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Dialing it in.

You guys are now 2 days into this thing.  As you are actually buying food and making meals, you are bound to have lots of questions.  Totally normal!

Let's think about this again.  What are we looking for when we choose a food to eat?

1. Quality: aim for grass-fed, local, organic, cage-free meat sources.

2. Paleo Quality: is it something our ancestors ate? (Theoretically things our ancestors ate had tons of nutrients in them, which is why we are eating this way).

3. Insulin reaction: will this spike my insulin?

4. She blinded me with Science.  We live a totally awesome age that is full of Science!  Let's take advantage of it!  What does Science say?

You have to take into account all 4 criteria.

I know there are questions on several food items and we will address all of them.  But for now, do your best to eat off of the suggestions we have already given you.  There are tons of recipe options listed out for you on the documents provided as well as tons of them on this blog.  Start here.

I am going to be updating the Paleo Food list and will notate foods that are considered "less than paleo."  For example where does Almond Milk fall?  What about HWC?  Or Fruit Juice?

Here is some of the logic we are using when we rank these foods:

By the way, our ancestors did not eat any of the foods below, but we look to Science to help us find a balance in our decision.

- HWC is dairy; however, it is almost 100% fat.  Science tells us the irritant in dairy is actually the protein, not the fat, so a small amount of HWC is not a huge concern for us, but it is not perfect Paleo in this challenge.

- Butter: pretty much fat, but still has a good bit of carb and pro in it...therefore a more concentrated source of irritation than HWC.  Clarified butter & Ghee are better ways to go if you need that taste.  Coconut oil is even better.  Regular butter is a cheat in this challenge.  

- Protein powder: most sources are whey based, aka the protein that causes inflammation and an insulin response.  I know it sounds weird to hear protein causes an insulin response, but it does in this case.  Even if the source is not whey, you still get the quick insulin spike.  PP is a no-no in this challenge unless you are putting on mass.

- Fruit juice/almond milk: again insulin spike.  Try eating the whole fruit and coconut milk.  Fruit juice is a cheat in this challenge, unless you are trying to gain mass.  Even so, I would prefer you ate the whole fruit.

I hope this clears some things up for you guys.  Also, the food list with rankings is in the works.  Keep plugging away.  You guys are doing great.  Hang in there!

Also, we are getting close to $700 each for the top guy/gal finisher.  This is turning into a nice little competition!  Game on!


Reader Comments (57)

guys: just looked over several food logs. you guys aren't eating any fat. The little bit of olive oil you are using to fry your eggs is not enough. Please eat 1/2 of an avocado, or a small handful of nuts. You will be ravenous today if you don't. Once you get feet wet with this, you can play with the fat, but for now, eat the half of an avocado with your bfast. PLEASE! AT least 1/4 of an avocado.

June 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterMelissa

@Melissa - When I went to the Whole9 Nutrition Seminar at CFED a couple months ago, I believe vinegar was one of those gray area kinda foods. A quick google of "vinegar paleo" or "balsamic vinegar paleo" leads to arguments both ways and some paleo recipes listing vinegar as an ingredient. Not much luck on the acid/alkaline effect yet but this website lists at least apple cider vinegar as alkaline forming food, but doesn't source it's info. I'll keep looking for more substantial sources though.

I did stumble upon this so to me it looks like depending on the vinegar, and if it's gluten free (which it would appear at least apple cider vinegar and maybe balsamic are in most cases?) it could qualify as ok for this challenge.

Not to ruin anyone's day, but would chewing gum be a cheat in this challenge? Obviously sugared gum will, but since sugar free gum still has artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohol, the sweet taste will still illicit an insulin response. I would think this classifies it as some sort of cheat? (This sucks I know!)

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiffley

i just joined the riverview farms csa for grassfed meat and veg...the meat is delivered once a month and the veg is each week. they have pork and beef...website is www.riverviewfarms.com i think. local, organic, grassfed...all those good words. : )

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfreedom karyn

Mark: we took gum out of the last challenge, for the same logic you mentioned. However, when Robb was asked the question at the cert he gave sugar-free gum the green light. I think the take away message is to begin to decrease it. I took it out for months initially and absolutely noticed a difference in my ability to taste sweetness in fruits and veg. Bottom line, sugar-free gum is not a NO, but for best results, reduce daily intake.

Thanks for the info on vinegar! For the sake of this challenge, it is allowed in moderation.

June 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterMelissa

Here's another link with some sourcing at the bottom of the page. According to this, balsamic is considered more acidic but apple cider vinegar is more alkaline. White and wine vinegar are both acidic.


Some of this seems to contradict the other table in my last comment. So whatever call you guys wanna make is fine with me. I was just tryin to find as much info as I could (and I really like my olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing!!).

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiffley

Sounds good to me. I was busy typing that last comment before I updated my screen whoops!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiffley

That's awesome, Karyn! FYI - Riverview Farms is also always at the Morningside and Peachtree Road Farmer's markets on Saturdays. They are super nice folks and extremely popular! Oh, and they only carry their bacon at the Morningside Farmer's Market - not Peachtree Road.

Speaking of farmer's markets, right before camp sunshine we went to the Peachtree Road farmer's market and came across Pine Street Market folks - they make bacons, salamis, etc., don't use any gluten, wheat protein or dairy in their meat products. www.pinestreetmarket.com - their actual store is in Avondale Estates where they have actual store hours in addition to being at the farmer's market. Yummy stuff. (Diffley, how do you imbed hyperlinks? I can't make sense of the HTML stuff below).

Also, in reviewing past e-mail exchanges with Robb Wolf, I have that he says for those wanting to lean out, cashews should not be your preferred nut as they are higher in carbs than other nuts. Re: vinegar, his opinion is that vinegar (balsamic, cider) is okay in small amounts.

When in doubt, read the labels. You'd be amazed at what ingredients are in certain things. Even things like basic chicken broth can sometimes contain gluten.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJules

My boyfriend and I discovered the Pine Street Boys too! Their stuff is great!

Question that I dont think has come up yet......what about unsweeted ice tea? Not green tea, just plain old tea?

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren P

For those of you that live in the Vinings/Smryna area there is a local butcher located near the Vinings Jubilee:
Haven't tried them yet but their website seems very informative!
Let me know how it is if anyone ventures over there! =)


Just type the following for hyperlinks. Sorry if it's confusing but I don't know how to type it without the web browser reading it at html code:

*a href=" title"& Link text */a&

but replace the * with <, & with >, title with the website (make sure to keep the quote though) and link text with whatever text you want to show up in the comment as the hyperlink.

hope this helps

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiffley

Just wondering aloud to the masses here ('cause y'all will sympathize), but why is it when you make a 100% commitment to eating super clean, everything gets uber-stressful and your mind (not your body, though) makes you want to run for the chocolate and bad food??? *sigh*

And while I am sharing thoughts for people new to Paleo or whose experiences are different from my own:

Re: gum, I had the same reaction as Melissa. I used to keep it around as a crutch, but now I'll chew it and realize I don't like the after taste and go search for something to erase the taste from my mouth.

Same thing with Diet Coke. For those of you who weren't around for last year's Paleo Challenge, one oof my biggest hurdles was kicking my Diet Coke habit. I will have them occasonally as a treat at the movies now, but I used to drink 32-64 oz per day (damn work Coke fountains!) and it was my go to beverage any day, any time. I used to HAVE to to have a diet coke in order to avoid a migraine every day--I'd seriously send my Dad out on Christmas morning to get me one so I could function. I thought it was because of a caffeine addiction. Turns out it was probably just an addiction to the crap chemicals that made up my beloved diet coke. If you're one of those with a diet coke habit and you're having trouble, you might have to git it a week or so before you adjust to life without the DC. Trust me, though--you will feel better!

Also--and I think this may be a concomitant of kicking the DC habit, since my Paleo journey started (doing some form since April '09), I've become SUPER sensitive to sugar, especially when it is in candy form (hmmm--makes me think that might be HFCS talking). If I eat so much as like 3 M&Ms (no exaggeration) or a few jelly beans, I get a WICKED headache. I also have various different reactions to the "no-no" foods.

I'm rambling here a bit, but just though I'd share some thoughts about my experiences!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

And Lauren, unless Melissa corrects me, I think unsweet tea is okay...it's been one of my replacements for Diet Coke...it took me awhile to get used to it without adding some kind of artificial sweetener.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Melissa can you clarify on the point system? In Dana's example in the food log, has 3 meals that were scored at "5" and one scored at "2". This averages to 4.25 but she scores it as a 3 point day with a 1 point bonus.

As I read the rules and points breakdown, we should really be scoring the day as a whole not the average of the meals correct? Which in this case, the 3 for the makes sense (I may even consider it almost a 2 for the day since one whole meal was pretty much non paleo even if it was only a snack).

I don't mean to split hairs, but just wanna make sure I'm scoring this right before we get too far along!!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiffley

Thanks for the question, diffley, I was wondering the same thing about scoring a full day vs. averaging. The rules imply you're looking at the day as a whole, but let's see what melissa the mistress of ceremonies says...

And thanks also for the tips yesterday about what to eat pre- and post-workout. Very helpful - I'm going to try it. Age group swimmers still suck down jello shots (almost straight sugar) before their races. But then, they're 13 years old. At 40, I'll give the handful of nuts a try.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKung Li

So, I am not a huge fan of avocados... unless it's guacamole (and then of course, tortilla chips with it - not now though). What is another quick option for fat (and also instead of the cashews - I have been eating those, but am also trying to lean out...)?

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Hi Ali!

Re: fats - Avocados are a great salad dressing/sauce thickener. Really. Here's a basic dressing I found online:
1 Avocado
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Salsa
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Salt And Pepper -- To Taste

Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit. Peel. Put the avocado pulp in a food processor along with the lemon juice, vinegar, salsa and mustard. Blend to a smooth, creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop into a storage jar. Chill before serving. Stir to blend before serving.

I've also take avocado with cilantro, lime juice, chipotles in adobo, olive oil, and made my chipotle sauce. Pretty darn tasty!

Other fats: coconut oil/coconut milk (curry will fill you up for hours if made with coconut milk). Sprinkle some pine nuts or walnuts on salad, or make a chicken salad - using something other than mayo (unless you make your own paleo mayo) as your binding agent - and fold in some walnuts, pecans, etc.

You can also change up the flavor of boring nuts by doing some of the spiced variations... I know Melissa always has some of the seasoned Trader Joe's nuts on hand, and they're awesome. Here's a link: http://www.angelfire.com/la3/gourmetkarl/spicedpecan.html
(obviously, some recipes call for a minimal amount of butter, and some call for sugar - avoid the sugar!).

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJules

When answering the question on daily average points...can you clarify if you can go over a 5? Ie. say I had a 4 pt day, but worked out and got 8 hrs of sleep.....is that now a 6pt day or just a 5pt max? i'll take sleep as no point bonus anyday!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren P

How to get an avocado down with breakfast.....I struggled with it too since plain avo can be so rich, especially in the morning. Take a muffin pan and make mini turkey burger/meatloaf muffins. Make homemade quac and eat with the turkey-muffins. The guac gives the turkey flavor, the turkey makes the guac tasty to get down. High fat, high protien, and you'll stay full until lunch or later.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRyanMcPhail

Thanks!! I was mentioning to another a friend that my biggest problem is the planning ahead and cooking ahead part of it. I really struggle when I don't have something quick on hand, don't want leftovers, and don't want to spend the time cooking just for lunch. I am going to have to spend some time figuring out good recipes that I can make and just pull-out of freezer and re-heat! I like the mini turkey burgers and avocado sauce idea. My husband also makes a mean tomatillo sauce that is AWESOME over grilled tequila lime chicken!!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA.K.

Mark - get back to work!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin S. Bhead PM

Will someone clarify for me the thoughts on Bacon? I know that processed bacon is a no-no, but I thought the pure stuff you'd get at the farmers market (or Riverview Farms) is ok. But....I was looking at Robb Wolf's list of "foods to avoid" and it says....BACON.

Jules...I know you love bacon and I have been liberal about eating it over the last months...but just never noticed that he said it should be avoided.

Thanks for any info.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary_Freedom

Regarding the BTB Profiles from AnyLabTest, I was told today (after they took the blood of course) that you have to fast 12-14 hours before the blood is taken. Just an FYI...if you want accurate results, eat an early dinner and try to get the tests before breakfast...most locations open at 8:30am.

Needless to say, I will be going in again tomorrow.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRich (Vinings)

Drew - thanks for the info. Kicking the DC habit is the hardest thing for me....especially since they are free, available and COLD at work!!!! And our supply manager must be getting a kickback from sugar suppliers - even the "other options" (iced tea and water) are flavored/sugared!

So.....go water! And iced plain coffee (which isn't as bad as hot black coffee)!

I'll try some tea based on comments above. Is fruity herbal tea ok? I know it has no added sugar, but not sure about insulin response etc....

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVinings Nicole

Hey guys! Great questions.
Drew, you are correct, tea is good! Regular and green are fine.
Coffee...espresso is better.

Score each meal, then give yourself an average for the day. Round DOWN. You must use whole numbers. So if you get 5,4,5, your score is 4. If you slept 8 hours, your score is 5 as you add 4 (for your meals) + 1 (for your sleep). Make more sense? We did already answer this one, but it is a bit confusing. Thanks for hanging in there! The scoring system was a work in progress as we posted it, thank you guys for your patience as we figure out the best way to do some of this stuff!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

RM: Bacon is fine in moderation. For example don't eat it 3 meals in a row. Diversify! And, try to find a brand with no/low sugar/cane sugar additives. Also look for nitrate free. Some of your fellow 45ers had some good options above!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

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