Is the Paleo Diet Too Self-Righteous?

You gonna eat that? It's a bit of an odd question, and not even proper English. The person asking could have one of two agendas: 1.) Are you going to eat that? Because if not, I want it. Or, 2.) Are you seriously considering putting that into your body? I find myself asking both versions of the question on a regular basis. The first version is asked with the attention of me eating more (I'm just a growing boy). The second version comes with judgment and self-righteousness on the back end. I don't like it but eating clean has turned Kara and me dirty. We've become Judgy Judgmental Judgers.

I don't think we're alone in this rationale. I think this is common in the Paleo community. You clean up your diet, you see great results, you feel a hell of a lot better and maybe you even tell a few people about the way you eat and try and get them to give it a shot. Paleo, like CrossFit, is already viewed as a cult by those on the outside who don't get it, which probably fuels the Paleo folks to feel even more entitled to judge (either internally or externally) those around them for making what they perceive as horrible food choices.

When we go food shopping we regularly see parents pushing their cart through the store with their kids in tow, loading up on chips, cookies, cereal (lots and lots of cereal) and other crap. I tend to keep a poker face while grocery shopping as well as my comments to myself but I can't help but ask myself are they merely uninformed consumers or do they just not care? Could be a combination of the two. Kara, on the other hand, takes the passive-aggressive Midwestern approach and mutters things under her breath just loud enough for me to hear. Although, one of these times I fear she may morph into liquid metal and disembowel some unwitting shopper.

So, what do you think? Is Paleo too self-righteous? Do people who follow the Paleo lifestyle come off as pompous, entitled, or judgmental? If you follow Paleo do you find yourself judging those who make poor food choices?

Training Log: 7/26/11

Back Squat - work up to a heavy single
Press - work up to a heavy single
Weighted Chin-ups 5x5

On the squat I got up to 225 before stopping. I didn't want to go for a one-rep max but based on how 225 felt, I don't think I would've gotten much higher than my current PR (245). I need to squat more.

On the press I tied my PR of 125 and stopped there. My left shoulder was giving me some trouble so I didn't want to add anymore weight to it.

For the chin-ups I used a 20 lb dumbbell and rested a couple minutes between sets. The chin-ups got difficult by the third set and the rest periods probably got longer but I wasn't really keeping track of that.

Training Log: 7/24/11

Photo credit: Tom Cerecedes
Power Snatch 8x2

Every 30 seconds for 12 minutes, perform one power snatch at 75-85% of 2 RM

I may have only done 7 sets of the power snatch (I lost count), but I ended on 135 for two which was a 15 lb PR over my previous one-rep max, so I was pleased with that. For the metcon I used 105 which was somewhere in between 75 and 80%. After the workout I realized I should've gone with 115. It wasn't very taxing on me cardiovascularly, and the weight wasn't heavy enough for me to break my form.

Training Log: 7/23/11

Deadlift 5 RM

Tabata Chin-ups
Tabata Push-ups

I hit a 20 lb PR on the deadlift 5-rep max with 345. I'll take it. I tried to hold 5 chin-ups for each interval of the tabata but that eventually dwindled down to 2. On the push-up I tried to hold a 7-rep interval, but I could only hold that until about the fifth round and then held 5s for the remainder.

Training Log: 7/21/11

Marilyn Monroe got cotton allergies too when she worked out.
Back Squat 5x3 (progressive)
Good Mornings 3x10 (sets across)
Bench Press 5x3 (progressive)
Chin-ups x25

I finished my last set at 205 on the squat and 170 on the bench. I was working out alone in the basement so I thought I'd play it safe on the bench when I don't have a spotter. I used an empty bar on the good mornings and the chin-ups were done in sets of 5 in between the good mornings and start of the bench sets.

Squatting with Zach

CrossFit Delaware Valley trainer Zach Frankhouser squats 365 for 10 reps. No big deal. And it's done with steel plates, so you know it's legit.

Training Log: 7/20/11

Skeleton + Elliptical = Funny on so many levels.
In 15 minutes, find your max Thruster

Run 800m
30 Turkish Getups (53/35) OR 10 Rope Climbs
Run 800m

I  tried to stick to the movement standards from this year's CrossFit Regionals thruster ladder. I squat cleaned all of my attempts and got up to 165. I really liked this portion of the workout and would love to try it in true Regionals-style as a ladder of bars. I've never done a 1 RM on the thruster so I wasn't sure to shoot for, but now I've got a benchmark to surpass in the future.

The metcon was brutal. High humidity, 90+ degree weather, and running are not my friends. My calves and stomach cramped up on the run, my grip failed by the 7th rope climb and I finished in 18:17. 

Training Log: 7/17/11

Snatch 5x1 (80% of 1 RM)
Clean and Jerk 5x1 (80% of 1 RM)
Front Squat - work up to a heavy single

On the snatch I used 100 lbs and 150 on the clean and jerk. The jerk felt a little funny on each one. I was having trouble getting the bar positioned in my hand properly. I ran out of time on the front squat and got up to 175 on the third set, but felt like I could've kept going up.

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Paleo Coconut Milk Whipped Cream
1 can of full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp real maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Mix together in a glass bowl and place in the fridge uncovered for several hours to allow the milk to firm.

Paleo Shortcake
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 jar of almond butter
2 eggs
¼ cup of raw organic honey, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325.

Microwave the jar of almond butter and honey for about 30 seconds to soften it, and then pour the almond butter and honey into a large mixing bowl.

Add the vanilla, salt, and baking soda, and mix the batter. Add the eggs and stir by hand until smooth. 

Add in coconut flakes and continue to mix thoroughly. The batter will be very thick and sticky.

Grease a 9x9 pan or glass baking dish with 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Pour mixture into the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cut up strawberries, throw on some coconut milk whipped cream and enjoy. If you don't feel like waiting for the whipped cream to firm up, like I didn't, your strawberry shortcake will look more like the picture; with thin and runny, but still very tasty cream. 

Training Log: 7/15/11

Back Squat 5x3 (progressive)
Power Clean 7x1 (progressive)

4x 60-yard prowler push

The back squat went as follows: 155, 165, 175, 185, 195. After a long warm up all the sets felt good. Even 195 didn't feel too bad. A few weeks ago, every time I squatted 185 it felt god-awful heavy. I'm glad to see I'm getting some strength back.

On the power clean I got up to 185. Failed twice at 195. Dropped the weight down to 190. Failed again and decided to stop there.

The prowler push ended up being harder than everything else combined. The pavement is not evenly finished and there's a section of about 50 feet where the prowler just hits a wall and the friction made the 180 lbs feel like well over 300. Each trip on the prowler felt like the equivalent of a 20-rep max back squat. I was hitting muscle failure and my legs felt like jelly.

Training Log: 7/13/11

Snatch (wave progression) 60%x3, 65%x2, 70%x1, 65%x3, 70%x2, 75%x1, 70%x3, 75%x2, 80%x1

Clean & Jerk - same progression

This took a lot longer than anticipated. I finished everything for the snatch and then got through the second wave on the C&J before it got too late. I was supposed to do 100 weighted sit-ups and 25 chin-ups as well but that obviously didn't happen. And I'm not sure why but my hip flexors were killing me after all of the snatches. 

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Training Log: 7/11/11

Deadlift 5×3

AMRAP 10 minutes of:
10 Ring Rows
20 Box Jumps (24/20)
30 Abmat Sit-ups

I got up to 365 on the deadlift which ties my 3-rep max. I'll take it. The metcon wasn't bad. 10 minutes is a good time frame for me to maintain some level of conditioning but not detract from my strength focus. I ended up with 3 rounds + 10 + 20. 

Oh and if you want to get on the shit list of every member of your wife's family, send them this picture to the right. O-H! Oh no!

Is Paleo Too Restrictive?

I recently attended a conference for fitness and health bloggers, and when asked what my blog is about I would say that it's a CrossFit and paleo blog. Most people recognized at least one of those words, but mainly I found myself explaining what a paleo diet entails and what I choose to eat and not eat.

The common response I got was, "That sounds too restrictive. I could never do that." I've been doing really well with it for four years, but I also consider myself fairly disciplined when it comes to food. So, it got me thinking - is the paleo diet too restrictive? Maybe, but isn't every "diet" restrictive? Vegetarians and vegans restrict meat. For anyone who eats meat, wouldn't that seem too restrictive? But vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat, just as paleo folks choose not to eat grains, legumes and dairy. Both groups choose to restrict certain foods.

Another common response was, "I could never eat like that because I would feel like I'm depriving myself." Depriving yourself from what? When someone says that they don't want to feel deprived I hear, "I want to be able to eat what I want, when I want, without consequences or repercussions." Basically, they want to have their gluten-filled, high fructose corn syrup cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. There has to be some personal responsibility and self-discipline. You have to make real, permanent lifestyle changes in how you approach food and the decisions you make regarding what you put into your body. That's why you shouldn't even think of paleo as a diet. To me, a diet implies a short-term change in your food intake generally for the goal of weight loss. Paleo is a lifestyle which implies long-term permanent changes and not a quick fix.

Meat, veggies, and good fats. It does sound really limited and restrictive until you've reprogrammed your brain to come back from the dark side. It takes some time, but eventually you realize that you don't need, or even want, most of those other foods because you've seen the light and know how problematic they will be. And what it eventually comes down to is if the cheat meal is worth it or not. If you're going to do some damage, it better be really good and worth the inflammatory hit.

So, what do you think? Is paleo too restrictive? Is your way of eating too restrictive?

Training Log: 7/10/11

Bench Press 5x3 (sets across)
Back Squat 5x3 (sets across)
Chin-ups x25

I used 155 for the bench and 170 for the squat. Neither weight felt all that challenging. I finished feeling good with more left in the tank. Hopefully that translates into a steady progression in those lifts in the weeks to come. The chin-ups were done in sets of five in between the bench sets. 

Training Log: 7/8/11

Front Squat 5x3 (sets across) -
Power Clean 3x3 (progressive) 135, 155, 165
Deadlift 1x5 300
Push Press 5, 4, 3

I used 145 on the front squat which wasn't too difficult. On the power clean my technique started to slide at 165. I was definitely pulling the bar high enough but my elbows were slow and I needed to drop under the bar a little more to catch it. I was relying too much on muscling it up. The deadlift felt pretty good. It was 25 lbs less than my previous 5-rep max but I'll take it for now. I ran out of time and I only got to three sets on the push press (should've been 5). 

Training Log: 7/6/11

Back Squat 5, 5, 5+ (sets across)
Power Snatch 3, 3, 3 (progressive)
Snatch Shrug 3 (at 100% max snatch), 3 (+10 lbs)
Snatch Push Press 5, 4, 3, 3, 3 (progressive)
Sit-up x100

This was the first night of Sheldon's Olympic lifting open gym sessions at CFDV. I was sporting these red, white and blue knee-high socks for 'Merica, which easily adds 10 lbs to any lift. I sandbagged the squat at 135, because I got 10 reps on the third set and probably could've gotten more. I'm in need of a linear strength progression on my squat anyway, so starting low is fine for now. The snatch went: 95, 105, 115. Snatch shrug: 125, 135 (definitely could've gone much heavier). Snatch push press was not my friend. This was a behind-the-neck push press and I wasn't a fan of bringing the bar back down on my shoulders after each rep. I kept it on the lighter side so that I could control the descent of the bar and not drop it on my spine. The weights for the snatch push press were: 65, 75, 95, 105. I ended up only doing four sets because I was running long on time. I finished up with two sets of 50 anchored abmat sit-ups.

Training Log: 7/4/11

Snatch 7x1

I didn't have a recorded 1rm on the snatch and I needed to get one on the books before Wednesday when our impromptu olympic lifting club starts at the gym. After going through the Burgener Warm Up with a pvc and then again with a 33 lb bar, I did three warm up sets and then got into my progression. The sets went as follows: 95, 105, 115 (fail), 115, 125, 135 (fail), 135 (fail). 135 just wasn't happening. Although, I think with regular practice I'll be exceeding that weight in no time.

Cin-ful Paleo Peach Pie

For the past month Kara had been wanting peaches, and every time she asked if we could get them I would respond with, "Sure, once they are in season and the organic kind are available." They were finally in stock this week so I picked up a bunch without any idea of what I'd do with them. A peach pie sounded kind of good, so Kara put together this cin-ful Paleo creation that's pretty damn tasty. As always, Paleo pie is only enhanced with a scoop of vanilla coconut milk ice cream. I highly encourage it.

Paleo Pie Crust
1 1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the almond meal, coconut flour, coconut oil and salt in a mixing bowl until you have a crumbly texture. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and stir into the mixture until a dough is formed. Note: you may not need all five tablespoons of water.

Take chunks of the dough and press it into pie plate until the plate has been covered. You will have extra crust mixture left over.

Bake the paleo pie crust at 450 for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, make your pie filling.

Cin-ful Paleo Peach Pie
5 cups sliced peeled peaches
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour into baked pie crust. Use the extra peach pie filling as crumble on top. Put the pie back in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the crumble on top has browned slightly.

Our peaches were a little over-ripened so Kara mashed them up in the filling to make more of a compote. The end result was still good.

Paleo Pie Crust

Paleo Pie Crust

1 1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the almond meal, coconut flour, coconut oil and salt in a mixing bowl until you have a crumbly texture. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and stir into the mixture until a dough is formed. Note: you may not need all five tablespoons of water.

Take chunks of the dough and press it into pie plate until the plate has been covered. You will have extra crust mixture left over.

Bake the paleo pie crust at 450 for 10 minutes.

Training Log: 7/2/11

Overhead Squat 3x5
Power Clean 5x1
Deadlift 5x1

I wanted to break in my new Rogue weightlifting shoes today so I opted for a strength-only session.

On the OHS I got 95, 115 (for 3), then 115 for five. On the power clean I progressed up to 185, at which point my form felt sloppy so I stayed there, proceeded to fail on the next three in a row and decided to stop. I got up to 365 on the deadlift and thought I'd go go for 405 (a 5# PR) but the bar didn't even move. 365 felt really heavy and a 40 lb jump probably wasn't the best idea. I called it a day after that.
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