Clancy C. is the winner of our 40 Day Eating for Health and Athletic Performance Challenge. Meaning that she stuck to the challenge as closely as possible on won the collected amount of $565.00 donated to the charity of her choice. Clancy choose Heifer International, whose approach is to help people obtain a sustainable source of food and income by teaching them the skills they need and or supplying the resources to be sustainable.
I asked Clancy if I could interview her to get her thoughts on the challenge so read on to hear how “Clean Eating” has effected her. Great work Clancy, we are really proud of you!!
I know many people participated in the “Eating for Health and Athletic Performance Challenge” to loose weight but that wasn’t necessarily your goal, tell me about why you choose to participate.
I actually started eating Paleo style in January as a New Year’s resolution. My goal wasn’t to lose weight, but it was based on vanity – I had read some of Dr. Loren Cordain’s scientific research papers. Turns out that there are several groups of native people who eat no western foods and have no incidences of acne in adolescents or adults (they also have very rare incidences of cancer, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, etc.). I’ve tried every topical option there is to no avail. I wanted to see if making an internal change by refraining from sugar/dairy/wheat/legumes helped clear up my adult acne. It has helped!
I choose to take part in the challenge to see how strict I could be and to test my self-control.
What is the best part of Eating for Health and Athletic Performance?
The best part for me was a totally unexpected perk: the disappearance of my near constant, low-grade anxiety. I had developed a belief that I was just an anxious person. Not so! I think that eating too much sugar really affected my ability to deal with small, everyday decisions. And there is a lot of science to support that too much insulin does affect the brain’s ability to make logical decisions.
Other wonderful side effects of eating Paleo: I sleep way better and wake up feeling good every morning. I have never thought of myself as an early morning exerciser, but I found myself waking up before my alarm and going to the 6am CrossFit classes. I stopped craving the things that I was avoiding and now really enjoy the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables. I have a constant amount of energy throughout the day, with no spikes or crashes. I am more present and able to make good decisions that support the person I want to be.
There is a political side-effect, too: by buying grass-fed meat, I am voting with my money and sending a message that I don’t support CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). By not buying grain or soy by-products, I am telling the FDA and Big Ag companies that I totally disagree with government subsidies for mono-cultures that destroy small farmers’ ability to make a living, while simultaneously destroying the health of the American public. By buying fresh, local meat and produce, I am helping to support smaller farmers.
What was the most challenging part?
The most challenging part was being the pain-in-the-ass person in restaurants, asking 21 questions to see if I could eat something or not. It was also surprisingly hard to refrain from drinking in social situations.
What advice would you give to someone interested in cleaning up their eating habits?
My advice if you want to try this diet: First, get everything that you can’t eat out of your house and start fresh with Paleo friendly food. I put everything in bags, put them in my car and gave food away to friends. It feels like a waste but you won’t be sorry. Second, the crock-pot is your friend. It’s best to always have something on hand, especially for the first couple weeks. I made sure to always have a chicken or beef stew w/ carrots, parsnips, turnips, onion, mushrooms, celery & olives in the fridge, as well as a fritata (onions, spinach, red peppers, olives, mushrooms, eggs). I didn’t let myself get too hungry at first, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stick to my resolution if I got low blood sugar. I would eat fat and protein when I craved sugar, and eventually I stopped craving sugar. I have learned to love an apple w/ almond butter for dessert. Costco has a 26 oz jar of almond butter for $5.79, the best deal anywhere. Get the Primal Blueprint cookbook. The recipes are easy and delicious (though there are some recipes that call for non-Paleo ingredients, it’s easy to substitute). Expect to spend a lot more time at the grocery store and in your kitchen. Listening to music and chopping vegetables has become one of my favorite things to do.
Going forward, will you continue to eat like this?
I will continue to eat this way – now that I’ve got the hang of it, the benefits way outweigh any inconvenience factor. Also, I end up feeling pretty terrible if I stray too far. I may go to the 85%-15% rule, meaning: I will have one “cheat meal” a week so that I can go out to eat with friends. But I’ll buy only Paleo friendly foods at the grocery store and only cook that way at home.