Richard Perry

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30 Day Paleo Challenge

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On the first of October, or more specifically 2 weeks before, I decided to do a 30 day Paleo Challenge. This is a diet based challenge, but obviously the purpose was not to lose weight. I don’t weigh a lot as it is!

I read a lot of different blogs on a wide range of subjects and one of the ones I read a lot is called Nerd Fitness and they think the paleo diet is brilliant so after checking to make sure it wouldn’t do be any harm, I decided to give it a shot. This is my story.

The 30 Day Paleo Challenge

The rules of this challenge are fairly simple, follow the Paleo Diet strictly for 30 days to understand the benefits. The Paleo Diet is basically no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no heavily processed foods and no refined sugars. There is a much better description here as well as lots of information as to why certain things are(n’t) Paleo. I chose to do this for 2 reasons:

  1. to see if I could actually manage to stick to it,
  2. to see what benefits I felt, if any.

Anticipated Problems

As I saw it, the only real problem was going to be breakfast because I love my veg, but I tend to have toast or porridge for breakfast more often than not. I also didn’t really like eggs, which features heavily in many paleo breakfast suggestions. Instead of using this as an excuse to cheat, I decided to jump in with both feet and I had egg ‘muffins’ with beef and peppers as my first paleo meal :smile:. Believe it or not, I actually liked them and now I am having eggs almost every other day. I even chose to have omelette for breakfast this morning despite having completed the challenge yesterday :smile:.

How Did I Do?

At this point I can safely say that I completed the challenge without cheating (as far as I know anyway). I did struggle a couple of times when goodies or chips were brought into the office (thank you for the cupcake Julie, I kept it to eat this evening and it was divine!), but in all honesty, it was not as hard as I envisaged. I had a fair amount of salad, stir fried/steamed vegetables, mince, bacon & chorizo so it wasn’t a bad diet all told :wink: and realistically I really enjoyed it.

What Did I Miss?

There were a number of things I missed over the month, but what I really missed was cheese sandwiches! It sounds daft, but that is one thing I wish I could have had. To a lesser degree, I missed dairy in general and chips (thanks Alex!!). More importantly, I missed the ability to just eat whatever I wanted. I didn’t really need to check ingredients because to be paleo basically means there is only one ingredient. But if someone offers me chips, or biscuits, or cake then I like to be able to choose whether to have one or not.


When reading up on the paleo diet before taking the challenge, there were a lot of people who struggled in the first two weeks with a kind of withdrawal from refined sugars and grains, but I didn’t feel any of that. That’s probably because we eat fairly good food as it is. After that most people seemed to experience greater energy levels and clearer thinking. I don’t really think I experienced any of the claimed benefits to any great degree, but I did feel more alert even when I was really tired. From the literature, this seems to be a response to the lack of grains in my diet for the last 30 days.

One thing I did take from this is the benefit of meal planning. Right from the start of the challenge we planned our meals to make sure I was able keep to paleo foods only. This had the side benefit that we bought less unnecessary food each week thereby reducing our overall bills. This may have had something to do with buying slightly different foods, but I think it was more to do with how we planned our shopping.

What Am I Going To Do Now?

Other than that mentioned above, I didn’t really feel there were any massive benefits to the restrictions I was placing on myself, so I will mostly go back to normal from now on. However, I didn’t really miss grains generally so I will probably not add them back and stick with a mainly grain free diet. I will not go out of my way to avoid them, and I will be having cheese sandwiches, but I won’t be having large quantities of pasta and rice like before.

This was a very interesting experiment/challenge and I enjoyed it, but that was all it was.

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