Paleo Challenge Rules

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

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.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

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!



  1. Paleo diet pretty much replaces everything I eat. I’m a vegan and some of those eliminated items are crucial for me to maintain optimum health. Do you have any vegans at your box?

      1. @Katie: Christina – I’m vegan and crossfit. I also follow Paleo, minus the meat, obviously. I find that many many of the Paleo guidelines really are healthy. I’ve done some experiments with adding/subtracting grains and soy from my diet and I definitely do get gut issues when I eat them…I feel so much better without. So, yes being a “paleo vegan” does present some major challenges but I feel the healthiest I’ve ever felt with no tummy issues at all!

        1. Hi! This is an honest question-what do you eat if you don’t eat soy, beans or grains? I like the idea of the vegetarian lifestyle-and have just recently added meat back into my diet-but beans were a significant part of my diet when I was vegetarian/vegan. As far as I can think of, you would be ‘allowed’ to eat nuts, fruit, and vegetables. Would you mind giving me examples of what else you eat?

  2. I’m kind of surprised at the +2 points per day for CrossFit. When we have Paleo challenges at our box we do get points for CrossFit but only up to 3 times per week. After that, points are actually deducted. Theory being that most CrossFit workouts are stressors (albeit good stressors) but too much can cause inflammation. Are there any limits to number of workouts per week or possible points earned from working out in this challenge? Not that either way is bad or good, just noting the differences.

    1. Yea, I’m kind of surprised there aren’t any limits to the number of workouts per week, but recovery is HUGE at our gym, so I think most people will be smart about it.

  3. No yogurt, no edamame? I don’t know if I could survive that challenge. Maybe once I have the financial means to be able to buy a bunch of pale-friendly food I’ll try it, but for now I’m sticking to my eat clean-enough-for-me diet. I’m heading to my 3rd CrossFit class tonight at 6:30, can’t wait! I love actually being able to recognize the terms you use when talking about your WOD’s now.

    1. @Kelly@BalancedDaily:

      Hey Kelly thought you might find it helpful to know that my husband and I save money on paleo lifestyle – you’re not buying lots of stuff, cheese, dairy, bread – it adds up…but we tend to be cheaper on our weekly grocery bill.

  4. OMG! I do the EXACT same thing (looking up while doing deadlifts). It really is an automatic reaction that I don’t realize I’m doing until they call me out! It’s really bad because I do it during alot of excercises and not just DLs. :/ Oops!

  5. Wow, I don’t know if I would survive this challenge. I love the idea of only eating whole foods with ingredients you can pronouce, that’s something I do daily. But this has a lot of restrictions that I would have a hard time with. But I am interested to read about how you do with it!

  6. I have to say, I’m bummed that your blog has turned into a Paleo blog. I loved CnC when you preached a healthy lifestyle with everything in moderation, but these diet guidelines are super restrictive. I also don’t understand why you would put yourself through that since it sounds like it hasn’t improved your colitis? Have you considered working with a registered dietitian to pinpoint what foods you should be avoiding?

    1. I’m seeing my new doctor tomorrow, so, hopefully, he’ll be able to help with what I should and should not be eating. As far as the Paleo stuff, I ENJOY eating this way. I really do feel awesome. I have a ton of energy, I’m sleeping better than ever, my skin looks great, and I’m happier than I’ve been in months. I have no clue what’s going on with my colon, but I hope my new doctor and I can start putting the pieces together. I also said right in this post that I’m not planning to 100% stick to this diet, and I’m going to do what’s best for me with regard to my food choices.

      1. Well, that would make sense, but you DON’T seem to be eating Paleo. You keep having cheese and white potatoes and tastes and bites of all sorts of non-approved things. Why do you keep insisting you like eating Paleo, when you can’t seem to keep your eating in line? Can’t you just say you like eating whole foods? Why do you feel you have to label it, especially when so many people who read your blog struggle because of food labels and pressure to eat according to guidelines or rules?

        1. @Nell: I’m sorry but I’m agreeing with Nell. You are still eating some things that could be upsetting your colon….like the almond milk and jars and jars of almond butter.

          Try going as strict as the rules for your challenge say and you may see a difference. It is worth a try, right? What have you got to lose except no more bleeding.

  7. What a cool contest! I love the organized point scheme. I can definitely relate to your ambitious WOD attempt. Patience, you’ll get back to it in no time. Speaking of birthdays – the last week of September is always crazy for me: 5 family members in four days!

  8. I would never endorse a diet that suggests butter and no legumes, or bacon over beans. I’d like to read more about the health benefits of this diet. Would you be kind enough to share an accredited source which notarizes the benefits?

      1. @Tina: I just checked out the links as you suggested. These aren’t so much resources as they are people trying to sell books. Do you have links to a study performed at a respected university or medical institution? I’m interested in the medical science that supports the diet as a healthy way of life from an unbiased source.

          1. @Tina: Just FYI, at least one of the reviews Dallas linked to (about inflammation and diabetes) actually suggests that diet (specifically dairy and gluten) does not have a significant role in the pathogenicity of T1D, which is the opposite of what the program preaches. Obviously, I’m not saying this applies to every disease linked to inflammation, as this was just one review, but I’m using it as an example of how linking to a bunch of studies does not actually mean that the studies are “proving” your point.

            Also, I suppose this is nitpicky, but a lot of the references they use are not actually individual studies, but reviews of studies instead. Citing a lot of reviews gives readers a good place to start their exploration of the literature, but claiming that a review is a study that provides actual data falsely inflates the number of sources one can use to back up their theories.

            I hope this doesn’t come off as rude, but I really just wanted to point out that even though somebody cites a number of sources, it is extremely important to actually read the papers yourself, because there might be conflicting information in them.

  9. That dinner does look yummy!

    Kudos to you for trying to go for a challenge–but I personally would hate to eat so restrictively–especially since beans & legumes are actually quite good for us. (I just don’t get the whole Paleo and/or diet thing AT all. SO not balanced.) Glad you’re sticking in some fun things too though–because seriously, variety is the spice of life, and key to sticking to anything 🙂

  10. The paleo diet cuts out so many healthy items like beans, potatoes, grains…
    It sounds very eating disordered actually.

    1. From what I learned at the Whole9 seminar, it’s all about pros and cons. You can get the same nutrients from foods that don’t cause as much inflammation and blood sugar spikes in the body.

      1. @Tina: I agree. I don’t follow Paleo 100% (I eat sprouts, peanuts and peanut butter, fro-yo etc) but it is not disordered eating. It keeps your body/mind satiated, full of healthy fats, energy and functions better overall. why eat stuff that makes you feel bloated, tired and craving more crud. It’s a personal choice. Wish people would give it a legit try for 5 days before knocking it. And I don’t eat tons and tons of meat either!

        1. @Ina: You can’t say whether or not it’s disordered eating, because disordered eating is about your relationship with the food. What this sort of restrictive eating can do is lead to disordered eating – for some people it is easy to get carried away. Putting such a ritual around eating – this ridiculous point system – is what makes people compete with themselves and leads to disordered eating.

          It’s concerning enough that Tina embarked on such a drastic diet plan without the blessing of a gastroenterologist, but what’s even more disturbing is the number of blogs out there that promote unbalanced eating – don’t you dare tell me that this is a balanced and natural diet, anything that requires a protein powder from GNC but won’t let you consume a natural source of protein like legumes and quinoa is NOT balanced and certainly not natural – and try to pass it off as “healthy.” People should eat clean and natural food in moderation. And if you do happen to follow a certain diet, you need to not put such a ritual around the eating. Plus two points for me!

          1. @Katie: I totally agree. I think that calling this Paleo is kind of an issue, too – processed protein powders? Not exactly something that was around hundreds of years ago…

          2. @Katie: I didn’t say I liked the whole point system and the whole game. just like any way of eating there are extremes of all kind. Overall if you eat whole foods you are okay. I’m not an extremist paleo follower but I utilize many aspects. I agree I shouldn’t tag it as being paleo but I learned a lot from this style.

          3. @Katie:

            It’s a friendly competition – people aren’t forced to eat paleo. A lot of Crossfit Boxes do these paleo challenges. My Box is currently doing the same challenge and similar point system. It’s a 30 day challenge to see how you feel on this. I think you’re being a little harsh.

  11. love this post!
    I actually just finished my 30 day paleo challenge yesterday. Best thing I have done for myself in a long time (besides signing up for CrossFit). It was the hardest challenge I have ever done, but I have seen such great results from it. I have set some pretty awesome new PR’s during workouts, I sleep great a night, wake up and feel so energized (and I have a consistent level of energy throughout the day, I dont get that 3pm slump anymore), and although I wasnt doing the challenge to lose weight, I did lose weight! 3 lbs actually and wasnt even trying!
    I also was finally able to kick my sugar addiction. I was beyond addicted to sugar and sweets, like it was real bad, but now, i have no more sugar cravings!

    For everyone above who thinks “oh I could never give up __blank__… I was the same way, but mind over matter. Its amazing what we can do if we put our mind to it and really try to succeed. Yes the first week was really hard, but by day 10, I was already feeling great.

  12. Wow! Thanks for posting. A few random questions: What brands do you buy for your almond flour, and coconut oil?


    1. For almond flour, I buy the almond meal from Trader Joe’s. It’s super cheap and works just as well as almond flour in recipes and cooking. As for coconut oil, I just bought a ridiculous amount of Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil on Amazon the other day, but there are a lot of brands on the market that are good too. Just be sure to look for one that includes just extra virgin coconut oil as the only ingredient.

  13. This is a really interesting challenge, I’d be interested to see how you feel after doing as well as other members of your box who don’t normally eat paleo! Going paleo is something I’ve wanted to try, but with training for a marathon I’ve learned that I NEED carbs!

  14. Do you still eat the almond butter from Archer Farms? I stopped by my Target yesterday and the shelf was wiped clean (not uncommon). I asked for a delivery update and when the clerk looked she mentioned they were all recalled?! I read just now on their website about it… depressed! I ingest at least 1 container a week of that stuff.

      1. @Nell: Oh crap, I have a jar of that I’ve been eating for the past month that has about a tablespoon left. If I’ve been fine so far, is it safe to eat the last tablespoon? o_o

  15. How does coconut oil and other products fit in?. I see it used a lot in paleo diets but it does not fit into the categories listed and is only regional is you live in the tropics. It also has a ton of saturated fat. What are your thoughts on it?

  16. I’m curious about the long-term health benefits of eating paleo. Of course a diet that’s largely focused on fruits and vegetables is healthy, but what about the huge emphasis on meat products? I don’t think there’s any problem with a short-term paleo diet challenge, I just wonder about the negative cardiovascular ramifications that might come into play down the line due to the increased amount of meat consumption vs a balance of meat, grains, and dairy. After all, that was one of the huge knocks on the Adkins diet. I haven’t clicked on your links but is this something that’s at all discussed?

  17. I enjoy reading this explanation but I find the diet incredibly punitive. Why not include all the foods that you are allowed to eat instead of deducting points and labeling food as “bad”? Is not labeling a food “bad” and punishing yourself for eating it just another form of disordered eating? Have not we spent years and years trying to tell young girls nothing is bad food in moderation? It saddens me to see how popular Paleo is in the USA. Where I live in South American people are so undernourished and people struggle to eat healthy because of the lack of options- I find it disgraceful that North Americans in general put so much thought and energy into what NOT to eat when they have a plethora of healthy and natural foods at their disposal, and should embrace the bounty of choices- not punish ourselves. And also what makes Paleo any different from Atkins diet? They seem very very similar. And both go against the entire notion that eating animal products is essential bad for- evidenced by a number of studies, i.e. Sorry for sharing my opinion so harshly- I guess living overseas makes you realize how much North Americans can learn from other countries’ eating habits.

    1. @Julia: From what I have read, many of the studies supporting a plant based lifestyle were basing information on conventional animal proteins. So those studies cannot really be compared to a paleo lifestyle. Paleo supports grass fed, pasturized animal sources, and I think this is a HUGE component (a component that also separates it from atkins).

      Also, when calculating my macronutrient levels, my protein really hasn’t changed from my conventional eats before. My fat percentage is the biggest difference.

      Its not for everyone, but I think those with autoimmune diseases can greatly benefit from it.

    2. @Julia: I agree with you Julia about the very negative relationship Americans have with food. I now live in Europe and find the food attitude and culture here very refreshing and relaxing. A study was done (sorry I don’t have the reference handy, but will try to find) that showed when French people were shown a picture of a piece of cake they thought of celebration. When American people were shown the picture of cake they thought of guilt and restriction. The French (and Belgian – where I live) diet is full of variety, correctly sized portions and infrequent (small) but delicious indulgences to celebrate. They enjoy their food very much and eat smaller quantities of higher quality food. It is a pleasure to eat a meal here. And I’m afraid to say they are doing a heck of a lot better than Americans in terms of obesity and other adverse health outcomes.

      I’d rather not think of food with guilt and restriction, which is how this paleo diet feels to me. In my opinion it doesn’t fit with a relaxed and healthy relationship with food. Its not just about what nutrients you’re eating, but about your quality of life, stress, etc (and this is coming from me, the dietitian). If this paleo diet helps you achieve a better quality of life, then I’m glad for you. But like you say, I don’t think it would be for everyone.

  18. As a nutrition student studying to be an RD, I would say that I’d be concerned about the long-term effects of the Paleo Diet on an individual’s kidneys and liver. It seems that the Paleo way of eating replaces the grains, beans etc with animal proteins and (from learning about the process of protein digestion in my Biochemistry and Human Nutrition classes), extra protein does place greater stress on your kidneys and liver. So even though it may “feel great” now and seem like an energetic diet I’d be wary of the L/T effects on my kidneys & liver, and the risk of developing renal disease/failure.

    One of my cousins died at a very young age (35) from kidney failure and she ate a ton of meat & other animal proteins, – something the doctors said probably contributed to her renal failure. Even though I’m not a huge fan of grains (I’m gluten intolerant) – I try to eat a more balanced diet with corn, rice tortillas, fish/poultry, eggs, some beans, veggies and fruit (no dairy – lactose intolerant).
    Just my two cents….

    1. You should listen to the Balanced Bites podcasts (or check out any of the other links I posted) to learn more about the Paleo diet. There’s a ton of great info out there about Paleo and it’s not just about eating meats/animal proteins. There’s a lot more to it! 🙂

  19. I like your approach to the Paleo challenge. Take what works for you, and don’t worry too much about what doesn’t. I mean what’s wrong with eating a sweet potato?? And in the midst of full-blown wedding season…you have to indulge occasionally in some open bars and dessert tables!

  20. I have to say, while this may not necessarily apply to you, any diet that cuts out whole food groups and preaches massive amounts of exercise sounds like a cult for disordered eaters (or at least a group that people who have those tendencies would be inclined to join, since this probably isn’t the mission of cross-fit). It seems to me that one would also eat a tremendous amount of fiber on that diet, which would be upsetting to your intestinal track as well. I truly hope this diet/lifestyle works for you (it sounds like you’ve been through a lot and you are enjoying/benefitting from it), but I’m not sure how I feel about the advocacy I see out there for this plan — it seems like something that should only be engaged in after consulting a doctor and nutritionist based on individual needs. Especially since I see a lot of RD’s etc. preaching against it…

    1. @Sara: Curious…how is it more fiber than any other conventional diet which preaches about high fiber breads/grains/beans etc?

      1. @christina: for me it ends up being a lot more insoluble fiber (vegetables are CRAZY fibrous), but less soluble fiber (but more total fiber). I think most people forget that when you remove something (grains, beans, bread, etc) you have to add something else, and even though I eat more fat and protein, I’ve definitely filled some of that void on the plate with extra veggies!

  21. Tina, with Paleo, are you allowed to eat a good amount of fruit?

    I know some Paleo dieters eat only minimal amounts of fruit, and your challenge rules don’t have anything about it, so I was just wondering. I saw something about not eating dried fruit, but I wasn’t sure.

    Please give me your guidance, Paleo Queen! 😉 I see you eat lots of bananas and sometimes oranges and strawberries. I’m thinking about following a Paleo diet, and I really like fruit.

      1. @Tina: Woo hoo! Hahaha, then I can easily do this! Best of luck on your challenge. I’m anxious to see your transformation while doing this, like how your workouts go or if you get anymore ripped.

    1. @Sarah K.: Fruit/starches are more of a gray area – they’re definitely favorable for someone who has a lot of athletic activity. Endurance athletes who do paleo will fuel with dates, sweet tators, fruit etc…Its really just about getting back to whole foods.

      1. @christina: Thanks, Christina. I am a distance runner, so I am trying to think how I’ll have enough energy to run. I think I will incorporate the sweet tators and carby fruits and whatnot. Thanks for elaborating! Your advice is really appreciated!

        1. @Sarah K.: Sarah, I’m training for a marathon and have noticed some decressed performace levels with my training runs. I think this is normal. My doctor (who suggested Paleo as a way to treat my autoimmune disease) told me that it can take up to 6 weeks for your body to start looking for fat to fuel your runs. The good, long term benefit is that while you quickly run out of glycogen stores and have to replace them during a long run, you will basically never run out of fat. 🙂 I hope she knows what she is talking about! Good luck!

          1. @Anne Marie: Well, there’s hope! Thank you for your added info! Paleo runners unite! Haha. Maybe it’ll help burn the extra fat on my behind 😉

  22. So you signed up without the consent of your doctor? Even if it is a “clean” way of eating, I would have thoroughly discussed this with my doctor before starting.

    Are you surprised that you’re still bleeding, despite eating this way and taking a lot of medication? Something doesn’t seem to add up 🙁

  23. Hey Tina,

    Point system for paleo? interesting, its like primal weight watchers!

    I support Paleo, it allows us to find what “works” and what doesn’t work with our bodies.

    The one thing I find hard is to keep overall calories low with the increased amount of fat and high-caloric foods like nuts. Nuts are convenient and easy to pack for snacks/meals but easy to overdue!

  24. Hilarious! I guess you’re not off to that great a start on the challenge by drinking that GNC protein shake with sweetner…oh well, challenges always get me too! But then to do a giveaway of peanut butter?! You need to try out for last comic standing!

    1. I do! That’s SUCH a great idea! And just because I’m doing a Paleo Challenge, no one else should eat peanut butter. Makes perfect sense.

      1. If it’s considered a “bad” food by the Paleo diet – then it really is a little strange that you’re endorsing it.

        1. What “bad” food are you talking about? Peanut butter? I don’t think the word ‘bad’ was used once in my post. Just because I’m not eating peanut butter, why can’t other people eat it?

          1. Well, considering you have to subtract points for eating peanuts/peanut butter on the Paleo challenge (and they are banned from the Paleo diet overall) – i wouldn’t say they fall into your definition of an acceptable food, no? I haven’t seen you eat peanut butter on the blog for quiiiiiiite a while now.

          1. Yes, I do. And I don’t think the Paleo Diet is right for everyone. It’s good for me right now, and everyone needs to make their own decisions regarding their food choices… and whether they want to eat peanut butter or not.

          2. @Sarah K.: I guess it all boils down to whether Tina is blogging with integrity, or if she is blogging for endorsements. Is this giveaway simply a method for maintaining a financial relationship with the company, or is she doing this giveaway because she truly believes this is a great product. Someone could argue that if she doesn’t believe this product is good for HER health, that is she is only endorsing it for her financial benefit.

          3. @Sarah K.: @Carolyn: @Sarah K.: Yeah, Tina, I must admit I find it extremely odd that you have Pizza Hut ads on your site. Sure, it may pay the bills but it seems totally against what you stand for. What’s up with that? Why do you have their ad on your site? That certainly isn’t staying “relevant” with your readers, nor does it promote eating healthy, whole foods.

          4. How is it not relevant to my readers? I’m sure there are plenty of people who read and eat pizza. I’m planning to eat it on occasion as well. Life is too long to NOT eat pizza! 🙂 I have zero problem with those ads on my blog.

  25. Good luck, Tina! I really like that you’re embarking on the challenge, but making some of your own “rules” so to say, like still eating sweet potatoes and planning wedding splurges. Even though those eats might be looked down upon as far as the challenge goes, they can still be part of a healthy lifestyle, so I think you’re approaching this the right way. 🙂

  26. Up until last night, I didn’t notice much of a difference in my digestion after having switched to a paleo diet. A couple of issues had cleared up (and a couple of pounds lost-no arguing with that!), but not anything major. I had been following the program 100% for a couple of weeks so I decided to test it out. I had a couple bites of regular, dairy and sugar filled ice cream, and within minutes I was experiencing all my old stomach pains! I’m not sure it is the diet for everyone, but I am definitely a convert, and recommending it now to anyone that has an autoimmune disease.

  27. Wow – I would be really interested to know how many people at your box have kids. The sleep thing is laughable as is the extra mobility (outside of CF). This challenge is designed for people with no one to look after but themselves.

    1. Our box is a mix of people with and without kids. It seems like this comment might have more to do with you than the actual Paleo Challenge?

      1. Lol. I’m asking because I have a 9-month old son and the idea that I would be able@Tina: to a.) log every single thing I eat and do over the course of a month b.) sleep more than 6 hours and c.) find even MORE time to work out above and beyond CF is crazy to me. I work out (at 5am) 4x a week for 35 minutes because it is literally the ONLY time I can fit it in. (I also work full time). I think *most* working moms of small children would probably agree with me on this one.

      2. @Tina: It would be great if you had someone from your box who has kids and a full time job, who is also doing the challenge do a post on how they are able to get their points.

          1. @Tina: It seems like people who do crossfit/paleo really like to talk about their lifestyle so I am sure there must be someone at your box who could comment on how this lifestyle affects their family. I am sure you have a lot of readers who are eager to do CF or go Paleo but are worried about how to balance other aspects of their life, like jobs, kids etc. Just a thought.

          2. @Tina:

            Here you go! I can answer this. My box is doing a similar challenge. One thing we are doing a bit different is that we had to do 3 baseline WODS before we started the 5 week challenge and then we will re-visit the baseline WODS at the end and see if we have improved. I could not participate in the baseline WODS because I was on vacation so I could not participate in the actual WOD challenge. Though I am still participating as in workouts, eating and point style. I’m hanging in there.

            My son just turned 1 last week. My husband and I both work a full time jobs and CF 4-5 days a week. We add a few extra mobility’s here and there. We will go running at night once our son is asleep. One goes on Monday the other on Tuesday. Here is a basic schedule of our house hold:

            5:00 Clint wakes up gets ready
            5:30 Clint wakes me up and I get ready
            5:45 Clint leaves for 6:00 am Crossfit Workout
            6:00 Meg wakes up our son
            6:25 Meg & Emery must leave the house by 6:25 to be on time for my 7:00 am workout
            6:35 drop Emery off at daycare get to the box by 7:00 am
            7:00 am Meg starts her workout
            (Clint must be to work by 7:30 – I have to be to work by 8:30)
            4:00 pm Emery is picked up from Daycare by either Clint or myself.

            Get home and make dinner, go for a walk, play time do whatever. I said above some nights I go running, we do other activities.

            Emery is in bed by 7:30 and Clint and I in bed by 10:30 – we have 3 hours in the evening to prep for our next day, do chores, plan.

            It’s all very doable. Paleo can be challenging I’m not going to lie. Its prep work vs just ready to eat food. Throw in a pizza vs chopping up a ton of vegetables. Yes it can be time consuming but it’s very manageable.

        1. @Aditi:

          I have a bunch of friends who are full time lawyers with kids who do cross fit and are doing the paleo challenge. If you have to eat and work out and sleep anyway, might as well do it the way that suits you!
          They are probably also managing to keep their checkbooks balanced, which also involves tracking things daily.

    1. Most of the ones I buy don’t have added sugar, but I’m not going to lose sleep over the ‘evaporated cane juice’ in my TJs sunflower butter! 🙂

      1. @Tina: Maranatha just started making a sunbutter without added sugar, and it’s only like $5.99ish? It tastes better than the TJ’s, too!

    2. @Chelsea:
      most regular “commercial” nut butter do have sugar, but there are a lot of options of ones that don’t. Trader Joes has some or just go to Whole Foods and grind up your own nut butter! Then you know its only the nuts in it and not all that extra sugar and oils!

      Even target has almond butter that is just dry roasted almonds without sugar.

      1. @dana: oh yeah, i always buy the ones with no added sugar, cause i feel like i don’t need it (i have issues with insulin overproduction), but also because i prefer it not so sweet! but i always wonder on food blogs when people just say “almond butter” or whatever, if they mean the sweetened or unsweetened kinds. I often wonder the same about “greek yogurt”- are people eating the vanilla kind or the plain? LOL. Just curious 🙂 And thanks for your reply, Tina.

  28. I am really curious as to why you are so willing to try new (non-Doctor-recommended), extreme diets, but you will not consider taking a week or two completely off exercise. You have been eating nearly paleo for a couple of weeks; so it doesn’t seem like it’s helping the colitis situation.

    1. Autoimmune diseases are not easy to understand, so, like I’ve said in my previous posts, it’s not just ONE thing that brings on a colitis flare. I’m doing the best I can living MY life and making choices that will hopefully benefit me.

      1. I understand. I was recently diagnosed with an inflammatory disease (endometriosis) myself. I went “paleo” for a month (still ate peas…you can eat those raw; I just couldn’t understand why they weren’t paleo!), and it really didn’t make any difference for me.

        One thing that DID make a difference was decreasing (drastically) my exercise. I just think you might look into trying it–just a week! Just to see! Think of it as a kind of “Challenge” like this one!

  29. Wow all the Paleo is just a modern low carb diet. It’s very sad your blog has come to this. You can have organic butter but not cream? Make so much sense, especially since butter is made of cream. You suppose to have stevia instead of honey? Really?

    1. You should check out some of the links I posted to better understand Paleo. It’s not just a low-carb diet.

      The purpose of omitting sugar for this Challenge is to help people with cravings and sugar addictions. I personally don’t understand the Stevia thing, but I guess it helps some people with the transition.

    2. @Brianne: And along the same lines, any diet that endorces eating processed meat, like bacon and deli slices, but bans whole grains like oats and quinoa, is ridiculous and the opposite of healthy.

        1. @Tina:
          I found this list on a crossfit website (
          Foods that should be eaten in moderation
          (not cheats unless in excess)
          Ӣ Bacon
          Ӣ Sausage
          Ӣ Chicken wings
          Ӣ Ribs
          Ӣ Canola oil
          Ӣ Flaxseed oil
          Ӣ Quinoa
          Ӣ Dried fruit
          Ӣ Sweet potatoes
          Ӣ Coffee
          Ӣ Red Wine
          Ӣ Tequila
          Ӣ Deli meat

          Again, a diet that says it’s ok to eat bacon, deli meat, ribs, and wings but does not allow whole oats, brown rice, bulgar wheat, beans etc etc, and classifies those foods as “cheats”, is not a balanced diet.

          It’s great that you feel good since you’ve been doing it. You are definifitely “drinking the kool aid”. But, just don’t claim it’s a balanced diet because it’s not…and your blog, in the past, has always been about clean, healthy, and balanced eating.

          1. It says those foods should be eaten in moderation. I assume most other diets would agree with many of those too.

  30. I don’t get the whole paleo thing but I think it’s a cool point system. I am going to create my own point tracking system as counting calories does not work for me. Thanks for the info! And I hope you post your points everyday! Would love to see where you end up and what your doc has to say. Good luck!

  31. Hey Tina, do you still work for NuVal? It seems like Paleo contradicts a lot of the Nuval scoring system. For example, fat free milk and shredded wheat both score a 91, but most meat is between 20-30. Just curious if you plan on continuing your work for NuVal.

  32. I know that personally, the Paleo way of eating is definitely not something I could stick to 100% of the time, but I have a friend at work who does it and she’s never been healthier or happier. I’m actually considering adding a few Paleo-inspired recipes to my rotation because of all the health benefits I’ve read about it (and because some of the recipes you’ve posted have looked delicious). I do have a question, though (and after going through the comments, I don’t think it’s already been answered) – do you know why butter is acceptable with Paleo, but all other dairy isn’t? If organic butter is okay, do you know why organic milk or cream isn’t?

    Thanks, Tina!

    1. Dairy isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet, but ghee or clarified butter, which has tons of vitamins, is allowed because the milk constituents (lactose and casein) have been removed.

    2. @Sara: Grassfed butter is allowed because you don’t typically eat a ton of it at one sitting vs. say cream that you put in your coffee which you can easily get heavy handed with. I was one who did that with the cream.

      1. @Penny:In this instance fat/calories DO count because it is all about how dense the calories are….you’d get more fat/calories per tablespoon of cream than you would butter.

        1. @Penny: I think you might have that backwards!

          1 tbsp (15 g) cream = 52 kcal, 6g fat
          1 tbsp (14 g) butter = 100 kcal, 11g fat

          Butter is cream minus the water, therefore it would be more dense (almost exactly twice!) than the same amount of cream.

          1. @Vi: Yeah, I did…but still….the heavy-handedness factor plays in there because it is a WHOLE lot easier for me to use more cream than 1 TBS in my 16 oz coffee than it is for me to put 1 TBS of butter on my sweet potatoe. 🙂

  33. I like the idea of Paleo, but I wouldn’t like giving up legumes and I would NEVER give up whole grains. Ever. They are the base of many of my lunches and making big batches at a time makes it easier for me to eat healthfully, even when I have a crazy schedule. Whole grains have many nutritional benefits and I believe you could argue that there were wild grains growin’ somewhere in the prehistoric days! Hmm…maybe I’ll be a Wannabe Paelo Follower. 🙂

    1. Ellen, actually grains were not around in the Paleolithic time, and are worse for you than you think. Read the book Wheat Belly and all the facts that support this. It’s an eye-opener, if you care about your health. @Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut:

  34. Thanks for being ballsy enough to share all this with us. It’s totally interesting to me–more from the perspective of just following your life rather than changing my eating habits. I am concerned for you though, I feel like in general being a exercise/food blogger reinforces all of these crazy obsessions about body image and trying to be perfect. Do you ever wonder if stepping back from blogging would help your colitis go away?

    1. Haha! Maybe! But, honestly, I don’t try to be perfect with any of this stuff. I’m just doing the best I can and trying to ENJOY my life.

  35. When I first started going to Crossfit in Jan our box was having a challenge and recommending either Zone diet or Paleo. I researched both and had more issues with the Zone diet. (I don’t like diets at all). But was intrigued by the Paleo and still am. I still can’t do make the tradition but more power to you! I did buy some coconut oil but how are you using it to cook ? I know the melting point is different so are you just using it instead of other oils? I would like to start using it more.

    1. Sort of. I use it a lot for sauteing veggies and making two-ingredient pancakes, so I’ll just throw it in the pan and wait for it to melt. But, for baked goods and other recipes, I’ll melted it first in the microwave and then mix it in.

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