Spring Leaning: CF Seattle.

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Dozens of gyms instituted various flavors of “Paleo Challenges” as a consequence of information folks gathered from the nutrition seminars I provided for CrossFit. People left the seminar armed with a solid knowledge of food quality, how to proportion that quality food for special populations and most importantly, how to trouble shoot folks who were stuck or not succeeding with standard protocols. We have testimonials from dozens of gyms as to the efficacy of a food-quality oriented program. As a gym owner many things are important but none more so than getting your folks results. What we heard time and again was that these qualitative interventions produced significant buzz for a gym due to the remarkable physical transformations of the participants. that’s good for your folks and that is good for your business. There are a ton of ways to tackle a nutrition program in a gym but it;s important to tinker and always assume a better option is waiting for you to find it. if you take these basic ideas and improve upon them please let me know so we can pass this information on.

The first piece is from Nancy Meenen, Co-owner of Level 4/CrossFit Seattle. It describes what they did in their “Spring Leaning” and what the results were. Teh second piece is from Dave Werner, Co-owner of Level 4/CrossFit Seattle and developer of the Athletic Skills chart of which we base our class structure at NorCal Strength & Conditioning. Dave, in addition to being a dear friend is one of the unsung heroes of CrossFit. He started the first affiliate (I played a small hand in all that). Quite early Dave saw a need for a yearly competition pitting the best CrossFitters in the world against one another. This was the first iteration of the “CrossFit Games” called the CrossFit Championships. I already mentioned the Athletic Skills standards which Dave generated not with the intention of the document being a dead, end-all-be-all commentary on athletic performance, but rather an attempts at introducing order to a randomized training program for the purpose of producing better results. Ironically, I shot down Dave’s idea initially. Luckily, he new better than to listen to me as we now base our entire class structure around these skill standards.

Anyway, here is that material describing the spring leaning. Thanks to Dave and Nancy for being great friends and for running one of the best gyms in the CrossFit community.

LEANing Challenges at Level 4 CrossFit Seattle

Ideas and How-to

Dec 2009

For years we have tried to help our clients lean out and achieve their look-good-naked goals.  We would start a conversation with them regarding the principles of eating well, and then talk about implementing the Zone.  What we found is that 1) it’s tough to explain the Zone quickly and 2) those who tried the Zone diet almost never made it a lifestyle change but only a temporary habit.  What we needed for our clients was a healthier way of eating that could be understood quickly and implemented immediately.  We also needed this way of eating to be a permanent change for our clients.    98% of our clients are not elite athletes and never will be. They are decent athletes, who are smart, hard working professionals and family people who most likely will never compete in anything.  They love CrossFit, they love to work hard, and they want to be and feel healthy.  The other problem we had with implementing the Zone diet with our clients is that we were not following it ourselves.

In March of 2009 Robb Wolf and Nicki Violetti came up to our box and Robb gave his nutrition lecture and also talked about a Challenge they did with their clients atCrossFit NorCal.  Between learning about Paleo eating and it’s simplicity, as well as hearing and seeing pictures of the success of their Challenge with their clients, it all clicked for me and I realized we had to offer this at our place.  Robb talked about the importance of the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos.  He mentioned that he had always resisted doing this for a number of reasons, but finally admitted to it’s importance.  He said this was a key motivating factor for people.  They wanted to make sure there was some visible change in their ‘After’ picture.  Robb had also mentioned that the people that wrote down what they ate, had the most success.  Based on these principles, we came up with our own LEANing Challenges at Level 4 CrossFit Seattle.  We have done 2 so far;  a 2009 Spring LEANing Challenge  (Dave, of course, came up with this name J) and a 2009 Fall LEANing Challenge.    Below I will discuss the exact details of how we ran our Challenges and some things to think about if you run one.

CHALLENGE DETAILS:

-7 weeks long (Less than 2 months!!  Anyone can do this)

-1 hour Lecture on Paleo eating a week before the Challenge begins
– Eating is Paleo
– Cost is $30.00 (cash) to be put into a kitty
– The kitty is divided in 2 for a FEMALE winner and a MALE winner (if you have a small group, you might want to just have 1 winner)

-In order to win, Food Logs must be maintained and submitted each week via a Yahoo Group; examples of Food Logs below
-3 ‘Before’ pictures taken: front view, side view and back view. Men are in shorts; Women are in shorts and sports bra/bikini top

-3 ‘After’ pictures taken within 2 days of the finish of the Challenge, no exceptions
-Trainers pick the top 5 men and top 5 women whose body composition changed the most (based on pictures only)
-LEANing participants vote on the top 10 to determine the Winners
-The 2 winners each win half of the kitty plus one month of unlimited classes
-The pictures taken are PRIVATE. The pictures of the top 5 men and top 5 women will be viewed on paper at the gym to determine the winners

PICTURES ONLY:

People have asked me why we don’t weigh participants and take body fat measurements, along with other vitals.  There are several reasons.  In regards to weighing, some people don’t actually loose that much weight but the change to their body is significant.  Again, people want to look good naked and pictures don’t lie.  How the participant looks is what matters to them and determines the winner. Body fat measurements can be very inconsistent and it takes more time.  Other vitals take time and money as well.  The LEANing Challenges we offered took a significant amount of my time in regards to taking pictures, emailing folks details, getting people signed up on the Yahoo Group (several people found this challenging) along with our trainers time spent talking with clients outside of class about eating and Dave giving his lecture.  Its all well worth it, but it is important to consider keeping things simple.  The health benefits everyone receives from eating better is a given and will be numerous.  No amount of tests can sum up these benefits and changes.

It’s important to emphasize the privacy of the pictures that are taken, especially these days.  All the voting on people’s Before and After pictures happened by viewing these photos on paper.  I do send every participant’s Before and After pictures to them via their email address.  I keep the pictures on a private computer.

FOOD LOGS:

One of our clients came up with the good idea of sharing the food logs on a Yahoo Group.  Any Group service will do, of course.  We only allow people that have done or are doing the Challenge to join the Group.  This is a great place for people to ask questions and share ideas.

The Food Logs have several great side benefits.  One of them being that all those doing the Challenge can see what others are eating and get great ideas from it.  Almost everyone gets stuck in a rut and seeing what someone else is eating for breakfast can often help them break out.  The accountability that the Food Log offers should not be underestimated.  Some folks said the Food Log was a more motivating factor for them than the pictures.  Yes, some people will not write everything down or be totally honest.  That’s okay.  The pictures don’t lie.

We kept the food log requirements very simple.  If people wanted to be really exact in describing what they ate, they could.  Or they could be fairly general.  Everything they ate, though, had to be written down, including beverages.  People will fall off the wagon big time.  Be sure to tell them that this WILL happen and it’s okay.  Just get right back on again.

Several people told us they wanted to do the LEANing Challenge but they couldn’t give up this or that.   We didn’t care.  Even if our clients just made one change, such as cutting out high-fructose corn syrup, that was good enough for us.  Often, once people start writing down what they eat, it’s only then that they can see for themselves the changes they need to make.

For each Challenge we’ve found that there are a few people who will jump into the Challenge by starving themselves.  They come into the gym and report dizziness and that they feel awful.  This is where the Food Log is really handy.   Look at what they are eating and often it will let you know that they are not eating nearly enough.

We’ve also found that there are few people whose body will not switch into a fat-burning mode very quickly. Hence, they do not see any results for weeks.  This can be very discouraging and makes it hard for these people to stick with the Challenge.  Encourage these folks to hang in there.   The changes will come.   (This is, of course, a very generalized statement.  They might have other underlying factors that are keeping them from burning fat).

Below are two Food Log examples from our 2009 Fall LEANing Challenge.  Both of these people had excellent results – though one greater than the other.

First Example:

Monday (date)

-2 oz chicken breast, 1 apple, 6 almonds.

-12 almonds, 7 oz carrots, Omelet: 4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 1/3 of a bell

pepper, 1/4 cup mushrooms, 3/4 cup salsa

-4 oz chicken breast, 1 apple, 21 almonds, 2.5 cups steamed collard greens

-2 oz chicken breast, 24 almonds

-4 oz chicken breast, 1 apple, 12 almonds, 2.5 cups of rhutabaga

-1 peanut butter cookie

Tuesday (date)

-12 almonds, 1/2 orange, Omelet: 4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 1/3 of a bell

pepper, 1/4 cup mushrooms, 3/4 cup salsa, sausage from buffet

-2 oz chicken breast, 7 oz carrots, 6 almonds

-4 oz chicken breast, 1 apple, 21 almonds, 2.5 cups steamed collard greens

-2 oz chicken breast, 24 almonds

-Arby’s large roast beef sandwich (no bun), 1 apple, 30 almonds

Second Example:

Monday (date):

Breakfast:

2 hard-boiled O3 eggs

1 can smoked trout

banana

Snack:

1 Tootsie Roll

Dinner:

bison burger w/ guacamole and salsa

mushrooms

1 Coke Zero

Snack:

turkey sausage bits

grapes

Snack:

2 oz cashews

avocado

Tuesday (date):

Breakfast:

hard-boiled O3 egg

banana

1 can smoked trout

Snack:

turkey sausage bits

avocado

3 mint chocolate discs

Lunch:

beef jerky

2 oz cashews

grapes

1 Coke Zero

Dinner:

2 chicken sausages w/ mustard

cucumber salad w/ rice vinegar

1 Coke Zero

Snack:

turkey salami

LECTURE:

Dave gives a one hour (okay 75 minutes but he tries to keep it to 60 minutes) lecture plus Q&A before we kick off our LEANing Challenge.  We hold the lecture on a Saturday afternoon.  We also take the ‘Before’ pictures of most people participating in the Challenge at the lecture.  During this lecture Dave covers the ‘Why’ and the ‘What’ of eating Paleo.  I have included a document that Dave wrote up called ‘Okay – What do I Eat’ which is a very practical document to help people get started eating Paleo.

No matter where you are in your nutritional knowledge, consider giving a lecture to your clients.  Even if you are not comfortable with a lot of the theories and metabolic details of eating Paleo, you can certainly speak about the benefits of healthier eating habits and talk extensively regarding the ‘What do I eat’.  Be prepared to answer lots of questions that sound like, “Okay, but what about protein bars?”  “Okay, but what about my one glass of wine every evening?”   Be practical in your answers while emphasizing the principles of eating healthy.

PROMOTING YOUR BOX:

Several of our clients have given us permission to display their Before and After pictures on the web and in a folder at the gym.    Some of the pictures that are most motivating and powerful for our clients or potential clients are NOT the big losers’ but the folks that lost those 10 pounds that have been bugging them for years!  This is a very compelling motivator for many of our clients to participate in a Challenge.  Sure, we have some larger folks at our gym but the majority of our clients have an extra 5 – 15 pounds that they would like to loose to get their 20-something leanness back that they remember having at one point in their life.   Needless to say, clients will be talking A LOT about your box if you help them look better naked.

MISCELLANEOUS DETAILS:

For our first LEANing challenge in the Spring of 2009 we had 70 people sign up.  We initially thought maybe 30 – 40 people would sign up so we had decided that there would be 1 winner and that person would take all.  It was pretty fun handing over $2100 cash to the winner!  In retrospect we thought it would be better to have a Female and Male winner for future Challenges.

I suggest announcing the top 5 or 10 winners when everyone meets to vote on the winner.  We learned this the hard way.  We told all the participants who the top 5 winners were in an email before we had our ‘big’ gathering for all the participants to vote on the winner.  Out of 70 people only 13 participants showed up and voted!  So for our second challenge, we announced the winners during the gathering and then voted.  We had 30 people vote the second time around.

In our first challenge, as I said, we had 70 people sign up.  55 of those people stuck with the Challenge, turned in all of their Food Logs and almost all of those 55 saw results.   We ran this Challenge from the last week in April to the middle of June.  This time frame was a little problematic because people started leaving on vacation in the middle of June so taking their ‘After’ picture had to be early and many couldn’t attend the Final Vote finale.  Having the challenge a few weeks earlier in the Spring would have made more sense.

In our second Challenge, we had 60 people sign up.  This Challenge went from the middle of September to the first week in November.  Only 29 people stuck with the Challenge!  We were really surprised at the drop-off rate.  We think it largely had to do with the fall-hibernation-need-for-comfort-food time of year.  But it was still a great success for those who stuck with it.  We will most likely continue to offer two Challenges a year, one in the early Spring and one in the Fall but we’ll know that in the Fall, to prepare people for the urge to start drinking hot chocolate every night around mid-October.

Several of our clients did both Challenges.  A couple of them made dramatic results each time.  But for some, it wasn’t until the second time around that they really committed to it or ‘got it’.  I fall into this category.  Making food changes is really dramatic and emotional for me and for a lot of people. Changing something like eating habits often takes several tries.  I encourage you to encourage your clients to try, try and then try again.  The Challenge is such a great vehicle to get your clients to try something new for just 7 weeks.

Best of luck to you and your box as you help your clients LEAN out!

OK – What Do I Eat?

LEANing Challenge Guide to Eating

SUMMARY

  • 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.

MEAT:

“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.

VEGETABLES:

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.

-       Experiment with sautéing, 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.

FRUIT:

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!

NUTS & SEEDS:

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:

Walnuts

Macadamia nuts

Pecans

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.

FATS:

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.

Peanut, cottonseed, soybean and wheat germ oils…Not good!

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  1. randy@crossfitdenver.com
    December 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    i like it. we are starting a “___?____-challenge” at CrossFit Denver 1/1/2010 and this is some great info to base it on…thanks!

  2. Kevin
    December 12, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Robb, once again in a single post you are providing more information that CFHQ on the subject of nutrition. Keep up the great work !

  3. Steve
    December 12, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Fantastic Post…….summarises the whole concept succinctly…many thanks for this.
    I have recently bought Primal Blueprint…..and this article broad strokes the subject greatly…..looking forward to hearing about your book, Robb…..
    Train Hard, Live Easy
    Steve

  4. Dan
    December 12, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Hey Robb,

    I’m trying to lean out. Is it OK to eat a small amount of fruit as a snack by itself or should I combine it with some protein and/or fat to try to blunt the insulin response?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  5. Donna Dyson
    December 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Hey Robb!

    Great post, we were looking to start a this after the holiday’s. It’s like you read my mind. Thanks for sharing.

  6. philssp
    December 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Robb- I am in the same boat as dan. i have cut down my fruits dramatically i am down to an apple with breakfast and a 8 oz of OJ with Whey post wod. I have seen great results in my performance just added 20 lbs to my deadlift yesterday. I am in the Q Course at Bragg and always try to get something kind of high glycemic(generally a shake or some walnuts and raisins or a banana) since we generally work out a couple times a day should i still do this cause i have been getting results still or should i go all in and stick to all real foods. The paleo diet is starting to catch on here with some people but the army nutrionists think that it only works for sedantary people and still push a higher carb diet I beg to differ!

  7. Dave Werner
    December 13, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Robb

    Thank you for the props and thank you for all the great information over the years. Nancy and I were really jazzed about the information we got from your nutrition cert at Level 4 last spring. Even though you have been talking to me for many years about this stuff, and even though I have been studying nutrition for almost 30 years, we still learned from you. We also were inspired to teach our athletes with a very simple, direct, paleo program. THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN ASTOUNDING!! Seriously – I still get almost daily feedback from people who participated in one of our Leaning challenges and are STILL seeing progress. We have been able to positively impact several hundred people – this year! Performance has increased, pain has reduced and folks have lost a LOT of weight. Robb – one of our people has taken off 140 pounds since last January, when I suggested a paleo approach. You read that right 140 pounds this year!! More will be forthcoming.

    Your friend Dave

    • Robb Wolf
      December 13, 2009 at 7:52 am

      Dave-
      WOW! I know you guys had some good results but that’s amazing. Well, it’s almost like this stuff works!

      Take care Dave, Happy Holidays.

  8. Billy
    December 13, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Dave, 140lbs!!?? Amazing, and great going!!!

    That is almost as much as one of Barry Cooper’s posts printed out and weighed.

  9. Anthony White
    December 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    As a New Zealander, I have to take exception to this “flying in kiwis from new Zealand is not really helping our health”.

    Let’s not confuse issues here. There is a bunch of stuff floating around in popular culture at the moment about the distance food travels – it’s bad from a economic nationalism perspective, it’s bad because of food miles, etc. I can have the free-trade economic debate with you, and I can have the food miles debate with you (in short – New Zealand has very energy-light production, and the energy intensity of the transportation is still less than the energy-intensive production in many places in the northern hemisphere). But, the distance food travels has no impact on its healthfulness. To be clear, moving a fruit from here to here does nothing to turn the fructose to sucrose or increase the omega 6s.

    In fact, while I’m at it, I’m going to plug New Zealand meat: it’s all grass fed. All the happy little sheep and cattle roaming around on grass pasture all over the country. Healthy and delicious.

  10. freddy c._one world
    December 13, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Better nutrition protocol is going to be all the rage at One World for 2010. We are going to kick off our first challenge come New Year. Thank you so much for posting this information. It has been very helpful in helpng me figure out how to structure the challenge.

    Robb, you are, and always will be, “the man” who supplies the best information, whether it be from your own wealth of experience and knowledge or your willingness to share the results and knowledge of others.

    Thank You.

    • Robb Wolf
      December 14, 2009 at 9:10 am

      Thanks Freddy! You guys have an awesome thing going at One World. It will be cool to see how the challenge goes.

  11. Parker
    December 14, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I posted this after GG responded to my first post, the “what gives?” question. Not sure why it won’t get through. Hopefully he’ll see it:
    My question was, in other words, “why not test for super-wellness as defined by the metrics you gave?” Karl Popper put it succinctly, if it can be tested, it should be. I think it would be a great idea to run blood panels and fasting glucose on all male and female entrants to the 2010 CF Games, before and after the competition. It seems that would, first, be a test of the super-wellness/fitness correlation/scale hypothesis, and second, test to see if the fittest man alive was healthy or not. Do you follow my logic? In other words, according to the super-wellness idea, then the winner of the CF games should also have some of the top blood work. If nothing else, it would be interesting. As an aside, you were extremely rude to me. Sleeplessness and geography matter not. I have been nothing but polite on your website, and have my level 1. I’d suggest that a leader of an organization which utilizes open source methods to be open to questions. If the owner makes it OK to mock and be rude, everyone else will follow in suit. It sets a bad precedent. It hampers the open source.”

    • Robb Wolf
      December 14, 2009 at 9:07 am

      Solid reasoning, but there is qn inflection point between elite performance and health not accounted for in the sickness,wellness, fitness model. It would still be interestng though.

  12. Caleb
    December 14, 2009 at 12:56 am

    if olive oil should not be used for high heat frying, what’s a good substitute?

  13. Peter Haas
    December 14, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Robb, thanks for this post. We were already thinking about doing a 30 day Paleo challenge for our people in January, and this will be a great resource to draw upon. Lots of great ideas on how to implement and push ideas out to people. Thanks too to Dave for putting this out there.

  14. saulj
    December 14, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Cool, we are going to do this as well, will send the results when we are done.

  15. Jill
    December 14, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Robb, I am wondering if you can point me towards any good resources as far as trouble shooting the paleo diet, I have been eating about 70% paleo for a number of months (so really just half assed paleo) and I am trying to go the last step, after the first 3 weeks I felt like absolute crap, poor preformance in the gym, sluggish mind and body, so I took a week off and I am at it again, I think I may have an issue with insulin sensitivity, but aside there does not seem to be a ton of information on trouble shooting out there and it would be much appreciated.

  16. Craig
    December 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Caleb- Lard is good, and easy to render at home (so you can have quality control).

  17. Jill
    December 14, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I take 6 g of fish oil/day and vitamin D, 4 – 5 CF wods/week, my diet was has been fairly good for the past year and my preformance in the gym has been steadily improving. Started paleo, I felt super weak and totally out of it. Gave it 3.5 weeks of staying at it and just wasn’t feeling any better everything in lit says give it a few weeks, wasn’t turning the corner at all. Took a week off and I am back at it now. Any input is much appreciated.

    DAy 1
    Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1/4 avocado 1 dehydrated veggie toast
    snack: 1/2 apple
    lunch: 5 meatballs – lean ground beef/onions/garlic, tomato sauce, 1/2 zucchini grated, 1 yellow pepper
    snack:1/4 cup almonds, cucumber
    2 pcs slicked turkey, lara bar
    Dinner: 1/2 chicken breast, lettuce, peppers
    dehydrated tomato wrap, roasted tomato garlic pesto (no dairy homemade)

    Day 2
    breakfast: 2 eggs, 1/4 avocado, 1 dehydrated veggie toast
    snack: turkey sausage, Lara bar
    Lunch salmon sahimi (5 pcs) green salad, soy sauce
    dinner: 1/2 chicken breast, lettuce, peppers, dehydrated tomato wrap, 1/4 avocado, 2 dehydrated veggie crackers, handful of almonds

    DAy3
    Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1/4 avocado, 1 dehydrated veggie toast, 1 turkey sausage
    Snack: 1/2 apple, handful of almonds
    Lunch: 1 cup lettuce, 1/2 cup peppers, dehydrated tomato wrap, 1/4 avocado, 50g of sliced turkey
    Snack: 30g of beef jerky, cucumber, 1/3 cup berries, handful of almonds
    Dinner:1/2 chicken breast, 2 cups steamed broccoli

    • Robb Wolf
      December 14, 2009 at 11:30 pm

      Hmmm…how lean are you, particularly through the midsection? How is your sleep? duration, quality? Do you wake at all or sleep through?

  18. Kevin
    December 15, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Fantastic post, I am printing this out and giving it to my brother in his Christmas card (he has been begging me for a nutrition plan and I haven’t had time to produce one). Thanks Robb, you’re the man!

  19. Jill
    December 15, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I am 5’9″ 170, need to drop about 15 lbs, fairly lean through midsection, carry extra weight in lower body. I sleep like a ROCK 8-10 hours per night. I do find that stress has a huge effect on me which has been moderate, but should be good now. Just thought I might be missing something.

    • Robb Wolf
      December 15, 2009 at 8:18 am

      Jill-
      I’m not seeing much. The fat deposition on the lower body COULD indicate an estrogen/testosterone imbalance. If you are near a good Naturapath or someone good with the Biosignature technology developed by Poliquin this might help you zero in on the issue. Keep me posted.

  20. Jill
    December 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

    That was my next thought, thanks for the input, will definitly let you know what I come up with.

  21. Brad
    December 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Why aren’t almonds on the recommended list of foods? Also, at what temperature (roughly) do good oils go bad?

  22. Dave Werner
    December 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    @ Brad

    please read carefully – “Lots of nuts have an unacceptably high omega 6 / omega 3 ratio. Here are the best choices: Walnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans”

    I did not say nor mean to imply that almonds aren’t recommended – just that they are not the very “best” choice, according to this one criteria.

    No short article like this can be comprehensive, the point of this type of guide is simply to (re)acquaint the reader with the relevant issues. Each person must weigh out the issues and make their own decisions.

    @ Anthony

    Brother, I didn’t mean to aggravate Kiwis, but if I can buy local produce I still think it’s a better choice. These are all personal value/priority choices and I think shipping food all over the planet is nuts. I realize that lots of good people in New Zealand produce some of the highest quality produce on the planet – but you all are the exception. A much more common source of food product here in the states is China. I don’t buy food from China – ever.

  23. Jeff A
    December 16, 2009 at 10:10 am

    One of the best posts so far. thanks!! very thorough

  24. Ben Moskowitz
    December 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Robb,

    Could you further describe this inflection point between elite performance and health?

    Thanks,
    Ben

    • Robb Wolf
      December 18, 2009 at 9:18 am

      BEN!!!

      I will indeed but I’m hoping to get it published in a peer reviewed journal. Couple of months if all goes well. Mat is helping me with it.

  25. Kevin Burns
    December 19, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Robb,

    Could you comment on the whole Canola Oil thing? Cordain puts it on the good oils list because of the Omega 6:3 ratio’s but everything else I read said that the refinement process of making it pretty much destroys any benefit the oil could have. I also heard someone mention that Cordain was sort of forced into supporting Canola Oil by the publisher. Would love to have you clear this subject up.

    Thanks

  26. Nick W
    December 19, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Brad, just to pick up on the other part of your question – oils degrade at different temperatures, it depends on the oil. Flaxseed oil for example oxidises really easily, and is best kept in the fridge and used as a salad dressing only – it shouldnt be exposed to any heat at all. Olive oil is more stable but oxidises at fairly high heats; if you cook with it at all it should be at fairly low temperatures (e.g. if you’re cooking in the oven on a lowish heat). Certainly don’t fry at a high heat with it.

    Saturated fat tends to be far more stable, so animal fats and coconut oil are both great for cooking. Lard and tallow are both good options (particularly if you render it yourself from grass-fed fat that you get from your butcher / farm shop), goose and duck fat are delicious, and of course coconut oil works a treat.

    Vegetable oils (peanut, sunflower etc.) are pretty stable at heat, but they’re so full of n-6 fats that you’re best to avoid them anyway.

    Hope that helps.

    Robb, in addition to the canola oil thing, I’d be interested in your views on normal rapeseed oil – it’s available over here and touted as healthy. Obviously it has a decent n-3 / n-6 ratio, but the n-3 is all ALA; and even though the ratio is good, it still just seems like a boat-load of n-6 to take in. I know ALA converts poorly to EPA / DHA, but what I’ve never understood is whether it can be considered to buffer n-6 fats at all.

    I only ask because cutting veg oils out of the mix limits some cooking options (coconut oil is great but the flavour doesn’t lend itself to everything, and you can’t use lard or tallow for some stuff too well). I’m just wondering if rapeseed oil is a potential for those rare occasions where an oil would be best, or if it should be avoided. I know it’s never a cut-and-dried answer, but some opinions would be great.

    Cheers,
    Nick.

  27. Rick DeMile
    August 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Rob. This creates such a great opportunity for those who have struggled with the extra 10-15 pounds. I was wondering about our bodies “switching” to fat burning mode. Is it true that our cells need to be completely depleted of glucose/glycogen before we switch to fat burning mode? If so, how long does this carb restriction need to go before the switch takes place?

    Thank you

    • Robb Wolf
      August 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      No, not always but it’s very dependent upon things like insulin/leptin issues. Days, weeks or months depending on the individual.

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