The Paleo Chronicles Revisited: Our “Whole 30” Challenge

Our steps into paleo began earlier this year when Greg decided to cut grains and see what impact doing so would have on his seasonal allergies. I’ll admit initially I was hesitant. It took me a couple of days to realize the foods Greg was eliminating (cereal and granola bars) I never ate anyway. Yeah, I can be a little slow on the uptake! Those first experiments were successful. Greg’s seasonal allergy symptoms were significantly reduced and we hadn’t fully committed to paleo.

Enter Whole 30, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s strict paleo challenge. Could two of Dunnville’s fittest fitness professionals possibly reap more benefits from strict paleo? At this point our diet was mostly paleo. We still consumed dairy and minimal grains. Our commitment to the Whole 30 plan meant no alcohol, sugar of any kind, no dairy and absolutely no grains for three weeks. We also tucked the bathroom scale away and did not step on the gym scale.

The first few days were awesome. We had lots of energy and weren’t missing dairy or grains. By day five that changed. Remember that wall I said everyone hits. That day I was hungry and cranky. I increased my protein and drank more water which seems to help.  By the end of the first week my energy levels had improved, we both noted excellent sleep and neither of us experienced any significant muscle soreness after workouts. Things were looking up! We even ran a half marathon during our challenge. Never before had we run such a distance with so much energy and minimal post-run soreness.

Overall our experience was a very positive one. I learned that I consumed way too much dairy. With it gone for three weeks I noticed my skin cleared and I didn’t wake up congested as I did before. Greg usually finds September to be a terrible month for seasonal allergies. This year he was able to enjoy it without taking allergy medications. He also noted that his joints no longer hurt. We both dropped a few pounds which surprised us.

It’s funny the things you miss. I thought for sure it would be the red wine. It turns out cream in my coffee is my one little stray from strict paleo that makes my day. Since the end of our challenge dairy continues to be limited. Greg doesn’t consume any while I have my little bit of cream. Grains are significantly reduced as well. We might have the occasional bowl of oatmeal. In small amounts these foods seem to be fine, but there’s no way we’d go back to eating them all the time. There is no way we’d ever return to a standard North American diet – even a so-called healthy one with low fat yogurt and whole grains.

We survived three weeks of strict paleo and reaped considerable benefits. This was our motivation for creating a strict paleo challenge for our members. It’s our goal that those participating in the challenge experience a vibrant health they never thought possible. Paleo isn’t that hard. Feeling (and looking) good is its own reward!

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