30-Day Spring Leanin’, Clean Livin’ Challenge

a.k.a. start looking better naked!

On Monday, April 26th, we shall embark upon a 30-day nutrition challenge. Clean up your diet by eating real foods (meat, eggs, veggies, nuts, seeds, fruit, etc.) and cutting out sugars, grains, dairy, alcohol, and processed foods!  Note: you DON’T have to be a CFV or BBC member to participate — everyone’s welcome!

The Details

  • Duration: 30 days
  • Cost: $20 contribution to prize pool
  • Prizes: Pool goes to the winner, who will also receive a one month unlimited membership. Notice that if just 10 people participate, that means the winner gets $200, plus a free month of membership!
  • Pool Total: $740 (!!!!!) (as of 10:50pm 4/26/10)

Entry Rules

  • Participants must remit $20 to the prize pool (care of Sam) by Sunday, April 25th
  • Participants must maintain a food log either online or on paper
  • Participants should commit to a version of the diet below that they feel is reasonable and sustainable given their lifestyle.  Modifications should be as minor as possible (for instance, if you know you’ll never make it a month without booze, throw in a couple allowed drinks.)
  • Participants must submit 3 “before” pictures taken within the week preceding the challenge: front view, side view and back view. Men are in shorts; Women are in shorts and sports bra/bikini top*.
  • Participants must submit 3 “after” pictures taken within 2 days of the end of the challenge*.
  • Trainers will choose the top 5 finalists whose body composition changed the most over the course of the challenge (based on pictures only)
  • Participants will vote on the top 5 to determine the winners.

* Pictures will remain PRIVATE except for print-outs of 5 finalists at the gym used to vote for winners. We are happy to take pictures for you here at the gym if you don’t have appropriate set-up at home.

How To Join The Challenge

Sign up with Sam in person at the BBC, or e-mail [email protected], including your diet resolutions, before pictures, and food log information (e.g. if it’s online, tell us where!)  If you absolutely CAN’T drop off your $20 in person, please send it via PayPal to [email protected]. Got questions?  E-mail us at the address above.

What Do I Eat??

(courtesy of Whole9Life and CrossFit Seattle)


1. Eat real food – meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, healthy oils. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re fresh and natural.
2. Do not eat dairy. This includes butter, cheese (hard and soft), yogurt (even Greek) and milk (including cream in your coffee).
3. Do not eat grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn (I count corn as a grain), oatmeal, and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains. That’s not real food, right?
4. Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, and peanuts. (No peanut butter, kids.)
5. Do not eat sugars of any kind, real or artificial. If you must sweeten, use minimal quantities of honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar.  No Splenda, Truvia, Stevia, etc.
6. Do not eat processed foods. This includes processed bars (like Zone bars), dairy-free creamers, etc.
7. Do not drink alcohol, in any form.

More About Meat…

  • Animals, including fish, raised in commercial farms are not healthy so try to get grass fed beef, USDA certified organic meat, wild fish, and/or locally raised animals.
  • If unable to do any of the above, then eat the leanest cuts you can and trim visible fat.  (Eating the fat of healthy fish, birds and animals is good for you.  Eating the fat of unhealthy creatures is not.)
  • Eggs are good.  Eggs from birds allowed to forage and run around are better.
  • Buffalo, elk, venison and other types of wild game are excellent choices if you can get them.

More About Vegetables…

  • Non starchy vegetables should be a big part of each meal.  Virtually all vegetables offer excellent nutritional value.
  • When possible choose organic, locally grown vegetables that are in season. Each of these factors will improve nutritional value.
  • Experiment with sautéing, roasting and grilling your veggies.  Try different recipes and different ethnic foods.  Learn to use herbs and spices.  This stuff should taste good!
  • Variety is king!  There are TONS of yummy veggies out there — try squashes, eggplant, garlic, leeks, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green, cabbage, celery, kale, dandelion, spinach, tomatoes, radish, parsnips, mushrooms….
  • Avoid starchy vegetable – potatoes, etc.  If you must eat starch (it happens) try sweet potatoes.
  • Avoid legumes. Beans, peas, lentils and soybeans should be avoided. Why?

More About Fruit…

  • A paleo diet allows virtually all fruit consumption.  There are a few issues though.  We need to consider how the fruit was grown as well as the type of fruit to evaluate nutritional value.
  • If you can grow your own fruit or pick wild fruit – go for it!
  • Scavenge the local farmers market for fresh local seasonal fruit.  Organic is best.
  • Try to avoid fruit from far away. Flying in kiwis from New Zealand is not really helping our health.
  • Avoid GMO (genetically modified organism) fruit.
  • A little fruit juice occasionally can be okay but, fruit juice is really candy.
  • Some fruits like bananas and pineapples have a high glycemic load and should be avoided if you are trying to loose fat.
  • Berries are awesome!  Eat lots of berries!

More About Nuts & Seeds…

  • Nuts and seeds are filling, nutrition, and packed with protein, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium.  It is possible to screw up your fat profile with nuts though.  Lots of nuts have an unacceptably high omega 6 / omega 3 ratio.
  • Some great choices: walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds
  • Beware of peanuts and cashews.  These are not nuts, they’re legumes. Don’t eat peanuts or peanut butter.  Peanuts contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause some real health problems.
  • Lots of packaged, shelled nuts are covered in trans fats!  Read the label!  Best to buy raw, unsalted nuts and spice them at home.  When in doubt, buy walnuts and/or macadamia nuts.

More About Fats…

  • Fat is good for you.  Fat is essential to your well being and happiness.  (This is not hyperbolic writing. Having the proper fat profile makes a huge difference to your mental outlook and moods).
  • Fat is a great source of energy.  Fat triggers our sense of being full. Fat is an essential part of many of your cellular and hormonal processes.  We sicken and die fairly quickly without adequate intake of essential fats.
  • However…there are many bad fats in our food supply!

Good Fats

  • Fat from healthy animals is good for you! Chicken, duck, goose, lamb, beef and pork fat can all be eaten and is an excellent choice for cooking because of heat stability.  Lard is internal fat from around the kidneys.  Lard from naturally (not grain) fed pork and beef is a very good choice.  Lard from grass fed animals is hard to find though, so butter can be used instead.  If you can find some high quality, nitrate-free bacon, the fat leftover after cooking it can be used for cooking all sorts of other delicious things!
  • Coconut oil is good for you and a good choice for cooking.  Choose organic, cold processed coconut oil.
  • Olive oil is very healthy.  Go for the extra virgin, cold pressed and use liberally. Extra virgin olive oil does not have great heat stability so use non-virgin olive oil or something else for high heat frying.

Bad Fats

  • Trans Fats – fats damaged by heat.  Trans fats can be extremely destructive to our health. Trans fats can be made at home!!  Start with a healthy, unrefined oil, naturally high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids – apply excessive heat and presto! Health wrecking trans fats. Easy!
  • Hydrogenated and/or partially hydrogenated oils. Terrible!  Reread the last paragraph.
  • Canola – should be avoided.  Canola has a very good omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio.  However, to be used commercially it has been genetically modified, highly refined, partially hydrogenated and deodorized.  Yikes!
  • Margarine – see trans fats.
  • Peanut, cottonseed, soybean and wheat germ oils… not good!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


  1. Victoria Nordgren April 15, 2010 at 10:52 am - Reply

    New York City’s Greenmarkets are the best source of nutrient dense local produce as well as free range meat, eggs, poultry etc.
    Union Square Greenmarket is there 4 days a week & is a shopping mecca for some of Manhattan’s best restaurants (the guys with the wheelbarrows who are there at the crack of dawn).
    I’m going to think about this before I make a commitment – if 100% agave tequila is paleo – in moderation(sort of) then it’ll be easier for me. See you at Gym Nasty!

  2. tylerdurden April 16, 2010 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I can’t wait to see my abs again. They went away all winter.

  3. Davi April 17, 2010 at 5:37 am - Reply

    So, in this challenge, what is the stance on raw, grass fed butter, cream, and ghee?

  4. isaac April 17, 2010 at 8:12 am - Reply

    I’m strongly considering doing this. I really don’t stand any chance of winning this competition since I doubt my body comp will change all that much, but I’m down to join in the fun.

    Here’s what I would give up:

    -dairy. what I eat is raw and grassfed, but it’ll be good to go without for a month.
    -eggs. I eat 4-12 a day (only pastured/local), so my system could use a break.
    -coffee (decaf is allowed)
    -alcohol. sigh.
    -occasional cheats (in the form of ice cream). Usually this is related to poor self-control due to alcohol consumption.
    -maybe nuts. I’m not convinced they are so great for me. I eat them maybe twice a week but I tend towards overconsumption.

    Davi- I would say that if you’ve already done 30 days with no dairy and reintroduced with no problem, you could include those foods. If you’ve never tried going without for a month, this is your chance.

    Dallas of Whole9 wrote in a comment on the dairy manifesto about heavy cream, butter, and ghee, “since it’s all fat, there are none of the milk protein intolerance, lactose intolerance, or insulin-spiking issues. So yes, you get my green light on those foods (with some sort of moderation, of course).”

  5. Davi April 17, 2010 at 10:06 am - Reply

    I read that part of the manifesto and thus was curious myself.

    I am also looking at the challenge. My diet conforms pretty well to the standards already, but I’m not making progress with my body comp goals. I recently articulated my nutrition goals on my log and I think those goals might be appropriate for this challenge –> for me, it’s about sticking with the little tweaks (big tweaks were made long ago) for long enough to see if they make a real difference.

  6. good sam April 17, 2010 at 10:24 am - Reply

    You do not have to be a CFV or BBC member to participate in the challenge!

    You may alter the eating plan as it works for you. We recommend what’s described here, but if you have a more advanced version that you want to try (e.g. eating Zone proportions in addition to paleo,) go for it.

    Butter / heavy cream / ghee — sure, why not. But yes, in moderation. Drowning everything you eat in butter is unlikely to help you win this thing.

  7. Conrad April 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    I would try this out although there’s no way I could possibly compete when I think about Keith’s potential gains.

    Maybe I can rally some of my friends out here in Hangzhou, too…

    Here’s what I plan on giving up:
    rice – i eat this once or twice a week out of courtesy to folks who invite me for dinner

    sugar, MSG, crap oil – sigh. This means that I can’t eat out for an entire month. There’s one restaurant I go to that’s basically paleo but they use camellia oil for cooking so I think I might make an exception for that (they let me use their yoga studio for free so I feel as though I have to eat their food).

    canned fish and jerky – rather reliable protein source but also has MSG and sugar in it.

    butter – I could give this up for a month.

    i’d love to give up eggs for a bit but unfortunately there’s really no good protein sources around here.

  8. tylerdurden April 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    You’ll be happy to know, I’m not competing, Conrad. 🙂

    However, I suggest everyone watch Food Inc. this Wednesday at 9pm on PBS.


    This should get you in the mood for food.

  9. Joey April 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    why is everyone giving up eggs and nuts?

  10. goodsam April 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Well if you ARE nuts, I guess giving UP nuts makes some sort of sense. I can’t explain the eggs though 😉

  11. Guillermo April 20, 2010 at 9:11 am - Reply

    OK, I’m in. This is going to be a real challenge – I eat rice and beans probably 4 times a week, have dairy a minimum of twice a day, eat grains and sugar every day and drink a lot of beer. I cannot promise I’ll give up the booze, but I’ll try….

  12. Ryan April 20, 2010 at 10:53 am - Reply

    I wanna do this too.

  13. ElizabethW April 20, 2010 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    This is what I have heard: they are not good for people with serious autoimmune issues and women who have estrogen issues. We can ask for details this Sunday.

  14. Christine April 21, 2010 at 8:44 am - Reply

    I want to do this but between my birthday and a vacation I think I might have too many cheats.

    Re: nuts- although good fat I tend to notice that when I eat them in moderate daily doses I tend to gain weight (and not in good places) so I am thinking they are too much for me.

    Who all is going on Sunday to the Whole9 Seminar?

  15. Kristine Voss April 21, 2010 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I’ll do it, I need this!

  16. Tippy April 23, 2010 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I’m in

  17. Bernard April 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I feel like I am going to do the challenge anyway even without submitting my picture and entry. I mainly do not want to do the entry because I have man boobs and I have not gotten to the point that I can take off my shirt.

    However, The food guidelines are great incentives for me to commit to a thirty day challenge.

  18. Grace April 24, 2010 at 12:15 am - Reply

    I’ll do it if I can still eat at Dos Toros at least 2x/week. Say yes. Yes.

  19. AJ April 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I am already following a mostly paleo diet already so this is going to be easier for me. The challenge will be dairy. I have milk in my coffee which will have to become coconut milk. I have a post workout quart of grass-fed whole milk. If that is allowed, I am in the challenge. If not, I understand. Good luck to all.

  20. Michele April 24, 2010 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Read ppl….
    “commit to a version of the diet below that they feel is reasonable and sustainable given their lifestyle. Modifications should be as minor as possible (for instance, if you know you’ll never make it a month without booze, throw in a couple allowed drinks.)”

    Milk is allowed…take your skirts off.

  21. goodsam April 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Grace — maybe you can get a plato with no rice or beans and extra guacamole?

  22. Jessica April 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    I’ll sign on. Need to spring lean for sure. I will have to budget in a little alcohol though, but will try to minimize.

  23. Conrad April 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Hmm… realized this isn’t so feasible for me after all, there’s such limited food of good quality available here in China I feel as though I should probably keep it in my diet even if it isn’t strict paleo.

    And again there’s the incredible damage to my social life – next weekend is a national holiday in China and I’d much prefer to spend it wandering around in the countryside sleeping with local farmers and eating country fare (rice) than sitting at home alone all weekend.

    But I’ll be rooting for you all!

    PS It seems as though anyone with man boobs that can actually stick to this probably has potential for huge gains physical and monetary – maybe after the first week if you’re feeling confident enough you can go with the shirt off. (I generally have the opposite problem of keeping my shirt on.)

  24. AJ April 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Dear Michele,

    Modifications are for the weak. Keep your skirt on.



  25. tylerdurden April 25, 2010 at 5:26 pm - Reply
  26. Michele April 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Dear AJ

    Why are you such a prick? (def: derogatory term used to sum up the existence of a worthless asshole.)

    <3 Michele

  27. goodsam April 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Children, children! No more fighting or I’ll have to come back there!

  28. Rupa April 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Ugh, f it, I’m in. Sam, cash money and photographs headed your way forthwith.

  29. Rupa April 25, 2010 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    On second thought — ain’t no one needs to see these pictures.

  30. tylerdurden April 26, 2010 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Yay! Rupa! Kick butt!

    BTW, I have been paleo again since March and I’ve lost 16 lbs!

    Follow my progress here: http://forcedistancetime.tumblr.com/

  31. isaac April 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I’m actually not going to do the challenge because I’m lazy (mostly). Also I don’t want to give up dairy right now because dairy from animals eating spring grass is particularly rich in nutrients. And I tried to recruit some of my friends and family members but I didn’t get any takers.

    I suggested that I would give up eggs because I eat 6 a day and it’s good to take a break from them every now and then, but they’re also incredibly convenient in that they don’t go bad, are very easy to cook up, and are very inexpensive.

    And as for the nuts. They are better than most fat out there but they are still not ideal. If I had a chance to compete in the challenge I would avoid them in favor of animal fats, olives, and avocado. They are easy to overdo, contain some antinutrients, and most of them are heavy in omega-6.

    Best of luck to everyone, though. I’m really excited that this is happening at CFV.

  32. Davi April 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Rupa! Right on.

Leave A Comment