As of this morning we have exactly 6 weeks left to go before our move to Chicago. These promise to be the slowest 6 weeks in history but it’s also a convenient block of time to commit to a fitness/nutrition challenge. For the past 4 weeks Gwen has been following a strict Paleo styled diet and I have programmed in daily met-cons and cardio on top of her evening strength workouts and the results have been outstanding. She dropped 7 pounds of weight while decreasing her waist and hip measurement, increased her lift numbers across the board, and has added significant mobility in her ankle, hip, and shoulder girdle. On the outset 7 pounds may not seem like a lot until you realize how much muscle she added while still trimming down. That 7 pounds and increase in lean muscle mass adds up to a greatly decreased body fat percentage and that folks should always be the true goal when cutting weight.
Today also marks the unofficial start of our clean eating plan. I’m not going to call it Paleo or any other name for that matter it’s simply a choice to avoid junk and any other foods that we have found to have a detrimental effect to our health and fitness. October was not a good month for me and that is entirely my fault. Between football, weekend beer, and Halloween candy I’ve put on a little flubber around the midsection and made many of my shirts tighter but not in the areas I want. To overcome this I’ll be investing in fasted cardio and met-cons in the mornings 4 days a week in addition to my typical afternoon workout. I’ll combine this with a clean diet to trim off some of the fat I added over the last 12 weeks and reveal the muscle I also stacked on during this time.
The plan is pretty simple we will be avoiding the following foods.
• Grains, wheat, cereals (excluding organic oatmeal)
• Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt
• Legumes: all beans, peanuts, lentils
• Sugar (excluding occasional organic fruit)
• Processed oils: soybean, canola, corn, vegetable, trans fat, hydrogenated anything
• Processed salad dressings and mayonnaise and sauces (make your own)
I’m not going to go into detail about why we’re avoiding these foods. I’ve already done so in several articles. I’ll simply say that in the past avoiding these foods has paid huge dividends towards our fitness and health goals, decreased inflammation, helped me sleep better and feel more energetic. That should be all the reason anyone needs to leave these foods off their grocery list.
We will be eating a diet founded on healthy grass-fed meats as much as possible healthy fats, and a lot of vegetables. Obviously there will be exceptions on Thanksgiving as I plan to enjoy a homemade pumpkin pie, but will be using only organic ingredients.
Also you might be wondering what you should use as an oil if you avoid all those I left off above. That’s actually pretty simple too. Make sure to add these healthy fats to your diet.
• Olive oil and olives (lighter oil is best for cooking)
• Coconut oil
• Drippings and grease from cooked beef or pork (only if its organic and grass-fed though)
• Fish, Mackerel, or Cod liver oil
• Sesame seed oil
• Almonds, walnuts, pecans (in small servings do not exceed a half cup during the course of a day)
Now let’s address carbs for a moment. If you workout more than 3 days a week it’s widely agreed that a strict Paleo diet may not provide enough simple carbohydrates for sufficient recovery and muscle-building. My own experience has shown this to be true for Gwen and I. So there are a few Paleo forbidden foods that we still eat but only in small servings with evening supper and on days we had a particularly brutal workout in the morning right after we finish the workout. Those foods are:
• Organic Yukon Gold potatoes
• Sweet potatoes
• Rice, white, brown, or wild
• Organic Oatmeal
As a whole Gwen and I get plenty of carbs from all the vegetables we eat. I have spent most of my life as a meat lover and until recently avoided greens. These past 3 years though I have come to recognize and appreciate all the different and tasty variety of vegetables out there and available at any grocery store. We go organic as much as possible but conventional veggies will do as long as you wash them good before eating.
Finally what kinds of meat do Gwen and I eat? Needless to say we look for grass-fed beef as much as possible and regularly order ours from US Wellness online. Our local grocery store sells free-range eggs and chicken so we lucked up there. We don’t eat a lot of pork beyond uncured unprocessed bacon and sausage we order online. We look for wild caught fish and shrimp whenever we can and eat Chipotle or Square One Burger whenever we go out. Both offer Grass-fed and free range meats along with organic vegetables.
There it is, our entire scheme in one simple article. I hope you’ll try it on for size yourself and reap the benefits of eating clean as well.