break from training several years ago and worked for GNC. During that time I used to be a bit overweight, constipated, bloated, depressed, and completely frustrated with myself. I would workout when I can, but just felt like I was spinning my wheels going nowhere. At one point I even went on Rhodiola Rosea and some other stuff just to pep me up and get through the day.I ballooned up to about 190lbs and at 5'6" that's not healthy at all.

One day I decided enough was enough and I made my change. I did it cold turkey and pretty much instantly because I knew I had to. Through some friends and reading I was doing I discovered great resources that changed my life. I began eating in two different ways. The first was Intermediate Fasting where I ate very little during the day and consumed the volume of my food in the evening. The other thing I did was began eating only Paleo type foods. In doing this I actually lost close to 40lbs inside a pretty short time and began feeling energized and healthy again. Directly because of this I got back into fitness coaching and wanted to pass along my knowledge to others. It is my hope for you that you will experience results as I have and that this challenge takes you where it has me.

This month we're going back. In fact we're goin waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. Some of you might remember this time, but most I'd venture to say probably not. Let's jump into our time machine and journey back to the time right before the time that time forgot.

Get all that? Ok good. Ready???!!! Kick on the Flux Capacitor, set the time circuits to 10,000 B.C. and let's go!!!!!

We're gonna go all the way back to before agriculture was invented and where our ancestors were the healthiest in their balanced nutrition of the truest sense of that phrase. When people say eat a balanced diet we normally think of the Food Pyramid and eating whole grains, veggies, fruits, etc. BUT what is not conveyed in that message is who's making money in it by defining exactly what foods are in the Pyramid to eat. Trace each of the most popular foods in the Food Pyramid and you find big companies and the government earning a big buck on the food products we purchase to consume.

Most of this is also a revolving door because there isn't money in good health. If people weren't sick then doctors and hospitals wouldn't be needed as much. There isn't any money in healthy people. Without going all conspiracy theory on you... Misinformation and sophisticated swayed studies all the systematic toxification of our environment and food system.

Monsanto's, one of the largest agriculture companies in the world, motto is this: "Better living through modern chemistry". That about sums it up right there why we need to protect ourselves and our families from the modern era of food production. There is a better way and it's very, very simplified and basic to follow. I challenge you to take the journey for 30 Days and experience a better, greater, and healthier well-being.

Remember: pre-challenge, you probably “feel fine” eating grains, sugar, beans, & dairy every day. If you’ve been eating this way your entire life, your body doesn’t know anything else. In that case, you’ll want to fully drop it for at least a month to get an accurate assessment of how you feel and how your body will respond. Thus the 30 Day Challenge. Together we'll journey to experience a better version of you to become the best you can be. Read on... and I share more below.

Paleo Eating In A Nutshell

Paleo eating is entirely based on the foods that our hunter/gatherer ancestors ate during the pre-agriculture or paleolithic era of about 10,000 years ago. Essentially what this means is to eat lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The big picture of human nutrition took a turn approximately 10,000 years ago when agriculture came into play.  When this began "foods" such as cereal grains, legumes, dairy, vegetable oils, salt, alcohol, and refined sugars sprung up and etched their way into our current western society.  The resulting effects have been adversely effecting our health ever since and are continuing trends that show an even greater increase in many "diseases of civilization", such as diabetes, celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases, obesity, hypertension, certain cancers, acne, polycistic ovary syndrome, myopia, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, etc. (Source: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faqs/#Basics)

We Will Eliminate or Restrict For 30 Days

Refined sugars, grains, and other high-glycemic carbohydrates such as baked goods, sweets, bread, rice, pasta, etc.
Processed foods, transfats, and unhealthy oils such as vegetable(aka soy) oil, canola oil, etc.
Added salt
High sugar beverages like soda and juice

We Will Eat Plenty Of The Following For 30 Days

Fresh fruits and vegetables
Lean meats and seafood
Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and oils such as unrefined coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, and almond oil.

Your Paleo Meal/Food Test Question

Ask yourself one question if you are in doubt that a certain food or food like substance is Paleo or not. If the answer to your question is yes, then it’s a food that your body can best digest, is "Paleo", within the 30 Day Challenge Rules, and good for you to eat. If your answer is no, don't eat it.
Here's your challenge question: “Is _______ food (or item including all of its ingredients) one that I could go out into the wild, pick/hunt and eat with minimal processing?

A Meal Is Paleo If It Contains

Meats/Eggs, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Fruits

These Foods Are Not Paleo

Grains, breads, legumes, cereals, rice, dairy products (eggs are not considered dairy)*
Sugars, artificial sweeteners.
Salt: Try to add very little, or no salt (see section below), to your foods.
Sugar: Limit "Natural" Sugars: Agave, cane, honey, molasses, etc.

Eating Out & When Travelling

Restaurants: Give compliments to the server, manager/owner, & chef regarding the menu and its items; however briefly explain that you are doing a challenge for your gym.  Most chefs and restaurant owners will jump at the opportunity to impress a guest so kindly ask them to make you something with your choice of meat and tons of veggies. Ask them to use olive oil as well.

Fast Food & Most Restaurants: Ask yourself the Test Question. If the answer is no to any part of it (ex. the sauce, marinade, topping, breading, croutons, rub, etc), don’t eat it, or have that be a cheat meal.

Alcohol: 1 alcoholic beverage = 1 non-paleo/cheat meal. 1 alcoholic beverage = 1 beer or 1 shot or 1 glass of wine. Remember those pictures in high school health class as to what “1 serving” is? That’s the one.

Supplement Shakes and Bars: This is something you just don't need and are never in such a rush or hurry that you necessitate this. My recommendation: EAT REAL FOOD and eat it when it's available to you. That's the Paleo way.

Why We Shouldn't Eat Grains, Beans, Dairy, Etc.

Grains(See Q&A below), and especially gluten containing grains. Gluten is a prolamine protein peptide associated to many diseases typical of western civilization such as Celiac Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Ataxia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and others. Beans, Legumes, Soy products(tofu and tempeh are also sources of soy), Dairy, Salt, Alcohol, and Refined Sugar should not be consumed when eating Paleo. Our bodies become acidic and toxic when we consume these on a regular basis. Being acidic is the environment needed for diseases to flourish.

More About Grains (Source: Dr. Loren Cordain) Q: Aren't whole grains good sources of fiber, minerals, and B vitamins? How can I get these nutrients if I cut down or eliminate grains from my diet?

A: Cereal grains are minimally digestible without milling (grinding) and cooking. The milling serves to breakdown the cell walls and cooking gelatinizes the starch thereby making both the starch and protein within the grain digestible inside the human GI tract. On a calorie-by-calorie basis, whole grains are lousy sources of fiber, minerals, and B vitamins when compared to the lean meats, seafood, and fresh fruit and veggies that dominate The Paleo Diet. For example, a 1,000-calorie serving of fresh fruits and vegetables has between two and seven times as much fiber as does a comparable serving of whole grains. In fruits and veggies most of the fiber is heart-healthy, soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol levels -- the same cannot be said for the insoluble fiber that is predominant in most whole grains. A 1,000-calorie serving of whole grain cereal contains 15 times less calcium, three times less magnesium, 12 times less potassium, six times less iron, and two times less copper than a comparable serving of fresh vegetables. Moreover, whole grains contain a substance called phytate that almost entirely prevents the absorption of any calcium, iron, or zinc that is found in whole grains, whereas the type of iron, zinc, and copper found in lean meats and seafood is in a form that is highly absorbed.

Compared to fruits and veggies, cereal grains are B-vitamin lightweights. An average 1,000 calorie serving of mixed vegetables contain 19 times more folate, five times more vitamin B6, six times more vitamin B2 and two times more vitamin B1 than a comparable serving of eight mixed whole grains. On a calorie-by-calorie basis, the niacin content of lean meat and seafood is four times greater than that found in whole grains. Click here to read more about cereal grains.

Mark Sisson, author of "The Primal Blueprint", on dairy:

I think dairy is less than ideal for human consumption, though I do like yogurt because it’s a fermented food. Raw dairy is healthy and enjoyable for many people, but generally, I think quality meat is better for you than quality milk. Less processed cheeses such as ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese and mascarpone are superior to more heavily processed cheddar, colby and jack. I think a little cream and butter are fine in cooking, because I don’t fear saturated fat, but I am concerned about folks who substitute lean, nutritious meat with highly-processed cheese.

You could listen to Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet, and other strict paleos who adamantly oppose all forms of it. They offer a number of reasons why dairy doesn’t belong in the human diet – mainly lactose intolerance and casein intolerance. Yet, the truth is,  lactose (a form of sugar) and casein (a form of protein) are both found in human breast milk, so each of us – and certainly every one of our ancestors – was not only able to tolerate but to thrive for some time during infancy depending on both of these “questionable” molecules. That’s the main thing that makes eliminating dairy a little less clear cut than eliminating grains and legumes.

In the end, is there a definitive stamp of Primal approval, or Primal disapproval? I just can’t go either way. Sometimes, the correct path is to admit that you simply don’t know. You can read all the blogs you want, pour over every comment, follow every link, and pontificate about every hunter-gatherer group on the planet, but if you don’t try things out for yourself – either by trying certain dairy products or by eliminating them and noting the effects – it’s all just speculation and hearsay. In the murky, milky world of dairy, it’s up to you to decide your ideal path.

Fruit Consumption

Dr. Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet book, recommends to eat fresh fruits as a regular part of your diet; however ifyou are overweight or are insulin resistant you will need to limit their intake. Fruits such as avocados, lemons, limes, tomatoes, olives, figs, dates, and cucumbers are fine. Their alkalinity and fiber content is of great benefit to regularly consume these.

Check out all the common fruits alongside where their sugar stands with candy: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/fruits_table.html

Added Salt

Paleo eating habits also focus on low salt and this includes sea salt as well. A common practice during the Paleolithic age was simply consuming foods as they were naturally which excluded salting foods. Low Salt diets keep the body in a more alkaline state which directly improves conditions such as insomnia or exercise induced asthma.

Recipes & Food Substitutions

In case you are wondering exactly how to prepare your meals while eating Paleo here's some GREAT recipes and substitutions for everyday Western Diet foods that will bring your body to a perfectly balanced health state.

Click Here for super yummy recipes & food sub ideas.

Got Specific Questions

If you have any specific questions regarding Paleo eating here's Dr. Loren Cordain's web page FAQs. He addresses pretty much anything you can think of from weight loss on Paleo eating to the science behind it. http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faqs/

Best of luck, and again, it is my hope for you that you will experience results as I have and that this challenge takes you where it has me.


If this was easy everyone would be doing it. Don't say you can't do something. How do you know? Why can't you? Why not? I challenge you to take the Kickin It Old School journey and explore the new you!

Comment Section: I'm looking forward to hearing your experiences, struggles, benefits, questions, successes, and whatever else you care to share in the comment section of this post. I love hearing from you. :)