Is Paleo the diet for you? Since making the choice to adopt this popular eating style, I have faced endless criticism and questions from friends, clients, and even strangers. There seems to be more misinformation and confusion about what is and isn’t paleo than there are facts about this lifestyle. Make no mistake it is a lifestyle and one I choose by accident after exhausting every other possible way to live a healthy illness and disease free life.
After being diagnosed and treated for skin cancer in 2011 despite otherwise robust health; I was literally scared into change. While I had generally led a healthy lifestyle; working out 4 times a week and eating what the mainstream health industry told me was good. My experience with cancer and the way it’s treated caused me to examine every aspect of my life for pollutants and damaging materials, and none more than my food.
Looking back at my career the last few years I feel like I should call all my previous clients up and apologize for the horrendous diet information I prescribed to them. I followed the government’s guidelines and looked down my nose at the Paleo craze as it unfolded until I started experimenting on myself after hitting a wall in my own weight loss and body shaping goals. It seemed no amount of working out and “healthy” eating could get me past those last 15 pounds. I even picked up running again, an exercise I detest. After dealing with a diabetic client though and reading the book “Wheat Belly” I began to ask questions. So much of the information and descriptions of symptoms and health issues described in that book applied to me.
I wanted answers but doctors and the usual health channels could only give me the same old recycled and decade’s old information that I knew were not having an effect. Another client suggested I do some research on Paleo eating. That got the ball rolling and I started by eliminating sugar and grains from my diet. One thing led to another and within six months I had made the switch. Interestingly enough unlike most people who adopt a “CrossFit” style training method then adopt Paleo I did it in reverse order. I know now that had I tried my hand at serious Cross Training while still on my old diet I would have fell flat on my face.
For most of my youth and into my career as a trainer I relied on an extensive list of supplements and products to gain mass, build muscle, and find energy to workout. I needed supplements because my diet was so lacking in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that my body was desperate for more. I no longer have that problem, and a monthly supplement bill that was over $200 a month has all but evaporated. I still take a multi-vitamin and Fish oil capsules but there is little need for performance enhancers and I find myself waking up vibrant and ready to go at a moment’s notice. My diet has become the fuel for my workouts and Cross Training passion. While I may eat to live, doing so has allowed me to live to WOD and now my passion is my career and I couldn’t be happier.
In 2013 I will be taking part in the annual “CrossFit Games Open” where I hope to use my healthy eating habits and wholesome food choices to propel me to a spot at the Regionals. While I may not succeed in my goal this year I do know that without the change to a more natural and common sense eating plan;I would never have even been able to try.