Getting Started: Paleo Style

Paleo Flow Chart

I’m so thrilled that so many of you are interested in joining me for the Spring Lean Out Challenge! Since many people have already sent questions my way, I thought what better way to respond than post on it! This information will also be super helpful to those that aren’t necessarily doing the challenge, but maybe just want to easy into Paleo, or start cutting out certain foods to see how they feel.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, I am not certified to tell you what to eat or what not to eat. But, I can extend my personal experiences and opinions. Until the “Paleo Police” tells me otherwise, I’d like to share what has worked for me over these past 2 years eating and living Paleo.
If you are completely new to Paleo, I recommend committing to 30 days of strict Paleo. This means sticking to the “rules”. If you aren’t sure if Paleo is for you, I would ask yourself these questions:

Do you experience sugar and/or carbohydrate cravings?
Do you have trouble digesting fruit or suspect bacterial or fungal overgrowth?
Are you constantly feeling bloated or gassy?
Do you want to cleanse your body?
Are you interested in blood sugar regulation?
Do you have cholesterol concerns?
Are you looking for ways to fuel your athletic performance?

If weight-loss is your only reason for trying Paleo, I want you to understand that weight-loss/weight-gain varies from person to person for different reasons. This is not a diet. Let me repeat, it is not some shake you can drink for 30 days, lose 30 pounds and gain a 6 pack. It is important to determine what your goals are going into this.

Click here for useful, printable guides by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC of Balanced Bites and “Practical Paleo”. Guides include:
List of Paleo Foods
Stocking a Paleo Pantry
Food Quality
Fats & Oils
Sweeteners and more!


♥Grains, Corn, Quinoa and Chia
♥Legumes, including peanuts, soy lecithin
♥Artificial sugars or real sugar
♥Pasteurized dairy
*clarified pastured butter and ghee are fine.

LEANING OUT: What should I limit or eliminate?

Nuts and Seeds. Although nuts and seeds are great in small portions, eating a bag of raw almonds a day won’t help your waistline. (Nuts have lots of calories, if you find yourself hungry eat more meat.)
Nut Butter. This is like the Paleo version of caramel. Yes, almond butter is just almonds (if you make it yourself), and it has great fats. But think of it this way, one tablespoon is estimated 6-10 almonds.
Liquid Calories. Shakes for meals are not fulfilling and will not help you lose weight. You need the combined fats, proteins, and vitamins from whole foods.
Bulletproof Coffee. A Paleo trend that blends raw butter and MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil into your coffee. This is great if you are looking for fat or more calories, maybe even if you skip breakfast. Although it is not filling.
Meal Replacement Bars. Another big area of calories and also have many hidden harmful ingredients. The ONLY bars I would recommend are Epic, That’s It, and Lara Bar. I do not recommend eating these daily. A great snack if you are traveling and have no other option.
Excessive Fruit. Try to limit fruit to 2-3 servings a day. The sweet taste may trigger the desire for more sweet foods. I recommend only eating in small amounts and maybe as a dessert but not for a regular meal. For example, a handful of berries.
Dark Chocolate.  90% is fine, but only a little bit to satisfy your craving. Not the whole bar.
Adding Healthy Fats. There is no need to figure out how you can get more “healthy fats” into your diet. e.g eating more avocados, bulletproof coffee, etc. Simply just eat your yolks, have that small piece of fat on that delicious steak, and sauté some veggies with olive oil. You will find you can easily get the right amount of fats from the regular Paleo approved foods.
Excessive Caffeine. Caffeine can be a stressor and could increase cortisol, {known as ‘the stress hormone’ because stress activates cortisol secretion}, response and promote weight-loss resistance.
Unsupportive people and tempting situations. This one is my favorite recommendation by my gym NorCal Strength & Conditioning. Stick to your guns when it comes to peer pressure. Please don’t be that person that goes out to the bars saying “I’m not going to drink”. Or, making excuses — It’s my best friends birthday, St. Patricks day, first day of spring, national margarita day, etc. Be strong and stick to it.
Chronic Cardio Exercise. Yes, believe it. I am telling you to NOT jump on that elliptical for 30-60+ minutes a day a speed 4. Avoid any steady state type of exercise. This can lead to low blood sugar episodes as well as provoke a stress response. The best type of activity is a mixture of movements: high intensity, strength training and mobility. Of course if you are sedentary, any form of activity is amazing! But do know, if you move a steady state, after awhile you will not progress beyond that state. You need to implement more intensity to see bigger results.


1. Clean Out Your Pantry. Seriously, do it. Take all of the do-not-eat foods, put them in a big box and A. give them away to a local shelter, B. Hide them- out of sight out of mind, C. Throw them out! Do not tempt yourself with having a big pantry full of all the things you can’t have.
2. SLEEP! Strive to sleep at least 8 hours every night in a dark room. This will help you wake up refreshed, without cravings during the day, and reduce stress. *High stress will damage your progress.
3. Cook. Get in your kitchen and dive-in! Be creative! We aren’t all chef’s but we all have to start somewhere. Cooking will be the biggest key ingredient (like what I did there, get it?) to keeping you on the right track. Having leftovers for lunches and meals throughout the week goes a long way. Eating out at restaurants is so hard because of their hidden oils, sugars and flours.
4. Get Moving! Slowly introduce weight training with moderate to heavy loads (not excessively demanding). Incorporate some high intensity exercise 5-25 mins. a few times a week (no more than 4x). Take walks outside or practice yoga, without systemic stress. A combination of these is all you need!
5. Eat Foods With One Ingredient. Protein will satisfy appetites for longer periods of time, nutrient dense foods will replenish depleted nutrients, add starchy carbs after exercise to help fuel your body for the next day, add superfood and probiotics, eat these as often as possible. These include sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables *great with breakfast!

In any new venture, you will have trial and errors. Times of doubt and times of success. The best thing to do is be consistent and in-tune with how you feel. Coming off of a standard american diet (SAD) won’t be easy for some. You may experience headaches, grumpiness, and hunger. There are reasons for this, and you just need to be aware. Think why? If you have headaches, it is probably because you are having sugar withdrawals. If you’re starving every 3 hours, add more protein and eat less high glycemic carbs. Everyone’s food history is different and that also makes their food future different too. These basic guidelines should help you start your journey and determine how you can feel your best and accomplish your health goals.

Balanced Bites
Robb Wolf

Coming soon: Paleo on a budget!

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnose or treatment for a medical condition. It is a recommendation to support a healthier body.

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