Paleo? Um, No-leo.

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As a lifelong athlete, I’m always looking for ways to naturally improve my performance.  The yin to that yang is that I love food.  I love to eat, especially foods with fat and sugar and bacon sprinkles.

(you’d think I was kidding on that last one, but not so much)

Recently, I participated in a foam-rolling class at a gym specifically for CrossFit folks.  Ever seen a CrossFit instructor?   They have amazing bodies, yo.  It’s a thang of beauty to see such commitment and dedication to health.

They also love to talk about what everyone is eating and of course, the Paleo craze.

As a runner, people are always asking me what I eat and how I keep fit through nutrition.  As a more seasoned runner ~couchGRANNYcough~ and as a runner who is tall (genetics) and lean (hard work), most folks assume that I’ve found the secret to good health and nutrition.  Truth be told, I have.  But, it’s not Paleo.  Not even close.

I shudder to think of what I’d have to give up if I went all in for any restrictive diet.


Here’s my fitness philosophy: I run/lift weights/bike to make it easier to move through my life. I want to be able to garden and climb and move stuff.  I want to chase Sweet E and not get winded.  I want to assert my body and not pay for days with muscle soreness.

There is no food restriction.  There is just lots of moving (running, walking, biking, lifting) and lots of eating the foods I love.  Period.  That’s it.


Even though I eat what I want, about 85% of what I eat fuels my body.  The rest of that 15% is stuff any 12-year-old boy would love.


What is fuel?

Fuel is animal protein, veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, dairy and yes, carbs.  Runners need carbs.  But, the good stuff.  Whole wheat breads, whole wheat pastas, and whole wheat Twinkies.  (one of those things is totally made-up)  I also drink water all day long.  Occasionally, I’ll have some juice, maybe some sweet tea at a BBQ, and a rare soda.

That’s the bulk of my diet.

Oh, coffee.  I have about 4-cups of coffee every morning. I consider it my one vice with no plans of giving it up.  Please don’t touch my coffee…




What’s the other 15-ish%?

Candy, cake (so much cake), cookies, McDonald french fries, In ‘n’ Out Double Double Animal Style burgers, Sangria, beer (let’s just go with teh alkeehols instead of me listing every fav drink I drank, or we’ll be here for a while), anything fried, chili-cheese dogs, Slutty Brownies, ice cream, Frito Pie, anything chocolate…you get the idea. Junk food. Lovely, delicious, grease-soaked, sugary, coma-producing junk food.

I used to think I’d outgrow my love for all things carnival fare, but as it happens, not so much.

See why I run?!

You might be wondering if I’m BSing you; I swear I’m not.  When I bake all those amazing things you see here, I send out word that there are goodies to be had.  That way, Husband and I get our fix, others get theirs, and we are all happy campers.

I am convinced that the secrets to good health are #1) Good genes.  You can’t help the cards you’re dealt.  #2) Working with your cards.

If you’re diabetic, you’re gonna have to get creative with your nutrition choices and cheats.  If you have heart disease, the same.  The key is finding that which gives you joy and including it moderately in your life instead of ODing on it.

Yes, I indulge in iffy food choices, but I’m mindful of everything I eat.



Yep.  There’s my not so secret secret, and why I won’t be bandwagoning with the Paleo folks. Sometimes the biggest secrets aren’t secrets at all, but just good old-fashioned common sense.

Go forth and use it in good health.

Or, if you’d like (cause I know I would), we can discuss my No-leo approach in more detail over a nice slice of cake.  I might even share my coffee with you…





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  1. I’m with you! It’s very obvious that I need carbs to survive. On the rare occasion when I have a no-carb or even low-carb meal, I’m practically gnawing my arm off with hunger half an hour later, and I wind up dizzy, headachey, just feeling rotten. I’ve never been overweight, so obviously I’m getting something right.

    I wonder if there’s actually more than one type of human metabolism. That would explain why some people thrive on a diet that makes others miserable.

    • We are complex beings, so it wouldn’t surprise me. I have often said that if my health and well-being required giving up the things I love to eat, I’d do it. But, so far, so good. I love all the things I listed and more and am grateful that I can enjoy that which I love.

  2. I’m a CrossFitter and I’m lucky that my gym isn’t pushy about paleo. I really like your approach – being smart and eating enough ‘bad’ things to not be miserable and feel like you’re on some permanent diet! On a different note, isn’t foam rolling awesome?

    • I am incredibly impressed with CrossFitters! I know some folks that have committed to the Paleo diet and it’s amazing how they transform, but I also know myself enough to know that I would be miserable on it (or any diet). An yes, foam rolling is amazing! Thanks for adding to the conversation. Appreciate your comment.

  3. I’m not a big fan of any kind of restrictive diet…I like food far too much!! I have nothing against the Paleo diet and it might very well be the best thing going, but I would be miserable. My motto is moderation — except when there is a box of Thin Mints in the vicinity.

    • Moderation is the path for me, unless, of course, there are Thin Mints in the house, then it’s: EAT ALL THE THIN MINTS!

  4. PJ @ Planned in Pencil says

    Well said! Now, pass me some cake, I’ll bring my own coffee.

  5. You just made my day! All those Paleo sites can make you feel like you’re gonna kill your family with the next batch of homemade whole wheat bread that comes out of the oven. I needed this. A balanced approach is the one I take and I love that someone else is shooting it from her rooftop!

    • HA! Happy to help spread the cake, um, moderation love! This method has served me my entire life and I have enjoyed great health.

  6. Love your image. I feel the same about coffee. And like you I also had that same body people asked about, wanting to know my secret (which were the same as yours) until recently. Diagnosed with hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis left me with some extra weight I wasn’t use to. Paleo isn’t just a craze for people losing weight though. I went on the Paleo diet (after much consideration) and it’s really helped with my RA. I love carbs and cheese but my body lets me know the next morning when I’ve had too much. So I can’t say anything bad about the diet itself. Now some of the Paleo fanatics out there… that’s a different story. But you’re on the right track Paleo or not, eating a balance diet and exercising allows you to have those extras. Do what works for your body!

    • I certainly would never knock what works for others, and I was mostly speaking tongue-in-cheek about the more fanatical side o’thangs, but all that being said, certainly it has helped lots of folks. I’ve witnessed it myself in friends.

      Hate that you’ve suffered, but so happy you’ve found a way of life that works for you.

  7. I think you’ve just explained your success – not just the exercise, but the balance in eating – good stuff and 15% bad stuff. So, you don’t feel like you’re being deprived, you give yourself permission in small places to have everything you want.

    • EAT ALL THE THINGS! Yep…lol! (in the seconds before seeing this comment, i told husband: Dairy Queen’s offer of buy a Blizzard, get one for .99 ends today or tomorrow. Let’s go get one!)

  8. You have been pinned, tweety, feibu and if BB has her way canonized. ♥♥♥ this post. Here from the Grand Social & enjoying your posts immensely. BB2U


  1. […] OMT loves her coffee almost as much as she enjoys talking about herself in third person. […]

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