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Guestblog by Ryan Savard, CrossFit Dallas: Quick Guide to the Paleo Diet

Although Vital Farms does not endorse any one diet or lifestyle (many in our company are lifelong vegetarians), there has been quite a bit of support for our pasture-raised eggs from the CrossFit and Paleo Diet community. One of our new foodservice clients, CrossFit, in Dallas, Texas are very enthusiastic about what we do and wanted to share a quick guide to the Paleo Diet, and how consumption of grass-fed meat and eggs is essential to their daily meals.

About the Author: Ryan Savard is the head-trainer and co-owner of East Dallas CrossFit. He believes the paleo diet coupled with a workout regimen (such as CrossFit) can get you in the best shape of your life.

“Guide to The Paleo Diet – What Foods to Avoid”

The Paleo Diet is considerably more user-friendly than a lot of other diets out there – in fact, it’s so simple that a caveman could do it. There is no calorie counting or tedious measuring or stringent eating schedules. In a nutshell (though not a peanut shell), the diet allows and encourages the consumption of food choices available to hunter gatherers more than 2 million years ago in the Paleolithic Era and discourages foods that were not. It embraces the concept that the optimal diet for modern man (you and me) is the one for which our species has been genetically adapted.

To jump into the Paleo Diet, aka the Caveman Diet, all you need to know is what food groups are caveman-approved and which are not. In the Paleo Diet, the majority of food you consume should be meats (and healthy fats) and vegetables, supplemented with smaller portions of fruits and nuts/berries. This correlates with the accepted assumption that the energy sources of our ancient ancestors were around 65% animal and 35% plant. The diet encourages that the meats we consume be grass-fed and the fruits and veggies fresh and in a perfect world, organic and local. Adopt the pictured food pyramid and voilà, you’ve gone Paleo!

Figure 1: Courtesy of www.castlegrok.com

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, if you lived in a society where everyone ate strict Paleo and grocery stores were stocked with only caveman-approved options, then yes, it would be a piece of grain-free, legume-free, sugar-free cake. But alas, that is not the case, so I’ve found that the simplest way to keep Paleo practical is to pay special attention to the foods on the Do Not Eat list.

These include:
● Grains (yep, say adios to your regular morning cereal, oats, standard bread etc.)
● Grain-like seeds (quinoa, buckwheat & amaranth are no-no’s)
● Factory-farmed meats (for more clarification on this, go here)
● Legumes (aka all kinds of beans; this includes soy beans, soy bean products & peanuts)
● Dairy (like Grok says above, raw dairy is acceptable)
● Refined sugar (that eliminates a whole lot of sweets and treats, but never fear – there are countless Paleo versions, like this one: Magic Brownies
● Soft drinks (too much sugar)
● Potatoes (fortunately sweet potatoes are completely allowed, so no big loss here)
● Processed foods
● Salt (avoid it when possible, but this is a tough one)
● Refined vegetable oils (there are tons of interesting alternatives like sesame oil, olive oil, and coconut oil that all lend new flavors to your dishes)

Given, that list looks pretty exhaustive, you might be wondering, okay, so what can I eat? Well, lots in fact! You just have to reshape your eating routine and wrap your head around the change. I decided to try Paleo for three months and then decide if I thought it was worth the effort. Within a couple weeks, I was never bloated, my system was very – “regular” and I always felt satisfied without feeling overly stuffed. I had all the energy I needed for working and CrossFit.

Yes, your eating routines and grocery shopping will have to adjust, but Paleo can be practical. A day in the life of a Paleoite could look like this:

● Breakfast: Pasture-raised eggs scrambled (Vital Farms pastured, organic eggs are my go-to!) in olive oil with bacon and avocado with a grapefruit on the side
● Snack: Banana topped with almond butter
● Lunch: Stir fry beef salad (grab the recipe here)
● Snack: Sliced, lean turkey, apple slices and raw almonds
● Dinner: Grilled pork loin with peppers and onions served with mashed sweet potatoes and a side of steamed broccoli
● Snack: Bowl of fresh berries and almond milk topped with shredded coconut and raw honey

You learn that leftovers are good for any meal of the day, that there are countless veggies you’ve probably never heard of that are delicious and easy to prepare and that almond butter goes with almost anything. There are copious resources available online and in libraries to guide you on your Paleo journey and to provide you with mouthwatering recipes along the way.

Sites with some great introductory information to help you orient yourself in this new Paleo landscape include Loren Cordain’s website The Paleo Diet, Everyday Paleo, Robb Woff’s blog, and the Paleo Effect. Some of my favorite go-to sites for delicious Paleo recipes and laughs are PaleOMG, the Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations site, Caveman Strong and PaleoBetty. Enjoy!