Paleo Challenge: Done and Done!

by AliMargo on March 30, 2015

Weight: 131.8

Weight lost: 0

Weight gained: 0 (I’m not going to count two tenths of a pound as weight gain)

Overall health: excellent

I’m feeling: pretty great

I’m looking: thinner in the face and leaner. Skin remains clear and glowing.

Full Disclosure: A few weeks into the challenge, I was put on medication for which weight gain is a side affect. So, in a sense, not gaining weight was an accomplishment, right?

The in-laws are in town and so is Captain Crunch.

As I crest the finish line of the Sopris Chiropractic Paleo Challenge, my in-laws are in town from Minnesota. Like any good Midwestern family with an affinity for hot dish casseroles and fried-food-on-a-stick, they have filled my cupboards with every variety of bread imaginable, from sesame bagels (my favorite) and sliced whole wheat to cheddar jalapeno cheese bread. There are crackers, cheese dips, bottled dressings, mayo, Captain Crunch cereal, and mini chocolate cupcakes. Remember French dressing, that red stuff they used to have at steak restaurants back in the ‘80s? Yeah, they have that too.

The biggest struggle I’ve had with their visit has been to not come off as some kind of pretentious asshole food snob health nut, because I so totally hate those kinds of people. I also hate being the one to sit out a family breakfast that’s been prepared because I can’t eat cheesy eggs and don’t want the whole batch to be compromised because I’m not eating dairy (even if I did spring $7 for a dozen farm fresh, organic, grain fed eggs). I hate being the one who doesn’t join in on “chairlift snacks” with my 11-year-old niece because she’s chomping on Swedish fish. I hate being wary of Grandma Millie’s special chicken wing recipe because it’s made with an entire bottle of Russian dressing (yep, they still make that, too), a jar of apricot jam and a package of Lipton beef soup mix seasoning (which, as far as I can tell from reading the ingredients has no actual spices or herbs in it).

What I’ve found about adapting to living in the world with everyone else is I either have to eliminate certain dishes from my plate, bring my own snacks, or eat in advance so I’m not hungry. I am always the first to volunteer to bring a dish to a party so I know there’s something I can eat.

It’s fascinating, if not shocking to realize how much of the food we eat is processed. My in-laws eat healthy for the most part; every night we eat salad, grilled meats and some kind of veggie. They haven’t complained about the lack of grains on my dinner table. But when I look at the food that’s wormed its way back into my pantry, I have to cringe a little.

The challenge to stick to a whole foods-based diet outside of your own kitchen is almost impossible.  So how do you live in the world and stick with it?

What I’ll take from this:
I am a believer in fish oil supplements and will stay on them for the long term. The affect it’s had on my skin has been profound. I’ll also stick with the probiotics and the Vitamin D since I can’t say for certain which has had the most impact. An article I read on Paleo and acne asserted that all are a factor: sugar, dairy, fish oil and probiotics. It makes sense that there wouldn’t be one variable.

My Paleo recipes have spent a lot of time in the kitchen!

I will continue to avoid bread and grains simply because I love not feeling bloated and overfull after a meal. It’s also a great way to keep my calorie intake in check, by eliminating those empty calories from my plate. I’ve found this is not hard to do, even at restaurants or at other people’s houses. A protein and a veg are typically always served so it’s easy to create a plate without making compromises I don’t want to.

Looking ahead:
Like I wrote last week, it’s easier to achieve a goal than to maintain one. So I’ll need to set some new goals to ride the momentum I’ve created on this program. Here’s what I plan to do:

Eat clean. One of the dangers of Paleo for me at least, was craving “acceptable” Paleo foods like bacon and other red meats to make up for the calories I was missing from “filler” foods like grains and bread. I found it very difficult and very expensive to always buy grass fed/organic meats and because I had to eat something, ate a lot of red meat, deli meat and bacon that was not organic. Moving forward I’m going to try to focus on eating a cleaner diet of organic veggies, fruit, and better quality protein.

More juicing. Definitely want to try to juice more going into spring. I know juicing isn’t really encouraged on Paleo since it’s more sugar and less fiber. But until I can afford a Vitamix that can properly liquefy whole veggies and fruits, I’m pulling out my juicer. I do think there is a lot to be said for the nutrients from raw organic juice and it does fill me up to drink a good green juice during the day. My favorite is kale, spinach, green apple, lemon and a dash of pineapple. Also love apple/carrot/ginger for a quick kick. And in order to lose those impossible last 5 pounds, I’m going to eat a lighter dinner or even just a smoothie.

I may consider … eating brown rice or quinoa as a way to maintain a cleaner diet without so much meat. I have read that there are many nutrients and health benefits to eating brown rice. Another thing I didn’t love about Paleo was the cost. It is very costly to fill your plate with meats and veggies. And I got to the point where I was getting very tired of eating salad every night since lettuce was the only real filler ic could find as a substitute.

Foods I will continue to avoid … Processed foods, bread, white rice, and dairy.

Goals for April (because it’s important to always have a goal)
Lighter dinners (smoothies or vegetable salad) to lose those damn 5 pounds

Join Burn Fitness to get a weight-training program going

Drink raw juice every morning

4x/week cardio

5x/week yoga

3x/week weight training

What I learned …
I can live without pretzels!
We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to find whole foods in a natural/organic state. Once you begin to pay attention to what we are eating, you realize how much of our food is manufactured and loaded with harmful chemicals and additives. While it is expensive and inconvenient to source better quality whole foods, it’s worth it when you consider the alternative. You might not know exactly how what you are eating is affecting your well being, or what exactly is the cause/effect dynamic, but once you remove these things from your diet there is no denying you feel and look better. For me, the biggest selling point was my clear skin and the lack of bloating, distention and “fullness” I often felt after a meal. Also of note: I never burp after eating a clean meal. My digestion is happy and so am I!

A big thanks to Dr. Scott for inviting me to participate! There are thousands of wellness practitioners but very few of them are true healers—your dedication to health goes far beyond your chiropractic practice. As the old saying goes, you can lead someone to water, but you also have to teach them to fish .. or something like that? Thanks for showing me the way.

Hope the rest of you (who I never heard a peep from) had a good challenge. I would love to hear your experiences! Please please please feel free to comment here.

Love and paleo granola to all,


Ali M.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly K. April 20, 2015 at 7:51 pm

Hi Ali,

I just got caught up reading about your paleo journey and wanted to say thanks for sharing. I’m on day 20 of a 30 day paleo challenge and felt like you were reading my mind! Day 15 was the hardest for me, as I weighed myself and saw no change from the previous week, plus was feeling frustrated at how expensive the whole thing is and the amount of prep that goes in to all of the meals & snacks. I’m also a stay-at-home mom of a 2 & 4 year old, so I’m really really *really* missing the wine!

Now that you’re a few weeks out, I’m curious, are you still eating clean? Do you have any paleo tips or favorite recipes?

Thanks again,


AliMargo April 20, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Hi Kelly,

On my paelo challenge they allowed 1 alcoholic beverage a day, just no beer. If wine will keep you sane in the long run, one glass a day is good for you! ery interesting question about post-Paleo: I have continued eating clean just because I have lost my appetite for sugar. Everything tastes too sweet to me. I had a bite of chocolate bar and didn’t like it. Going out to eat, I don’t enjoy the food much. I can taste the chemicals, sugars and oils that I haven’t been eating. I don’t make rice or grains at hone anymore — I figure, why bother? I haven’t eaten any bread simply because I’m afraid to open that door. I figure, I’ve gone this long, why start up a bad habit again? The one treat I really enjoyed was Coconut Bliss, which is ice cream made from coconut milk. It’s not Paleo because it has agave nectar, but it was the first real treat I ate that was sooo delicious. But I would not even enjoy regular ice cream if I ate it. So that’s where Paleo really works. I have been eating some brown rice and moving forward, would like to get away from eating meat every night and integrate some brown rice so I can do a few vegetarian meals during the week. I just think it’s cleaner eating and easier on your digestive system. But it amazes me that I haven’t gone back to my old ways. Stick with it, I do think it’s so much better for your health. There are a million Paleo blogs out there, which is where I sourced out most my recipes. I linked to a few of them on this blog.

Best of luck!


Kelly K. April 22, 2015 at 11:11 pm

That’s so great that you haven’t given up on the paleo lifestyle. I get what you’re saying about sticking with it, and not even wanting to go back to eating bread, grains etc again. I’m almost afraid to see how gluten or dairy would affect me at this point. Going full paleo really means eating a lot of meat, more than we’re used to eating, and on that I can see lightening up for sure. The cleanse I am following (The 30 Day Paleo Cleanse, I think that’s the name of the book) has a whole section about transitioning to a full paleo life or paleo in moderation, and making it work for you. So I’ve got some reading to do and probably a little trial & error if I want to reintroduce some of the non-paleo stuff. I really appreciate your personal insights and again, reading along on the blog.


Suzie Weiss August 23, 2015 at 2:04 am

I don’t know how pure you can find it
but seaweed (nori) is a great filler & delicious 🙂
I finally have Norman , hubby ,on a pack of seaweed
snacks ,weekly , purchase @ Costco
My HDL was 184 last week ‘s labs
mostly fish,salads ,quinoa and ICE CREAM
got to have a vice !


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