My Current Paleo Diet

00:45 Mon 04 Apr 2011. Updated: 00:48 05 Apr 2011
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As I’ve done a few times before, I’m trying the paleo diet for a while; this is my longest time on it yet, as I’ve been doing it since 24 January and intend to continue at least until the end of April (which is when the CrossFit Open 2011 ends). I’m considering extending it further.

To quote what I said about it last year:

The basics of the “paleo” diet are: no sugar, no processed foods, no beans, no grains. Meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit are all fine. Coconut water, thankfully, is fine.

There’s a schism over dairy, and I’m firmly in the pro-dairy camp.

—Tadhg O’Higgins. “Late Paleo Challenge Entry”. tadhg.com, 22 Jun 2010.

While I’m still pro-dairy, I’ve actually cut down rather a lot on cheese this time out, and haven’t been drinking milk or eating yoghurt either. I haven’t been missing it all that much.

I have been going out to eat, which is where it’s less strict than it could be. I choose dishes that are apparently in conformance, but don’t worry about whether sauce might contain soy, or wheat, etc. Most of my meals, though, are stricter than that, but it’s simply necessary to compromise a little in order to do social dining.

I don’t find the restrictions particularly complex, but some people who like to quibble about the meaning of “processed” (e.g. Monika, for whom this post is partly intended) can, and there are some things in there that aren’t totally clear.


  • Added sugar (fruit is mostly fine).
  • Grains of any kind, which includes rice and quinoa, and means no pasta and no bread.
  • Corn.
  • Legumes. The theory is that they’re too high in antinutrients. Eliminates, among other things, hummus.
  • Potatoes. (Zac, among others, disagrees with me on this one, but I avoid the potato and don’t miss it that much, frankly.)
  • Peanuts. Allegedly high in antinutrients. This is possibly the one I cheat on most often.
  • Soy.
  • Fruit juice.
  • Beer.
  • Lots of other alcohol.
  • Non-sugar sweeteners like agave (or, obviously, processed substances like aspartame).


  • Meat. I try to stick to organic meat as much as possible.
  • Vegetables. In general I try to stick to organic produce as well, although I suspect it matters more with meat.
  • Nuts other than peanuts; this time out I’m eating cashews, which some consider non-paleo.
  • Seeds, although I haven’t been eating too many of these recently.
  • Fruit and dried fruit; I’ve tried to cut down on the dried fruit but still eat e.g. dried cranberries. I haven’t been eating as much fruit in general.
  • Fish and seafood.
  • Eggs.
  • Coconut water.
  • Tequila.
  • Vodka (not for any health reason; I just grant myself a vodka exception to the diet.)
  • Red wine. (I think white wine is okay too.)
  • Sweet potatoes. And sweet potato fries, even though they’re likely cooked in fat that’s non-paleo (this is one of those eating-out compromises).

As with previous periods on the diet, I don’t feel way better on it, but I do feel a little better, and my CrossFit performance seems to improve more rapidly when I’m on it.

This is not a weight-control diet, at least the way I do it. I don’t restrict the amount of food I eat. So far, in two months I haven’t seen my weight change from 185 pounds—but I am a little thinner, which means there’s been some shift from fat to muscle. That’s fine with me; while I’d like to be a little more lean, I don’t want to lose muscle and am basically happy with my current body composition. I’m interested in gaining strength but not in gaining bulk, and I don’t think I’m near the point where I’ve hit my maximum strength at this weight and would have to gain a lot to get past that.

4 Responses to “My Current Paleo Diet”

  1. garret Says:

    Ah jasus the poor potato, sure didnt ye eat them back in the home country.

  2. garret Says:

    Are lucky charms good or bad paleo wise?

  3. Tadhg Says:

    Totally off-topic (I know that really matters to you), have you seen this?

  4. garret Says:

    intergalatic man! that pope is sooooooooooooooo a lizard

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