March 26, 2012

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

Heard of CrossFit? The 30 Day Paleo Challenge? SunButter is intrigued by both, so we were happy when one of our interns, Adam, tried CrossFit, then the 30-day Paleo Challenge.

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

Meet Adam: he’s in his early 20s and has been involved in fitness and nutrition for several years, but CrossFit and Paleo introduced him to a whole new world. photo credits: Amy Thorne, a. jo fotografi

Here’s Adam’s CrossFit and Paleo experiences, in his own words:

About two months ago I was introduced to a new type of fitness while I was visiting my parents in Canton, Georgia. I walked into this local gym to do my normal routine weightlifting like I have for years, but then I saw a group of people doing a group workout class on the other side of the gym. I watched them power through this incredibly intense workout, called CrossFit, and I was hooked.

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

Adam during a CrossFit workout

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

CrossFit requires the right fuel. SunButter is part of Adam’s Paleo plan.

CrossFitters who eat clean

After joining the class for about 10 workouts, at the end of each workout, I felt like I had just tried to exercise after eating a big greasy burger with all the fixing and fries. That wasn’t how my classmates felt, so I asked how they felt so good after our intense CrossFit workouts. These CrossFitters, who were 10-20 years older than me, introduced me to an ultra clean diet.

Overcoming skepticism

I have been involved in fitness and nutrition and I have read magazines and blogs about diets and supplements to gain muscle and build strength, so when they started talking to me about working out and nutrition I kind of blew them off. I didn’t want to hear things I have already heard; I wanted to know what type of supplements to add or what foods I should add to my diet to get better at CrossFit. It wasn’t a question of what I should add but what I should substrate or substitute.  They continued to talk to me about the importance of nutrients to fitness.

Later that day, I Googled ‘CrossFit diets’ thinking there was still some trick I was missing. One of the first links talked about the idea of eating like cavemen did in the Paleolithic era. I continued my Paleo diet search, found a few books, websites and Facebook pages to follow. These were the most helpful:

The Paleo Solution book by Robb Wolf

Robb’s website

Primal Palate website 

Facebook groups:

Everyday Paleo


PaleOMG app

Paleo Diet Lifestyle

Paleo Magazine

I also found great recipes on Pinterest. Just type “Paleo” in the search for endless options, including pictures and links to the recipes.

No peanut butter? Whoa.

Once I put together a list of foods I could and could not eat, my fears surfaced. Peanut butter was on the ‘no’ list, since peanuts are a legume and not part of the Paleo eating plan.

At that time, peanut butter was one of my top five favorite foods, along with trail mix (heavy on the peanuts). My friends know how much I like peanut butter and usually buy me jars for my birthday or Christmas.

You might be thinking, ‘dude, lighten up on the peanut butter.’ But the thought of eliminating peanut butter from my diet also nearly eliminated my thoughts of doing the Paleo diet.

Finding a paleo-approved peanut butter substitute

If I was going to get the fuel I needed for CrossFit, I needed to clean up and lean out my diet—and find a peanut butter substitute. I kept searching online, and found SunButter. I’d tried SunButter before and liked it. I discovered SunButter Organic is paleo-approved, since it is only sunflower seeds. No added sugar, salt or anything else.

I loaded up on Organic SunButter and almost instantly started spreading it on celery and apples or sometimes just spooned it right out of the jar. The big difference between doing spoonfuls of SunButter verse regular peanut butter is all the additives in peanut butter that can cause stomachaches and regret.

Baking with SunButter

Besides Pinterest, I used  and selected Paleo blogs and Facebook pages, where I found this recipe:

Paleo Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies

I thought they tasted good because I have never really been a sweets guy as much as a peanut butter lover. I brought these to a Super Bowl party and got some criticism, but the cookies were the first dish gone! We tried another batch the next weekend, and these adaptations helped:

1. Slightly underbake the cookies, then put them in the freezer

2. Out of the freezer, these cookies taste better

Two important things to remember when making Paleo desserts:

  1. Be realistic. Your cookies will not taste like traditional chocolate chip cookies, but will be tasty, especially on a Paleo diet.
  2. Green is good. SunButter can turn baked goods green, since the chlorophyll in sunflower seeds interacts with baking powder and baking soda. Don’t be alarmed, enjoy the reaction—and the great flavor.

Test for Valentine’s Day

For a Valentine’s Day batch, we added lots of red food coloring to the cookie dough. Remember from art class: red and green = brown? Well, we got a really red heart-shaped cookie with a warm brown inside to it. Success! The cookies cooled and had a darker green inside; I guess you can’t beat the science of baking.

Red #SunButter cookies!

Bacon Rose Flowers - the way into your loved one's heart is bacon. Lots of bacon!

We also made rose flowers using bacon and spinach leaves, and our Valentine’s guests really appreciated our artistic attempts.

No carbs = no energy?

A common question I get is, “where do you get the energy for intense workouts if you are not eating carbs?” This is a common misconception about Paleo eating. Carbs come from all sorts of foods. Check out this helpful Carbohydrate Food Choices chart.

How has Paleo eating helped CrossFit?

Paleo has greatly affected my workouts, both weight-lifting and running.

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

Yes, those are 45 lb. plates. Yes, there are 4 of them. Go, Adam, go!

I am lifting heavier weights with more reps, training harder, recovering fast, running faster and further without feeling sluggish. My weight has gone from 175 lbs. to 163 lbs., and my body fat has gone from nearly 15% to 7%.

My goals are not to lose weight or gain muscle, but to get as fit as possible, stay lean and strong, and continue excelling and improving my CrossFit workouts.  Paleo eating and SunButter are helping me do just that.

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

SunButter is proud to help fuel Adam’s CrossFit workouts.

Have you tried Paleo eating? CrossFit? We’d love to hear about it here or on the SunButter Facebook page.

Adam tries Crossfit and 30 Day Paleo Challenge: Should you, too?

Thanks for sharing your story, Adam.


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