Sunday Reflection!

Happy Sunday! Thanks to all who came to Apple Works this afternoon! If you didn’t get to come this time around I highly recommend you check it out if you have a free weekend, there is lots to see and do.

This week’s upcoming challenge is to create a main dish, side dish or dessert, to share, with Apple as the secret ingredient! Get creative- find your favorite paleo recipe and see how you can incorporate apples into the dish, or try a new recipe! Look for updates this week as to when our last paleo meeting will be. Heather is participating in Kentuckianna’s Fittest CrossFit competition and the training staff is leaving early Saturday morning to support her! If you are free Saturday please come support her and the other gym members competing!

As the “end” to the paleo challenge is just around the corner, please reflect on how you are feeling. During the meeting Megan mentioned her road rage wasn’t as bad as it was before, can you relate? How is your mood? Do you have more patients? are you happier? Not as anxious? or maybe you haven’t noticed any changes. Let us know!

Happy Paleoing!


About hcfchallenge

The Paleo diet is simple yet remarkably effective for fat loss and halting or preventing a number of degenerative diseases. To reap the benefits of the most effective nutritional strategy known, one need simply build meals from the following: * Lean proteins (ideally) grass fed meat, free range fowl and wild caught fish * Seasonal fruits and vegetables * Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil Our 6 week challenge will help you ease your way into the Paleo Diet. Regardless of your fitness or health goals, you WILL look, feel and perform your best on the Paleo diet. For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny. View all posts by hcfchallenge

15 responses to “Sunday Reflection!

  • Jen Smallwood

    I was so sad to miss the trip to The AppleWorks, but we definitely have plans to get there this fall. I feel like this six week challenge has just flown by and I feel even more committed to this than I was when I started. I have been reading a fantastic book (good calories, bad calories by Gary taubes) and it just enforces my own personal feelings about eating this way.

    I have a big challenge coming up though for the last few days of the challenge though ! On Wednesday night I am going to Indy and will be flying to Pennsylvania to help my husband drive his stuff here (yay!!!!). However, hours in airport layovers, stopping for meals I the go…. I am nervous but am also planning ahead. I will Pack some paleo kits and stuff like that and I am committed, and that’s the biggest thing. I know I can do it!

    • Caitlin Mroz


      I’m out of town from Thursday to Sunday for a family reunion. I tried to talk Shaun into doing the post-challenge workout earlier in the week, but Jenna mentioned at the meeting that it will likely be on Friday, so we’re both going to miss it. Would you be interested in getting together at an open gym next week and doing it together, if schedules can synch up?

  • Caitlin Mroz

    I have to say that I absolutely have seen a change in Megan! Since Dave and I spend so much time with her, we have definitely noticed that she is more optimistic and “looking on the bright said.”
    The other person I’ve noticed is Denise. I can’t say that her mood has changed (because it’s always awesome), but I know that she has been radiating this positive paleo light for the past 5 weeks. Even when she is struggling with making good choices, she is honest and then sucks it up and does what’s best for her body.
    Way to go you two!!!

    As for me, I think I’ve been pretty honest that this has not been an overall “fun” experience, even if that means I can’t win this challenge. I have to say that we have been having very honest conversations about what our diets will look like post-challenge. I think we both agree that we have experienced some positive changes, and would like to continue eating a majority paleo. I think we agree, however, that for this to be a lifestyle change, we will not be successful at all if we feel like we are being deprived. I feel like we need to go through the experience of returning to a S.A.D. and going through the repercussions. We’re hard-headed, what can I say?
    I’ve been super bummed the past 2 days because I think that I’ve connected my chronic hip pain with dark chocolate, and that’s a bitch. While Dave finds this hysterical because I have a HUGE sweet tooth, I’m not happy. The friggin’ pain went away over the past 2 weeks while I tried not to eat chocolate, and then I had some this week and when I went to do my mile run on Friday my hip hurt like hell. Not. Cool. Man. I already know that I can’t eat dairy so that nixes my favorite food (ice cream), but now chocolate, too? Boo. I think I might cry.

    • Megan Abajian

      Thanks Caitlin! I’m glad that it’s not all in my head! I do have to thank you/give you credit for bringing me here. It was a really great change to my exercise routine/life. I really feel so happy and proud of myself after crossfit workouts. Plus, I’m continuously amazed at what my fellow crossfitters accomplish. It’s great inspiration.

      I’m happy I did the challenge with you guys. If anything it made for some fun dinners that I hope will continue in our last year at IU.

      And I’m sorry about the dark chocolate and your hip. That’s just not fair.

    • Heather

      Anytime I am struggling with any issue in my life my dad ALWAYS tells me “it’s about the choices you make in life.” I find this relating to your situation.. I’m not sure what your diet was like prior to this challenge, but take the knowledge you have learned this challenge and at least use it to benefit your future choices. At the end of the day food is meant to keep us alive and illness-free, not provide disease in our life… remember that post challenge. There is always a paleo substitution for anything you “crave”… you just have to look for it! (There are A TON of ice cream recipes out there, you just have to look) Glass is half full …. ALWAYS!

    • Denise

      Caitlin, thankyou for the kind words! You are a strong woman, and believe me, I have done the challenge before also and ended up going back to my ‘old ways’. ONe of my philosophies is to always keep trying, never “give up”. Pay attention to your body when you start adding back some of your non paleo and then you may come to the conclusion on the next challenge that it’s not worth going back again. I’ve enjoyed going thru this challenge with you…and working out with you…you are an inspiration!

  • Megan Abajian

    Sorry I missed the Apple Field Trip, but I was elbow deep in getting ready for a collaborative show with our very own Dave Rowe (and a bunch of other people). Caitlin got me my apples (Thanks GIrl!) so I should be set for the challenge. After leaving the meeting on Saturday I got a heads start and sauteed some apples and pork loin in some balsamic; it totally rocked, so I’m looking forward to this challenge.

    We talked about the end of the challenge and I think it’s a little scary. Things have become such habit that I don’t obsess so much about what I eat. I guess I’m afraid that if I give myself a ‘cheat’ that it will be a slippery slope. But if it’s truly a habit, then I won’t fall completely off the horse.

    I decided after feeling a bit down about the scale not budging that if I get to eat all this amazing food, feeling pretty happy and productive, and not gaining any weight then this was well worth it. And it was. I handle stress a lot better, I’m generally more happy, and I caught myself in the hall way mirror and it actually looks like I’m getting pecs! IF anything, I’m amazed at my productivity. I try to use every minute now. No more sitting on my ass waiting for the next meeting in a couple of hours or zoning out on television. I’ll leave and get other things done. So maybe it’s safe to say this challenge has given me mental clarity to how best use my time.

    Liz had mentioned doing the Whole 30 in the month of October and I’m game. I given up several of my vices and I don’t miss it at all. Over the past year I’ve stopped sodas, coffee, and here with the challenge dairy (cheese being a major vice) and I realize that there is sooooo much more that I get to eat. I don’t feel like I’m on a diet, that this truly is a life style.

  • Dave Rowe

    Over the past few weeks, I have seen some changes. Mostly physical. I have lost weight, and my stomach seems smaller. I have PRed on a couple of days at the gym. I feel good about all of this. I have not, however, seen a major difference in how I feel. The last couple of weeks have been very busy/ stressful at work. As a result, I feel even more tired than usual. I don’t think that this has anything to do with Paleo. I have been trying to get to bed at a reasonable time, but it seems that I have been unable to sleep for more than 6 hours at a time. I am excited to see exactly how the before and after stats and photos compare. I still don’t like working out, but it is becoming part of my routine. In the future, I think that we will be trying to stick with Paleo at home. I have enjoyed some of what we are eating, but missing what we aren’t. I have also found that with my schedule, eating paleo is challenging. In some cases, I have just started eating less. Some days I have just been having a snack in place of lunch, and I have been okay with that. My appetite has diminished. I have also changed my approach to eating. In the past, I have felt that I needed a big meal to hold me over until the next, essentially making excuses for overeating. I realized that I have not been doing that lately. I eat enough, but accept that if I get hungry later, I can always eat more. I don’t need to load up my stomach to prepare for my day. And I haven’t been getting hungry more often than I used to, in fact I find that I am hungry less often than before. Overall, I think that I have been eating less, and that has been the major contributor to weight loss. Paleo certainly hasn’t hurt, but being accountable to when/ what/ and how much I eat has really helped to make changes to my diet.

    I think that it would be interesting to visit a doctor before and after the challenge, just to see what kind of changes my body has gone through. Blood pressure, cholesterol, bmi, and other factors.

    Final week, here we go.

  • Liz Whitaker

    It’s been overall a wonderful experience going through the challenge with everyone. I’d been eating mostly paleo for a few months before the challenge, and it was great to plunge into a strict paleo diet for 6 weeks and know that I can survive. I definitely feel like I’m in it for the long haul, although I think (at least for now) the sustainability will be dependent upon the occasional nonpaleo cheat.

    As a student of dietetics, it’s been truly refreshing to be surrounded by supportive people that I can openly talk about paleo with. I have some friends and peers who are open to listening about the virtues of paleo, but I’m actually kind of afraid what some of my professors would think if they found out. Maybe I underestimate their ability to be flexible, but in general in the dietetics community, paleo is not seen as a positive lifestyle choice.

    I don’t know that I noticed a drastic change in my moods between immediately pre-challenge and now. I know when I started eating mostly paleo in March, I noticed that I’m WAY more laid back than I used to be. I’m especially more laid back about food stuff (which I could be pretty neurotic about sometimes). Also, since adopting paleo my skin has cleared up a lot. I still get the occasional break outs, but my skin looks better than it has since I was a kid. My grandmother commented over the summer how wonderful my complexion looked.

    Regarding the whole30, I’m excited to push into the next realm of paleo. I won’t lie, I’m a little scared of a world without bacon and most sausage, but I know it will be good for all of us who want to do it. πŸ™‚

    • Liz Whitaker

      After reading Dave’s post I realized I never shared my health stat changes with anyone in the challenge. I gave blood to the Indiana blood center in October last year. They have a website where you can go see your basic health stats every time you give blood. Well I gave blood again to them about a week and a half ago and my blood pressure went down from 138/78 to 116/60, my pulse rate went from 68 to 52, my cholesterol had gone up a little 151 to 170, but under 200 is good. That was what really sealed the deal for me with paleo and crossfit was the drop in my blood pressure. Everyone in my family has high blood pressure, and now I know I have a way to control it.

  • Jessica H.

    Wow. Where do I start? I had VERY high hopes for paleo and now, looking back, I think they were VERY unrealistic hopes as well. With that being said, what has come to fruition from Paleo has been a pleasant addition to my life. So this does not turn into a novel I’ll just list it all out:

    -Sleep: Um, like a rock. I started to get some major anxiety/insomnia in grad school, but that is not the case anymore. (I read paleo would help alleviate anxiety but I have not found that to be the case, but shit, I’ll take the sleep!)

    -Acne: Something else my grad program gave me, acne. Not gonna lie, I had some great skin as of two years ago when it went crazy I tried dermatologists, expensive creams, etc. but this is the best my skin has looked in a year. Don’t eat sh*t and you’re skin won’t look like sh*t…hmmm, novel idea.

    -Eating: This may seem like a given, but as I’ve said plenty of times before I was/am a major emotional eater. This may seem odd, but I LOVE the fact that the Starbucks (insert piece of crab carb/sugar/lard concoction here) is not even an option for me. I sure do feel good waking up in the morning not feeling weighted down by the 3 giant cookies I ate the night before because I was anxious/sad/happy/celebrating. Protein has become my bff. There are still times where I consume a little too much nut butter or dark chocolate, but it sure beats consuming something so unnatural my body can’t process it.

    Okay, I’ll stop there because this is becoming an essay. In sum, I like not being controlled by food. It’s fuel, that is that. I will definitely stick with paleo after the challenge as I have just started to play around with and figure out what works for me. Lastly (promise) I’ve recognized, and have started to embrace, that paleo is not a catch all, I can’t expect it to work miracles, it’s great that it has gotten me to some miraculous places, but I still have to put in work in other areas (WOD, relationships, taking a freaking break from school) in order to reap the full benefits.

    THANKS HEATHER AND JENNA for such a great paleo challenge!

    • Heather

      If you stick with paleo it will pay off- I promise! Paleo isn’t a magic pill that will cure all overnight, but in the long run you will be much more successful than you would be on (insert fad diet here). πŸ™‚

  • Joe Bender

    I had started doing paleo 5 weeks before the challenge started, with a little cheating every now and then but completely gluten-free except for a burger once. There were a few times I would eat vegetable oils but mostly it was lots of protein/fat/veggies and similar to what I’ve been doing on the challenge. I noticed that I’m eating more fruits and nuts now than during my non-strict paleo trial and I’m not sure why that is.

    I have noticed a big change in how I look and have noticed my stomach getting much smaller compared to my starting pictures. My weight has gone down about 8 pounds but still fluctuates a lot. I started drinking coffee and have noticed it hurts my sleeping, and that makes me feel more tired and makes me want more coffee, so that is something that hasn’t improved my mood except right after the coffee.

    I still feel much better than before I started paleo but I’ve become used to that feeling so I don’t notice it anymore and I just feel normal, but I know if I ate a box of cereal I’d see the difference quickly. I haven’t done any cheats or ever felt like eating non-paleo foods since the start, although I keep having dreams that I’m eating potatoes or bagels. My struggle is eating less fruit and walnuts, so I see those as my new cheat foods which are within the guidelines so I don’t feel so bad about eating them.

    I don’t see any reason why I’d stop doing paleo after the challenge. I feel great and don’t miss any foods. I actually discovered more foods and ways of preparing them than I ate before, even after all the foods I cut out.

  • Denise

    Sorry so late! I have really just in the past couple weeks gotten to where I don’t feel any anxiety over what I can and can not eat. I’ve gotten to where I am thoroughly enjoying everything about the paleo lifestyle and it is becoming more of a habit. I told myself a number of weeks ago to not dwell on “what I’m going to eat as soon as the challenge is over” and instead focus, enjoy and live in the moment. Now, I can’t think of one thing I want that is not paleo after the challenge…nothing that I “just have to have”. I feel wonderful, have not felt sick in the mornings like I used to, swellings are gone in my knee, I’m starting to see performance improvements, and feel smaller. I did find that last week I got into a habit of eating too many bananas (4 a day!) and my mood/patience was not the greatest, so I’ve eliminated bananas this week and feel much, much, much better in that area. I still have things I need to work on (preparation and planning) but have started new healthy habits that I intend to enjoy after the challenge is over!

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