Paleo Challenge Rules

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Hi, friends!

A bunch of you guys asked for additional details about the Paleo Challenge I’m doing with my CrossFit box. I asked my coaches if I could share some of the specifics on my blog and they agreed, so here they are:

The Paleo Diet is an effort to eat like we used to back in the day… WAY back in the day. If caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you. This means anything we could hunt or find– meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional fruits and veggies, and seeds. Sorry, the pasta, cereal, and candy will have to go! Instead, you’ll be making things like chicken stir fry and Paleo spaghetti. Yum!


The rules of the Paleo Diet are to eat foods with very few and all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

Omitting all of the following foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness, and quality of life. Obviously, since we are going off of a point system in this challenge, you can eat these foods. However, the more you indulge in them, the more you are limiting the extent of your results.

  1. Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize. However, for the purposes of this challenge, we will allow Stevia as the only approved sweetener.
  2. Do not consume alcohol. It just isn’t good for you and you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, right?
  3. Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains, and all of those gluten-free, pseudo-grains like quiona. Yes, we said corn”¦ for the purposes of this challenge, corn is a grain. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our food in for the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
  4. Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kind (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.) peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts (no peanut butter either). This also includes all forms of soy””soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  5. Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream”¦ with the exception of clarified butter or organic butter.
  6. Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best ot leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold and fingerling potatoes off your plate. But DO eat sweet potatoes! Just go light if weight loss is your goal.


You will have a possible total of 20 points per day. You will start with 15 points. You will add bonus points based on fish oil consumption, mobility, CrossFit, and sleep. You will subtract points based on the quality of foods you eat. Here’s the breakdown:

15 points for a full day of all Paleo-friendly meals and snacks
+2 for CrossFit
+1 for extra mobility (outside of class)
+1 for at least 6 grams of a quality fish oil
+1 for 7+ hours of sleep
20 possible points per day

Deducting points

-1 point off for every serving of: deli meats, bacon, sausage, beans, hummus, peanuts, agave, honey, salt, peas, dried fruit, most salad dressings, red wine

-2 points off for every serving of: dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, butter), soy products, quinoa

-3 points off for every serving of: cereal, grains, wheat, oats, corn, tortilla chips, bread, rice, pasta, noodles, hot dogs

-4 points for every serving of: soda, juice, sports drinks, potatoes, fried food, chicken wings, most restaurant appetizers, pizza, cookies, baked goods, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sweets, pancakes, ketchup, processed marinades, BBQ sauce, sugar-added dried fruit, beer, and ALL alcoholic drinks (besides red wine)

Note: If you are going off the reservation, it’s important to know how many servings you are eating. For example, 1 can of soda is 2 servings. This means that if you drink an entire can, you must subtract 8 points. Moral of the story: don’t do that.

Note #2: There are no portion restrictions in the challenge, but be smart. If you are eating an entire bag of trail mix, you are not eating Paleo; you are doing more of the same stuff you did before. Use this challenge to change your habits.

Bonus points

There is a potential for 5 extra bonus points per day (as shown above). Here’s how to get them:

  1. You get 2 extra bonus points for everyday you participate in a CrossFit workout. The benefits of Paleo are magnified when combined with a training program that combines constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements (i.e. CrossFit).
  2. You get 1 extra bonus point for everyday you consume at least 6 grams of fish oil.
  3. You get 1 extra bonus point for everyday that you do more than 20 minutes of mobility, outside of class. Check out for ideas.
  4. You get 1 extra bonus point for every night that you sleep more than 7 hours.

Ok, so that’s the important stuff. My box actually provided a whole packet of info, so if you have specific questions, just let me know. I’ll do my best to answer or ask my coaches if I don’t know. And, of course, this info is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Paleo. Check out these websites for more info:

I plan to play along with the scoring for the Paleo Challenge, but I already know I’ll veer off course a bit with my food choices. For instance, I understand the potato thing, but I don’t totally agree with it (I need carbs in my life!) and plan to eat them over the next several weeks, even if it means subtracting 4 points every time I do. I’m also planning some wedding splurges (hello, champagne and cake!), so I’m just going to do the best I can with eating Paleo, do what works for me, and not get all caught up with the numbers and little details.



Yesterday’s lunch was a bunch of leftovers from the refrigerator: grilled chicken, chopped up Sweet Potato Wedges, roasted cauliflower, and avocado. Random, yet delicious.

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Once I finished that bowl of goodies, I wanted something more to eat, so I whipped up a smoothie with frozen banana, mango, vanilla egg protein, pumpkin pie spice, and almond milk. De-lic-ious!

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I spent the rest of the afternoon plowing through work (I seriously got a ton done yesterday!) and then took a break around 3:30 PM to walk Murphy. I ate a quick snack of Sweet Potato Wedges with a scoop of almond butter before I took him out.

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After my walk with Murphy, I went to CrossFit with Mal. We both had busy days yesterday, so we were itching to get our CrossFit on. Here’s last night’s workout:


Dead Lift 8 x 3 @65%. Rest 1 minute between sets.


3 Rounds of Complex:

Clean Grip Dead Lift

Hang Power Clean

Front Squat

Reverse Lunge (from front rack)

Bent-Over Row

*6 reps of each exercise. You cannot put the bar down once you begin. Rest 2 mins after each complex.

Rx: (135, 95)
L2: (115, 75)
L1: (95, 65)
Beg: (65, 45)

I used 155 pounds on the Deadlifts for the strength part of the workout. Our coaches came around and helped us with our form while we did them. I have a really bad habit of looking up when I do Deadlifts, so I tried to work on it last night. You’d think it’d be an easy fix (uh, just don’t look up), but as soon as I put my head into neutral, I’d pick it up again. It was actually kind of funny because it was so automatic even when I was trying not to do it!

Last night’s WOD kicked my butt, and it was totally my own fault. I was a tad too ambitious with the weight (I used 75 pounds) and ended up crashing and burning on the third set. I felt really great at CrossFit last night, so I went with it and loaded up my bar with what I thought was a good weight for me, but, on the final set, I dropped the bar 3 or 4 times, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do during a complex. The point is NOT to put down the bar between exercises. I still got a good workout, but it was kind of a bummer that I couldn’t properly do it. I really just need to take it slow and remind myself that it will take some time to get back to where I once was with my fitness. It’ll happen. I just need to be patient.


Last night’s dinner was broiled chicken with sautéed red bell pepper, onions, and green beans in coconut oil with Sunshine Sauce. Holy delicious.

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Mal really liked this meal. He must have said how much he enjoyed it a half dozen times while eating it last night. This one is a keeper (the guy and the recipe).

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P.S.  I’m hosting a giveaway on Trading Up Downtown for some Teddie Peanut Butter!

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