Paleo Challenge (21-Day or 30-Day)

by Beaming with Health on March 8, 2013

IMG_1945You may have seen my previous post where I mentioned a 21-day Paleo Challenge. I can’t wait to get started and see how my body feels! I designated the start date as Monday, March 11. I wanted to give myself time to settle in after my Tahoe trip so I can give this challenge my full attention. I will be going to the grocery store this weekend and stocking up on paleo-friendly foods. I wanted to share a bit more information about the challenge I am doing as well as the general meal plan I will be following for Week 1. I originally set out to do a 21-day challenge, but have since decided to extend to 30 days. You are welcome to join me for either length of time!

Another Giveaway

Those who are joining me, please be active on Beaming with Health’s Facebook page. I will be drawing one person from the posts on that page to win another copy of Practical Paleo. Feel free to post pics of what you are eating, recipes you have found, or pertinent articles. This will help support all of us during the challenge!

What does the challenge entail?

As a health coach I experiment a lot with foods. To this date, I still do not have a 100% clear picture of what foods I should be eating that best serve my body. I have done allergy testing, tried various diets and cleanses, but I have never done a thorough elimination diet from start to finish. Thus, although I will be eliminating quite a few foods during this 30 days, I think it will give me a lot of insight around what foods give me the most energy, improve my digestion, and help me to sleep well. In designing my program I am supported by Diane Sanfillipo’s (Balanced Bites) Auto-immune Protocol in Practical Paleo as well as Chris Kresser’s Personal Paleo Code. Below are the foods I will eliminate and include in my diet.

Foods I will be enjoying:

  • Meat, Poultry, and Organ meats – chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, duck, bacon, sausage (all organic and grass-fed/pastured)
  • Bone Broth
  • Fish
  • Starchy Tubers (yams, sweet potatoes, yucca, taro)
  • Non-starchy veggies
  • Fermented vegetables and fruits (sauerkraut, pickles, coconut keffir)
  • Fats – coconut oil, animal fats, olive oil, olives, avocado, coconut products
  • Salts, herbs, and spices
  • Whole fruits – with emphasis on less sweet fruits like berries or peaches. If you have any blood sugar sensitivities (hypoglycemia, insulin sensitivity) keep the fruit low.
  • Nuts and seeds (in small amounts) – preferably activated nuts (which are soaked and dehydrated at ~150 degrees)
  • Green beans, sugar peas, and snap peas
  • A little vinegar (esp apple cider vinegar)
  • Well-cooked foods (a lot of my foods will be slow cooked or in the form of soups/stews)
  • Herbal teas
  • Supplements: I will be including L-glutamine (a powder that heals the gut lining), fermented cod liver oil (Green Pasture brand), and a probiotic (my fav is the HMF capsules available to order online)

Foods to Eliminate

Typical Paleo:

  • Dairy Products (milk, cheese, whey, cream)
  • Grains (wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten-containing grains, quinoa, corn, rice, buckwheat)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts)
  • Refined sugars and natural sweeteners (including honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc.)
  • Refined or processed foods (bag, box, can, etc.)
  • Processed seed oils (canola, soy, corn, sunflower, safflower)
  • Alcohol (I know, I know but it is only 30 days)
  • Yucky additives (look out for MSG, soy sauce (which has gluten), silicon dioxide, nitrates, carrageenan, and other weird things you can’t identify)

Taking it a step further:

For my own purposes, I want to see how I do without these foods, and then again how I react when they are added back. If you just want to try a Paleo diet, you do not necessarily need to eliminate these foods.

  • Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers)
  • Eggs: these are typically allowed on a Paleo diet, however they can be a rather allergenic food. So for this experiment I am taking them out.
  • Caffeine: I will be doing without all caffeine including coffee, chocolate, and caffeinated teas. If you are used to caffeine I would recommend weening yourself off slowly before eliminating completely. If you struggle with any sort of energy or sleep issues, I would give this a try
  • Additional dairy: most Paleo diets allow ghee and butter but I will be eliminating these for now.

Does this seem overwhelming? There is a reason why each of these foods are eliminated for now. The foods left behind are easy to digest and rarely cause inflammation. For more info about why I have chosen to eliminate the above foods, check out one of the resources I mentioned above. They will provide a lot of information on this subject.

Once I begin to add foods back in (waiting 3 days in between) I will pay attention to any symptoms that arise which will give me information on whether that is a good food for me to include in my diet.

Let’s talk meal plan:

Here is my meal plan for Week 1. I hope this will be helpful!




  • Breakfast: Bowl of assorted berries with a scoop of activated nut butter (homemade – recipe to follow next week) and topped with coconut whipped cream.
  • Lunch: Leftover lamb meatballs in lettuce wraps topped with avocado and served with a side of sauteed mushrooms
  • Snack: olives
  • Dinner: Carnitas Round 2 with sweet potatoes


  • Breakfast: Stir-fry with bacon, kale, and leftover sweet potatoes
  • Lunch: Romaine lettuce salad with sliced baked chicken, favorite veggies, bacon fat vinaigrette, and a scoop of sauerkraut
  • Snack: sliced green tip bananas with activated nut butter
  • Dinner: Carnitas Round 3 with roasted brussels sprouts


  • Breakfast: Bacon stir-fry Day #2
  • Lunch: Use chicken from salad yesterday but add on top of zucchini noodles and top with olive oil and favorite herbs (oregano, basil, dill)
  • Dinner: Baked Tilapia and yam gnocchi with a side salad (use salad from Thurs lunch)


  • Breakfast: Pumpkin chunks (chop after baking) sauteed in coconut milk with cinnamon. Add a dollop of activated nut butter after cooking.
  • Lunch: Chicken with squash noodles Round 2
  • Snack: Kale chips or sliced mango in coconut milk
  • Dinner: Tilapia (or mix it up with a different fish) and yam gnocchi Round 2


  • Breakfast: Pumpkin chunks in coconut milk Round 2
  • Lunch: Bacon and Guacamole Sammies with a side of steamed asparagus drizzled with olive oil
  • Dinner: Lamb Dolmas with roasted butternut squash and a side salad

Optional Sweet Treats:

  • Chai tea with coconut milk
  • Berries or other fruit with coconut whipped cream
  • Green-tip bananas sauteed in coconut oil and sprinkled with carob
  • Pineapple coconut milk ice cream with no added sugar (experiment to follow next week)

Be sure to check in on my Beaming with Health page! I would love to hear how you are doing. Good luck! I am sure you will feel great.

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