Talking with Chrissy was possibly the most entertaining conversation I had. She told me flat-out how it was: that she loved bad food and Chick-fil-A was “her kryptonite.” She was also the first one to come out and say that we really our addicted, and that’s it’s ok to admit that addiction. We’re not going to die if we have a setback or a treat. Actually it’s better to practice a little forgiveness with ourselves and stay consistent, rather than go through cycles of “detoxes and binges.” Thanks so much for the advice Chrissy, I think that’s something we all needed to hear. -Kara
What made you decide to go Paleo in the first place?
Right before I went Paleo, I took part in a Bodybuilding.com 12 week challenge. I’m an “all or nothing person”, so I started “eating clean”: buying fat-free/sugar-free products, eating “good” grains, and consuming LOTS of protein. A typical breakfast would be plain oats with blueberries and a rice cake with peanut butter as a snack. I ate every 2-3 hours like clockwork, because that’s what everyone said you should do. I spent hours at the gym. I was obsessed. And yet, my stomach was bloated all the time. It literally looked like I was pregnant!
Eventually I got fed up with the way my stomach looked and posted a picture on Facebook saying, “What is wrong with my stomach!? This isn’t normal!” I tried flushing out my system, cutting things out of my diet, all the while still eating grains. Finally, my friend Johnny, who was really passionate about Paleo told me that grains were horrible. So I gave Paleo a shot for 30 days. My stomach flattened, I had a ton of energy, and I felt amazing. I was able to shorten my workouts to thirty minutes and still lean out more than ever before. Now I mostly do body weight exercises. I’ll do Insanity, Julian Michaels videos, or go running 3-5 times a week.
So, you were working out 2-3 hours a day, and were following every health-related advice you had been given to the letter. Were you always that health focused?
Are you kidding me? No way! When I was in middle school, I would go out to eat almost every night. I would go get Krispy Kreme at 1:00 in the morning every Friday. I literally ate whatever, whenever I wanted. I was raised on steak and potatoes, but my family loved, loved, LOVED sweets. Ice cream with Hershey’s syrup? All the time. Toast and orange juice with breakfast? Every day. Salads? Only if they were drenched in dressing and croutons.
I used to wake up early to go to the gym with my dad before school…but we loved to stop at the gas station for a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit afterwards. One of my favorite places to eat used to be Chick-fil-A. I would order a 10 pack of chicken nuggets with 8-10 packets of Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce and eat all of it with a Coke Zero.
When I did that 12 week challenge, I literally did a 180. It was like, when I was younger, I ate everything with artiﬁcial ﬂavor…and when I entered my twenties I ate everything WITHOUT ﬂavor. During my bodybuilding phase, I had no idea what real food tasted like. I lived of protein shakes, supplements, and soooo many egg whites (gag noise). I honestly never wanted to eat an egg white ever again.
Holy crap. So NOW what do you eat?
Now I eat organic, grass-fed, local meats & veggies. When I buy anything else, I look for as few ingredients as possible with no added sugar. Some people go through a gluten free phase to transition to Paleo. I went straight to Paleo, which included nothing processed, and I’ve stuck with it because I know I feel best when I eat that way.
So you went grain-free cold turkey. Did you have any setbacks? Any so-called ‘bad days’?
You just listened to my story; I LOVE bad food! My Paleo journey started out as a roller coaster. I would do a Whole30 and then I would binge. We all have to accept what we are addicted to, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t overcome those addictions. Heck, Chick-fil-A used to be my kryptonite, even after I went Paleo! I’ve tried not eating Paleo to be like everyone else and it just doesn’t work for my body. The worst I have ever felt in my entire life was Thanksgiving two years ago; I completely threw Paleo out the window. Now I finally understand that consistency is much better than going up and down with detoxes and “treating myself” afterwards.
You were only 21 when you made the switch. How did you do it? How did you afford it?
When I first started, I didn’t eat grass-fed/organic everything. I had no idea how to afford it. It took time, but I learned how to get the best bang for my buck when it came to my health. Now I buy things in bulk online and plan ahead. I’ll order meat online from US Wellness Meats. I LOVE eggs and can get organic cage free ones from a coworker for just $2 a dozen. I found out about a local organic produce delivery service and organic/grass-fed buying club. You really have to do the research to find out what is available to you. I don’t live in New York City or California; I live in the South, where everything is breaded and coated in sugar. If I can find it in Mobile, AL, I guarantee you can find it anywhere. Also, I use a great app called Clear Checkbook, and I use it to track my expenses. I break down everything- “Paleo Produce” “Paleo Treats” “Restaurants” etc. It really makes me stay aware of where my money is going.
Do you have any advice for those just starting Paleo?
Because the ingredients are much better for you, many people get sucked into Paleo sweets. However, organic raw honey is still sugar. After I did a very strict Whole30, I thought, “YES!! I can Paleo bake again!” But I’d go overboard and end up gaining my weight back. Some people say Paleo is great because you can eat “as much as you want”, but that’s not necessarily true. I don’t count calories anymore, thank goodness, but I still think that foods, like nuts, carbs, and sugar, should be eaten in moderation.
Finally, don’t stress about making an elaborate meal every single day. Paleo is simple. EVERYONE has time. When I’m getting ready in the morning, I crack an egg in a pan and then go get dressed. Then I’ll sauté up some kale, which takes less than a minute, and I’m out the door. I also love making a green juice or smoothie with my eggs. How easy is that? For dinner, I’ll pan fry chicken and whatever vegetable I have lying around. I love making egg muffins for breakfast the night before. They’re perfect for people who are constantly on the go and they last in the fridge all week. The Crock-Pot is my best friend. Throw some meat, broth, and veggies in there and I guarantee it will be delicious. ANYONE can do it. What it comes down to is effort, and if you care enough about your health to make that effort.