May Paleo Challenge



Eat Meat and Vegetables, Some Nuts and Fruit, Little Starch, and…


This is not a weight loss challenge – it is a challenge to better our health and wellness, through eating only the best foods out there.

Will we see a loss of body fat during this challenge? Absolutely!
However that is simply a result of becoming healthier, by eating the way food was meant to be consumed… in it’s natural, unaltered state.

Real food grows in the wild – the way nature intended. “Food-stuffs” are man-made creations that may resemble food, but are truly not. We’re dropping that from our diets.

If you can’t hunt or gather it in the wild, it’s not something you should be eating.
(You won’t find a box of Chex Mix growing from a tree)



4 Points
Perfect day of eating. No cheats.

3 Points
One minor slip. Milk in the coffee, condiments (salad dressing, mayo, bbq sauce, ketchup, etc), a tortilla chip, a Cheerio.

2 Points
Significant slip, but not an entire meal:  One glass of wine or beer, finished your kid’s Mac ’N Cheese, piece of bread at dinner.

1 Points
Major slip. Pizza or pasta for dinner, 2 beers at a game, ice cream.

0 Points
More than one solid cheat throughout the day. 2+ meals lost.



There is a chance for up to (3) Bonus Points per Day

• A CrossFit class at CFNE.
• 8+ hours of sleep every night
• 64oz of water


For this challenge, follow the Golden Rule above – Eat Meat and Veg…etc.
It’s truly as simple as that.
That will categorize 99% of foods to be Paleo or not.
For that 1%, the “Grey Area”, here’s our challenge-specific rules:


Say NO to:

• All flours. Almond flour, coconut flour
• All sweeteners… honey, agave nectar, stevia, coconut sugar, cocao
• Alcohol
• Dairy… cream in the coffee, cheeses, yogurt
• Corn and corn products
• Unnaturally processed condiments, dressings, sauces, marinades, or spices (read the labels)
• Dried Fruit
• White Potato, Rice, Quinoa
• Legumes (Peanuts, Beans, Soy)
• Gum
• Canola, vegetable, soybean, grapeseed oils
• All protein bars. Quest Bars, Kaleo Cookies, Lara Bars
• Juicing fruit (blending is OK – fiber + vitamins are lost when juicing)
• All sport supplements that are not directly before, during, or after training
• Whey protein, Fuel for Fire, Ultima, Kill Cliff… *See below for more details.


Commonly asked, and are OK:

• Deli Meats (as long as there isn’t sugar added)
• Bacon
• Sweet Potato (but not restaurant sweet potato fries… it can get ugly)
• Balsamic Vinegar (“Vinaigrettes” commonly have added sugars). Look into “Tessamae’s” dressings!
• Coconut, olive, avocado, and nut oils
• Coconut milk, almond milk
• Grass-Fed butter, Ghee, Nutritional Yeast, Baking Soda/Powder, Salt
• Green Beans and Peas
• Coffee (black) and Tea (unsweetened), Seltzer Water
• Chicken and Beef broth/stock
• Mustards and Hot Sauces made with natural ingredients (check labels for sugars, unhealthy oils). Franks Red Hot is a go.


“ Can you explain the Post-Workout deal? ”

      We encourage proper pre and post-workout nutrition! We are going to classify pre and post to be within 45 minutes of your workout. If taken outside that window, they will be points off your daily total. Whey protein (to include Fuel for Fire), Ultima, BCAA’s, Creatine, Kill Cliff. This window applies to any workout, whether at CFNE or not.

“ What about going out to dinner? ”

      It is not our goal to become anti-social cave-dwellers! Still go out and enjoy – just be selective with your orders. Every restaurant out there will have options for some sort of meat/seafood as the main course. Start with that, and ask for extra veggies for the sides. Good to go, and is in the clear for the challenge!

“ Can you explain the Bonus Points? ”

There is a chance for up to three bonus points per day, on top of the original four.

- A CrossFit class at CFNE. We love seeing our athletes come to the gym and encourage routine class attendance. Has to be at CFNE, and has to be a class!

- 64+ ounces of water a day. Each participating athlete will receive a CFNE 32oz Nalgene bottle. Drink two or more to meet your requirement! Coffee or juices don’t count – has to be pure water.

- 8+ hours of sleep every 24. This is time asleep, to include naps during the day. If you get up in the middle of the night for a few hours, those don’t count.



What is the Paleo Diet?

Meal Plans and Shopping Guide

Having Trouble making Dishes? Try this Food Matrix:

Recipe Websites: (Jen Lawrence’s site)

Use the comments below!

If you have a question about something, it’s almost guaranteed someone else has the same one too. Let’s not only use this as a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), but also to share recipes and experiences.


  1. Lisa K-L


  2. If we come to CFNE on Sunday and do the posted WOD, even though there is technically no “class”, do we still earn a point?

    • Harry Palley


      Yes, great question. That is the single exception to the rule as the “class” is “Open Gym”.

  3. Heather Bergeron

    The question came up in my class today, so I thought I’d throw an answer out there in case you, too, are wondering.

    Attending Sunday Open Gym times does count towards a class, even though there is no “class” offered those days. You do still need to follow the CFNE programming for that day and do it at CFNE, but a “class” is not required on those days.

  4. Lisa K-L

    How about raw (unsweetened) coconut. (perhaps used as a coating on baked chicken, or eaten raw).

  5. JosieT

    Are we posting Paleo points only on the CFNE board or is there an online location?

  6. Laurie D

    Can you talk about portion sizes. How much protein on a plate ?

    • Harry Palley

      A good rule of thumb – aim for your protein portion to be the size of your palm. Should we now call that a rule of palm?

      For the sake of the challenge however, our big focus is on quality foods, and we can be liberal on the quantity. Quality over quantity.

  7. Susan Stein

    Surprise, surprise I have a question. Actually two.
    Can seltzer count towards the water allotment?
    Post WOD progenex, ultima, etc. How exact are you being with the 45 minutes? If I attend the 9:30 and then do bonus work after class, when do I start the clock? After the 9:30 finishes? After I do the extra work?
    Thanks, going well so far!

    • Harry Palley


      I love seltzer too, but it will not count towards the water goal. Only pure water (not coffee, not tea), counts towards the goal. This might mean you’ll be “drinking” more than 64oz water a day, but the truth is… it’s only going to a good thing.

      As for the 45 minute recovery window – from the time you finish your actual workout. Don’t put too much thought towards this as well. What we are looking to avoid is “supplementing” when we don’t need it (i.e., protein shake in the morning… whole food is best).

  8. I heard that you may be able to have a small amount(1/2 cup) of white rice within 45 minutes post WOD. I wanted to get official confirmation of this. Also, ideally, what should you try to limit your fruit servings to a day? I heard 2. But, I know serving size varies a bit from fruit to fruit. If you have a banana, does one count that as 2 fruits? Approx? thanks

  9. Harry Palley


    Rice on the challenge would be a point off – post-WOD, if we are looking to do some carbohydrate, a Paleo choice would be a banana, sweet potatoes, coconut water.

    As per the servings of fruit per day, 2-3 servings is a good number to start with. The more veggies we can push, the better. What we want to avoid is OD’ing on fruits… having a bag of apples a day gets us away from the balanced diet we aim for. Count a banana as 1 serving.

  10. Kayla

    Frank’s RedHot? Thanks!

    • Heck YES on Franks.

    • Harry Palley

      Good to go Kayla (can almost hear a communal “thank goodness”).

      There are a couple hot sauces out there (Tobasco being another) that are clear for the challenge. As with anything, be sure to read the label for added sugar or unhealthy oils.

      One of my favorites is making homemade mayonnaise (olive oil/egg/lemon) and mixing in a bit of Franks. Really good with chicken.

  11. Coconut butter?

    • Harry Palley


      Absolutely. Artisana is a go-to brand for many of us. Real smooth coconut butter. Excellent source of healthy fats.

  12. Suzanne H.

    I woke up on Day 3 starving and fatigued. Have been following a strict paleo diet except for my coffee with half & half in the morning. For the last several months I have not been eating well so my body may be a bit shocked! I will power through but the challenge part of the Challenge has arrived!!

    • Harry Palley


      The feeling you are experiencing is actually common. It’s your body changing gears. Previously, it likely was burning stored carbohydrate as it’s primary fuel source. Now it’s shifting to stored fat as it’s go-to. This is a good thing. Jokingly, it’s referred to as “getting off the crack(sugar)”.

      It is worth mentioning however that we need to make sure we are including plenty of healthy carbohydrate and fat sources in our diets. If you have any questions or want to share a day’s worth of eating, don’t hesitate to email.

  13. Water question. Drinking the 2 bottles –64 oz
    Peeing constantly–like every 30 min to hour.
    Will this change soon, or is it possible that
    My body does not require this much water?

    • Harry Palley

      You will adapt to the water intake – you won’t be going every 30 to an hour. But frequent visits do mean that you are well hydrated. 64oz a day is actually a good minimum to aim for, especially if you are an athlete.

      You “require” less water – but you will feel, perform, and generally just be healthier when you are taking in 64+ water a day. Definitely keep it up.

  14. Laurie D

    How about cauliflower? Feels like one of those veggies, like carrots, that you can overdo. Is it a veggie you can have as much as you want of??

    • Harry Palley


      To be honest, I think you’ll get tired of the taste of any vegetable first before it becomes an issue of having too much in your diet. Definitely have at it.

      It is worth mentioning however that the larger the variety of vegetables in your diet – the better. You’ll get a wider array of vitamins and minerals.

  15. 2 questions:
    Dextrose–I noticed that the deli turkey meet had an ingredient on the label that included dextrose. Is that a sugar we need to avoid?

    apple sauce–unsweetened. Yes? or no?


    ps body finally adjusting to water intake– phew!

    • Harry Palley


      Dextrose is a sugar that is used in the curing process of meats – it’s actually very common, and it’s OK for the challenge.

      Applesauce is good to go as long as it’s unsweetened (crazy how easy we add sugar to fruit), and is free of preservatives.

  16. corey

    question on green beans. i see and am beyond thankful they are allowed. i’m a VERY picky veggie eater and struggle to get them in. green beans are one of the few i can regularly tolerate.

    are they questionable because they are on the starchier side, meaning, if my ultimate goal is to burn these pesky fat stores i’ve got hanging around from years of overindulgence, that i should avoid overdoing the green beans, much like sweet potato? or, are they questionable because they are technically legumes and contain phytic acid, etc? reaaaaallly technical question but very curious.

    i’m going for lean this challenge so i’m TRYING to stay away from starchy carbs so no sweet pots or bananas for this gal. sticking to peppers, onions, brussels, cauliflower, green beans generally, and some berries or an apple in the morning.

    • Harry Palley


      Green beans have a funny background with Paleo. They are technically a legume, but they contain very little phytates (which we can’t digest, and in turn have an inflammatory response) compared to other beans.

      Completely Paleo and good to go. Not overly starchy, and healthy for you.

  17. Suzanne H.

    After a talking down by LJ yesterday, I had my morning coffee with ONLY coconut milk – no Splenda. While it was not the delicious elixir I usually enjoy, I was able to get to drink it and not die! I will continue the fight towards a 7 daily total!

    • Harry Palley

      I’ll buy you a (black) coffee if I see a five or more 7’s next to your name sometime this month! Challenge on.

    • Nice job Suzanne…Way to aim high!

  18. Nick P.

    We need a ruling on a scoring question. If you have coffee with creamer that is a 1 point deduction. What if later that same day after the coffee you had a small cracker that was homemade and consisted of only almond flour and sesame seeds…is that now a 2 pt deduction? Or because it was not a significant cheat would it still only be a total of 1 pt deduction for the day?

    • Harry Palley

      The creamer in the coffee would be a 1 point deduction.
      The non-Paleo cracker would be a second 1 point deduction.

      So the total would be 2 points off.

      This prevents us from having a small cheat at every snack and meal…. oh think of the possibilities!

  19. Big Mike

    What is the penalty for a tiny piece of birthday cake on my daughters sweet 16? 1 or 2 points? Wife is pissed I beat her in Surfer on Acid and really pissed her son beat her by even more so have to get this right or I’m getting ratted out.

    • Harry Palley

      1 point for a nibble… 2 points for a tasty nibble.


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