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  • Writer's pictureAnn Robatin Fuerst

NUTRITION: Healthy Choices to Last a Lifetime

The Coaches & Trainers of Essential CrossFit are not licensed and registered dieticians, and we are not doctors. We cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any medical or health conditions or issues. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. HOWEVER... we do have a Licensed & Registered Dietician, who can write meals plans and assist those with medical issues who need nutritional guidance, special diets, or medical nutrition therapy.

There are many ways to start eating healthier and Paleo is one of the BEST because it's the easy to learn and has simple rules and guidelines for everyone to follow. At it's very base, Paleo is just whole food eating (vs. processed foods). For people just starting to eat healthy, we advise starting with a 6 Week Plan or a 30-60 Day Plan. After that, Paleo should stay a part of your NEW healthy way of eating at least 75-80% of the time. Be sure to scroll down to read about CHEAT MEALS.

So while there are many diets and many ways to reach your goals, we recommend the Paleo diet as the healthiest and best way of losing weight, gaining muscle, and improving performance & energy. Check out your options below...


1) Paleo Basics... FREE

Scroll down to PALEO BASICS below, to get a better understanding of the Paleo diet & start cleaning up your diet on your own. Scroll down to RECIPES below to check out FREE recipe websites and our Paleo Cooking Matrix chart. If you want more info about Paleo, check out The Paleo Diet this is where all our information originates from.

2) Paleo Meal Plans... $29 - $34 per plan

Purchase a Paleo Meal Plan & Guide booklet from the Primal Palate to get more detailed information about Paleo, weekly shopping lists, recipes, & either a 6 Week or 60 Day meal plan (both plans contain completely different recipes!). Just follow the plans on your own.

3) Paleo Meal Matrix… FREE…

Download PDF • 64KB

Print the Meal Matrix and then just pick your proteins, veggies, starchy carb, fats, & fruits.

If trying to lose weight, stick to eating lots of lean proteins x3 or more (unlimited list) & lots of colorful veggies x3 or more (unlimited list). Limit your starchy carbs (winter squashes & potatoes) to 1-2 servings a day (1 for women & 2 for men). Limit your healthy fat to 1-2 servings a day (1 for women & 2 for men). Enjoy 2-3 servings of fruit each day (2 for women & 3 for men). HOWEVER… Do Not Under Eat !!

Portion Control: Use your hand… see the Paleo Meal Matrix

Open hand = 1 serving of protein

Fist = 1 serving of veggie or starchy carb



WHY PALEO? Lose weight - Gain muscle - Better digestion - Better skin - Less pain (inflammation) - Less brain fog - Reverse diabetes - Feel younger - Lower blood pressure - Lower blood glucose - Have more energy - Get off prescription meds! - Reduce allergies - Sleep better - and many more...


  • MEAT All you want UNPROCESSED meat: beef (sirloin, petite, hamburger), pork (chops, tenderloin, sirloin, center cut), lamb, chicken, turkey, any fish, sardines, shrimp, scallops, crab, any seafood, whole eggs, & egg whites. Any meat, any cut, lean or fat. LIMIT your lightly processed meats (bacon, sausage, Boar's Head deli meat), and be sure it doesn't violate the No Chemicals rule!!

A. eating conventional store-bought meat? stick to leaner cuts & cut off the visible fat B. eating grass-fed? lean or fatty doesn't matter AND you can have bacon

  • VEGGIES All you want of non-starchy veggies Limited potato/starchy family if trying to lose weight NO corn or beans on Paleo

  • FRUIT Never eaten alone & only in moderation if you want to lose weight (limit 2-3 pieces) Must be fresh or frozen with nothing extra added!

  • FATS Nuts/Seeds & their butters (no peanuts! and eaten in moderation if trying to lose weight, which is 1 small handful) Avocado, Olive/Avocado/Walnut/Coconut oils, Coconut Milk

  • PALEO but should be in VERY LIMITED amounts* 100% Raw Honey/Molasses/Cocoa (with nothing else added) & Nut Flours are allowed in moderation

Flavors: any spices, any herbs, tomato paste, crushed tomato, chicken broth, salsa, to name a few.


  • No Added Sugar (real or fake): Equal, Splenda, Nutrasweet, xylitol, acesulfame-k, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, sugar alcohols, succanat, pure/sugar cane, corn/rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, carrageenan, maltodextrin, agave nectar, maple syrup, barley malt, raw/brown/cane sugar, sugar, sugar beet... (exception: 100% raw honey in small amounts, see above notes)

  • No Junk Food: cakes, desserts, cookies, candy, chocolate, pastries, chips, crackers, ice cream, snack foods, etc

  • No Grains: wheat/corn products, rice, pasta, bread, oatmeal, cereals, oats, barley, rye, sprouted grains, amaranth, quinoa, bran, germ, starch, etc

  • No Legumes/Beans: peanuts, peas & chick peas, soy & soybean, tofu, red/black/lima/fava/pinto/kidney beans, lentils, carob, miso, tempeh, edamame, lecithin, etc

  • No Dairy: milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, cream, ½ & ½, etc

  • No Heavy-Processed, Man-Made Stuff: limit & be aware of even minimally processed foods, since they contain lots of chemicals! Whole food is always better, as is home-made.

  • No Alcohol

  • Beware of these Chemicals: No msg, No carrageenan, No nitrates/nitrites, No partially-hydrogenated oils, No Olestra, No high fructose corn syrup!


You can find many recipes online using your google skills but there are 2 websites that we have used many times that are super user-friendly, easy to navigate, and have beautiful food photos. If you are following one of the Meal Plans above (6 Week or 30-60 Days), then use their corresponding websites to select recipes to replace meals or mix it up.

Primal Palate (30-60 Days Plan):

Paleo Plan (6 Week Plan):


This is very individual and is determined by your goals, your metabolism, and your health. Some find that doing Paleo 6 days/week and enjoying 1 cheat day (3 cheat meals) per week works for them (this is what we recommend). Some find that staying Paleo 24/7 with occasional cheats monthly (special occasions) works best otherwise they just go off the rails too hard and cannot recover. And still, there are those that stay Paleo 24/7 and instead of "cheating", they do "treating" instead. Cheating is eating non-Paleo food. Treating is making a non-Paleo food into a Paleo Approved food, usually with the use of 100% raw honey, 100% pure cocoa, & almond or coconut flour. And then there are also people who can get away with 1 cheat meal per day and still receive the benefits of Paleo... those lucky bast@*#s

NOTE: if you are on a 30-Day or 6-Week Challenge... you are not supposed to be cheating... you are supposed to be making the most out of the time you are given :D

Final Note on Cheat Meals: reminder... there are NO bad foods, not really. We want you to eat more healthy unprocessed whole foods and less of everything else, but less doesn't mean never! There will always be situations that warrant the need to eat something "off track with your diet" and sometimes that reason is simply because you want that piece of cake. And that's okay! You just can't always eat that way or always have excuses for poor eating habits every day. We all have work obligations and family obligations that are sometimes more work than they are fun/rewarding... why should we expect our health, fitness, & diet to be any different. There's a balance of work and fun to be had. - Monique


A "YES" to any of the following questions below is likely why you are not being successful...

  1. Eating too much fake sugar? It's toxic.

  2. Eating too much natural/real sugar? Sugar in any form is still sugar and you won't get lean with excess.

  3. Eating too much paleo-fied treats? A Paleo brownie is still a brownie and while it can be enjoyed, it needs to be in moderation. It's called a "treat" for a reason. It's not a snack, side dish, or a meal!

  4. Eating too much fruit? Most people do not process fruit sugar well. Limit to 2 pieces/servings per day.

  5. Eating less than 75% Paleo food as your base? This is the #1 culprit for most people. Most people think they are eating better than they really are, but when asked to write it down... or even tell me... it's so obvious right off the bat, to both of us. The person you lie to the most... will always be yourself! Let that sink in.

  6. Not eating enough food? If you are under-eating and over-working, your body will build up cortisol (a stress hormone that causes weight gain), your body will become inflamed & retain water, and you'll feel like shit... usually physically and mentally.

  7. Not drinking enough water? The easiest & simplest trick that everyone refuses to do. Even sedentary people NEED 8 cups (64 oz) of water per day!

  8. Not eating greens or not supplementing w/ greens? You need some fiber! Eat some fibrous veggies or take a powdered greens formula mixed in water. I happen to sell the BEST greens powder: SuperGreens.

  9. Drinking too much alcohol? No one gets leans when they drink every day or binge on the weekends.

IF YOU WANT TO WORK WITH A COACH or just have questions, email us at

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